Tag Archives: Knitting and Crochet

The never-ending project

So my first world problem of the day…..The never-ending knitting project.  We’ve all had them.  You start with a fire that burns clean and pure.  You pour all your time into them and are psyched about your progress.  You proudly tote it about anytime there’s even the most remote chance you’ll have a spare three minutes to knit.  It sparkles.  It shines.  It is the awesomeness.

Then, well, something happens.  A new pattern shakes it’s sweet bum at you….A trip to the yarn store finds you fondly stroking another skein of yarn….You just look at the dang thing with the cold hard stare of an experienced, non-deluded-by-newness, crafter and think……Meh.

Not bad enough to rip out and make anew, but no longer the stuff of idle daydreams.

Such is this shawl:

Candle Flame Shawl by Dean Cranehttp://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/candle-flame-shawl-archived

Originally suggested in bulky, mine is a sport weight Alpaca of unknown origin knit on US size 6 circulars.

I bought this yarn at the lovely Sheep Street Fibers on a fiber outing with two girlfriends.  We had pretty much laid the shop to waste and were moving towards the cash register when I spotted this shawl hanging from a horizontal dowel suspended from the ceiling.

Now, you make think really?  A dowel rod?  A darn simple shawl in a basic, non-flashy yarn, draped over something from the hardware store sucked you in?  Dude, it really did.  (I’ve since decided that I am going to set up a crazy system of dowel rod display in my front room for all the knitted goods that I need to look at more than wear, but that’s insanity for another day.)  The shawl displayed was in camel alpaca and the buttery color, hand and drape were awesome.  Plus, bonus, the yarn for the project was less than $30.  SOLD.  The kind proprietor caked it for me and we were out the door.

I was almost done with my Christmas knitting, so I put the yarn in the to-do bucket and only occasionally took a moment to sniff it(I have a weird thing about wool-sniffing).  But then after Christmas….Hooray!!!!  I cast on!  You start at the point of the triangular shape, so by New Years I had a nice, hefty triangle swinging about from my needles.  I loved it.  It was great.  Once learned, the pattern repeat was pretty easy and the vertical repeat was just long enough to keep you wanting to finish one more.  The yarn was über soft.  I really do generally prefer what some would consider “scratchy” wool, so the alpaca was a fun change of pace, and with a shawl, I wasn’t at all worried about it’s tendency to stretch out during wearing.  All was good.

And then, the “meh” snuck in.  The bad thing about working a triangular shawl from the point up is that the rows just keep getting longer, and Longer, and LONGER,  AND FLIPPIN’ LONGER.  Now really, this is totally ridiculous as it’s only like a 700 yard shawl.  I’ve done 2400 hundred yard pieces with way less griping and grunting, but for some reason this one just has me dragging my feet.

Adding the accumulating angst, the yarn started having these weird splits where it would go from three plies down to one for about a quarter of an inch.  Normally, this sort of thing doesn’t bother me all that much, in fact it’s one of the things I sometimes roll my eyes about when other people have similar complaints, but it just keeps happening.  Since I didn’t cake the darn stuff, I had no idea about the splits so they just keep popping up and they’re all “Hey, I’m obnoxious….how are you going to deal with me?  Rip back to the beginning of the row?  Do yet another Russian join?”

I hate mouthy yarn.

Ugh.

And so, there it is.  My internal monologue looks something like this: “I will finish this project.  One row at a time is just fine.  If you finish two rows you can work on something else.  I know it looks like this ball of yarn is not getting any smaller, but the laws of physics dictate that it must be getting smaller.  Trust the laws of physics, Amy Beth.  Trust the laws of physics.”

Look up in that tree….It’s a bird…..No, it’s an owl….No…..It’s yarn?

Haha, this picture is silly, but I couldn’t resist the temptation for taking a few pictures outside in our nearly balmy February conditions.

Here is a slightly less silly one:

So, this is officially my fourth finished handspun.  I’ve been knitting for almost sixteen years, and until sometime last year I’d always rolled my eyes at the thought of learning to spin.  My internal monologue went something like this: “There is already yarn.  The yarn is good.  The yarn is very, very good and there is so much to knit with it.  So very, very much to knit with it that I could never ever ever not be knitting the things and instead making the yarn. ”

And then, I drank the Kool-Aid.

After agonizing over the investment of a new wheel (a relatively simple piece of technology that somehow retails for around $600), and the amazingly high resale value of used wheels on Ebay, I found a very second-hand Louet from a local fellow who was upgrading and needed the additional studio space.  Several YouTube instructional videos later, I was on my way to spinning some uber clunky yarn and scrounging ravelry for projects requiring very little yardage.

I’m still in the shallow end of the learning curve, as you can see from the wildly uneven owl-inspired goodness above, but guess what?  I don’t care!  Its fun!  You can make yarn!  Out of like this stuff that grown on sheep!  Even if it’s jacked-up-crazy yarn, you can still make stuff out of it!  It’s squooshy and you can smoosh your face in it and smell the wooly goodness of the world, and in that moment you are sharing a kinship with an imaginary woman standing outside her croft on some wind-swept moor four hundred years ago.

The last part might just be me though.

The all important inaugural post

Ok, so clearly a blog that I’ve been percolating on, agonizing over how to start, should start on a random Monday morning while my daughter is watching Phineas and Ferb.  I tend to over think to the point of inaction, so I’m just going to go ahead and roll on up in this thing.

Here is where I think I’m supposed to do an introduction.  Bullets are clearly in order.

  • Knitting–I knit a lot.  Let’s just say that I went to my daughter’s naturey-type preschool class the other day and realized that I was wearing the following handmade items: cowl, fingerless mits, hat, and socks.  I really do generally try to dial it back for the muggles, but sometimes the convergence of knitted items is unavoidable.   (Please also note that I was wearing a quippy knitting t-shirt and working on a pair of socks during her class.)
  • Family–I like family a lot.  I regularly entertain fantasies of living off the grid so that family can be the primary driving forces of all our lives, undistracted by pesky electricity and flush toilets.  The other unknowing participants in this fantasy are my dear “husband”, my daughter Tova (just turned 5) and our lil’ schnoodle Annie (just turned 1).
  • Food–I like food a lot.  Have you seen my pic?  That’s not from McDonalds folks.  That is straight up homemade food.  I’ll try to keep the food threads to a minimum, but sometimes a gal just has to post a biscuit pic.
  • Spinning–I like spinning a lot.  Now, if you’re confused about the aforementioned fatness combined with the spinning bullet, let me clarify that I don’t mean that bicycle going nowhere kind of spinning, I mean the kind that results in yarn.  I only started spinning in January of 2012, and I still pretty much suck at it, but I’m hooked anyway.

Ok, so enough with the wordiness, let’s get to a flipping picture already.

Brigid Sock in Progress

Here it is.  My offering to the muse.  I’m designing/knitting a sock that I will post on ravelry as a free pattern.  I will of course post my progress, but in the interest of making these posts easily digestible chunks, I’ll hold off on my motivation until another time.