Tuesday, January 9

Multifarious too

This might be cheating but I have knitter's elbow so I'm not supposed to be knitting.

Your Vocabulary Score: A-

Congratulations on your multifarious vocabulary!
You must be quite an erudite person.
How's Your Vocabulary?

I want to know what word I got wrong. I think maybe phlegmatic - I should have cheated and used the OED which I have bookmarked.

I knit this weekend, before I went to see the doctor for my annual where I complained bout pain in my elbow. I didn't knit at all last night but I really want to finish my slippers to be felted. I worked on one during our West Wing Season 1 marathon.

Thursday, January 4

Freehand knitting

I am trying my hand at freehand knitting, spontaneous creation with the pattern in my mind.

I have been reading a little of Elizabet Zimmermann who confirms my gut feeling that our knitting forebears did not fiddle with patterns written in 3 sizes with special yarn and extra fine needles. That's a prejudice on my part: knitting can be somewhat exclusive - you have to know where to get this stuff and what stuff you want. People have been making sweaters, socks, scarves, tweaking their favorite stitch using the yarn they have and the needles on hand ever since when.

Instead, I want to know how to make something without all the preamble.

I am also working through my stash.

I picked my yarn (Reynolds Lopi Lite - 7 skeins left over from a sweater I don't like) and knit a SWATCH. EZ says you have to know how big your stitch is. I did a little math (my spi x my waist measurement) to get the cast-on. And I worked from there. So far:

That's the body of the sweater, very blocky, but I think it might be OK. I knit it in the round, no shaping, purled at the half-way point to mark the steek and then when I got to the sleeves, I also purled where I will cut the steek. I hope to have enough yarn for the sleeves and collar; if not, I will frog the sweater that I don't like. Those are bag ties that I am using as stitch holders where I want to add the pockets.

Although I was looking to lighten my yarn load, I visited Nana's and picked up the book to make felted slippers. One of the knitting ladies was in there at the same time, said it was the only felting book she had, and Cascade was absolutely reliable. What could I do:

The hypocrisy isn't lost on me - work through my stash but buy yarn; criticize the yarny doodads but buy a book on felting. Ah well.

Do you know you have to make a swatch to felt to make sure your object will felt to the right size???

Monday, January 1

More knitting truisms

I would not suggest taking a knitting class in December. The assignment takes a big bite out of one's Christmas knitting.

I signed up for the two-color knitting class held on 2 Wed nights in Dec but the homework occupied 2 solid weeks of prime knitting time. True, I got my 13" done by the first class but then we wanted to work on the start of the two-color knitting for the next Wed class. The second class was Dec 13, way too close to Christmas to do such an indulgent project as a sweater. Besides, sweaters should be knitted in July.

Another knitting truism: the pattern will tell you everything you need to know. The week that I spend deciphering the Dale of Norway color pattern I learned how important it is to read the entire pattern before embarking on the journey. Such boring reading! I can't describe how boring it is to read about how to knit a sweater instead of knitting the sweater. But it turns out that 2 of us are of the same mind, because the other knitter in the class asked me what I thought the next sentence meant (exactly after 'knit body to measure 13"'): set body aside and knit sleeve. We were supposed to knit the body, knit sleeve #1, knit sleeve #2. And then you put it all together to knit the 2-color parts. What is the cardinal rule of knitting: read the whole pattern. But way too boring.

Trish instead spent the first class talking us out of all the short cuts we were trying to construct, to get to the good parts - yes, we should practice the two hand method; yes, we should take out the miscounted stitches so the pattern works out right; yes, we should us the pattern as written instead of using our gut. After all, $70+ on yarn, don't we want to wear the sweater? Even though we started at the steek stitches and knit around and around (for 13"), we needed to pay attention and start with the pattern at the back of the left sleeve and AT THE SAME TIME (are there 4 more horrifying words in knitting?), purl the first stitch, SSK or knit 2 together (depending on where we are) every other row. Oy. In the end, we will have a sweater with a color work then, we get to steek. Trish drew a schematic on the white board that made everything clear.

The irony of all the lectures that night, is Trish's suggestion that we do a provisional cast-on for 2-3 rows of the sleeves, then we would be instantly ready for the color work. Where was that suggestion before this???

My other project was the circle of fun rug #2. I tried to knit-on both outer rings but the wider, outer ring needed a little more math than I learned in high school. Turns out the secret might be to knit the short rows at the inner end of the ring, like rays of sunshine, instead of my first attempt, that the short rows extend the outer end of the ring. DD#2 goes back to college tomorrow, and even though she got to unwrap the rug on Christmas day, the ends still need to be tucked in, and I really should reknit the outer ring. I ended up knitting the long, long strip and sewed it on, but I got a little enthusiastic and should have sewed it on a little looser.

The end result is that I didn't start the thigh-highs for DD#3 until about 12/24. These are at the stage of the first decrease, which means there is about 24" to go on stocking #1. The boss (at work) might get the dish rags I made as a release. She went away for a month so wasn't here at gift-giving time. But she hasn't received the menorah pillow I made for her last year (because it isn't assembled yet). Argh.

I give up on Christmas knitting. From now on, it's all for me, no pressure.

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