Thursday, May 31, 2007

I am so skilled!

No, really I am.

I finished two dishcloths today. The first one was another attempt on the Bamboo stitch variation cloth that I frogged earlier. I didn't find it anywhere near as annoying as I did the first time around, though it's still more intricate than I like. I did manage to finish it but it look sorta...funny. The bottom is all wiggly and not even at all. I have *no* idea what happened!! I also had to tink and redo a couple of row several times, as I was apparently spacing out while knitting it and doing things like forgetting the YOs! Oops. Ah well.

Then I decided to finish off some Crystal Palace chenille that I had (I think it's the "baby" colorway) and whip out a diagonal washcloth (you can see where this is going, can't you?). I miscalculated on how much yarn I had left, and ran out, so now I have a penta-cloth. This yarn is lovely but it does not rip out well at all, and I just am so over this ball of yarn and needed it to be knit into something! It actually doesn't matter at all because it's for me, and I'll use it and love it. It's nice and wide, and the flat side sits nicely on your wrist, so maybe I'll pretend it's a feature, not a bug. HEY! Maybe it'll become a trend!!

I'm out of handmade washcloths because when my mom was visiting to take care of the boys while I had jury duty, she told me how much she loved the cloth I had made for her for Christmas and in a fit of gratitude I gave her every cloth I've made for myself. I want to churn out a bunch of cloths, since I want to stop using sponges and switch over to using handmade dishcloths for my dishes. I think I need to put my sock obsession on hold for now and focus on things that I can actually finish.

I'll post pictures when I'm not about to go to bed. I gotta take a picture of the blanket-in-progress too, it is so beautiful, it's almost enough to make me have another baby (except I just know I'd have another boy and it's really more of a girly blanket so someone I know has to have a baby girl soon).

Have I mentioned lately how profoundly grateful I am for the place that knitting holds in my life? It's a hobby that I feel I have some skill at, but so much to learn, so many ways to grow. It allows me to spend time doing something productive yet enjoyable, and perhaps the greatest gift it gives to me is it helps me quiet my mind. The spiritual practice I am most drawn to, and have been for years, is Buddhism, but I am so not there yet. I'd love to have a serious meditation and yoga practice. Maybe someday. Knitting is really quite meditative for me. I have so many blessings in my life, I am so lucky.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

FO and some planning...

I finished some things AND managed to take pictures, so let's see what they look like!
Okay, so the picture isn't too great, but you can get a sense of the stitch pattern at least. This is the Bee Stitch cloth. I tried this cloth earlier in the Crystal Palace cotton chenille, and it didn't work at all (who knows why!), but it was great in this yarn (Sugar'n'Cream). It's a super easy pattern, and I love the texture that the stitch creates! It shows of the variegated yarn wonderfully too!

The rest of the FOs are NICU hats. First, the Lemon hat. Quite cute! I'm trying to make my hats a little longer because I think I make them too short. I also did the Raspberry hat. I think it's adorable, though the texture stitch was a bit of a pain in the ass. Both of these are done with Magic Loop, in Tahki Cotton Classic, size 4 needles. The next hat is the Raspberry hat. Also adorable, but the texture stitch was a bit of a pain in the ass. The last picture is two hats: one I knit a while ago, next to another hat that was supposed to be a gift for a friend but I never got my act together to send it so I've got to do something else for them. It's the same yarn, Plymouth Fantasy Naturale, but just different number of stitches. I sort of like the patchy one, it makes me think of easter egg camo!
I also have one more big project that I finished, and it's really pretty, but it's a gift, so I need to send it off (this one I really do have to send off) before I can post the pictures. It's one of the bigger things I've done, and while it was a simple knit, it's really pretty and I'm happy with how it turned out !

On to the next projects! I just pulled out a baby blanket that I'm doing, also out of Crystal Palace Cotton chenille, but in the Painted Iris colorway. Oh. My. God. This is so beautiful! But, the person it was originally intended for is having a boy, so I may have to finish it and keep it for the next girl baby that comes along. I have enough of the yarn to do some washcloths for myself, so I'll be able to keep some of the beauty for myself! Perhaps I'll do one for this friend in the Baby Blue or the Seascape colorway (or maybe the fruit salad, that would be fun!). I love this yarn for baby blankets! Given my issues with color consistency in the Lion Suede, I'm not sure about doing more big projects with it. Which is a bummer because it's perfect for baby blankets! At least for northern babies! It's so soft and warm! Anyway, enough about baby blankets.

So, that leaves on the needles...Jaywalkers. *sigh* I am afraid that they're going to be too small and I'm just stalled on them! I really *want* to be knitting socks...I just don't love the tiny needles! I somehow managed to bring home a skein of Tofutsies, and I'm actually *gasp* trying to swatch it up! I am going to do a non-short-row-toe up, heel flap and gusset heel, with this. I think I need a scale to make sure I don't do one sock too long! I am also planning on getting some of these, so I can do lace socks more easily...What do you think, go ahead and order 1, 2 and 3s? Or just get the 1s and assume that I won't need the bigger ones? That'd certainly be cheaper! But it's almost a new month and a new allowance!

I just need to finish the leaves for one of the other NICU hats I've done (an apple, so cute!), and then I'll take them over and drop them off (or send them in). It's funny, I don't remember being excited to knit last summer, but I'm going strong this summer!!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Where did it go?

I had a post half-written but it apparently got eaten during the whole kerfuffle of jury duty, which is DONE! No one seemed happy, everyone got spanked (metaphorically), so I guess we did a good job. All jury members took it very seriously, which was cool. So, that's my second trial as a juror. So inconvenient, but I am glad I got to do it.

I scrapped the sock. I made yet ANOTHER error and couldn't live with it. I guess that answers my questions...THREE major issues is one too many.

I started another NICU hat in consolation and I'm gonna need some help on another project because I can't decide how to end it. The yarn is bumming me out. Ah well.

I think I may need to learn to spin and dye my own yarn. Or do you dye first then spin?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Musings on Perfection and Perfectionism

aka How Imperfect is TOO Imperfect?

I've mentioned this before. I am a recovering perfectionist. You wouldn't totally know it from my life, but I used to be obsessed with being perfect and loathed myself for all my failures, real and perceived. Lots of therapy and love later, and I don't feel that way most of the time. It gets stirred up, and it's sort of a knee-jerk reaction to many things that I can move past quickly, but it's there.

I see it with my knitting. I want to be *good* at this. I am pretty good, but I'd put myself very much in the early-intermediate level of knitting (err, if there were such a thing as quantified levels of knitterness, which I don't think there actually are). I'm not a beginner, I can tackle more challenging projects, but I'm not very good at some of the things that I think I should be, in order to feel truly proficient at this craft. More to learn, right?

So, I'm doing my first sock on DPKs, and while I'm not finding it as hard as I thought I would, I'm not doing it...well, perfectly. I've got two issues. I've got some laddering going on (to be honest, I had a little of that with the Cascade socks, which were done Magic Loop, but with ML you only have two inter-needle connections to worry about, not the four I have on these needles), and I had a small-child-induced-disaster, in which one of the needles got pulled out of the stitches. I managed to salvage it somewhat, though there's an obvious spot of kerfuffle where I didn't do a good job of picking up the dropped stitches (note to self, go buy some teeny tiny crochet hooks to assist you in these dropped-sock-stitch emergencies).

I'm not hugely bummed about that spot ("See that? That was when you pulled the needle out of mommy's knitting and she freaked out and threatened to put you in time out until you were twenty, do you remember?"), but the laddering is annoying. Not, at this point, annoying enough to pull it out and redo it, mind you, but it's there, and I'll notice it. I'm trying to treat it like a learning experience. This is my first time doing this kind of project, and I want to become proficient, but NO ONE is immediately proficient while learning a new skill, it takes time. I'm only doing this for the joy it brings me, so if it's not joyful, why do it?

Perfection isn't attainable, at least not by me. But at what point do I say this is really not good enough, and frog it and start over?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

In Process

As in...that's all I got. I am doing knitting. I got summoned to Jury Duty on Tuesday and thought I'd have a lovely hanging out all day to knit. I did 4 rows on the Jaywalkers (and messed 'em up, ah well), and then got called to a court room...and got empaneled on a jury! Again! This happened to me less than 4 years ago too. So, on breaks and lunch, I'm knitting. I started a different project: Wendy's Toe Up Sock. I'm using some sort of sock yarn, no ball band, I've had it for ages, I think it's Plymouth Socotta in colorway 6674 (it's the stuff in the bag, you can't tell form this picture, but it's really pretty). I started it on my Crystal Palace 35" size 1 circs, and quickly recalled how much I hate using these for Magic Loop, so I switched to Clover DPKs, size 1s (I think mine are 7", they're the longer ones). My gauge was waaaaay off (swatch? what swatch? lalalala I can't hear you!). So I switched over to my Clover size 2s, which are the shorter 5" ones. I still didn't swatch, but this looks way more reasonable. I did want to switch back to my size 1 Addi Turbos, but turns out that Clover's size 1 is 2.75 mm and Addi's is 3.0 mm. Ah well. I haven't done socks on DPKs yet and I'm not loathing it anywhere near as much as I thought I would. I sorta like it, actually! I thought this might turn from jury duty sock to my ER sock as I managed to do something nasty to my foot and thought I might need an x-ray. I don't think I'm really THAT clutzy, it's more that I'm too distracted to be allowed out in the world.

Doing toe-up socks with this yarn is not recommended for someone who's going to freak out at the fact that the top half of your toe is going to be different from the bottom half, and the whole thing is going to be different from the rest of the sock. I thought I would so be that person, turns out I'm not. I think it's cute. I don't love the double-wrapped short-row toe. I wonder what would happen if you didn't do the wrapping? Anyone know? Is there a different kind of toe one could do on a toe-up sock? I'll have to exercise my google-fu and see what I can find.

Am I reading this one right? Ahh, Knitty never lets me down! I am going to have to learn that Figure 8 toe! I've done it (badly) a few times. This one sounds interesting too! I found some crochet patterns too, which I'll have to try at some point, you know, when I have all that free time.

In other things...I've got Jaywalkers going, but they seem to need more from me than I have to give right now. I've got two gifts on needles, once they are given, I'll talk more about them. *scrunches up face, thinking* Uh, I think that's it. Okay, off to knit some more of my easy sock!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Say what?

Okay, I can totally understand that different dye lots may be different, maybe even radically different. But...I expect a dye job to be consistent WITHIN the skein, right? Am I crazy here? I am starting a Project for a friend (can't talk too much about it, not sure if she reads this blog or not!), and there is a point where the color of the yarn shifts. It's subtle, but there. It gets lighter.

It's not a particularly high end yarn, it's Lion Suede, one of the variegated colorways. It's gorgeous, and I love the colors (I actually really like the yarn), but this is...annoying. I don't think it's quite annoying enough to actually stop the project, and as I move along, I think it's shifting back, but come on, people! I know this is going to bug me, but I have no idea what to do about it..."use a much nicer yarn" isn't really in the budget right now, and this yarn is exactly what I have in mind for this project. Hmmph.

In other news, I finally made it to Mind's Eye Yarns (a) when it was open and (b) without kids so I could go in! I don't quite understand why I've never gone (may have something to do with (b) part of my visit today). The woman who owns it is SO nice!! A skein of her sock yarn somehow managed to make its way home with me. *innocent look* It's in my favorite green and purple combo, it HAD to be done! I can't remember if I wrote this or not already, but I think I need to have more than one pair of socks going at a time: one pattern, one plain. By the time my knitting time rolls around in the evening, I'm often not good for much beyond stockinette.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

It's a mystery.

Why is it that every attempt I make to crochet a hat turns out like a big yarmulke? I'm clearly doing something wrong, but I'm such a novice, I can't even figure out what that might be! Clearly I need to take another class.

Off to do some more Jaywalkers. I'm enjoying them, but man, knitting on such tiny needles is SLOW GOING!