Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The brick wall

I have been happily plugging away on the hunting mittens. I have made fingerless mittens before, so I didn't anticipate any problems until the flap part. No new territory here, right? Famous last words.

Ribbing on the wrist: Check. Stockinette on the start of the palm: check. Increases leading into the thumb, at the beginning of the round: Check. Then, just when I was ready to separate the thumb from the rest of the work, what the . . . .?

"Cast on 4 stitches at the beginning of the round, TURN work, slip 16 stitches onto a thread, and leave for thumb. Knit to the end of the round." OK, I understand the concept of casting on a few more stitches. I think it would make a large gaping hole at the join, and have never actually done it, but I understand the concept.

Here is my problem. The thumb gussets are at the beginning of the round, so if I cast on some stitches, TURN, then set aside 16 stiches for the thumb, I am not setting aside the right 16 stiches. I am setting aside the 4 cast on stitches and twelve stitches from the back of the hand. Maybe it is just me, but shouldn't the stitches that I am setting aside from the thumb primarily be composed of the thumb gussets?

So this afternoon, I got the bright idea of casting on the four stitches. slipping the correct thumb stitches, then proceeding with the rest of the mitten. Sounds logical, right? I fumbled through the backward loop casting on method (oh, sure, easy in theory, but I find it unnecessarily fumbly, and producing stitches that are not very stable), slipped a dozen stitches.

Then I stared at my working yarn, sitting coyly between my cast on stitches and slipped stitches, far away from the stitches I wanted to start working.

Ok, new plan.
I figure I have two options.
One, proceed with the thumb now, ahead of schedule, then just start the rest of the mitten later, tying in a new piece of working yarn.
Two, I can forget about the casting on and the turning, set aside the thumb stitches, and proceed like I have on every other fingerless mitt I have knit.
On a completely side note, the camo yarn is turning out far more stripey than I anticipated.
Today, it is all about the stupid line in the instructions.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fast Gratification

I have been working here and there on my Twisted Tween Socks and Unnamed Red Socks, not enough for progress to be noticeable to anyone but me.

Plus, I have been stitching Monet. Around 750 stitches completed so far. 107,250 to go. I can't figure out how Monet painted the original without going blurry-eyed. All those tiny bits of blues, lavender and gray.

I took a trip to the yarn store yesterday, gift certificate clutched in my hand, ready to indulge my fiber cravings. Except that, while my knitting time has increased lately, it is far less than it was five years ago in my single days. I didn't expect it to affect my yarn buying mind, but it did. Everything I saw, I found myself comparing to the yarns in my stash. I have so many wonderful yarns in my stash, waiting to be knit, I found myself only wanting to buy what was nicer than what was in my stash. I only found one thing. Well, three skeins of the same thing. I left with one gift certificate still unspent. I figure I will bring it to Knit Night, and use it on something that catches my fancy after two hours of child-free knitting time.
So I started something new. Something in worsted weight. Something with speedy knit gratification. I started this yesterday, and already have noticeable progress. I have progress since the picture was taken earlier this afternoon. I am making some convertible hunting mittens for my sweetie. He is showing admirable patience as I measure his hands, and ask questions about how high he wants the cuffs to go up his forearms.
Today, it is all about the speed.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


My sweetie had minor surgery right before Christmas. We planned it that way, to maximize the holiday pay and shutdowns for as much of his required time off. Which meant that I spend two weeks at home with him. He was supposed to be taking it easy, so the first two days were spent taking care of him, and the remaining 12 days were spent contemplating chaining him to the chair so he would take it easy.

The kids went to Grandmas' houses as usual, to limit noise and blood pressure. I worked from home, and went in to the office for half days here and there, but mostly, I was at home doing home things. Laundry, cleaning, and relaxing. A sort of mental health recovery for me during my sweetie's physical recovery.

I did a little knitting, but not enough to photograph. Same two pairs of socks I have been working on for a long time. Twisted Tweed and Un-named red socks.

I also started something new. There are these cross-stitch patterns that I have been drooling over for years. Reproductions of Monet paintings. My mother got me four of them for Christmas. Considering how large and intricate the patterns are, I think this may be enough for a lifetime.
I started the first one. "Red Waterlilies" The directions are a little different. They recommend working a 10 by 10 stitch square at a time. Sometimes I am only doing a few squares of a color. Start, stitch three squares, end. Sounds crazy, but you would never be able to keep track of what you have stitched otherwise.
There are too many slightly different colors. Right now, all I have done is blues. Sky blues, periwinkle blue, cornflower blue, blue violet, delft blue, antique blue, wedgewood blue. . . .Blues, blues, blues. (The unstitched squares you see is the medium light blue violet that I missed on the list to buy.)
Mind-numbing, but in a good way. I have finished five squares on the first page. There are about 40 squares on each page. There are 30 pages. That makes. . . . roughly 1200 squares. Someone please tell me that my math is incorrect. That is a lot of blues. Sure, there is some greens for the lilipads, and pinks/reds for the flowers. Some lavenders and grays for accent, but still a lot of blue.
Today, it is all about the blues.