Thursday, August 30, 2012

Variety is the Spice of Knitting

I have been working on many different things the past couple weeks.  Like this skirt.

And this aphgan

And this scarf.  (for those with good memories, yes, this is the second Gryffindor scarf.  I have two boys, and once one had one for last year's Halloween costume, of course, the other wanted one too.) 

Of course, there is a complicated sock in progress,

and a simpler sock,

And I am trying colorwork for the first time, so pillow in progress. 
The hunting mittens are nearly finished, except. . . .can you see the error?
 What about now?  Look closely at the finger flap. . . .One exposes the knit side, and the other exposes the purl side.  Ooops.  The current plan is to knit a mirror image twin pair, then let my sweetie choose which design he wants, then give the other to a soldier to be named later. 

What I haven't been working on is the shawl.  I know, I am down to casting off a coupel thousand stitches, and yet, I have been strangely avoiding it.  I just can't bear to finish those last few stitches, and I use the word "few" in relative terms. 

The weather is started to be cool at night and in the morning.  In short, it is perfect shawl weather.  And yet, my 99.5% finished shawl has been sitting crumpled on my nightstand untouched for the past two weeks, feeling like a neglected housewife.  If I don't finish it soon, it will sue me for divorce. 

Today, it is all about the avoidance. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Shawl? What shawl?

I have started casting off the Duckess shawl.  Then I got a little distracted. 
It is the Swirl Skirt.  I realized that I only needed one size 5 circular needle for most of the knitting, and that I could use a straight needle for casting off, freeing up one circular from the ruffle immediately, and I was a goner.                                         I am enchanted.  On the concentration continuum, it is more towards the mindless side.  Mostly garterish, adding a stitch at the beginning and decreasing at the end to create the bias effect, it is very nice briefcase knitting.  I think the extras long color gradation is ideally suited to this pattern.  I am just fascinated watching the colors gradually change as I knit.  The yarn is single ply and loosely spun, which has taken some time for me to get accustomed. 
I will finish the shawl by the time cold weather arrives.  It was in the 90's this week, so I think I have some time to finish casting off, which like everything else for the shawl, takes an atromonical amount of time.  I estimate another four hours of casting.

Today it is all about the flirtation turning to seduction turning to obsession. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Measure once

The good news is that the final row of the ruffle is completed.  The bad news is that it is NOT the row I started this week; it is the one before.

Earlier this week, I looked at my ball of yarn, and decided I had just enough yarn to do one more row then cast off.  I did not measure or weigh my yarn.  Mistake #1.

I blogged and started happily knitting.  I even brought the shawl with me to the office (it is no longer briefcase sized or readily portable, so I was not doing that very often anymore), and made some serious progress on it.  I ignored the voice in my head that observed that the ball was decreasing quickly.  I still did not measure or weigh the yarn.  Mistake #2.

I passed the halfway point on the row with glee and delight.  The end was near, I could taste it.  I could see myself modeling my shawl soon.  I still did not measure the yarn.  Mistake #3.

Last night, I looked at the ever dwindling ball, and decided that I should probably measure it.  I rigged up two chairs, measured the distance, and unballed my yarn.  28 loops, 5 feet per loop. 140 feet.  45 yards (give or take).

That is . . . barely enough to cast off, not enough to finsh the row AND cast off.  I quickly reivewed my options.   1.  I could finish the row, not cast off, and consider the needles around the edge a design element.  This plan was immediately discarded.    2.  I could buy another ball of yarn.  Not bad, but they have free shipping if you spend $50, so I would really have to buy more yarn on top of that so I didn't waste money on shipping, and I already have so much yarn that I am just dying to knit, why add to the stack.  That left:  3.  Tink backwards to the beginning of the row, and just cast off.  (For the non-knitting muggles, "tink" is "knit" spelled backwards.  It is unknitting, which takes the same amount of time if not longer, and has twelve times the frustration.)

We have a winner, much as I hate the whole concept of tinking.  So I reversed directions and started backwards.  I still have about 40% of a row before I can start knitting again.  I brought the shawl with me to the office again, apparently still in denial that I actually have that pesky work thing at the office, not plenty of child-free knitting time.  The denial extends to bringing with me the first two balls of yarn for the Swirl Skirt, because I only need to free up two of my ruffle needles to start that.  After I finish swatching, that is.

I could have finished the shawl last night, but my body rather rudely demanded a few hours sleep.  I think I can have it done this week, if I continue to ignore the pile of paperwork on my desk at intervals, children and husbands cooperate, and the stars align to warp the space-time continuum.

Piece of cake.

Today, it is all about backwards.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Last row, I think

When I arrived at Knittervention on MOnday night, it was coincidental that the three people present were not present two weeks ago.  So none of them had seen me in over a month.  Their first words: "Where is the shawl?"

They thought I would be finished with the shawl.  Insert half-crazed laugh here.  No, though the ball is noticeably smaller.

 In fact, I think I started my last row this morning.  Each row takes approximately 40 yards, and I have to leave enough for the bind off.  Only about 10 more hours of work.  (For one row and the bind-off, that is just wrong.) 

Meanwhile, I have started swatching the next project.  The only reason I haven't started it, is I think I will be needing two sets of size 5 circular needles, the same as the shawl, and I will be damned before I buy MORE size 5 circular needles when I am almost finidhed with a project usuing 5 of them at once. 

In fact, it occured to me this morning that I will be able to start the skirt before the shawl is completely finished, because I only need to free up half of the shawl needles. 

Today, it is all about the final countdown.