Friday, March 29, 2013

Colors of spring

My spring fever reached a high pitch yesterday.  I went for a walk (it was at least warm enough for that), to the LYS, and bought new yarn in decidedly spring colors.  Within hours, I had cast on a new scarf.   Two child-free hours at the local American Legion, and I had finished one repeat. 

Winter Haven, in Cascade Superwash Handpaints.  A scarf on six 6 needles.  This puppy will be done in no time, even if the pattern is lacey in nature.  A nice contrast to the time-sucking, endless stitches projects to which I have subjected myself.  (Cough.  Black Rose, Fuchsia Wave, Pretty in Pink. Cough.)

Though I have heard others rave about Cascade, this is the first time I have actually used it myself.  It is a dream.  Soft, sturdy, smooth tight twist.  The first time certainly won't be the last. 

Today, it is all about the pink, yellow and peach. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Recovery and Rufflely

Pretty in Pink progresses onward.  I have completed the final increase row, so now have over 3000 stitches strung along on three needles. 

A few more rows of stockinette, then bind off, and I am finished.  That sounds better when "a few more rows" doesn't translate to over 20,000 stitches.  Whose idiot idea was this scarf anyway?

Oh, that would be me. 
I do think that I will have a nice flowing ruffle at the end of the tunnel.  It is hard to judge since the flowing part is currently squished onto the needles, but I am cautiously optomistic. 
"That's a lot of markers."  Heard at Knitter-vention last Monday. 

Yes, that is a lot of markers.  And lifelines.  I am taking no chances with Black Rose.  She has proved herself to be tempermental and capricious.  She will cooperate quietly, then at the moment it is least expected, throw a tantrum that leaves me crying and swearing at intervals. 

There is a method to my marker madness.  The red markers indicate each quadrant of the overall design.  (Square, wrap-around shawl.)  The blue/white markers indicate pattern repeats.  At present, I have three pattern repeats, surrounded by a border, inside each quadrant.  I find that helps me idenitfy stitch mis-counts faster, and therefore easier and less painful to correct. 
 I have become a bit obsessed about the markers, but for now they are working for me. 

Today, it all about being a marked woman. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

[Expletives deleted] !!!!!

There are some days when you just know that you really should never have picked up the knitting that day.  Whether the blame rests with the Knitting Fates, or within myself, there are just some days where nothing will go right, everything will be three times difficult as it should be, and it is far better to ignore my knitting.  Unfortunately, I have a bad habit of ignoring that feeling, to my repeated detriment.  

Last night, as it turns out, was one of those nights. 

During the day, I had figured out and corrected my error on Black Rose, so I was anxious to start the next page at Knitter-vention that evening.  I knew that I SHOULD have picked up that last side on Fuchsia Wave, but the black alpaca was calling to me. 

Row 46 was not easy.  There were several times when my stitch count just wasn't right.  I would swear, count the stitches again, frog a few stitches, count the stitches again, count the pattern stitches again, swear some more, then repeat the process until I figured it out.  The crowd was pretty thin, as it is Spring break season around here, so even muttered swear words were VERY apparent. 

Finally, after almost 45 minutes, I FINALLY finished the row.  And yet, I stubbornly persisted onward.  It was already past time to go home, but Cassandra was still casting off her pink fluffy thing, so I decided to do the purl row, then call it a night. 

I had some yarn overs that kept trying to jump over the neighboring stitch, but otherwise the row progressed uneventfully.  Until the last 30 stitches or so.  My hand slipped, and an unspecified number of stitches slipped completely off the needles.  Semi-slippery yarn, lace with yarn overs, this was a disaster in the making, and one with which I was no longer capable of dealing.  My hands were shaking, my eyes weren't focusing, this was the end of the world as I knew it, at least for the evening.  I rescued the stitches that I could see, and carefully stuffed the whole mess into my bag. 

A disaster of this magnitude requires steady hands, a clear head, and patience.  I will sort it all out over lunch. 

Today, it is all about the %$*&^4@& knitting!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Pause. Rewind. Repeat.

I started the next chart of Black Rose.  I was very excited to plan the new markers I would place.  The pattern is four ever-increasing quadrants.  I already had the quadrants marked, but now I was planning to mark out the repeats within each quadrant, in a different color.  All of this marking is designed to create breaks within each row, to make the time more doable in one child-free sitting.  Right now, each pattern row is about 15 minutes to complete, but that is going to increase exponentially as the pattern rows continue to increase by 8 stitches each row.  At some point, it is going to take so long to complete one row, it will significantly limit the knitting opportunities.  So I am putting in breaks, where I can stop knitting, put it down, and easily pick up again, within a single row. 

That is the plan, at least.  I quickly ran into a sticky wicket.  I was short stitches on the first quadrant.  Significantly short of stitches.  This was not good at all. 

I stared at the knitting.  I stared at the pattern.  I counted stitches, re-counted, and re-re-counted.  Just when I was starting to picture frogging down to my lifeline (15 rows), I realized my mistake.  I had anticipated a row.  I had completed row 42, then the purl row, and counted that as the last row on the chart.  It still took  some adjusting on the first quadrant, which had been knitted and frogged within an inch of its twist, but I managed to successfully complete Row 44. 

Ok, so NOW I am ready to move to the next chart. 

Whew!  That was a close one.  I was dangerously close to flinging Black Rose across the room.  I did say some nasty things to it, and it wasn't until I had apologized that I was able to figure out my error.  User error.  Honest, Rose, you didn't do anything wrong, and I didn't mean it when I called you a mangled pile of rubbish.  You are lovely, and only grow lovelier with each row. 

Today, it is all about the insults and the apologies. 

(P.S.  And while I am at it, I apologize to Mother Nature as well.  Really, I wasn't being critical of winter.  It is a wonderful season.  Now, can you please make all that snow go away, and bring on spring?  Pretty please? ) 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Winter Begone!

(Close eyes)  Alakazam, alakazoo.  Winter begone, we are sick of you!  . . . . (Open eyes) Did it work?

I am so sick of winter.  I am ready for warm weather, chirping birds and little bits of green peeking out from the earth.  Not even pretty new scarves and cozy warm socks can encourage more patience with winter this year. 

And yet, the forecast for the first day of spring tomorrow . . . high of 28 degrees F.  That is just not right.  At this point, the 50's would sound positively balmy. 

I have been plugging away on the Pink Ruffle scarf.  I an about one third through the final increase row.  Added another needle at the beginning, and already resigning myself to likely need one more by the time I finish the row.

Today, it is all about the bitter cold. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Littlest Request

Apparently, you can never be too young to make requests of a knitter.  As I wrapped his neck with the usual Gryffindor scarf, Bugaboo, age 4, requested that I knit him another scarf.  A rainbow scarf.  He loves rainbows, and proceeded to list all the colors in the rainbow that I would have to include.  Then he pointed out that I would have to knit one for Doodlebug too, but that I would "have to add extra purple, because he likes purple."  What a considerate brother.   

Bugaboo obviously hasn't considered how many ends I would have to weave in a rainbow striped scarf.  And yet, possible designs have been perculating in my mind the past week.  Garter?  Stockinette tube?  Stockinette with a seed border?  Worsted?  Fingering? Superwash wool?  Child-friendly acrylic?

Meanwhile, I have passed a milestone on Black Rose.  I have completed the first chart, and am moving onto the second.  (Out of 5 total charts.)  It is really the exact same chart, except that now there is a section marked off to "repeat 3 times".  That is repeat three times within EACH of the four segments.  I am currently at 286 stitches per row, increasing by 8 stitches every other row, up to 990.  I really need to stop counting the stitches.  It is just killing my knitting buzz. 

Today, it is all about the colors of the rainbow. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

And again. . .

I need more size six (for Fuchsia Wave) and size five (for Pretty in Pink) circular needles.  I am starting to feel like a broken record with that sentiment. 

Last night was Knit Night,  My sweetie made it home early, so I was on time.  (For a change, but I am choosing not to criticize, since he was such a good boy last night.)  I started picking up stitches on Fuchsia Wave.  After around 70something stitches, I realized that I was working the wrong side.  Rip out, start again.  That was 40 minutes badly spent. 

I started at the other corner, and knit the stitches on the provisional cast on.  I was ready to start picking up the last 240 stitches, and realized that my needle was full.  No more stitches for that evening.  (It really was.  I wasn't just using that as a feeble excuse to procrastinate, I swear.) 

So I knit my sock for the rest of the evening. 

Tonight, I have been working on the pink ruffle scarf.  I have been making reasonable progress, or what I thought was, until I did the math.  You would think that I would learn to keep away from the math.  I have completed 18 out of 29 rows.  I knew that since there was the occasional "double the stitches" row, but I thought I would be at least close to halfway.  Then I realized that I had completed approximately 15,000 sitches already, and had another 30,000 to go.  That isn't halfway.

   At least it looks pretty. 

Today, it is all about the math. 

P.S.  Snow is gone.  Warm weather over the weekend made me sick of the cold again. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Snowy pic

This is the time of year when I start getting sick of winter.  Sick of cold, dreary days.  I am firmly of the opinion that if it must be cold, at least give me some pretty snow to look at.  Indiana has largely been missed by the snowstorms that have blanketed the midwest this winter.  The predictions would be for snow, which somehow never materialized.  All winter long, Bugaboo has been talking about making a snowman, and we haven't had more than a dusting. 

Until this week, that is.  About four inches.  Not enough for a self-respecting snowman, but enough to serve as a backdrop for Black Rose.  I rushed right out in the frigid cold to snap a quick pic. 

I have passed the point where I had to rip back to a lifeline before.  Nearly four inches completed now.  Right now, it takes about 15 minutes for each two rows.  (The wrong side row is just all purls, surrounded by a garter border, so that one is fast.)  

As each right side row increases by 8 stiches, the width will quickly increase, and the time to finish it accordingly.  I am already over 200 stitches.  Why do I do this to myself?  Oh, yeah: gorgeously soft and bouncy alpalca + exquisite lace pattern = shawl fit for the red carpet.  Eye on the prize.    

I had Knittervention this week.  I took Fuschia Wave out of my bag, stared at it for 14 seconds, then put it away.  I just couldn't bring myself to spend the whole two hours picking up stitches.    I worked on Swirl Skirt instead.  I haven't photographed this in a while, and I have made a lot of progress, as you can see.  I am really loving the color progression on this skirt. 
It was also my birthday on Monday.  The pub gives a free shot of whiskey or bread pudding on your birthday.  My fiber companions requested the bread pudding as a birthday surprise on my behalf.  Good call, Theresa! Not exactly on my diet, but very tasty.  Besides, everyone knows that birthday calories don't count. 

Today, it is all about the snow.