Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Project Free-The-Needles: Part 2

As we continue our efforts to save knitting needles held captive by various UFOs, we must delve deeper into my past to find those needles in greatest peril.

Back in 2008 I decided I wanted to knit some mittens.  It was October, winter was beginning to settle in for a lengthy stay, and I was lacking in the hand-protection department.

By February of 2009 I had one of the mittens completed.  Yes, I know, that's over 4 months.  We don't judge around these parts, especially once you discover that I then put this project away until, well, until about a week ago.

I needed a project to take with me to my audition in Pittsburgh (it went well for the most part, thanks so much for all of your good luck wishes!), and a mitten seemed small and portable.  It was.  I knit almost the entire thing in various airports - Appleton, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Chicago... and you know what?  16 months after starting the first mitten, the second one only took me two days to complete and I now have a pair.

They love each other so.

Pattern: Vespergyle Mittens by Elinor Brown
Needles:  US 0 (for the cuff) and US 1 1/2
Yarn: Rowan Yorkshire Tweed 4-Ply in colorways "Butterscotch" and "Feral" (but I'm not sure I agree)

My mittens, as you might expect, are not exactly identical twins.  You see, even if you knit the same pattern with the same needles and the same yarn, things aren't always going to turn out the same.  16 months is a long time to put between one and the other, especially if the knitter (me) has only been such for a couple of years.  Gauge changes.   ...and it did.

Ok, that pictures has magically exaggerated the difference, but it gets my point across.  One mitten is smaller than the other - specifically the one I just knit is smaller than the older one.  The stitches, however, are more even.  You win some, you lose some, right?  They both fit and I love them and wear them and that's what counts.

Besides, they're not that different, right? (Right?)

That's 2 for Peter and 0 for UFOs.  I think I'm winning this fight (oh, famous last words...)

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Lately I've been trying very hard to concentrate my knitting time on a single project instead of trying to ration it out to the several that I have on the needles.  I've been working towards trying to finish up projects that have been sitting around for too long in an effort I am calling "Project Free-The-Needles!"  You see, I was beginning to get overwhelmed with the numerous unfinished projects I have strewn around these parts.

And so, putting aside my desire to cast on new projects, I have been diligently working on older ones to finally get them finished.

Fernfrost, for example, was started back in September.  Yes, I did knit two sweaters, a pair of socks, two scarves, and two hats in between the time I cast on and bound off for this scarf, but that's just my point.  I need to pay attention to what I already have on the needles and stop starting new projects.

I was very excited to get this one finished up.  The yarn was sent to me by the unbelievably generous and wonderful Joan.  I really can't thank her enough.  Knitting with cashmere is so wonderful, and the finished scarf is incredibly soft, light, and fluffy with a bit of halo to make it extra wonderful.  I steam blocked it (after wet blocking it) so that the stitches would bloom as much as possible.

I wasn't convinced I would have enough yarn to knit the specified number of repeats (or that the repeats would stretch out to the proper dimensions), but once again, blocking has worked its magic.  I managed to knit all the repeats called for (with a bit of yarn to spare) and it blocked out to 48"x10.5" like the pattern said it should.  Don't you love it when things work out?

This scarf really knit up pretty quickly once I sat down and worked on it.  I knit 7 of the 11 repeats while flying between Wisconsin and California.  It really shouldn't have taken me five months to knit, but that's what happens when I keep starting new projects.  I'm trying to be better about that.

I'll be sending this scarf down to a wonderful friend of mine in Atlanta who definitely deserves to be wrapped in cashmere.  I hope she finds it to be functional as well as beautiful.  That's always the best mix, isn't it?

I'm off to Pittsburgh tomorrow for my last grad school audition, wish me luck!  Oh, and I cast on a new project...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

It's Like Time Disappeared

That title you see up above this post?  That's about as deep and philosophical as my mind will go at the present moment.  I will warn you right now that I am currently functioning on 1 hour of sleep and 40 oz. of coffee and, well, though anything I say here can and will (well, really just can, I doubt it actually would) be used against me in a court of law, I really can't take credit and probably won't even remember saying it (thank god for this form of documentation, right?)

I have very little reason for even being in this state right now.  I didn't get much sleep because I stayed up late last night fully intending to study for the midterm that I just finished, but instead I just stayed up late doing nothing.  I then had to get up at 3:30am to drive my friend to the airport (I offered.  It took four days to convince him that my free offer was better than taking a cab - partly because my ride stops at McDonalds.)  I didn't go back to bed after that, but instead loaded up on caffeine and began studying for my exam.

It went well, but I had trouble remembering a lot of the terms - any clue why?

Anyway, none of that is really even relevant to this post.  The title refers to the fact that all of a sudden I've practically stopped knitting.  Not because I don't want to, but because, as the title says, "time totally just disappeared, man..." (that's the best impression I can do of a stoner.)  (No, I'm not stoned, I just feel about as profoundly observational as one who has chemically altered the state of their mind.)

Moving on.  I haven't knit much, but I did make this hat:

Look familiar?  That's because I've already made five others in different colors in the past.  The Kiwi Hat  (that's a ravelry link where you can download the free pattern.  There's even two of mine featured in the pictures because I was so freaking obsessed with making them last year.) is really simple to make, and I love the results you get.  There's a bit of fanciness to the simple (2-stitch) cables that comprise the ribbing, and knit in malabrigo, this hat really just can't be beat.

This is the first one I've made out of a truly solid color of malabrigo - Chestnut.  I made it for my brother's boyfriend who already owns one or two of these that I've made, plus another hat I made, but specifically requested a brown one as well.  I had this yarn in my stash from forever ago and had no plans for it, so I was more than happy to knit up another hat.  (After all, they practically knit themselves and are finished in the blink of an eye.  ...now that's an odd image...)

In the mail came a few days ago a skein of yarn that I won in a blog contest of The Plucky Knitter.  (Holy god, that sentence sucked, but you know what I meant, so I'm not going to change it.)

It's a blend of SW merino, cashmere, and nylon, but I don't think I can actually knit socks with it.  That doesn't seem right.  Right now I'm thinking I might make a Haruni shawl ('nother rav. link) with it, because it looks pretty.  Pretty yarn + pretty pattern = pretty.  It just makes sense.

Right now it looks like she only right now has a coupl'a skeins in her shop right now (right now)(oh, by the way, mine is the "Movin' On Out" colorway), but her blog says there's supposed to be an update on Sunday, so maybe keep an eye peeled.  (Gross, what is it with these strange idioms involving eyes and strange visual images?)

Well, that's about all I've got to update you guys on.  Thanks for sticking around!

Uff da, I need a nap...