Friday, July 30, 2010

Already Ready Already

We have a race tomorrow in Philadelphia, and here's what I've done so far to get ready:

Kevin is amused, but it makes sense to me--Philly is at least 3 and a half hours away, and I'm not driving. And there's a lot of waiting at races.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Out of Season

Confession: I've never knit with Noro, because I suspected trying to match the colors (and deal with that one color that seems out of place) would drive me crazy. But Knit New Haven had some Silk Garden Sock on sale a while back, and I couldn't resist. But not for socks (who thought hand wash-only socks with silk content would be a good idea?)

So I'm making wristwarmers, just in time to keep my wrists toasty in a heat wave (although it's a little better today).

I meant to just let the colors happen, but I couldn't resist--when there was a knot and resulting abrupt color change in the middle of my bind off row, I skipped ahead in the skein till the right color appeared again and finished the row with that. Then I used some of the yarn I'd pulled out to finish the thumb in the same color it began with.

And then--since I was already messing with the colors--I went a little bit ahead to (what I think is) the same color as the first cuff in order to cast on the second one. And then when that band was starting to look a little wide I edited some length out of that section too.

But I'm done editing, really. Now I'm just going to let things happen (unless there's another knot!).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I finally stopped waffling and started a big shawl--my Thursday SnB is doing a shawl-along, with everyone knitting whatever pattern they want, although at the rate I'm knitting, mine will be a shawl-later. I even started late, because I was still in China

Anyway, I picked the Firmaments shawl, from Webs--it's a round shawl, following EZ's pi shaping, which means you cast on at the center and double the number of stitches every time the diameter doubles. So suppose you cast on 9, you'd knit a row, double the stitch count to 18, knit 4 rows, double the stitch count to 36, knit 4 rows, double to 72, knit 8 rows, double to 144, knit 16 rows, double to 288, knit 32 rows, double to 576, knit 64 rows... there's something wonky about my math there, because I'm in the 576 stitch section, which will have 90 rows--possibly the early increases were bunched together more?

The point is, lots of rows with lots of stitches, and then a knitted on border. I'm enjoying it now (after living through a stitch pattern that just would. not. solidify in my brain, so I had to read the chart the entire time... have I complained about this before? It was a pain, because usually I understand how lace patterns work and can read what's going on in the fabric, but that just wouldn't happen this time. And the yarn is... not slippery, since it's alpaca... let's go with demonically possessed... so twice when I didn't catch the third stitch in a triple decrease and didn't notice for a few rows, the loose stitch had slipped down and I had to ravel back 30 or 40 stitch sections over multiple rows because I couldn't read the lace to know where just that stitch should go. But because of the demonic nature of the yarn, it seemed like I might not get all the stitches back on. Because that's usually not a problem, I wanted to be sure Kevin knew how tenuous my control over the knitting was. So whenever he got within 10 feet of me I barked that he should stand back! Don't touch! Stay over there! Try not to breathe! In my defense, he does think it's fun to grab the loose outside ends of my needles and wiggle them around like he's pretending to knit... and since I would have had to kill him if he'd done that with this project, I was only trying to help him avoid death by keeping him away.)

The point of all this is that the construction of this shawl means that rows in the center of the shawl uses less yarn than rows at the the outer edges. Even taking this into account, when I reached the half-way point in the rows and it seemed like the cone was just as full as it had been when I started, I began feeling I wasn't making any progress at all. This, naturally, led to wondering just how much of the shawl I'd finished anyway. I know there are online shawl progress calculators, but I decided to do it the old fashioned way... which is how I now know there will be 86,661 stitches in my shawl, including the border, and that when I finish the next repeat of the pattern (a mere 10 rows of 576 stitches each, although now I'm a few rows in) I'll finally be half done.

Friday, July 2, 2010



I've been knitting, I swear--both in China and since I've been home.

For the trip, I bought a half-completed pair of socks for Kevin, plus enough yarn for another pair of socks, a shawl, and a hat. I finished up the partial socks (they were nearly done by the time we got to Nanjing), then started on the shawl and the second pair of socks. When I finished the shawl (Merope), I used the rest of that yarn for a cowl (mostly stockinette, with rows of eyelets). I didn't even touch the hat yarn... black, sock weight... not very inspiring.

Here are the socks:

Which have turned out to be fraternal rather than identical twins--the color difference isn't as clear here, but the cuffs are REALLY different.

The shawl has been sitting in a blob since we got home, because I keep forgetting to block it. The pattern was really fun--I never did memorize it completely, but I internalized the rhythm well enough that I didn't need to look at the pattern too closely. Maybe I'll remember to block it this weekend? (In between all the other chores and writing stuff I've been saving up, of course.)

Speaking of saving up things to do, Kevin cut 1-foot squares from the fronts of all his old race t-shirts (with the idea that they'll eventually become a quilt), then turned the rest of the shirts over to me. I cut a few of them into strips, which I plan to knit--maybe into a bathroom rug of some kind?--but I still have 20 or so shirts to go. It's slow going. I'd planned to cut up one shirt each day, but I keep skipping days... at this rate, I'll never finish. (How is it that I can work out very nearly every day--sometimes twice a day--but I can't manage to sit on the couch and cut up a t-shirt?)