Monday, November 12, 2012

Knitting vs. Knitter

Knitting: the act of knitting. The answer to "What have you been doing?".
Many people knit. Blindly follow the written word of someone else. Creating row upon row of knit and purl stitches but not understanding why they are doing it or what they are doing. Decreasing and increasing because the pattern says so. Not because they know they need to shape the material in order for it to fit properly. Just doing as they are told.

When Grandma cast on 20 stitches on to a pair of double pointed needles with rubber bands on one end of each and handed them to me over 40 years ago, I wanted to understand why it worked the way it did. Why was there a hole where there wasn't before. Why do I have 21 stitches now? Why does the end curl up? Why, why, why?

This is why I don't teach knitting. I don't have the tolerance to deal with a mind that is not curious enough to want to know how it works and why.

Knitter: one who knits. But more importantly in my mind, one who understands knitting. How it works. How to push the boundaries and "rules". How to break them. How to take  measurements and simple math and create a sweater, hat, mittens... the list is endless. And most important, knowing when the only solution to a problem is ripping out the entire project and starting again, disappointed, but not discouraged or angry.
I'm a knitter.

 I was putting the finishing row on a 26" length of aran cables and twists then realized there was a mistake 14" back. I tried to isolate and fix the cable but I could not get the twist and the tension the same as the original therefore I had to bite the bullet and pull a week's worth of knitting out. 660 yards of wool. My mom, one who knits, was emotionally upset because all that work had to be ripped back. She didn't break down in tears but if it had been her project, well, it probably would have been put in a bag and left for dead. More than once she has found an error in her knitting and I have taken it and ripped it back because she can't bear the thought. She leaves it alone until the grieving process is complete. She has to have a written pattern. I've tried to get her to think about what she is doing rather than hanging on to each word in the written pattern as if it was gospel. She admits she can't.

If I had been on a deadline for this project I would have been a bit more aggravated...with myself. Put the blame where it belongs. If I had been paying better attention I would have noticed earlier that one cable was twisting the opposite of the rest. While knitting you create a rhythm, your fingers know the pattern. You unconsciously count to yourself. I dropped the ball on this one.

The project is back on track, the stitches have been picked up, the cable corrected. There was no loss of life, no blood shed, no tears. The wool was given 24 hours to relax. I'll check my work more often.

I'm a knitter.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Here We Go Again

Here comes the end of October and with it another major Hurricane, Sandy, thank you very much, who at this date has done major damage in Cuba and the Bahamas. The weather folks are changing their story hourly but they are positive we are going to get the brunt of either wind or rain/snow up here in New England. Playing it smarter this year. Pack all the frozen food into one freezer and clean out what I can of the fridge before Monday rolls around. Test the flashlights and inventory the yarn stash. Okay. Ready.
This is heading for the blocking table. May come in handy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

It's Amazing

What a summer! Can't say I'm going to miss it and hope the door hit it in the butt on the way out. We weren't tortured with the horrible storms of last summer but the humidity and heat? Geesh! Enough already. 
At least you can breath in and out without feeling you need to take a shower and a nap. 

Anyhoo. I did something yesterday I haven't done since last spring. I PUT ON A CARDIGAN. A CARDIGAN FRESH OFF THE BLOCKING TABLE. No photo proof yet. I need to put a finishing touch on it. Later, promise.
What I can show you is an amazing process. Below is a ball of wool. Just a few yards of fiber spun and dyed. I picked up two sticks with a plastic cable connecting the two. I made some loops on the sticks.

 I wove the loops this way and that to create a fabric tube.
 I added tubes of knitted fabric and cut the largest tube up the middle of what I called the front. I picked up more loops and wove some more.

 When I finished the woven tubes I had a cardigan to wear when the tank tops are put away; socks replace flip flops and soup is on the stove.

And then I started the process all over again. 

I don't care how many years I do this, it NEVER gets old. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Can we extend the Olympics one more week? How about some x-treme summer events? I can't finish my project by Sunday evening. Body, done. Sleeves? At the moment 1 and 1/3. Left to go? Cutting the steek and either knitting the shawl front on or knitting separately and suturing on. No, I detest sewing on. Think Think Think. Oh heck, the world is NOT going to end but takes some of the fun out of it.
I'll plan better next time....

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Knitting At The Speed of Lochte

The Great and Wonderful USOC has apologized to Ravelry and the knitting community for smiting knitters in our quest for olympic knitting greatness. Just stay behind your curtain and let us do what we do. We're harmless unless provoked.
Now that we're done with THAT foolishness let's get down to business. My project, I fear, is not going to be finished by the time the flaming cauldron is cut off from its gas supply.  An aran design knit in 90 degrees plus humidity is like Lochte swimming the 400 in a wool swim suit of the early 1900's. (picture it)
Knitting from the top down (of course, phft!) I have reached past the armhole join about four inches. I've been training with this pattern for a year now but the conditions are slowing me down. I know, I have to push through the pain to achieve my goals but my confidence has taken a hit. A good dose of men's beach volleyball might be just what is needed. You know, to get the adrenaline going. Stay tuned.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Two IS Better Than One

So, there I was, just knitting along making the design, or lack of it, up as I go when a idea hit me like a smack on the forehead. What was I going to do about the neckline? Boring, boring rib? No. Crochet edge? No. I-cord? No. Wait...let's expand on that last idea. How about double twisted I-cord? Hmmm. Done it before a few years back with two colors. It had a pleasing effect. Let's try it again only with the one color I've been slogging away on. Yes. And here it is.
A better presentation would have been on a model but there wasn't one to be found in the house aside from myself and I was NOT going to pull on a worsted weight cotton sweater in this 90 degree tropical rainforest humidity. Makes me sweat just thinking about it.
So this project is wrapped up. Time to spark another idea from this melted head of mush.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

And the Heat Goes On, The Heat Goes On...

Brain cells have reached their melting point. I have gone as far as eating frozen cake balls to keep cool. This is not good. Or good for me. Not even close to October so too soon for snow. Being the indoor plant that I am it's too hot to go outside to do anything. I have projects just waiting to be finished but here I sit complaining it is too freaking hot and humid.
I'm not completely inactive. I have knit away on a project that quite frankly has me baffled. Not the project or the knitting, but the raw materials. The label says 100% Egyptian cotton from ......wait for it....Greece. How does THAT work? Wait, don't try to explain. My brain is too puddled to absorb the information or care. Let's go to the picture instead.
As all cotton garments, this is going to be a heavy sweater. Secondary colors, lavender and pistachio make this a jeans sweater. Maybe navy slacks or leggings. I have an interesting idea for the finish of the neckline.You'll see. 

Look at them, poor things. Why they insist on laying on the porch floor when they could be in the one cool room in the house is beyond me.
 "Because you won't pester us out here."
"Because the squirrel is more visible."

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Since the horribly hot muggy weather isn't going anywhere soon I grabbed the camera to shoot a couple of finished projects. First up is a cotton half open neckline pullover. Cascade cotton rich DK in natural and...I don't know the official name but a sagey green describes it well. Too hot to even try it on so I'll wait for the surprise the first time I wear it. Always fun. The mystery of not knowing.

The second contestant is the ever popular "Honey Cowl". This is my second one and again, too hot for me to try on but bear is doing a stunning job without whining. 

I shouldn't be whining about the heat. There are folks south of my location that have been suffering in triple digit heat with no electrical power due to yet another horrible storm. Been there folks, you have my sympathy.
I will now, with a tinge of guilt, go down to the freezer and snag a fudgsicle and sit in the a/c. Perhaps I'll knit.

Monday, July 02, 2012

The Next Month

Last post- June 1, 2012. This post July 2, 2012. Knitting? Yes. Internet access to update? Yes. So what is the problem? Let's figure this out.
It's too hot. Fact.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Made It To The Weekend

Folks, it's been a looong four day week. Monday was a holiday and very hot. Tuesday, it was back to work to an office with no air conditioning and a day that hit 90. Tuesday is also a 12 hour day that turned into a 14 hour day due to a meeting that would not end. During this meeting we had the most wonderful thunderstorm but it could not shut the power down to end my suffering. On Wednesday, the a/c was installed but halfway through the day I noticed I was wearing one brown sandal and one black sandal. There was much drama in the office none of which concerned me but you know how innocent bystanders get sucked into the fray. When I got home I had a mechanical failure of the trash compactor. I was collecting for rubbish day and the darn thing stopped in the middle and held the trash hostage. Thursday, well, I can't even remember what Thursday was like. It's gone from my memory so it must have been alright. And Friday, Friday is my short day. Out at noon and believe you me they ate my dust at the stroke of noon. The world became brighter, even though I had to, not needed to, HAD to grocery shop or starve. My jaw relaxed and the back spasms stopped. I love a long weekend but the week that follows is always a killer.
Knitting hasn't helped. Now that is a serious problem. When your go-to stress reliever fails what do you do?
Go talk to the cat. It works. Trust me.
P.S. The trash compactor fairy must have come and gave it good kick. It is once again working.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

By Request

Mom's aran is finished. Too bad the temps are going into the eighties this weekend. Even so, another may be started to get a jump on the season. I'm sure there is a color missing in my collection.
Along with the aran request, Mom asked for a batch of my apple/plum jelly. I made my first batch twenty years ago. I made my second batch yesterday. Ahem, no, I did not go into mass jelly manufacture back in 1992 though I did enjoy the process. 

I learned from my mistake last time which was: DON'T SQUEEZE THE CHEESECLOTH 
CONTAINING THE COOKED FRUIT. Thus, clear jewel colored jelly. I just wish I was more of a jelly eater. I have plans to slather roasted pork ribs with the booty for a yummy glaze. 
My grandmother Hazard used to make huge batches of apple jelly. Plain apple is fine and was my plan in 1992 but found I was short apples and the plums just happened to be on the shelf so in they went. It was such a hit I tried it again. Yup, worked again. AND EVERY JAR TOP SET. I had a fear they wouldn't the first time and again this time. My fears were unfounded both times. Now I'll get cocky and they won't set next time. Let's see, that will be 2032. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

I hate the thought that I haven't finished a project before starting a new project. But I had to. Now that the project interruptus is almost done I can go back to the project I decided to ignore and move on.
 This was my first try at Mosaic knitting. The process went fine, it was the gauge and math and the inability for the two to sync that caused me to toss it over my shoulder and start the aran.
As the weather gets warmer I'm betting the sleeves, which are all I have left to do, will go no farther than 3/4 to match the season. This cardigan will be fine for cool mornings and evenings. The finish will have a Chanel-ish look with a grey I-cord the same color as the design.
Then what? I need some inspiration!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Who Is The Patron Saint of Lost Things?

Arrrggghhh! You know when you buy something that you can't use right away  so you put it away for future use and the future arrives...only you can't remember where you put the bloody thing???!!! I'm having this problem with a part to the Bose system. The piece for the internet access is hiding, safe in it's box, mocking me. I can see it my mind; I just can't get my mind to tell me where it is safely staying. Frustrating. I'm wasting knitting time looking for it and writing about it.
I'll just leave it up to the patron St. of Lost items. If I could remember who they were....

PS. It worked. Thank you whoever you are. No knitting done but I have MUSIC!

Monday, May 07, 2012

This, That and The Knitting Thing

 Getting ready to roll another aran off the needles. Mom said she needed a blue one so a blue one it is. If you've been paying attention the pattern is the same I developed, er, ah, quite awhile ago and I still enjoy every row of it. I think this is the longest my attention span has been on a par-tic-u-lar thang.

As I mentioned in the last old moldy post we have a baby arriving any day. The parents are rabid Bruins fans  so in six months or around September when temps drop to sweater weather our babe will be ready to wear the black and yellow in full support of the Beloved B's.
The spring floral show in my back yard is coming and going so fast I have to go out daily in order to shoot it.

My white rhododendron is hidden away but I caught it this year soaking up the sun. After a number of days of rain the bees and butterflies are keeping busy doing what they do.
At the end of the day yesterday, the cloud display was a real treat. At sunset the clouds blossomed in color.

Pretty darn cool.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spring 2012

 March, April and May. Wacky weather months in New England historically. REALLY odd this year.  Do I put away the snow blower just because I needed to mow the lawn in April? I hesitate because I am not fooled by the 90 degree weather we had on 4/16. Having lived here all my life I'm not that easy to trick.
 I contemplated installing the air conditioner for a nanosecond then shook it off. Too early. Doesn't matter that I didn't sleep well last night due to the room being hotter than oven. I have my principles.
 The knitting has been off also. My simple cardigan has had the sleeves removed twice. The gauge and my math are in sync but the physical knitting is not. The only thing left to blame is the weather.

I gave up and started another project that is too tiny to share. Speaking of tiny, another baby shower to get ready for this weekend. Throwing the finishing touches on the sweater and hat before scheduling the photo op. With the odd weather pattern we've been having I hope the little tyke will get a chance to wear it!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Using Up What's Left

The scrap bag is empty.



" Now that you're done with that would you mind dusting? I mean, really."

"I swear she doesn't dust so she can see where we've been."

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Well That's A Heck Of A Start To A New Year

 I let the whole month of January slip by without saying a word. Apparently I had nothing to say. I've knit plenty having gathered all my odds and ends of worsted weight wool into a big canvas bag.
 Blanket time. A round blanket of stripes.
A striped yoke with a slip stitch design for a yet to be finished cardigan.
 The bag of leftover balls of yarn doesn't seem to be going down. I'm beginning to suspect the cats are finding more leftovers and are stuffing them into the bag when I'm not looking. I'm not complaining but the items I've worked on are fairly good size and yet it appears I haven't made a dent in the supply.
The odd weather continues here with this being February and there being not a smidge of snow on the ground. Temperatures hit 50 late yesterday. I guess the ginormous snowstorm we had in October of 2011 was our allotment. So be it.
Now back to that bag of leftover yarn....