Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Virtual Sit 'n Knit?

Well, that mobius scarf I mentioned in my last post didn't work out as planned.  I actually knit it, and it was so atrocious that I immediately frogged it.  I suspect I didn't knit it properly, but was out of love with it by the end and didn't investigate further.  The yarn has been rewound into a neat little yarn cake awaiting my decision on what it will transform into next.  :-)

In the meantime I finished Mom's "Sweeney Todd Scarf" and one of those Sashay scarves for a friend at work.  The Sashay scarf actually wound up being crocheted; here's how that happened:

My friend came in wearing a multi-pink Sashay scarf that had been made for her by a cousin.  When I complimented her on it, she said that the scarf was MUCH too long.  As it turned out, it was twice as long as she wanted it.  So, I picked up my office shears from the desk and we cut it in half.  *LOL*  I tied off the end, and she was quite happy with the results.  I told her I'd take the remaining tail home and knit up a second scarf with it.

When I completed knitting it, it was unfortunately too short.  The knitting method I use to make the Sashay scarf makes a full, fluffy scarf, but uses more of the yarn in each round, resulting in a shorter scarf.

So, I hopped on the internet and found a YouTube video that taught me the crochet method of making the Sashay scarf.  The first two videos I found didn't produce the result I wanted, but the third video worked like a charm.  I started working it up last night and will be able to finish it this evening.

I think my next project will be a knitted caterpillar for my grandson, who'll be coming to visit in about a month.  I just love being able to say that I'm going to knit something for my grandson.  :-)

When I logged into Blogger I noticed that the "Blogs I Follow" on my site still lists dear Knit Purl Gurl's site.  I just can't bring myself to remove it.  I went back and read a few of her last posts again and was struck by something she said in her post "What To Do When Your LYS Snubs You".  I'm very fortunate that my LYS is warm and inviting.  The only thing that keeps me from visiting it more often is that it's also expensive.  They have glorious high-quality yarns and needles, but sometimes I require cheap and servicable!

In her post, Knit Purl Gurl makes the point that "Knitters and crocheters can meet up virtually with a webcam, and join knit group in their jammies!"  A virtual sit 'n knit.....brilliant!  There are groups that meet at my LYS that I can join (and actually have in the past), but usually by the time I get away from the office I just want to go home.  I want my dinner, a warm shower, my comfy sweats, and my recliner.  Once I'm in the recliner, I'm ready to reach for the knitting basket that's always nearby.  The thoughts of going to my LYS, knitting awhile, and then driving home is just too tiring.

But a virtual sit 'n knit?  Where I could attend from my recliner, wearing my comfy sweats?  Now there's an idea I could get behind.  I'm going to be pretty busy in the next few weeks preparing for my family to visit from Australia (happy dance!), but maybe this summer I'll look into the possibility of joining a virtual gathering by webcam.  It's always good to commune with your fellow knitsters!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Gleeful Tweed Baby Blanket

Last Wednesday night I cast on a "Gleeful Tweed Baby Blanket" (the pattern is on the Lion Brand Yarn website) using Stylecraft Life Chunky yarn I'd ordered from WEBS. I only knit a few rows on it that evening because I was really tired, but I wanted to see how it was going to work up. I was very happy with both the feel of the yarn and the simplicity of the pattern. It was fairly mindless knitting, and with the week I had, mindless was just what I needed! This afternoon I finished it, and am delighted with the results. I think I have enough of the yarn left over to knit myself a mobius cowl. I think I'll cast that on next. It's been a good weekend. Hope yours was, too!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Plain Vanilla Socks


I just bound off the "plain vanilla" socks I was knitting at the hospital, and thought you might like to see.  There's nothing cozier than handknit socks!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Knitting In High Stress Situations

Tuesday my Dad had back surgery.  Now this is not an uncommon occurance in the world.  Most men the same age as my Dad (79 last November) have had several hospital visits in their time.  But this was his very first hospital stay.

So, we were all understandably a bit on edge.  The repair that was planned involved two tiny incisions, and the surgeon was the same one who did my back repair a few years ago and did a great job with me.  That helped, of course.

The procedure went beautifully, and Dad did well.  But the surgical schedule was backed up badly on Tuesday.  He waited several hours longer than expected before surgery; he didn't go into the operating room until nearly six hours after we arrived at the hospital.  Then, because his procedure was finished so late he had to stay the night.  (He'd expected to go home after surgery.)

Needless to say, Mom and I spent a LOT of time in the waiting room with family and friends that day.  And it was slow going getting him released from the hospital the following day; we didn't get him home until 2:00 p.m.!

What kept me sane during all this waiting, wondering, and worrying?  My beloved sticks and string!  I didn't dare work on anything more complicated than "plain vanilla" socks, but keeping my hands busy kept me calm and collected.  I actually believe that Mom was able to deal with the situation better because I was calm.

It wasn't an experience I want to go through again soon, but Daddy's doing well, and I'm thankful for that.

I feel sorry for people who have to go through that without knitting in their hands!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Saturday At Last!

It's been a fairly exasperating, exhausting week; I'm always happy to see the weekend roll around, but it's particularly welcome this week!  I've been battling some sinus issues and a high level of stress at the office, so I found myself more tired than usual last night.  I actually fell asleep in the recliner and awoke at 4:00 a.m. with a vile migraine and a fever blister.  *ick*

I took migraine medication and treated my achy lip and started in on my SMHD (Saturday Morning Household Drudgery).  My energy level is suffering today, so I haven't finished my To-Do list.  But I had to take a break anyway.  I think it's time for a "Knittin', Netflix, and Nappin'" session.  *LOL*

Since I completed my mittens, I've been working a little on a couple of pairs of socks from my UFO pile.  One of them is a pair of plain vanilla socks that I've already turned the heel on and am working my way up the calf.  The other is a pair of Michigan Lake Shore socks that I'd laid asie just after starting the heel flap.  Today I want to complete the heel on those and start up the leg.  I wanted to have a couple of projects up to the "fairly mindless knitting" stage because my Dad's having back surgery Tuesday and I'll need something to knit in the waiting room that won't require me to pay a lot of attention.  Knitting is CRUCIAL to my ability to wait patiently in a situation like that.

I'm also waiting for a delivery from WEBS of yarn I've ordered to knit a blanket for my grandson.  He's coming to visit me in a few weeks, and I want him to have a blankie from me when he arrives.  *happy excited dance*

Well, time for a bit o' knittin' and a wee nap.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Cloisonee Completed!

Oh, what a fun project this was!  I will definitely knit this one again, just with a different yarn.  I love the way that the cuff looks so intricate, but the look is accomplished with an easy-to-learn stitch.  I'm so glad that I tried it, and so glad that Stephanie Pearl-McPhee wrote a pattern that was so easy to follow.  I'm currently trying to finish up some of my many UFOs; if not for that I'd cast on another pair of these this evening!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Loving Cloisonee, But Not The Yarn

I adore the Cloisonee pattern....I mean ADORE it!  The cuff makes it look like a really tricky knit, but it's easy to read, just challenging enough to keep me awake, and the finished product is just lovely.

But the yarn I'm using......well......I keep trying to think of a gentle way to say this, but for the first time I feel like Knit Picks really let me down.

I wish I'd started this project back when I bought the yarn (about a year ago), because if I had, I would have sent Knit Picks a whiny e-mail and they probably would have done something about it.  (Because their customer service has always been awesome.)

But, I waited so long that I wouldn't feel right about asking them for a refund now.  The yarn is lovely to hold, soft and comfortable in your hands.  But the number of breaks in it is just unspeakable.  They're not complete breaks, usually 3 out of 4 plys.  Just enough that I have to unknit enough stitches to leave myself enough of a tail to weave in, cut the remaining thread holding the yarn together, and start with a fresh length.

I've grumped and growled so much trying to get my second mitten knitted because of the gazillion ends I'm going to have to weave in when I'm finished with it.  Not to mention that I've unknit nearly as much as I've knit just because of the icky yarn.

Knit Picks' Swish Worsted?  Never again.  Lesson learned.  :-(

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A New Set of Mittens

We've had some truly weird weather in my little corner of the world in the past few weeks.  There have been temperature swings from one day to the next of 35 degrees F.  It's nuts.  One morning this week I left the apartment to go to work carrying a light jacket over my arm.  It was in the 60's and the air had a tropical sticky feel.  By that afternoon I was wishing I'd carried a much heavier jacket to the office....and a hat.....and a scarf.....and MITTENS!!

The next day involved bundling up to the max before going outside.  I poked around in my "scarf and mitten" drawer and was mortified to find that all my hand-knit mittens were in dreadful condition.  It's unbelievable; I'm a KNITTER and I don't own a decent pair of MITTENS??

So when I awoke this morning and looked in my UFO basket beside the recliner (I always knit for a little while on Saturday mornings.  It helps me get ready to face my household drudgery and keeps my downstairs neighbor from hating me for vacuuming and doing laundry too early on a weekend.  *LOL*), I thought "So maybe I need to knit mittens for myself instead of working on this stuff this morning."

I'd purchased the Yarn Harlot's "Cloisonee" pattern a year ago along with some Knit Picks "Swish" worsted specifically intended for knitting myself mittens, but for some reason had never knitted them.  So today is the day.

I admit to a bit of trepidation; I've never knit a pattern by a knitter as accomplished as Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.  I hope I have enough skills.  I'm getting ready to cast on, so wish me luck!