Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
These are done in the Yarn Harlot's basic sock recipe with no modifications other than the unavoidable alteration of my gauge, funky SSKs, etc. You can see a couple other photos and read more on the Socks in the Cities blog (link at right). I knit these in honor of the Yarn Harlot's upcoming visit to our fair city. I can't wait! In the meantime, I'll be working on these.They're Monkey socks by Cookie A from Knitty, knitted on size 2.5mm with Regia Design Line by Kaffe Fassett.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Basement and daffodils aside, this was a rather momentous trip in my knitting life. I finished and presented the sweater I've been making for my dad for about a year now. Here's a photo and my Ravelry project description:
Pattern: Saddle Shoulder Sweater from The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, by Ann Budd
Yarn: KnitPicks Swish Superwash in Truffle, 15-17 balls (see below)
Needles: Size 6 for ribbing, size 8 for the body
Modifications: See note below about stitch pattern. I based the length on measurements of the green sweater, plus some length in the body.
In the early 1970s when my parents were first married, my mom knit a sweater for my dad. Since then, he's worn it so much that my sister actually questioned my honesty when I said I had seen a photo of him wearing another one. Family members have tried to get him to wear something else, resorting to cashmere for a pretty down-to-earth guy. But he hasn't worn any other. It's grown with him as much as possible, and is in remarkably good shape, despite a little fading and being a little too short now. Although this new sweater isn't particularly fancy, it's epic because of my effort to make the second hand-knit, precious sweater of his life. Because he's not much for change, I kept it about as similar as I could. I went for brown instead of green, and a slightly different, but equally subtle stitch pattern, but stuck with the saddle shoulder, crew neck style. I added a couple of inches in length for a better fit, and did K2-P2 rib instead of K1-P1. Each of these choices, however small, really mattered. I gave myself about a year for the project, and could have done it quite a bit faster if I were a one-at-a-time kind of knitter. Sadly, I'm not, and shortly before Christmas, I came to the realization that I was about to run out of yarn! Knit Picks had sold out of the dye lot by the time I accepted this, so I didn't get the rest of what I needed until a couple weeks ago. I ended up being able to hand-deliver it this weekend, so I got to see it on him in person, which was great. He drove off to work this morning wearing it, and seemed to like it. So, perhaps my epic quest for sweater number two has been successful.
Yarn note: I was very careful to order conservatively for this project-- or so I thought. Maybe a lot of yardage got used up by leaving long tails to avoid changing balls mid-row. At any rate, this combination of pattern and yarn didn't work out so well in that respect. On the bright side, the dye lots were identical as far as I could see.
Stitch note: To make this a little more interesting than stockinette, I twisted every fourth stitch in every fourth row, staggered. It adds just a little bit of texture, gave me something to pay attention to, and made it easier to make the pieces match up.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
I started slowly building up my Ravelry notebook this weekend, but it's going to take a good long time to fill in the stash and projects. I have to ask myself whether complete honesty about those to things is a good idea. Sure, it might help me to be more frugal, using existing stash and yarn from abandoned projects. But I'm not so sure that frugality is really the point. It's not that I'm rolling in the dough (more like rolling in the yarn!). Really it's about the entertainment I get from all these projects, the relationships I get to build with other knitters, and the pleasure of sharing the results, whether finished or not.
This week has been fairly productive in my knitting life. I made quick work of a Very Warm Hat (Elizabeth Zimmerman's pattern) for my sister. I'm nearing completion of the epic sweater for my dad (more on that later). I finished my first Yarn Harlot basic sock (knit-along here) and started the second. And I got pretty far along on the Hemlock Ring Doily Throw thanks to a late night binge-- I just love the pattern.
Soon I'll be heading to my hometown for a quick visit with my parents, and the ceremonious delivery of the epic sweater. With a couple of layovers, there should be a good bit of knitting done. Perhaps some finishing... or not.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Saturday, March 1, 2008
What I do know is that knitting and knitters teach me a lot more that just how to use yarn and needles to make things that are practical, beautiful, or disastrous. Knitting is my refuge, my salvation, my constant. Knitters are my teachers, students, and inspiration.
Knitting connects me to so many things. I marvel at its history, and how compelling it still is. Seemingly endless possibilities from just two stitches keep knitters innovating and learning.
My weekly knit night group includes women who are up to 40 years apart in age, in very different life circumstances, from nearing retirement to struggling to pay for health care or the mortgage, from three kids to none, and we all come together with yarn and needles and share what we know and what we don't know.
Every day I learn from women and men far flung in time and place who share this passion and this need for yarn. Whether we need the therapeutic effects of simple stitches and a luxurious yarn, we need something practical to keep us or a loved one warm, we need a challenge, or we need tangible accomplishment, knitting provides.
Knitting and knitters have given me so much, I have to write about it. I benefit so much from others' writing about knitting, and I hope someone finds something helpful here as I write.