Buckle your knitted seat belts, y'all.

OHAI. I've sat down a couple of times to write this post, but then I think nahhh and then toddle off and cast on something else, digging that blogging hole deeper and deeper until I'm pretty sure that there will be at least one project left out of this post.

Really, I feel like I just went on a casting-on bender and now it's the next morning and it's time to fish the keys out of the toilet, screw the arms of my glasses back on, eat some crackers, put on some pants, and head out to try to find the car. (This is just a metaphor.)

Let's see. Okay. I haven't talked about these yet, the Socks = Love. This picture is sucky, but even more sucky is the fact that after I took it, I spent two hours locked out on my balcony in several layers of pajamas and my husband's sneakers when it was 25F. (This is not a metaphor.)

Knit Picks Stroll in Black, 72 sts, size 1 nickel-plated needles. These are taking freaking forever, a fact that's not helped by the fact that I'm knitting pretty tightly and therefore they have some significant negative ease going on, which Husband says he likes, but makes the length downright impossible to eyeball, and I've had to rip out THREE TOES (sock toes, not Husband toes) and I'm still going. The cuff length looks good, too, until he puts them on and then they stretch width-wise and get shorter length-wise. Grr. Note to self, try 80 stitches on the next pair, if you ever finish this pair.

Next: I might have mentioned that I spent a serious amount of time after Christmas giddy at the possibility of casting on any project I wanted and upon sharing my giddy indecision with Husband and him saying that I should cast on whatever I've wanted to knit the longest, I decided to cast on a Hemlock Ring Blanket. I'm not ready to claim that it's what I've wanted to knit the longest, because that would take an archaeological dig and some creative historicism, but three skeins of Cascade Eco in Natural have been in my stash since a WEBS sale, oh, at least three years ago for this project, so it has been marinating for plenty of time.

So then I spent about seven hours (I exaggerate) winding the ball, knit 25 rows, and then haven't come back to it. I also, while photographing this project, spent an hour (I do not exaggerate) getting a back window of the apartment cracked about 4 inches, then generally making a public spectacle of myself, straining various muscles and using distinctly unladylike language while perched on the ledge of the window before realizing that there were locks preventing it from opening any further. I bruised both of my palms and also got a wicked splinter. I didn't cry, though, mostly because I was afraid the tears would freeze.

So then I got a hankering for a pair of socks on the needles. Next up in my sock queue was a pair of Springgrass socks made from Sunshine Yarn Soft Sock in the Grassroots Overdye colorway. It's been in my stash forever, and when I saw the Springgrass pattern (also forever ago), I immediately planned that pattern and yarn would go together. So I balled the yarn, called up the pattern on Ravelry, and hit a roadblock: it was toe-up and I wanted to knit cuff-down. Well, whatever, I'll just knit it backwards. That's worked before. But it had taken me a bit to even figure out that it was toe-up and not cuff-down, and then the pattern was not charted, just directions. Well, whatever, I'll just follow the written directions, that's worked before. La la la. Knitting knitting knitting. After half a repeat it was clear that the pattern didn't look great with the level of variegation in the yarn, and also the yarn seemed to be a little too thin for it and would therefore yield too small of a sock. So I frogged, decided to go with about 5 rows of garter for the top of the cuff, added a purl stitch here and there, and tried again.

Got about a repeat and a half in when I decided that that wasn't working and put it aside. I went looking for a sock pattern that called for a higher cast-on number so I could go down a needle size. I also wanted to go with the garter at the top edge because I thought it looked smashing, but I ended up chucking that plan and casting on for the larger size of Pyroclastic, which is in the latest issue of Knitty.

And get this: I decided to use size 00s.


Isn't that a pretty picture? It'd better be, because the 00s let me down - I was hoping I could use one to pick the lock that automatically locks when the balcony door closes* but that turned out to be a pipe dream. Spending several hours contemplating the possibility that I would freeze to death if I had to spend the night out there, and calculating the odds that I could get a stranger to help me escape from my second-floor balcony/fire escape/but really fire cage, considering that the bottom of it was essentially a locked metal box, and cursing myself for figuring out that it is indeed possible to lock oneself on the balcony on the one weekend in two years that my husband was out of town for three days and not, say, sitting five feet from the balcony door -- all of those things were a small price to pay to prove that it is actually quite difficult to break into our apartment. Which it is. Well, it got a little easier when I did what it became clear was necessary and put a small gardening shovel through one of the panes and reached in to unlock that* lock. But then it got a lot harder, because with the big hole in the glass next to one of the locks, we figured we should fortify, and oh did we fortify.

Was I content with these new WsIP? I was not.

I made a shawl! The 10 Shawls in 2010 group is... making 10 shawls in 2010, and I got very excited to join them.

Really excited!

So! Very! Excited!

Well, okay, not that excited, I just wanted to show you those pictures. It's done, there was mis-counting and frogging and happy coincidences and all of the chicanery that is usually involved in me trying to knit things, but it's in the past and on the rav page and I prefer to leave it there.

Am I done? Sigh. I am not done.

I've also cast on for the Owlmittens by SpillyJane, which I'm loving and are awesome and I've only marginally screwed up so far, but I plan on missing the directions for the thumb soon and then having to frog about 15 rounds. Also, I haven't photographed them because Husband is back and there's no point in locking myself on the balcony again.

Alas, despite the four substantial new projects and four or so others that have been on the needles for awhile, there was still a small danger that I would finish something else this decade, so I went ahead and cast on for Juno Regina in Knit Picks Gloss Lace, the Malachite colorway. The plan for that, which I originally thought was genius, was to get it to the point where I could just midlessly knit the middle section on the train to and from Job-ish Thing. Instead, it has halted progress on everything else and had me seriously reconsidering my fitness for lace anything.

I am bad at lace. I miss yarn overs like it's my $80,000/year job, and can't read lace for shekels. There was some early talk in the group of non-lace shawls being not as challenging and therefore not as worthy of counting towards the 10 shawls, but it was eventually decided that any object that was significantly shawl-ish should count. Thank goodness, because while I've gotten to be a pretty proficient knitter and can generally turn out FOs to the approximate specifications of the patterns, I get through lace shawls on a combination of rage-fueled adrenaline, tenacity, and all my free time. And yes, of course I can see the benefit of challenging myself, but sometimes the rest of my life proves remarkably adroit at challenging me, and it's those times that a simple stitch pattern - or even, horrors, stockinette - is what I really need.

I can't think of anything else I've cast on. Let's get out while we can, shall we?



Back to it!

I thought I could finally sit down and write about the explosion of cast-ons that seem to have happened since 1/1, but it occurs to me that I'm not quite done with Christmas. Because, you see, my awesome family has given me many knitting-related gifts.

This is a straight needle organizer from my husband:

And here it is full of needles:

Very nice, huh? Pretty and practical. Much better than the jumble of needles held together with rubber bands I'd stuffed in a tupperware container. Then some of the rubber bands break down and leave sticky gunk on the needles, which are now no longer grouped together and then you have to take a needle sizer and go through everything again. No more! I might go through and add size numbers to particular pockets, once I figure out which slot should be for which needles.

Next, CotLin in Kohlrabi:

I'd been hoping to use this for Hey, Teach! for a long time, even though I think that pattern calls for worsted and this is a DK. Then Kohlrabi vanished, and I was sad. Then it reappeared as a Last Chance color, and my mom grabbed it for me. Yay! What a nice color.

Finally, this:

This is a gift from my brother, P. and his girlfriend. Yarn, yay! But it's more than just yarn; it's yarn from local alpacas and llamas. AWESOME. 10 oz, 600 yds. I've got to find something spectacular to do with it.


Matey Christmas, everyone!

My Christmas visit home involved a lot more visiting someone in the hospital than I'd initially banked on (which was actually none). Luckily, sitting in a hospital room yields a large amount of knitting time.

My theme of untenably-large gauge, plus foolish continued refusal to swatch or even measure gauge, continued to bite me in the ass this Christmas.

I planned to make for the males in my family (a father and two brothers) colorwork hats out of Telemark. The first hat I whipped out over about a weekend, not counting some subway knitting of the lining.

It came out pretty large (SURPRISE), so I decided that that one would go to my Dad, whom it would be most likely to fit.

Yarn: Telemark
Pattern: Ufserud
Mods: Took out one 10-row repeat and left off most of the bottom stripes.

Here is a positively terrible picture of it:

2009 12-26 004

It does actually fit okay.

Second, I decided to make each of my brothers a We Call Them Pirates hat. Unfortunately, I made this decision after I'd knit the Charcoal and one of the Cream skeins into most of another Ufserud hat. Turns out sitting in a hospital room is also an excellent place to frog.

There was much more frogging of pirate-ness, but I ended up with these two (terribly photographed, and in one case, not yet blocked) hats eventually:

2009 12-26 002

(Cream and Charcoal, pattern knit reading chart correctly)

2009 12-26 003

(Cream and Black, pattern knit reading chart incorrectly)

Lessons learned:
  1. Read the directions about which color represents which yarn in the chart before knitting the entire hat.
  2. Try to finish gift knitting before the sun starts rising on Christmas morning.
  3. I really need to just assume that I should go down a needle size or two with colorwork. Because it only takes three data points to indicate a trend, and I got about 17 data points. Use smaller needles, already, self, jeez.
Finally, the Christmas piece de resistance:

Christmas 2009 007

Pattern: Fireside Stocking, by Kate Gilbert
Yarn: Knit Picks Palette, held double
Mods: Knit cuff-down instead of toe-up

I started working on this around September, and was done with it before December, I think. I knit it on a 16" size 5 circular, although the pattern might have called for dpns.

Here's a closeup of what I did for the hanger:

2009 11-22 002

The pattern called for a single i-cord, which seemed inadequate to the job of keeping this sucker up, so I braided three i-cords together in the lightest, middle, and darkest colors. It was kind of hard to anchor in the corner of the top. I didn't want it to distort the edge, or stretch weirdly, and it wasn't going to be completely flush with the body of the stocking, even with jamming the sucker through a stitch and then trying to sew it to the inside of the lining. I ended up doing that and then wrapping it tightly a zillion times with a strand of the bare yarn, and I think that actually worked pretty well.

I knew the instant that I saw the pattern however long ago that I would eventually make this for Mom.

Finally, a closeup of one square in the sunshine:

2009 11-22 004

I'm going to go several months without thinking about Christmas 2010.