Sunday, October 30, 2011

No sooner do you get the mittens on

And they say they have to pee.

I gave the little monster to his new Mom, who named him “Alot” in tribute to the post from Hyperbole and A Half. And despite my not saying anything, she knew this week’s doctor appt did not go well, so she set me the task of babysitting him for the weekend. We had a strange little snowfall Saturday so I gave him a grapefruit spoon and sent him out to shovel the walkways. But being a mother at heart, I had to knit him some outerwear first.

As complex as small scale knitting is, those little pieces didn’t take long, so I also worked on my shawl. I’m at the point where each round is 1000+ stitches. Which means that I promptly trashed the patterning and needed to fix two entire rounds before moving forward.

In lace knitting there are 3 ways to fix a grievous un-ignorable error. And they mimic your options when a friendship has gone wrong. Which isn’t that odd, given that capital-K knitters talk about their “relationship” with their knitting.

If the yarn is forgiving enough, and the pattern has lifelines or breathing rows built into it, you can pull out the needle, rip back to before the error and then carry on as if it never happened. Just like a small error in a flexible friendship.

If the pattern is really complex, multi stitched, or just too daunting to pull the needles and get back on track, you can drop down each repeat and reknit it correctly onto a third needle, with an almost forensic intensity. This requires looking very hard at each stitch, seeing where you went wrong, and having the patience to correct each error. Tedious, painful, and depending upon how much you care, worth it.

If you’ve chosen the wrong pattern/yarn/needle/gauge combo, you can finally admit it to yourself. Pull the needles, rip, rewind, and forget it. Which is always a shame after you’ve invested time and effort; plus dropped a day’s wages on handpainted yarn that you’re not sure what you’ll use it for, now that this project is derailed.

I did get the shawl back on track, and I think the little wonkiness in gauge will block out nicely. If not, in the big fabric of the project, no one who didn’t know will be able to see it; just like all the best relationships.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

And there went October

There is a line in Crime & Punishment which states “We will talk ourselves to truth one day.” I don’t know that I always believe that. I believe the concept is possible, I don’t know that the timeline will always span one relationship.
I prefer to paraphrase the statement as “We will knit ourselves to silence one day.” I’ve been depressed and overwhelmed lately. Between health, work, and economics, I misplaced my smile. Things are wrong that I can’t fix. Things are right that I can’t enjoy. But knitting lets me step back from all of that, if I remember to pick it up.

As a result there’s been a lot on the needles and some things off.
I had dabs of Malabrigo Merino that became Milanese lace toppers.
I would highly recommend the free pattern to anyone knitting chemo caps. In a soft yarn they’re snuggly and soothing, but have just enough laciness that you don’t feel that your noggin isn’t getting air.

I did a test knit for Spencer Hill Spin Dye. (the lovely orange swatch) Her specialty is all natural plant dying. That delicious orange is from madder root. And for pity’s sake – someone buy that Charlie in Butter before I break down.
I cast on a shrug in Dream in Color Groovy “Gold Experience.” But I forgot how much chunky yarn bothers my hands so I don’t think this will progress as quickly as a bulky weight implies.

There was a tiny monster that had to see what was in my cup. (Newborn and already addicted)

A beaded hat that went to live in Texas. May the mojo be manyfold.

And the shawl progresses. I have two sweaters 75% done, sweaters I should finish and wear this winter. Do I? No. I keep knitting this deeply repetitive pattern. The original plan involved 1.36 miles of yarn. I decided to revamp it for 2 miles instead. Is the project practical? No. Logical? No. Useful? No. But the knitting of it is saving my life.