09 March 2007

The Knitting Life

Cara mentioned today that she and a friend felt sorry for people who don't knit. And I must agree. Looking back, lo these many (three) years, I try to remember what I used to do with my time B.K. (Before Knitting, of course), and it seems I wasted a lot of time. Not wasted per se but did not do things as efficiently as possible, since I'm doing most of the same stuff plus knitting and raising a toddler and living in a big house far away from my job. Okay, so my life is radically different from what it was when I learned to knit in our tiny apartment in Boston's South End. But I still think of all the knitting I could have done.

By the way, massive thanks to Emily for teaching me to knit in the first place. She is such a dear friend, and she was so patient with me. I think it took half the day to learn how to cast on. For some reason I did not get it. It's all come together, now, and I even know more than one way to cast on (though I still favor Long-Tail). Thank you, Emily, for helping me start on this path.

So, knitting has kept me free of the devil's workshop and warmed up many loved ones since 2003. And it has certainly helped me through my current travails. I was knitting one of Mini's Muppetheads when Spenser returned from his sojourn in the woods. And I made my husband a pair of Bearfoot Mountain Colors socks for his return from rehab. And I've knit the bottom of the Mermaid Sweater how many times in the last month? But when I messed up, I ripped and started again.

For me knitting is as much process as it is product. The yarn winding through your fingers. The stitches stacking up so nicely. Or the yarnovers and k2togs suddenly turning into something other than a jumbled mess. And when you finish, you get something. And you get to begin again on another yarny adventure.

And then there are the people you meet when you knit. From colleagues who take time out of their busy schedules once a week to sit down and lunch and knit and get to know one another to the super fabulous women at my LYS/Knit Night to the amazing folks out in the blogosphere. The projects we conquer, and the yarn stashes we amass, and the things we go through, and the support we offer one another, unconditionally, are amazing.

When I attended the Family Wellness Weekend, we had an Al-Anon meeting come to us, which was helpful to get a feel for what such meetings are like. But about halfway through I had a little revelation: "These people should take up knitting!" Now, I know this was simplistic and self-serving, but I really did, once again, feel the healing power of knitting, particularly in a group.

I only made it to one Knit Night while my husband was away, due to travel, lack of babysitting, and, of course, sheer exhaustion. But that one KN I attended was balm for my soul. For two hours I was enveloped in that warm, kind, woolly friendship that comes out of a great knitting group. Not everyone knew what was going on in my life, and that was fine. The ones who did gave me a hug and let me get down to the knitting at hand. And for a little while I was able to think about something other than the state of my life, to neatly stack up some stitches, and to decide that knitting up Blue Sky Alpaca Silk on US8s was going to leave nothing to the imagination, which gave those sitting near me a chuckle. I do prefer some modesty, creatures under three feet tall in the loo with me every time to the contrary.

Thank goodness for knitting and knitters. My life is all the richer for them.

Marvelous Mohair Sheila Cape

Yarns in the Farms has an elegant toffee shade of Steadfast Fibers's Marvelous Mohair on sale, and I may need to make myself one of these. It would be lovely in other colors, too, of course.

08 March 2007

Capecho Mods

Just found this and don't want to forget about it. I love that she thought Norah must have been drunk when she did the construction!

Ooh, and here it is in a dark grey as done by Laura (cosmicpluto).

More mods here.

Spring Knitty!

It's here! Some very nice projects.

Yarn Choice for Capecho

Isobel and I stopped by Yarns in the Farms on our way home yesterday to say "hi!", since I wouldn't be able to attend Knit Night with Peter being back (Isobel was very excited for him to come home, by the way - "Yay!" and hand-clapping when I told her we were going to the airport to pick him up). While there I helped a woman make color choices for a felted bag along the lines of the diaper bag in Knitting for Baby that she was going to have her mother knit for her. We ended up with a lovely combination of deep olive green (F29), some light green (F31), and a skein of a beautiful, springy, variegated yarn (G123) in Sheep 2.

Anyway, I realized that I could do the Capecho in Green Mountain Spinnery's Sylvan Spirit, a merino/tencel blend. I have two skeins of Luminosity (when that yarn came in the shop, I went gaga) already and would probably need only three more. I think the tencel, which gives an amazing pearly sheen to the stitches, according toClara, would give a wonderful effect and enhance stitch definition. I'll have to give it a swatch.

Speaking of swatches, I wound up a skein of Schaeffer Elaine the other night. It overflowed the ballwinder, being 600 yards, and I had to wind up the rest of it by hand. I guess I could have pulled the cake off the winder and then started from the other end of yarn left on the swift to make two cakes, but it was kind of fun to actually wind some of the yarn by hand. Man, is that stuff soft! It's also finer than it may appear in the skein. I started swatching with US8s and immediately found the stitches too open with the thin parts of the yarn. The US7 swatch is better and probably what I'll use, though I may do a quick swatch on US6s to see what that would look like.

Stockinette is fine in this yarn, but I think garter or reverse stockinette really shows off the bumpiness, so I am planning to go top-down in the round and then turn the whole thing inside-out a la Wendy's Last-Minute Purled Beret.

I've made some more progress on the Sheep 3 Shrug but am really keen on something woolly with all this super-cold weather. I had hoped to do the Jane Addams sweater on a larger needle so it would go faster, but I'll just knit as fast as I can!

06 March 2007

Mooore Yaaarn!!!

Hopefully, this will be the last of the SABLE stuff until I'm able to knit the stash down a bit. My Rockin' Sock Club kit arrived yesterday. Squee! The yarn is beautiful and a colorway I wouldn't have chosen myself. You can really see how it will work in the reskeined Emergency Sock Yarn skein. How cute!

I didn't even have time to read through everything in my binder last night, but I did put my Rockin' Sock Club pin (looks like the colorway on the pin is Rhodonite)on my knitting bag, which is bright pink.

The reason for the lack of reading? More progress on the Sheep 3 shrug.

Sheep 3 is a gorgeous yarn! The silk gives it the most amazing shimmer. And I'm a sucker for anything shimmery or sparkly. Ask anyone. And, of course, I'm in love with this turquoise, variegated colorway. The hand of the yarn is a little dry, almost crisp, when knitting, due to the silk, I guess. But the finished knitting is soft and lovely. Can't wait to finish this one.

As for the Capecho yarn decision? Bridget is absolutely no help! Thanks a lot. Hehe. I'm tabling the decision for a little while but will keep you posted.

05 March 2007


What a horrible name for a beautiful-looking pattern. Why didn't Norah Gaughan call it the Starfish Shrug or something? Anyway, would someone, please, for the love of wool, take my computer away from me? I am obsessing over yarn choices for the Capecho at Webs, thanks to listening to Ready, Set, Knit on the way in to work this morning. They have the original yarn (Berocco Pure Merino) but only have four balls of ecru (24 balls of ice grey). They also have Queensland Uruguay DK on clearance, and enough of the cream color to work. I made the first Hourglass Sweater from #8 (the pale blue), and it's a nice yarn. Then there is Vermont Organic's O-Wool in either Oatmeal or Sky. I love the idea of this yarn, and it has good yardage for the price. But I have been seeing a lot of grey for fall out in the fashion world, so maybe grey is the way to go. It would have to be a light grey, since I want the cables and construction to show nicely. Oh, man, what about Valley Yarns Colrain in Steel? The Tencel gives it a nice sheen, no? When I make this, I think I'll go longer on the sleeves.

I finished up the socks for my husband from the Yankee Knitter Classic Sock Pattern. They came out nicely, though I had a couple of holes on one side of the second sock where I must have picked up the stitches funny. I fixed 'em up afterwards, and it will be our little secret.

The Sheep 3 Shrug is coming along nicely after I frogged the first attempt. I just wasn't feeling the love, so I did some more math and adjusted stitch counts and whatnot. I also added some yarnovers between the neck ribbing and stockinette sections, which I may use to thread a ribbon for closure or just leave alone. Remember the ribbon obsession? I may call this the YO shrug. Teehee.

Oh, the reason someone should take the computer away? I have more than enough yarn, people! I picked up my Schaeffer Elaine in Jane Adams order Thursday afternoon at Yarns in the Farms and grabbed a couple of skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas Brushed Suri in Pink Lemonade to do Pam Allen's lace shrug from the Spring Interweave Knits Staff Projects. I like the GGH Soft Kid called for in the pattern but have longed to find something to do with that Brushed Suri (suri, merino, and bamboo, for wool's sake!). And I'm excited for the color and a chance to do some lace, since I don't have time in my life right now to commit to a shawl.

Icarus? Kiri? Print o' the Wave? Stop that.