Archive

Archive for January, 2007

Musings

January 31, 2007 Leave a comment

Yesterday morning, I completed my frankenmittens. Last night, I finished the modified feather-and-fan socks for my friend Sharon. Friday, I finished the Mason-Dixon Perfect sweater – pics tomorrow when the socks are dry.

This morning, I went to work wearing the sweater, the mittens and my Harry Potter scarf. If I’d had dry socks (I washed all my handknit socks last night), I’d have worn a pair of those.

When I start a project, it’s all anticipation – will it work out right, what will it look like, did I get the right amount of yarn? That sort of thing. Which is always fun. When I finish a project, though…

I just finished three projects in a row. One was a sweater, which was the thing that would make me, in my mind, a Knitter. So, when I finished it, and it fit and looked good on me, I felt hugely accomplished. Binding off that last end – no, sewing that last stitch – was a true high for me because of that – a sweater is a complex system of parts and seams and shaping and, in this case, setting in sleeves and I made it and made it correctly and, wow. I’ll be making other sweaters, using this and other methods, and I’ll be feeling wonderful, but there’s nothing like the first time.

I’ve made several pairs of socks now, and while the heels are better on this pair and the pattern stitch makes it gorgeous, it was “Yay, I’m done! On to the next pair!” Also, of course, these are to be a gift, and therefore I won’t get to wear them. No matter – I can make a pair for myself if I want.

As for the mittens – my first project was a pair of mittens, and I recently made a pair of tiny ones for my niece. I started them because I had this pretty yarn and I had dpns of the right size and mittens are as easy as socks. But they were itchy and I had to modify them with a sock yarn liner, and the liners…I knit the liners cuff-up, and that meant grafting the tip. Which was on the one hand, great, because I could practice this technique knowing that no one would see when I messed up, but I also *know* I messed up.

However, it also gave me a chance to use the Knitpicks circs to magic loop the inner mitten and they worked fine – they’re what I’m using for Jonathan’s socks.

Just the knitting of the projects is fun – either I’m constantly challenged with the pattern or the shaping or I can get into this peaceful zone of just knitting. I’m expecting that from the current socks since his feet are huge and he doesn’t want the pattern stitch to begin until I get to the leg. (I have to say, I’d rather have the plain stuff in the beginning, so I’m happy doing toe-up.) Not only is the movement itself nice, but there’s the sight and feel of the fabric being produced – the fact that we can take sticks and string and create something beautiful and/or functional that just feels nice as it’s being made.

But then there’s after, and somehow, I don’t think about the after until the project is off the needles and otherwise finished, and it stops being a project – something I’m making – and starts being a garment. And I wear it and I’m wearing something *I* made (or someone I know is wearing it. My husband says he’s grateful for the alpaca/wool hat I made him because it’s been very cold lately and the hat is very warm.) The knitting becomes functional or pretty, and practical as well as fun.

When I nail the spinning, there’ll be an extra layer to the knitting and to that feeling. Not just sticks and string, but *making* the string first.

Categories: knitting

Frankenmittens II

January 30, 2007 Leave a comment

We did get the new computer, but since I have a number of projects coming to end at about the same time, I thought I’d wait until they were all done to post pictures.

However, since yesterday was bone-chillingly cold and I was already working on the thumb of the second mitten, I finished it this morning before getting out of bed. I mean before bathroom, even before glasses. I just grabbed the mitten and started knitting. (I did put on my glasses when it came time to thread the needle to pull the stitches closed on top of the thumb. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have had to, but I’m in bifocal territory now.) The lining reduces the itching to a more than bearable level, and they are warm and nearly windproof. So no pics of mittens in progress, but a big FO post in the near future, once I finish the socks, which would be tonight.

Categories: knitting

Frankenmitten!

January 24, 2007 Leave a comment

I so, so, *so* wish I had a computer at home at the moment (God willing, we’ll get the new one today) so I could post a picture of one of my current projects. I’ll take the pictures anyway and post them when I can.

See, what happened was I made a pair of mittens out of some spectacular yarn – a handpainted mohair/wool blend. They’re really beautiful, and extremely itchy. After asking some advice, I decided that the thing to do would be to knit linings for them, so I am.

Imagine, if you will, a lovely, almost glowing earthtone mitten made of thick worsted. Imagine now, the cuff and first couple inches of hand of a mitten made of green sock yarn. Now join them at the cuff. I knit the worsted mittens from the tip down, and used a loose, stretchy bindoff, so I ripped that and just knitted two stitches of sock yarn into each existing stitch. But it’s Frankenmitten right now.

It’s also knitting very quickly – I’m using Knitpicks Classic Circulars, size 1, which is 2.5 mm – larger than standard US1 needles, but that’s perfect for this project, and I’m in love with the cables and the points.

It has me wondering if I should get the kit – except I can’t see myself using needles any larger than US6.

Categories: knitting

Knitting anniversary

January 16, 2007 2 comments

Last year at about this time, I went to a science fiction convention.

There I bought two pairs of single point needles, a skein of yarn, some stitch markers and a pattern for knitting mittens flat. Until that point, while I knew how to cast-on, knit and purl (or thought I did) and could reason out increase and decrease, I’d never completed anything or worked with a pattern.

Within the week, I had two mittens and added a tapestry needle and tape measure to my tool supply.

Since then, I have completed

1 Ravenclaw scarf (aka the endless tube)
1 cable lace shawl
1 adult hat
1 child’s hat and matching mittens
4 pairs of socks (I’m counting the Hedera socks which I never completed – I knit one sock almost to completion, realized it was unwearable, frogged it, knit a second sock almost to completion but the yarn (from a second skein of yarn) was too tangled to use further and I decided Hedera wasn’t my friend and cast on different yarn.)

I also made one practice mitten and one practice cuff-down sock.

On the needles now – the second of a pair of modified feather-and-fan socks and the second sleeve of my first sweater.

Other than the normal tools, I now own a spindle and a nostepinne. I’ve learned to knit in the round with dpns and circulars. I’ve learned to do magic loop. I can knit both continental and combined, and I’m slowly figuring out English. I can do three kinds of purls. I can knit lace. I can cable without a needle. I can modify patterns if I need to. I can read and make charts.

I have not done lace weight or a triangular shawl. I have not done colorwork besides very broad horizontal stripes. IAll my socks are toe-up. Kitchener is still a challenge and I’ve not sewn a seam since those first mittens. I’m slowly learning to spin.

I consider myself a competent knitter.

Categories: knitting