Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tidy Mind, Tidy Stiches

For today's Knitting and Crochet Blog Week topic, I am going to talk about strategic project planning.  (Actually I'm running a bit behind the official timeline, but I prefer to think of it as fashionably late.)
The thing is, people can be moody and as knitting is done purely for pleasure in this era, it's a good idea to think about your own knitting moods and to make sure that you'll have something ready to go whenever the urge strikes. Otherwise you end up casting on impulsively and then having way too many projects in progress - whatever "too many" means for you. 

For me, I want all the projects I'm working on to fit into one basket.  I like to maintain the delusion of order in my stuff by knowing that everything does, in fact, have a proper place even if it is rarely there.  Although I must say I am way more organized with my knitting than most other things.

I think I struck a good balance sometime last year.  I've been much happier with the projects I've already got on the needles and have been much less likely to cast on for stuff on a whim. It's not a set-in-stone thing or even something that I actively think about, besides perhaps doing a quick mental check if I have enough diversity in my projects when updating my Ravelry notebook.

Anyway, at (almost) all times I have at least one of each of these projects going, with photos of what fits the bill currently:
  • a colorwork project, so far they have been mittens

  • a lace project

  • plain knitting, usually a stockinette sock

  • a patterned sock

  • some large, long-term project

    This doesn't mean that I force myself to knit only these things, or that I don't leave one of them in my knitting basket for long periods. But no matter what I feel like knitting, I've got something at the ready that will do.

    I certainly am not immune to impulsive knitting.  My sister asked me for a "big, hippie-dreadlock hat" though she is not a hippie and does not have dreadlocks.  I just so happened to have bought yarn recently to make her a hat, and within a couple weeks of her asking, voila:

    I want to take some photos of her wearing it this weekend before talking about all the details though.

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    A Tale of Two Yarns

    It's Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.  What better way to get my blogging mojo back than to follow along?  Each day participants blog about the same topic.  Yesterday's topic was "A Tale of Two Yarns".  Better late than never, as they say.
    So I'm going to talk about two yarns that have been in my stash for a while.  Let's get the negative out of the way first.  This yarn has been a weight on my conscience for at least a couple years now:
     I can't remember what yarn this is, nor what fiber it is.  It has no "give" to it so it has little or no wool.  I know I bought it for socks, but I don't think this stuff will keep its shape well enough for good socks.  Also, I really don't like the colors - I don't know what I was thinking when I bought this!  It must have been on sale.
    But, it's perfectly good yarn which has got to be suitable for something.  I am just waiting for a muse to come around and inspire me about it.  Meanwhile the yarn has been taking up room in my stash for at least two years.  When I see it I get grumpy.

    On the other hand, I've got this other yarn which I've been hanging on to because I love it so much:
    These are remnants of some skeins of Knitting Notions Classic Merino Superwash, in colors Green Apple and Midnight.  I bought the first skein of Green Apple at A Wool Gathering some years back.  It was the first "fancy" yarn I bought, meaning it was the first yarn I didn't get at Hobby Lobby or on ebay. 

    Of course, because I treasured it so much, there was some kind of disaster during a move and that first skein ended up in a horrible, gigantic, soul-sucking knot.  After hours and hours of teary attempts I could only salvage about a hundred yards, which didn't seem enough to do anything with, so I just had to order more from the website.  And somehow a blue skein got in my cart too hehehe.

    So far I've made a pair of socks and a pair of mittens from these, both have been well loved.

    I've got about 220 yards left and I'm not quite sure what to do with it.   Kids' mittens maybe?

    Friday, March 25, 2011


    Seriously, I thought it would be spring around here by now. We had a few nice days in Cincinnati but snow is in the forecast for tomorrow. The only proof that the grey cool days will end are the daffodils which started popping up. I plucked one of the first blooms from my mom's front yard to bring some hope inside.

    Anyway, as for knitting I have finished a couple things lately.

    First up is a hat. I knit it in a bamboo/wool blend yarn, and it came out way better than I expected. Orginally it was a bit longer but somehow this hat made its way into the washing machine and well, let's call it a beanie now shall we?
    Pattern: Anna Karenina
    Yarn: Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK
    My project page
    The pattern is called Anna Karenina, but I can think of a few things the stitch reminds me of more.

    Like the Eiffel tower, or those stacking baby toys inspired by the Tower of Hanoi problem. But my personal experiences led me to think of this stitch as a chedi/stupa. Specifically the one I saw at Wat Phra Keow in Bangkok.
    In the Wat Phra Keow, Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Bangkok, Thailand
    Anyway, this hat has been a real hit - it's been rotating among my sisters and I since I got home. Yes, we are all in our 20s and yes, we still "borrow" clothes from each other, except for the skinny one who just steals everyone else's accesories hehehe.

    I'm going to knit another one (and keep it out of the washing machine), I'm deciding whether to make do with some stash or wait a while and buy a similar yarn. You know, if it ain't broke don't fix it.

    I also finished a lacy scarf, knit from Rio de la Plata sock yarn.  Apparently this company is out of business now?  Anyway, blocking softened the yarn a bit.  I think the scarf looks ok, but I think marled yarns aren't my thing, I'll try to remember not to buy any more.

    Pattern: Adia by Nora Gaughan
    Yarn: Rio de la Plata Sock Multisolid
    My project page
    I love this pattern, it's easy, fun to knit, and free!  This is the second Aida scarf I've knit.  The first one was alpaca and knit at a looser gauge - I think I liked it better but I gifted it so this one will do.
    I'm working on my WIPs here and there, but for the most part all my knitting time is devoted to a kid-size blanket requested by my mom.  It deserves a post of its own but here's my swatch.

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    India and square needles

    It's been a few weeks since I blogged, but I have excuses:

    First, I packed up all my stuff and left Singapore,
    Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in Singapore

    Then I spent a week or so in India with bf, sightseeing the "Golden Triangle" of Delhi, Agra (where the Taj Mahal is), and Jaipur,
    Jama Mosque in Delhi
    The Taj Mahal
    The Red Fort in Delhi
    The Amber Fort near Jaipur

    And then I said Goodbye to bf and flew Home, which is out in the 'burbs around Cincinnati, Ohio.  You know, when you don't have a job and have nowhere to be, the best place to go is home to Momma!

    Besides the weather, culture, and time changes, I have to readjust to living under Mom's roof after quite a while.  She gets up and out of the house for work before 6 every morning.  It's been hard.

    It's not the end for me and bf - he'll come to visit within six months, as soon as he can secure the funding and the vacation time.  Skype relationships are never easy, but I'm happy that at least one of us got his contract renewed so he can afford to come visit me.

    Anyway, that's more than enough about my personal life, let's get on to the knitting!

    I was pleasantly surprised that I got through the airport in Amsterdam with all my knitting in my carry-on, despite people on Ravelry saying it was going to be trouble.  Maybe because I was just connecting through?  Anyway,  I've made decent progress on the Juneberry Triangle shawl, much of which was done on planes.
    Pattern: Juneberry Triangle by Jared Flood
    Yarn: Colourmart
    My project page

    When I got home I had some of the Kollage square needles waiting for me, and I only held out a couple days before casting on a sock with them.  I am really disappointed... I *think* the squareness is helping my hands as is claimed, I haven't knit enough to know for sure, but the cable is giving me grief.

    It's very floppy, and the join with the needle is so abrupt, that it takes, like, twice as long to get the stitches onto the needle.  Maybe it wouldn't be a big deal when knitting in the round on one circ, but for doing a sock on two circs, it's a real pain in the ass.

    Over on the Knitting Pipeline podcast, Paula mentioned that she knits loose and doesn't have a problem with the needles at all.  Perhaps it was tight knitters like me who complained to Kollage, and apparently they have a new firm cable option.  I'm definitely going to try those, because I have a real problem with one of my hands, but with the aforementioned unemployment it will be a while until I can justify shelling out any cash for new needles.