Monday, July 30, 2007

Unfinished Business

(Impeded by Indecision)

Some people have problems making life altering choices. I've had to make quite a few of those in my life, but I don't recall agonizing over any of them. For example, I never hesitated over moving from Montreal to Vancouver, alone with my four year old son (having never before set foot in Vancouver).

Give me a small, seemingly inconsequential, decision to make though and I will ponder for hours on end. Alternatively, I will make the decision quickly and then regret it and go back and try something else.

I have been doing this a lot with my knitting lately.

Back in May, I made a first attempt at knitting toe-up socks. I wasn't crazy about the heel, but I did knit both socks and they sat there, still on the needles, because I could not manage a loose enough cast-off. So last week I decided to rip them out and start again - top down. It was a perfectly good pair of socks. I'm sure if I had tried harder, I could have cast off in an acceptable manner and they could have been gifted or donated. But no, I had to start over.

So I now have one Monkey sock requiring only the toes to be finished.

While I was knitting this sock, I thought it would be too small. I had an office friend try it on (she is the same size as my intended giftee) and she said they were fine. Even though she said this, I kept thinking they should be looser.

I must be out of my mind!

Instead of giving in to my delusion of sock size, I cast on for another Monkey sock, this time in pink. I knit the first sock on 2.5mm needles and kept thinking as I was knitting along that it felt tight. Déjà vu anyone? I abandonned sock number one after finishing the heel and cast on sock number two with 2.75mm needles. I got a bit further on this one, but I think it is too loose. I am now looking for someone to give them a try before I decide which one goes to the frog pond.

Think that was silly? Here's the next one. Remember the birthday stole? I had knit a fair amount already on my Addi lace needles (4mm). Well, I started thinking that maybe the fabric created was not airy enough ... so I started again on slightly larger needles. There is a bit of a difference, but I still can't decide which one I prefer. I spent half an hour fondling each piece on Friday before finally shoving everything back in its bag and berating myself for being so wishy-washy.

A decision must be made soon on this one ... birthday is one month away. Anybody got a coin I could toss?

Monday, July 16, 2007


The hottest week of the summer (so far) in Vancouver has (hopefully) ended. I say "hopefully" because I absolutely hate such heat. We have had a number of days well over 30°C and although it is much cooler outside now, my apartment is still hotter than hell.

Even though the weather last week wasn't quite conducive to knitting, I did manage - with the help of ice packs and fans - to put in a few hours of my favourite activity.

I thought it was appropriate that in this heat I would choose to knit socks in a flaming hot colour. Continuing my Potter-themed sock collection, I joyfully started my "Phoenix" socks with Jayne's wonderful yarn. It is a superwash merino and it is oh so soft!

One sock done, second one started.

I had planned to use the flame chevron stitch from Barbara Walker's Fourth Treasury, but then I found this adaptation of the stitch in a Knitty pattern. The use of YOs instead of M1s makes the pattern stretchier, which I need to fit my fat legs.

I also did a bit of work on the birthday stole. This work was done on my lunch hour at work ... nice air-conditioned office. There is no way I was going to attempt to work with mohair in the heat! The only problem with working on this in the office is that I am always afraid the recipient is going to catch me in the act.

Oh, remember the "no spending in July" bit? I lasted only 10 days! The heat got to me and I relieved my frustration by letting my fingers do the clicking. Books and yarn should be landing soon. This is why I never make New Year's resolutions.

Monday, July 9, 2007

You got to know when to hold'em,
know when to fold'em ...

Last week I started knitting my friend's birthday shawl - the Persimmon Lace from Victorian Lace Today. I had been unsure about my ability to deal with the border but was eventually convinced that everything would be fine so I thought I'd get going on the "easy part".

Sure, there is patterning on both the right and wrong sides ... but I can deal with that; it is only 70 some odd stitches after all, only three chart repeats per row and there are only 6 rows to the pattern repeat.

I didn't look at the clock, but it took me what seemed like forever to get the first six rows done.

I ordered some of the new Addi lace needles for this. I love them - the points are extra pointy and the cables are flexible. However, they are brass coloured and my yarn is in autumn shades ... I can't see the darn stitches!

By the time I got to the end of the sixth row, I had managed to lose four stitches and I couldn't figure out where they went.

I put everything away and went back to my sock in progress.

The next day I ripped out what I had done (no fun frogging mohair) and started over. This time, I put stitch markers to indicate each repeat on the row and counted the stitches between the markers after I finished each section.

I completed 12 rows that time. I was pretty pleased with myself. I was getting the hang of it. On with the next six rows. But, as careful as I was trying to be, I lost some stitches again. I tried to undo stitch-by-stitch, but all those yarn overs on both the right and wrong sides were doing me in.

[Colourful expletives used and suitable-for-a-two-year-old tantrum produced. Use your imagination ... I won't go into details.]

Time to fold'em. This project has been cancelled.

I was still determined to knit my friend a stole. Yesterday, I went back to the book ... there had to be something in there that I could manage to get done before the end of August.

I settled on the cover item (Melon Stole). I cast on and knit up four repeats in no time at all.

The pattern is simple, simple, simple. I'll probably be bored silly by the time the center panel is done, but it is better than throwing tantrums!

Other Projects

I finished the second sock of this pair.

Another toe-up sock is in the works. I am still looking for a toe-up with a heel that is to my liking. I was going through Sensational Knitted Socks again and realized that she had more than one type of heel for her toe-up socks, so I am trying this one out.

I don't know what possessed me to buy this colour yarn. I decided to use it for this "experimental" sock - if I decide I don't like the way the heel turns out, I will not feel bad about not knitting a second sock or totally abandonning this yarn to the sock yarn blanket project.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Lost (Knitting) Weekend

For those of you who know this movie, no, I didn't drink my weekend away!

It was a long weekend for me - belated Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians - and the thought getting me through the day on Friday was "Wow ... three whole days full of knitting!". It had been a slow knitting week ... only 3/4 of a sock done. The weekend plan: finish the first sock on Friday evening, knit the second sock on Saturday and start something new on Sunday (no reason for the rush except that I was already bored with this project and anticipating the next one).


After changing and putting my stuff away, I made a cup of coffee, sat at my kitchen table and, instead of knitting, stared out the window. No mountain view, no sea view ... just a tree and another building.

I was not the only one caught up in the view.

I kept staring. My coffee got cold. I was pulled out of my reverie two hours later when my son came home. Yup, two hours of nothing!

Oh don't worry, I won't go through the boring weekend minute-by-minute. I will say that there was way too much daydreaming and napping going on.

I did manage some mind-enhancing activity - major inroads were made in my current reading material (Rebels of Ireland).

I think I got stymied by the realization that my stash is increasing much too quickly compared to the probability of project completion.

You see, when I'm bored or sad or lonely or ... well, you get the picture ... I shop. This happened a couple of weeks ago and the results started showing up.

This is the yarn I received last week (I'm obsessing over that "Haim on fire" from Jayne. More Potter-themed socks coming ... phoenix flames):

And the books:

I don't think that's all. I still have some stitch markers coming from Jayne (there was no resisting the Gryffindor colours). I couldn't possibly visit Jayne's shop and buy just stitch markers so there is one more skein of yarn coming!

I am now trying to have a "purchase free" July ... no books, no yarn! (Oh, I am NOT counting "the book" on July 21 in that statement). You know, if I stopped buying yarn I could probably afford to retire early.

OK, so the weekend wasn't a total knitting loss - I made my way back to the needles on Monday and finished the first sock and started the second.