Friday, March 23, 2018


My sister was able to arrive at a decision before I could, so I got some yarn winding done.

I've even cast on, too, but haven't gotten far enough with it to make a picture really worthwhile. The other night, I worked a couple of rows of the sweater, then didn't want to look at the pattern to get the next line of instruction, so instead transitioned to a sock I've started, and my sister sure noticed - she asked me what I had transitioned to, despite the fact that the thing is fairly obviously a sock. It's sock yarn on 2.25 mm needles with a smallish circumference - what else would it be? She's been watching me knit for over 10 years now - she should know a sock when she sees one. I just laughed. She may have been trying to point out my freewheeling yarny ways to sort of shame me into being a little more dedicated to her sweater, but too bad - I'm not her personal knitting machine. Besides, 2018's been really good to her so far - she's already gotten two pairs of socks and a shawl. That's one thing for each month, and as much as I enjoy knitting for her, I enjoy knitting for me too.

Besides, she's going to be getting yet another pair of socks pretty soon. Before the magical self-striping yarn came at Christmas, I started socks with some Knit Picks Stroll Multi. The first sock got done before the holidays.

It striped, as I hoped it would - with these variegated skeins, if the circumference is right the colour runs line up to produce somewhat wobbly stripes. It'll do. I started the second one more recently:

It's striping too, but do you see that?

They're not striping the same way - the second one is getting thicker stripes than the first one did. I'd suspect different dye lots, but I can't verify that - don't know where the ball bands go to - and even if I could, there's nothing I can do about it now, as the yarn is now discontinued, and trying to hunt down a matching ball is tricky business if I can't figure the dye lot to begin with. After the super matchy striping socks, this is a bit of a bummer. I suppose I could try playing with the colour runs - cutting and rejoining to make it work, but the runs are so short that trying to force them to my will would be a colossal pain. I'm declaring that officially not worth it.

That snarly skein of yarn is still waiting for its destiny - I'm using it in an upcoming MKAL, paired with another colourway:

That won't start until 2 April, which is also a bit of a bummer, because I initially thought it would start on 18 March and was all excited - hence the impatient winding. Now it's gotta wait for another week.

I wonder if I can get those non-matching stripy socks done before the MKAL kicks off?

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

I can't decide

I'm torn.

I want to start something new. The shawl for Mister's mother's birthday is done save the blocking (and possibly also the weaving in of ends - I can't remember and it's all the way upstairs), my sister's sweater cuffs have been lengthened as per her wishes. Sure, I started the second sock of another pair for her that I started before the self-striping extravaganza, and yeah there's another sweater for her around here that needs both of its sleeves, and a cardi for me that needs sleeves (I'm not super thrilled to see a pattern in that), but none of those seem right.

I want to start something new.

I've got a couple of skeins of sock yarn all wound up and ready to go. One is another batch of self-striping happiness, the other is a cushy-feeling MCN that I want to experiment with a bit - an idea for a sock design has been taking shape in my head. Trouble is - I can't pick one of these to start. I want to do both, but knitting is a two-handed activity, and I've only got two hands.

I thought maybe a new sweater might take the edge off the indecision. I snagged a copy of the ridge cardigan in a giveaway yesterday, and thought it would make a nice layering piece for me, sans buttons. I started sifting through my stash entries on Rav to pick a yarn for the project, and got nowhere fast - I have a few options available to me, but I just can't decide.

Maybe my sister will have more luck with making a decision? This happens a fair bit - whenever I get particularly flail-y about what I want to knit next, I just put the deciding power in her hands and make something for her. Makes her happy - she gets a new knitted thing. Makes me happy - I get to knit something good, and also it doesn't deplete my own stash. (Is it terrible that that matters to me?) I've wound up a couple of skeins of sweater yarn for her to look at.

Or maybe I'll dig out a different skein of sock yarn and have at it?

I just can't decide.

Monday, March 19, 2018

You again?

A couple of weeks ago, my sister brought back a sweater I'd made her last summer, with a request to lengthen the sleeves a bit.

I decided to finally get it done on Saturday. As I unpicked the bound off edge of the first sleeve, I marveled at how much previously knitted yarn looks like ramen, briefly wondered if a knitting technique could be used to get the right effect for homemade ramen, then quickly set that notion aside as way more effort than I am willing to put into culinary endeavours. New yarn was joined on using a Russian join, extra rounds of 1x1 rib were added on, and then the stitches were bound off again.

Repeat for sleeve #2.

After I took that picture, I smooshed and stretched the ribbing around to even it out some - not too sure why I didn't take a picture after I'd done that. Most likely an issue relating to the disappearance of light. Either way, can't do anything about it now, since the sweater has once again gone home with my sister.

Returning to a previously finished knit takes some mental fortitude. Much like a second sleeve or second sock, but to a greater degree - here sits a completed knit in your hands, and you work to return it to an unfinished state. I'm glad it's done. It feels a bit like I have put in my time as penance for this:

Um. Yeah. That's a skein of Fleece Artist Nyoni that I was winding to prepare for an upcoming MKAL. It's a giant skein - 250 g - and probably more than my ballwinder can handle, but I made it work, since the only alternate option available to me was to wind it by hand, which I was unwilling to do. I got most of the way through the skein before that thing happened, where the remaining yarn's gravity is overcome, and yarn no longer pulls off nicely but drags a loop or two along with it, and eventually leads to snarling. (The yarn becoming snarled, not me snarling - that comes a bit later.) I slow down, and try to pause to deal with the snarls as they develop, but somewhere along the way I lose patience, typically in the very last stretch of the skein, but this skein is rather bigger than a typical 100 g skein, so my patience ran out too early, and the snarls were pretty bad a fair bit before the yarn was all wound. What you see in that image is the result of me having decided to try for a 'gravity assist' and toss the remaining yarn on the floor - as if I could knock the snarls out or something. It totally didn't work. (I didn't really think it would, but I was hoping for a miracle.) It took me a full hour to figure that mess out, working from the other end of the yarn so I could pass the yarn through various loops in the untangling effort.

I'd say I've learned my lesson, but I know me. It's totally going to happen again. I actually think I'm probably okay with that.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Maybe a little unreasonable

This morning, I was late for work.

Not hugely late - about five minutes late. Still, when your job is to teach, the general expectation is that you will be there when class starts. So, as I was walking from my car to my office - I wasn't about to try to run for it, since that would make me all sweaty and I'm not fast enough to really gain enough time by running to make it worthwhile - I thought a bit about what I was going to say to my students when I finally made it into the classroom.

I realize that makes it sound as though I was trying to put together a plausible fib to encourage them to forgive my lateness, but that's not it. I'm a terrible liar, I have no poker face whatsoever, so my default is to just be honest and tell the truth all the time. Today's truth was this: I was five minutes late because it took me five minutes longer than it should have to get ready. The delay was due to the presence of a spider in my bathroom this morning - I spent too much time staring down the spider in order to move efficiently through my regular routine.

I've never considered myself to be someone with arachnophobia, and I still don't - I don't freak right out when I see a spider, I won't refuse to be in a room with one, I don't run screaming when I see one. They do, however, make me deeply uncomfortable, and while this would be perfectly warranted if I lived somewhere where spiders posed a real threat because they could potentially END you, I live in a place where there aren't any seriously risky spiders. This morning, when I saw the spider crawling along where the wall met the ceiling, I knew that it was a harmless-to-me spider. And yet, I watched it, unwilling to move much lest it detect my presence. (I'm not sure why a spider being aware of me would be problematic.) If it had been within reach, I would have killed it - smashed it with some toilet paper and flushed it away. But, it was too far up, and it stayed up there - as if it knew of my murderous intent - and I tried to proceed as usual, but my eyes kept straying back to the spider's path. I was only able to really get back to business once it found the space between the shower stall and the trim around the bathroom door and slipped in there, out of my line of sight. From there it probably continued on into the wall space, which admittedly does not make me happy, but there's nothing I can do to chase after it without getting wildly and expensively destructive, so I was able to get back to business as usual once it had moved on.

I've been thinking about this a bit all day - I guess I haven't really let it go - and wondering if this is actually a reasonable response to a spider. I tell myself it is normal to fear things that have the potential to pose a risk, but there really was no risk in this situation at all - and I knew it. I knew that it was a harmless little spider that found its way into the house because it is warm in here, and outside is cold, particularly at night. In fact, that spider might have been living happily in our basement for months, which might have something to do with my general avoidance of the basement too. My feelings about spiders clearly aren't completely debilitating, but I must admit, they don't seem entirely rational either.

Then again, my students seem to consider this to be within the bounds of acceptable behaviour - there were some sympathetic chuckles and smiles, and no one got a look on their face like they thought I was out of my mind with insane paranoia, so maybe I'm just overthinking things a bit.

Hey look! The shawl's bigger!

Nearly through colour #4, nowhere near through a complete repeat #4, so definitely not getting that fifth repeat in there. I'm even getting a bit nervous about getting the complete fourth repeat in there. The urge to drop everything and just knit away on this is strong - I wanna see how it works out!

I also may have some waiting room time tomorrow - not sure yet - and this piece is now big enough that I don't think I should be dragging around all over hither and yon. I may be forced into the sock decision.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Looking a little nervous

The shawl continues:

After the second or third batch of the lace, something in my head about it all clicked into place, and now I don't need to consult the pattern anymore, which is great, since that means it is now pick-up-whenever-I-want knitting, which, for me at least, is always far more productive. I can fit it in whenever, and it just gets done. It's not very often that I'm able to set aside a chunk of time as dedicated knitting time, more often I'll find myself doing something, realize I don't really need my hands for whatever it is, and reach for the needles.

My confidence from last week about the ultimate dimensions of this piece has waned somewhat. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure it'll be a usefully-sized piece, but last week I was hoping that it might maybe be possible to get all five repeats of the motif in, with some sacrifices made to the picot bindoff and final garter section. I can see clearly now that five full motifs is just not gonna happen - what's in the picture there is approaching the end of repeat #3, and that's colour #4 that's now providing the working yarn. (Well. Almost. It's joined on, but I'm not actively knitting with colour #4 just yet - there's another row or two of colour #3 still to go.)

Time-wise, though? I'm laughing. This pattern goes fast - I don't feel like I've been pounding away obsessively on this, and yet looky there! Very nearly 60% of the way done! I'll totally have this done before April comes.

Will I have it blocked, though? Can't give away an unblocked shawl. And it'll need a day or so to dry, so it's not like I can just block it on the day. A thought has just occurred to me - what day of the week is 2 April? Is it on a weekend? I might need to have this sucker done early if that's how the celebration scheduling pans out.

Okay, now I'm not laughing so much anymore. 'Scuse me, I have an appointment with some yarn.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Looking good

So I've been putting in a few rows on the gift scarf here and there over the past couple of days.

As you can see, I've already blown through the first of the five mini skeins. That being said, I've also passed the point that marks out the first full repeat of the pattern - at this point, I've nearly reached the end of the second repeat, and I'm still on colour #2. The pattern tells me I need to do five of the pattern repeats in total, then do a bit of garter stitch before binding off. Part of my brain is whooping, Yeah, only five repeats? And the first one got done with the first colour with yardage to spare? This'll be totally fine! That part of my brain is not very smart, because she's forgetting that the rows get longer as the scarf goes on. The repeat-to-skein correspondence will change accordingly, and at some point I won't be able to even do a single repeat with one mini skein.

Right now, though? I'm staying cautiously optimistic that the scarf will wind up a wonderfully respectable size. I'm also starting to relax a bit and feel pretty certain about getting it done in time. After all - I'm more than 20% of the way there, right?

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

A little sprint

I finished up the knitting on my Mum's socks last night, and have just grafted the toe closed and woven in the ends. (No picture because the sun is now too low in the sky to nicely illuminate my front room.) I still haven't made a decision about which cake of sock yarn to dig into next, but that's okay, because last night I looked at a calendar and realized that it is less than one month until the Mister's mother's birthday, and I had offered to make something that could be presented as a gift. I even bought a gradient mini-skein kit - a Sweet Georgia Yarns Party of Five set, in Swell, which is a set of green-blue shades that Mister felt would suit her, both in terms of her tastes and in terms of looking good on her.

Less than a month is pretty tight turnaround time for not-summer knitting. It doesn't strike me as impossible, though. (She says now. We'll see if my tune has changed come the end of the month!) Last night I showed Mister a couple of pattern options that are in my mental I would like to make this list, and he picked one. hot oatmeal (by Jenny Faifel).

Now, there's a small problem here. The pattern calls for 709 - 735 m of yarn. My gradient pack has 480 m. Those numbers are not the same - not even close. I'm not planning on finding more yarn kicking around here to make up the difference. Instead, I'm going to pretend that the yarn is one long gradient, instead of five mini-skeins arranged in a gradient, and join new yarn at the last possible moment to try to stretch out the yardage. I'm also accepting that the scarf will be smaller than the dimensions given in the pattern, but I really think a slight ensmallening is okay, because the pattern specs say that as written, the finished dimensions place the length at 72" and the depth at 52". That's pretty big.

So this is the plan. I've just got to wind the yarn, and then I can get this party started.