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July 26, 2009

I got back on the horse that threw me

. . . the horse called "Knitting"

Some of you more astute Ravelers (as well as a few of you on Flickr) might have noticed that I cast on and started a new project last week -- and I was really struggling with it. The struggle was entirely due to my choosing a pattern that would highlight the negative qualities of my knitting. While I was sharing my issues on Flickr and Ravelry, the designer contacted me with helpful suggestions (which I followed) but my unhappiness with my knitting persisted. Each time I sat down to knit -- fully intending to see it through to the end, I would feel a wave of nausea and dizzyness. So I decided that I was far too invested in it emotionally (and not in a good way) that I needed to completely unravel it, wind the yarn I'd used and return the unused balls. Continuing the project would have taught me nothing -- and it wasn't at all FUN.

I bought a new pattern and new yarn and I'm playing it safe. Even the pattern -- from Knitting Pure and Simple -- promises to be just that. I even chose a natural-colored yarn, demonstrating an uncharacteristic lack of adventure. I did, however, choose the buttons that charmed me the most:

[Flickr] [Ravelry]

The yarn, if it was edible, would be delicious; the color is even called "Ice Cream"

[Flickr] [Ravelry]

It's Spud & Chloƫ Sweater, a wool and organic cotton blend. I absolutely LOVE it. It's a true worsted weight too -- not too light or too heavy. I'm already to the point where I will separate the sleeves and join the front to the back. I just have to buy the rest of the yarn -- I had no idea I'd knit this far in less than a day. My gauge is perfect and I've compensated for my rowing-out issue (see another blogger's illustration of "rowing out" here) by purling with a smaller needle. That is, I'm knitting with 4.5mm Addi Turbos and purling with 4.0mm Denise needles. There's still a good portion of this current project in which I used the same size needle for both knitting and purling and it's noticeable -- but it doesn't bother me that it's there.

Last week, I got to have lunch with SoKnitpicky; we discussed knitting, food, and some of my drama. It was during our lunch and her talking about her latest knit (the one for which she'd just purchased yarn less than a week earlier and was already nearly finished knitting!) that I made the decision to frog my own project that spurred this blog entry. She was wearing this top at lunch and like everything else she knits and wears, it looked great on her. It's become for me a visual and a goal -- to knit something I'll wear that will be that flattering and stylish. Since nothing in my closet currently fits well anyway, now's the right time to consider knitting for my true size and body shape -- the one I am now and will likely be from now on.

July 09, 2009

The Fast and the Finished

Meet "Georgia," the cheeky monkey interpreted as a knit (and crocheted) coffee cup cozy:

Sock monkey cup cozy based on a free pattern on Ravelry
[Flickr] [Ravelry]

As soon as I finished (!), washed and blocked my Soft Waves Ripple, Jr., I grabbed the yarn and pattern for this quick project fix. From start to finish (if you already have the yarn and buttons) the cup cozy can be completed in about two hours. I had so much fun making this. A few months ago, a co-worker of mine at the yarn shop shared the free pattern she found on Ravelry (designer: Alejandra Quiroz) and we each bought a skein of the Manos Wool Clasica "Naturals" and split it three ways. I loved knitting with the yarn -- especially the lighter-colored one that I used for the monkey face. In the skein, it's lightly marled; you don't really see the potential until it's knit. It looks a little bit rustic and wild, and it makes a perfectly cute monkey.

And did I mention I was finished with the Ripple?! I have to admit that I was really sick of it towards the end and so glad I chose to make a smaller version of the blanket. To recap for those who haven't seen my notes on Ravelry, I used Cascade 220 Superwash (about 15 different colors). I started with a Boye 4.25mm (G) crochet hook but lost it (probably somewhere in the sofa) and finished with a Susan Bates 4.25mm (G) hook. Each stripe was 2 rows of the ripple pattern, all double crochet stitches. As I've shared before, this ripple was one of my motivations for wanting to learn how to crochet in the first place, so I'm pleased I stuck with it and finished it. I'm already planning at least one more, slightly wider and longer, for my sister Jayne who requested a pink / brown / white color scheme.



For those of you who are local, the blanket will be at Twisted Yarns for a while. Feel free to squish it.

July 06, 2009

I wanted to love them

Clover Takumi 9-inch Circular Needles

I love the yarn
I love the stitch marker
I even loved the 9-inch circular needles. At first.

Knitting the ribbing (2x2; that is, K2, P2) was an absolute joy. It seemed easier to knit ribbing on the circulars. However, the plain stockinette portion slowed me down considerably because of the way I hold these needles. For me, there is too much "play" between stitches -- something that would be okay for a patterned sock, but undesirable when there is a need for speed. I knit faster on DPNs with more control and tighter stitches. I still like the concept of small circulars, but when I want a joyful sock knitting experience, double-pointed needles are my tool of choice.

You know what's coming next, right? I want to give the 9-inch circular needles to somebody who would like to try them. These are 2.75mm or the equivalent of a US Size 2 needle.


Just leave a brief comment letting me know the sock yarn you're planning to use with the needles and I'll choose the recipient by Thursday morning. Assurances that you're going to post a photo and/or blog entry reviewing the needles are highly likely to influence me.