Yarn Whore

because all the other good names were taken

Monday, May 29, 2006

Mathtard (the sequel to the sequel)

Lace is kicking my ass. Again.

I gave up on the DEW cardigan because I just couldn't get knitting lace. Then I discovered that when I re-taught myself to knit "continental" I went right ahead and taught myself "combined knitting" rather than the traditional method of continental style. The combined method IS much more intuitive than regular knitting AND has the added bonus of being faster. How much faster, I don't know. I still think I knit pretty slow, especially in the round.

Anyway, it was clear to me then that I was gonna have to learn some new tricks. Grumperina has a chart for those of us too retarded to figure it out on our own. So I printed the chart, ordered an "easier" project (Lead or Follow lace scarf) and a different Helen's laces colorway (Tahoe) and I sat down to conquer lace. I mean come on, it's just sticks and yarn with loops and decreases and increases. How hard is this supposed to be? I'm smarter than yarn and needles, aren't I?

If "smarter" means "able to count to twelve" then the answer is no. Seriously. I'll be in the middle of a count, get distracted by something shiny and end up tinking back a row when I get to the end and realize that my count is off by a stitch or five. It's maddening. Then I see Wendy has made another shawl out of her own handspun. I checked her blog for dates and it looks like it took her 12 days to knit it. 12 days. And that's not counting working, sleeping, knitting socks, and going on her book tour. Someday I hope to be able to knit like that. Maybe when I grow up and am able to count higher than three for extended periods of time.

The baby shower

A few weeks ago I lost my mind and decided to knit a baby blanket for my cousin in time for her baby shower.

Yeahhhhhhhh. Right.

If you'll look to the right on your monitor (and down some) you'll notice that I have a new sidebar entry called "Orphans". It's my section for abandoned projects. Anyway, I knit on that thing for a day or two before I realized that I was A) going insane with all the baby blue acrylic and 7) unable to count to 18 for the pattern repeat (there's a theme going here). Off the needles it went. Also off the needles? The aforementioned and much cursed DEW cardigan, my dad's blue socks (he'll never wear the wool and I'll never knit cuff down again), and a white Kitty Hat from the first Stitch and Bitch. Buh-bye ill conceived projects, don't let the door shred to pieces hit your crazy-making patterns on the way out.

Where was I? Oh yes, the baby shower. Ok. I generally hate baby showers. I like the babies that are inevitably there , but I don't like the stupid games that the organizers make everyone play. Luckily there was only one rather innocuous game before the group mutinied and requested present opening and cake.

The other thing I don't like about baby showers (and bridal showers and weddings ) is the inevitable questioning of my current relationship status. Lately this questioning has been on the upswing. It seems that no matter where I go there is at least one jackass insensitive clod person who grills me about when I am getting married. Usually it's my family who are being generally rude about this, but last week the guy who owns the makeup supply store asked me where my engagement ring was. Weird.

I honestly don't have an answer for this question. Do I want to marry J*? Yes, I do. Do I want to have a child with him? Yes. I think J* would make a great husband and father. Do we talk about this? No, we don't. And I don't think that this is a problem. Though, apparently I am in the minority on this point.

I guess my "advancing" age has something to do with this. I'm 38, and my unmarried/childless status is some sort of incomprehensible anomaly that my family can't seem to wrap their heads around. (to be fair, my mom has backed off completely since I had a talk with her about how the pressure to get married was really pissing me off). Out of all the "kids" of legal age in the family, I am the only one who is not married. I don't know why this is such an issue with people, but it is. One of my cousins asked me if J* had a commitment "problem". What the hell kind of question is that?

J* and I have been dating for a year and a half. We don't live together and our jobs often require us to be apart more than we are together. There aren't a lot of mundane moments in our relationship because there simply isn't time for it. We don't really fight (again, no time) but we do discuss everything. EVERYTHING. The slower nature of our relationship I think gives us time to build something beautiful and strong. I think the only commitment "problem" we have is the inability to conform to my family's unwritten and baffling time table.

Where was I going with this? Oh yeah. I hate that these questions make me feel defensive. I don't know how to deflect these questions from my family or relative strangers without seeming defensive. Strangely, for the girl who has a comeback for just about anything that comes my way the only answer I have is: "I don't know".

Ok, end of rant. This probably should have gone over on hairburner, but here it is.

I'll distract you with some photos of what I'm currently working on. How's that?

Here are the baby socks I decided to knit instead of the blanket. I like how the blue looks a little like camouflage. Knitted toe up with a Turkish cast on (my new favorite!) and short row heels using the Magic Loop method on Addi Turbos 2.25mm (us1). The cotton/lycra sock yarn was bought on etsy.com from Carolyn at Greenwood Fiberworks. I am addicted to this yarn.

Here is the beginning of the Lead or Follow scarf. I'm halfway through the row because I'm tinking back to the stitch marker. I had to put it down or somebody was going to get hurt. I bought the pattern from The Knitting Zone. I found them on a random google hunt. I like them because they have almost 200 patterns for immediate download. Which satisfies my "I have to make this RIGHT NOW" problem. This is being knit on size 4US 24" Clover bamboo circulars. I don't like them. At all. (tips not pointy enough, cable isn't bendy enough even after soaking the cable in boiling water) Tomorrow I'll go to my favorite LYS and buy a pair of Crystal Palace circs.

Here is the Helen's Laces yarn in the Tahoe colorway. 1250 yards of wooly/silk goodness. That's 1.143 kilometers or 12 and a half football fields. When should a yarn ball manufacturer start making an electric version of their product? Um. Now. Now would be good.

A while back, while under the influence of yarn and the Superbowl game I went to a yarn store by J*'s house. I bought a ton of crap there (there was a SALE). I bought 10 balls of this:

I know I totally took leave of my senses that day. Look:

I think I was going to combine this with the slub yarn I used on the booga bag to knit a scarf or ten for Knit for the Cure. Since I used the slub to go live with Lap this fright-fest bag has been taunting me. I finally decided to make a tank top for my housekeeper since she loves pink so much. She even commented on how pretty the yarn was. I pulled this out to knit on when my friend Julie was over the other day. She told me it was too ugly and bulky. Now I am not so sure. I don't want this to end up on You Knit What??. We'll see.

That's it for now. Next up in the posting: Snotty LA yarn store owners.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Jackass knitting tip #57

Here's a tip for those of you who are knitting socks on one circular (AKA Magic Loop):

When pulling the cable backwards to get the stitches resting on the cable back on to the needle to knit, make sure that you are pulling the correct side of the cable. Pulling the incorrect side of the cable could result in pulling the needles completely out of one side of two socks.

It could also result in spending a wasted 20 minutes of fishing your teeny tiny size 1 stitches out of the loops because you love this stupid cotton lycra sock yarn that shrinks right back into itself so much it hurts.

It could also result in a lot of artfully strung together curses and also in the making another one of these, even though it may been what caused the confusion in the first place.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

If I were a gnat I would have swatted me by now

I have no attention span.

No really.

Unbeknownst to me, I signed some sort of stash non-proliferation agreement. I'm not sure with whom, or when, exactly I signed it though I am somehow of the belief that my step-mom secretly flew out here and had me sign while I was in some sort of work induced coma.

I sent her a 35lb box of yarn right before I left for Costa Rica. Thirty. Five. Pounds.

And I am about to send her another box. NOT 35lbs, as I am not sure I even have another 35lbs actually in my stash.

This would, in most cases, mean that I have absolutely nothing to knit.

Do you see anything in my stash to knit?

I call this my cashmerino superchunky phase

See that brown hank? 100% 8 ply cashmere.
Discontinued. You don't want to know what I spent on this yarn. And it was on sale.

Could someone please explain the Bernat baby to me?
I fear this may have been a sweater for an infant that is now 3.

This is where the real stash is. Under the bed. Hidden from prying eyes. Whose?
Oh, I don't know. J* doesn't care about how much yarn I buy.

See what I mean? Absolutely NOTHING to knit.

I am still knitting on the pink sock.

A little ribbing here and there.

But I also started something new. A baby blanket for my cousin. The baby shower is in a week and a half. I was telling my mom that I was making a baby blanket. My mom, who is most definitely NOT a knitter asked me if I would be able to finish it in time. Sheesh!

This is acrylic something or other. You know, because babies are messy. And things need washing.

Knit on 10.5 addi's, yarn doubled because if I had to knit this on a size 6 I would kill myself. As it stands right now I am only thinking about sticking my head in the oven.

I got to thinking about the other projects I have languishing on needles:

Remember this?


Dew cardigan : 8 Wendy: admitting defeat

(that's right. Cast on = EIGHT)

Which is too bad, because this yarn is gorgeous. I'm thinking it's going to be a shawl. An easy shawl.

Actually I learned something interesting in my quest to conquer lace. I am a "combination" knitter. Annie Modesitt has an explanation here . And as such, lace has really sucked for me. I know better now. I've got printouts to help me.

I don't even remember whose little hellion brat tyke was to be the recipient of this eye-stabber. A beautiful merino knit in garter stitch on size 6 needles.

Notice the needles are missing. This piece is now happily frogged (I may have laughed a bit gleefully as I did it) and the balls are on their way to Colorado.

This is a throw I decided to make for J*'s mom for Christmas. I was under the influence of yarn at the time. Notice I didn't say which Christmas.


This is the reason why I curse the manufacturer of the electric yarn ball winder who has decided to not offer them to the American market anymore.

If only I knew some small children looking to make a few bucks.

Okay. I've shown you mine. It's your turn.

(Also? Blogger can SUCK IT right now)

Friday, May 12, 2006

What I did on my summer vacation

Lap wanted to know if I got any knitting done while I was here:

The answer is yes. Though not actually on the beach, because it was too damn hot and muggy (not to mention buggy). The humidity was causing the cotton to be kind of "fluffy". So I knit in the hotel room. Wanna see? Okay!

Seriously, do you have any idea how freakin' proud of myself I am? After ALL those tries knitting a sock top down? After not finding a yarn I could love (and wash and dry?). Well, that's not true. I know there is a LOT of other wool I love that are for socks, but those are for me. Because I know no one else that I could trust not to throw the merino in the washer and dryer (Laura and Kristen excluded of course)

Wanna see the heel up close? squeeee!

When I turned the heel I nearly died. It IS simple, and yet so amazing. And I had no one to share it with. I told J*, who was at first rather non plussed, but when he saw how excited I was he played the part very nicely and actually looked at what I had done and was a little amazed. Of course, it does help that he was an actor, so his performace seemed sincere. I love this man.

Of course, he wants a pair of his own (not pink). Did I mention that he wears a size 12 shoe? I also want to knit a pair for my dad. Size 11 1/2 shoe. My brother? One size 10 1/2 and one size 11(just to keep it complicated for me). Why in the hell do the men in my life have such big ass feet? (insert wail here)

At least us chicks have small feet. I wear a 7 1/2, my mom wears a 7, and my sister-in-law wears a 5 1/2 wide. (her little feet are so cute, almost hobbity in their nearly square proportions!)

I also realized that this sock is kinda wide (72 sts) so guess who's getting these when they are done?

Oh! I almost forgot. I got some books in the mail when I was gone:

I love the look of these books. Everything is so clean and precise.

I'll be posting mostly over at Hairburner for the next few days. And the RSS thingy I talk about over there? It works for this too.

Oh, and Kristen? I hope you feel better soon miss. And send me an address will you?