Monday, January 28, 2013

Fraternal Perianth

I love yarn with long color repeats. I have not yet decided if I love it on these mittens, though.

I think I do.

Perianth Mittens (mine ravelled here),
knit in Knitpicks' Capretta in Black and Chroma in Lollipop

The mittens are the exact same pattern, but because the rounds are not symmetrical, each one looks different. The pattern on the palm of the green/yellow one is on the back of the hand of the orange/pink one and vice versa.

I did two-color ribbing for the cuff. The knits are normal and the purls are twisted. I could pretend this is a design feature executed after careful aesthetic consideration, but the truth is that I knit them using the combination style and was too lazy to untwist the purl stitches.

They were very tight before blocking, but, once again, blocking does magical things. My mitten blockers are very high tech. I have two pieces of cardboard for the body of the hands and two small pieces for the thumbs. I wrap each of these in bits of plastic grocery bags and cram them inside the mitten. Please try not to be jealous of my fancy tools. You, too, can have such mitten blockers.

These mittens also look awesome with my tattoo.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Optimism or Addiction?

I've made a mistake. At every step of the way, I knew it was a mistake, but I kept walking.

It started with me honestly assessing a situation and making a rational decision.

I do not do well starting plants from seeds. I have a grow light. I have soil-less mix. I start seeds four weeks before I should need to start them. I put them in roomy pots so they don't have to be transplanted more than once. I sing them songs and do interpretive dance for them.

And they are underwhelming every year. Every year, the plants that I purchase are bigger, stronger, healthier, and more productive. I don't know what I do wrong, but I decided that I have to accept that this is something I do not do well.

Therefore, I will not buy seeds. Honest assessment and rational decision.

What happened next isn't really my fault. I was reading this blog, and she said she ordered all her seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. I hadn't heard of them, so I requested a catalogue.

I begin walking.

It came in the mail this week. I look at it, and then I tell myself that I am saving myself from grief by not ordering seeds this year. It is freeing, I tell myself, this accepting who I am thing. I am not someone who does well with seeds, and therefore I buy plants.

It has flowers on the cover. A tiny voice in my head whispers, "Flowers are different than vegetables."

Another step.

I'll just have a flick through, but I'll only look at the flower chapter.

I pick up speed.

I'm not going to buy any seeds, but if I were, I could buy perennial flower seeds. Some of those can be direct sowed! It's completely different than trying to start tomatoes on the floor in the guest room.

I'm jogging now.

I'm not sure what it is about gardening, but it lends itself more to misplaced optimism than anything else I can think of. Every year, I believe things will be different. This year, I'm telling myself that the last two summers have been freakishly hot (true), and therefore we're due for a decent summer that doesn't make every plant pray for a quick death.

If insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, than is gardening insane? I try to tweak it every year, but I'm basically doing the same things over and over. Yet I still believe that this year will be different, better, more successful.

It makes me think of people battling addiction. Many of them know they're headed down the wrong path, but they can't seem to be able to stop walking. Maybe this is my form of addiction.

I haven't ordered any seeds yet, but there are several items circled in the catalogue.

I guess it's better than a crack habit.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mizzle fo' Shizzle

I finished the Spectra in the evening and didn't know what I wanted to knit next. I knit for about half an hour at work during my lunch hour, so I grabbed a ball of yarn and some needles on the way out the door and decided I'd start a pair of socks.

When I really started looking at the yarn, I decided it was too unspun to become socks. I have no desire to spend hours of my life knitting something that falls apart because the yarn is wrong for the project. (And, for the record, I don't think this yarn should be called Step It Up. It sets knitters up for failure.) I decided to make another little shawl with it.

And I didn't like it.

It isn't the pattern's fault. The pattern is quite lovely, and I'd knit it again. It's the colors. When I saw the way the colors were appearing, I envisioned a seven-year-old princess riding a unicorn under a rainbow surrounded by pink carnations covered in dew.


I persevered and finished it because I didn't have a better idea what to do with the yarn and, hey, maybe I'll run into a seven-year-old who needs this sort of thing, right? Then I blocked it.

Mizzle (mine ravelled here),
knit in Mary Maxim Step It Up in Playful Plum 315

Blocking is magic. I'm still not sure I'm going to keep it, but I feel that I could give it to someone who was not seven and she would probably like it.

In some ways, the fact that blocking made such a difference is a really bad thing. It feeds the part of my brain that wants to believe that a horrible piece of knitting will magically transform once it's finished. This shawl is the exception that proves the rule, but I'm guessing that I won't be able to remember that the next time I find myself in this predicament.

Feel free to remind me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


It's finished! I asked a coworker to take these photos. It was highly amusing to me. She said things about "negative space" and told me what to do. Clearly, I should quit my day job and become a model for knitwear.

Spectra (mine ravelled here),
knit in Knitpicks' Gloss Fingering in Black and Chroma Fingering in Roller Skate 

Here is the Dramatic Arm Gesture I promised you, also known as "WALL! It's been so long since I've seen you! You look great!! Hug me now!"

Monday, January 14, 2013

Steam Age Henslowe

Henslowe is finished!
Henslowe by Beth King (mine ravelled here),
knit in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light, Steam Age colorway

I've knit a couple small shawls like this now (the other one being the Nefertem), and I'm pleased with the amount of use they're getting. It's possible I'm going to become someone who wears scarf-y, shawl-y, wrap-y things with some regularity.

This also seems like a good way to use some of the very pretty, very difficult to find a pattern for, variegated sock-weight yarn I have. I'm drawn to the sock yarn with a lot of colors, but I have a hard time finding sock patterns that don't get lost in that type of yarn. 

I'm deep in the throes of Spectra right now. I'm knitting it with a black border and Roller Skate wedges.

There's a lot more done than this picture shows, but I want to save the reveal for when it's finished. It will be a Reveal with lots of Dramatic Arm Gestures. I have 70 of 86 wedges finished, so I'm hopeful to get it done and blocked this week.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cloisonee Mittens

While I was trying to decide if I was going to finish the socks, I made some mittens.

Cloisonee Mittens (mine ravelled here) 

I knit them with yarn in the stash, including the purple yarn that caused me such fits.

Okay, that's not fair. The yarn didn't cause me fits. I caused myself fits by being stupid over and over again.

Enough about that. Let's look at mittens!

The main purple is Schaefer Yarn Company Lola in Thistle colorway. I'm not going to link that yarn because the owner of the company is retiring and so I assume all the yarn either is or soon will be discontinued. I do not wish to cause you pain, so I'm not linking you to a webpage full of pretty yarn you can't have.

You're welcome.*

The cuffs are made with Cascade 220 superwash that is--wait for it--so old that the project it was first used for is not on my Ravelry page. I made a pair of Pippi Kneestockings from the first Stitch 'n' Bitch book with this yarn. It was some of the first yarn (maybe the first?) that I bought at a real knit shop, and I remember walking out of that store thinking, "Huh. This is not a cheap hobby."

Edited to add: Oops, I lied. They are on Ravelry, although they must have been added later since I didn't know what dates to put on the project.

Of course, now I know that I need to calculate cost of a project based on hours spent knitting rather than number of skeins purchased. A shift in perspective makes knitting much more reasonable... at least, in terms of cost.

I used colors 829, 848, and 864. At least one (829--the pinky one they call "orchid") seems to be discontinued, but there are so many different colors of that yarn that there'd be no problems finding an acceptable substitute.

I liked knitting these mittens. Worsted weight goes quickly, and the cuffs were fun. It was a good break from the socks. 

Problem is, of course, that I don't think I'll wear them. I've decided I like Proper Mittens. Proper Mittens, to me, are knit in fingering-weight yarn, are stranded, and probably have some sort of fancypants pattern on them.

The sensible reason for liking those types of mittens is because the denser fabric and stranded-ness makes them very warm.

The real reason for liking those types of mittens is that I like fancypantsness. I love the Swirly Mittens and wear them all the time. I have plans to knit Perianth Mittens, provided I can decide what sort of cuff I want to substitute so I can have a couple Estonian braids (also fancypants).

I'm keeping the Closonee Mittens for awhile, just to make sure that I don't really want to keep them, but I imagine they'll become a gift.

Hope you're hobbying** something fun, too!

*Okay, I am weak. Here's a link to Simply Socks. They still have some Schaefer yarn in the Anne, Nichole and Heather lines. Buy all you want, and forthelove, make sure you get enough for whatever project you're contemplating... plus one extra skein. You can't be too careful.

**I just made up that word, and I mean that I hope whatever it is that you do with your spare time is going swimmingly.

Monday, January 7, 2013


There's no good way to post this. My grandfather died.

He was 88. It was unexpected. We were close. It hurts a lot.

I got the call on Saturday, Dec. 29. We live about an hour away from Grandfather (who is about 5 minutes from my mom), and we drove a lot the next several days. A lot.

I needed my hands to be busy, but my brain was otherwise occupied.

Grieving Socks knit in Knitpick's Felici Sport, Monotone colorway

I finished them last night. I wasn't sure I would finish them, but I did. I'm wearing them today.

The only way out is through.