WIP Wednesday: Sock Yarn Conundrum

Check out more WIP:Wednesday posts from the lovely bloggers linked over at Tami's Amis.

We succeeded in winning back Middle Earth last night, just please don't send us back too soon or someone may have to very enthusiastically address Peter Jackson about their concerns with the lack of intermission.  I all but finished the Lodi Cardigan.  I think I have 4 rows left.  So expect more on that soon!

In the meantime, I have found myself in a bit of a pickle.  Yesterday I realized that my last two skeins of sock yarn are on the needles.  One special skein is becoming a very simple shawl that I try to only knit on my lunch breaks or just before bed.  The other is a most glorious shade of red (I told you, I have a recent red obsession. I blame all the time I spend studying the Soviet Union) .  In an effort to make it last because I have a feeling I will not get any more sock yarn for a while (try not to think about it. It's too painful), I am knitting one of the most difficult patterns I have in my library -- Kristi by Cookie A.

Now I'm sure there are at least a few more difficult patterns in Sock Innovation, but this one seems  tailor-made for my special skein of Knit Picks Stroll Tonal.  I've never knit a sock that is charted on every row and it has been requiring some intense concentration.  Unfortunately my plan to make  the sock knitting last may have backfired.  I am now completely addicted to the chart.  Much to the detriment of my writing productivity.



"My target is misbehavior"

Last week was really really rough.  There was a lot of bad news dolled out throughout the family, but it's a new week and this week only good news is allowed.

One of the most exciting things to happen recently is the arrival of Ysolda Teague's new book Little Red in the City.

I preordered this bad boy as soon as I had the opportunity, so sometime around January?  In any case, I am so excited to finally have this book.  Only down side is that I'm currently knitting solely from stash and I have nothing that could do these gorgeous patterns justice.  My favorite is Melia.

I've since fallen in love with all of the other patterns, but it's the technical stuff that's truly awesome.  If you have any interest at all in knitting sweaters, I suggest you check it out.  I'll do a more in depth review after I finish reading it and actually knit one of the patterns.

The other big exciting thing was my first ever Can't Stop the Serenity.  This was the sixth year and was tons of fun.  Plus I finished a sleeve on the Lodi Cardigan!

If you are unfamiliar with Can't Stop the Serenity I suggest you check it out.  It is the annual screening of the film Serenity held across the world every summer in honor of Joss  Whedon's birthday.  Funds raised from each event go to benefit Equality Now, an organization that fights some of the most brutal forms of gender discrimination around the world.

Now I need to try to get some work done before tonight's final installment of Lord of the Rings!


The Feel of It All

So I did not realize when I posted yesterday that knitting in the cinema was so unusual.  Thanks to everyone who commented!  I always love WIP Wednesdays because it feels like we are all one big interactive community.

People's reactions to my movie knitting has got me thinking about the way we approach our knitting.  Now, understand, I totally get why people say they can't knit in the dark.  Many knitters are probably on to something when they say they require good light and few distractions.  They probably are a lot more precise and make way fewer mistakes than I do.  And to those who say their eyesight isn't good enough I say that you probably have better eyes than me.  I'm sure I'll suffer eye strain before too long, not just from knitting in a dark theater but also from a childhood spent reading by a nightlight when I was supposed to be in bed.

I think it's safe to say that knitting is a tactile experience for all of us.  But not all of us experience it in the same way based on our individual physiology and our development as knitters.  For me there has been a dramatic increase in my connection with my knitting in the past year.  In 2010 I knit a scarf at the movies that had a leaf motif, but as a scarf it was easy to memorize the pattern and then just count it in the back of my mind because counting is something that I find myself doing all the time (I blame years and years of swim practice.  There is literally nothing to do in the water so you count your kicks and breaths and strokes, etc).  But where before it was based on count, now I often knit based on the feel of an item.  I might not be completely accurate, but I am starting to be able to trust myself to follow the development of my knitting based on the "feel" of the item.

Last summer I met a woman at knitting group who was blind.  She crocheted the most beautiful things but could only do this based on feel and what she knew instinctively would happen next.  She had to trust herself and her interpretation of patterns completely.  My grandmother was the same way.  She lost the majority of her sight due to illness but still kept knitting.  It was something she enjoyed and thus she was not going to be kept from it (incidentally she died from said illness before I was born, but I'm fairly certain that she is the one who would have taught me to knit if she was around).  I think of her often when I'm knitting more on feel than on sight.  She had a lot more courage than I do.  I might knit in the dimness of a theater, but I often check myself whenever there is a scene outside in the sunlight and I always find a mistake when I get home.


WIP Wednesday: Knitting Disasters in Middle Earth

For more WIP Wednesday fun check out Tami's Amis.

I can't remember the last time I did not knit when at a movie theater. It just does not work for me any more. I've always loved movies but the need to sit still in a dark theater for 2+ hours is not something I particularly relish if I can't have my knitting. Let's face it. Sitting still at all is not something I'm good at. Anyway, for the past two weeks Andrea and I have been putting ourselves to one of the most extreme tests of fan loyalty. We have gone to see the first two Lord of the Rings Extended Editions in theaters. Last night was The Two Towers -- three hours and fifty-five minutes, no intermission. So naturally I've been knitting. A lot.

This growing monstrosity (the Lodi Cardigan from Knitscene Summer 2011) is my current movie theater knitting, though I predict that by the end of Return of the King it will have at least one partial sleeve. I'm a bit afraid of having to pick up any stitches in a dark theater even if I do know every line of the film by heart.

Last night, while the battle raged for Middle Earth I was fighting my own battle. Against my needles. Evidently my knitting life is not exciting enough. We had just reached the Dead Swamp when I realized my yarn was not moving from the cord up to the tip of the needle. Now the yarn is a cotton blend so it is freakishly stiff a bit on the uncooperative side. I soon realized, however, that it wasn't the yarn that was the problem. My needles were splintering at the join.

I don't remember what brand of needles these are. They're a pair of US5s that I picked up at a yarn store last year. As the movie wore on, more and more pieces of the needle were snagging parts of the yarn, creating an epic battle that I ultimately won right as Aragorn fell off the cliff. Fortunately I was close to the part of the pattern in which I needed to change needle size, so I quickly grabbed my nice Clover bamboo circs out of my bag (much to the dramatic sighing of the woman next to me) and changed needle sizes early.

Only to drop a stitch at the beginning of the Battle of Helms Deep.


FO: Neongothic Damson

Ever since I knit Damson for my mom's Christmas present I have wanted one for myself.  It was just a matter of finding enough yardage of the right yarn.  But it was pretty much fated to happen.  There's a reason Ysolda is such a popular designer.

When I was at the fiber festival last month this yarn lept right off the table and into my arms (that's my story and I'm sticking to it).  It is everything I want in a purple.  Neon, but underscored by black.  It is basically the most awesome thing ever.  The tag says it is "Twinkletoes" Fingering Weight Soft, Fluffy Wool (seriously, that's what it says), but I had some trouble finding it on Ravelry.  I'm still not convinced I found the correct yarn.

The astute among you have already noticed that I did not knit the lace edging.  I decided at the last minute to leave it off because I just did not think I had enough yarn.  Although, now that I'm looking at the yarn again I think I might have actually had enough.  Oh well.  I still love it.

And among things I love, this white-washed brick wall, covered in ivy is right in view of my balcony.  I think the lamp-post light is just lovely.


An Unsettling Confession

There are two words I don't like -- gauge swatch.  These two five letter words look harmless but their mere mention causes nervous tremors in knitters the world over.  There is the rare knitter who likes swatching, but they, like people who enjoy doing taxes, are considered by many strangely unique creatures to be admired with caution.  I know I'm not the only one who has spent countless hours trying to forget the gauge swatch.  It's not like it tells the truth anyway, right?

Which is why it pains me so much to tell you this.  But I feel it's something I must admit.  I, Faith, who only knits swatches for sweaters because I can't afford to knit something I'll never wear, I who tries to only knit swatches in dark movie theaters, I actually enjoyed swatching!

I think I'll blame this one on weakness.  I was just too sick to work up my usual level of antagonism towards my swatch.  Or maybe I was just bewitched by the yarn.

Rowan Denim is amazing.  My LYS (yes, it's still my lys even if it's in a town in which I've never lived) has sadly decided that it's too expensive to keep stocking Rowan and so is selling off the in-store stock for 20% off.  Which means that this lot I bought was still very pricey for me, but I saved enough that I convinced myself I deserved a good British yarn splurge.

It was just so much fun to knit up.  I just could not tear my eyes off of it.  Plus it's fairly soft for cotton, and appears to have a really nice drape.

But the coolest thing about Rowan Denim is what happens when it's washed.  The white core of the yarn is left undyed, which means that a lot of the color bleeds off when it is washed, allowing the white core to peak through like a nicely worn pair of jeans.

The left is pre-washing, right is post.  Both taken with flash.

I had read that the swatch would tighten up when it is soaked, but it was not nearly as significant as I expected.  I lost about a quarter inch in the row gauge, but that amounts to only about one added row.  Stitch gauge also only gained one, so it really isn't bad.  In fact, the washed swatch put me on gauge for the Ambrosia Cardigan from Interweave Summer 2010.  I've been eyeing this cardigan since it was published but at the time I didn't think I could knit anything that "elaborate".  Amazing the difference a year makes.


Desperately Blogging Nothing

Have you missed me?  I haven't fallen off the earth, I promise.  But there really hasn't been anything new lately to write about.  Actually, that's a lie.  But by the time I got a chance to write about it this was all that was on my brain...

Oh yeah.  I got the mother of all sinus infections.  But I should back up a bit.

The past few weeks are a blur.  I went out of town to work an event for a few days to make some fast cash to do things like, say, eat.  I also took the opportunity on that trip to stop by home and see my family.  We had a ton of fun and yes, there was some yarn purchasing, probably the last purchase for a long time.

But dude that yarn is soo totally worth it (and did I mention it was on sale?!)

Then I came back here and finally got a job!  Last week I officially started work at the children's museum downtown.  I work literally two blocks from the state capital building and get to spend all day welcoming kids and their families to some of the most fun ever.  Anyone who has talked to me in the past few weeks, ever since I interviewed, has heard me gush about how much I love this place.  It is so much fun.

So that brings us to now.  Obviously working around kids has its downsides.  I spent my last free weekend on the couch, struggling to breath.  I tried to do some knitting, but honestly I was so drugged I was really really slow.  And I picked up a second job tutoring so between two jobs and writing my thesis there hasn't been much time to knit.  Hopefully that will change soon, because I miss you guys and no knitting productivity means nothing to blog about!