Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Travel Knitting Dilemmas

Striped Socks
Originally uploaded by craftytails
Being the forward-thinking person that I am, the Hemlock Ring Blanket is in full swing. Yeah, right. Of course, I am going to be in Minnesota in a week and a half. This means I have been caught with my pants down as far as travel knitting is concerned.

When I go out of town, a relatively easy sock project usually joins me. Not only are socks super portable, but TSA has never batted a suspicious eye when they have seen bamboo sock needles in my carry-on bag. This may happen one day, but it hasn't... yet. The blanket needs a little more attention than I can provide while talking at a panel. I have at least three scarves to knit by next Christmas, but I don't want to take anything that won't fit into a medium-sized purse. Perhaps now is the time to start on the plain black beanie for someone who recently did me a favor. Or I could finally knit that brown watch cap I promised my stepfather a while back...

Now that I am writing and thinking about all of the simple projects that have never been started, I realize I am way too easily distracted. I want to work on things that excite me and consider anything else a chore. The best explanation I can come up with is the fact that my day job consumes my thoughts most of the time. When I have a few hours to myself, I only want to do things that make me feel happy and distracted.

There are also two patterns in my head that badly need to be written down and tested. I suppose now is the time to buckle down and get my gift knitting and pattern writing out of the way. I don't want to feel the stress of last Christmas when I ran past the deadline to make presents. I have the yarn stash. I have the tools. I even have most of the patterns already picked and allocated to certain people. After I complete my next charity auction, I will be free and clear to stop procrastinating and start doing something constructive.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

No Rest For the Wicked

Originally uploaded by craftytails
Social obligations and work have really taken their toll on my not-so-secret knitting life these days. Despite the stress, I am pretty happy with the way things are turning out. Today, I indulged in some necessary house cleaning. There is a long way to go, but the kitchen is finally under control.

Despite the lack of personal time, I have managed to sneak in some project progress while recording in the booth and during car rides. There is something deliciously furtive about knitting in the dark.

My striped socks are nearly complete and I have sewn the second seam on my Skully sweater. It looks and fits as it should. As soon as I can put the final touches on a few projects, I will re-start the Hemlock Ring Blanket. The Ready, Set, Knit! podcast has posted some instructions for enlarging the blanket. I know I can figure this out on my own, but a working girl needs a break every now and then.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Mindless Projects

Striped Socks
Originally uploaded by craftytails
I finally finished my first sweater. There is technically one more seam to sew and some blocking, but the Skully sweater is finally complete. Once it is fully wearable, I will photograph and post here. I am incredibly excited to wear it in Minnesota in a few weeks. For once, I adhered to a set deadline and completed a project on time.

But... There is one tiny problem. My skin is sensitive to mohair. The yarn I used contains 15% mohair and it is an itch factory. I think I will be OK as long as I have a long-sleeved shirt to wear underneath.

Since the sweater got too large to carry around and my rpm socks require a pattern, I started a pair of stockinette socks using self-striping yarn. I know how chintzy this looks, but I need to be able to pay attention if I insist on knitting during social functions (which I most certainly do).

What does shame feel like?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Ravelry Benefit + Accidental Yarn Stashing

Blue Hands Fibers - Clarine
Originally uploaded by craftytails
I have always been envious of people in sock clubs. It's not that I necessarily like every colorway or yarn base, but I can completely understand the excitement of getting fiber in the mail on a monthly basis. Last year, I toyed with the idea of joining the Hill Country Yarns sock club because it was the most affordable I found. Suddenly, common sense kicked in and I realized there are more responsible things to do with my money (at least until I manage a major de-stash). Recently, Dee came up with a bunch of colorways for her new club. 50% of the proceeds go directly to Jess and Casey to help defray operating costs for Ravelry, which is a service some of us can't believe we ever lived without.

When I said "accidental yarn stashing", I meant it. Gracia completely surprised me this weekend with a gift basket containing a lovely handmade card and two skeins each of Berroco Bonsai in Raku Brown and Japanese Maple. This yarn is unbelievably soft and has a nice sheen to it. When I have adequate daylight, I will take more photos of my stash and projects.

I was incredibly delighted to point to the yarn and tell my boyfriend, "See! It's not my fault this time!"

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Intarsia Good, Weaving in Ends Bad

I have reached the chart section on the sleeves of my Skully sweater and the intarsia went beautifully. Unfortunately, I forgot about my little problem with the plethora of yarn ends. Instead of researching how to weave them in properly, I plunged right in and managed to distort the design. I went back and fixed it as well as possible, with the thought in mind that I will do better with the second sleeve. One day, I will pull off a garment without some level of disaster.

On the other hand, the lime green looks very striking against the milk chocolate main color. This, I am extremely pleased about.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

No Knitting After Midnight

After a week that felt longer than it should have, I decided to make some progress on my Skully sweater. The rich tapestry of my knitting fantasy life has shown me scenes of laughing at the freezing air during my upcoming trip to Minnesota. I am going to make the sweater on time, but the reality is not the perfection I dreamed. To be honest, I have never finished knitting an entire sweater before and this is an exercise in patience. After carefully following the directions, I realized the neck line looked ugly where I picked up the stitches and sewed the ribbing together. It fit perfectly, so I figured I would do things my way. The neck got ripped out and I tried it once more by sewing up both shoulders first and then knitting the neck ribbing in the round. Somehow, it got a lot smaller than the first time and I can't get it over my head now. Tomorrow, I will remedy this evil and I vow never to knit while tired. After midnight, I think the little Gizmo that is my current craft project turns into a sadistic gremlin.