Saturday, December 27, 2008


When the package of yarn arrived yesterday, just as I was finishing a pair of crazy socks, I felt the overwhelming urge to rip into it immediately and cast on for its intended project--the sweater of a million tiny cables. I scrambled around to find the right size needle and got to work.

A mere three rounds later, I felt an twinge, then an ache, then shooting pain in my right arm. Turns out that knitting and cabling cotton at a tight gauge, on old sticky bamboo needles is a sure-fire way to blow out your carpal tunnel. Never mind, though. Two advil. Continue knitting.

Six rounds later and even the advil was no match for the needles from hell. So, first thing this morning, I ran out to my LYS and bought a pair of much-needed addis. Huge difference--much better.

Good tools are such a joy. I thought I hated dpns until I found the pricey but priceless signature needles. That itty bitty ribbing, the stiletto points--they make such a huge difference. Addis are a longtime favorite--I do wish they weren't quite so blunt sometimes, but in general, they are my go-to needles for both straight and round knitting.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Shhh. Don't Tell Anyone

Yeah, so I've had a sneaking suspicion of this for a while, but I fear it might be knitting heresy.  

I hate variegated yarns.  

They are sneaky bastards--looking all pretty as yarn in skeins, looking nasty once knit up.  OK, so sometimes socks and maybe scarves look OK.  But sweaters?  Hideous.  Hats?  Awful.  

Maybe I'm not using them properly--but at this point, I really don't think it's me.  

Case study:  Two balls of Sheep Shop Two yarn.  I have tried making a cardigan out if it.  Result: ugly.  Next, a seed-stitch scarf.  Result:  ugly.  And the most recent incarnation?  The Yarn Harlots cute "unoriginal hat."  Judge for yourself:  

So.  New Years Resolution #1:   NO MORE VARIEGATED YARN.  You will not tempt me with your multicolor swirls that look so delicious on the shelf.  I know your game.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


For a while now,  I've been wanting to make the cable and rib sweater with hood from Debbie Bliss's "The Baby Book."  I'm really starting to feel the pressure now that my own little guy is pushing a size 3T.  This pattern goes up to a size 4, but that's it.  It looks like a fairly mindless pattern with a ton of little cables.  Perhaps this will be the time to learn to cable without a cable needle.  Looks like I'd get lots of practice. 

I envision a cozy cotton sweater that little buddy can wear on chilly nights during the month we spend on Nantucket every year.

I'm not a huge fan of the Debbie Bliss cotton, and I AM a fan of Rowan's all season cotton.  So imagine the thrill I got when I scored 10 balls of Rowan ASC in "Cookie" for $23, shipping included.  WOO HOO!  Now, I just have to get it done.  Let's see, we leave for Nantucket in early July so.... I should have enough time, right?  I actually think I might have this one sent out to be seamed--looks like there is a lot of it and I know my track record.  Hey, with the $$ I saved on the yarn.....

ETA:  In my excitement, I assumed that 10 skeins would be enough for this yarn hog of a project.  Once I went through one of ten skeins and had only a few inches of knitting, I panicked a bit.  Luckily, cucumberpatchUK over on eBay still had individual skeins of this discontinued yarn in her store--whew.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cure for the winter blues

I usually love winter--love the clothes, love the comfort of being warm inside while it's cold outside.  I love the expectation of snow and how pretty it looks.  This year though, December is getting me down.  Maybe it's because Thanksgiving came late and the golden days of autumn were gone in a weekend, it seemed.  I was particularly blue yesterday and decided to hit the 
LYS in search of some retail therapy.  What I found, was Kristin Nicholas's "Kristin Knits."  It's full of vibrant designs from the color lady herself.  Sitting right under the book was a big pile of Nashua Handkints "Julia"--which is Kristin's signature yarn.  Yes, I did fall for the strategically placed yarn, but the colors were so bright and gorgeous and I loved the idea that, without thinking, I could exactly duplicate the fun knits in the book.  So, I bought enough for a pair of socks for my little sister (who is hibernating with her new baby) and a pair long-overdue mittens for my big girl.   

I immediately cast on for the socks, in hopes of finishing them before my next yarn shipment arrives.   The endpaper mitts are still a WIP, but two days of tiny colorwork had me seeing stars, so it's nice to switch to a mindless knit for a while.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ya Learn Something New Every Day

For example, last week I learned that infamous duelist Aaron Burr was the grandson of Jonathan "sinners in the hands of an angry God" Edwards.  Monday I learned that Gen. Eric Shinseki, Barack Obama's pick for Sec. of Veteras Affairs was one of only 8 Vietnam combat amputees who returned to active duty.

And yesterday, I learned how to do the tubular cast-on.  And oh it made me so happy.  I even put off fixing myself the evening cocktail until almost 7pm so I would be stone-cold sober while working on it (recommended). 

I feel like it was a reward of sorts, learning something new.  For the last week or so, my next-door neighbor has gotten interested in learning to knit and I've been helping her out.  It's been really fun and it reminded me of the time when I was picking up a new skill every time I cast on for a new project--knitting in the round, cables, colorwork-- whole new worlds open up.  

But then the learning curve inevitably flattens out.  I am not a master knitter by any standard, but I am comfortable with the basic and intermediate skills.  So, when I come across something I missed, it's so fun.

I cast on for Eunny Jang's Endpaper Mitts.  I'm using Lorna's Laces sportweight in blackberry and sunshine.  After a tour of the blogosphere, I decided to learn a regular tubular cast-on rather than the Italian one she recommends.  I tried the Italian version initially, but I could quickly see that I would run into many of the problems others had reported--it's hard for mere mortals to get an even edge.   It's gorgeous.  I love it.  No one will ever know because it will be tucked into my coat, but I know.  And it was fun.

Here is the tutorial I used.