Thursday, September 28, 2006

Coincidental Centipede

Sometimes the coolest coincidences occur. I just answered a phone call, even though I didn't recognize the name on my caller id. It was a woman named Mary Ellen Hopkins
who found an old Stitches From the Heart flier from when I was teaching there. She was interested in knowing if I had the pattern for the Centipede Scarf class available for purchase.

I had completely forgotten about that pattern. It was a derivative of a scarf from that scarf book that is in a box.

We talked a lot about publishing and the difference in contracts between books and fabrics.

I felt like I had met someone from my 'karass'. I'm sending her the pattern and hope to hear back from her about whether she likes it. She hadn't seen a picture, just liked the description.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Disappointing Knitting

Remember the beautiful Candace Eisner Strick color-blended scarf I started last week? This is how it looked on Friday. I decided I would finish it over the weekend.
First I discovered that the progression of the colors changed after a while. You start out changing one of the 3 strands every row, but towards the middle, some combinations stay the same for 2 rows. No problem. There was plenty of extra yarn, so I adjusted my blending on the last 2 of the 8 colors. I wish she had put a note about that on the pattern, but it is typical of me that I think I understand a pattern and merrily knit away, missing something crucial and have to rip back when things aren't turning out right and I finally read the rest of the pattern. Sometimes I don't even read a pattern, just look at the chart and take off.

I finished the knitting and transferred the stitches to accomodate the 3 needle bind off that would form a seam down the center of the scarf.

Here is the first end of the scarf:

Here is the middle section of the scarf. You can see the place where the new strands are joined and I was pretty sure I would not be able to weave them in to my critical satisfaction.

And here is the other end of the scarf. Notice I haven't finished the bind off. Do you see why? It didn't say in the pattern: Join, being careful not to twist. In fact, the pattern forgot to mention joining at all. I just assumed that was what you were supposed to do since every other row was purl and the result was garter stitch.

Of course, I checked carefully to make sure the cast on was not twisted before I joined. I checked VERY CAREFULLY. But apparently, not carefully enough.

And as anyone who has ever created an unintentional mobius hat, sweater or anything knows, THERE IS NO WAY TO SAVE THIS!!! The first mobius scarf was probably the designer's way of saving her knitting!

I examined everything very carefully. I thought and thought. And then I frogged and frogged.

And here is my CES scarf now:

I will probably never remake it. But if I did, this is what I would change:
1) I would not knit it circularly. I would knit it in the same manner, but with a seam instead of circular. Since the strand changes are going to show anyway, no matter how careful you are, they would have to be camouflaged in the arrangement around the neck, anyway, so why go through the torture of purling? Not to mention not seeing the twist till the WHOLE THING IS DONE!!!
2) I would make it much longer. Instead of 300 stitches in length, I would probably do 400. This scarf ended up about 40" long - not enough to do an interesting knotted arrangement around the neck.

But finally, as much as I loved the yarn, the colors and the mitered corners, when finished, it was just a...disappointment. Flimsy, not drapey, and kinda... I don't know... insubstantial.

On behalf of CES, I must say that I saw her at a Stitches event and she was wearing one of her blended color vests and it was GORGEOUS!!! I think she is fabulously talented and I don't want to imply that anyone interested in purchasing her kits would be as disappointed as I am. I was just having a disappointing knitting weekend.

So I got out my current socks and finished them. I had made maybe 2 other single socks from the same yarn and frogged them, before I finally settled on the Jaywalker pattern again. I am especially happy that they both match perfectly. This yarn has such long color changes that if they weren't perfectly matched, I wouldn't have liked them. Yes, yes, there is a little brown spot on the toe of one. That's okay, I am not that nutz.

Am I the only one who makes and remakes and remakes the same yarn? It's not like I don't have a box of sock yarn the size of Detroit. I just hate to waste any of it. So this was a ball of Opal in beautiful Southwestern colors. This time, the pattern worked just as written, in the small size. I have come to the conclusion that my STR yarn was a bit thicker than fingering weight, and that's why I couldn't get gauge on the size 1 needles. (BTW, the recepient of the STR yarn, Barry, was very satisfyingly thrilled with them. His grandmother, it turns out, was a great knitter and used to make him many socks and hand knitted gifts and even taught him to knit! We are going to get together and refresh his knitting skills)

And finally, I put in some more time on my Lifetime Achievement Project, a Koigu Kimono. I actually finished the left front and started one side of the back. Then I realized I had done ANOTHER STUPID THING. I made the sleeve on the left front the longer length for the larger size, according to the chart! Accustomed as I am to making these stupid mistakes that cost me hours, days, and weeks of time, I almost began to frog, but decided to hold it up and see if maybe I like it long. I do! The smaller size has a shorter sleeve, like 3/4 length. I actually like the full length better, so now it's just a matter of adding some more modules to the right front and then finishing up the 2 back sections (maybe another year?) I only work on this project when the 6 or 10 other projects I have going have all stalled. It looks so exciting, though, I might just keep on with it, in between working on my new website and the patterns for the Alamitos Trunk Show.

Actually, one of the new patterns is four ipod covers, one of which is modular, and that's why I brought out the kimono. The sample is in some of the same yarns. The sample also came out too big and flimsy and I am now reknitting it on smaller needles. Grrr...

So... that was my weekend. Lots of time spent knitting with very little to show for it. Sometimes that's the way the ball (of yarn) bounces!

Will post photos of the finished ipod covers when completed.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Procrastination and knitting go well together. I can be productive as I procrastinate. I am avoiding what I should be doing but look! I am making socks! (or a scarf or whatever) Other ways I procrastinate are by shopping - sometimes I spend an hour examining everything at Target, more often I shop on the web. I also procrastinate by reading people's blogs and by writing in my own.

Cleaning and sorting the workroom are great ways to procrastinate. Very productive. I very rarely procrastinate by just wasting time.

So today, I am feeling guilty about not doing what I need to do (preparing photos for my new website) so I am posting in my blog! The very thing I was putting off by starting a new scarf earlier in the week! Re: the scarf. It is a fabulous one by Candace Eisner Strick, called Merging Colors Incredible Rectangular Mitered Scarf.

I am using the colorway called Capecod. There are 8 different shades of blues and greens. The yarn is fine, laceweight merino wool, so soft you would swear it's cashmere. You use 3 strands at a time, changing one strand to the next color each round. The only thing I don't like about it is that since it is knit in the round, starting with the outside edge, you need to purl every other row in order to get garter stitch.

FO Report
I finished the Lotus Shawl!!! I finished it in time to meet the submission deadline for the Vogue Crocheted Shawls on the Go Book, but due to computer error, was unable to e-mail the submission till the day after the deadline. I have decided to publish the pattern myself, anyway. Here it is, all complete:

It just so happened that my garage wall is the same color as the tiny flowers between the motifs! Yes, coming home is a cheerful experience when you have coral walls in your garage!

And the thing I am the most excited about is that my new website is almost ready to go live. I've been working with a great web-designer and together we have come up with a new design that I feel represents me better than the little knitting fairies I have currently. She is just finishing up the shopping cart and what I am supposed to be doing right now is formatting all the photos.

I'll let you know when the website is ready for visitors!