Monday, January 21, 2008

And then there were two...

A couple of months ago I posted a link to this picture, which ran in the local college paper. You might not get a good impression of what I am knitting, but it's a pair of toe up socks, inspired by Ann Budd's article in a recentish Interweave Knits...actually not that recent considering that I was still pregnant when I started this &%**&%)*@ project.

Here is a more representational picture which I took in a brief (naptime!) whirl wind of documenting fever...the better to update my Ravelry Notebook...which has yet to be updated.

For some reason I thought that my first "toe up" project would be a good time to try the "two at once" technique as for a penny in for a pound. And since I suffer from that peculiar disease that causes me spend 2 hours unraveling a tangled skein rather than cutting it (after all that would be two more ends to weave in and that would be tedious and take approximately a minute and a half...yeah), I decided that rather than weigh and divide the ball of yarn half, I would just knit from both ends at the same time. Because that way I would be able to squeeze every last bit of possible yarn out of the ball, and I wouldn't have to throw away that yard and a half that didn't get evenly divided....waste not want not, right?

Turns out that knitting two socks at the same time from opposite ends of the ball is really really irritating. The yarn gets tangled in the needles. The yarn from the inside of the ball has more twist than the yarn from the outside of the ball, and you can't untwist it because it's all connected together. The yarn gets unwound and there is no way to wind it back on it's self because you're knitting off of the outside of the ball. I could go on. I won't though, because none of you are silly enough to try knitting socks that way.

I decided to "fix" the problem by winding the remaining skein into a ball so that both ends were coming off the same side. Not having swift I unwound the ball by wrapping it around a basket. When I got to the point where the two ends met each other I started a traditional round yarn ball, like what the kitties play with. For a few days I knit off the new improved ball...which was not so much improved, since the yarn still got seriously tangled up...although the over twist problem seemed to have been solved at least.

Realizing that I wasn't getting anywhere I unwound the ball once again...this time using a real swift. When I got to the middle of the ball I, steady now, I know you'll all be shocked by this...CUT THE YARN INTO TWO PIECES. Got that? Two socks, two balls of yarn. Whoa. That's the state that is memorialized in the picture above. This was a vast improvement, since two balls means that if the yarn becomes tangled, you can untangle it...shocking, no? However, there is the problem of having two wee balls of yarn rolling around you while you're knitting, and having to stop every few rows to wind them back up and untangle them from your needles.

Then I had a dream. I have been having a lot of dreams lately. I think it's because I spend a lot of time in the "not quite asleep" stage that mothers who are co-sleeping with nursing babies get to know so well. Anyway. In my dream instead of having two socks, and two balls of yarn on two circular needles, I had two socks, and two balls of yarn, but they were each ON THEIR OWN NEEDLE. Crazy the things that come to you when you are half asleep.

Check it out.

And can I just say? Magic loop? No effing kidding magic loop, that shit is the bomb.

Ragnar...who has been up three times during this post to nurse the baby back to sleep...I'll decide when you're done napping you little...precious baby.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The wagon is so easy to fall off of...

They need to put rails on that damned wagon or something, you really have to hold on tight and even then, one little bump and there you are in the middle of the road, watching the wagon drive off without you.

By which you will probably be able to guess that the finish-2-start-1 "suggestion" (as we pirates know, all the rules are really just suggestions) has been suspended due to a knitting emergency. Yes there is such a thing as a knitting emergency! (please to notice new skull stitch markers...thanks no-longer-secret-pal Jennifer).
It was a dark and stormy night...okay it was an unseasonably warm night. It was in fact the night before a friend's baby shower. It was 11 o'clock. We had no baby presents in the house. Sure there were plenty of toys with just a little bit of drool on them, but regifting slightly used baby toys is sort of a shower no-no. Turns out that some Mom's are pretty crazy about their baby's toys, and only like to have pristine, drool free toys...and anyway, toys are a lousey baby shower present anyway, because the baby can't play with them for 3 or 4 months and until then they are just in your way. What you need for a baby shower is something that makes the Mom-to-be, who is very pregnant, and uncomfortable, think "Awwww, baby stuff is cute, it'll be great fun to have a baby." Or at least that's what I my shower people got me things like flamey legwarmers, and shirts with pithy sayings on them...and this of course made me think "Awwww, there's punk-rock-gothy-evil baby shit in the world, it's gonna be so much fun to have a baby."

By miraculous co-incidence, I had just that afternoon reorganized my stash. It was miraculous, because the baby had taken "a nap." I had heard of naps, but thought that they were a part of baby lore, like the one about how they like their carseats, that didn't apply to mine. My baby sleeps during the day, but he likes to sleep on me, making it impossible to do anything but sit in "the chair" and surf the net (ahem, my Ravelry cue, ahem), and try to knit without waking up the little booger. To me this does not constitute a nap. But on this day, the miraculous day, he had slept in a bed, in another room, and did not start making little squawking baby noises for ONE HOUR AND 45 MINUTES. I'm having a plaque made. So after "I put the baby down for his nap" (just thinking those words makes me feel all trembly) and I went in to the living room, gently closing the bedroom door behind me, I realized that I had no idea what to do with myself. There were chores to be accomplished, of course, but somehow the lure of the "big box of yarn" seemed so much stronger. So I spread the stash all over the living was blissful.
Mmmm, blurry stash photo. We're knit bloggin' now!
With stash freshly sorted, and baby shower in sight, it became obvious that the writ of Finish-thy-projects had to be suspended. What was needed was a quick and easy baby pattern. Hats were out, not only because all my hat appropriate yarns were too itchy for baby, but because I knew that Ginger was knitting baby hats. Which brings us to "The Eleventh Hour Baby Booties."

Nothin' makes you go "Awwww" like itty bitty booties.

The pattern: Saartje's Booties. Which is a free pattern, and you should go knit a pair, or two or three.

The yarn: Tristan, by Louet. Which is linen plyed with merino...quite lovely. I knit Manimal a hat out of it, and the rest of the skein has been languishing in the big blue yarn tub. I probably have enough left over for another pair of emergency booties.

And since this was an emergency project I don't feel that I have violated any "suggestions" or solemn vows or whatever...but here's a question. If you finish a project that you never started, does it count toward finish-2-start-1? And if you finish a pair of somethings, isn't that really finishing two individual somethings, and doesn't that mean that I now get to cast something on? And further more. I frogged a project while I was sorting yarn, so that is in a way finishing something (as in, "you're finished" said the hero to the villain), is it not?

By my count I am one ahead in the finishing department.

Whoo hoo! See ya at the yarn store!

Ragnar...the important thing is that I convince myself that it's true.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A is for....


For those readers who aren't a part of the insidious "knit blogging" community, it is a cult. Not a kool-ade drinkin' cult, but rather a yarn buyin, Clapotis knitting (3873 documented in Ravelry), Sock Wars havin, I-got-every-size-of -addis kinda cult. There are also a lot of "alongs." It has yet to be seen whether the interest of "gooder" blogging will be served by alonging, but I just happen to have an "a." And it just happens to be the right time for "a" in the "ABC Along." So every two know, until I don't do it anymore which is my pattern in all things...I'll post a picture relating to a letter, and write a little post about it. Cute huh? Wanna take bets on how far a long I'll get before I derail?

And furthermore:

A is for Argyle.

Or should that be Arrrrgyle, the favorite sock pattern of pirates?

And who is this guy?
Why the duke of Argyle of course. And what does he have to do with this post? Absolutely nothing.

But here's the thing about argyle. Argyle is a pattern that can go on sweaters, as well as socks. And I'm a knitter, theoretically of sweaters, although I'm much better at starting them than finishing them. I live with a Man(imal) who wears sweaters. He mostly wears sweaters that he purchased for $1.50 at the thrift shop. Fashionable they are not, but they keep him warm. I don't really wear sweaters. I have one ubiquitous black cotton, zip-up which is getting little snag holes in it, and several black hoodies which degrade further and further every time I wear them (draw string, we don't need no stinkin' drawstring). Is it any wonder that I never finish any of the sweaters that I start for myself? It's the starting that's fun, but why bother with the finishing since I probably won't wear them anyway?
Manimal, being the observant fellow that he is has picked up on the fact that he doesn't have any hand knit sweaters and has been dropping subtle hints. Like giving me sad puppy dog eyes whenever I pull out the needles. And asking questions like "Oh, is that for me?"
So we have come to an understanding. I want to knit something that's not true. I want to knit something "arrrgyle," and he wants a sweater. A match is made.
The only other barrier to casting on is my unofficial (because I'll never stick to it anyway)moratorium on "starting" things. I sat myself down and gave myself a good stern talking to, that went something like this: "Look here you little so and so, this starting new projects thing is getting out of hand. You are buying needles in sizes that you already own because those needles have projects on them, and you want to start something new. Not only is it silly to own three pairs of #8, 24" needles, but you are running out of space to store your unfinished objects! Just what are you going to do about this?"
So I compromised with myself. I can only start something new after I have completed two unfinished projects. Theoretically that way I will get ahead of the game at some point.
Arrrgyle, here I come.
Ragnar....if you want a preview of "B" make with the clickety.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The way we was..or I were..or whatever

I was uploading projects into my Ravelry Notebook (Knitter's Crack is this Ravelry thing, it's worse than sock yarn), and linking back to some old posts, like the original Viking Baby Hat, and the Medusa Hat, and all, and I had a little Ravelry induced revelation. This here blog used to be a whole lot better. I think I've fallen off the wagon as far as "well written and witty," goes. It's not just my recent lazy habit of posting a cute baby picture and calling it a blog entry, or even my recent obsession with my infant's potty habits. It's just an overall slide into quantity vs. quality.

It could be that typing with one finger while nursing, sort of messes with the flow of consciousness feel that I used to go for. It's not that my life is less interesting than it was, self-employed-artist-new-mommy-knit-designer-teacher-new-studio-house-renovation has got to be more interesting that sit-in-stuffy-office-complaining-about-unfullfilling-job. Right? It's not like I'm not spending 10 hours a day on the computer (we are on the nurse and surf plan here at casa de Ragnar), so what's with the lame sporadic posting?

While I am not crazy enough to pledge a whole year of uninterrupted posting, it does seem like this here New Year thingie might be a good time to make a moderate commitment to upgrade the old bloggeroo (blogerino?).

This is not a "resolution" okay? We don't resolve around here, because that is just a recipe for disaster. Besides I've always favored the Baha'i New Year (my folks are Baha'is) on the vernal equinox. Seems like a much more "new" time of year when things are actually, oh I don't know, growing? So if I were to resolve (which I won't) I would resolve then.

I seem to have gotten off topic, what was I spouting about? Oh, yeah wanna see a cute picture of my baby?

Gah! It's too hard, I can't stop posting baby pictures! But I will make more of an effort to stop relying on them as "content."

So I give you "Ragnar's Commitment to Quality in 2008"

2008 being a year of even number and great factorability (which for some reason has always been equated with "good" in my mind) it is deserving of observance and shall be known as "the year of gooder blogging." In the YOGB (like yoga, only b), posts shall be built around themes, projects shall be well photographed and documented. When I say "I have every intention of writing this up and posting the pattern," I will mean it. In fact I won't say it, I'll just god damned do it. Even the baby pictures will be cuter.

And I'm sticking to it.

Ragnar...being the goodest blogger I can be.