Knit 2 Par 3

Sunday, May 31, 2009

One Last Chance

Last fall (or maybe the fall before that, or even the one before that) I bought some Brooks Farm yarn that looked brilliant on the skein. I liked it so much I would just look at it from time to time and never even thought of what to knit with it. The colors looked so subtle twisted up in the skein, some blue here, some green there, and oh! would you describe that green as "leaf" or "olive"? And isn't that blue the same color as the ocean in Maine?

A few weeks ago I decided to wind it up on the winder. It looked a little less brilliant. It looked stripey, and dull. I thought it would give it a try on the Swallowtail shawl: not good. I ripped it out and thought I'd give it a try on the Checkerboard scarf: worse. I thought about sending it back to Brooks Farm, with a note that they didn't need to send my money back, because you can put no price on a broken heart. I put it in the back of the yarn closet for a bit.

At the library yesterday, I checked out Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy D. Johnson. Not only did it change my (knitting) life in one afternoon, it saved that Brooks Farm yarn from the swap bin. I've always been a top down, but after trying out a few of the toe cast on techniques in this book, I don't think I can ever go back. Look at that nice, square toe with no pesty Kitchener stitch:

Yes, I am doing them using magic loop, and I am a demon. This is what they looked like at the start of our knitting group tonite; by the time Heidi and Spencer said "I do" this evening, I had turned the heel.

And the Brooks Farm just needed a different gauge. I'm using size 3 needles for these socks and I am getting the nice fabric I had imagined when I was just fondling that skein. The striping in that yarn is also more appropriate for a sock with no unsightly pooling. And the fit! Often I have to block a sock a lot because they are too big, too small, too short; this fits just right.

Once I give my heart to yarn it's usually forever, and I felt bad that after lovin' that Brooks Farm, I couldn't love it any more. All the things I loved about it in the skein are still there (the green! the blue! that little bit of midnight!) but finally I found the right setting for all it's charms.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Poor, But Happy

The rain in Maine can really be a pain.

We had one nice day out of three on this short weekend visit, and I was able to play my first golf game of the season. Before we talk about the game, though, I do believe this is the first good shot on an actual golf course of the felted golf bag I made two years ago:

The course was pretty crowded today, so I had a lot of time to artfully pose this bag. It's a made up as you go kind of pattern, sort of modeled on a yoga bag. I used Lamb's Pride Bulky in a pretty lavender and sage green, both real Maine colors. It holds the three clubs I use most on this par 3 course, plus some balls. It also has an i-cord strap in the back. It's very cute, if I do say so myself.

I had a lot of good shots today, getting on or near the green in two or three straight shots on most holes. Because I was playing by myself, I got some documentation of a few holes. Notice my pink Barbie ball here, on the third hole which is the hole I dislike above all at this course. I got here in two great big thwaking shots, head down and eyes on the ball:

My putting was dismal, though. I think the bifocals had something to do with it, I just could not figure out how to get the ball in the hole. Overall though, I think I've moved my playing skill up from "What Are You Doing Denise?" to maybe "Poor" and that's a great way to start out the new season.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Yarn? Over.

I've fallen into a knitting abyss.

I'm a fast knitter, and I knit every day, and I finish up small projects fast and big projects faster than most. I like repetitious patterns in knitting, and I like the routine of knitting every day, so you'd think a pattern with a lot of repetition that I could knit every day would make me the happiest person ever, wouldn't you?

For the second time this year I had to rip out the Swallowtail Lace Shawl right on down to the six stitch anchor because the YO's and the SSK's were wearing me down to a nub. Every row I missed at least one yarn over. I couldn't memorize the pattern, and the yarn striped in an unattractive way, and it just made me unhappy. So rip! It's gone now, just a kinky ball of yarn shoved in the back of the closet.

At least one of you is wondering what this picture of Teching Hsieh has to do with knitting the Swallowtail Lace Shawl. This artist has done a series of year long performance pieces, which I think the Swallowtail Lace Shawl really might be. For this piece he punched a time clock every hour on the hour for one year. I think about this piece sometimes and the repetition and steadfastness of this is inspiring to me. He only missed 131 punches, but descriptions of the piece do not tell you how many yarn overs he missed.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Day of Rest? Getouttahere

I did a lot for just one day.

I got up very early, dropped off Emily at school for a school thing.

I went to a diner, where the mexican night shift workers from a local factory were watching The Three Stooges on multiple flat screen TVs and not laughing. At all.

I went to the Home Depot to buy some plants, but got there so early I had to wait for them to open up. Why did I used to complain so much about Home Depot?

I got home and took a nap.

I did a lot of laundry.

I finished up a good trashy book in which a favorite character kills someone with knitting needles.

I went in the bedroom and took a nap.

I did more laundry.

I planted the Home Depot plants.

I made dinner for tonite and Tuesday night.

I cleaned the bathroom.

I put my head down on the pillow in the bed for a second and I took a nap.

I watched some golf.

I steamed some broccoli and we all ate dinner.

I put in another load of laundry.

I went to the knitting. I worked on this sweater vest for John, a pattern of my own devising with some cheater cables and ribbing:

Good thing tomorrow is Monday, and back to work, because I am exhausted from all this weekend business.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Transporting Cake Across County Lines

It was my birthday this weekend and Nancy baked me one fine cake.

But Riddle Me This: What if you had to bake a cake at Point A, drive to Point B for dinner, and then get back in the car and drive again to Point C to eat the cake? What if you had to find a parking space in Hoboken on a Saturday night on top of it all?

Monday, May 04, 2009

Half Full

I mentioned yesterday that I bought some Noro on sale over the weekend, 20% off. I bought an uncharacteristically subdued batch, as you can see there on the left, since I did want to knit something for John who has been known to refer to most colors as "why is it not not gray or black". There is some gray here, you can see, and a lot of black and a little bit of brown, as well as some funky green that he might not notice if I don't make too much of a big deal out of including a color in there.

Before I went to the yarn store, though, I took a good hard look at all the Noro I already have on hand. All of it is beautiful. It also accounts for the yarn in most of the UFOs in that yarn closet. If you make a sweater with Noro, you'd better make sure it was sleeveless or else, frankly, you look insane. And forget about two socks, I can never figure out which two socks go together when I get them out of the wash.

I knew I wouldn't be able to help myself once I got to the store, because my impulse control is quite poor in these situations and their selection of Noro is mouthwateringly fine. I knew if I could focus on just getting enough for a project without sleeves or a second sock or some such impediment I would have half a chance to get the thing finished.

So I studied and studied the Noro at the shop. I took skeins outside to look at them in the 10 minutes of sunshine alloted to us this weekend. I lined skeins up side by side, and then walked around the table. I figured I needed X xY = Z amount, and bought it, and apologized to no one.

Here is an aside: if there was a gameshow called Guess The Necessary Yardage I'd win the dinette set for sure. I can look at you, your yarn choice and pattern tell you what you need to buy with 25 yards to spare with no calculator, just my bifocaled eyes. But when I got home on Saturday, I realized I had bought only about half of what I needed.

And what do we learn from this? Noro Love is a primitive thing, and even though I need to go back and get more, I should remember that right now my knitting basket is half full.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

'One would have to have a heart of stone to read the death of Little Nell without dissolving into tears...of laughter.' (Oscar Wilde).

I am disappointed, dry-eyed and mirthless as I write this blog post, having just sat through the one episode (one episode!) PBS version of The Old Curiosity Shop. I had laid in a big supply of tissues, and cast on a pretty simple project in anticipation of a big blubber fest at the lingering death of Little Nell. Although Dickens is not my favorite victorian novelist, I think I've read this one a few dozen times and always cried cried cried. But this version left out so much of the story it was like the Twitter version.

Anyway. There was nothing disappointing about all the knitting going on in this house this weekend. I tidied up the living room knitting basket (but not the bedroom knitting basket, or the yarn-lined fall out shelter, or the bag of Work Knitting) and went to the big sale at Knitting Nation and bought - you guessed it: more Noro. I sketched out a recipe for a nice vest for John and got to work on that one. I also cast on a version of the Swallowtail shawl using a worsted weight instead of lace weight, and so far nothing to cry about.