This is mostly a knitting blog. Sometimes pictures of things I've made, sometimes not. I'm a guy who knits, I usually attend a men's stitch 'n' bitch on Monday nights, and I prefer natural fibres to artificial ones. I have a love-hate relationship with bamboo yarns: I love what they can do and how they look, I hate how they are made. I've been knitting since about 2003, though I really didn't get into it until 2005, while convelescing with a broken leg. I must have discovered something good, 'cause I'm still knitting years later.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Revealing the Form Hidden Within

I am not one to anthropomorphise my yarn, but I've been trying to make a beaded cowl for over a month now. The first attempt was too small. Instead of a cowl it would have been a choker. Not exactly what I was looking for. The second attempt is not staying on the needles, and I really suck at trying to pick up stitches that have slipped off the  needles. I am using Addi Lace needles, and am not really used to metal; wood gives one a nice tension between grippy and slippy, but metal needles just give you slippy. But I can't find wooden needles sharp enough to handle the knit-two-together-through-the-back I have to do.

A friend has suggested that sometimes the yarn is not meant to become what we want it to become, and that our task lies in discovering what the yarn wants to become. Michelangelo is said to have believed that he was merely the means by which the marble he sculpted revealed the form that was hidden within. I'm not sure that yarn has quite the same quality, though I could be mistaken. I'm using Shibui sock yarn. It's some of the most beautiful yarn I've ever knit with in my life. And it is totally kicking my ass. I am enough of a Westerner (and not so much of a Buddhist) that I will bend this yarn to my bidding. Addi Lace needles be damned.


Today is Small Business Saturday. I did my part by visiting a couple of local businesses to buy things.
First, of course, was yarn. Mind's Eye Yarns supplied me with six beautiful skeins.
Cestari is a brand I haven't used yet, but it's a solid worsted weight wool, and though you can't really tell, the colours here are a piney-green and light grey. This is 100% wool.

Aslan Trends Royal Alpaca, in cream and forest green will make a nice Fair Isle hat. I am looking forward to knitting this yarn, as it promises to have a good hand.

This is a yarn dyed by Lucy Lee at Mind's Eye Yarns. It is really a sock yarn, 70% superwash merino and 30% tencel, but will make a lovely shawl. Sadly, the picture does not do the colour justice, a muted emerald green. Perhaps when I can photograph it in sunlight it will show up better.

At the Stitch House, I got some Madeleine Tosh DK weight merino. I had a couple skeins lying about the house (as one does), and got two more to make a shawl.

Betty Drapers Blues is one of the colours I chose.

Cove is the one I had lying about the house (as one does). Together they'll make a gorgeous shawl.
Now, to whom shall I give it?


Not at all related to yarn, I also visited Patch NYC, a funky little shop in the South End of Boston. I got three Christmas ornaments (they didn't have the one I actually wanted, but told me there would be more coming in, and that they would hold a couple for me).

A black swan (the first time I ever saw black swans was at the hotel we stayed in when we visited Palma de Majorca, when I was about eight; they were swimming in a pond in the lobby).
A mushroom that reminds me of an ornament we had on our tree when I was a child.
Moby Dick, the great white whale.

Of course, I am not putting up a tree this year, but I thought I'd add them to my collection. Someday I will put up a Christmas tree again, and when I do, I'll proudly display these ornaments.

These were the result of my foray on Small Business Saturday. I didn't go to very many places, but I did shop in small, local businesses, and am happy that I was able to support them.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Trials and Tribulations

While I like to say that no one has ever died of knitting, I am the first to admit that one can experience setbacks along the way. Take the sweater I've been working on in Cascade 128. I cast on 94 stitches. At the armholes I decreased three stitches on each side, and when I got to the very end, I had one stitch too many. Now some people would just knit 2 together and call it a day. Not me. I'm proud to be a process knitter, and I will rip out the damn thing til I get the correct number of stitches.

The baby blanket I've been working on in Madeline Tosh DK has been put aside. I've restarted it in Malabrigo Rios, which means it's slightly larger. I've got about 23 rows left to go. No, I refuse to multiply the number of rows remaining by the number of stitches in each row. (It's 116 per row, so that's only 2668 stitches to go, not counting the bind off.) The baby for whom the blanket is intended is almost here, so I've got to get my fingers busy.

I am making my first beaded garment. I've never beaded with my knitting before, and while it looks terrific, I've only got about three rows done. This is a Christmas present, and I only hope it will be done before then. My plan had been to knit it during November (because of course the bay blanket would be done by now), but here we are, more than a third of the way through the month (almost half way!) and I haven't touched it. I console myself with the idea that I've only got 23 rows left of the blanket left, and will probably finish it this week. Then I have to block it.

The well laid plans of mice and knitter oft gang awry.

On the other hand, the gorgeous (if I do say so myself) sweater that I started about three years ago with the Rowan British Sheep breeds' yarn (Blueface Leicestershire) was giving me some grief (I'd finished the back, the front and the sleeves, and had joined the right shoulder, badly) has been rescued by my friend Claudia. She took out my stitches and rejoined the shoulder pieces, so now I can pick up stitches to make the collar. Picking up stitches, if you must know, is my idea of doing penance for my sins. If I believed in Purgatory, I figure I'd knock off 10,000 years for each stitch picked up. The downside (of course there's a downside) is that I cast this sweater on three (or possibly four) years ago,w hen I was more than 40 pounds heavier than I am now. The thing is going to hang off me like a toga. But I shall persevere. When it is finished, I'm still going to wear it, even if I have to wear three shirts to fill it out.