Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Sunday Knitting Curse

Regular readers may recall that knitting on Sundays eventually leads to problems, some that I can fix, some that I can't, and some that I know I can't but spend too much time on anyway. Do I really believe there's a curse on Sundays? Of course not. I've messed up plenty on other days of the week, but I've noticed the problems most on Sundays.

Sunday I continued work on the blue scarf. I bought the medium blue Patons Shetland Chunky yarn during my day before Thanksgiving stash restocking at JoAnn's. Three of the people on my secondary list said that their favorite color was blue, navy blue more specifically. I'm becoming more knowledgeable about yarn, but I still need some help. Once I found what I thought might be good choices, I called Kristin, who patiently listened while I described the yarns and then gave her advice. I'm telling you, with this and the knitting repairs, she could make a little money on the side as emergency knitting support.

I didn't want to get the same thing for all three scarves. In addition to the aforementioned Patons yarn, I also selected two skeins of Bernat Satin (color: Admiral) and Lion Cashmere Blend in navy. I'm knitting the Patons Shetland Chunky the same way I've done everything else, although I am using US 10s for the first time. The cashmere blend comes with a pattern that I'm going to try. It calls for purling, which I don't know how to do but would like to learn. I want to use the Bernat Satin yarn for a striped scarf. I may knit it with circular needles, which would be another first for me.

I forgot that I needed white yarn to go with the blue for the striped scarf. I also wanted to find some green yarn for the last of the scarves for my family members. On my way back to Columbus on Saturday I stopped at JoAnn's to get some. Armed with a coupon from the Thanksgiving ad, I was ready to add more yarn to my stash. The JoAnn's on Sawmill isn't as close to home, but it was on the way and, in my observation, a better store. The atmosphere is warmer, the checkout lines are shorter, and the staff is more helpful.

I assumed it would be wise to use similar yarn for different colors in the same scarf, but what do I know? I was having a tough time finding white yarn, so I asked one of the employees where some might be and if I should try to match its texture and weight to the other. She tried to find something for me, and another shopper chipped in with some advice. Unfortunately they were out of the Bernat Silk in white, which the company has named "silk", and nothing else caught my eye. I found some green yarn that I thought my brother might like, but there was only one skein. This JoAnn's didn't have what I needed, but I was right in my impression of it being a friendlier store.

I trekked to the JoAnn's on Polaris and quickly located two skeins of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky (color: grass). I roamed the aisles several times before finding the Bernat Silk yarn. They had plenty of the white, so I snagged two skeins of it as well. Here's how the two look side by side.

On the way back to my place I started having second thoughts about the shade of green for my brother's scarf. Was it too feminine, for lack of a better word? This brother has been notoriously difficult in pegging down the right color. (He's the one who said he couldn't specify because there are millions of shades. The best he could do was give me frequency values for the color.) I've come around to thinking it's okay, and Kristin didn't think it was too girly. We'll see. He can always trade with my dad if necessary.

Back to the medium blue scarf... I was making great progress on it, but my streak of Sunday knitting problems had to remain intact. I thought I didn't knit a stitch properly, but I had the right number of them and decided it was fine. It still bugged me a couple rows later, so I reversed course and unknitted back to it. The good news is that I am a lot more confident in my ability to unknit stitches. The bad news is that I did one or two incorrectly and was getting a mess on my hands. This happened after 11:30 p.m., just in time to keep the streak alive.

Kristin suggested frogging to fix the problem. I ripped out a couple rows with great care and went about the delicate task of putting the needle through the last row. Phew! I thought I was set, but upon resuming knitting I could see that something wasn't right. I frogged another couple rows and tried to get the needle through the row. That didn't go so well. I've been knitting tightly. The loops are small too. I discovered that it's tricky getting the needle through the first few loops because if you pull on it too much, you start frogging where you're trying to go next.

I tried to be as gentle as possible with the needle and yarn, but let's just say I ended up frogging more than was necessary as I made vain attempt after vain attempt to get the needle through the twenty stitches. To my relief I accomplished the job, but after knitting a couple rows, it didn't look right. I e-mailed Kristin a couple of bad photos. She thinks I may have accidentally purled some stitches. More likely I got some backwards on the needle or some wrong ones. Time for this scarf to be put on hold temporarily until there's a screening when Kristin can bail me out.

I didn't want to lose an evening of knitting, so I began my brother's green scarf. The bulky weight yarn has a pattern on the label, but after casting on and knitting a few rows, it was more open than I liked. I moved down from 11s to 10 1/2s, which is suggested for the gauge on the label but not in the pattern. I cast on eighteen stitches and preferred how it looked after several rows were done.

Next...continuing work on the last of the original seven scarves.


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