Saturday, June 30, 2007

Fitter Happier

How silly of me to blog about my history with notebook computers yesterday of all days, when the iPhone was made available to adoring throngs. Time will tell if the new Apple device will be as revolutionary as claimed.

Knitting time has been elusive this week, but I do have a way of tying it into the tech talk. Bear with me.

Technology is all about moving onward and upward. What we're able to do today without thinking twice about it is pretty incredible. Maybe that's why I've been on a bit of kick reading books about advances in global communication.

Aside from music's vinyl collectors and analog purists, more often than not we tend to favor the latest, greatest thing over old technology. I remember listening to a General Electric AM/FM transistor radio with a single earphone to bide the time as I mowed yards as a kid. It might be nice to still have it out of some sense of nostalgia, but if you think I'd trade it for my iPod, you're crazy.

The reasons for preferring new technology aren't difficult to understand. If we can do something better, faster, or easier, why wouldn't we do it? Sure, the rotary dial telephone might work perfectly well, but how many of those do you see in use?

And then there's knitting. Making something yourself certainly isn't faster or easier than buying something off the rack. Depending on how good of a knitter you are, the finished product may not be better. It might be cheaper to handknit something, but let's call this justification a push. This begs the question of why one should knit at a time in history when prices and production make the craft unnecessary for fulfilling basic needs.

The answers vary. For me it's about learning a skill that allows me to relax, feel a sense of accomplishment, and make things for others. I like how it connects me with my heritage, what little that I know of it, in that my grandmothers sewed and quilted. I've also found that knitting is a way of joining a community. From a purely practical perspective, there's no reason for me to be doing it, but that's often true of anything that could be called art. I'm sure that those of you reading have similar reasons and some I haven't mentioned.

We are at a point when our time is so valuable that we feel we must maximize it or make sure that it's profitable in some way. I know I'm as guilty as anyone in doing this, although I've been working on it. Creative pursuits can defy how we define success (money, acclaim), but lack of riches or accolades don't make such activities a waste of artistic energy. In other words, sometimes things are worth doing for their intrinsic value regardless of practicality or technological advances.

Here's where I should bring these thoughts together with a grand statement or two, but this is a riff than a treatise on modern life. Umm, knitting=good, new notebook computer=good. How's that?

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Friday, June 29, 2007

OK, computer!

After hemming and hawing about purchasing a notebook computer, I took the plunge today. I've been wanting to get one for awhile. The time and price were right. I paid attention to the advice of others and deliberated until I felt like I had the proper plan of attack.

I decided to hold off on getting additional memory. Despite warnings of Vista being a memory hog, what can it hurt to use the machine and see how it operates before swapping out both sticks? And Donna's mention of her own memory installation experiences gives me some confidence that I can manage it without causing irreparable damage. (There is a basis for my hesitancy, though. I had a computer one of my brothers had put together. I attempted to add another stick but put it in backward. It was instantly fried, although the computer still functioned.)

The wireless router was installed without too much difficulty. I had to get one of my brothers to talk me through the process over the phone as I have two routers in my set-up. (The other one is for Vonage.) And just like that I can access the internet anywhere in my apartment!

I didn't intend to get a printer, but it was just $11 more. I already had a printer, but I haven't been able to get it to print properly in spite of following every protocol the manufacturer recommends. A commenter to a tech article suggested that, when taking into account the exorbitant price of ink, it is cheaper to buy a new printer than getting replacement cartridges. It's hyperbole...kind of. I just got this printer for less than half of one ink cartridge for my old printer, so in this case that was true. For that matter, the ink that came with this printer probably costs more than the hardware.

This is the first laptop computer I've owned since the Bondwell B200 I bought prior to entering college. It was so much more convenient to have a computer of my own than to hope for access on one of the two(!) in the dorm. Ah, the luxury of using DOS, WordStar, and a Star NX-1001 dot matrix printer.

Needless to say, my new notebook can do a bit more.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Desert island yarn

There's nothing but static between my ears tonight, so desperate times call for dipping into the solicited questions. Karen queried:

"If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take one kind of yarn, what yarn would that be? Why?"

I know that favorite yarn is a popular topic among knitters. Truthfully, I don't think I have enough experience to give a worthwhile answer. (It would be like asking me my favorite movie of the year in February. Sample size just wouldn't be big enough.)

I've predominantly used the kind of yarn that you can get pretty much everywhere, so I don't know that I have a very interesting answer in that regard.

But now that I consider the question as worded, it doesn't require a particular brand or even something that would be a favorite. (Yes, I know I'm overthinking this.) Looking at it from a practical perspective, I'd have to say a wool yarn in worsted weight.

Worsted weight would be versatile for a variety of uses while I was stuck on an island. The only reason I specify wool is because I recently learned from Stitch 'n Bitch that the fiber keeps one cool when the weather is hot and warm when it is cold (assuming the temperature dropped at night). That may seem like common knowledge, but I'd always associated wool with cold weather. Apparently it absorbs water very well too. That would be good if I'm surrounded by it. And I wouldn't have to worry about accidentally ruining it by washing it in a machine because none would be around.

I suppose I ought to make a lazy attempt at giving a specific answer as to a favorite. Knit Picks Panache, which I used to make a scarf, was really lovely stuff to work with. I've gone back to Dark Horse Yarns time and again for several different projects.

There you have it.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Knit bit

I'm in the mood for construction, not destruction, so the inevitable frogging of my second green sock is on hold. It's a job that needs to be done, but with my evenings being full enough already, I'd rather take the time to feel like I'm accomplishing something. So out come the Knit Picks Essential Tweed in Inca Gold and US 3 dpns, otherwise known as the finest yarn and smallest needles I've attempted to knit with.

It's going a little slowly, but I'm getting there. I left an exceptionally long tail because I couldn't judge how much would be necessary for the cast on. Now that I've knitted a few rows I can feel OK about trimming the tail so it isn't in the way as much. I thought it was best to wait to see if these rows would be good or if I'd need to begin again. I think I'm safe. Fingers crossed.

Shall I relate more knitting details that is as interesting as reading about watching paint dry? I thought I had more to say, but knitting time has been hard to come by this week. Hopefully I'll be back with something more substantive tomorrow.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Decisions, decisions

I've been considering purchasing a laptop computer--scratch that, a notebook computer--for some time. (I read somewhere that PC manufacturers have switched the terminology because the machines get so hot that they discourage use on laps.) I've made some extra money that I've intended to put toward the notebook, and the final piece arrived when the full security deposit from my old apartment came in the mail.

As luck would have it, one of the Big Box electronic retailers is having a sale on the model I've had my eye on. It couldn't be any easier, could it? Wrong, wrong, wrong. I asked my family members for their opinions and got more feedback than I probably needed. Still, they were helpful to a degree.

I felt relatively sure about the decision, but what I hadn't exactly taken into account was all of the extras that need to factored in. I will need--or want, to be more accurate--a wireless router. Everything I'm reading and being told is that I should upgrade the 1 GB of memory to 2 GB because Vista hogs it. If I have the store install the memory, there's another hefty charge. (I could probably do it, although I would hate to fry a new computer because of my own incompetence.) The price that was looking pretty good suddenly has all these other costs associated with it. And I haven't even mentioned purchasing Office because new computers get loaded with those infernal Works programs. (I could probably get an academic discount but still...)

Of course, one needs a bag for carrying the notebook. It's been suggested that I knit this satchel if/when I get a notebook. That's not a bad idea, and the extra cost would provide some pleasure that buying the other stuff wouldn't.

I went to the store and a Competing Chain to take a look at the notebook and check out prices for routers and memory. Hello aggravation. One place didn't have it, and the other had its functionality locked down so that I couldn't play around with it to see what I thought. I couldn't find the memory sticks, and heaven forbid a retail associate actually ask if you need help on that rare occasion when you do. I'm half tempted at this point to say forget it and not bother getting one at all. (The Big Box store lost a sale of a desktop computer to me three years ago because I couldn't find anyone to get the machine when I was there to make a purchase.)

And I won't even go into the difficulty in understanding my VOIP provider's obviously outsourced Indian call center employee when I contacted them to learn what I would need to do if/when I hooked up a wireless router.

To top it off, that enormo-sock is still on the needles, and I've done precious little knitting because of it. Blah.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

12 angry stitches

No no no no no no no.

Looks like I'll be starting that different pair of socks after all.

I began work on the gusset and was feeling pretty good about things. Maybe I could finish this sock by Wednesday or Thursday. I picked up the stitches on one side and got to the needle that had been holding the other stitches while I worked on the heel flap. There were twelve too many. How could that be?

I looked at the instructions again and was confused. And then it hit me. I cast on twelve extra stitches. There's a perfectly good, albeit dumb, reason why I did this. Rather than divide the cast on stitches evenly among the needles, I went by the division at the gusset. What I failed to take into consideration when I had this brilliantly stupid idea was that decreases begin from that point so that I get back to working with the original number cast on. I suppose this explains why the variegation wasn't producing stripes.

I'm an idiot.

That I can accept. What kills me is the idea that all of the work to this point is wasted. I have twelve stitches more than I need, and I've had them since the first row. All I can do is rip out everything and start over.


Maybe I'll feel up to performing that painful task tomorrow, but I don't have the heart for it tonight. I began the evening ready to finish a sock. Instead I'll be as far away from that goal as possible. If I'm going to be frustrated, I might as well take another stab at a sock on US 3 dpns with sport weight yarn. If that goes awry, I have a dishcloth on the needles.


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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Zen and the art of sock knitting

I am knitted out for the day.

I've returned in earnest to sock knitting so that this sock isn't an orphan. This time around I've been knitting it with the right side on the outside to start, which has made handling the needles much easier and quicker. I'm to the gusset, so depending on how much time I devote to the sock, I might be finished in a couple days.

The strange thing is that this one hasn't developed the circular stripes that the other one had. (As far as I'm concerned, that's a good thing.) I'm using the same skein of yarn, and I don't think that I've done anything differently. Knitting with the right side on the inside wouldn't produce a different result than if it were on the outside, would it?

I'm curious to see if I can finish this sock before the skein runs out. I think it's going to be a close call. I have another one in my stash in case, but I wouldn't have expected two socks to require more than a 100 gram skein with 205 yards of worsted weight yarn.

For as much trouble as I had making that first baby sock, it is coming along much more smoothly now. There were even a couple moments when I fell into that state when I'm completely zoned out, a manner of being that gets broken as soon as I acknowledge it. I went back to check that my stitches were as they should be. Sure enough, they were fine, so I guess I've attained a kind of knitting nirvana where I am fully in the moment.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Saturday scraps

Now that team assignments have been made, hello to my Dish Rag Tag teammates and competition. I'm really looking forward to this. I know some of you regulars are playing too, so it should be fun. Assuming I didn't overlook a name or make the wrong gender assumption based on names, I'm the only male out of 210 knitters in the game.

Having decided that there wasn't a compelling reason to go to day two of the NHL entry draft--"with this pick, this team selects some guy from an exotic sounding Canadian hinterland"--I had a whole day ahead of me with nothing planned. What else was there to do than be phenomenally lazy?

One time devourer was a basic and addictive game called WordBreaker. You choose a secret word, and the computer does likewise. You alternate guesses and indicate how many letters (but not positions) are correct. Eventually I was able to beat the computer at three and four letter words. The game is elegantly simple and maddeningly challenging, especially with longer words. I didn't keep track on paper of letters that could be eliminated as possibilities, but that would help keep things straight. Also, be careful in correctly answering the computer's questions. If you mess up, it will ultimately call you out on your mistakes.

I've now lived in my new apartment for a month. It's crazy how fast time passes. I still have plenty to unpack, although the majority of it is stashed in closets. So at least the place is starting to look more settled in.

And just because it's gone unremarked upon for awhile, I finally I cast on for my second sock.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

On draft

The NHL draft is in town. I'm no expert on professional hockey, so my knowledge of the amateurs being selected is limited to what I've read in the local daily's pre-draft coverage. I wouldn't know who these guys are if I bumped into them on the concourse. For all I know, I might have.

Regardless, this seemed like a fun event to attend as a burgeoning hockey fan. It had the aura of something big, and tickets were free. Yes, I know the NHL is much-maligned in the sports pages and on the highlight shows of America, but it's still one of the Big Four sport leagues. These sorts of events don't roll into town every day.

I arrived at the arena about an hour before anything of consequence was scheduled. I walked around the tents and staging areas before taking a seat on a bench in the shade. Out came the knitting. I had plenty of time before Yellowcard was to play a concert, so I figured I'd put the waiting to good use and begin another dishcloth. I knitted seven rows before stashing the WIP in my bag. There I was, knitting outdoors in plain view of hundreds of passersby and unconcerned with what they might think. I've come a long way.

There's probably some humor to be found in the fact that the hockey draft party concert featured a band whose name could refer to a soccer penalty. (I've no clue about the true origin of their name.) I'm largely unfamiliar with Yellowcard other than knowing that they're the pop-punk band with a violin player. To tell the truth, a lot of these kinds of groups sound interchangeable to me, but it was a decent enough show.

They played a spirited set, and it was nice to soak up live music on a gorgeous summer afternoon. The lead guitarist is from Detroit, and thus a Red Wings fans, which earned some lusty boos from a crowd surely dominated by locals.

Contrary to what I thought, the seating wasn't entirely general admission. The lower bowl was off limits for non-personal seat license owners like myself, not that it really made that much difference. As I stated above, I don't know much about the players being picked, so this was about the experience. I would have had a better idea of draft dynamics by watching it on TV.

The biggest surprise to me was that they did not post a countdown on the scoreboard. The only time cue was when commissioner told teams when they had a minute left. Apparently the clubs get five minutes to make their choice, which keeps things moving a lot better than the NFL draft. (I've watched that sporadically through the years before abandoning it because it's almost all dead time filled by "expert" yammering.)

A sizable crowd was on hand for the draft, and they were in a feisty mood, booing commissioner Gary Bettman (not a popular guy in hockey circles from what I've read) and the introduction of any team that wasn't the hometown club. The Blue Jackets picked seventh. The one spike of energy in the building was in the lead-up to their pick. I hadn't heard of the player they chose, but hooray for our guy!

I stayed for the approximate duration of a hockey game. There wasn't much to do in between picks. The scoreboard displayed shots of the audience and ads for the latest version of the NHL video game and other sponsors. It wasn't boring, but without any context, a little went a long way.

I'm glad I went. It was interesting to see how something like this is put together, and there's a good chance the draft won't pass through these parts in the near future. That being said, I think my Saturday just got freed up. I had been planning on going to rounds 2-7, but if I was lost today, I'd really be out of the loop tomorrow.

Before I wrap for the evening, I have an FO. Sorry for the blown out photo. It's a rare case of having too much light when shooting these pics.

Waved welt dishcloth

Yarn: Lily The Original Sugar 'n Cream (100% cotton; worsted weight)
Color: Wine
Needles: US 7s
Stitches: 47

It is easily observable that an error exists smack dab in the middle. I saw it too late to have the heart to fix it. As much as it killed me to leave it alone, I didn't have the heart to unknit somewhere in the realm of one thousand stitches, especially as I was nearly finished. I would have rather given it away without the flaw, though.

I know what happened. I repeated a row with *p1, k7* when I should have *k1, p7*. I've made this pattern once before, and it's what I began again this afternoon.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Perfect circle

I've been tense this week, anxious even. It snuck up on me and, frankly, caught me by surprise. I won't go into why I think I've felt that way. Don't worry, it's nothing calamitous. The only reason I make mention of it is because whether online or offline--you know, the physical world rather than this electronic bubble--I feel like I'm an open book. If I've seemed terse, that explains it. If you haven't noticed, never mind.

I have realized that knitting has helped alleviate the tension. That's no revelation. After all, it's why I began in the first place. Knitting time has been at a premium this week, so the effects of working on the needles really struck me when I found an hour with them after work and before tonight's screening. It helped calm me down after a day (and a week) that's been wearing on my nerves.

It's such an innocuous thing to do, working needles and yarn back and forth, yet it can have such a profound effect on the knitter. Since I started knitting about eight months ago, I would guess that I've knitted at least a little on 90% of those days. (Don't look so shocked. I've certainly blogged plenty about it.) I enjoy it, obviously, and have discovered that it is an important part of my day. It's nice to have you all to share it with because my knitting certainly puzzles everyone else.

I haven't found satori through knitting, nor do I expect to. Yeah, I know I'm preaching to the choir here. You're aware of all this. Sorry, I'm on repeat mode with no destination in sight.

So, I'll wrap with this. I should have an FO tomorrow and a report from the first night of the NHL draft.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Booking it

On those occasions when I flip through knitting books, I do more flipping than looking. In other words, there's a lot in them that isn't for me, doesn't interest me, or appears too difficult. I'm well aware that the majority of these books aren't written with my gender in mind. That's fine. I'm not asking for special treatment, but it would be nice to find a book that has more than one or two things in it that meet my knit-worthy criteria.

I think I've found one. I've seen Mason-Dixon Knitting mentioned quite often, and my favorite color swap secret pal sent me a ballband dishcloth made from the pattern in it. I placed a reserve on the book at the library and picked it up this afternoon. Ordinarily I'll page through and glance at the pictures, but I read the first few pages of this book. Then I took my time going through each pattern and checking what was involved.

I liked several of the patterns I saw, so I might have to order a copy for myself. I'm already having insane thoughts of making log cabin blankets for Christmas gifts. If I do that--and that's a big if--I better get cracking soon.

What are your favorite knitting books? Also, what are you reading at the moment? I'm ready to dig into A Thread Across the Ocean: The Heroic Story of the Transatlantic Cable. Despite the title, it has nothing to do with knitting.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Oh no.

It is one of those days. A day when I feel nothing happened that's worthy of writing about. A day when the well is dry. A day when I haven't knit.

I know that I have some "ask the secret knitter" questions in reserve for just such an occasion, but to be perfectly honest, I don't feel like I have the brainpower tonight to do them justice. I promise I'll get around to them--and feel free to add your own--but it ain't happening this evening.

I've visited several blogs in search of inspiration, but nothing has jumped out at me. It's as though I have the shush of static between my ears.

So maybe if I start writing something will emerge...

I bought the new White Stripes album today. Listening to it and reading an excellent Jack White interview got me to thinking of the best concerts I've seen. So, since I've got nothing better to write about, here are some of the most memorable concerts I've attended, in backward chronological order.

1. The White Stripes at The Ohio Theatre (Columbus, OH/September 2005)

Holy smoke. I'm a fan, more of the casual variety than hardcore, but I was completely mesmerized throughout their performance. Who knew two people could make this much glorious noise? Jack and Meg White were touring in support of Get Behind Me Satan, and the devil himself would have done well to pay heed that night. They shook that old theater with the kind of force and passion I don't know that I've ever seen in live music. Go figure that I had an extra ticket and had to beg and beg and beg to get someone to tag along because Ohio State had a home football game against Texas that night.

2. Belle and Sebastian at Mershon Auditorium (Columbus, OH/November 2003)

Anymore it's commonplace to know a lot about your favorite bands and what they look like, but at the time info was a little scarcer on the Scottish folk-pop collective Belle and Sebastian. (It isn't any longer.) This was the rare occasion where I wouldn't have recognized the band if they were standing outside the venue prior to the show. For me there was a mysterious aura about them. I marveled at the number of band members on stage and how their songs, which always have sounded to me on the verge of unraveling, were exquisitely played.

3. The Flaming Lips at the Newport Music Hall (Columbus, OH/April 2003)

It seems ever so fitting that I attended a screening of The Lizzie McGuire Movie immediately prior to this show. That kind of cheery optimism is the perfect complement for the Lips' current brand of smiley-faced rock with a strong surreal/psychedelic current. This was the most joyous rock concert I can ever remember attending. Audience members in the club were actually polite and respected other people's space. Everyone was there to soak up the positivity, and I'll be damned if it wasn't a lot of fun. I've seen them one other time since. Sure, the shtick was pretty much the same, but why change a good thing?

4. Richard Buckner, Bruce Robison, and Kelly Willis at Wilbert's (Cleveland, OH/October 1998)

Kelly Willis rarely performed in the Midwest and at the time hadn't released an album in five years, save for a Texas-only EP A&M put out before they parted ways. I loved what I'd heard of her work and jumped at the chance to see her live. Imagine my shock when I walked into the place and saw the three artists eating supper at the bar. I got a seat front and center and was thisclose when they played. Of course I liked what I heard from her, but Robison was enjoyable and Buckner's searing energy had me going to buy Since at the record store the next day. It was just three songwriters, their guitars, and maybe a drummer tapping out some beats (I don't remember exactly), but it was a great, intimate show. (We're talking forty people in attendance tops.)

5. Guided by Voices at Special Occasions (Dayton, OH/fall 1994)

Dayton's hometown lo-fi legends--the lead singer is an elementary school teacher!--were just beginning to become known nationally. (Bee Thousand was their latest release.) I wasn't terribly familiar with them, but it gave me an excuse to visit a friend who was going to college back near where I'm from. I wasn't accustomed to indie rock at the time, but the performance of these "old" guys was something to behold. I left with two souvenirs: a signed copy of Vampire on Titus and a mild ringing in one ear that I can still hear when it's quiet.

6. Midnight Oil with Hothouse Flowers and Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers at The Ohio State Fair (Columbus, OH/summer 1993)

I include this in part because of the sheer strangeness of this concert taking place at the state fair. It was a really good show, but how odd to see an Australian band with a serious political/social justice streak at the same place as the butter cow. I could take or leave the opening acts, although I recall enjoying them that night. Midnight Oil really cooked.

7. U2 with The Pixes at Richfield Coliseum (Cleveland, OH/March 1992)

I was ridiculously pumped up to see this date on the Zoo TV tour, and I can't say I was let down. It was the first big rock show I attended, and what a way to start. (Sorry Billy Joel, but I don't know that you really count.) Spending part of spring break in Cleveland wasn't so bad after all.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Dishcloth Go Bragh

Reversible shamrock dishcloth

Yarn: Lily The Original Sugar 'n Cream (100% cotton; worsted weight)
Color: Key lime pie
Needles: US 6s
Stitches: 45

Can you see the shamrocks? They're there although slightly hard to make out because there's too much white in the leaves. This one's for mom, she of the St. Patrick's Day birthday.

It was nice to have a break from socks and trying to organize the dpns in my hands. I liked it so much that I knitted 53 of the 67 rows between last night and this evening. Don't misunderstand me. There's something kind of mechanical about dishcloth knitting, which isn't fun so much as it is relatively brainless. Compared to the workout socks are--even if I have apparently figured out how to make them--it can be enjoyable to do something easier.

I suppose there isn't much else to say. I'm ready to take another crack at the sock to be knitted on US 3 dpns, and I should probably cast on so sock one has a pal.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sock one

One sock down, one to go. I'll spare the material details until the other is done since technically I don't have an FO until I have a pair. What good is one?

First things first, the problems... There isn't necessarily a hole at one side of the ankle, but it probably could have been knitted more tightly at that spot. It's probably less noticeable when worn on my left foot. That nitpick aside--and the fact that I'm debating if the variegation makes the sock kind of ugly--I'm very pleased with my work on it.

I'm surprised at the shortness of the leg, not because it is too short but because laid flat it appears like it should be longer.

The foot length seems to be right. Regular use will determine if the cuff should be tighter. I think it will be OK, but I expected a slightly snugger fit. I like the feel of the sock. I used one of my favorite yarns for scarves: Dark Horse Yarns-Fantasy.

It's half nylon/half acrylic and, more importantly, machine washable. That's something I'm going to have to keep an eye on when purchasing sock yarn. Having to hand wash socks is more trouble than this knitter is going to want to deal with. The only thing in the pattern that has thrown me is the "block lightly" instruction. Why would I want to do that?

As I mentioned before, the necessity of knitting another one takes some of the fun out of making socks. Maybe I'm less thrilled about it because I was sort of bored knitting the foot. Regardless, I'll get to work making the companion sock this week. Guess I didn't need to buy two skeins of this yarn, though.

I cast on again for the sock with my Knit Picks yarn tonight. I didn't like how a couple of the stitches looked from yesterday's attempt, so I ripped everything out and started over. I've become faster at doing the long tail cast on, so that isn't too bad. Unfortunately I was using the long tail to knit, so I had to frog it all again. I don't think I'm going to work on it the rest of the evening. I've gone nearly a week without knitting the reversible shamrock dishcloth, so that ought to be a good thing for me to return too while I take a break from socks.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

How it's made

I gave up a significant portion of my Saturday to help spot for the public address announcer at the Ohio High School All-Star Football Classic. (FYI, you can see Columbus' skyline in the stadium photo.) In addition to telling him who made the plays on offense and defense, my job was to serve as an intermediary among the PA booth, the video board operators, and field presenters. It's easy work and easy money. (To the laptop fund!) Plus, being behind the scenes gives me a glimpse of how tightly scripted events like this are.

I'm fascinated with how things are made and marvel at the complexity often involved in producing something that appears simple. Coordinating all of the announcements, video spots, on-field recognitions, and filler music isn't really that complicated, but I expect that the average person isn't aware of how much effort is put into making it all as seamless as possible. (I will add that I'm not sure that it's always a good thing. One of the bane of sporting events is the attempt to keep people constantly amused during breaks in the action. The relentless music and other diversions smack of an overeager desire to entertain lest one unchoreographed second pass and allow us to think if we're enjoying ourselves or not.) I had fun hearing how it all came together via the headsets and doing my part to keep us on schedule and get information to the crowd.

Tonight I was reminded how my enjoyment of observing and understanding how things are made is a big part of what I do. I put together TV shows, the final versions of which hopefully seem effortless. I review films, which involves examining structure and the interplay of elements. I loved Standby: Lights! Camera! Action! on Nickelodeon when I was a kid. The show revealed the tricks involved with special effects and built my interest in the rest of the filmmaking process.

I didn't get into knitting to figure out how clothes and other things were made, but I am amazed at the ingenuity it took to develop the craft's techniques and patterns. Perhaps that's why I get cold feet about learning to knit something new. Finished objects look complicated--sometimes they are--but as I gain more knowledge, I'm finding that I am capable of more than I believe myself to be.

I knew there would be some down time before the game, so I took my knitting with me in spite of some concern that this wasn't the best venue for knitting in public. I found a solitary seat in the shade and cast on Knit Picks Essential Tweed in Inca Gold for a different pair of socks. It's the first time I've used fingering weight yarn. I'm also employing the smallest needles--US 3 dpns--that I've ever worked with. I only had time to cast on and knit one round. (I had to cast on twice since my long tail was excessively long on the first try.) And no, I wasn't banished from the stadium for doing something that surely was an affront to the football playing that was to come.

So there isn't any confusion, no, I haven't finished my other sock. I just felt like starting this one.

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Friday, June 15, 2007


It's premature to start patting myself on the back for my success knitting this sock--there's still the foot and toe to go--but I'm feeling very proud of myself. I've come this far without any major problems, and I was able to recognize something from reading the knitting that I couldn't get by blindly following the pattern.

After I picked up and redistributed the stitches, it was time to knit the gusset, with needles 1 and 3 being worked in stockinette and needle 2 in seed stitch rib. The dilemma with needle 2 is that I repeat four stitches, but there are 22 on it. My first inclination was to stick to the pattern of k3, p1 and knit the last two stitches. I could tell this would throw the pattern off. I determined that I should k1, p1 and then continue with k3, p1. Sure enough, it worked!

I'm quite eager to finish this sock and try it on. I'm somewhat less enthused about having to knit another for this one to be of any use. Still, I've had fun knitting this sock.

And now it's time for an infrequent but recurring item: Knitting in Films. I saw characters knitting in two films this week, but don't get too excited. Such activity is on screen for maybe twenty seconds combined. An Italian immigrant woman knits on the boat crossing the Atlantic in Golden Door (Nuovomondo). A Czech immigrant's mother knits in their apartment in the Irish musical Once. The latter is a lovely film tinged with sadness and one of the best movies I've seen this year.

It was a good, swoon-worthy day at the movies as I also saw Paris, je t'aime, an omnibus film about little neighborhood romances in the city of lights. Joel and Ethan Coen and Alexander Payne directed sterling shorts. The majority were good or didn't overstay their welcome. Alfonso Cuarón made nice use of a single tracking shot for his piece, and Gus Van Sant's ranked among the better shorts. Olivier Assayas' entry wasn't so hot, and the vampire film with Elijah Wood was pretty dull. Sylvain Chomet's short with the mimes had its moments, but mainly I kept thinking how much I was irritated watching mimes.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Inside out

Because confusing right side and wrong side is a tendency of mine, I should point out that the sock I'm knitting appears to be taking shape inside out. Having taken a closer look at the pictures with the pattern, I'm fairly certain that this is so. (It also explains how I start the heel flap on the right side.) The WIP is below my needles while I'm knitting, which is what I was doing when I made my second practice sock, yet the right side was on the outside for it. I don't understand why it is the way it is, but I think I know what to do.

The same thing applied to the walk I took this morning. I awoke early enough that I decided to get in my exercise before work. I've been walking or running around the park and schools just up the road from me, but I thought I could find a better extended course by venturing into the surrounding neighborhood too.

I went one street farther north than I would usually go and turned. Shortly after 8 a.m. the air was still light, although it held the promise of heat and humidity. One family was clearing their yard of the toilet paper strung like ribbon through the tree in their front yard. Several weekly suburban newspapers lay at the end of driveways. During this nice, quiet tour it dawned on me that I hadn't come out where I thought the road would lead me.

I had passed one familiar street name but didn't venture down it because I expected to arrive somewhere else. The more I walked, the more I realized that I could get seriously lost in the suburban housing development maze. I turned a few times to head in the direction I wanted to go, although by this time I had no bearings for which way I was actually going. I assumed that I would eventually make it to somewhere I recognized.

Finally I got back to the street that I knew, but I wasn't as far south on it as I anticipated being. The curves of the roads took me farther east and north than I perceived, and since the neighborhoods aren't laid out in simple grids, my path looked like something a Family Circus kid would leave in the Sunday strip.

One other knitting item... A tip o' the hat to Jennifer for drawing my attention to Dish Rag Tag. I'm signed up and ready to knit dishcloths. As if I needed any excuse to do so.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Gauging progress

Just so that we're clear, I'm not that far along on my first "big" sock. My talk of starting another pair of socks was about my eagerness to have multiple projects on the needles, not an indication that I'm close to finishing what you see above. I couldn't start another pair if I wanted because apparently my Knit Picks order, placed Monday, is still "in process". One word: boo!

Call it buyer's/knitter's remorse, but I'm a little worried that I might not like how these socks look when they're finished. The variegated yarn is creating slanted circles that may look silly. They'll feel great, but if I'm too embarrassed to wear them...

I have encountered a question of gauge and knitting needles to which I have not found a satisfactory answer but which has not kept me from pushing forward. I'm using Takumi bamboo US 6 dpns; however, unlike all other US 6s I've come across, the gauge is given as 4.25 mm rather than 4 mm. I'm working from the assumption that this will not create a problem. I just find it curious that apparently there's no standardization from one manufacturer to another.

The screening schedule and energy-draining arctic conditions in my office have bitten into my knitting time, but I'm ready to make serious headway on these socks. In an IM chat with my mom, I told her that I'm knitting socks. Her response was, "Hmmm." She followed with "Hope they're soft." Like the rest of my family, I think she still has no idea what to make of this knitting hobby that's taken hold of me.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Quick knits

I've barely been able to keep my eyes open since getting home tonight, so I'll make this a quick entry.

My first adult-sized sock looks to be coming along nicely. I wanted to work on it more tonight, but four rounds was all I could manage. It was so cold in my office today that I wore a coat to combat the chill. Sitting in that for most of the day has obviously sapped my energy.

I'm very pleased with the cuff's stretchiness. I cast on too tightly for my first practice sock, but my WIP seems to be exactly how it should be. I almost didn't leave a sufficient long tail for the cast on--I doubt I could make one more stitch--but everything worked out.

The variegated yarn may create slanted circular stripes. We'll see once I've knitted more of it.

Depending how tomorrow goes, I might also cast on for a different pair of socks. I'm anticipating receipt of my Knit Picks order.

I bought my first knitting book the other day. Stitch 'n Bitch Nation came in today's mail. I'm not sure how much of it I'll use, but at 80% off at Amazon, it was worth adding to my library.

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Monday, June 11, 2007


Today's plan was to get my work done from home, write a review or two, and then spend the day relaxing. I suppose it all worked out in the end even if I was stymied at just about every turn.

I woke up earlier than I wanted, but that's par for the course in the new apartment until I get a shade to put inside the blinds. I thought I might adjust to all that sunlight in the bedroom. Nope. I've been getting to bed earlier here than at my old place, so I'm dealing with it reasonably well.

I hopped on the computer to take care of student employee scheduling and to get their requested off days from my e-mail. That's when my internet service went down for forty-five minutes.

My next endeavor was one of the few things to happen without any setbacks. I was able to drive from home to the movie theater and get money from the ATM in six minutes. (I love how close my new apartment is to places I regularly go.) I needed to see Ocean's Thirteen for work--really--so I caught up with it at noon. Who goes to see a movie in the middle of a Monday? Not many people. It was me and two other ticket buyers in the largest auditorium in the multiplex.

I decided that my next project will be to knit socks for myself. I've ordered yarn from Knit Picks, but with my mind made up, I can't wait until that package arrives. I bought some variegated yarn at a LYS and dpns at JoAnn's. My coupon was denied because it isn't eligible until next week. (I have no sense of what day it is right now.) The thwarting was just beginning.

I got home ready to finish my work and start the sock. When I looked at the pattern in the book again, I realized that his basic sock was something to make for practice and was not going to give me an item I could wear. I searched through several websites trying to understand how to determine the number of stitches to cast on and what size needles I should use. (I bought the US 6 dpns for the pattern I now wouldn't be following.)

There's a wealth of information out there. Some of it isn't descriptive enough, and some seems to contradict the other. I really wanted to knit this sock. Since Karen is trying to brainwash me into the sock cult, I asked if she could point me toward some patterns that met the stitches per inch and needles I had. You could say she had some suggestions. I'm going with these, which worked out because I struck out looking for bamboo US 4 dpns at JoAnn's, Michael's, and Hobby Lobby. (I was going to knit the Cider Moon pattern.)

Following up on a question in yesterday's comments, I'm making all these dishcloths to give as gifts. A couple will go to my parents, and two or three will be birthday gifts for my great aunt. (I have no clue what to give her. I know these will be used and appreciated.)

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

More graduation blues

In a twenty-eight hour period this weekend I endured four graduations. Only one was today. Thank God. By the time we were finished, I was wiped out despite the fact that it's not demanding work. It's more the drudgery and long days. Yes, yes, your lives are beginning, you were the best class, you'll never forget one another, etc. Can we get things moving so I can go home?

Fortunately the commencement marathon ends with the one where I know some of the graduates. It doesn't make the ceremony go any faster, but it helps keep what little interest I have remaining. Plus, the college graduation has a more dignified and traditional feel than the cookie cutter high school celebrations.

How do I pass the time? There's a lot of shooting the breeze with my co-worker about how our jobs are pretty good except for these long, punishing days, particularly when all the graduations fall on the same weekend. When the diplomas start getting handed out at the high school ceremonies, I've typically slid into the amphitheater's back stage lounge and watched some television. (Usually it's too hot and humid to hang around outside.) This year I wised up and brought the newspaper and a book, although I wish I'd brought more after polishing off my reading material with a third graduation to spare.

My obligation to work these events, coupled with the attendant boredom and physical weariness, color my opinion of these rites of passage. (I collapsed on the futon when I got home late this afternoon.) I don't begrudge those who enjoy them the pleasure they get. Donna's entry provides a really sweet and heartfelt alternative to my bilious take. Let me reiterate that my dislike for graduations has nothing to do with what they mean for everyone else but what they mean to me: extremely long days doing something as compelling as watching paint dry.

On top of that, my bigger beef is with the high school commencements, the beats and sentiments of which I practically know by heart despite whatever novel spin the presenters think they are providing in their speeches. Still, I'll take the sappy clichés over the droning school district and school board speakers, who seem to forget that the graduations are already long enough without them going on and on and on.

I've started another dishcloth, and I need to make a baby sock to accompany the more respectable one I knitted Friday. Where do I go from here? I will probably follow Donna's lead and make something for the Red Scarf Project, and I suppose it's time to attempt socks for myself. Any other suggestions?


Saturday, June 09, 2007

Graduation blues

Today is Worldwide Knit in Public Day. How I would have loved to have knitted in public--I haven't in some time--but I had less enjoyable things to do.

This is Graduation Weekend, a time I dread more than most days out of the year. I had a fourteen and a half hour work day because we are required to tape three local high school graduations. Commencement is boring enough when you know a graduate or two. Imagine not knowing anyone receiving a diploma yet having to spend more than half of a beautiful Saturday devoted to the slow march of high school grads.

For a fleeting moment I considered bringing my knitting. I had enough student employees, so I just needed to serve as supervisor. With all those empty hours needing to be filled at the amphitheater, knitting would be just the thing to pass the time; however, no one at work has the slightest inkling that I knit. Unveiling my secret in front of this particular bunch didn't seem like the wisest idea either. That point was driven home when I overheard two of our male student workers talking about having gone to JoAnn's for some reason and stressing how they really shouldn't have been in the place.

So, sadly there was no knitting in public--or knitting at all--for me. (I've been too tired to do anything since I got home.) Instead I finished reading Thunderstruck, Erik Larson's non-fiction account of Marconi's development of wireless telegraphy interwoven with The North London Cellar Murder in Edwardian London. It's not the knockout that Larson's last book, The Devil in the White City, was, but it's an interesting story with a breathless chase of murder suspects across the Atlantic Ocean. The period's science vs. commerce debate and tension in technology's cross-platform use is just as relevant today. (I kept thinking of Apple and Microsoft.)

Sunday brings another graduation to be recorded. *groan* I'm through the worst of it, and I will know some of the college students getting their degrees. Still, putting in more than sixty percent of a work week in two weekend days doing one of the most snooze-inducing things imaginable is, umm, not fun. I'll need to knit tomorrow night to shake off the after effects of the mind-numbing repetition that defines these ceremonies.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Knitting superpowers restored

When I sat down to knit this evening, I didn't have anything particular in mind. More than likely I'd end up knitting another dishcloth, but I thought I might as well cast on for a companion to the baby sock I knitted. Look what happened.

Super Quick Baby Sock

Yarn: Dark Horse Yarns-Fantasy (50% nylon, 50% acrylic; worsted weight)
Color: 31 (baby pink)
Needles: US 7 dpns
Stitches: 24

My knitting superpowers were dormant while I worked on the first one, but tonight they returned in full force as I whipped through a second sock in about three and a half hours while listening to/watching the Reds game on TV. (The team has been worth avoiding at all costs this season, but I was curious to check out their new phenom pitcher. It's pretty bad when that's the highlight for a baseball team in early June.) I didn't intend to knit the whole thing, but there you have it.

Everything I had problems with the first time made a lot more sense this time. The wrong side/right side dilemma was clearer, maybe because the WIP was below the needles. (I'm certain it was between me and the needles previously. This is why I wondered if I needed to turn it inside out.) The heel flap knitted easily, as did the turn.

The chain selvage wasn't as loose, and I realized that I needed to pick up stitches as close to the instep as possible to avoid holes. There are a couple dodgy looking areas, and where I ssk I leave "ears", as a book calls them. Overall, though, I'm thrilled with how this sock turned out. I could feel comfortable giving it as a gift to my friends who had their baby girl on Wednesday. I suppose that means I have to do another one.

Here are photos for the sake of comparison.

Miraculously, the socks are the same size. I counted the number of rounds for the foot this time, so I know how many to knit rather than going by a measurement.

Although it doesn't pertain to this project, I found--or, rather, I didn't find--an answer for my question if there was an equivalent bind off for the long-tail cast on. I haven't located any. I meant to include that bit with yesterday's post for the dishcloth I started with the long tail.

So sock knitters, I'm less likely to abandon your precious footwear now that I feel a lot more confident in my ability to make them. It's time for socks for me, but I need the right yarn first.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

No socks, no service

Triangles Galore dishcloth

Yarn: Lily The Original Sugar 'n Cream (100% cotton; worsted weight)
Color: Sun kissed ombre
Needles: US 7s
Stitches: 41

Never fear, my sock knitting career is not over just because I finished one. I was in the mood for something less taxing, so I polished off the final 23 rows for this dishcloth tonight.

In case you don't read the comments, I was teasing in yesterday's post when I referred to dedicated sock knitters as "stark raving mad". I don't think anyone took me seriously--if so, I didn't hear it--but I wanted to make sure that was clear. Sarcasm doesn't always translate to the written word, even if I suspect there's some truth in the accusation. :)

The sock took a lot of concentration, and I got impatient when I didn't understand everything immediately. Without combing through my earlier posts, I suspect I griped about not being able to figure things out then too. In general I'm pretty patient, but there are times my reserve runs low. The sock depleted the supply.

If I were to reflect on how much I've learned as a knitter, I would have to say that I've come a long way. I've been knitting a little less than eight months. While I'm not as fearless as somebody I know, I've worked hard at knitting regularly, improving, and learning new things. As of the first of the year I only had scarves to show for my efforts, so I've branched out, even if it's been via baby steps. I'm having as much fun knitting as I did when I got hooked.

In other words, there will be plenty more projects for me to complain about being stuck on and then calming down when I figure it out. Blogging about knitting has been a lot of fun too, and I'm glad you take the time to stop by. As always, thanks for reading and offering your advice and encouragement.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Socked up

Super Quick Baby Sock

Yarn: Dark Horse Yarns-Fantasy (50% nylon, 50% acrylic; worsted weight)
Color: 31 (baby pink)
Needles: US 7 dpns
Stitches: 24

Amazing. I finished knitting a sock.

Because you know I'm going to do it, let's dispense with what's wrong upfront. The heel flap ribbing is on the wrong side. There's a fairly prominent hole around where the left side of the ankle would be. The chain selvage is still visible on the left side. My cast on row is probably tighter than it should be. My ssk stitches in the toe stick out some. (At least I think that's what they are.)

All that aside, I'm shocked that it looks right and that I was able to knit it. This really tried my patience, especially because I would get conflicting or unclear information from the resources I checked. I wasn't always able to make sense of Silver's Sock Class instructions--an issue related to my denseness most likely--but the Kitchener stitch description could not have been better. I'm very pleased with how I grafted those stitches.

I'm still not clear on how to determine what the wrong side is. Should I have turned the work in progress inside out to stay in pattern? I learned how to slip knitwise and purlwise. I got a better grasp of ssk...I think. I learned about short rows and turning the work. And I had it confirmed for me that you rabid sock knitters are stark raving mad. (I mean that in, umm, the nicest way.) I'm not going to quit on socks, but so help me, I could not knit these on a regular basis without losing my mind.

I guess this means I have to knit another one even if this sock joins my practice piece as Knitted Things Not Fit For Public Consumption.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Success picking up stitches!

It took me two tries to figure it out. The first time I used needle #1 to pick up the stitches. I saw it suggested somewhere. This was a bad idea. It was very hard to knit. On top of that, I began picking up stitches at the opposite end of where I wanted. Once I had picked up eight stitches it was quite obvious that I had messed up. Another video demo showed an empty needle being used, so I tried that method. Much better. I slipped those stitches onto needle #1, knitted across the instep, and picked up eight more stitches on the other side.

This made me very happy. I've been shaping the instep without incident.

That doesn't mean my knitting is flub-free. Oh no, not at all.

That hole is a problem. The edge where I picked up stitches isn't nearly as clean on this side either. I can't in good conscience give this to anyone, but right now I'm pleased to have made it this far. Thanks to Karen for the links she passed along. I'd seen one of them before, but it made more sense today.

The pattern says to knit until the foot measures 2 1/2" inches from the picked up stitches. It could be tricky determining where that is. Then again, if I've already decided that this won't be given as a gift, does it matter?

Getting to this point has required a lot of brainpower and focus, so I'm done with the sock for the night. Maybe I'll try to finish tomorrow if I can get a handle on the Kitchener stitch.

As promised, I do have an FO to show.

Waved welt dishcloth

Yarn: Lily The Original Sugar 'n Cream (100% cotton; worsted weight)
Color: Potpourri
Needles: US 7s
Stitches: 47

This dishcloth turned out really well, which is nice since I'll be giving it away. I goofed up in one spot--a dropped stitch, maybe--but it isn't terribly noticeable.

Another dishcloth is on the needles. It should keep me occupied for the rest of the time I watch TV tonight.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Back to basics

Thanks for the advice and encouragement on the socks. I wrote about my sock knitting frustration in the heat of the moment. It gave me energy to burn, that's for sure. Bristling with the aggravation of an afternoon's knitting, I went out and ran a mile and a half around my new neighborhood before needing to head inside to avoid the rain.

I have not attempted to pick up stitches today, and I can safely say that it won't happen until tomorrow at the earliest. I've been biding my time doing other things: a late afternoon nap, a haircut, finally getting some food to put in the refrigerator, trying to write movie reviews. I've been slowly tapping out my reviews for tomorrow's show, so the knitting has had to go on the back burner.

I have taken one break to knit, and I started--what else--a dishcloth. I decided that I might as well see if I remembered how to do the long-tail cast on. It went smoother than my first successful attempt, but I need to be careful at doing it too tightly. Getting the needle through to knit was something of a challenge. Silly question: is there an equivalent bind off?

I finished a dishcloth last night--well, save for weaving in the ends--but amid my other activities, I failed to take pictures today. It's probably best to save that for tomorrow's entry in the event that my sock knitting puts me in a surly mood again.

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Hosed again

I am very, very, very tempted to quit sock knitting. I simply don't understand it.

Where to begin? The pattern says to start the heel flap with the wrong side facing. Uh, OK. They both look the same to me. Which is the wrong side? That turned out not to me the major source of confusion. I just went ahead and knitted figuring that if I was wrong about the wrong side, so be it.

No, the first question was how I was supposed to divide the stitches. Oh, I know that I was supposed to put half on one needle, but would it have killed anybody to explain that you put the stitch with the working yarn on that needle and move the rest onto the other end? The books assume more knowledge than I feel I have as a beginner. As I attempt in vain to knit slightly more complicated things, I can feel my patience wearing thin.

After referring to several books and websites and gleaning enough to feel like I might be ready to move on, I knitted the heel flap. I'm guessing that I messed up somewhere along the line. It doesn't look right, but I don't know how to explain.

Then it was time to turn the heel. Again, instructions failed me. It took a long time to determine that I wasn't supposed to knit every stitch on the needle before turning. The actual knitting wasn't difficult, but having the faintest idea about what I was supposed to do was. Per the pattern, I ended up with six stitches, so best I can tell, I turned the heel OK. But who knows?

This is how I see it when working on the sock.

Here it is flipped over. Note how the ribbing and other section don't stay consistent on both sides.

Now I'm at the point where I must stop because I'm extremely frustrated. I haven't a clue how to pick up stitches or with what needles and where they're supposed to go. Apparently I need to pick up sixteen of them. Photos and written directions are as clear as mud, and I've had it.

Dishcloths may not be a thrill a minute to knit, but I don't feel like throwing everything across the room in disgust either. *raised fist* Socks!!!

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

The long road to the long tail

Up, over, through, tighten. That's it!

I'm not joking when I say that I pored over this video and tried to emulate the long-tail cast on technique for an hour and a half. I had no trouble with "up" and "over", but I wasn't exactly sure where "through" was. There was nothing to "tighten". I was ready to say, "That's it!" It wasn't going well. I made one stitch by accident, and I couldn't duplicate it.

I checked The Knitting Answer Book to see if it might provide the answer. As it turns out, it does have the pertinent information I needed; it just didn't sink in. (There isn't a diagram of the step where I was having problems, which didn't help either.) So I must say a big thank you to Miss Ewe for her comment the other day that directed me to the tutorial that made it click.

The critical instruction I wasn't getting elsewhere was in step 4: "Remove your thumb from the loop and pull on tail to tighten stitch (avoid making too tight!)." The book says, "4. Let the loop slide off your thumb. 5. Put your thumb behind the long tail and use it to tighten the loop." It seems obvious now, but I didn't know what loop the book meant. Surely I didn't want to let go of the loop that was keeping the tension. Of course, that's exactly what I needed to do, but I wasn't getting it. Everything is there in the video, but I was so focused on watching the needle that I didn't notice that the loop came off her thumb.

After a lot of sweat and swears, I finally got it.

Having conquered this, working in k1p1 should have been cake, right?

On my second round I noticed that I was off by one stitch. Ugh! How in the world did I drop a stitch?! I unknitted back to the problem spot--at least I found it--and then had to figure out how to fix it. The crochet hook I have is too big, but I remembered that my mom had found a small one in my grandma's possessions and given it to me. I rooted through my tub of yarn and needles and eventually found it. I hadn't needed it before, but it saved me tonight. I picked up the stitch and returned to knitting in rib. Also, I accidentally knit the tail into a stitch, but I caught it early enough that I was able to pull it out.

There haven't been any other problems...yet. I've finished the ribbing for the leg and am ready to embark on knitting the heel. I suspect more problems await, so I'm going to call it a night on the sock. Here's it's current status.

I know a couple who will be having a baby girl any day now. The practice socks will go to them.

In other knitting news, I salvaged the dishcloth that I threatened to frog entirely. I needed a break from the aggravation. I undid the stitches in pattern, something that I didn't think I could do, and moved along. I probably have about half of it done. I went out to by some other US 7s for starting a second dishcloth in the event that sock knitting was a disaster again. They'll be useful to have, but for now, everything is back on track.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

May knitting progress report

Another month has come and gone, along with the knitting of seven more FOs. May saw the production of:

3 dishcloths
2 baby hats
1 baby blanket
1 felted needle holder

My knitting output for the year totals 34 FOs. May didn't bring about the expected decline, although these were quick projects. (Plus, I knitted half of the baby blanket in April.) So I only have sixteen projects to knit in June to put me on pace for one hundred for 2007. That wasn't (and isn't) a goal of mine, but it sure would be an impressive number to reach.

Really, though, would it be less impressive than knitting 98 projects? I've got numbers on the brain somewhat after reading 13: The Story of the World's Most Popular Superstition. There are some interesting facts in it--unlucky 13 has roots in The Last Supper, and Friday the 13th is a 20th century phenomenon--but the book repeats a lot and doesn't live up to its title. It could have stood to be more thorough.

For ease of location, here are the links for my January, February, March, and April progress reports.

A new month seems like the right time to take advantage of the tags function. I'll be using this feature from now on.

Tonight marks the first week I've been in my new apartment. I knew that living here would be a different experience--that's what I hoped!--but I am mildly surprised how it has affected my perspective and well-being. Time passes more leisurely. I feel better physically and mentally. Eleven miles isn't that far, yet the distance from my workplace allows me to feel like I'm not carrying work home, even if I am in some instances. Now that's a different space rather than somewhere that was practically an extension of my apartment.

It's been exciting to find how close a lot of places are to my new home. I'm slowly getting acclimated to the changes in layouts of the stores. (The grocery store's floor plan is different enough to what I'm used to that I do a lot of wandering.) Considering I live off of a major street with a lot of traffic--not to mention that this week The Memorial Tournament is a stone's throw from me--I've found no big hold-ups in getting around.

Last evening was a bad night for knitting. I forgot to do the first three stitches on a row in the dishcloth's seed stitch border, which means that I have to undo almost forty stitches. I'm not sure if I can undo them in pattern or not, so I may just frog the whole thing. (With the way the night's knitting had gone, I chose not to deal with it then.) Today I bought some more Sugar 'n Cream for dishcloths. My mom admired my handiwork when she was packing up some of my kitchen stuff for the move, so I'll make a couple for her. I have a great-aunt with a birthday in July. I have no idea what she might like, so I figure I can make a few dishcloths for her as well.

And yes, I'll get back to the socks.

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