As winter deepens, it seems that the darkness that marks the majority of the day also affects my ability to concentrate on any one project.
- The Rembrandt Neckpiece from Knitting Brioche by Nancy Marchant. I love this thing, it’s uniqueness, color combination, style. Neither cowl nor collar, not scarf or shawl, it’s simply a “warm thing” for you to wear with your coat. Now, most people would be wise enough not to knit this as their first brioche project. But, ever confident in my knitting skill (and ever precariously perched on my own pedestal) I commenced. Four-color brioche, using four different aran-weight yarns. But could I be bothered with paying CLOSE attention to the instructions? Now, in my defense, there are a couple of errors in the pattern. But I was able to figure those out (and verify them with the designer). It was the pesky little instructions to move your marker here or there, or to do this or that kind of decrease one or two times that I was not able to focus on. After ripping back and reknitting several rows about five times, I laid Rembrandt aside, assuring him that I would pick him up on a more lucid day.
- The Rodekool scarf from Knitty, also by Nancy Marchant (which, for some reason, I cannot keep from calling “The Road-Kill Scarf”). Another brioche pattern (I do love the effect of brioche stitch), but this time in lace. I’ve knit lace before! Thousands of times! A two-color brioche this time, I told myself it would be simpler. I used a fingering-weight mostly-solid yarn combined with Noro sock yarn… and it went pretty well until
- I decided that my color combo wasn’t interesting enough, so I bought some of the suggested yarn, Crystal Palace Mini Mocha, and started it again. Though I hadn’t had trouble with the pattern the first time, now all of a sudden I was ending up with the wrong stitch count on various rows. I thought perhaps I was too distracted, so I laid it on the round coffee table with Rembrandt and Rodekool I.
- Now I was getting pretty frustrated with not being able to finish one brioche project. My pride was at risk! I found a ball of Kauni Effektgarn, the famous EQ Rainbow color, and began knitting a simple tw0-color brioche scarf, using both ends from the same ball. It was mind-numbingly boring, but the effect was interesting and I was unable to mess up the pattern. I got nearly to the end of the ball of Kauni to find that some genius had simply spliced two ends of yarn together that were TOTALLY different colors, so my gradual change from one color to another was spoiled. The good news is that the scarf is long enough without the rest of the yarn. Now I have to find my brioche knitting book again to figure out how to do that darned Italian bindoff technique.
- It got cold here before Thanksgiving. Realllllly cold. It snowed and stuck and work was cancelled. But my legs were still cold, and I decided I should knit a pair of legwarmers. I located my Opinionated Knitter book and the Lady Legwarmer pattern, some Jamieson’s DK Shetland in the color Atlantic, and some You-Tube videos on how to use the “Magic Loop” technique. Now you may think this is silly, but for years I have avoided the Magic Loop. First, because the name is
stupidmisleading and makes me think I’m supposed to be some child who will hear the word “magic” and get all starry-eyed and excited. And if you know me, you know that doesn’t happen. But secondly, because I had assumed I knew exactly how to do it, and thought it appalling. But it was beginning to dawn on me that if it was so popular, there might be something I was missing. Hence the You-Tube, hence the dawning of enlightenment, hence the ability to knit legwarmers on one long circular need and LIKE IT. I started at the ankle and got up to the knee, having calculated my increases just so and having tried it on as I went (because I COULD because I was using the MAGIC loop technique!) and then
- My fabric arrived from Calico Corners so that I could make the Roman Shades for the front room. Knowing that I would need full days to get going on these, I set all knitting aside (actually on the Great Pile that had now accumulated on the coffee table) and began to occupy my sewing room. The great thing is that the fabric for the shades is striped. The not-so-great thing was that the stripes were “railroaded”, meaning that instead of going vertically down the length of the bolt, they go from side to side. I wanted my striped to go vertically on the window, so this meant I would have to piece my shades, one piece on bottom, one on top, with (duh) a seam. Which meant that instead of just having roman shades with pleats created by pulling up on rings from the back, I would have to make tailored shades, with sewn pleats both front and back. I elected to put dowels in the front pleats for added rigidity and interest. After three days I had completed one narrow shade.
- Time to clean up for Thanksgiving! All that yarn and misbegotten projectry got swept into a laundry basket and deposited…. somewhere. Anywhere out of sight. On my feet all day, cleaning and cooking and serving and entertaining and falling exhausted into bed at 8:30.
- There were no projects on my table, so I decided to start something new. That magic loop technique was tempting me to test the sock waters again. As I have stated before, I am not a sock knitter. It is difficult for me to knit socks that fit from any existing pattern, because
I am a mutantmy feet are so very narrow and long and my lower leg takes its time to develop into a calf, but when it does it is a normal-sized calf (not a cow, mind you, but a nice calf, mooing longingly for warmth). I found a lone skein of sock yarn and cast one something from some book somewhere that looked remotely interesting, and knit about an inch.
- I went back to my shades and created a perfect one to match the not-perfect one I made first. Now I was cooking with gas! I knew to what painstaking ends I must go to be sure the stripes matched and that the tucks were straight across. I started on one of the wide shades but found that, perplexingly, even though one end was perpendicular to the stripe and straight, the other end, when measured from the first end the same distance, was not. I wasted hours trying to figure this out. In the end, I abandoned that piece of fabric and tried another, with better results. At the end of the weekend I had most of a wide shade complete.
- On Monday, my colleague (who, with his 8-month-pregnant girlfriend had been a guest for Thanksgiving) informed me that he would have to leave work because said girlfriend was going to have an emergency C-section that day (baby and mother are just fine). Oh no! I had to knit a baby sweater! I betook myself therefore to the Weaving Works, where I bought a small quantity of Snuggly DK, and, inspired by my recent reconciliation with sock knitting, also acquired some Swan Island merino fingering yarn and some Dream In Color Smooshy (having also bought some of Cookie A.’s sock patterns, including Millicent).
- That night, I cast on and knit about four inches of a Sirdar matinee coat pattern for the wee one (4.5 pounds). I hate this yarn. I don’t care how easy to care for it is. Yuck, and no. Onto the table it went.
- I dutifully studied the Millicent pattern and cast on and knit the first inch of ribbing. Tried it on. Huh, seems big, but this is a cuff that turns down, so maybe that is ok.
- Next evening, I knit part of the cuff, and realized it was only growing bigger. This will not work. Toss!
- Found my Knitting On the Road book by Nancy Bush and the Conwy pattern, which she said was 6.5 inches around the foot, the smallest circumference I could find. Found some Lorna’s Laces sock yarn in the Black Watch colorway and commenced yet another sock.
- As of today, after six inches of patterning with decreases, this sock fits perfectly. No reason to lay it aside. Yet,
- I really want to cast on for Millicent again, using Bearfoot sock yarn and forgetting the cuff entirely.
- Am I sick?
I would have given you pictures, but cannot find the adapter that allows me to use my digital card. It’s probably buried under unfinished projects.