Posts for : February 2016

Back to Gramps 2

It’s so nice to be back to knitting on Gramps. It’s knit potion, for sure. I didn’t realize I was missing sweater knitting until I dove back in and suddenly a whole collection of tense spots relaxed. 

Gramps CC

During the Gramps hiatus, I’d convinced myself that the contrasting color I’d chosen wasn’t going to work. I’ve been a little iffy about the main colorway from the beginning, and I started thinking that adding the neutral for the contrasting color would just make the whole thing impossibly chaotic. But I was wrong! Don’t you think? I really like how the bottom ribbing section turned out. Now I can hardly wait to get the sleeves done so I can return to the contrasting color for the button band and shawl collar. That will tell the real story.

Saturday was Fiber Guild, and I had the sweetest helper ever.

Cara

It was a great time, as always, with the added excitement that one of our newer guild members started learning to knit! Can you imagine? I wanted to have a mind meld and beam into her brain all the wonders that await her.

Learning to knit 1

Everyone wanted to get in on the fun.

Learning to knit 2

I took this marinated cauliflower salad for lunch. Yum!

Cauliflour Salad

Tomorrow is Super Tuesday here in the U.S. Heaven help us.

Knitting On 2

Finished up my Week 6 Geek-A-Long square!

Katamari Damarcy 1 2

This is Katamari-Damarcy. I have no idea what the game is all about, but I liked Katamari, so here he is. (I think he’s a he.)

And here are all of my squares so far:

6 squares

I’m still having fun with this, but I feel the need to work on some other projects. The plan right now is to pick back up with my Gramps Cardi and then move on to a sweater for Paul. I’ll probably work on knitting Geek-A-Long squares here and there in between.

The Looped Loop is getting some love as well, but I’ve only been working on it when I’m on the go. Here we are taking a coffee break at the grocery store on Sunday. It was pouring outside, and by the time we made it the half hour to the store, a moment to wind down from driving in the crazy hard rain was in order:

Cowl 1 sm

Here’s Looped Loop at the Bee Meeting last night:

Cowl 2

I’m clearly using knitting and coffee as a talisman against the weather. Will it ever stop raining?

Here’s Looped Loop spread out so you can see how much I’ve done—relatively little actually, but I guess it’ll be finished some day.

Cowl 3

Namaste 4

Night Knitting

The current Geek-A-Long square is moving a bit more slowly than the others. It’s straightforward to knit, and I like the design, but I’ve been  distracted with other things. Work, of course, but more importantly, yoga.

Snow Headstand

I think I’ve mentioned here before that one of the big revelations of my older and wiser self has been that you can’t always know where you’re going before you head out. Some things, sometimes BIG things, only show up once you’re walking the walk. Put another way, the mind has its limits. You can’t think your way through everything. There are pathways that open in the doing that aren’t available through thinking.

Being a die-hard thinker, this has been a difficult concept for me to warm up to, but it’s been proven to me over and over again in recent years. It happened with spinning. I only finally started to “get” spinning when I started spinning, not while I was reading and thinking about spinning and trying to understand spinning in my head.

It’s also happened with yoga. Yoga helps me in ways I don’t understand. Doing yoga makes me happier, more open, more alive, less dark. I don’t know how or why—and believe me that’s been a great source of mystification—but it does. And guess what. The more I do yoga, the more I get out of it. Shocking, I know, but there it is.

Whether it was the oppressiveness of the cold damp of winter or something else, I was losing traction there for awhile. I managed to get to yoga, and it helped. I did yoga on non-class days, and it helped more. I’ve been doing yoga every day, and it’s helped a ton.

Now, my curiosity is aroused. Why is it helping? How does it work? Where could it lead?

Yoga 1

I know, I know. I was just talking about getting out of my head. But zebra. Stripes. All of that. And as with knitting, even though thinking about it isn’t a substitute for doing it, the thinking has its own rewards.

I really had no intention of writing about this here, this being primarily a space for knitting, but when I sat down at my keyboard this morning, it’s what showed up. Hope you don’t mind my sharing.

Yoga 2

Now, I’m off to yoga. Paul is driving. I can knit on the way.

Namaste

Keeping On Keeping On 2

Howdy, knitters! Sorry for the radio silence around here. I’ve been knitting, working, yoga-ing, reading, knitting . . . you know, the usual.

There has been ongoing Geek-A-Long knitting, and the most recent square was a challenge! Check it out:

05 Psychonauts 2

This is the Psychonauts square. See the question marks in the bottom left portion? To make those appear in the right orientation on the opposite side, you have to dip into what’s called “extreme double-knitting.”

Extreme Double-Knitting is a term coined by Alasdair Post-Quinn, and as far as I know, he was the first one to publish anything about how to do it. His book Extreme Double-Knitting: New Adventures in Reversible Colorwork explains the basic principles and shows how a non-reversible double knitting chart might look. He doesn’t go into the technical details about how to actually produce such a chart, however, and I had no idea how to accomplish such a feat.

After a lot of looking and thinking, it seemed like the best thing for me to do would be to try to create the chart in Excel. It took awhile, but I finally managed to figure it out. Here’s the “back” side of the square:

05 Psychonauts 1

I can’t tell you how happy those properly oriented question marks make me. It’s the small things, I guess.

This week’s square is from a game I’ve never heard of called Katamari Damacy. I have no clue what it’s about, but I like the square. I started it during the Super Bowl.

GAL Week 6

The weather here is: snow.

Snow

What’s going on in your knitterly world?

The Travel Shawl 4

Travel Shawl 2

I might be in love with the Travel Shawl.

Folded in half it’s a cozy shoulder wrap.

Travel Shawl 6adj

Opened up, it’s a bigger wrap.

Travel Shawl 3

Or even a small blanket.

Travel Shawl 1

And it’s a fairly quick knit. I knit all but a tiny bit of the beginning and the outer edge during a few weeks in November. 

Travel Shawl 4

This turned out to be a bigger deal than I expected in the discovery department. I’ve knit enough lace to feel like I’m not a total novice, but I hadn’t ever seen a set-up like this. The pattern directions tell you to cast on, give you instructions for an increase round, and then refer you to the first chart: “Begin pattern from Chart A; work Rnds 1-28 once . . .” etc. What you’re just supposed to know is that you have to knit the chart four times to accomplish one round. 

You’re also supposed to know what to do as your stitch count increases. I did not know. 

Thank goodness for Tin Can Knits. A bit of searching brought me to their super helpful explanation of how to read lace charts. It all makes perfect sense once you get the basic idea. You knit the first section of edge stitches for each quadrant and then knit the center, stitch-repeat section as many times as you can while still having enough stitches left to knit the edge stitches at the end. In their words: “. . . you would work the edge stitches one time, then work the ‘repeat’ stitches as many times as possible (always reading the set of instructions from right to left on right side rows), before ending with the edge stitches at the end of row.” Once I understood the logic, I was off and running.

Travel Shawl 7

As I do more lace shawl knitting, I think it’ll be interesting to see how many designers assume their audience knows these things about how lace charts work. In the heat of the moment, I felt a little grumpy about having to search for the information I needed to make sense of the pattern. Now that I have a little distance, I view it more as an interesting question than anything. What basic knowledge and skills should knitters be expected to bring to the average project? It’s absurd to think that every pattern would start from square one, but if a pattern doesn’t start there, then where? 

Travel Shawl 5

Handknits In Action 4

PC Hike

I love it when I’m wearing something handknit, and it turns out to be absolutely perfect for the occasion. My friend D and I went on a hike yesterday. When I was getting ready, I couldn’t decide how to dress. It was in the forties but was supposed to get warmer. I didn’t want to be cold, but I also didn’t want to have a big jacket to lug around if I got too warm wearing it. What I decided to do was layer up and wrap my Thin Edge of the Wedge scarf around my neck. 

In the car on the way to the trail, I was already thinking I’d overdressed, that I should have left my scarf at home, shouldn’t have worn all the layers, etc., etc. Once we got off the main road and back up into the forest, though, it turned out to be quite a bit colder.  There was actually still ice and snow on the ground in places, and as we were heading out, I realized there was a pretty stiff breeze. I snugged up my scarf around my neck and instantly felt warmed.

PC Hike 3

Over the next couple of hours as we hiked in and out of sunny spots, I loosened and rewrapped the scarf half a dozen times, and that single thing made any other jacket changes or even a hat or gloves completely unnecessary. It was absolutely perfect. Handknits-in-action to the rescue. Thin Edge of the Wedge saved the day. I love that.

Last night, I finished up all but a few rows of Sonic the Hedgehog.

Sonic

Now that I’m into the double-knitting groove, this square was a piece of cake with its long stretches of the same color. The square that came out yesterday is much more complex and even involves a bit of “extreme double knitting,” so we’ll se how that goes. I’m planning to start it tonight.

We wrapped up the weekend with a homemade pizza. It was absurdly good.

Za

 Here’s to a great week, my friends! Hopefully, it will involve lots of knitting!