Mobile blogging in my future?

I have a new app for my PDA that will allow me to post on the fly…as if being away from my desk was the one and only thing keeping me from consistently updating you on my every move. LOL Anyway, that is apropos of the picture below thusly: how in the world would I paste a pic of one of my fabulous patterns if I was laboriously tapping out this brief post on something barely larger than a deck of cards? I’m sure it’s possible and I’m sure I don’t have the patience or the desire for that kind of satisfaction.

Claire Schaeffer guiding me step by step through two timeless jackets was almost too good to be true. In fact, I completely forgot about the patterns’ impending arrival, expecting instead to find an email telling me, “Sorry, we ain’t got no more!” When a kid vaguely related to me slapped mail on the table I wondered what could be in the manilla…MY PATTERNS! Made my day.

Look ma, no side seams!

Look ma, no side seams!

The Kit

Modi sock kit Ever been called to be somewhere ‘asap’? I was today and, as usual, I made sure I had my knit kit, iPod, Blackberry, book and checked my debit card balance before I even hit the door. When something pops up suddenly you never know how long you’ll be gone or how much sitting around there’s going to be or if you’ll have to feed yourself. It all took about five minutes and helped me feel prepared.

Here’s the kit I grabbed today, a Modi sock pattern from Sock Wizard.

Gimme some ribs

I’m swatching in earnest. I just happened to be listening to past Knit Science podcasts when I came to one on swatching while I was swatching. Serendipity? Methinks so. I enjoy this particular podcast because she takes knitting seriously without being a total nutcase about it. Anyway, now that I’ve become a swatch convert I’ve run into a question: What do you do when you’ve ordered yarn that disappoints? This Iron Ore looked so rich online but – and, maybe it’s the dyer in me – this color isn’t quite right. I’m committed to it though and thinking of a dip in a dye bath when I’m done. The drape isn’t quite there either and … I know, I know…kvetch, kvetch, kvetch, right? Maybe dying and blocking will put my piddly persnicketyness to rest. The photo lighting continues to confound me and my blogging life will prematurely end if I don’t get the hang of the obligatory looky-at-what-I’ve-done shot. In any event and despite my whining, this is now destined to be a relaxing bit of knitting (ala Sue Grafton’s interview on the Lion Brand’s Yarncraft podcast) in the form of a 4×1 rib mock turtle pullover. Something to do between trying to understand socks to the extent I don’t need to refer to anything and The Project, which is still percolatin’.

Iron Ore 4x1 rib swatch

Oh what a tangled web…

That’s it…no deception here, just the tangled part. The house was dead quiet, two projects requiring ribbing lay ahead of me – an opportunity your average I-ain’t-lookin’-for-no-trouble person would’ve used to begin said projects. Well, not me. I brewed a cuppa and sat down with a piece of something I’d been contentedly knitting on my new Harmony circulars. The needles were great, the yarn better than I’d expected and my knitting rhythm just hummin’. Only…didn’t I read online that using the Portuguese method made purling, and thus ribbing, waaay easier while ensuring perfect tension? I surely did. And, didn’t I have an unopened DVD of said Portuguese knitting method? I surely did!

Forming a knit stitch wasn’t too hard once I got used to having the yarn in front of the needle at all times and using my left thumb – a very lazy, underutilized fella – to place the yarn over the working needle. The problem was, and still is, maintaining an even tension on the yarn that allowed for the thumb toss and just the right amount of yarn to feed through. There is very little mention of tension other than references to the pin (which holds the yarn on a hook) providing it. No, it doesn’t. The video instructor showed it over her middle finger right finger…that’s it. Does the pinky do anything? Is it wound anywhere else or held down by the right fingers? Dunno. I found a few videos on YouTube and kinda sorta sorta figured out how to finagle some tension…only my ribbing was loser than it’s ever been and didn’t draw in the knitting at all. By this time I’d forgotten how I’d been knitting all the previous day (nay, all my LIFE) and had to watch a bunch of videos on Continental style…only to end up with knit stitches that sat wrong on the needle and STILL no elastic ribbing.

I’ve, um, put my knitting aside for a little while. Maybe I’ll pick it up and magically know how to knit again… Maybe this is a good time to practice my photography and work on getting the right lighting so I can upload those images. Photography’s a good hobby I hear…

Learning Portuguese style knitting

Sunrise

The yarn for experimenting with the techniques in the Sunrise Circle Jacket has arrived! It’s pink, which is just weird, and feels more cotton than my hands are comfortable with. Okay, time to pause and confess: I have a love/hate relationship with cotton yarn. It’s the perfect fiber for all weather and for not roasting indoors or beneath a coat but my hands work harder to maintain gauge and tension. Then there’s the matter of some of my cotton knit garments losing their shape after washing. This yarn (even though it feels like straight up, unadulterated cotton) is not only on sale, its mostly wool, meaning I’m supposed to trust it. I will.

I’m intrigued by the round edges of this jacket, that it’s knit sideways, includes shaping elements and a couple little sewing tricks. As it is, I picture short me overwhelmed by it so this is destined to be Sunrise Circle-ish, especially since I’ve yet to follow a published pattern anyway. As usual, I had to celebrate the upcoming knitting event by spending. Soon (I hope) some great shipper will be delivering a set of beautiful Harmony needles. I need them…case closed.

Top down is very strongly on my mind even as I contemplate Sunrise so I also just ordered Knitting Saddle Style: A Dozen Designs for Saddle-Shoulder Garments (Twelve Sweaters One Way) because I can’t find my little green book of Aran knitting (Firsherman…Aran…something like that – hope it turns up) with the saddle instructions. When my son was three I used it to knit up some heavenly natural Wensleydale into a gorgeous sweater that actually gleamed. I’m fortunate to have rediscovered the Son of A.R.A.N. Project page and to have dug up an old, self-published labor of love, Aran from the Neck Down, by Dixie L. Falls. Of course Barbara Walker’s original, dog-eared Knitting from the Top is handy (duh!) as well. I also tossed a Dummy’s guide to blogging here on WordPress into my cart and pre-ordered Nicky Epstein’s Signature Scarves: Dazzling Designs to Knit because I’m a fool for her books.

Just finished the last of How Starbucks Changed My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else . Even knowing the premise ahead of time, I was put off at first by the son of privilege thing and had to resist dismissing it as the very usual tale of a white person of means discovering both how normal and how special those beneath him on the social strata are. Though I’d heard this sincere, humble man on the radio, I still had to fight eye-rolling derision during some of the musings, such as when the author – in the midst of toilet cleaning or something – might relate the mundane to meeting Hemingway, Andy Warhol, the Queen or some such person. I chose to hear them asĀ  contrastingĀ  scenes from a long life and continued to strongly connect with the issues of deep regret, aging, work equaling worth and starting over. Overall, an uplifting, calm, knit-worthy listen.

Swatches to follow.

Been so long

SUCH a responsibility, this blogging thing, but the only way to play with the big needlers again. Way, way (WAY) back in the day I was part of knitting communities so supportive they nurtured and spawned many designers, authors and teachers. I went AWOL from knitting and online when life, as it does, happened. Been dabbling rather aimlessly with the sewing arts but really have just been at loose ends (pun intended) without the knitting or camaraderie. I’m steppin’ out to reconnect.