As delicate as a rose

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I spoke too soon. When my sock was almost done I did the fatal mistake of trying it on (or well, it was a mistake not to have tried it before) and I remembered why I don’t like lace socks. It feels weird with all those holes on my feet, somehow. Apart from that the sock was also a little too tight to pull over the heel (it worked but not as smoothly as I would have liked) and I’m not a fan of that either. Simply put, it just didn’t look nice and the yarn is way too lovely to be knit into socks that I’m not going to wear.

Instead I’ve browsed about 60 pages of sock patterns on Ravelry and I can’t find anything. Nothing screams my name, nothing wants to become my adorable Sugar Roses socks. It might be that I have quite some demands. The yarn is, as mentioned several times, lovely and I want to show it off, not hide it behind a busy pattern (did I mention the yarn is lovely?). Lace is not for my feet and intricate cables won’t show off the yarn as much as I hope. On the other hand, plain vanilla socks won’t add that little something extra. I want a delicate pattern, not too busy so that the yarn disappears but not too plain either so that the socks look unintresting. A pattern that makes me and everyone else look twice and think wow! A pattern that works in perfect harmony with the yarn where they complement each other (instead of working against each other). As it turns out, that’s not as easy as one would have thought. I want these socks to be elegant and delicate and cute at the same time because the yarn is worth it.

Sock patterns like that are hard to find. So I’ve come to understand. There is a lot of busy lace out there and very intricate cables. I’ve seen quite a lot of ribbing and surprisingly many pattern pictures in bad lighting. I will have to continue my search and, if nothing else works, I guess there is always Business Casual.

There were no delays

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When I go to the movies, which sadly doesn’t happen that often, and if I bring candy or popcorn, I have a rule that I can’t start eat it until the movie has started. Not during commercials or trailers but when the actual movie begins. I know others who has the same rule and I know people who thinks it’s a stupid rule. I can’t tell when it started, it just feels right.

Yesterday we went away for the weekend and on Friday evening I prepared my travel knitting and I picked it up yesterday morning on my way to the airport and I felt that it might be the same as with the popcorn at the movies. The train to Stockholm pass the airport on its way and therefore it’s not really travelling until you are at the airport, since I go on that train quite often. The question is, is it okay to start your travel knitting already on the train to the airport? Since I did it it must be okay but it still felt a little wrong. I ‘m okay with starting it before I leave your home (you might need to swatch or change the needles or bring extra markers or something) but the train ride to the airport didn’t really feel like travelling, more like means to get to the actual travelling, if that makes sense.

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I guess it felt wrong because I was worried I was under-yarned and I didn’t want to knit up too soon in case there would be delays and such and I would stand there with nice socks in my project bag but no knitting. As usual that didn’t happen, and I visited a yarn store later in the day and then all of a sudden I wasn’t under-yarned anymore, quite the opposite. Funny how that works.

I got a decent amount of knitting in this two day trip and on the train back from the airport I had a big piece of a sock with me. The leg was done, the heel was turned, the gusset was finished and half of the foot was knit. It was a good companion, on of the better I’ve had but I’m back to my original knittings, the ones before the travel knitting and since the trip is done, and my travel knitting will eventually become something else. Pretty soon, I hope, because those socks are yummy.

P.S. The huge printer did get my message but still hasn’t moved out.

Dear Huge Printer

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Dear Huge Printer,

I know it is a blessing that you have found your way into my home and I understand that it is so despite the fact that you can only print in light blue. It’s a fashionable color and I like color so that is not a problem with me. As you may have noticed, you have come to a home where we take hobbies serious and I know that since you are part of one, you will be loved as long as there is a need for you (and if I were you I would check that only-print-in-light-blue feature quite soon, even though I like blue, you are a photo printer after all and I know that most people, especially your owner, likes their pictures to come out in multiple colors, and if you won’t collaborate I’m not sure for how long there’s actually going to be a need for you, I can’t save you forever and truth be told, since you do nothing for my hobbies I’m not sure how keen I am in the first place) and you work as you are expected to (here the only-print-in-light-blue thing might also be to your disadvantage).

I admit that curvy front of yours could be considered elegant and I guess, considering what you are able to accomplish (again, and I can’t stress this enough, let go of the only-print-in-light-blue thing, for both our sakes), I should be happy you are not bigger than you are, and I try, I really do. I’m glad you cost almost nothing, I thought that was very classy of you (but since you only print in light blue, I guess it would have been unforgiveable if you had also cost a fortune) even though I had to drive in the dark for an hour to pick you up. I assume it wouldn’t have been very nice of me to suggest you take a taxi and I’m sorry if you accidentally heard any words not becoming of a lady (or anyone for that matter) while I drove you home. I’m sorry about that, but you didn’t do much to help the situation either.

I doubt there is anything you will ever do for me but someone I love really likes your company and that is enough for me. I’m thinking that if you fix that only-print-in-light-blue thing we can eventually find a relationship built on mutual respect, but as long as you’ve taken up residence on my livingroom floor that won’t happen. You see, I’m a very productive knitter – the yarn stash probably gave that away – and the livingroom is the yarn room, not the printer room. Printers go in the study or the studio and sure, I can lend you some room in the hallway or under the dinner table while you get your… things sorted, but you really, really need to move out of the livingroom. This is essential for whatever relationship you want with me in the future, remember, I can just as easily drive you to the transfer station for waste management, as I drove you to my home (that’s right, I opened my home for you). Move away from the livingroom floor, I need my blocking space back as I can now only block small items like wristwarmers and I have plenty of shawls waiting. If you move, I won’t point out that only-print-in-light-blue thing quite so often. Do we have a deal?

Love,
Yours sincerely,
Best,
Regards,

/Ina

Two rows in

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Have you ever known that a knitting will work after just two rows? This happened to me tonight. I have just cast on a sock in a nice yarn with the lovely color name Sugar Roses. The color is amazing, it has my name written all over it, and I think the sock pattern might work as well. It’s a new pattern that I’ve never tried before so that will be interesting. The expectations are high now, if just two rows look promising the rest must be great, right? We’ll just have to wait and see.

“Not like everything I do depends on you” Right?

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I have swatched. I always feel like a very good knitter and also a very good person when I swatch. I mostly swatch for adult sweaters and cardigans and since I almost never knit that, I rarely swatch. I figure that as long as I pick a shawl project that requires more than 400 meters of yarn, I’m good and the shawl won’t turn out too small. For baby sweaters, I usually pick a size that is a little bigger than the intended baby and I just go with it. It spices things up a little but I’ve never had any major problems. With sweaters though, I’ve learned the hard way that is’t best to swatch even if it’s boring. However, a swatch might tell you that you can go down a size, which is always nice (it’s little less nice when the swatch tells you to move up a size). I don’t really try out with different needle sizes, as long as I like the fabric I’m going with it and then I either  change the size of the garment that I make or I do a little math.

The swatch above worked perfectly with the stitch gauge but not with the row gauge so I’ll have to keep that in mind when I knit. Project no. 300 is a fact!

Mitts of her own

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When my co-worker D got his mitts last week he came back the next day and told me that the mitts had caused friction at home. His seven year old daughter had looked at them, immeadiately put them on and declared “Mine!”. Her father had refused, taken a stance for his mitts. (I don’t blame him, they were made for him and he is the one with a thumb that hurts.)

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Things like this cannot go by a knitter’s ear unnoticed. It warms a knitters heart and when D mentioned the daugther’s favorite color, the mission was clear. Here was a poor child who wants woolen things, of course she needed a pair of mitts of her own. I got yarn and cast on. I didn’t have the time nor energy to downsize so I just made the same size as I had made for her father. She had tried them on and liked them and who knows, she might wear them for many years to come. Or she’ll try them on and abandon them within the hours, stating they are itchy. Either way, I’m glad I made them.

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Pattern: Peekaboo Mitts by Abi Gregorio. Yarn: Drops Alpaca from Garnstudio, color 2912 teal. Knit with yarn held double and I used every single inch of one yarn ball.

Project no. 300

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I recently discovered that I’m about to hit 300 created project pages on Ravelry. That means 300 projects since I joined in 2010 (August 18th if anyone asks). Of course I have knit a lot before then but none of those B-R (Before Ravelry) projects are as well documented as the ones cast on since. Not all projects have ended up on Ravelry either, mostly UFO’s that I abandoned before creating a project page and if they’re not on Ravelry, they obviously don’t exist (until I look in some project bag I haven’t used in a while and discover a poor little long since forgotten project). I haven’t finished all those 299 projects either, some are frogged, one is hibernating and there are some UFO’s as well, but I decided it was way too tricky to figure out how far away number 300 is (or if I’m already past it) if I only count finished projects so I’m going with what Ravelry tells me and I’m going with project pages. Most of those projects, about 97%, are finished anyway.

So, the question arises, what should my 300th project be? I feel it has to be something delicious since it’s sort of an anniversary, useful and with very nice yarn. It also, and this is essential, has to be for me (so that other baby sweater I have in pipeline will have to wait). This is the next project I cast on so there is not much time to plan.

Since I mostly make shawls it seems appropriate to make another one, it’s like my signature project almost, but then again, 300 is big and the project needs to show that. A sweater is possible, but will a sweater be pure pleasure from first to last stitch? Since delicious yarn is in the equation and I recently discovered the guinea-pig yarn (it’s not really made from guinea-pigs), it would be nice to use that but I only have one skein left and I think it’s best suited for socks and socks doesn’t seem… festive enough.

I might have to roam the stash a bit (it’s a more adventurous task than usual since there is bed wall built up against it right now) and look through my favorited patterns on Ravelry. Surely there is something to be found (it would be horrible if I had to end my knitting career now due to bad imagination). Any suggestions?

My Inner Knitter

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I got so inspired yesterday that I kept on knitting on the (DK!) baby cardigan. The yoke is finished (yeah, top down cardigan) and I’ve moved on to the body. This is pure lust knitting, I have a nagging feeling I should be knitting something else, which is true, I should be knitting the petrol blue wristwarmers but instead I’m taking pleasure in this naughty knitting. If I were a person with a better character I would say to myself that I am not allowed to knit on the (DK!) baby cardigan until the wristwarmers are done, but there is a voice inside my head that keeps saying “I knit what I want!” and so far I haven’t been able to resist it. Others might have inner goddesses but I have an inner knitter.

My inner knitter tells me to do whatever I want as long as it contains yarn, to blow off comittments if they don’t include yarn or if I can’t combine them with knitting. She tells me to buy all the yarn I see, especially if it’s expensive (“Give it to me, I’m worth it!”), because she thinks she deserves it. She is the one that enables other knitters to do the same thing and she doesn’t listen to reason at all. She needs yarn, she deserves it, and she won’t shut up until she gets it. She casts on whatever she wants and she might finish or she might not, she doesn’t care as long as the knitting give her pleasure. She is the one that snorts when non-knitters ask ignorant questions and she refuses to answer. She sees knitting opportunity in every situations, no matter how inappropriate it is, and she is the one that will yell at you, should you take away her needles.

Opposite Inner Knitter is Mrs Reason. She is the one that points at the budget and speaks about economy when Inner Knitter laughs maniacally at all the yarn she is going to procure. She threatingly wiggles her right index finger when Inner Knitter wants to cast on fifty different projects in a week. She is the one who meaningly indicates the work-in-progress when Inner Knitter naughty knits on Fun-New-Project. Mrs Reason suggests using stash yarn when Inner Knitter has a tantrum about not having the right yarn for the project. Mrs Reason always has a nice and informative answer to every possible question about knitting from non-knitters. She tells Inner Knitter to go clean the project bags and sort the knitting needles when Inner Knitter would rather wind yarn and pouts about not being able to find the right needles for a project.

Neither me nor Inner Knitter are particularly fond of Mrs Boring Reason.

We’ll see who wins this fight, Mrs Boring Reason who says to finish petrol wristwarmer before anything else, or Inner Knitter who just wants to happily knit away on the (DK!) baby cardigan. It’s a fair fight I’m not at all sure about the outcome.

Always check the calculations

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I should wind yarn for baby sweaters but I feel reluctant as it turned out to be very hard to find baby sweater patterns for DK yarn (I know, I was surprised too, suits me for being so smug over my own planning, having the yarn bought as early as July). I might have to wing it and invent the pattern myself but that requires time and I just want to cast on. In the future though, I will design a pattern for a DK baby sweater, I can’t be the only one with this problem. I imagine DK would be a wonderful yarn weight for baby sweaters, since sometimes you only have a few weeks notice before the baby is due and DK makes it much faster than fingering weight.

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After I’d written the words above I started thinking. In mathematics you should always stop and consider whether or not you answer is plausible and if not, like if you have found the difference in height between to people to be closer to three meters, you should re-check your calculations. I try to live by this in real life as well, if someone tells you something that sounds crazy, always check the calculations. In this case it was just not possible that there were hardly any DK weight baby sweater patterns at all and even fewer that I liked, so I went back, checked my calculations and re-did the search. This time I came up with plenty of lovely patterns and once I’d settled for one, there was nothing stopping me from casting on.

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There must be something a little wrong with me right now though, maybe I’m tired or have developed an inability to read properly, because not only did I miss all the good sweater patterns in my first (and second) search but despite several indications (the low number of stitches cast on, the placement of the button hole etc) it took me more rows than I care to admit to realize this is a top down sweater.

I love it how my mind works

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Sometimes things just work out and thanks to a flash of genius that will hopefully make me the aunt of the year, I have eased a bit stress as well as moved one step closer to my goal of having all my Christmas gifts finished long before Christmas. I have managed to get quite a few hours of knitting time this weekend so far and I’m getting closer and closer to both finish the quick-deadline-knits as well as the get-the-yarn-out-of-my-house-knits. Tomorrow I hope to be able to cast on baby sweater no. 1. I have also been able to knit some on my sock-in-progress. The things I have not done, due to prioritizing knitting, is something I don’t want to think about right now. Now, another wristwarmer and some serious blocking and this knitting party will be right on track again. Now let’s keep our fingers crossed that this is the end of this fall’s quick-deadline knits.