Thursday, March 12, 2009

Reporting in

We're still adjusting to the time change over here. Why is this one always so tough? I mean, I know why it is, but it still amazes me how much losing that single hour of sleep matters in a week. It doesn't help that it is now dark again when we get up; I find that I'd almost rather have the light in the morning kicking me out of bed than in the evening when I'm done and home for dinner in any case.

So, knitting has been a little slow this week, as I've been falling over into bed earlier in the evenings. Somehow I've felt more like reading than watching TV (there are times when the noise that is an inherent part of television just feels like it's too much to deal with, and even audiobooks feel somehow loud), and my lace project is not one of those things that I can knit while reading. But I am making progress; I'm halfway through the first repeat of the next charted section, with two more repeats after that. It's starting to get that going-downhill feeling that comes with hitting a point that feels like the halfway mark. It isn't really halfway, but as the rows are getting shorter rather than longer, it certainly feels that way.
Everyone else is finishing theirs up, and Anne has been posting pictures of this shawl in all of the gorgeous colorways that people are using to knit it; the reds and oranges and purples of some of them are just stunning. Anne has said that she'll probably release the pattern soon; this is a really fun and intuitive knit, so if you're feeling lacy, it's a good one to check out. (I should also mention that while I was a titch concerned about how I would feel about the bottom-up knitting thing -- that was one long cast-on row -- I am loving the realization that the rows are getting faster and faster, instead of the usual slower and slower.)

I would be much further along with it had I been able to knit on it at all this weekend. I had two major chunks of potential knitting time available: during the stretches of the drive that Rick was at the wheel, and while we were at my parents' house. The problem with the latter was that my aunt (who will be receiving this shawl for her birthday in the fall) was also at my parents' house, and I really couldn't knit it in front of her, as it's a surprise. And the problem with the former is that a) there are charts to be keeping track of while knitting (therefore, no knitting in the dark, for example, or on windy roads when I really need to be looking out the windshield more often than not), and b) seriously, I'm just not sure I can keep track of lace while Rick is plowing up the state at 80 miles an hour. Someone's got to keep us on the road, right?

So I started a pair of socks for Younger Daughter. Plain, stockinette socks. This isn't something that I do too often, but I've come to realize lately the benefit of plain knitting. It can be done in the dark, at the movies, in the car, while reading -- basically all kinds of places where I (speaking only for myself here) can't do more complicated knitting (where complicated knitting includes lace, cables, shaping, etc etc). I think that I need to do this more often. And this sock yarn is especially conducive to plain stockinette, as you can see.
How fun is that? It suits Younger Daughter to a T, and in spite of the fact that it seems to me like it should be far too big for her (this might even fit me, but I'm not trying it on lest I become tempted to abscond with it for myself), it isn't. This is knit out of Zauberball yarn from The Loopy Ewe. I got the ball a little while ago when I realized that it was time and past time to start acquiring some sock yarn that I would actually be willing to knit into socks for other people. My problem is that I love my stash too much, and don't want to part with any of it. I wanted to try this yarn, so I picked a colorway that I wouldn't normally choose for myself but that I knew Younger Daughter would love. My new problem is that I love this yarn. It is so soft and squishy and stretchy that I want these for my ownself. Another time. I do need to get a ball in another colorway for Older Daughter, though; she loves these, too. Meanwhile, I've cast on for the second sock. I tried to wind off enough yarn to match the colors, but I didn't quite succeed. The dark blue band at the top will be thicker on the second sock, so all of the other colors will start a little lower down. Younger Daughter likes it that way, so I think I must become resigned.

And now, as promised, another book!
My brother and brother-in-law sent this to me for my birthday last month, at my request (thanks, guys!). I'd gotten it out from the library and realized that I wanted to have it in my library as I go forward in my attempts to knit my own sweaters without patterns. It definitely has its good and bad points (the good obviously outweigh the bad in my mind, or I wouldn't have asked for it). Maggie Righetti's voice is highly opinionated, which I tend to find entertaining, but which other people mightn't. What I like about the book is that it discusses points of sweater design that other books don't usually address explicitly, like which types of sweaters flatter which kinds of body shapes. Again, she has some pretty strong opinions in this area, and doesn't hesitate to share them (it's her book, why should she?), but I take them with a grain of salt, and her discussions certainly make me at least think about things that I might not otherwise have considered.

Some of her points about fabric and sweater construction struck me as odd until I realized that she came at designing knitted sweaters from a background in designing garments using woven cloth, and then I understood why she emphasizes the points that she does; I find that to be interesting (among other things, by doing some reverse reasoning, I now have a better idea of what kinds of limits garment designers come up against when working with woven fabric that I had less sympathy for, having only ever worked myself with knitted fabric). It also helps me to understand why traditional knitted garments are designed so very differently (and why people with a background in other kinds of garment design tend to design sweaters in pieces). So I'm very glad to have this in my library, and I'll definitely be referring to it as I start to work out the details of the little lacy summer shell I want to knit for myself with the skein of SeaSilk I got myself last week.

And in case anyone ever wonders what Tilly does all day while I'm working here at home? Here's your answer.



Love the socks for daughter and hope to hear more about the new book.

Willow said...

I loved Maggie's Knitting in Plain English so I think I'd love this book too. Hmm, my birthday's coming up...

The socks are great! I'm looking at the turned heel and it's really nice. How many rows of sl1,k1 do you do and how many stitches do you pick up on the side as you're turning the heel?

Wool Enough said...

I love Maggie Righetti! Nothing wishy washy about this lady. She speaks her mind. One of my favorite bits is where she talks about deceptive poses for sweater patterns, the kind that conceal the flaws in the design

And the socks are gorgeous. Those big chunks of color that flow into each other! Yum.

Anne said...

That sock yarn looks sort of like the toucan-ish colorway I got from Knit One, Crochet Too awhile ago. Yum. Such happy colors! And I love upside down Tilly! Wouldn't it be nice to have some time like that ....

Willow said...

Thanks for the answer on the socks. The reason I asked is that my heel part was too long on the twisted rib stitch socks and I shortened it a little but it was still too long. Square sounds good.

Lynne said...

I love those socks and plain knitting was an obvious choice!

Tilly looks comfy if not exactly productive!

Think I want that book myself!

EGunn said...

Tilly looks less "helpful" than Artemis chooses to be when I'm home. I can't move three feet without having a cat at my heels (or on my papers). It's funny, because you'd expect it more from a dog...

Maplewing is coming along nicely; I can imagine that it feels great to have rows getting shorter as you go. Maybe my next lace project will be bottom-up.

I've looked at Maggie's book, but haven't bought it yet. It looks like a good one, though. I find opinionated writing funny (though I can't always say the same for opinionated people...). I have Alden Amos' Big Book of Handspinning, and I think his cantankerous opinions are one of my favorite things about the book.

Miss 376 said...

Tilly looks really comfortable there. What fantatic colours on those socks, no wonder she loves them

Katie said...

There is a lot to be said for plain old knitting. And that is why I have so very many garter stitch projects lying around everywhere.

twinsetellen said...

1. Tilly has the right idea.

2. Completely get what you mean about the beauty of plain knitting.

3. Genius idea to buy yarn in colorways you don't go for in order to enable releasing it from your stash.

4. The shawl is nearly unctuous in its appeal to me.

5. The time change wiped us out, too, though we did appreciate the evening light.

6. You might want to reverse the order on these points if you'd like it to correspond to the chronology of the post!

twinsetellen said...

Oh, and on second thought, perhaps I should clarify that "unctuous" is a highly positive adjective for a food person - I am not implying that the shawl is greasy and oily, more that it has the spinal level appeal of something smooth and silky and yes, fatty, at least to this mammal.

KnitNana said...

Oh, hon...give me a plain vanilla stockinette sock any day! I don't know what I'd do without them.
The Lace is beautiful!

(and DST? Whipped mine, too)

AlisonH said...

I LOVE that lace pattern in the first picture--I've played with that one a fair bit. And those socks are great fun--cheerful on a beautiful spring day!

Gwen said...

When I choose colours I think I don't like for me, I find I like them as I knit them. I suddenly seem to be buying more orange yarn for myself as a direct result of orange yarn chosen by the kiddo. Good, in that it gets me out of my comfort zone. Bad, in that I have less restraining my yarn gimmees.

On the size note, my child's feet are not nearly as small as I think they should be.

Shawl is lovely, of course. Shows the pattern so nicely.

Maggie is good for breakfast reading. Pattern books don't really cut it.

I think I have another professional question for you. One of these I'll get around to composing it. Has to do with the proper use of the term dialect. You have been warned. I won't be surprised if my emails are returned unread in the future. Wait, that's letters. I'll never know!

Carrie K said...

Other than the possibility of electrocution, Tilly has the right idea.

DST is a scourge. Can't think. Can't get up, can't get to sleep, gah. It actually makes it harder for me since I work until after dark anyway and have to be at work even EARLIER during tax season(yes, I would like a little cheese w/my whine, lol).

I love Maggie Righetti's books.

Plain knitting is such a godsend! Mindless knitting in front of the TV, at the movies or on the road while keeping everyone safe by sheer willpower....:)

Alwen said...

The shawl pattern is so beautiful, but I confess to loving the really long color runs on the sock. I'm done with white. Outdoors is currently shades of brown, so I'm ready for color!

Mary Lou said...

sometimes i knit a project in front of the intended recipient and just don't say who it is for! Love the socks. I generally make stockinette or very simple socks for my meeting knitting, or times when you can't really see much. those colors you could see almost anywhere! Fun.

Mary Lou said...

And i'm with you on the time change, i was travelling with a time zone change, then back in time for the time change here. I'm finally starting to feel like I'm not exhausted.

Alisha said...

Oh I love that sock....they are going to be wore often I am sure!

Love the shawl!