Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I have a very dear friend who is and always had been extremely bad at aphorisms. She just can't get them right. It's often pretty darned funny, but one of my very all-time favorites was the time she looked at me very seriously and said, "Well, you know, indecision killed the cat." Heh. It's now a common phrase in our household; I don't think my kids even know what actually did kill the aphoristic cat.

Let's hope that doesn't happen here. Because I'm in the middle of some indecisiveness myself, and if there's a truck bearing down on me, I may be in trouble.

I'm beginning to plan my knitting for the long plane ride ahead of me at the end of June. (What can I say? I'm a woman who likes to know where her knitting is. A towel's all very well and good, but knitting is the stuff of life. Give me a good book and a good knitting project, and I can wait in any airport in the world.) I've decided, for a number of reasons, that the knitting for this trip is all going to be very simple, with a preponderance of stockinette and garter stitch. This has a lot to do with the fact that the major knitting time will come in the form of two twelve-hour plane rides with an 11 and an 8 year old girl (not to mention my ginormous husband who is convinced that "what's yours is mine" is especially true when it comes to leg and shoulder room on an airplane), and driving on little bitty back roads in Scotland in a minivan with the aforementioned girls and husband, plus my parents. I don't think lace is a good choice under these circumstances. Nor, in fact, anything that requires any kind of concentration whatsoever. (And let's be honest here: I'll be doing as much of the driving as possible, because I'm the only person I trust to be driving on the left side of the road. Rick's not bad at it, but as a right-handed person, he keeps trying to shift the doorknob, while my left-handedness finally becomes an asset in a situation like this.)

So, with this in mind, I decided that two pairs of stockinette socks and some kind of shawl would do the trick, and then Anne showed someone wearing Shawl That Jazz (Ravelry link) on her blog, and I was all over that baby like a duck on a junebug. After exploring Ravelry (and realizing where else --scroll down -- I'd seen this shawl on the interwebs), I decided to get some Blue Moon Fiber Arts Twisted yarn. This decision was further influenced by the fact that I'm a member of their sock club and have a small discount there right now, and it seemed like the time had come to take advantage. I decided on this colorway.

Now, here's where assumptions make an ass of you and umption, because my assumptions had me expecting one thing, and another arrived. I've never seen Twisted in person, but have knit with STR several times, as well as with Geisha, which I loved. So I had certain ideas about what the colors would look like. To be frank, I hadn't looked at pictures of Twisted yarn in the skein, and was expecting something like the sock yarn. But it's a very different sort of yarn.
Don't get me wrong, please. I like the yarn. I like it a lot. It's just that I was visualizing knitting the shawl in a tight-twist yarn with long color changes, and I'm having trouble changing gears (why yes, I am a spirited child, why do you ask?). I adore this colorway, so I'm trying to decide among several options: a) suck it up and knit the darned thing with the yarn already (big baby); or, b) use this yarn to knit a sweater for Younger Daughter and order myself some STR heavyweight in this colorway and use that for Shawl That Jazz (I know, it would be smaller, because that yarn is lighter-weight).
I think that the real answer is c) cast on for the shawl with this yarn and see what I think. If I like it, tuck it away until the plane takes off, and if I don't, order the other yarn. I'll need to do that quickly if I decide to go that route, though, since I want to leave enough time to be sure the yarn will get here before I go.

Meanwhile, knitting continues in other areas. I have started the ribbing on the linen top.
I don't know if you can tell from that photo, but I started every other purl rib at first (essentially, k6 p2) and did that for about an inch before starting the 2x2 rib. The hope was that doing that would bring the sweater in gradually under the bustline, instead of more dramatically. We'll see. I'm starting to wonder if this is going to be too big (yes, there's that mistaken body visualization again), and am thinking that I should probably put half of it on another needle and try it on now, before I get too much further.
It does shrink up a little bit when it's washed, but not too much. Of course, I could just Trust the Swatch, but that doesn't always work out as well as it should. In the end, a swatch can only tell you so much. It's funny how quickly Rick grasped that when I talked to him about it (one benefit of an engineer's training, I suppose; and speaking of engineers, have you seen this? I laughed. Hard.). He immediately hit on the salient point when he said that a swatch is only so big, and it can't tell you much about what will happen when the weight and pull of all of the yarn in a garment is acting on any particular area of that garment. Of course, only knitting the actual piece will show that, so I swatch as a sort of sacrifice to Yarn, and then just keep my fingers crossed and knit.

I'm also working on this beauty, with which I am wholly delighted.
Thanks to Anne, I finally figured out what I was doing wrong with the faggoting, and ripped back and fixed it, and I am so glad that I did.
This combination has exactly the textured feel I was looking for. It looks like a chest of pirate treasure, like gems all piled up and waiting for me to sink my hands into them. I am going to wear this one a lot.


Wanderingcatstudio said...

The yarn you bought for your shawl is lovely.. I say just go with it!


Up a tree without a paddle.

Half of one and six dozen of another.

Use these two at your leisure. I will retain "Indecision killed the cat" in exchange.

Willow said...

C. That's what I'd do. Try it, you might like it, and if you don't Younger Daughter will benefit. I prefer a longer colorway on larger, flat objects, so I am a little bit prejudiced.

Please remembe that it will not be improbable that you will find wonderful fiber in Scotland, too. Just sayin'...

Gwen said...

C. And hope you have enough time for that all to work out. If not, you'll be right back where you are today. Which isn't necessarily a Bad thing. It's just an abundance of good possibilities.

(But indecision killed me too)

twinsetellen said...

Geez, isn't it obvious? You need to quickly order a Bohus kit and get the yoke knit, then you have miles and miles of stockinette!

Wool Enough said...

Love the shawl pattern. Oh, gee, another item for my already lengthy queue. I like the yarn you picked too. Although the color runs are not quite what you expected, they look as though they would work really well with that pattern.

KnitNana said...

I LIKE that yarn - thank you for posting the up close photo, per my request...I think you should go with what you got, after all? It worked for Stephanie!
And I'm still ROFLOL over the visual of Rick shifting the doorknob!
Scotland? How is it you never mentioned you were going to SCOTLAND????
And that video is hysterical!

Mary Lou said...

I think the yarn is lovely, but I know how it is when it's not what you want. It's not like it will get wasted or thrown out if you don't use it for the intended project.

I had a terrible time shifting with my left hand when driving in England. Your group is lucky to have a left hander. I had my niece's boyfriend (now husband0 in the front seat, giving me guidance when I turned like 'near side' 'far side' - that really saved me.

Lynne said...

Wow, I loved that gem from Rick about swatches and yarn behaviour! Thanks for sharing it!!

I am feeling quite stressed about the apparent size of mum's sweater but I work on the assumption that I knit loosely and I can block it to a correct size [I hope]. Since I don't have mum's exact measurements [she lives 8hrs away] I can only do what I think is right and hope for the best!

BTW, that yarn is gorgeous!

Alwen said...

Yeah, swatch away and see what it looks like. (I should talk, with all the yarn I have waiting for me!)

knitspot anne said...

kim is knitting that shawl in that yarn; you should talk to her about your concerns! she might be able to tell you things about the outcome that you are wondering about!

Helen said...

I'm glad you realize the importance of bringing the right knitting to Scotland: after all, it'll be checked at the border :) The engineers are teaching the cats to yodel now with considerable success, I would say.

EGunn said...

I completely understand the whole trip-planning thing. I pack my suitcase the night before, but the knitting usually takes at least a couple of weeks to plan.

I really like the yarn you got for the shawl, and I think it would look fine. If it's not what you want, though, then go with the other yarn. Younger daughter will be thrilled!

I didn't know Rick was an engineer (Branden is, too). It gives them a unique perspective, doesn't it?

I also hadn't realized that you were going to Scotland. Sounds wonderful! (Minus the plane ride, of course)

Rachel said...

I wanted to suggest stockinette socks and then read you found that solution yourself :)

Love the color of your beauty in process!

Bea said...

I think that the yarn is lovely, but if it isn't what you wanted then why not use it for a kiddo sweater and order what you really wanted? So I guess I'm saying option see. Try and see if you like it and if you really want the other order that.

twinsetjan said...

I think the yarn will be brilliant...go for C) so you have that confidence that it will work. I'm pretty darned sure it will.

LOVE the other projects...the gradual ribbing is cool. I'm going to remember that!

Rachael said...

That yarn is gorgeous, it will be lovely no matter what you decide to do with it, but if you're not loving for the shawl, don't do it, both the yarn and your time are worth too much if you don't love it!

Regarding sizing, I have learned (after probably 15 or so sweaters), some of which were too small and some of which were too big, that 1. my requirement of ease is different depending on a. weight of yarn and b. what the yarn is made of and 2. I should ALWAYS knit the one that I think might be too small. This has only failed me twice and in both cases gauge turned out to be the culprit.

I also tend to like fabric knit at a tighter gauge than seems like gauge generally calls for, so if I am inbetween sizes and unsure which way to go I will pick the larger size and a smaller needle, so I end up off by 1/4 or 1/2 stitch per inch and I can have a happily comprising middle size.

Really tho, experience will do it. You'll get the hang of what works for you after enough sweaters one way or the other the same way you can look at a dress in a catalog and think 'ooh that's the perfect shape or ohhh I would look AWFUL in that'.