Sunday, October 7, 2012

Finding my stride

It's Sunday, and I'm posting.  I think I'm starting to get back into some kind of rhythm (I'm not saying what kind of rhythm exactly).  I am knitting, I am posting.  Laundry is done, the house has been vacuumed, and there are plans for dinner (for which the food is in the house, even). 

We won't talk about the ever-expanding work to-do list, though.  (I got myself a very cool calendar program for my phone which includes a combined to-do list - it even lets me check things off when I get them done, which I find satisfying.  This is really nice on many levels, but on Friday, I changed the "due" date on something like eleven items to Monday.  This is the electronic version of the little post-it to-do list I used to keep in my paper calendar; I kept it on a post-it note so I could move it forward at the end of each week when it wasn't done.  I'm not sure if the fact that I know it won't get done and plan for it speaks of maturity and organization or the exact opposite.)

This week, a couple of things finally got finished.  It is nice to be able to see actual finished knitted objects.  The first is something small that I started last Saturday at Yarning For You's big kick-off for this year's Knit for the Cure.
It still needs buttons, but otherwise it's completely done, seams and all.  It's a Baby Surprise Jacket (which I have decided may just become an annual thing; they apparently sell quickly, and I find them entertaining to knit), knitted on size 3 needles out of Baah La Jolla, with matching booties (no pattern - I just wing those).  I'll try to drop it by the store sometime this week (I'm holding off on the buttons to see if they have anything cute there; otherwise I'll dig into Grandmom's button box for something simple - there are enough small white buttons in there to keep me buttoning Baby Surprise Jackets for years to come).

I also finished Scoria.  I started this one as a September KAL with some friends (we're all doing different patterns, so it's a sweater KAL, rather than a particular pattern KAL), and I did actually have all the pieces knitted by the end of the month, as well as a first pass at the seams.  But two of them turned out badly, so yesterday I undid them and re-seamed (one shoulder and the neck), and then reblocked it, which made a huge different.  I am tolerably pleased.
As Rick says, it's not as fitted as some sweaters I've knitted - I think the waist shaping could have been more, well, shapely.  That said, I still love the parts of this sweater that made me want to knit it in the first place.  The combination of the herringbone pattern and the lace:
And the neck:
It's a very well-written pattern, and this yarn, as always, works up beautifully.

To recap, this is the pattern Scoria, from the magazine The Knitter (issue 46).  I knitted the medium on size 3 needles, out of 7 balls of Plymouth Vita (a cotton/cashmere blend).  I think I probably could have knitted the small size (hindsight 20/20), which might have had the added benefit of not giving me fits of nerves over whether I'd have enough yarn (I did, barely).  The happy news is that I dug that yarn out of stash to knit this.  I have been trying to convince myself that for every new thing I start (new in the sense of new pattern or new yarn), I need to work my way through something already cast on, or in stash.  So all in all, a success.  I will wear this - it may even end up being this year's conference sweater.

Keeping in mind that desire to work my way through some languishing projects and languishing yarn, once these were done, I went back and picked up the second pair of Silk Road Socks - it is high time I wrapped those up.  You may remember that I knitted the first pair out of my own pattern, based on a silk woven funerary face covering I saw at an exhibit on textiles from the Silk Road (I saw the exhibit in 2010).  That pair went to Younger Daughter, as they were too small for me.  However, I had plenty of yarn left over, so I set about reworking the pattern to a larger size and knitting them for me.  I had some theory about perhaps entering them into the county fair this past spring, but, as happens, time got away from me and I realized that there was no way I was going to finish the second sock of the pair without making myself very very stressed, and so I set them aside. 

I've been avoiding picking them up again, partly because one of my goals is to write this pattern up, and it's mostly very straightforward, except for the heel turn.  I can describe what to do in an intuitive way that might work for some knitters (it essentially involves turning the heel as one does, using yellow yarn to ssk or p2tog if both stitches are yellow, and blue if both are blue, and if they are different colors, using blue unless that would mean more than three blues in a row), but that kind of description really wouldn't work for some knitters, so I want to work through it this time with my notebook in hand, and to take row-by-row notes.  That's been putting me off.  So I girded my loins and hauled everything out and set back to work.
I am now done with the leg of the second sock, and am working on the heel flap.  I transferred the notes for the pattern to my new knitting notebook (more on that in a moment), and now have some sense of what I already know and what I need to know to write the pattern.  The only question I have for myself is whether I need to knit one more heel turn for the smaller size (in "scratch" yarn, even - and without a sock attached) so that I can write that out row by row as well.  We shall see.

As for that notebook, that's something else I've wanted to post about.  It arrived in the mail from New Zealand, in a little care package from Stella, some time ago, and I've been meaning to share it.  If you don't read her blog, and if you want some inspiration, it is most definitely a place to go.  Not only is she a skilled and veteran knitter and spinner, she is also (among many other things) a lover of fountain pens (a woman after my own heart), and she (fairly) recently learned bookbinding, and has been making lovely books of various sorts, all with fountain-pen-grade paper - and this one has knitter's graph paper on every page.
She bound it so that it will stay open, with plenty of room to add in yarn labels and bits of yarn and swatches and all of the things that make a good knitting notebook.  And she covered it in wonderful paper.
Isn't it lovely?  I have been feeling rather far away, somehow, from my own design work and fooling around (in the creative sense) for the last little while, but this notebook has been rather calling to me to get back to it.  It's hard to ignore that kind of lure, and I'm glad I finally found the time this weekend to breathe a little bit and get my head around this project.  (There's a second project that I hope will get kicked off that's long been on my back burner; more on that in another post.)

And finally, on the subject of inspiration, I have to mention the other impetus I lately had to get back into the more creative side of my knitting.  Ellen and Jan, of Twinset Designs, have begun their own podcast (I think this calls for an exclamation point)!  I was delighted when I found out, and delighted during every second of both of the podcasts they've put out so far, and if you are looking for a new podcast (or if you are new to knitting podcasts and interested in diving in), I highly recommend it.  They are both designers, and prolific knitters - they're also both spinners - and I find that listening to them talk about the way they think about knitting gets my brain moving in interesting ways.  You can find out more about it here

And now I think it's time to go contemplate that second project...


twinsetellen said...

Scoria really is lovely, and I can't believe how quickly you got this beauty knit up. She suits you, that neckline especially.

I'm so looking forward to that sock pattern. I know what you mean about not making yourself sit down to take those row by row notes. But now that you have, I bet it pulls you right through it and soon I will be able to knit them!

(Thank you for the kind words on the 'cast. Your blog, of course, has been inspirational to our designs, too!)3 oyedong

Allison said...

The sweater looks great; I love the lace.

I, too, am looking forward to the sock pattern.

Willow said...

I saw the photo of the Baby Surprise Jacket and recognized it immediately as BSJ! LOVE love LOVE that pattern.

That notebook is truly a work of art. How can you bear to write in it? I know. It's supposed to be written in. :)

Stell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stell said...

I will try again, without silly typos, love the neckline on the latest sweater, and the chart in the knit note book looks intriguing, thank you for using the book as intended. Th e folk art animal inspired cover just seemed right for that book.

Mary Lou said...

What a lovely book. I used to be a real fountain pen user, but the quality of paper these days just doesn't seem to work. I haven't listened to the new podcast, I have it on the list, though. I watched the spinning video, nicely done by the spinner and the videographer. And yes, I tape things and I also dial my iphone.

Anonymous said...

That book is gorgeous!

Glad you're finding a sort of rhythm. I suppose I am too, maybe? I'm curious about the calendar system you use on your phone. I've been using Remember the Milk but I'm afraid that I'm more familiar with the "postpone" button than the "complete task" button!

Lynne said...

That new knitting journal is absolutely fabulous! I love Scoria - I like my clothes loose-fitting so it looks fine to me! I think you were wise not to attempt the second sock in time for the fair, there is always next year and our hobbies are meant to bring us relaxation, not stress!

Nana Sadie said...

Wow. On all counts. Gorgeous stuff, and now I have a new blog to read. Whoohoo!

And I must go check out the Twins podcasts, but first? Fill me in on that calendar app?
Pretty please???

Alicia said...

I just found your blog and I love it! I'm a knitter and am currently working on my masters in linguistics at SDSU :) Thanks for posting! It's fun to know there's someone else in San Diego with the same interests.

EGunn said...

Scoria is beautiful. I always think that I want a shaped sweater, but some of the most comfortable, go-to sweaters I've owned have been largely shapeless. There's just something simple about them that makes them easy to wear.

Your knitting notebook is also wonderful. I used to love making my own journals, but I've never tried a knitting notebook. Maybe someday I'll get back to it...

I know exactly what you mean about pattern writing. I think that's one of the big reasons I don't love doing it. I've had the waving lace sweater on the needles for months waiting for the brainspace to sit down and document some pieces of the process so that I can finish the back and start the sleeves. Glad your socks are progressing again...they really will make an incredible pattern.

RobinH said...

Scoria is lovely! And I am wildly impressed by the neatness of your knitting notebook. I put this sort of thing in three ring binders, because I can write stuff up legibly on the computer and print it out that way. (I've also got a pattern-in-process that has been sitting around since midsummer.)

Rachael said...

LOVELY sweater, I think it looks just right, the details on that work with a looser fit, I think. I adore the neckline. Very nicely done! Thanks for the tip on the podcast.