Monthly Archives: February 2007

Blogosphere in Retrograde

I had a perfectly fine, well composed complete post all written and submitted earlier this morning. Yes, strange stuff was happening, like it came up as being posted yesterday, but now it has mysteriously vanished entirely! I know I’m already running the risk of being the World’s Most Boring Knitblog since I don’t have pretty pictures*, and now this! Grrrr. ED: It came back! I must still be figuring out this whole WordPress thing. But yay!

In the vein of rants, then, since I don’t feel like completely re-writing the now-vanished-into-the-ether post, ED: since it’s been on my mind, I will direct my attention to the asshattery that seems to be appearing out inthe Land of Knitblogs. Cara of January One has been flamed in her own comments, Norma (who Now…Knits) has a relative underhandedly disapproving of her writings, and even the venerable Stephanie, the Yarn Harlot Herself, has had someone emailing her with “corrections” of her spelling! I don’t really know what more can be said about this other than it should Stop.Now.Please. so that I can go back to reading the uplifting and enjoyable writings of other poeple who just like to knit.

* Is it a bad sign that I saw a commercial for Dove shampoo offering a free el-cheapo digicam (“How will your daugher define beautiful?”) and, despite being %100 organic with my shower products for about 2 years now, I concidered going to the drugstore?

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A kiss on the hand can be quite Continental…

… and so can my knitting!

For a while now I’ve toyed with the idea of learing how to knit Continental-style. I’ve heard that it’s faster/easier/better, that it decreases wrist strain, that it’s a must even for regularly-English-style knitters for stranded colour work… there are apparently all sorts of reasons why it’s good to knit with the yarn in the left hand. And yet to me, that all sounded, frankly, backwards! I am right-hand dominant, and the idea of manipulating the yarn with the left seemed practically impossible. I mean, I’d done a bit of yarn-to-the-left with the Endpaper Mitts, and occasionally played around with similar “techniques” afterwards, for plain knitting, but that’s not the same, right?

Well, for a while now my right wrist has been not-entirely-happy (though I mostly blame the crappy workstation and daily mouse-scrolling). I figured it was high time to learn this Continental thing for real. So I popped on to the internet, convinced that it was going to take a long time before I could learn to knit mirrror-imaged… (Yep, this is where you get to laugh at my folly).

Continental Myth #1, that the knitting is done completely mirror to English-style, was quickly debunked. “Oooooh,” I said to myself, “That’s why they don’t have to convert the patterns in their head for instructions like ‘with right needle in front…'” Yeah, I’m a bright one: yarn may be held in the left hand, but the knitting still ‘travels’ from the left to the right as I’m accUstomed! Myth #2, that I’d hold the yarn the same as in my right hand but mirroreder, was also debunked right-fast: now I’m weaving my yarn over and under all four fingers of my left hand, though I’ve read there are other techniques as weel for keeping tension. Myth #3, that this would be brand new for me, was perhaps the most startling revelation of all: barring holding the yarn pinched between thumb and first finger for purls (now I weave, see above), I’ve been knitting Continental-style off-and-on for more than a month!

So now I’m feeling silly and smart at the same time. I’ve figured out this continental thing, (even before I knew I’d done it!) and can henceforth pick-and-choose which way I want to knit as I feel like it. Yay me!

Here’s a Wiki article on the basics of Continental if you want to play around with it too, or there are loads of how-to videos available online as well if your learn by watching things in motion. Have fun!

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TYLTW Challenge

Ok folks, I’m trying something out and it’s turning out to be far, far more difficult than I’d ever thought.

The idea is that I’ll actually take my lunch to work, every day. Last week was a success, of a sort, but Thursday was a bit of a cheat since the lovely girls here at work sent me home. (Those who read my LJ may recall that Thurs. was the day after Dru’s palsy diagnosis, thus I was both worried and terribly under-slept.) Anyways, if I hadn’t come home before lunch I would have bought it, so I don’t think that completely counts.

So I’m taking up the challenge again this week. Already it’s been a struggle, and not just in having the wherewithall to pack something beforehand or grab last night’s leftovers in the morning. There are some really nice and considerate women along the corridor who keep asking me to come with them for Korean, or Sushi, or whatever. Even Dru, who reaps the financial rewards of this plan as much as I do, has offered to meet me for lunch out! Now I’m thinking, maybe I need more of a motivator to stick with it other than “I really should” — say, perhaps, a bit of competition/commiseration?*

Do you think you have the strength of will needed for the Take Your Lunch To Work Challenge? 5 days of work, 5 lunches prepared, 0 food** bought at work. As simple, and as hard, as that. Who’s with me?

* Prizes may not be beyond the realm of possibility.
** Drinks, I suppose, don’t count. I’m pretty sure that the coffee addicts need this clause.***
*** Donuts, however, are debatable: perhaps there should be bonus points for taking all snacks too?

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FO: Two-at-once Toe-Up Socks

This would be where I show you all sorts of pretty pictures of my new pair of socks. Alas for my lack of camera. In lieu of pictures, you’re just going to have to take it from me that the socks — both of them! — are finished.

The fact that I have two socks finished is most definitely the very best part of this whole thing. Hooray for no chance of catching Second Sock Syndrome! I found the Magic Loop method to be really easy once I got the swing of it, and it was certainly fun to watch the various facial expressions of friends and passers-by as they tried to figure out just what I was doing with the wonky knitting needle and two balls of yarn.

Oh yeah, how the socks were knit: I used the “figure 8 cast-on” toe-up method, and was knitting two socks at the same time, side-by-side: I have yet to fully grok the double-knitting, one-inside-the-other method (and since JenLa dubbed this style “Tobasco Douche” socks, I’m not really in a hurry to learn it, either). As for the rest of the sock, I just knit ’till it seemed like I should do the next thing: double-increase tow cap, St. st. foot, short-row heel, a whole lot of 2×2 ribbing, and about an inch of 1×1 ribbing at the top. I cast off using a new method I’ve been reading about lately (p1, p2tog, *pass st. back to L. needle, P2tog* to end) and am quite pleased with its stretchiness.

The second fact, that the yarn was of the self-patterning variety, was the second-best part of the project. (I also have lots left over, but probably not enough for another pair of socks.) Watching the sock look extra-spiffy with no expended effort on my behalf almost justifies the price of self-patterning sock yarn. I’ll most likely splurge on pattern yarns again, but not for a while.

Finally, now that I have learned a method of knitting socks two-at-once, and have a finished pair of my own, I think I may be over my “I don’t knit socks” thing. Sock knitting is pretty good for a small, portable project, and knit socks are pretty darned comfy (I put mine on as soon as I’d cast off!). As soon as more sock yarn comes my way, I’ll be casting on another pair — two at once! — of socks for travel knitting.

Question: anyone know of different ways to turn a heel going toe-up?

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I do knit, really…

I’d show you what I’m knitting right now, but sadly my pathetic little digicam seems ot have conked out on me. At first I thought it just needed new batteries, but once I’d replaced the old ones and the thing still wouldn’t power on, I got suspicious. That, and the disconcerting rattling noise coming from within. Still, I haven’t given up hope: if I can just find the USB cable somewhere within the Office of Doom then I can plug the thing in; if it powers up, I know it can be fixed; if it doens’t, then I need to start saving my pennies. Because a knitblog without pictures is like a sundae without hot fudge: incomplete (tasty, but still incomplete).

So to prove that I do, in fact, knit, I give you a past project: the Shetland Circular Shawl from Meg Swanson’s “A Gathering of Lace”.

Shetland Circular
(click for full-size image)

I fell in love with this pattern while I was browsing though books at Chapters. Dru sweetly gave it to me two Xmases ago, and I knit it up about this time last year. It took me about 3 months to finish, and I loved every bit of it. The yarn is an amazing 100% merino lacewight, hand-dyed by Lisa Souza Dyeworks. Serously, the photo comes nowhere near to doing the colours justice! My sole complaint with this project is that during this past summer’s humididty the poor thing has lost all it’s shape, and I’ve just been too damn lazy to re-block it since. Nonetheless, I love this project so much I will probably knit another one someday. So see, I do knit!

I also added a “Projects” page (see sidebar) to keep track of what I may be working on in the present time. Right now it’s just the knitting that I’m actually working on (no “UFOs” or the random bits of knitting that I pick up just to play with some yarn). In the future I may extend it further, and other crafts might apper here too.

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I admit it, I cracked.

Yep, I cracked. I wanted a knitblog too. Thus, this!

This blog will be where I (primarily) talk about knitting. It’s mainly so that I can continue to read other folks’ knitblogs and not feel like some kind creepy stalker when I post comments “anonymously” (i.e. blogless, and therefore without identity). Also so that I can stop boring my LiveJournal friends with my ramblings about knitting.

Now I know that the world needs another knitblog like a yarn stash needs a moth infestation, but still, perhaps in time I can elevate this blog from the disjointed thoughts of the craft-compulsive to something useful, like how-tos, or fun, like free patterns. For now, though, it’s the ramblings and rantings of a woman with too much free time at work and not enough knitting time at home.

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