Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Rage Outlet

Courtesy of Ry4an, I now know of another way to vent my rage at crazed NJ drivers: PlateWire. If only I'd know about this on Saturday when I watched an SUV perform an illegal U-turn mere feet from a large intersection OVER a concrete median. I suppose the driver was at least using the car for it's intended purpose - after all, they were going off-road.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What would Jesus do?

He’d use his turn signals, that’s what.

Dear people of New Jersey:

If you are turning off a major or minor road, please, for the love of all things wooly, use a turn signal. On that same note, if you are not turning off the road, please turn off your turn signal. A little bit of common courtesy, now and again, won’t kill you (I think).

As you might guess, I was burned this morning by a non-signaling passenger vehicle (nspv). Pulling on to Route 1 means a quick acceleration (at any time of the day). I was dutifully pressing the pedal when I was cut-off by a slow-to-accelerate nspv. Fine. I can take one insult. But! Less than a half a mile later, the nspv hits the breaks and careens into a right hand turn for the local ‘adult’ boutique. At 9 am. I guess some urges can make you forget what you learned in driver’s ed.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

And the Na Craga Continues

Never fear, I have not abandoned Na Craga. Despite a minor set back in forgetting the pattern one knit-night, I have forged ahead, casting-on the front and working 5 pattern repeats.
Worried that I’d bitten off more than I could chew, I began Na Craga with the sleeves. I reasoned that sleeves were small, with 2 fewer cable motifs and 6 fewer cable blocks. Clearly, I shouldn’t have worried. Yes, there’s a lot more cabling going on, but none of it is tricky and it all follows very logically (at least to my brain. I’ve met a number of knitters who don’t seem to be able to memorize patterns at all, no matter how simple or straight forward. I know I use a pneumonic here and there, but knitting is so mathematical that it just seems to flow. Am I alone in this?). Now just because I’ve said the knitting is easy doesn’t mean (1) I won’t screw up. In fact, I have already, but it’s not noticeable; or (2) I’ll finish any more quickly. My goal is 1 pattern repeat a day and if you knew my life these days, you’d know that’s a pretty ambitious goal (if you’ve got tricks for convincing a 3-month old the merits of napping, I’d be forever greatful).

(ps Is it me or does that center motif look a bit like a nose?)

Twist and Turns: For Lovers of Cable Knitting

If you hadn’t already noticed, this winter is the season of the cable. Take a quick walk through your local mall or around the internet – cables are everywhere. As a knitter obsessed with texture (see Kittiwake, the Irish Hiking Scarf and Na Craga for proof), I’m quite pleased by this trend.

Knitters have long been obsessed with cables. Alice Starmore’s had several tomes on the subject. Recent additions to the cable knitting frenzy include Cables Untangled, by Melissa Leapman and
Inspired Cable Knits by Fiona Ellis. Both books are fantastic, filled to the brim with inspiration.

In my quest for cables, I stumbled across a newsletter, Twist and Turns, dedicated to cable knitting. I subscribed instantly. My first issue, Winter 2006, appeared in my mailbox less than a week later. The four projects in this issue range from a basic raglan sweater to socks to a brioche möebius. While it’s unlikely that I’d wear the möebius, the challenge of knitting one might just egg me into knitting it. Maybe I am a bit of a process knitter after all.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Little FO

Pattern: Multidirectional scarf
Modifications: None
Yarn: Fleece Artist, 2-ply Cashmere
Needles: US 2
Final Thought: Despite the utter simplicity of the scarf, the knitting never got old. A perfect combination of yarn and pattern.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Eager Beavers

Today is that venerable of non-holidays, Super Bowl Sunday. What better way to celebrate than with a yarn sale?

I hoisted my bum out of bed at the unconscionable hour of 5:30 (okay, I didn't have to get up that early, but a little monster I know was hungry). At 7 am, I hit the road, stopping briefly to pick up a co-conspirator. By our calculations, we'd arrive at Knit-a-bit by 7:30, with a half hour to spare before the doors opened. Yes, there'd be a line, but it would probably be short.

(The sign behind us lists the rules of engagement for the sale - no pushing, shoving or tackling, no yarn winding, pattern drafting and the like. Please excuse the more-than-usual terribleness of the photo. It was a camera phone.)

Turns out the line was very short. In years past, the sale began at 8 am. This year, however, the sale began at 9 am (actually, the doors ended up opening at 8:35, and they allowed 10 customers in at a time). Good thing we brought our knitting.

As the first ones in, we were awarded a 2007 Pattern-a-day calendar and the opportunity to fondle the yarn first. I yearned for much of the yarn, but showed great restraint.

That's 7 skeins of Zara, earmarked as a hat/scarf set for a friend; 5 skeins of Cotton Classic, for a wee sweater; and 1 skein of Zarella Baby for a wee hat. You must know that I did not purchase the Zarella Baby - it was a gift in return for opening a door on Tuesday. But I did purchase the cotton yarn and have used up my 1 free binge.

I managed to pass up Lush at 40% off, some baby wool at 30% off, Rowan Cashsoft at 30% off, and so much more, it boggles even my mind.

My co-conspirator, on the other hand? Well, let's just say yarn kept jumping into her bag.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Mission Accomplished

And by mission, I mean the knitting of two Na Craga sleeves that match each other in length, width and knitting tension. I’ve been knitting just shy of three years (which classifies me as a newby when compared to some knitters) and I am still challenged to have a consistent tension. This skill is one I firmly believe comes with time and knitting practice.

The sleeves have actually been completed for three weeks. I had planned to cast-on for the front at knitting night (every Monday at a local library), but came up short when I realized I’d left the pattern at home. My needles are forlorn and cold.

Don’t fret that I was bored through an entire knitting night. No indeed! I had cleverly brought along a second project – a scarf!

I love this project simply for the yarn. It’s Fleece Artist, 2-ply cashmere (does this make me a yarn snob?). There’s no color listed on the tag, but it reminds me of an ocean just after a storm – the deep blue water broken by greens from the storm with the occasional white-cap still present. Handling the yarn is soothing in the way that waves crashing against rocks can lull you to sleep. In fact, I often do fall asleep working on this scarf (that I am knitting late in the evening has no bearing on the sleep).

Resolution Update

But first, a very happy Groundhog day to everyone. Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow this morning, which means we’ll have an early spring. Of course, this assumes we’ve had a winter and except for a few cold days, we’ve had a very mild season.

On this festive day (and for my first post in February), I thought I’d see how well I’d done with my Knitting Resolutions.
1. No yarn purchases. You can check my credit card statements and ask my family. I have purchased no yarn this month.
2. Projects in the queue. I’ve only had time to work on Na Craga and startitis has only manifested in the form of one scarf and some socks, both knit from well-marinated stash yarn.
3. Finish documenting FOs from 2006. I believe this is done, although they are not yet available for your viewing pleasure. I need to set up a Flickr gallery.
4. Spin more. Yep, I’ve failed on this as the wheel has sat idle for the entire month. On quiet days, I can hear the wheel weeping.
5. Think about fair isle. I’m happy to report that I have done this, mostly because I find these mittens irresistible. Eunny notes that this pattern is ideal for knitters comfortable knitting two colors in the round or adventurous novices comfortable reading charts. I definitely fall into the latter category. Should I take the jump?
6. Walk 100 miles. If you do the math, that means I needed to have walked 33 miles in January. I managed to walk 24.1 miles (these miles are in addition to the miles I already walk around campus). I’m short about 9 miles and I don’t see myself making up the difference in February (it’s a short month after all). I do have plenty of excuses, though! I’m a new mom (to a nearly 3-month old), trying to keep house, finish a PhD and do a little work on the side (you know, to earn money to feed the aforementioned 3-month old). Even though I didn’t reach the goal, and likely won’t by April 1, I’m still getting into better shape (as opposed to my pregnancy, I-ate-a-beach-ball shape).

Potential Resolution Conflicts
1. I do not have yarn to knit fair isle. Does this indicate how small my stash really is? Or does this reveal my fear of color knitting?
2. There is a family wedding in June. I’ve got a little monkey who will need a cotton sweater (Did I mention the wedding is in Minnesota?). I have no cotton in the stash (that’s a lie. There is one ball of Sugar & Cream, but that’s inappropriate for frilly sweaters). Can I count this sweater as a gift, both to the baby and the bride & groom to be (after all, cold babies howl and can ruin the loveliest of moments)? Do I con someone into purchasing the yarn for me? Do I use up my exception already?