Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cheating will always do you wrong

Late last week I finished the second front on my simple, plain, gray cardigan. With the Michigan winter beginning to choke the daylight from the sky (and the color, too), I found myself without the will to continue into the sleeves. Too much gray (ditto for getting into gear on the Na Craga). I have a simple but colorful sock on the needles, but I’m currently apathetic about that project (I think the simple rib pattern just isn’t fitting the playfulness that is Zauberball Crazy). What’s a Michigander to do but cast on a new project using bright! cheerful! colorful! yarn? Enter Malabrigo Silky Merino, a most luscious fiber. The colorway dill is electrifying. Combine with one simple scarf pattern – Helleborus by Terhi Montonen – and you have a recipe for a quick, satisfying, uplifting knit. Just the right diversion to get you back on track with the simple, gray cardigan.


Unless. Unless, of course, you won this yarn on a blog contest (thanks, Kristy!), have only 2 hanks and have severely underestimated how far that yarn will go. Well, if you do that, then you end up knitting 5 inches, taking a few measurements and realizing that your scarf will top out at 30 inches. Sure, blocking could push that length to 35 inches, but still. 35 is not 60 (not in this universe at any rate) and a scarf of 30 inches just won’t do.

After careful analysis of the situation (read: wondering if I could magically make 2 additional hanks of Malabrigo Silky Merino in Dill appear), I found 2 options:
  • Option 1: Rip the 5 inches and cast on for a scarf of half the current width. It is 12 inches, after all, and a 6-inch wide scarf is very wearable. Pro: A completed scarf from yarn all of the same dye lot. Con: I have to rip my current knitting and settle for a scarf half as wide as I’d hoped.
  • Option 2: Purchase more yarn, albeit of a different dye lot. Pro: I can continue to knit with my current yarn as the remaining yarn is shipped and I get a wide, squishy scarf. Con: the dye lots are different. How gruesome could that look?
So what’s a knitter to do? I know what I should do. Yeah, I realize that cheating on my cardigan has brought me bad knitting karma. And while I know I should probably cast-on for that first sleeve, I suspect I will stray even further and do a little sewing.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Na Craga angst

Given my spotty posting track record, you are undoubtedly unconcerned about the fate of Eric’s Na Craga. In fact, you’d be quite forgiven for even forgetting the existence of Eric’s Na Craga. Let me bring you up to speed.

First, an inventory:
1. Sleeves. Completed summer of 2006. At the time I had two fears: (1) all those cables and (2) sleeve island. Figuring the sleeves had fewer cables than the front and back, I tackled them first. Baby steps, right?
2. Front. Completed fall 2006. Buoyed by the success of the sleeves, I jumped head first into the body and quickly clicked my way to the boxy neck.
3. Back. .

What happened? You may recall that in November 2006, I thought it prudent to invert my entire life by having a baby. It took about 6 months for me to reach a new equilibrium (what can I say? I’m resistant to change) at which time I thought it prudent to line up a postdoc and defend my dissertation. Six more months to gain my sea legs and bam, I decide to have another baby. Invert life once again (which oddly enough does not return it to the 2006 pre-baby state at all) and pretty much all knitting takes a backseat to treading water in the land known as parenthood.

At that point, Na Craga was buried on a shelf, dead to me, Eric and the world. And then one day, one of my many LYS (Threadbear Fiber Arts) held a Customer’s Garage Sale. So I sorted through my books, fiber and yarn, culling the heard to make some dough when what did I stumble upon, but poor, neglected Na Craga. I gave it a sad smile, plumped the fronts, smoothed the arms and vowed to work on it… soon.

These days, Na Craga stares at me from a basket on the shelf, batting puppy-dog eyes and whimpering ever so softly. Maybe this winter, Na Craga. Maybe this winter.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ode to scarf weather

I love this time of year. The dropping temperatures and crisp mornings nip at my neck. I happily reach for a scarf – maybe a lacy number, a cashmere cutie or a color-shifting wrap. Each scarf is a heaping helping of comfort food, warming my thoughts as I trudge through driving rain (and snow) to the bus stop, office and beyond.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Imaginary Rhinebeck

My previous post made no mention of my angst at missing yet another fun, fiber-filled weekend known colloquially as Rhinebeck and technically as the NY State Sheep and Wool Festival. My denial was so deep that I’d buried my resentment to the furthest, dustiest corners of my brain.

But trolling the blogs on Monday reminded me of what I’d missed. The yarn, the food, the cute animals. I must admit to a mild twinge of homesickness – I graduated from Arlington High School, just down the road. I’ve been to many state fairs, craft fairs and yes, Sheep & Wool festivals on those very fair grounds. And let’s not forget that it’s apple season and NY has, by far, the best apples in the nation (and I know for a fact that a lovely farmer and his family sets up a stand just down the road from the festival. They have some good Honeycrisps.).

I missed going to Rhinebeck this year by a hair. Well, by a work-related hair. The upset and anger I felt at missing Rhinebeck was perplexing. I have enough yarn. My knitting time is limited. I spin very little (though I yearn to spin more). Few projects entice me and fewer still captivate me long enough to complete. And yet here I was, pouting in the middle of Michigan because I couldn’t go to the party.

It’s classic, isn’t it? Like the toddler who wants the candy she can’t have or the teenager who wants their own car. We often want what we can’t have. I admire the folks who went for the people – friends and bloggers alike. But in all of their reports and photos there lingers the ubiquitous purchase. The skein of sock yarn, a bar of soap, a lone button or clasp.

And I wanted to be a part of that – I wanted to stroll an entire fairground devoted to fiber and pick up one or two things I didn’t need. I wanted to ogle yarns, ponder projects and make one or two hasty and rash purchases. I wanted a little retail therapy.

I know I live in a town with not 1 or 2 but 4 local yarn stores. I have ready access to fiber-related retail therapy. But it is not the same as trekking to Rhinebeck and joining the throngs of people – fiber novices to experts to revered masters. There is a camaraderie in that sort of retail therapy, as if a thousand other individuals collectively smile and say yeah, that skein of variegated cashmere sock yarn your currently ogling? It will make the perfect socks for your toddler girls.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Well, it's been a quiet few months around here

Not that I've gone anywhere or done anything more impressive then, well, embiggen the family with a 2nd daughter (who's no longer a baby, but a toddler). Work is busy - and in times like these busy equates with job security (even for me, a mere postdoc on soft money). So let's ease back into the knit blog, with an update on the WIP from the previous post, a few FO from the past year, and some ideas for future posts.

The socks for Toddler Jeneric were knit and worn.

The Baby Yours sweater was completed, worn and retired. Somewhere in there a baby happened.

I completed the hedegrow socks in time for Christmas.
Hedgerow Socks 1

And the scarf was also completed, though worn just last week for the first time.
Spectrum Scarf 1

I'm still on Ravelry (look for Jeneric) and still knitting. Current projects include:
A simple cardigan (rav link), using Knit Picks shadow (two strands held together) in a terrific gray. Yeah, gray - like the sky in Michigan. Gray is subdued, goes with everything and it's more likely I'll actually wear the finished product.
(This picture exemplifies a lovely mistake that I caught! in the nick of time and have since corrected. I haven't taken a new picture because really, what's so exciting about a little gray cardigan?)

Recently complete projects:
Serpentine socks (rav link) in a bamboo yarn.
Photo 5
I love and covet bamboo - bamboo sheets are amazing. Our bamboo cutting board is fantastic. My favorite scarf? You guessed right if you said bamboo (also, knit in the past year).

Whew. That's a lot of linking and pictures. Enough for now! We'll see if I can put together a post on current sewing, if I can redo the template for the website, since road rage in Michigan is rather nonexistant, or if I can put together my musings on life, kids, and hobbies. Perhaps I might even put pen to paper to capture the angst I feel over Eric's Na Craga. Poor, neglected Na Craga.