Knitapalooza

Football season has started, which for me means lots of knitting because I watch lots of football. And I cannot sit in front of the TV for long without either knitting or spinning.

First things first, I finished the Gray Vanilla Socks I was knitting for my DH.

I know, the picture is crappy. What can I say? I’m a lousy photographer, and I’m too lazy to try again. I’d probably just end up with more lousy pictures.

I had 3 50-gram balls of Socka, but I managed to knit these socks with only one ball per sock and even had a few yards left over. Usually 100 grams of sock yarn isn’t quite enough to knit a pair of socks for the DH. He likes the cuff to be a little on the long side–about two inches longer than what I knit for myself–and the foot is about an inch longer than mine, and I usually cast on 8 more stitches than I do for my own socks. So whereas 100 grams of sock yarn is plenty for knitting a pair of socks for myself (and for the other sock-worthy women in my life), it’s usually not sufficient for a pair of socks for my DH.

These socks are just plain, old 2 x 2 rib with a Fish Lips Kiss Heel and a round toe, utilitarian rather than decorative, so I’ll have to dig around in my sock yarn stash and find something a little more splashy for the next pair I knit for him. He rather likes socks with a bit of flair.

Socks are just the beginning of my knitapalooza. For me, football season and hockey season are knitting season. September 5th was the first Saturday of the college football season, and although it wasn’t as productive as it normally would have been because we had a wedding to attend and didn’t get back home until mid-afternoon, I did get a good start on a pair of fingerless mitts knitted with Cascade 220. I used the Center Ice Mitts pattern, a free download on Ravelry, but with Steelers colors. I really like this particular pattern. It’s well written and includes options for using either two or three colors, so it can be adapted to just about any team in just about any sport. I prefer Brown Sheep Nature Spun to Cascade 220 for knitting hats and mitts, but I had Cascade 220 in white and yellow in my stash already, and only had to buy one skein of  black.

Unfortunately, after knitting about half of the first mitt, I tried it on and decided it was a little too tight. I ripped it out and started over with a needle one size larger. Don’t tell me that I should have swatched first; in the time it would take to knit a swatch, I can knit half a fingerless mitt, so the mitt is my swatch. Anyway, during football weekend #1, I finished the first mitt sans thumb and got a good start on the second mitt.

Steelers on Ice Mitts without thumbs

The second Saturday of college football was shaping up to be a very productive knitting day, but we ended up having the DS and DIL here to watch football, and the DIL and I decided to walk up to the boulevard to get tacos, and then we got caught in the rain and thought we’d wait it out in the library. But after about 10 minutes in the library, we realized the rain wasn’t going to let up any time soon, so we walked back in the rain, the whole time kicking ourselves for not bringing an umbrella. But I still got Steelers mitt #2 completely done, and got the thumb knitted on mitt #1.

Steelers on Ice with thumbs. This pattern is quick and easy. The most difficult and time-consuming part is weaving in all the ends.

These mitts should be nice and warm.

But that wasn’t the end of my Saturday football knitting. I also got a skein of my handspun wound into a cake…

A lovely cake of handspun yarn made from Bee Mice Elf “Rustle” BFL

and I cast on for another pair of fingerless mitts.

Mitt #1 early on

I love the pretty autumnal colors of the yarn, so I am calling them Autumn Leaves Mitts. I got the first mitt sans thumb finished on Sunday while watching NFL games, and even got a good start on the second mitt.

Mitt #1 just needs a thumb, and mitt #2 is off to a good start.

I’m trying to get the mitts as close to matching as I can. With handspun yarn, the color repeats are not as precise as they would be with mill spun, commercially dyed yarn, or even with mill spun, hand dyed yarn. I don’t expect total matchy-matchy identical twins, but I would like to end up with obvious siblings.

The pattern I’m using for the Autumn Leaves Mitts is Braided Mitts by Tera Johnson, and it’s a free Ravelry download. The pattern as written makes a mitt that is too small for my hand (and I have fairly small hands), so I had to make a couple of modifications to the pattern. I knitted a 2 x 2 wrist cuff for 24 rounds instead of 12, and I did the thumb gusset repeats at a rate of every 4th round instead of every 3rd round because otherwise, the thumb gusset would be too short. I could have just knitted a bunch of plain rounds after completing the increases before putting the thumb stitches on waste yarn, but I like the look of the diagonal lines the increases create, so I changed the rate of the increases.

One of my favorite things about this pattern is that the designer took great care to place the beautiful braided cable so that it is in the center of the back of the hand when the mitts are worn. All to often, a cable will be placed so that it is in the middle of the mitt when the mitt is not being worn, but when you put the mitt on your, the cable will be off center.

I’ll work the thumbs when I have both mitts finished. I want to try to use a piece of yarn for the thumbs that will match the hand. I will probably have enough yarn left from this skein to make another pair of mitts. And I have a whole other skein, so I could knit a hat to go with the mitts. Or I might use the leftover from skein #1 along with skein #2 and knit a scarf using Yarn Harlot’s pattern for a scarf knit from handspun. This yarn is BFL, and it is incredibly soft and would feel wonderful around my neck.

I’m happy to be knitting again, and it will only get better because in just a few short weeks, hockey season starts. And hockey means more knitting!

Where’s My Hockey?

The NHL lockout is dragging on and on, and it’s dragging my knitting down. With college football winding down and the NFL heading for the playoffs, I’m spending less and less time watching television. And less time watching television means less time spent knitting. If the NHL and the NHL Players Association would just settle their differences, then I would be knitting up a storm. But with no hockey games to watch, I’m spending my knitting time doing other things, like spinning, reading, and playing the piano. I WANT MY HOCKEY!

But in spite of limited television/knitting time, I am making progress on the two socks I have OTN, and I expect to get them finished in short order once the college football bowl extravaganza starts up on Sunday. The bowl games are played over the course of three weeks or so, and there will be some pro games played, too, so I should get a lot of knitting done in the next few weeks.

Here’s where my current knitting WIP stand at this very moment.

My Sparkly Garter Rib Socks sock #2 is well underway. As you can see, I have just a few more inches of foot left to knit, then I’ll be turning the heel.

Sparkly Garter Rib sock #2 posting beside it's older sibling

Sparkly Garter Rib sock #2 posting beside it’s older sibling

 

These socks will not be identical twins, but they will look enough alike the everyone will recognize them as siblings.

The Sunshine Rib Socks project is moving a little more slowly, but it is progressing. Sock #1 now has a heel, and I’m chipping away at the gusset stitches.

Sunshine Rib Socks sock #1 is well underway.

Sunshine Rib Socks sock #1 is well underway.

I had originally planned to simply carry the 4 x 2 rib down the heel flap, but it looked too plain, so I went with the EOP (eye of partridge) heel instead. I think EOP was an excellent choice because it looks simply brilliant in this yarn. I think this colorway and the EOP were made for each other, don’t you?

Close-up shot of the Eye of Partridge heel

Close-up shot of the Eye of Partridge heel

Since it’s been a rather slow sports week what with the NHL canceling games left and right, I’ve been doing a lot of spinning.  I’m plying a small amount of the gorgeous Falkland top from Unwind Yarn Company in the O Negative colorway that I spun on my Golding Micro Ringspindles. This fiber is an absolute dream to spin. It wanted to be spun very fine, and the singles are mostly the thickness (or should I say thinness) of sewing thread. I wound the singles into a plying ball and I’m plying the yarn on a Kundert.

Falkland singles plied on a Kundert spindle from a plying ball

Falkland singles plied on a Kundert spindle from a plying ball

I’m being careful not to over-ply the yarn because I’d like to produce a nice, drapey yarn for a lace project. If I’m pleased with the sample I’m making, I’ll spin and ply the rest of the braid the same way and use the yarn to make a lovely shawlette of some sort. The yarn is so fine that I have yards and yards of it so far, and I’ve only spun about 14 of the 110 grams of fiber in the braid. The color is simply too gorgeous for words. I love anything red, and the color of this yarn sets my little heart to thumping.

Another spinning project is resting on the lazy kate awaiting plying. I spun up the rest of the undyed BFL that I bought when I first started spindling. I had spun some of it on various spindles; it’s lovely to spin, soft and easy to draft. I was curious to see how it would behave on my wheel, so I spun up a couple of bobbins on the Ladybug, and the singles are now ready for plying.

Undyed BFL patiently awaiting plying

Undyed BFL patiently awaiting plying

I’m going to do a simple 2-ply and try to keep the twist on the softer side. This fiber is next-to-the-skin soft and will probably become a hat and matching or coordinating cowl.

And last but not least, I decided to play around on the Ladybug with the Cotton Candy fiber I have left from the November spindling challenge.

Louet Northern Lights Cotton Candy on the Ladybug

Louet Northern Lights Cotton Candy on the Ladybug

It’s surprising how differently fiber behaves when spun using different equipment. When I spun this fiber on spindles, it wanted to be drafted and spun very fine, but on my wheel, it wants to be spun thicker. Part of that might be how I have the Scotch tension set, and part of it might be due to the difference in my wheel drafting as opposed to my spindle drafting. But regardless of the why, I’m getting a beautiful singles on the wheel, and I have a ton of this fiber yet to spin. I am envisioning a 2-ply, but the yarn will tell me what it wants to be when it grows up. It may prefer to become a 3-ply. 😀

So, that’s what I have cooking on this WIP Wednesday. Thanks for looking in.

 

Solace In Socks

It wasn’t the best of weekends for my favorite football teams, but at least I can look back and see all the progress I made on my socks. I love to knit while watching football–and also hockey, but I don’t want to go there–so weekends in the fall are very productive knitting time for me. And here’s proof:

I worked a bit on the Vanilla Candy Corn Sock #2.

Vanilla Candy Corn Socks sock #2 in progress

As you can see, these socks are going to be fraternal rather than identical twins.

Socks #1 and #2 posing side by side

With self-striping yarns, I often go to the time and trouble of starting each sock at the same point in the colorway, keeping my fingers crossed that there are no knots in the yarn to throw the color sequence off, but the stripes this yarn produces are very small and the color changes are subtle, so I didn’t bother to make the socks match exactly. I like the variation between the two socks. 😀

Remember this sock?

I took this picture before cast off the sock.

It’s sock #1 of Em’s Boot Socks, which I finished a few weeks ago. I sent it to Em to try on via my private, personal couriers, i.e., my DH and the boy, and I got it back yesterday via the same method, although for the return trip, the DH got the sock directly from Em. Because I knew I would be getting the sock back on Sunday, I started working on the foot on Saturday and worked on it yesterday, too. As of last night, I had already completed the first increase round on the leg of the sock.

Sock #2 done to the first increase round

I want to have the sock finished by next Sunday so that I can give it to the boy to take back to the Burgh for Em to start wearing now that the weather is getting more on the wintry side.

If, dear reader, you are wondering why I had to wait until I got sock #1 back before knitting sock #2, it’s because I sent sock #1 for a fitting without having bothered to write down how many rounds there were between the toe increases and the beginning of the heel. I also hadn’t written down how many rounds I knitted between the end of the heel and the first increase round on the leg, or how many rounds between the last increase round and the beginning of the ribbing. I didn’t write down how many rounds of ribbing I did, either. So I needed sock #1 back because for some strange reason, I want sock #2 to be the same size as sock #1. Go figure. LOL

Em’s Boot Socks sock #1 and sock #2 side by side

I’ll admit it. Sometimes I’m not the sharpest needle in the case, but it will all work out in the end. 🙂

FO Friday

Ta-da! The Show-Off Stranded Socks are ready for the wearing.

Show-Off Stranded Socks in CTH Supersocks “Birches”

I really like this stitch pattern, but I don’t care for the heel the designer uses, so I made a traditional heel-flap-and-gusset heel instead. I kept the heel flap in pattern except for knitting the first two and last two stitches to make a garter-stitch border to ease the picking up of the gusset stitches. Also, I made a round toe, which is my usual toe. I had just enough yarn to complete the socks, which fit my gunboats quite nicely. The Cherry Tree Hill Supersock yarn is very soft and wonderful to knit with. And the stitch pattern used for the sock is a good one to use for hand-painted sock yarns.

The Spider Queen hasn’t been blocked yet. I’m planning to stretch her out tomorrow while watching football. Yes, I’ll take pictures. 🙂

Here’s a shocker. It was about 12:56 am when I snipped the last woven-in end on Show-Off last night (technically early this morning, LOL), and because it was so late (or so early, depending on your perspective) I didn’t cast on a new project. At this very moment, I have nothing OTN.

Well, sort of. I have a second sock in my knitting basket that hasn’t been touched in at least a year, but I need to dig out the pattern so I can finish it.

I also have an afghan that is in the middle of being put together that I should finish up.

And then there’s St. Moritz. I don’t want to talk about St. Moritz. And we won’t even mention Melanie, a lace shawl from Sharon Miller, that needs frogging.

But the sock and the sweater are in time out for the foreseeable future, so they don’t count as OTN; the lace shawl is destined to be frogged, so it doesn’t count as OTN, either. The afghan is knitted; it just needs finishing, so it cannot be classified as OTN, either.

Therefore, I currently have NOTHING on the needles. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Something must be done to correct this horrendous situation! I have a plan brewing, and it involves some of my handspun as well as some commercial sock yarn and at least 3 different projects. I’ll let you in on it all tomorrow. 🙂

 

FO Friday

In addition to WIP Wednesday, Tami also gives us FO (Finished Object) Friday.

Alas, I have no finished items to report, although I’m close to completing the knitting on Her Royal Highness, The Spider Queen.

A weekend of football knitting should do the trick.

My ball of yarn is running pretty low,

but I still have another full ball stashed away, so there’s no fear of running short. 🙂

Maybe next Friday I will be featuring a knitted and dressed Spider Queen. Wouldn’t that be something!

The Itch

Yes, I’m getting “the itch,” that feeling virtually all knitters get that they just HAVE to start a new project. I’m doing my best to resist scratching that itch, but I don’t know how long I can hold out.

I’ve been working on The Spider Queen for a while now, although it’s been maybe a week since I have knitted a single stitch on her. I am determined to finish the regal arachnid before I cast on any new projects. And it really shouldn’t be very long before she’s done. After all, college football starts Saturday. (Well, actually, it starts tonight.) And that means that on Saturday, there will be college football noon to midnight, and that means knitting noon to midnight. 🙂

Fortunately, socks do not count as new projects, so I can cast on as many socks as I like. I’ve been working a little on my Show-Off Stranded Socks and I’m nearly finished with the gusset increases of sock number one. I have to admit that I really don’t understand the “Stranded” in the name of this sock pattern. There’s no stranded knitting whatsoever in the entire sock. But that’s neither here nor there. The pattern is fun to knit and I think it shows off my Cherry Tree Hill Supersock to the max.

Show-Off Stranded Sock #1 in CTH Supersock in Birches colorway

I hope to finished these socks in less time than it took me to complete the Brown Garter Rib socks.

As much as I am enjoying the socks,  what I’m really jonesing to knit is a sweater. One might think that I would satisfy my craving for a sweater-knitting project by resuming work on the Dale of Norway St. Moritz that has been waiting patiently for my attention for many months. But you’d be so very, very wrong. If only!  Believe it or not, there are visions of a raglan-sleeve cardigan dancing in my head. Really? A raglan cardigan?!?!?!?!? Yes, a plain, stocking stitch raglan-sleeve cardigan. In red. Yikes! If I ignore the voices in my head, maybe they will go away. 🙂

 

Two Unfinished Objects

In an earlier blog entry, I introduced you to the world of UnFinished Objects, UFOs in knitters’ parlance. I thought you, dear reader, might like to meet a couple of my UFOs.

First up is the Stonington Shawl. I started the Stonington as part of a KAL (Knit-A-Long) on the Yahoo! Group, EZasPi, a group devoted to the designs of knitting god Elizabeth Zimmermann. I was using the instructions found in one of her books, the title of which I forget. Maybe The Knitter’s Workshop. Anyway, in the book the shawl is just plain garter stitch, so I added Old Shell for the border.

The shawl is knitted using a technique that EZ “unvented,” and I thought I’d give it a try. I personally think the technique would have been better off not being “unvented,” but I’m sure there are knitters who strongly disagree. Anyway, after knitting the shawl, I ended up with a garment that was too small to be used for anything, and the Stonington technique doesn’t allow for adjusting the size of the shawl by adding more rounds to the border. I decided I had two choices. One was to travel to the frog pond (more knitter’s parlance) and rip-it, rip-it! But ripping it out was not an appealing option because the yarn I used is very hairy and ripping it back is a royal PITA. (That’s a general acronym that needs no explanation.) The only other option, as I saw it, was to knit a second border using the knitting-in-the-round technique.

Stonington Shawl in progress

Shawl ready for second border

So I knit the set up rows and set the project aside because, quite frankly, I was sick of looking at it.

Stonington Shawl in project bag

Stonington Shawl in its project bag

But lately this shawl has been creeping into my thoughts, and I think that it will soon become a WIP again. EZ completely defeated me with that abomination known as the Adult Surprise Jacket, but I won’t be beaten again. I will conquer the Stonington and have a lovely, or perhaps not so lovely lace shawl to show for it.

Projects often get set aside, like Stonington, or jettisoned altogether, like the Adult Surprise Jacket, because the pattern just isn’t working for the knitter. But sometimes a project goes from WIP to UFO for more benign reasons.

The latter is the case for my Dale of Norway St. Moritz sweater. The Heilo yarn is wonderful to work with, the colors are beautiful, the pattern interesting.

Dale of Norway St. Moritz in progress

But because I’m knitting the crew-neck version instead of the zippered version of the sweater, I have to refer to two different charts to knit the central motif, and the charts are on different pages. It’s confusing and tedious to have to go back and forth between the two charts, and it’s easy to make mistakes. Knitting this part of the sweater takes concentration. It isn’t television knitting, at least not if the television program actually requires the vision part. I guess I would describe knitting the central pattern as being okay for television listening, but not okay for television watching, if you get my drift. St. Moritz isn’t football knitting, and it sure as heck isn’t hockey knitting. It isn’t TCM (Turner Classic Movies) knitting, either.

Once I get past the central pattern, St. Moritz will become mindless knitting again. But getting the central pattern done is a big obstacle. And so, here sits St. Moritz, all forlorn, sadly watching me knit lace shawls, socks, hats, all manner of things, while she patiently awaits the knitting spirits to move me to tackle the remainder of that central pattern.

St. Moritz in project bag

St. Moritz in its project bag

Someday.

Bobble Bobble

When I was a very little girl, my dad asked me at Thanksgiving, “How does a turkey go?” My reply was, “Bobble bobble.” So it became a standard part of our Thanksgiving celebration that my dad would ask me how a turkey goes and I would answer, “Bobble, Bobble.” Last Thursday marked the 5th Thanksgiving that has passed since my dad died. I miss him very much. And my DH continues the tradition of asking me how a turkey goes.

This Thanksgiving was one of the best ever. The boy and his sock-worthy GF drove in from the Burgh on Wednesday and didn’t leave until Sunday, although they did go with the DH to Morgantown on Friday to watch the Mighty Mountaineers of WVU beat the Pitt Panthers in the Backyard Brawl. The GF is currently a grad student at Pitt, but she’s a WVU fan all the way, which is just one of the many reasons why I love her so much.

I didn’t go to the game. There was just too much football to watch on TV, and hockey, too. And you know what watching football and hockey on TV means. That’s right. KNITTING!

I have some progress to report. First, I finished the Froot Loop Socks. This is a great pattern that is a lot of fun to knit. It never gets boring; at least, I never got bored with it. YMMV. I did adjust the pattern to suit me and knitted it on 84 stitches with 2.5mm needles. When I was ready to start the toes, I decreased to 80 stitches by leaving out 4 of the increases in the close loop toe pattern. Then I worked a round toe. The yarn is Sparkle from Draygone Yarnes in the Prom Dress color way. Unfortunately for us sock knitters, Draygone Yarnes is on hiatus at the moment.

Froot Loop Socks

Froot Loop Socks

The pictures always make the socks look redder than they are. They are pink. Very, very pink.

I have been trying to finish up some WIP, but I’m an abject failure at this point. I just cannot motivate myself to start working on St. Moritz again or to restart the knitted-on edging of my Stonington Shawl. I managed to work a couple of rounds on St. Moritz before setting it aside. I guess I have to be in the proper mood to do stranded color work from complicated charts. For the St. Moritz, I have to work from two different charts, and it’s a royal pain in the you-know-what.  And I’m just not in the mood for knitting that’s complicated.

As for the Stonington, I have tried two different edging patterns so far, and I don’t like either of them. So I have been searching for just the right pattern. I don’t know whether I’ll find it. I’m not very enamored of the Stonington technique. My shawl is going to be really small, and because of the way the borders are knitted, I cannot enlarge it by simply continuing to knit the borders. I’m considering ripping the borders back and reknitting them in the round, but that might be a little too drastic. Besides, the yarn I’m using is very sticky and ripping out is an even bigger pain than the St. Moritz charts. I’m mulling over the idea of picking up stitches around the edge of the shawl and knitting a second border, then doing an edging. But to be honest, I’m just not feeling this yarn or this shawl. At this point, I’m perfectly happy to let it marinate in its project bag and hope it improves with age.

But I do have the lace shawl itch, and it’s an itch I just have to scratch. I haven’t made a lace shawl in a while (Stonington doesn’t count), so I decided to start one. In black. Much to my surprise, I’m not finding the black yarn difficult to work with, even at night. Having settled on a yarn, Knit Picks Gloss in lace weight, I had to find a pattern. After searching through dozens of shawl patterns, I decided to try the Magickal Earth Shawl from A Gathering of Lace. I planned to substitute a different pattern for the unicorn section. I’m not a big fan of unicorns. I charted out my substitute pattern and even bought beads for it. I got out the yarn and needle and went to work.

The Magickal Earth Shawl is a square shawl that is is knitted from the outside in, that is, you knit the edging first, then pick up stitches along the edging and knit the rest of the shawl towards the center, decreasing as you go along. I’ve never knitted a square shawl this way; I have always started in the center or with a center square. It’s fun to try new-to-me techniques; this technique is actually an old one that was and still is used by knitters of traditional Shetland shawls.

I started to work on the edging, but I was having a difficult time following the chart. Normally I prefer knitting lace from charts, but this chart was giving me fits for some reason. The edging consists of two separate patterns, one of which is repeated four time, the other three times, combined into one chart. And maybe that’s what was throwing me off. But I think the main problem is that the chart is in really small type, and I was too lazy to scan it and enlarge it. Instead, I got out Gladys Amedro’s book Shetland Lace

Shetland Lace by Gladys Amedro

Shetland Lace by Gladys Amedro

because I knew she used the same edging on one of the shawls in that book. No, I don’t have a super-great memory. Shetland Lace was one of the books I looked through when I was trying to decided on a lace shawl to start. The directions in Shetland Lace are written, not charted, but they are written in a type of knitter’s shorthand that is very similar to how I break down row repeats in lace patterns. I have found Amedro’s pattern much easier to follow than the chart in AGOL.

The Magikal Earth Shawl edging happens to be identical to Amedro’s Sheelagh Shawl. And the Sheelagh Shawl

Sheelagh Shawl

Sheelagh Shawl

is one that I have been wanting to knit for many years. So my Magickal Earth Shawl has morphed into Sheelagh.

I am close to having 3/4s of the edging done.

Sheelagh edging

It’s always surprising how long it takes to knit the edging of a shawl, whether it is the first part knitted or the last, but I have been progressing rapidly. Once the edging is done and I have picked up all the stitches, the rest of the shawl will go quickly because it will be getting smaller and smaller.

Sheelagh edging up close

Sheelagh edging up close

So far I am loving the Knit Picks Gloss lace weight yarn. I made a sweater in Gloss fingering weight a couple of years ago and liked working with it. The sweater still looks good although the yarn has fuzzed a little. The Gloss is not quite as nice as Zephyr, but it’s definitely one of the better yarns in Knit Picks’ arsenal. The pattern calls for cobweb yarn on 3.0mm needles. I’m using 3.0mm needles, but my yarn is lace weight. This size needle results in a solid-looking stocking stitch, which is what I prefer. If the pattern were garter-stitch, I would use a larger needle. But only a small part of the edging is garter stitch. The rest of the pattern is stocking stitch. The edging is very stretchy, so I think I will end up with a large shawl even though I’m using lace weight yarn instead of cobweb. When I get the edging finished, I will definitely do the happy dance, but knitting it is quite enjoyable.

There’s a lot more going on, both in knitting and in football and hockey, so stay tuned. 🙂

Not A Bed Of Roses

I am quite certain, dear reader, that you are well aware that life isn’t always a bed of roses. Even when life is sweet, there are always a few dark clouds around. Yeah, I know, I’m mixing my metaphors. So, sue me!

Anyway, right now life is pretty sweet. It’s autumn and that means football is in full swing and hockey is just around the corner. Yesterday was a pretty exciting day in the NFL. My beloved Buffalo Bills finally beat the Boston New England Patriots in a very exciting game. I think it was the Bills first victory over the Pats since 2003, and folks, these two teams are in the same division and play each other twice a year. Yikes! That’s a lot of losses to your arch rival, and to finally get a victory feels really, really, really nice. It actually makes up for the Mountaineers losing to LSU on Saturday night. And last night the Steelers managed to limp to a victory over the Colts. It wasn’t purdy, but a win’s a win. I’ll take ‘em any way I can get ‘em.

And then there is hockey. The season begins in earnest on October 6, but the preseason is in full swing. The Pens are 3-0 in preseason games and looking great. Evgeny “Geno” Malkin has recovered from his knee surgery and has never looked better. The Pens are so deep that they will have to send some mighty fine hockey players back to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. I just hope Eric “Big Dog” Tangadi isn’t among them. I really want to see him stay in the Burgh. I think we need his rather sizeable presence in front of the net. And the best news of all is that Sid Crosby is progressing very well in his recovery from last year’s season-ending concussion. He had some set-backs earlier, but now he’s not only skating with the team, he’s scrimmaging with them. Let’s hope that there are no more concussion symptoms and that he will soon be cleared for contact. Maybe he’ll even be back to playing before the end of the year. Wouldn’t that be grand?

Okay, here come the clouds. 🙂

If only my knitting were going as well as football and hockey. Sadly, it ain’t no bed of roses. I decided to finish up some WIP before starting anything new and now I’m committed. Or should I say that I should BE committed. LOL

Ages ago, I started one of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Adult Surprise Jacket. This is a grown-up sized version of EZ’s famous Baby Surprise Jacket (BSJ). I’ve never made a BSJ, and maybe I should have followed Meg Swansen’s advice–Meg is EZ’s daughter, for those of you who don’t travel in the wonderful world of knitters–and made a BSJ before starting the adult version. The  BSJ is an adorable baby sweater; the ASJ is anything but adorable. All that freaking garter stitch in worsted-weight wool?!?!? What’s the word I’m wracking my brain for?  Um, ugly. Yeah, that’s the word. Ugly.

I started working on the ASJ back on October 1 of 2009. Like a tattoo, at the time, it seemed like a good idea. And I will admit that there are things about the ASJ that are fun. The construction is really ingenious. But it get very boring very quickly. Very. Boring.

I had progressed this far

ASJ in progress

when I set it aside to knit socks. And there it sat, on top of my knitting basket. Looking forelorn. Making me feel guilty. Day after day. Week after week. Month after month. I just didn’t want to pick it up again. Did I mention it was boring? But I’d gotten this far, and I needed something mindless to work on while watching football and hockey. And endless rows of garter stitch is about as mindless as knitting can get.

Last night I finally got the button band started. It was my third or maybe fourth attempt at picking up stitches along the edge of the center front of the sweater. I kept ripping it out because it looked like sh#t. This most recent, and dare I say final, attempt looks better than all the rest, so I’m going to live with it. I have the buttonholes done and only a few more rows of mindless, boring garter stitch are left. Then it’s on to the sleeves. More mindless, boring garter stitch. Then comes the fun part–folding the messy-looking blob into a sweater and trimming it with I-cord. Oh, I cannot wait to knit yards and yards of I-cord. (That’s sarcasm, folks, in case you couldn’t tell.)

I’m bound and determined that I am going to finish my ASJ. And wear it, too, even if it is less than lovely to look at. Normally I have no qualms about ripping out a project that is not going well, even if it is nearing completion. But the ASJ is such a trainwreck that I just cannot take my eyes off it. If I don’t finish it, it will haunt me to the end of my days. So my plan is to finish it, then toss it into the corner of a closet and forget about it. 🙂

The ASJ isn’t my only knitting cloud. As you may recall from a past episode, I started a sock in the Froot Loop pattern using a lovely sparkle yarn from Draygone Yarnes in a colorway called Prom Dress. The knitting was going very well, and I had progressed to this point…

Froot Loop Sock #1 ripped

Froot Loop Sock #1 before I ripped it out

and I decided to try the sock on. Yikes! It was just a little too tight. Not so tight that I couldn’t pull the sock on and off, but just tight enough that the sock wasn’t comfortable. What’s a knitter to do? I can only speak for myself, but what I did was–you guessed it–rip it out and start over. On bigger needles–2.5mm instead of 2.25. What a world of difference a quarter of a millimeter can make.

Froot Loop Sock #1 Remake

The fabric is much nicer and the pattern looks even better. I think the sock will fit this time around, but I won’t know for sure until I have turned the heel and knitted a few rounds of the gusset decreases. Fortunately, I enjoy knitting this pattern, so it isn’t a big deal that I had gotten so far only to have to start over.

I have a few more unfinished projects waiting for my attention, most notably St. Moritz,

Dale of Norway St. Moritz in progress

so as soon as I finish ASJ, I’ll get to work on St. Moritz again. The big question is, can I restrain myself from starting Joan Schrouder’s lovely lace sweater in A Gathering of Lace when the yarn I ordered for it arrives?

I was thinking it would make a nice Winter Solstice present for a certain someone, but I doubt I will have enough time to finish it by then if I finish St. Moritz first. Oh, what the hell. St. Moritz has waited this long; what’s another three months?