What A Weekend Of Hockey…

…can do for one’s knitting.

Oh, what a wonderful weekend. It all started on Saturday, the first day of the shortened NHL season. My beloved Penguins opened in Philadelphia against the team I hate most, the F^%ers. During the game, I finished up the right Blue Yonder Mitt, worked on Super Soft Double Rib sock #1, and even knitted a little bit on the 3 x 2 ribbed socks I’m knitting for the DH in the most gorgeous colorway I’ve ever seen. I didn’t work on the DH’s socks very much during the game, though, because I was afraid I’d break the K-P Harmony needles. I decided it was better to work on projects that are on metal needles. The risk of impalement was lower than the risk of snapping a wooden needle.

The game was well played and clean, which is unusual for a game between the Penguins and the F^%ers. There were no bad hits, no fights. The Pens won 3 – 1, getting my weekend of hockey and knitting off to a flying start. I got to watch the Bruins, my second favorite team, beat the Rangers and, thanks to a free-for-the-rest-of-January Center Ice, I watched a bunch of other games, too, in whole or in part. Of course, I knitted almost the entire time, taking only short breaks to give my hands and fingers a rest.

Then came Sunday. Things started off early with the Buffalo Sabres opening at home against those hated F^%ers. That game was a double joy because the Sabes, one of the teams I like a lot, won and the F^%ers, the team I hate the most, lost. Have I mentioned that I hate the F^%ers?

I then watched some football, the NFC championship game between the 49ers and the Falcons. It was a whale of a game, going down to the last seconds. Then it was time for more Penguins hockey. The team had taken the train from Philadelphia to NYC to meet the Rangers in Madison Square Garden. The Rangers were coming off a loss to the Bruins on Saturday, so they were desperate for a win. But the Pens were more than they could handle. Pittsburgh 6, New York 3. More knitting was done.

At this point, I took pity on the DH and didn’t check out Center Ice to see if there were any late games I could watch. He likes hockey, but he’s more of a Pens fan than a hockey fan, and I think he had had his fill of hockey for one weekend, so we watched Downton Abbey, which had been recorded on the DVR. (When he reads this, he will say to me, You should have said something. I wouldn’t have minded if you had wanted to watch more hockey. Yeah, I know. He’s a keeper.)

So here’s a photo summary of my weekend knitting:

Blue Yonder right mitt joins its left sibling.

Blue Yonder right mitt joins its left sibling. This is a pretty good reproduction of the color of these mitts.

Super Soft Double Garter Rib Socks sock #1 with the gusset decreases centered on the sole. I hope I don't run out of yarn before I finish.

Super Soft Double Garter Rib Socks sock #1 with the gusset decreases centered on the sole. I hope I don’t run out of yarn before I finish.

Revisible Ribs Socks sock #2 on the right, and the lovely Schaefer Anne sock #1 on the left

Reversible Ribs Socks sock #2 on the right, and the lovely Schaefer Anne sock #1 on the left


The NHL and the NHLPA have ratified the new collective bargaining agreement, and the 48-game (shortened) regular season begins Saturday. I’m trembling in anticipation. I cannot wait to see Sid Crosby, Geno Malkin, James Neal, Kris Letang, Brooks Orpik, Chris Kunitz, Tyler Kennedy, Craig Adams, and all the other Penguins back on the ice.

The season opener is in Philly against the F%$ers, and it should be interesting. The teams have had very short training camps. But these days, hockey players spend the off season staying in shape and even improving their physical conditioning, and some of the players have been playing in other leagues, so it shouldn’t take long for everyone to get up to speed. To put the icing on the cake, Center Ice is free for the rest of the month, so there will be lots of games to watch.

Watching hockey means knitting, but the knitting has to be mindless because hockey is a very fast sport. You can easily miss something great in the blink of an eye. Of course, with today’s technology, you can just back up and watch it over. You don’t even have to wait for an instant replay. But I like to have mindless knitting in hand for hockey games, so I have been busy casting on more socks.

Not all socks are mindless knitting, but my favorite, go-to stitch patterns for socks are all pretty mindless, so socks are a good choice for knitting while watching sports on TV. Since the casting on, either cuff down or toe up, is one of the few parts of knitting a sock that requires some concentration and close attention, I like to cast on ahead of time. Having multiple socks OTN means that if I get to a place that requires my attention, like picking up gusset stitches, I can simply put the sock down and pick up another to work on. Then I can pick up the gusset stitches or whatever during the intermission if I want to continue working on that particular sock.

Anyway, here are the socks I have OTN just in time for the opening of the NHL season, and what better day to share them with you than WIP Wednesday!

The second Reversible Rib sock is well under way.

The second Revisible Rib sock wants to grow up to be just like her big sister.

The second Revisible Rib sock wants to grow up to be just like her big sister.

And I have started a sock with the softest sock yarn ever, Pagewood Farms Alyeska, which is 80% wool, 10 % Nylon, and, wait for it…10% cashmere. It’s just 2 x 2 ribbing right now, but I will be working the leg in double garter stitch, which is just two rounds of 2 x 2 and two rounds of plain knit, mindless knitting that does wonders with handpainted yarn.

Just a cuff at this point

Just a cuff at this point

And then there is this sock that is destined for the DH. The yarn is Shaeffer Anne in a lovely blue and green color way that I simply am incapable of capturing in a photograph. The blues are like sapphires, the greens like emeralds. Anne comes in a skein that weighs a hefty 4 oz/120g and contains a generous 560 yards, so it’s perfect for making a pair of man-sized socks. Even so, I’m not taking any chances of coming up short on the second sock. I’m knitting these socks toe-up.

A toe is born!

A toe is born!

The stitch pattern I’m using is stolen borrowed from Hedgerow Socks by Jane Cochran, but I’m thinking about ripping it out and switching to another pattern, maybe 3 x 2 ribbing, because I don’t think this yarn is showing the pattern very well and I don’t think the pattern does anything for the yarn. Hedgerow is a heavily textured pattern that shows best with a solid or semi-solid yarn, and I’m afraid the combination of dark colors and frequent color changes obscures the pattern and the pattern obscures the beauty of the yarn. Maybe I should save Hedgerow for another yarn. 😀

Last, but certainly not least…


What To Do?

What in the world does a knitter do with sixteen balls of bulky weight Merino yarn? That is the question I have been trying to answer for quite a while now.

I’m not a fan of bulky yarn. I am not in love with knitting bulky yarn, nor am I in love with the huge needles knitting with bulky yarn requires. Although bulky yarn usually looks good when knitted up, items knitted in bulky yarn are generally not wearable indoors because they are so darned warm. But bulky yarn is great for outerwear in very cold climates. I have a round-yoke sweater knitted from Reynolds Lopi, and in the winter I can just pull it on over a long-sleeved turtleneck and, with the addition of a hat and gloves, be quite comfortable walking in the cold, even if it is windy. But I wouldn’t last five minutes indoors before having to take the sweater off.

Given my general dislike of bulky yarn, how in the name of the knitting gods did I come to possess 16 balls of Karabella Aurora Bulky Merino?  It all began with a visit from Cousin Vickie. Vickie had been knitting for a while and wanted to do something more challenging than a scarf. So she went to her LYS and got hooked up with this yarn and  sweater pattern.

A very pretty sweater, but not practical for bulky yarn

A very pretty sweater, but not practical for bulky yarn


She got started on the sweater and brought the project along on her visit. I was horrified to see that her LYS had foisted this yarn and pattern on her. Oh, don’t get me wrong. The yarn is wonderful. It has 14 plies of the softest Merino one can imagine, and the yarn is the roundest yarn I have ever seen. The sweater is a lovely combination of a gigantic center cable and lace, with lovely set-in sleeves and a pretty neckline that flows from the center cable. It’s a beautiful design. Really, it is. But think about it. This sweater is definitely not meant to be outerwear. And although the yarn is  next-to-the-skin soft, the sweater would have to be worn over a camisole because of the holes in the lace pattern.

A bulky weight sweater over a camisole is not a match made in heaven for indoor wear. I knew that if Vickie completed this sweater, she would never be able to wear it, not even in the cold climes near Lake Erie where she lives. I seriously wondered what the LYS owner was thinking. But I didn’t say anything to Vickie. She loved the yarn, especially because it was in her favorite color, and she loved the look of the sweater, and who am I to burst her bubble anyway?

Fast forward a couple of weeks. Carpal tunnel syndrome. Need I say anything else? No more knitting for Vickie, so she packs up the yarn and pattern and sends them to me with instructions that I am to use the yarn for anything I wish and that I absolutely should not feel obligated to use it to knit something for her. So the yarn goes into my stash, and I start an on-again, off-again search for a pattern that is a good match for the yarn. I wanted to knit a cardigan for Vickie that she could easily put on and take off as the temperature dictated, but I was limited by the amount of yarn I had. I found several possibilities on Ravelry, and finally settled on this plain and simple, but nicely tailored Selvedge Cardigan.

A more practical design for bulky yarn

A more practical design for bulky yarn

The cardigan is knitted from the bottom up and starts with a yarn-over tubular cast-on. I’ve done tubular cast-ons before, but this is my first time to do the yarn-over version. You start with a provisional cast-on using waste yarn, cast on half the number of stitches you need for the cast on (plus one if you have an odd number), then with the working yarn, *K1, YO to the end, ending with K1. Then you proceed as you would for any other tubular cast-on. My first go round was not satisfactory. The bottom edge was sloppy and uneven. So I ripped it out and redid it on a smaller needle (10.5 instead of 11) with excellent results.

Beautiful edge of the tubular cast-on

Beautiful edge of the tubular cast-on

I’ve made good progress on the sweater,

Selvedge Cardigan progress

Selvedge Cardigan progress

but I feel like a beginning knitter. Look at how uneven the stitches are.

Messy uneven stitches

Messy uneven stitches

I sure hope that washing and blocking will help even them out.

I plan to have this sweater finished by the end of the month. With the start-up of the hockey season nearing–thank you, federal mediator, for forcing the two sides back into face-to-face negotiations–I’ll be doing a lot of knitting. LET’S GO PENS!!!!


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.


Bye Bye Jordie Pie

It’s that time of year. The Cup has been hoisted–congratulations to Anze Kopitar and the L A Kings for a job well done!–and the 2012 NHL draft is under way in beautiful Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It’s also the time of year that NHL general managers talk to each other about trades and start thinking about which available free agents to pursue.

My favorite team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, has a lot of very talented hockey players, including arguably the two best hockey players in the world, centers Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Crosby was well on his way to a record-breaking season in January of 2011 when he was sidelined with a concussion. His recovery has been long, but he returned to the team for the playoffs this spring and his future is bright.

Malkin, who was coming off knee surgery following the 2010-2011 season, had the best year of his career, winning the Art Ross trophy for most points during the regular season, the Hart trophy as the league’s MVP, and the Ted Lindsey Award for the most outstanding player in the regular season as judged by the players.

The Pens’ third center, Jordan Staal, is also an outstanding forward, a big, strong, dominating two-way center. (A two-way center is one who plays equally well offensively and defensively.)

Jordan Staal leaves the ice. Pens vs Sabres, 10-15-11

Jordan is the third of four brothers from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, who all play professional hockey. Older brother Marc is an all-star defenseman for the New York Rangers; older brother Eric is an all-star forward for the Carolina Hurricanes; and younger brother Jared plays in the AHL and is under contract with the Carolina Hurricanes. This is one talented hockey family, folks!

On another team, one without Sid Crosby or Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal would probably be a second-line or even a first-line center. The Penguins recognize Staal’s talent and appreciate and value the hard play and leadership Jordan brings to the team. So Penguins GM Ray Shero tried his best to sign Jordan to a contract extension. He offered a long-term deal that was generous by any standard. It was an offer that screamed, We think you are a great player and we want you on our team for a long time to come! But Staal turned it down and then made it be known publicly that he wanted to play for the Carolina Hurricanes.

I cannot blame Jordan for wanting to play with his brothers, but unfortunately, he put Shero in a very tough spot. The Pens could keep Jordan for another season, then lose him to free agency and get nothing for him, or they could try to work a trade. But what team is going to trade for a player who has publicly declared that he plans to sign with the Hurricanes when he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, 2013?

Lucky for the Penguins, Ray Shero is a genius, and when the 8th pick in the NFL draft came up, a trade was announced. The Penguins had traded Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes for the 8th pick in the draft and two players, one of whom is another outstanding two-way center, Brandon Sutter.

It’s a great deal for both teams, and I hope Jordan, who got married yesterday, is happy there. I will miss him, but such is the life of a hockey fan. Players come and players go. You just have to deal with it.

And speaking of players going, the Pens traded one of their defensemen, Zbynek Michalek, back to the Phoenix Coyotes.

Zee defends the net against the Sabres, 10-15-11

Zee is one of my favorites and a very good D-man, but he just didn’t quite fit in with the Pens’ system of play. I will miss him, also, but I think he will be better served playing for the Coyotes who play a style of defense that is better suited to his talents. I must add here that Zee has the most incredible eyelashes I have ever seen on a man. They are so long and thick that they cast a shadow. Bye bye, Zee! I wish you the best.

Who knows what the next few weeks hold in store. There’s at least one more D-man that could be traded, and with the exit of Staal and Michalek, a large chunk of salary cap becomes available, so maybe the Pens can make a big splash in the free agent market. And the Pens have a few current players still to be signed for next season. Will Sully and Double A be back? Will Big Dog stay with the Penguins organization? Will a certain New Jersey Devil wear black and gold next season? The speculation is endless. 🙂

The Spider Queen Part 2

Last night I watched the Devils demoralize the Rangers in the third round of the Stanley Cup playoffs by scoring a goal late in the 3rd period to win 4-3. The Devils had jumped out to a 3-0 lead, scoring 3 goals in the first period, but the Rangers came back in the second period with 2 goals and tied the game early in the 3rd period. But the Rangers are not a high-scoring hockey team and rarely score more than 3 goals in a game. And, sure enough, in front of their home fans, they were unable to score a 4th goal.

For those of you who aren’t hockey fans–Why isn’t everyone a hockey fan? It’s the most elegant sport in the world, and, folks, the players are wearing ice skates! Come on!–the Rangers are based in NYC and play in MSG (Madison Square Garden), the most famous sports venue in the world, and the Devils are based in Newark, NJ. Both teams have won The Cup before–the Rangers are one of the original six NHL teams–and they both play in the same division (along with my beloved Pittsburgh Penguins, so I hate both teams). Both teams have players I like as well as players I don’t like, but I find that I am cheering for the Devils. I’m shocked by this. The Devils are notorious for playing the most boring hockey in all the world. They try to score the first goal, then put everyone, including the opposing players, to sleep with the trap. Ugh! But the Devils have a new coach, Peter DeBoer, and he has totally changed the Devils style of play. They are more physical and more offensively minded. Dare I say it? The Devils are actually playing offense!

But that’s not why I find myself cheering for a hated rival of the Pens. No, I’m not cheering for the Devils because they are playing a more exciting brand of hockey; I’m cheering for them because I love their goaltender, 40-year-old Martin Brodeur. It’s hard not to like Brodeur. Although he’s an old guy (for a professional hockey player), he is still one of the best net-minders in the NHL. I just can’t help but pull for him and his team.

The series now stands at Devils 3 games, Rangers 2 games, with game 6 to be played in Newark on Friday. Can the Devils win the Eastern Division championship and the coveted Prince of Wales Cup at home? Stay tuned.

Of course, during last night’s game, which was, by the way, quite exciting, I worked on The Spider Queen. She’s coming along at a rapid pace.

Spider Queen

The Spider Queen progress 5-23-12

The J & S cobweb yarn is wound on a large cardboard core, and unwinding the yarn is a bit of a PITA. I decided that a Lazy Kate would make the unwinding easier,

A Lazy Kate

but I don’t have a Lazy Kate. So I improvised. I stuck a knitting needle through one side of a box, put the needle through the “spool” of yarn,” and stuck the knitting needle through the other side of the box. Voilà!  A Lazy Kate!

My improvised Lazy Kate


The Spider Queen Part 1

Many years ago, I bought a kit for Hazel Carter’s The Cat’s Day Shawl from Blackberry Ridge.  Like many of Carter’s designs, this shawl tells a story, the story of the a day in the life of a Shetland cat. The lace patterns used in the shawl all represent elements of the story. A Cat’s Day was the first Shetland-type shawl I ever made, and much to my surprise, it was not at all difficult.

The Cat’s Day Shawl

The yarn is a nice heavy-laceweight wool-silk blend that feels good against the skin and that wears very nicely. I’ve used the shawl a lot, mostly as a coverlet. It is lightweight and  perfect to use when napping in air conditioning or for layering with other covers when it is cold.

I love this shawl so much that I bought several other Hazel Carter kits from Blackberry Ridge, including The Spider Queen Shawl, which I think is dramatic-looking.

The Spider Queen Shawl by Hazel Carter

The Spider Queen kit includes Blackberry Ridge’s Thistledown yarn, a cobweb-weight single. The kit marinated in my stash for a long time because I thought it would be difficult to knit. You see, the lace patterns used for the shawl are the type that have pattern stitches every row. A lot of lace patterns alternate a pattern row with a row that is plain knit (or purl), and I have little difficulty with this type of lace knitting. But the few times I have attempted patterns that include pattern stitches on every row, I have given up in despair. My Melanie Shawl has sat untouched for years because I found the going incredibly slow due to the difficulty I had getting the pattern correct. So I guess it’s understandable that it has taken me a long time to work up the courage to tackle The Spider Queen.

But the lace patterns aren’t the only difficulty I had with starting The Spider Queen. Another reason I avoided The Spider Queen was because the borders are knitted individually, then sewn up. The seams look awful in the picture on the pattern, and I know that mine would probably look much, much worse, being that I really hate sewing up knitted pieces. I have to come up with a way to knit the borders without having those ugly, ugly, ugly seams.

But in spite of these obstacles, I had an overwhelming desire to knit The Spider Queen, so I took the plunge. The kit includes Blackberry Ridge’s Thistledown yarn, a cobweb-weight single. I cast on in Thistledown and started knitting away. I got this far before I stopped.

Thistledown is a yarn with great variation in its thickness (or thinness, depending on how you look at it), and I was not pleased with how the thick sections looked.

The Spider Queen in Thistledown. The fuzzy thick sections of the yarn ruin the appearance of the pattern.

There was no way I was going to put so much work into this shawl using this yarn. I wasn’t about to end up with bunch of fuzzy places ruining the ethereal appearance of my shawl. So I decided to order some Jamieson & Smith cobweb in natural and start over. The Thistledown will be used for some other project somewhere down the road.

When the J & S arrived, I realized it was even finer than the Thistledown, so when I cast on The Spider Queen for the second time, I went down a needle size. The J & S cobweb is also a single that has variation in its thickness, but the variation is considerably less than the Thistledown. In comparison to Thistledown, the J & S is nearly uniform in thickness, and it knits up beautifully without the difference in thickness being noticeable.

The Spider Queen in Jamieson & Smith’s cobweb. No fuzzy thick spots.

I’ve knitted one-and-a-half repeats of the center pattern so far, and I’m amazed at how quickly it has gone. Even though nearly every row includes pattern stitches, the pattern is easy to follow and the knitting is easy to read. I’ve had no difficulty whatsoever.

The Spider Queen 1.5 repeats of center

The Spider Queen dry stretched.

I have even been working on this shawl while watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It’s my lucky knitting, bringing good fortune to the Los Angeles Kings, who beat the Phoenix Coyotes last night to win the Western Conference championship, the Campbell Cup, and the right to face the Eastern Conference champion (either the Devils or the Rangers) in the Stanley Cup finals. Go, Kings!

No More Tears?

After bitching to high heaven last week about how boring scarves are to knit, and how bored I was with the Blue Teardrops Scarf, the knitting deities restored my beaded lace scarf mojo, and I have been knitting away most happily on Blue Teardrops while watching the Stanley Cup playoffs. I have made so much progress on the scarf that I have only one repeat left to do before doing the happy dance.

Blue Teardrops Scarf

Blue Teardrops Scarf nearing completion


I have to add that  I did the happy dance when the New Jersey Devils, having opened a big can of whoop-ass following their loss to the F%^ers in the first game of round 2, won 4 straight games to knock the detestable and detested F%^ers out of the hunt for The Cup. Oh, and they did it in Philly, which was the icing on the cake. Bye-bye, F%^ers! Don’t let the door knob…

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


A Finished Object

Last time, I talked about knitting acronyms and elaborated on some of my UFOs (UnFinished Objects). But today, I’m going to do the happy dance and share an FO (Finished Object) with you. I’m not certain whether this really qualifies as a finished object because it is just a single sock, and I have another one to complete before the project is finished. But, hey, a finished sock deserves a happy dance, so I’m counting it as an FO.

I’m making this pair of socks for my DH, and knitting socks for the DH requires some extra planning. First off, I have to make sure I have enough yarn. A 100-gram ball of sock yarn is sufficient to knit a pair of socks for my 10-inch-long puppies with a little to spare. I can count on 50 grams of yarn per foot to be more than enough to complete a pair of socks for me. But when I knit socks for the DH, I need at least 55 grams per foot because I have to cast on more stitches, knit a longer cuff, knit a bigger heel, and knit a longer foot. This means that I cannot knit a pair of socks for my better half from my stash on a whim. I have to purchase yarn specifically for him. Oh, darn! I have to purchase yarn! 😀

The current man-sock project, a pair of garter rib socks in a lovely Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in the Kindling colorway, is a little more than half-way finished. Sock #1 was finally completed last night, but not without a battle. The first time I finished the sock, I had the DH try it on before finishing off the toe, just to make sure it would fit. Alas, the sock was about an inch too long. No big deal, really. Just rip back and reknit the toe. Toes don’t take long to knit. I can easily complete a toe during a hockey game.

So, I ripped out the toe and ripped the foot of the sock back about an inch. The next night I reknit the toe while watching hockey. Being a cautious knitter, having learned some lessons the hard way, I once again had the DH try on the sock before finishing it off. I was certain it would be a perfect fit. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The darned thing was still too long. So, once again, I ripped out the toe, ripped back some more of the foot, and set the sock aside for the next night’s hockey viewing.

So, last night, while I watched the New Jersey Devils deliciously destroy the hated Philadelphia F%^ers in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, I once again knitted the toe. And once again I had the DH try the sock on before finishing it off. Happy, happy! Joy, joy! to quote Ren and Stimpy. Like Cinderella and the glass slipper after the ball, the sock fit! I gathered up the live stitches, fastened them off, wove in the ends, and voilà!

Garter Rib Sock #1 finished

Take that, sock! You think you can defeat Pinko Knitter? Why, projects far more difficult than you have tried to get the better of me and cried “Uncle!” in defeat. There’s no project the great Pinko Knitter can’t handle. Except EZ’s Adult Surprise Jacket. But that’s a battle that isn’t worth fighting.

I’m happy with the way this colorway knitted up. Although there is a little spiraling when worked over 80 stitches, it isn’t unattractive. And the yarn is very soft and cushy. The important thing is that the DH loves it, so sock #2 is already OTN (On The Needles).