monster vs. monster

winter knitting
January 27, 2010, 5:39 pm
Filed under: knitting | Tags: , , , , , ,

Well, it’s the first day of the semester, which means no more shamelessly knitting for hours watching Sabrina the Teenage Witch (every episode is available here on YouTube, by the way, and I’m hoping that by conveying that knowledge to your brain I will remove it from my own). Winter break was no picnic for me but I did get a ton of knitting in. Since, sadly, the knitting marathons are now over and the reading marathons are soon to begin, I thought I’d do a little roundup post.

I’ve been working on a Barn Raising Quilt from Knitalong since – wait for it – September 2007. I was trucking along at the astonishing rate of three or four squares per year until this winter inexplicably sent me into a blanket-making frenzy. Maybe the sock yarn stash perpetually by my bedside started whispering to me in the middle of the night, maybe I just needed a mindless counterpart to final exams. Either way, I now have sixteen squares. Whoa. I love how colorful it’s turning out, and I can’t help but dream of all the sections I want to add – a strip of reds and golds, a strip of greens, maybe a strip of greys and browns (I’m not opposed to using both, though I’m sure every sensible designer in the world is screaming at me “No, no!”). I’ve got koigu, I’ve got cashmere, I’ve got BMFA and VFKW and bamboo cotton blends, and I’ve got only 26 squares to go.

What I don’t have, though, are any more sock scraps. I’ve got enough to make two more squares, and then I’m out. I promised myself I wouldn’t buy any yarn specifically for this blanket (that seemed like a dangerous door to open) and I’ve developed a distaste for repeating colors. So I’ve hit another wall with this blanket, and my fear is that now I’ll only ever choose sock or shawl yarn based on how well it meshes with a quilt that, realistically, probably won’t be done for another three years. Unless I magically stumble upon a hidden Providence sock yarn scrap stash…dare to dream.

I thought I’d be gifting myself  few more leftovers when somewhere around, oh, two weeks before Christmas I decided to knit three pairs of gift socks. I spent the holiday with some awesome parents who have been very kind to me despite my not being their child, and I couldn’t resist knitting them some matching his and hers cashmerino house socks. I used my own pattern (which someday I will write down, maybe) and since I have no qualms about wrapping still-damp garments, I got three out of four finished by the big day. BW got some manly socks, and I use “got” loosely, since I had to bring them back home with me to finish the toes. So he’ll get his in a few days. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.

Thanks to a hefty holiday gift certificate to the cave of wonder and delight that is Article Pract, the first few weeks of January saw a glorious amount of selfish knitting. I’d been itching to make another shawl ever since I put on my soft, luminous Laminaria in September and didn’t take it off for six weeks. I figured if I could make a large, shiny pile of pastel work with every outfit for a month and a half, an understated solid-color something would basically be wardrobe gold. And I guess I was right, but this project went so, so wrong. Ysolda’s Ishbel is a lovely pattern and there are some seriously gorgeous finished projects on Ravelry, and I couldn’t wait to get mine all knitted up to revel in the beauty and the luster and the general awesomeness. But, final product, not so much. The Cascade Heritage I used for this shawl turned out to be stiff and itchy, with the color falling flat and the lace springing out of shape as soon as the pins came out. It’s too small to be anything but a neckerchief, and not warm enough to do anything round my neck that comes close to making up for its weird scratchy texture. Shawl fail. I might try again with this shawl pattern someday…maybe larger, and in a color that works with my quilt…

I do, however, have a knitting success that wildly outweighs my Ishbel disaster. I finally knitted my own owls sweater! I got incredibly sick in California, which was amazing, since it gave me an excuse to watch cooking shows and infomercials and knit mindless stockinette ALL DAY LONG for, um, two weeks. I finished this sweater in five days! The pattern recommends that you bind off with a bigger needle than you knit with, but I ended up going down six needle sizes to get a crewneck-type neckline that didn’t fall off my shoulders. I haven’t gotten a chance to take pictures that do this sweater any sort of justice, but once I do, ravelry will be seriously photobombed.

I’m not good at following through on resolutions, but I do have a sort of goal for my crafting life: to knit less. It’s painful to say, but knitting slows my reading pace, gives me an excuse to watch awful television, and often keeps me awake long after the conscious part of my brain has given up. So this semester, I shall limit knitting time to the Monday night craft group and two Netflixes a week. Which is still probably way more time than I should be giving to a sedentary hobby, but hey, baby steps.