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You Have Been Forewarned: 7 Important Knitting Lessons I Just Ignored 

Don’t tell me later that you didn’t have fair warning that I would be complaining about this lace pullover for the next decade. Because that’s exactly how long it will probably take me to knit the darn thing–A DECADE.

In fact, let’s just take bets now. Leave a comment with the month and year you predict I will finish this new project. If you’re right, I will send you something cool.

There are so many lessons here that I don’t know where to start.

Lesson 1: Ignoring all the times you have previously suffered the same lapse in judgement.

Lesson 2: Failing to realize you could switch to fingering and perhaps knit a size smaller until AFTER you hastily placed your yarn order.

Lesson 3: Not stopping to think NO FREAKING WAY when your friend suggested you pick a pattern that required nearly 1600 yards of lace weight yarn for your third knitalong. Even if the pullover was cute and had a neckline you’ve always been fond of.

Lesson 4: Again being swayed by the cost-benefit ratio of working with lace. Surely there’s a statistic that correlates broke knitters with a higher likelihood of working with lace. You definitely can entertain (aggravate?) yourself much longer for less money with a lace weight project.

Lesson 5: Not stopping before you’re in too deep. As in, it took you two hours to knit a TINY swatch and you still kept going. Then it took you another two hours to cast on and STILL you crept closer to the edge of the cliff.

Lesson 6: Pretty yarn isn’t enough to justify mitigating circumstances, even if it’s the same color as the wine you will require in abundance to survive this project. With a bit of silk. They do make thicker yarn in the same color, also with silk. Think bigger, knitters. Think bigger.

Lesson 7: Working with 1600 yards of lace negates the beneficial, relaxing qualities otherwise provided by knitting in the first place. Stress reduction? What’s that?

I will stop there. While I am ahead. Because there are so many other aspects of my life in which I am presently behind. Perhaps it will all even out.

Oh, and the name of the pullover I just may finish before Reed graduates from high school (he’s almost five) is Pivot. And get this: it’s seamed.

P.S. If you miss me between posts, keep your eye out for my quips of wisdom on Instagram and Facebook!

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Dispatch: River Knitting

Rivers are my thing. Well, weather dependent, rivers are my thing.

While professionally, I work to restore rivers (you didn’t  think I just blogged and knit for a living, did you?), come summer, I lounge beside them.

I have a system for my river days. It goes like this: unpack cooler (with a cocktail, if feasible, and yummy treats), position shade tent just so, spread out my beach towel on chaise recliner, set Reed up with his various beach toys and buddies, slather on copious quantities of sunscreen, and unpack the knitting.

It’s my weekend routine.I’ve worked on all kinds of projects this summer, but my socks have seen a lot of the action and have now traveled to no less than five different rivers over the past couple of months. They travel well, and I can hold a conversation or keep my eyes on Reed without screwing them up.

When I get too hot, I can easily set the sock down and jump in the river.

Splish splash.

And if the sock gets a bit drippy on the return (it always does), well, it’s not the end of the world.I’ve brought other projects along too: my worsted weight sweater and a shawl or two. I’m not too discerning, although my white shawl is staying home for all eternity.

I usually think I will fit in WAY more knitting then I ever get to, especially if I am sans Reed. But, in reality, it never amounts to more than a few hours per trip. Not nearly enough.

In typical fashion, I will envision finishing a sweater, two shawls, and a sock in a single day, only to come home with two inches of stockinette on a sock.

When will I ever learn?Of course my new skill this summer has been floaty knitting, which I truly cannot recommend highly enough. It’s gotta be right up there with living in an apartment directly upstairs from a superb yarn store (with great big windows for fantastic light).

I’ve figured out how to anchor the little hole by my feet on a rock so I float in place and don’t drift away, only to end up in Fiji or somewhere. It’s delightful.River season is really in it’s prime now. The water is a bit lower and warmer. Better for swimming. There are so many relativily pristine rivers close to us. We are truly lucky in this regard, and it’s one of the main reasons I have chosen to live where I do. Making a routine of weekend river knitting has also helped me cope with the summer coastal fog and cooler temperatures in my new home.

I have my spots, but I always have my ears open for new oases. (I like that the plural of oasis is oases.)

My mission this summer is to see how many water bodies I can take the floaty out on before it pops. So far, I am up to three.Where’s your most decadent place to knit?

P.S. If you miss me between posts, keep your eye out for my quips of wisdom on Instagram and Facebook!

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June Knits: Possibly a Record Setter

Alternative title #1: How a Knit-Monogamist Becomes a Wee Bit Not-At-All Knit-Monogamist

Alternative title #2: Apparently My Life Lacks Focus

Alternative title #3: If I Had More Time to Knit, I Would Finish Some of These

  1. Knitter (that’s me) vaguely recollects the time when she knit one project at a time and had never even considered doing otherwise.
  2. Then knitter got inspired by other knitters who seemingly start all kinds of projects and cast them aside (sometimes for years!) as if it were no big deal. Knitter has always been weak when it comes to peer pressure.
  3. Thus knitter finds herself with one Purl Soho Garter Earflap baby hat (brown/green, just needs the decreases at the top…baby due yesterday), one reworked Twist Shawl design (magenta), one Lesley-in-progress for the office knitalong (seashell pink), a second shawl design in the works, likely to be frogged and then frogged some more (white), and a sock (orange), which is actually said knitter’s weight loss strategy.
  4. The weight loss strategy isn’t working, in case you were curious. Apparently walking while knitting  a sock burns calories at a degree insufficient to balance consumption of wine and brownies (and butter, Havarti, and chunks of fresh baguettes). A great tragedy indeed.
  5. Knitter honestly asked herself in a moment of reflection if she has the record five WIPs soley to better balance colors through her Instagram feed. Knitter decided this is not her motivation, although it does help provide visual balance. Lest anyone tire of seeing the same WIP on Instragram on consecutive days.
  6. Knitter notes she has just has to cast off the magenta shawl, hypothetically tonight, in which case she will be down to four WIPs. Progress.
  7. Knitter further notes that she is likely to loose a horrible scenario of Yarn Chicken on the above referenced magenta shawl’s cast off and will thus likely have to rip back three night’s worth of knitting to fix. In which case, there would be only un-progress and five WIPs would remain. Also, tears and cursing likely to result.
  8. Knitter is struggling to prioritize respective knits. Rationally, she thinks she should work on the baby hat because it is almost done and the mother is likely in labor RIGHT NOW. But, do babies really need hats in June when it’s 100 degrees (37.8 C)? Exactly. No rush after all. Let’s be real here.
  9.  Knitter maintains a sock shouldn’t actually count as  WIP anyway, as all knitters NEED sock projects at all times for background knitting (doctor’s offices, road construction, and other unplanned scenarios that require endless waiting). Socks are better defined as anxiety/anger management than an actual knitting project. Let’s be clear about definitions.
  10. Knitter would have even more WIPs but needs to first go by more yarn. She is almost out. (Try not to faint).

P.S. Did you see last week’s shawl release, Blast Off to the Sun?

P.P.S. Knitter is looking for test knitters. Email andrea@thisknittedlife.com if interested. Worsted. Due mid-August.

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Hatching Plans-The Key to Every Knitter’s True Success

The Birthday Sale is live through the end of the weekend. In case you missed it, the details are here! 38% off with the code  Birthday38.


I will say this: lists are everywhere. I have lists. Reed has lists (slightly less legible).

We are plotting. And planning.

Some items are simple. Take a shower. Brush teeth. Watch a cartoon. (That one’s on Reed’s list, anyway).

Others are more complicated. Go here. Do this. Make that happen.

Even the lists have lists.

It’s overwhelming and thrilling all at the same time.

I want so desperately for everything to happen all at once, but I am wise enough to know that is not how the world works. Things take time. Perseverance. Hard work. And eventually the pieces fall into place.

I am reminding myself to be forgiving. Patient. Slightly more organized.

In the end, the hours in each day don’t change. No matter what, there’s only 24. (Someone really oughta get on that problem.) I can only knit as fast as I can knit, and of course I secretly wish I had an army of knitters (and gardeners and window washers) at my disposal to speed things up a bit. Or more hands. (At least a self-driving car…)

My post-Reed bedtime plans are always ambitious, and I’ve honestly vacillated between feeling like I need to work into the wee hours…to make progress and generally catch up…and to just sit and knit and simply BE.

Now, I know you KNOW me by now and of course already have guessed which path I’ve chosen. Especially given I’m working with this AMAZING!!!! silk/merino blend from Beloved Yarn in the sunniest of colors. There’s just no other option.

(If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably been noticing my feed’s been extra cheery and yellow lately.)

Thus, the list waits. (Except for the item related to finishing the bright, sunny shawl…good progress there!).

And, as always, I knit on.

I so hope to finish the shawl this weekend, although I don’t want to jinx myself. We all know a poorly-time frogging can unravel (pun intended) even the best hatched plans. Some problems even ambition can’t fix. That’s the beauty and plague of knitting all at once: you can only work one stitch at a time.

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You Weren’t Expecting This, Were You!

Yep. It’s a tee.

After knitting four cowls this year (and a pair of socks), I got sick of going ’round and ’round and knitting the same old thing.

I was bored.

And apparently off my rocker one night when I went diving into my stash (which isn’t much of a dive because it isn’t much of a stash…) and found two skeins of Swans Island fingering that I snagged last April during my annual birthday yarn acquisition extravaganza.

Here’s how I feel about yarn: once it’s been hanging out in my closet for a year, I get anxious. I need to use it. It becomes an inexplicable compulsion.

And that’s how I ended up (finally!) casting on Riverton, even though I am still going ’round and ’round with hardly a decrease or increase in sight. At least the yarn is a different color.

I’ve used Swans Island before (when I knit up Tulipland), and I’m a big fan. You get a lot of yarn in a skein at a fair price. It’s soft, and the color palette is right up my alley. Here’s the thing I did learn about this stuff: it grows when you block it. Like, really grows (as in the way my tummy grows after I eat too many brownies).

It’s astonishing. 

Yes, I blocked my swatch to attempt to account for said growth. 

I’ve done all the math.

It should work out.

Because I hate it when I select the wrong size to knit!

Still, I know there’s trouble in my future. Swatches lie. Nothing is ever easy like it should be. And my tee so far looks suspiciously large (even though I have had my gauge independently reviewed by a qualified expert in the field).

Also: I have this sinking feeling I am going to run out of yarn.

I’ve done it again: gone and replaced my boredom with stress.

Figures. 

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For My Birthday Boy

Dear Reed,

We’re fresh off your birthday weekend. I have to admit I cried a few tears on the morning of your fourth birthday, so amazed at what a Big Boy you’ve so quickly become and a bit saddened to realize there’s only 14 more of these big birthdays before you embark into the world. (I later cried even harder when our friend Betsy noted actually there’s only 12 more because once you’re 16, it’s over.) It seems just yesterday, you were turning three!

You were so excited for your birthday to arrive, likely in anticipation of the insanely large pile of gifts you amassed. I have concluded the addiction to capitalist consumer culture starts early. They really hook ya when you’re young.

For the past few weeks, you have asked each morning: Is my birthday THIS day?  To which we replied: No, but soon!

Just like we promised, you’re birthday did indeed arrive. Eventually. You spent the afternoon bouncing and running and giggling with your favorite buddies, balloons tossed here and there. Pizza foregone. Cake and ice cream consumed in its stead. A plain ol’ good time.

Even though you seem suddenly so old, officially graduated from those toddler years, I am still struck, with a bursting heart, that you are still such a young child. You’ve been gentling placing your favorite stuffies in your new scooter basket, one by one, and giving them rides around the house. So precious. And you have not been to remiss to notice that I have yet to knit more sweaters for your beloved Lion.

Most importantly, you still love to snuggle and are just as sweet (and naughty) as you were when you were three. Thank goodness.

I had hoped to finish this sweater of yours (from the Knittin’ Little collection) by your actual birthday.

Sorry.

Plan B is now to finish by Christmas. So I’ve got a couple weeks to wrap up a shoulder, two sleeves, and a sewn-in shawl collar (why do these patterns always save the tricky bits for last?!?!).

Plan C will be to finish by the final night of Hanukkah, so I’ve got an extra week should I really need it. I’m prepared.

And, worst case, we can start a new tradition. Screw an annual Christmas sweater. How about a New Year’s Sweater instead.

Reed, I am wishing the very, very best of you for this upcoming year. May you play, learn, and grow like any child should–freely and surrounded by love, as I know you are. I wish for you many adventures in nature, fishing in your favorite spots and new ones, hunting for secret pirate treasure in the yard, and camping in the most beautiful of places. I promise to take you to the beach so you can fling sand (try not to fling it AT me, please) and the river so we can swim and delight in the sun once these dratted winter months finally pass.

I promise to read you stories at your beckon call and will try my hardest to be more patient and less snappy. (Mom could use a little vacation…)

May you also become more fond of washing your face and hands and generally breaking that habitat of wiping messes on your clothes (when you choose to wear them) instead of a napkin or towel.

Dirty or clean, I will love you always.

And I will try to knit more sweaters (and scarves) for Lion. Soon.

I love you, Reed.

Happy birthday.

Love,

Your Mama

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Sheltered Poncho In-Progress

I feel like I’ve been working on this poncho (Sheltered by Andrea Mowry) for a long time.

This is probably because I HAVE been working on this poncho for a long time. I’ve been knitting my long-coveted poncho (with Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter) almost exclusively for nearly two months. All my design work has been set aside as I treat myself to a (substantial) knitting vacation*.

It’s been marvelous although perhaps nonstrategic on my part.

Although eight skeins in, I’m excited to move on to my next project (Knitting Vacation, Part 2) and starting to wonder just what I will do if this (magnificent) thing doesn’t fit. There’s nothing like knitting up more than 1,000 yards/meters of exquisite (expensive) yarn only to discover you really screwed up and selected the wrong size.

Because I’ve never done that before…

I can already tell this finish poncho is going to be SUBSTANTIAL and am slightly concerned I may feel like I am wearing the fleece of an entire sheep when I eventually put this thing on.

I guess that’s why they call a poncho a poncho.

The pattern itself is fabulous, although I’ve been humbled by it. After knitting for nearly two decades, it’s forced me to realize I don’t know how to knit.

At least I don’t know how to twist stitches.

I won’t drag you down with the technical details except to say I’ve swatched and swatched and swatched and just can’t figure it out. I can quickly twist stitches no problem when knitting in the round, but, For the Life of Me, I CANNOT efficiently twist stitches when knitting back and forth.

I can knit stitches that twist to the right one row but twist to the left the next row.

And I can knit stitches that twist every other row.

I can also knit stitches that simply do not twist.

I CANNOT knit stitches that just twist every row in the same direction all the time without first picking up the stitch, flipping it over to twist it, and then knitting the darn thing. Takes forever. Sadly I have had this problem before, and it has taken me a long time to even begin to understand what in the hek is going on.

I think, but am not positive, this is because I might be a Combination Knitter.

That’s right. I don’t even know if I am or if I am not a Combination Knitter.

But I suspect I am.

This is when I wish I had a lifelong technical knitting expert super-geek living next door that can help me with this stuff. Knitting alone in the middle of nowhere with only the company of YouTube has it’s drawbacks. Nothing can replace the company of other knitters and the ol’ fashioned knitting guild. Nothing.

YouTube doesn’t really give you much when you search for why is my knitting screwed up, am I or aren’t I a combination knitter, and how to twist stitches with combination knitting (even if maybe you are not a combination knitter?*!?!???).

Trust me, I’ve tried.

How can something so easy and straightforward be so…well, difficult?

Nevertheless, I have plodded on, albeit slowly (I’d probably be long done by now if I were just working in speedy stockinette). I’ve enjoyed the slowness of it all, taking my time. Not rushing. Very unlike me but pleasant all the same.

I hope to finish the front today. The back is already done. Then there’s some seaming and cowl/hood, which I hope is knit in straight stockinette and not twisted stockinette.

Time to go read my pattern and check. Gulp.

*I believe it’s essential to knit patterns designed by others to continually learn new skills and approaches to knitting and generally broaden one’s knitterly horizons. And, to remain humble and grateful for the talent and artistry of others.

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True or False

An easy-folded style poncho in the works. Malabrigo Worsted in Polar Moon.

True or False: I currently have two grey ponchos on my needles.

(True.)

True or False: On top of the grey Stoneland Poncho I already knit this year.

(Also true.)

True or False: I have had this little issue of knitting entirely in grey before.

(True, too.)

True of False: This is because grey is a lovely neutral, I love wearing grey, and it photographs well. Whereas black, which I also love to wear, doesn’t photograph well and isn’t quite as satisfying to knit with.

(True).

True or False: I am not concerned with having three (new) grey ponchos.

(Outwardly, true. Inwardly, a little concerned. But I don’t want to talk about it.)

True of False: I feel like my knitting time has been unusually limited of late, and it’s making me grouchy.

(Very true.)

True or False: And my house is still a mess!

(True again.)

True or False: This particular poncho uses a similar stitch pattern as my Twist Shawl and Twist Cowl, two of my all time favorites. Now there will be a Twist Poncho.

(True. Because after spending five zillion hours flipping through stitch dictionaries, sometimes I just have to go with what you know and love. Especially if it has been a couple years since you last knit the ol’ Twist.)

True or False: The twists will flatten a bit with blocking.

(True. Boring question. But significant.)

True or False: That’s Malabrigo Worsted in Polar Moon. 200 yards (183 m) for $12 USD. What a steal for a super soft, squishy yarn.

(Very true on all counts.)

True or False: I am joining the Yarn Along this week.

(True! Ever and always.)

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Why Tire Stores Should Offer Wine

Mistakes that can occur while knitting short rows.

  1. Plan to go jogging during lunch break.
  2. Decided instead to go jogging after work while getting tires rotated. Both activities are long overdue.
  3. Further decide: screw that. Why jog when you can knit while waiting for tires to get rotated? Let’s get real here.
  4. Recommence short rows on your little purple shawl project while happily listing to NPR’s The Moth podcast via headphones. Pure delight. After several more short rows, you notice your poor, little shawl looks particularly lopsided.
  5. Count stitches on both sides of short rows. Cry a little bit. Okay, cry a lot. Conclude shawl is indeed very lopsided. The same number of stitches are not present on either end, as should be the case*. Something has gone dreadfully wrong. Brief period of pure knitting (tire store) bliss has sadly and prematurely concluded. Additionally: exercise has STILL not occurred. Desperately glance around waiting room for wine. Vending machines offer no wine**. Your only option is stale, over-buttered popcorn. In short, you are screwed.
  6. Snap commemorative picture prior to tinking. This may be the last time your shawl exists as something other than a knotted ball of yarn.
  7. Begin to tink. Quickly, you find yourself questioning your sanity. Tinking back three hours of short rows will clearly take forever (longer than three hours). Bravery/insanity/desperation strikes. Decide to take all the short rows off the needles and unravel instead. Adrenaline rush overwhelms. You’ve never unraveled short rows this way before. All will likely go south rather quickly. It’s been nice knowing you, shawl.
  8. It works! Begin to unravel stitches with confidence. Fear turns to (over) confidence.
  9. You hear your name called through headphone bliss. Time to get your car. Already?!?! You glance between your knitting and tire attendant at the counter, torn. You note you have at least 100 live stitches that need attending. Dilemma overwhelms. Again note lack of wine.
  10. Gently set knitting down on chair, live stitches and all. Sign for car. Return to seat. Quickly put loose switches back on needles. Project will have to wait for another time. Not only are you under-exercised, but you’re under-knit. Worst case scenario.

Administrative Notes:

*Apparently knitting while consumed with watching Indian Summers (so good!) causes one to miss designated short row turn and instead causes knitter to turn work many stitches later without noticing the error of one’s ways until the subsequent day in above-referenced tire store sans wine. Not good.

**Why do vending machines not offer wine? Surely that should be standard issue in this modern age. Soda is overrated. I guess the water can stay though…

Joining the Yarn Along and nearly done with A Man Called Ove.*  

I HAVE A HUGE FAVOR TO ASK!!! Did you happen to catch my Trintara hat pattern release over the weekend!!??!!  If not, please do check it out.  I was so happy to be able to offer this pattern to my cherished subscribers FOR FREE. I know many of you took advantage of the offer and downloaded the pattern (yahoo!). I would so greatly appreciate it if you could please add the pattern to your favorites in Ravelry.  Just click the little heart near the upper right hand corner! Thanks!!!

Also, weekly chats are still a thing over in my Ravelry group. Feel free to drop on by and say hey  in a more casual setting.

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All the Reasons I Will Never Win An Olympic Medal

Knitting a hat with Madelinetosh Pashmina Worsted in Sugar Plum.

There are so many reasons why I never win things, Olympic (knitting) medals* in particular. Yes, I practice. I can knit. I do it all the time. Here’s the thing: practice isn’t enough.

One must prepare to be a winner.

When I finally found myself on the sofa late Friday night ready to watch the Olympics after frantically getting everything ready to launch the Linto Creek Cowl pattern (did you see it?!?!), I was a Big Hot Knitting Mess (BHKM).

Yes, I had my yarn. And needles. I knew my yarn would become a hat. But that’s where it all ended.

There is the difference between a so-so Olympian and a medal -winning Olympian. I am the so-so Olympian.
Why?

Fail #1. The Cast On.

My first long-tail cast on suffered from a too-short tail, causing me to re-do my cast-on 100 stitches in. Bad judgement on my part.

Fail #2. The Swatching.

Uh, swatching? I had pseudo-prepared by knitting and soaking a basic stockinette swatch** the previous night so I could at least figure out how many stitches to cast on. This wasn’t enough. As I sat and pondered what kind of hat I was going to knit (for the first time), I considered a herringbone stitch brim. I hadn’t knit herringbone before. Is it roll-proof like the linen stitch, or does it still roll?*** I HAD NO IDEA.

I knit some and couldn’t tell. (I did like the stitch though).

I Googled “does herringbone stitch roll?” and got nowhere. How can Google know so much about knitting and not be able to answer this very simple question for me? (Although Google didn’t write back, “How should I know, you ninny. Didn’t you swatch?” So at least there’s that.)

I did a bit of YouTubing herringbone stitch videos but couldn’t manage to watch the Olympics and YouTube at the same time. My brain just isn’t that coordinated.

Like I said, I was a BHKM. And I still didn’t have an answer.

Fail #3. Cave Under Pressure

I was too lazy/frantic/ready-to-just-knit to swatch herringbone like I should have to resolve my whole will-it-won’t-it roll. Instead I unraveled, cast on a THIRD time and went with a rib of sorts.

Not for the first time, I simply panicked at the starting line. Maybe my next little disaster will involve some herringbone. Sigh.

Fail#4. Settle for Slow

Here’s the thing about winning Olympians: they don’t settle. They do what it takes to win. Me? I settle. This hat isn’t going anywhere quickly. But it is going. At my own pace. Medal or not, that’s a win in my book.

Administrative Notes

*There is a new thread for posting your final Olympic Knitathon yardage and any FOs here. (Although recall your knit does not have to be finished by the end of the Olympics to qualify for competition. Just be sure to log your final distance (yardage).

**Last night I discovered said swatch deep within the horribly frightening dregs of Reed’s hoarder-style backpack along with a gallon of trash and recycling that has since been removed. Apparently he told dad I said he could have the swatch. Uh, no.

***I have this thing against rolling, especially in hat brims.

This week as always, I am joining the Yarn Along. I am still singularly focused on the final bits of the fourth Neapolitan novel+. I truly recommend reading this series. It has been fabulous.

+Affiliate link. Thank you for being you!

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Just Knit

Crescent shawl in the works using Madelinetosh Pasmina in the Kitten colorway. Simple is better.

Finally. After so much fiddling, I can just knit. I have spent so much time of late finishing projects, weaving in ends and blocking. And swatching. Oh, the swatching! Not to mention all the tiny projects–some baby hats and of course socks.

All of it is necessary, but none of it gives me the satisfaction of just knitting.  It’s like the difference between driving in stop and go rush hour traffic and just zipping down the open highway, with nothing but wild, undeveloped country out the window and Michael Jackson on the radio. Or maybe the Dixie Chicks. I’ve been so indecisive about music lately.

Anyway.

I’m knitting. It feels good. Even though I can’t decide if I am going to run out of yarn or have too much left. It’s a painful kind of mental pickle to be in. A very stressful kind of relaxation, if you will. I know I am sunk either way. The odds that it will work out just right are slim. A statistical anomaly.

This is why it is a terrible idea to ever just buy one skein of anything. I like one-skein projects as much as the next person, but really, what a horrible idea! It’s like tempting fate, especially if you dare to substitute yarn. Better to buy two and finish up with left over yarn (maybe an entire skein!) than suffer the stress of Will I/ Won’t I.

Never again will I just buy one skein. NEVER.

Unless it’s for socks. That doesn’t count.

I decided to pick my grey project back up, now that the colorful bit is all knit up and see if I can’t come up with the perfect recipe for a simple shawlette. Like the little black dress of knitting. No frills. All sex appeal, plus a eentsy bit of cozy soft sheen. It is Madelinetosh Pashmina, after all.

Now tell me this, knitters: yarn can be sexy, right?

P.S. Don’t forget, the Olympic Knitathon starts in one week! Are you ready?!!? Any and all knitting projects count.

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This is Going to Take Forever

This poncho is going to take forever. As in: possibly to be finished by 2050. Although things are progressing with more gusto now that I finally settled on the final number of stitches to cast on.

First there was a wee bit of 120 stitches. Too many? Frog.

Then there was a second go using 90 stitches. Too narrow? Frog.

Now there are 100. Perfect? Time will tell.

Apparently swatching will only get you so far.

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Next time I won’t be so passive after casually entering my LYS and announcing that I need 1,000 yards (914 m) of grey yarn, “DK or Worsted,” and happily shrug when I am instead offered 1,000 yards of Sport.

It’s not all the same. Not at all.

DSC_0021

This particular stitch pattern requires a bit of cabling two out of every eight rows. This means I knit three rows all happy and dreamy. Knit knit knit. Purl purl purl. Blood pressure down. Bliss. Then I hit my row of holding stitches in back (or front, as the case may be.) Teeth tight. Blood pressure up. The aging process is accelerated.

I just broke down and bought my first ever cable needle*. The one with the notch in the middle. It’s arriving on Friday. I am trying to decide what gift to shower the UPS man with. Fresh squeezed ice cold lemonade, maybe. Or cookies?

I’ve been making due with my usual method of slipping a couple of stitches onto a double pointed needle. This was after You Tubing various methods purporting to teach one how to cable without a cable needle. But try as I might to squeeze here and twist there, I can’t figure it out. I am hopeless. My fingers only offer up so much coordination.

Usually the double pointed needle works well enough, but everything seems so extra slippery this go-around. So I am upping my game: a cable needle with a notch. I figure it’s my best hope. I am sick of picking up stitches that try to run away from me as if I am the Wicked Witch of the West.

(Insert cackle laugh.)

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In other fronts, I FINALLY started a Ravelry group for This Knitted Life. Please join! As a first matter of business, I am seeking volunteers to test knit my newly-named Linto Creek Cowl (otherwise known as the Yak-Tacular success). I lacked modeled photos when I wrote my original blog post but have added a couple pics to the Ravelry forum so potential test knitters can inspect how it wears on a human. That always helps. If you are interested in the test knit, you can also just shoot me an email. (My contact information is at the top of this page.)

I am joining Ginny’s Yarn Along and thinking she must be having that baby girl awfully soon now. I am still outstanding on my baby shower gift! Eep! The good news is that I know what I am going to make. On the reading front, I have picked All the Bright Places* by Jennifer Niven back up after being distracted by some wait-list library books with tight check out windows.