Dilemma

I love writing lists. I’m a list addict. I just wrote a list of possible knitting projects to do with my stash yarn. I sorted them into full garments (jumpers, jackets, etc), small garments (vests, shawls, etc) and accessories.

I want to knit them ALL and I want to knit them NOW. So I wrote a list of reasons to prioritise one project over another. That list goes like this:

What I need now
Using yarn given/bought from friends
What I will need soon (lighter garments for spring, in this case)
Using yarn from special stash enhancement expeditions (the UK trip, Aust Country Spinners, etc)
Using up yarn that’s been hanging around the stash for a while

But, you know, I don’t want to knit them all now. I don’t feel like launching into a full garment straight after the Squares Jacket. I think I’d like to whip up some small projects first. I’m in the market for some instant gratification.

So when I considered what I needed that was small, the answer was obvious. Last year I ordered some 12ply rustic from Bendy in a denim blue. I needed a blue beanie, and I intended to knit one in a method I was considering using to make a skirt. However, I didn’t get a chance to knit it before I left for the UK, and by the time I got back it was too warm for beanies and I had lots of UK stash to distract me.

So the beanie is first up. I just have to decide on a pattern.

Second up… well, a few months back I swapped some yarn for some handspun chocolate alpaca from Yarniverous. It’s fine and so, so soft and I adore it. I want to knit something which touches my skin all the time. There’s probably not enough for a scarf or even a hat. I thought fingerless mitts would do. I use the other pair I designed and knit last year all the time, and I could do with another pair. So ‘need’ plus ‘yarn from a friend’ equals two priorities met.

Unfortunately when I started knitting these a few months back I found that the bit of rib I started with didn’t have any ‘sprong’. It didn’t stretch or spring back. I’m not sure what to do. Knit on smaller needles? Knit a lace pattern instead? Knit something else?

A flood of knitting, a leak of rain

I decided last weekend that I would sit down and knit and knit and knit until I’d finished the Squares Jacket.

I didn’t knit a stitch.

So this weekend I set myself the same task – and succeeded. About six or so hours on Saturday plus four or so on Sunday added up to a almost-but-not-quite finished jacket. Here it is blocked and drying on a towel:

Taken with a flash, unfortunately, so despite tweaking in Photoshop the colours are a bit washed out.

I just need buttons. And for it to dry. I also need my carpet to dry. Remember the hole in the roof?

Progress on the extension meant that covering the hole wasn’t as simple as it had been, which led to much anxiety about leakage if it rained. We set up these precautions knowing that if we didn’t it would rain all weekend. If we went to all the effort of putting precautions in place it wouldn’t rain at all.

Well, it didn’t rain until last night. Our precautions are, well, about 80% effective at getting the drips into buckets. Towels are taking care of the rest. Even so, we and the builders are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the plumber, who has to add flashing or something to fix the problem.

In the meantime, what am I going to knit next? I think it’s time for the ritual exposing of the stash and considering of the MOLAP (Most Often Lusted After Patterns).

Project Spectrum Purple

They’re not going to overwhelm you with their purpliness, but here are the bits of jewellery I made for Project Spectrum. I was going to use a lot more beads, but they turned out to be mostly too small to fit on the wire.

Opening the jewellery-making box is always perilous. While it was open I started playing and experimenting. Here are a couple of ideas I’ve had in mind for a while:

Stitch markers for when I forget what what they’re on the needle for.

A skein of silver wire.

Secret Pal + Project Spectrum Plans

This morning I received an email from my Secret Pal Hostess. First she reminded us that we must send a snail mail letter to our gift recipient at some point. Actually, the snail mail letter was the first thing I sent to my recipient. I’ve sent a postcard, too, and I’m the process of making next month’s maily treat: a card. And no ordinary card, either.

I’ve managed to gather the third package together already. I’m just waiting for the previous one to reach its destination before I sent the third off. It includes this:

Chocolate Bilbys. Mmmmm.

Our Hostess also asked us to answer a question on our blog:

Someone has stolen your stash and all your books: now what are you going to do?

I have to admit, the first answer that entered my mind was “Hunt them down and flay them.”

The second was “Go berate the neighbours”, because for anyone to have extracted all the stash and books from my house would need a removal van (more for the books than the stash, I’ll admit), and any good neighbour spotting an unexplained removal van ought to report it.

But our lovely hostess suggested answering these additional questions: What would be the first thing you’d replace? What would you live without? So I think she’s implying a more appropriate acceptance of the crime and an assumption that the insurance company behaved themselves.

Hmmm. If I assume ALL knitting-related objects were lost, then the first thing I’d replace was my Denise Interchangable Knitting Needle set, and my dpns. Then I’d replace the most useful books (The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns, the first Stitch’n'Bitch book, and one of the stitch encyclopedias) before a few inspiring or informative ones like Knitting Nature or The History of Knitting. Next the ball winder and swift, as they’re such fun toys to play with.

As for yarn, if I had to buy a replacement stash rather than just let it accumulate again, I’d replace the sock yarn, good sturdy plain yarns lined up for projects like Bendy, and I’d see if I could mail-order replacements for some of the yarn I bought in the UK (because they’re as much about good memories as nice yarn).

As for the other something-along I’ve been having fun with, I bought this a few weeks ago ready to make my July Project Spectrum Project:

All this will either become earrings or a necklace. I haven’t got around to it because I’ve been sick most of this month. I have only a few days left…

That’ll mean I will have woven, photographed, crochet, knit, and jewelleried a PS project. I already know what I’m going to do next month. The only clue I’ll give is it will have something to do with the title of this blog, and it won’t involve any of the creative skills of previous projects.

Can you guess what it’ll be?

There’s a hole in my ceiling dear Liza, dear Liza

There’s a hole in the roof of my house.

And through that hole the extensiony stuff has grown like some sort of invading creeper of fungus.

It’s both freaky and exciting. The doorway shape has so much promise. It’s like some sort of portal-in-construction, hinting at a whole new world beyond.

But the hole certainly makes the house cold. And every time it rains I get very very nervous, despite the big tarp preventing the rain coming inside.

In the meantime, I carefully tinked back a round on Pomatomus, counted the stitches, compared them to the chart, and found they were okay again. I have no idea what I did wrong. Do I care? Not really.

I didn’t get much done last night. The teev I watched was too rivetting. I’d recorded a late night show on SBS called Anatomy For Beginners. Not for the weak-stomached, this show. But fascinating. It’s bizzare, but it reminds me a bit of Iron Chef. There’s a big stadium-like room with an audience. Men in uniforms with assistants use sharp knives to explore this show’s theme ingredient/bodily system. And the Chairman has his match in the main guy doing the disections. Instead of glittery 80s style clothing, the Anatomy star’s fashion statement is an Indiana Jones or b&w crime flick style hat.

About the only other show that can make me put down the needles is Top Gear.

Catching up

On Sunday the Liquorish Allsorts Jumper was finally introduced to its new owner. Both seemed pleased:

Moments after posting last Thursday this arrived, so I decided to post about it another day… but then things kinda got busy:

More Mega Boots Streeeeeetchh!

Despite deciding last week that I would finish the Squares Jacket on the weekend, I didn’t knit a stitch of it. I’m too distracted. By this:

Last night I turned the first top-down heel since I knit my first pair of sock, a couple of years ago.

I stopped when I got to the point where I knew I’d made a mistake but couldn’t work out where and knew I wasn’t going to nut it out so late at night. I went to bed and dreamed about sock knitting and the hole in the roof of my house.

Toe-up heel flap sock pattern

For machine washable 4ply sock yarn on 2mm double pointed needles. My size – I have narrow feet (the beau’s size in brackets)

Cast on:
Place 2 needles beside each other and wind yarn around both in a figure 8 pattern until there are 8 loops on each needle. Do not knot as you will tighten stitches by pulling tail end. Knit once around. Arrange 4 stitches on needle 1, 8 on needle 2 and 4 on needle 3

Toe:
Knit the 4 stitches on needle 3.
Round 1: Knit to last stitch on needle one, M1, K1
K1, M1, knit to last stitch on needle two, M1, K1
K1, M1, knit to end of needle 3
Repeat until there are 30(36) stitches
Round 2: Knit all the way around.
Repeat round 1 and 2 until there are 60(72) stitches

Foot:
Knit until the foot section measures 11(9.5) cm

Instep Gusset:
Round 1: Knit to last stitch on needle one, M1, K1
Knit across needle two
K1, M1, knit to end of needle three (on left side of front panel twist picked up loop in op dir.)
Round 2: Knit all the way around
Repeat both rounds until 90(108) stitches are distributed thus: 30-30-30(36-36-36)

Heel:
Slip stitches on needle 2 onto a stitch holder or use fifth needle.
K14(17) on needle 1, wrap next st, turn (leaving 15(18) st behind)
P to end, P 14(17) stitches from needle 3, wrap next st and turn (leaving 15(18) st on needle 3)
Working on centre 30(36) st, continue back and forth, wrapping the st before the previous one so each row is one st shorter. Stop when 5(6) st have been wrapped on both sides
K to end, knitting wraps with wrapped st
K1 from needle 1, turn
Slip 1, p to end, purling wraps with wrapped st

Heel Flap:
Row 1: Slip 1, SSK, *slip 1, K1* repeat to last 3 stitches, Slip 1, K2tog, K1 from needle 2
Row 2: Slip 1, Purl to end, P1 from needle 3
Repeat both rounds until no stitches remain on needles 1 & 3. Transfer 15(18) stitches to needle 1, leaving 15(18) on what is now needle 3. Transfer st on holder to needle 2.

Cuff:
Knit to desired length.

Band:
K2, P2 rib for 5cm. Cast off loosely. Sew in ends.

Nobody to blame but myself

You know, I have no hankering to make a name for myself as a knitting designer or anything. Nor do I want to make money from knitting. This is a hobby. A pretty obsessive hobby, I’ll admit, but the last thing I want to do is reduce the fun and creative freedom of this hobby (as I’ve done with two other creative hobbies) by turning it into Work.

So why is it, then, that I’m so peeved at myself for not getting my heel flap toe-up sock pattern on the net before something very similar appeared in Knitty.com?

I was managing to not be too peeved at myself until I listened to Brenda Dayne’s latest podcast, in which she raves about the pattern and, if I recall correctly (which I probably don’t – I was knitting Pomatomus and it’s pretty distracting), wonders aloud why nobody thought of it before.

But I did, Trudi wimpers.

It seems there’s a bit of an ambitious streak in me after all. It’s pretty silly though. In all likeliness someone developed a toe-up heel flap style sock yonks before I did. It really wasn’t all that hard. And Brenda mentioned that there’s an alternative to the figure-8 cast on linked from the Knitty pattern that I really want to check out.

So I’ll shrug, tell myself that next time I come up with a pattern I’m proud of I’ll stop procrastinating and post it, and get on with my knitting.

Happy Cat

The windows were all frosted today. The windows rarely frosted at my old house, though it was much colder. Maybe they frost here because it’s a warmer house. Bigger temperature difference and all that. Anyway, I saw that Peri Peri was forced to inspect the outside world through the drip lines on his morning rounds, so I made him a peephole:

Much better.

Hopefully the cat mesh I ordered yesterday will arrive quickly and we can close off the end of the cat run again on the weekend. That will make him happier… until he realised how cold it’s got outside since he last went out.

Knitting? There’s another two rows of squares on the Squares Jacket and another repeat of Pomatomus on the Pomatomus Socks.