Monday, May 24, 2010

Once More With Shoulders

I knit lots of baby things. You all know this. Mostly sweaters, with the occasional hat and a couple pairs of booties thrown in.

Every baby should have something hand-made to grow into. Something made with them in mind. Something full of hope and promise.

Pretty buttons are good, and so is lace. If you can work them both into a single garment, you’re golden.

My darling Paddington bear gets lots of face-time here. He’s the only thing in the house that is vaguely baby-shaped, and he’s just as cute as can be.

He does have one small drawback, however, which I believe I’ve mentioned. He’s got no shoulders.

So I’m always delighted to get e-mail attachments like this one:


That’s the February Baby Sweater I gave away in January, being shown off to great effect by its new owner. Will you just look at the shoulders on that wee girl! Not to mention those long elegant fingers.

What a beauty.

Just in case the feelings get lost in my sarcasm, pictures like that are why I knit for the babies around me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gauge Bites

Especially when you completely fail to check it.

Remember the too short cabled sock?

I bit the bullet and frogged it all the way back. I knit it again; giving myself the extra length I needed in the foot, and got ready to start the gusset. I decided to try it on first, and noticed something I’d ignored the first time.

Even with 72 stitches in a round, it felt too snug going around the ball of my foot. Not to mention that the toe was so short it ended before my small toe even started.


I went and looked on Ravelry, and there were all kinds of gorgeous versions of this pattern. None of them had that over-stretched look I can see in my work. What had I done wrong?

I remembered how tightly I was knitting the sock. I called it “wrist-aching” in my last blog post, and boy was that ever the truth. If I knit for more than about 25 minutes I had to shake the tension out of my wrists and stretch my fingers out to loosen them up.

So I took out my tape measure, laid it across the sole stitches and, for the very first time since starting the sock, actually counted how many stitches there were in an inch. The pattern calls for nine… I was working at ten.

I’m pretty sure that when I saw the gauge in the pattern, I just went straight for my US 0 (2.0 mm) needles. Never, not once until this morning, did I actually measure my stitches per inch.

And that, dear readers, brings us to the moral of the story:

If you’re knitting at such a tight gauge that your hands hurt, you might consider that you are, in fact, knitting too tight. Way too tight. You might even consider checking your gauge before your hands start hurting you.

Excuse me, won’t you? I’ve got a sock to frog.

Friday, May 14, 2010

She Came To Me

You may remember that I knit Helena a few months ago. OK, OK, it was actually several months ago. Many several.

I knit it, I wove in the ends, I washed it and I posed it on Paddington bear.


I even wrapped it and wrote a card.

And there it sat on my desk, waiting (and waiting and waiting) for me to take it to the baby it had been made for.

Well, yesterday the baby in question got tired of waiting, and she came to me. She even brought her mom with her!



Plenty of room for her to grow into it!


Do you think she likes it?


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Turned the Corner

Is it possible to turn the corner on a round shawl? It's been an awfully long time since those geometry classes in junior high, but I'm pretty sure circles don't have corners.

I’ll just call it a term of art.

I’m halfway through the border of Centrino… check it out:


I’ve done 18 repeats out of 36, and it feels like the finish is actually in sight. If I keep going at this rate, I may be able to finish two shawls in a month!

Monday, May 10, 2010

It’s Magic

Blocking, that is.

I knit a piece of lace. Knit and knit and knit and knit. I’ll spread it out over my knee or on a table, trying to see what it will look like when it’s done. I get hints, I have dreams and visions, but trying to picture the whole completed piece just eludes me most of the time.

So, Wisteria Garden was all done and looking like a skate (thanks for the image, KnitGeekery!). I gave it a nice long bath in lukewarm water, wrapped it up in a towel and had my husband stomp the excess water out of it (this is his favorite part).

We hunkered down on the floor and threaded the blocking wires through the edges. Then we smoothed and stretched and pinned and fussed and measured and stretched some more.

And then finally there it was, the vision I’d been trying to conjure:

All the wobbly stitches smoothed out, the yarn-overs aligned themselves, and any resemblance to a sea life just disappeared.

The border, which seemed tedious when I started it, really ties things together.



Everything seems to grow out of the center stitch, which marches bravely along from the point to the neck.


It looks nothing like a skate now. It looks like a shawl.


It’s magic, and it never gets old.

Project Details:
Pattern: Wisteria Garden Shawl, by Amy Swenson
Yarn: Zen Yarn Garden Sea Lace, colorway Tyrian, nearly 1200 yards
Needles: US 2 (2.75 mm) for the knitting, US 0 (2.0 mm) for disaster recovery
Final Size: 70 inches along the long edge, 36 inches along the center line.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

As I Said

No problem.

Piece of cake.

Never a doubt in my mind.

Well, except for a terrifying 45 minutes on Sunday afternoon.

I was shifting around on the couch, and the shawl got wedged under my knee. Somehow I managed to pull the whole thing off of the needles. Don't ask me how I got it all back on, the whole incident is a bit of a blur. Let's hear it for 2.0 mm needles and crochet hooks. And for the large Scotch I calmed my nerves with when it was all back in place.

Tragedy averted, Wisteria Garden is done in plenty of time, with a week to spare before the press arrives!

After lunch on Tuesday:


After dinner on Tuesday:


Needs blocking, no?