March 27, 2007

Sixth and Final Reason

Continuing yesterday's list of reasons to keep knitting the Sock Madness sock patterns, here is...

6. (Final reason) I'm afraid that without the Mad socks, this blog might get a little boring for a while. Hopefully, Sock Madness socks will provide blog fodder through what otherwise threatens to be a dry spell. I do have two other projects right now but after this post, it might be a while before they present any bloggy excitement.

This is the sweater I've started for Chris. (The Calmer is doing much better now, btw. I'm pleased with how it's knitting up and there have been no further catastrophes.) It's a simple, black, V-Neck, stockinette pullover. I have not gotten too far into it yet. However, even if I were further along, this picture would still be a just a pile of black stockinette. Until this sweater is finished (who knows when?), it's not going to make for very interesting blogging, unless something goes horribly awry (knock wood it doesn't). Which isn't to say I won't blog about it until it's done. I just suspect it won't be too compelling. But I'm not above boring you if I have to.

And here's a snippet of the other thing I'm working on:

The reason I'm not going to show or tell you more right now is I'm hoping to submit it to Knitty. According to the Knitty submission guidelines, any pattern you submit cannot have appeared anywhere else before.

I will tell you that I bought the yarn at Wildfiber, during the yarn crawl I went on with Leslie and Jackie.

I'll also tell you a little bit about how I've gotten started down this road. A friend of mine asked me to knit something for her. I was very flattered that she asked and I really wanted to be able to do it. But I hadn't ever seen a pattern for what she was describing. I looked around a little bit on the internet and in the stores. I saw things that were close, but not quite right. Actually, the closest patterns I saw were crochet patterns. But she specifically wants knit. And if I can do it, if I can knit her what she wants, it might be really cute. A cute knitted item, for which there aren't (m)any patterns? Sounds right up Knitty's ally, huh?

I really hope it works out. Mostly because I want to accommodate her request. But also, because I'd be pretty jazzed to design and write a pattern. Getting it published anywhere would be gravy. I've knit things without a pattern before, which is designing, I guess, but writing an actual, functional pattern is a whole other trick. One I have not been able to do before.

My design forays usually go like this: I see something in my head and just knit, frog and knit until I have created more or less what I imagined. But every time, there comes a point where I do some nonsense which I know absolutely would not translate into a written pattern (oddly spaced increases/decreases, eyeballed measurements, etc.)

I would love, love, love to hear from those of you who can write patterns. Do you write the pattern first and then try to knit it, making changes if necessary? Do you just start knitting and take notes along the way? Do you knit until you have what you want and then write down what you did to get there? Or some other approach entirely?

Also, has anyone reading submitted anything to Knitty before? How'd it go? Do you have any tips or advice to share?


To sum up, the Golden Purl forecast is mostly socky, with hints of black and white stockinnette.

Now What?

Eventually, I finished the Madtini socks.

Before Sock Madness started, I wondered if I would keep knitting the sock patterns after being eliminated from the competition.

At this point (post-elimination), I'm leaning towards YES, I will keep knitting the patterns.

Here are the reasons why:

1. I have plenty of sock yarn. In addition to the yarn I purchased in preparation for Sock Madness, I might have bought some more since then.

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, Tuscany colorway.

Last weekend, I went on a yarn crawl with my dear friend, Leslie and my new friend, Jackie. We went to three different yarn stores. At the last one, A Mano Yarn Center, after having already spent way too much money, I saw this yarn. They have a really excellent sock yarn selection, probably the best of the LYS's I know. I thought I was going to be able to stay strong in the face of this wonderful selection, but I absolutely could not resist this colorway. I mean c'mon! Even the name is irresistible. Even though I bought this, I still feel like I stayed (relatively) strong. You should have seen all the sock yarn I didn't buy.

At that store anyway.

Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Solids, Loden colorway.

I got this at the first store we went to on the yarn crawl, Compatto. They are so nice there. They really love getting to know their customers. And they love socks, too! The sock yarn display is positioned one half step into the store. This color is a perfect Jean green. I couldn't leave it behind.

2. Now that I will no longer be knitting the Mad Patterns for competition, I can feel free to modify with abandon. Not that I necessarily will modify them all that much (if at all), but I like the freedom.

3. The patterns are a prize unto themselves. If I don't knit them, it's like I don't get that prize.

4. I'll learn new things. As the patterns become more complex, I expect new techniques will show up. Even if it's something I've done before, lace or cables for example, I have not yet done those techniques on socks. And when something I've never done before (fair isle?) shows up, the sock will be a great learning ground.

5. Camaraderie. This has really been my favorite part of Sock Madness anyway. Meeting new people, cheering each other on, sharing frantic confusion and sorting it out together has made Sock Madness a blast. Knitting the socks from the bleachers is a way to keep the camaraderie going.

There is one more reason. But you're going to have to come back tomorrow for that.

Until then, here's some fun from the non-knitting, yet easily-amused department:
It's Raining 300 Men
OK Go on treadmills

March 24, 2007

Stop the Madness

I'm out of Sock Madness.

Before I tell you more, you must go check out the poem Cindy wrote for Round Two Eve. Hilarious!

I was up against the formidable Jo for round 2 and she has won the race. There is a beautiful symmetry to this. Jo was the one who got me into Sock Madness so there's no one I'd rather have take me out.

I'll also mention that Jo was first to finish in our division and in the top five of round two finishers! Quite the little speed demon, that Jo.

The pattern was called Madtini. It has an unusual cuff and then a really nifty textured pattern which creates a spiral down the leg.

The cuff and leg stitches are made with lots of YO's and PSSO's. I found it very slow. My yarn had a tendency to split, but that may have just been because my needles weren't sharp enough, dunno. When I dropped a stitch (which I did more than a few times), it was a real pain picking it back up. These issues made it super hard for me to speed knit. I tried to maintain focus, not lose my place in the pattern and shoot for stamina over speed. But man, oh man, was I getting tired after finishing just the leg on the first sock.

A little after midnight, Sadie let me know it was time for bed.

I got a good night's sleep and got back to it the next morning. After turning the heel, I flew along the plain stockinette foot. I did take the time to do a nice Kitchner toe. While this sock took longer to make than necessary to win my round, it did come out nicely. I will give these socks as a gift. These I will be proud of, unlike the Mad Cows I gave away.

Progress got achingly slow again when I started on the next sock. After turning the heel and picking up the gusset stitches, I took a quick break to check in on everyone else's progress. Well I'll be! Jo had just posted her finished picture.

So there you have it. I was done.

I put that sock down and went outside to take a walk with Chris and Sadie. I'll finish these socks eventually. But the panicked, hand-hurting rush is over. Ahhh...

March 21, 2007


There's been a lively discussion today at And She Knits Too! and January One about the relationship between blogging and comments. It was interesting for me to examine my own feelings on the subject as well as to hear what other people had to say. I may write more about that later, but that's not really the point of this post.

The point of this post is that since the very first comment I received (Hi Mayrav!), I have not been entirely happy with the basic Blogger comment system. I didn't like that I was unable to reply to most of the comments I got. And should my commenter have a blog of her/his own, I would only know it if it was a Blogger blog.

Coincidentally, today I saw a tip Pacalaga gave over in the Sock Madness discussion pool. She's a Blogger blogger (heh) who uses HaloScan for her comments. From what she said, it sounded like HaloScan would be a comment service I would find more satisfying than Blogger's.

So I loaded that HaloScan bad boy up.

Only now I see that in doing so, I've lost the previous comments I had through Blogger. Well, they're not showing here anymore. But they're not lost entirely, because I still have every one of them in my e mail.

I love getting comments. Thank you to everyone who's left me a comment. I have enjoyed and appreciated every one of them. I'm sad those comments no longer show here, but I hope that HaloScan will be better going forward.

And thank you to everyone who takes time out of her/his day to read what I write here. I feel incredibly honored that you would spend your time with me. Whether you comment or not, I really appreciate that you stopped by.

Now, because I'm risking getting too sentimental, I'm going to fall back on the safety of a Simpson's quote to wrap this all up.

"Thank you, come again."
- Apu Nahasapeemapetilon

Gearing Up for Round 2

Sock Madness Round 2 starts tomorrow.

I'm competing against Jo. She and I have decided to just have fun with round 2 and be happy no matter what the result.

I was surprised by how competitive I got in round 1. But it's hard to muster up a desire to crush your opponent when you really like her. When she's someone as charming as Jo. When she was the one who tipped you off to Sock Madness in the first place.

I'll still knit the socks as fast as I can, because that's the whole point. Also, I enjoy pushing myself to be a better, faster knitter. But I'm not going to think about it as a one on one race. Maybe I'll even slow down just enough to make sure these socks are higher quality than the Mad Cows. And in the end, I'll be happy for whichever one of us goes on to round 3.

I've got my yarn.

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in Sand Ridge colorway.

I'm swatching it right now on my US 2 dpn's. So far, I seem to be getting the gauge just right. That makes sense to me. The first pair of socks I ever knit were with Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock. I knit them on my US 2 dpn's and they came out huge. (Next time I use Shepherd Sock, I'll knit it with my US 1's.) Which is why it seems about right that I'm getting the right gauge with the Shepherd Sport on the US 2's.

I've got my yarn. I've got my gauge. All I need now is the pattern.

Good luck, Jo! I'm cheering for us!

March 18, 2007

I hope you had a happy St. Patrick's Day!

Even my yarn wanted to be Irish.

Happy knitting, everyone.

March 15, 2007

Beware the Ides of March

For some time now, I've been meaning to knit a sweater for my wonderful husband, Chris. It hasn't been going very well.

I bought the yarn nearly a year ago. I got Rowan Calmer in black. I chose this yarn because:
A) It's mostly cotton (75% cotton, 25% microfiber, to be precise). While I love working with a buttery smooth merino as much as the next knitter, we live in LA where there is very little need for wool sweaters. Especially if you're as hot as my hubby. (I mean hot as in body temperature, but I'll let the attractiveness pun stand because it is apt.)
B) I've worked with it before and found it soft and pleasant. It has more bounce than 100% cotton due to the microfiber content and the tube-type construction.
C) It comes in black. Chris is a no frills, black tee shirt and jeans kind of dresser. He likes good, solid, no fuss, manly colors. Black being a favorite.
D) It's machine washable.

Yarn obtained, I started searching for a pattern. I was looking for a very basic, V-neck pullover pattern. I liked the one in The Yarn Girls' Guide to Simple Knits called "The Exception to the Rule". That pattern calls for a gauge of 4 spi. I was able to achieve that gauge with this yarn by doubling the yarn and working on pretty big needles (US 10's, 10.5's? Somewhere around there but I don't completely remember anymore.) So last July, when we were in Hawaii, I cast on and got started.

Aaahhhh...Hawaii... Where was I? Getting started, right. The yarn doubled on big needles, while giving me gauge, really wasn't working out. Every stitch was a fight. The fabric it was creating was just fine, but the yarn, needles and I were not getting along as well as you'd hope, especially at the beginning of a man's sweater. I knit up one entire ball this way, struggling with every stitch, before banishing the hostile project to the bottom of one of my random knitting bags. Where it's sat, sulking, until about a week ago.

I brought this project back to the surface because I think I have a plan. I'm abandoning the Yarn Girls' pattern. It's a lovely pattern, but it's not working with this yarn. I sent my Hawaiian effort to the frog pond and reclaimed the yarn. Yarn seen here after being unwound and steamed in the shower a few times:

I have been swatching to find a more happy yarn, needles and Jean combination. I swatched with the yarn as is (no more doubling) on US 6's and 8's first. I found the US 8 swatch too loose and the US 6 too tight. It would be logical, therefore, for US 7's to be just perfect, but we all know swatching and logic do not always go together. Thankfully, this time they did. I am satisfied with the results of the US 7's (about 5.5spi after machine washing and drying flat).

(Can you see the YO, K2TOG's in the swatches? That a tip from Lily Chin I saw on Knitty Gritty. You make a number of holes in the swatch to correspond with the size needle you are using. That way you'll always know which size needles you used for that swatch. Smart gal.)

Meanwhile, during all this swatching (and let's face it, the first attempt in Hawaii counts as a swatch, too) I've noticed something weird about this yarn. Something I did not experience the first time I worked with it. It seems like no matter how tight the gauge, the spaces between each stitch are very noticeable. It's like the stitches aren't springing open enough. I wouldn't be surprised by that in an all cotton yarn, but I've used this yarn before and I am surprised it's happening this time. Is it simply an optical illusion created by the black yarn? Something to do with the yarn being so dark, so your eyes become more aware of the light behind the knit fabric? Or does the black dye make the yarn itself more dense and less able to "bloom"? (The Calmer I used before was a light beige color.)

It bugs me, but I'm aware of the possibility it's all in my head. So I'm moving on.

Having found a gauge I like (except for the thing with the spaces between the stitches), I know I could do all the math to convert the Yarn Girls' pattern to my gauge, but that's not appealing to me right now. I have a different idea. I plan on using the fill-in-the-blanks Incredible Custom-Fit Raglan Sweater pattern. If I'm going to be doing math either way, I may as well go for the pattern where it's all spelled out for me. Also going seamless and knitting all in the round is looking better and better for making a man's sweater with a gauge of 5.5spi.

This is going to be a fairly big project with, let's face it, a high boredom factor. But I do want to do it. I really want to make a sweater for Chris. I've already encountered enough obstacles and postponed this sweater long enough. I need now to make choices about this sweater that will result in it becoming an actual, real-live sweater. I can knit miles of stockinette in the round faster than back and forth. And I can enjoy it more, because I can do it on auto-pilot. This sweater can become my take everywhere, knit anytime project. Watching TV? Perfect. Talking on the phone? Perfect. Talking in person? Perfect. Driving? Perfect. I'm kidding! I just wanted to see if you were still paying attention.

I think I'm ready to cast on today...But...

Bad dog! Naughty, naughty Sadie!

Now look, I know this is not the most troubled path some yarn has ever had on it's way to becoming a sweater. Jo and her Alice Starmore, red sweater come to mind as being much worse. But it's starting to feel like warning shots across the bow, you know? So, given the warning shots AND the date, I ask you: dare I cast on today?

March 13, 2007

Mad Cows Find Happy Home

Mayrav has very generously agreed to take the Mad Cow socks.

I knit these socks for speed, not for quality and boy howdy does it show. So what to do with socks which do not represent my best work?

If I keep them for myself, their suckiness will perpetually taunt me. But how can I give away something which displeases me? Here. Have some hand-made crap.

I have before been happy, even proud, to give away my hand knits which had blatant flaws. The difference was those items did represent my best work, at that time. They were hand made gifts from the heart. I wouldn't be giving them to someone who would be disappointed with a hand made gift just because it wasn't technically perfect.

But these socks could have been better. I consciously chose to make them quickly instead of making them well.

For instance, there are the crappy color changes. I didn't even try for a "jogless" join. Moreover, because of the speed thing, I really yanked on the new color as I carried it up, instead of aiming for even tension. This produced some truly bizarre results.

Then there's the holes in the short row heel. I don't really want to talk about those anymore, but I will show you a picture now. As you can also see in this picture, I had some issues with "ladders". I could have improved those ladders by being more diligent in the knitting. But no.

Finally, there's the toe. I did a three needle bind off on the toe. It is faster than doing a kitchener toe but after having done it, I am more convinced than ever of the superiority of a kitchener toe.

So why am I subjecting Mayrav to these? It's not that I don't like her or that she's in such desperate need of socks she'll take anything. She's not blind or stupid, either. Basically, she's doing me a favor. Yes, the socks will fit her. Yes, the colors suit her better than they suit me. But that's not it. She's doing me this favor because she was there. She saw me knitting as fast as my little hands could. She was amused by the whole thing. She understands why these socks are so craptastic and knows I can't stand it. She'll take these socks out of my sight because she's a good friend. And maybe, someday, if she wears them, she'll appreciate the sentimentality of these sucky socks. For her, and only her, can these become a hand made gift from the heart.

At least I wrapped them pretty.

March 12, 2007

Off to the Races

Sock Madness has begun!

I went to bed Friday night more excited than I really wanted to admit to myself. I did not set the alarm, but couldn't help waking up at 5:45am Saturday morning, anyway. I went straight to the computer. The e mailed pattern was in my inbox. I began casting on immediately.

The first socks are called Mad Cow Socks, because the designer, Jennifer Young, made them to look like the spots on a black and white cow.

They look more like Sadie to me.

I began knitting furiously. I was knitting when Glenn called to see if we wanted to get brunch. I knit in the car sitting next to Zev. (I told Zev I was making a sock. Later, when I showed him the needles with the cuff and leg and asked him what it was, he said, "Sock!" I love that kid.) I kept knitting while Mayrav told us about their recent trip, fed herself, fed her son and encouraged me. (You're a multi-tasking queen, my friend.)

By the time we got home from brunch, I was about ready to turn the heel...but, wait. Am I supposed to do 4 stripe repeats on the leg or 5? Luckily, the answer (5 leg repeats) had already been posted by the judges. Phew. Except it meant I had one more repeat before the heel. Blast! (The ruling was somewhat revised later, but whatever.)

Leg done, I moved on to the heel. The short row heel, my new nemesis. I'd never done a short row heel before but I more or less understand the general concept behind short rows. I knew there were probably some tutorials on the subject, but this is a knitting race, so I just barreled ahead without consulting them. And I did make a heel - the knitting bends in such a way as to accommodate the way a foot bends - but not a good one. WTF is up with all those holes? (I can't even bear to show you a picture, sorry.) Well, here's where my vaguest of vague understanding of short rows played out. You do a wrap and turn. I did that just fine. But when you go to "pick up the wraps", there's a whole special technique to it. All the pattern said was "pick up the wraps", which I did, but not using the special technique, hence the effin' holes.

Over in the group discussion and photo pool, I saw I was not the only one having this problem. I'd like to give a big shout out thank you to Kellie aka marmys, for posting the link to this tutorial, which helped me improve my second heel. And a big thank you to ALL the other knitters who took time away from their own knitting to offer help and encouragement to their fellow participants. It's more proof that knitters are some of the nicest, most generous people around.

One side of my second heel came out pretty okay, but the other side is still kinda holey. I'm sure it's operator error. Maybe a tension issue?

Well anyway, I finished the first sock about 4:30pm Saturday.

I could not believe it! My goal had been to finish the first sock by the end of the day. But at this rate, I was able to start on the second sock that evening. I took a quick shower and got ready to go out to dinner. I really needed the break. My hands were turning into little, gnarled claws.

I knit in the car on the way to dinner. I knit over coffee and dessert. When we got home, I stayed up knitting 'til 1am (which was the same as 2am because of DST.) Staying up to 2am is waaaay out of character for me. I really like sleep and require lots of it. Ask around, it's true.

I stopped when I was ready to start the second heel. I figured I could look at those short row heel tutorials after I'd gotten some sleep.

I didn't sleep for very long, darn near craziness for me. I got right back to the knitting first thing the next morning. I just sat there and knit, knit, knit. We did listen to Harry, of course. I finished those suckers right about at noon.

I was pretty useless for the rest of the day. Too tired to do anything (too tired to nap, even), I just sat around watching the sock pictures accumulate in the photo pool. Which is really cool and fun.

Now, It's been about 24 hours since I finished those socks and I have not knit on anything else that whole time. I think, when I do pick up some needles later today, all I'll be up for is swatching for a sweater for my wonderful husband, Chris. Rowan Calmer yarn and US 7 needles. Soft yarn, (relatively) big needles, simple stockinette and a swatch which holds no consequences if I mess it up.

And now, here's a picture I wish I could give you in scratch and sniff:

The jasmine is in bloom and just about anywhere you go in LA smells wonderful.

March 9, 2007


A few days ago, we received in the mail the MRE's we ordered for our disaster preparedness kit. It's important to be prepared. You know, for when the zombies come.

Thinking about busting open those MRE's during a zombie attack is scary. But thinking about Sock Madness is fun. So we'll just focus on Sock Madness for now.

The madness starts tomorrow and I find myself questioning my mental preparedness. We'll be receiving the first pattern, via e mail, sometime between 8 and 9am EST. That means sometime between 5 and 6am, here in good ol' PST. Frankly, I highly doubt I'll be getting up at 5am. I know this is sock madness, but me? Up? At 5...AM? Unlikely. But, see, the willingness to rise at dawn may just be what separates the winners from the losers in this game.

And my preparedness as far as supplies go...well, I'm not sure about that, either.

Here's what we've been told we need for needles:
US 1 (2.25mm)
US 1.5 (2.5mm)
US 2 (2.75mm)
I think I'm fine here. I don't have any 2.5mm, but I plan on just using my 2.25mm's instead. I doubt it'll make too big a difference. (Again, that's just the kind of blase attitude which could really bite me on the arse in this competition.)

Here's the yarn we've been told we need for 7 pairs of socks. (List presented in no particular order, because I don't know what the order will be.)

1. Sport weight yarn, variegated
2. One skein variegated, one skein solid
3. One skein variegated, one skein solid (design "will be greatly enhanced if the
yarns you choose have a high degree of contrast.")
4. Variegated yarn
5. Variegated yarn
6. Solid yarn
7. Solid yarn

I'm set for #1. I got some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in Sand Ridge colorway

I picked it up at Compatto (means "close-knit" in Italian). It was my first time visiting that store and I've been meaning to say how wonderful it was. A sweet and fluffy dog named Gracie greeted us at the door. The service was the friendliest of any of my LYS's. See how they wound the yarn up for me? Oh, and the great service didn't end when I left the store. I had asked them a question for which they did not immediately know the answer, but two days later, Nancy e mailed me with the answer. Wonderful.

While there, I also got a bunch of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in some mix-and-match colors.

The colors are (clockwise from top left): Spring Frost, Navy, Nantucket Red and Natural.

I think I like the Nantucket Red all on it's own. I'll save that for #6 on my list.

But the Spring Frost looks good with both the Navy and the Natural

So far, this is not enough yarn for all seven socks. But, honestly, am I really going to make all seven socks? How many patterns will be left when I'm eliminated from the competition? If it's lots, I have no idea if I'll still want to make the remaining pairs. This may very well be enough to get me as far as I'll go in the competition. However, in the interest of preparedness, of course, I went to Wildfiber today and got more yarn. It was tough, I tells ya. I really had to force myself into yarn buying. But it was for the preparedness, people! It's all about being prepared (cough, cough...what?).

Cherry Tree Hill, again.

That's Spanish Moss on the left and Cabin Fever on the right.

I'm still working the mix-and-match angle because Cabin Fever looks good with Natural and Spanish Moss looks good with both Natural and Navy.

Among these mix-and-matches, I've got some lovely combos and some have that "high degree of contrast" we've heard about. But it's still not quite enough for all seven pairs. Figuring I'll be using the Natural and the Navy as the solid for the #2 and #3 socks (on my list, not the order they'll be knit), I still need another solid for the #7 pair.

So here we are, on the eve of competition and I'm not completely prepared. Can I make a respectable showing anyway? If I do advance in the competition, will I have time to get more supplies? Would a winner be doubting herself?

You know what, don't answer that.

March 8, 2007


I have two FO's to share with you today.

First, the Blue Pea Pod Baby Set. It took me longer than I anticipated to get here. The knitting went by in a flash. Then the finishing and getting photos dragged out. I better deliver this gift tout de suite, before the little guy out-grows it!

Lace and button detail:

Yarn: Patons Supersoft, cotton blend
Needles: US 4

The next FO is the Ruffle Scarf! Believe me when I say, I was more surprised than anyone when I finished this last night. I had light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel motivation on the knitting but I feared the finishing would become interminable. Well darned if it didn't go by quickly and easily. I haven't blocked it, though. The pattern says, "block lightly." I'm going to interpret that as, "Don't block at all. Just be glad you're done."

Here's the gratuitous close up:

And how it looks on:

Yarn: Blue Sky Alpaca & Silk, Ecru color
Needles: US 6 and US 4
Pattern by Mac & Me

Last year, I knit the Lace-Up Shawl from AlterKnits. (Sorry, no pictures.) I purchased the exact amount of yarn recommended by the pattern. Turns out, it was way too much yarn. By double! In fairness, I didn't make the shawl as long as the pattern calls for (it would have swallowed its petite recipient whole, if I had). But nor did I make the shawl half as long as instructed. Did anyone else who made that shawl find the yarn estimations high, too?

I was annoyed by the wild over-estimation of yarn needed. This yarn is wonderful and worth it's price, but it ain't cheap. Oh, sure, I could have returned the unused yarn to the LYS for store credit. But returning yarn just seems so wrong. So when I found the pattern for this scarf, which called for about exactly the amount of yarn I had left over, I was thrilled.

I was doubly excited because I had recently seen this. I loved it but did not want to have to buy all the yarn (which you have to do with those Kim Hargreaves patterns). So this Ruffle Scarf pattern gave me a look I liked AND I already had the yarn. Oh happy day.

This scarf turned into a real test of endurance but it was definitely worth it in the end. Who knows, I may even block it someday.

March 7, 2007

Catch Up

It's been a whole week since I last posted. I was out of town visiting family for most of that week. I chose to hang with the fam. instead of hijack my Mom's computer for blogging.

While away, I gave the dragon scarf to my nephew. I think he liked it? He instantly knew it was a scarf and he called it a "dragon snake". He wouldn't wear it, but he did play with it. And he enjoyed watching adults wear it. Everybody else made all the appropriate "ooh's" and "aah's".

Because I had finished the dragon scarf right before leaving and because I've been (oddly) reluctant to start new projects with Sock Madness approaching, I found myself without a current project to pack as my travel knitting. However, a lack of current projects does NOT mean a lack of projects. So I dug into my UFO pile and found a perfect travel candidate: the Ruffle Scarf.

I started this scarf back in October (September?). I breezed through the initial 55" of 1 x 1 ribbing with surprising speed. Back then, I had it on short, straight needles and it was my port-o-project. Between a few road trips, a lecture, and a flat-tire incident, it grew faster than I would have anticipated for 1 x 1 rib.

At the end of the long ribbing, I picked up stitches on one, short edge and knit the cute, lacy ruffle. I had fun with that first, lacy ruffle so I got going on the ruffle for the second short end. But now I was becoming acutely aware that when you're knitting a ruffle from the bottom out, each row is longer than the last. What starts with 30ish stitches per row at the base, grows to over 100 stitches at the end. It was the beginning of project-fatigue. Nonetheless, I finished that second ruffle and picked up stitches for the ruffle on the first, long edge. But, ack, I had to pick up nearly 200 stitches - evenly, of course - along 55" of scarf. My stitch picking-up skillz are marginal. Picking up that many stitches, evenly(!), was both tedious and challenging (bad combo). However, I soldiered on. For, maybe, 4 rows before completely losing all motivation on this project.

Think of second sock syndrome. Now imagine instead of two socks, it's four. And the second two socks are 6 times bigger than the first two. It's really not surprising it wound up in the UFO pile.

I'd like to add here that I rarely use the term "UFO" (unfinished object). I much prefer "WIP" (work in progress). WIP suggest that even if you haven't touched the thing in months, you still fully intend on finishing it...someday. UFO, on the other hand, is admitting defeat. I'd rather not admit defeat. Still, there comes a point where you've really just got to call it like it is. And this scarf had become a UFO.

So there I am, about to get on a 5-6 hour flight with nothing to knit. The horror! So I grab this infamous ruffle scarf and only this ruffle scarf. With no other knitting options, I'll be delighted to work on this project, I figured. Thank heaven, I was right! I have, perhaps unfairly, maligned this ruffle scarf. It was perfect travel knitting. Perfect! Those long ruffles are on circular needles (no poking the person sitting next to you) and the lacy pattern is interesting and fun as well as intuitive (no need to constantly refer to the pattern). And suddenly those looooong rows are a blessing. They really help the time pass because it's just one row but it takes half an hour. With this scarf and my iPod, those flights flew (ahem) by.

So did I finish the scarf?

Well, no.

But, man, I am so close! I have just two more rows of plain knitting (no more increases) and then I bind off the last ruffle. There will be some finishing, hrm... BUT, then I'll be done! And I really am looking forward to having this scarf.