Colorful Ravens

Since there were no suggestions as a result of my last post, I took matters into my own hands and have cast on several new projects. The first is the mittens from the Frost Tapestry pattern set (by Robin Melanson on Twist Collective), but while the black alpaca yarn (Alpaca with a Twist, left over from the Alpaka Tunic) I have is lovely, I think the cream (Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light, left over from the  Willoughby scarf) may be a bit thin, so I’m waiting to go to the yarn shop and see if they have something more compatible.

So, with that project put quickly on hold, I started another pair of Christmas socks, again digging into my Rockin’ Sock Club pattern stash and picking Raven Swirl Socks by Cookie A, a pattern I’ve yet to even attempt. I paired the pattern (which originally came with yarn called “Blackbird”, a very dark colorway) with another skein of Trekking XXL in colors that remind me of rainbow sherbet.

The thing is, the lace panels (on the left and right of the ribs in the photo above) are supposed to twist down the leg from the cuff to the heel. But mine aren’t twisting. The ribs are moving, but the lace is perfectly stationary. I’ve read the directions 6+ times (which shows how dedicated I am to not ripping these back), and I can’t find where, or indeed if, I’m screwing up.

Please, please, for the love of all things woolly, leave me a comment if you’ve knit these socks and can attest to the fact that this is how they look before the heel is turned and gusset is installed.

Please?

Catching up

Wow. Sorry about the long stretch of <insert crickets chirping here>. I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed, and when I get to that point, I tend to sort of shut down and not really do anything. Well, anything except knitting. And working. And “mom-ing”.

And I think I’m ready to stop wallowing in… well, I don’t really know what to call it. “Funk” implies that I haven’t been showering. “Self-pity,” although a common thing to wallow in, isn’t what I’m dealing with. I think I’ll go with “nit-picky-life-crap”. That pretty much sums it up. There are a bunch of little things, none of which will take more than ten minutes or so to resolve, that I’ve just been putting off. I’ve got a list started, and I’m ready to start crossing things off of it.

Starting with this. A blog entry! I have actually done quite a lot of knitting in the last few weeks. Just after the new year I (re)started the Alpaka Tunic for Jojo (there were just too many mistakes to continue on with my initial attempt – this one is going MUCH better!), and as of today I’ve finished both sleeves, the back, and 1/3 of the front.  I’d take a picture of it to show you, but right now it just looks like a gloopy ball of black alpaca lace. See?

Alpaka Tunic, in Alpaca with a Twist

I was getting a little antsy, as I’ve found my ideal project takes about two weeks to finish. This sweater is quickly progressing (counting my false start) into its third week. So I took a little break over to weekend to make something for Max.

Child’s Placket Neck Pullover from Last Minute Knitted Gifts

I knit it using Cascade 220 and size 8 needles (rather than the size 7 called for in the pattern). I used EXACTLY two skeins – one of each color – and it fits Max with a little room to grow. It’s quite a toasty sweater. I know this because, after he’d been wearing it for a while, I picked him up and could feel the warm air come whooshing out from the neck. I’ll get a picture of it laid flat later, because by the time he went to bed last night, I was too pooped to take any more photos.

Wow. I feel so much better now that I’ve written this post. Item number 1 has been checked off my list.

Now for the other 200 things I need to do…


Cruel

I’m not sure what I’ve done to so anger the knitting fates, but let me tell you – they seriously have it in for me.

First it was Girasole. I’ve been knitting away at it since I finished my Christmas knitting. When I got to the third chart, I thought, “Wow, you’d think I’d be getting faster with my needles. How odd that it takes me more than 20 minutes to do a round (320 stitches)…” When I got to the fourth chart, I thought, “Wow, it sure seems like I’m doing this boring little 4-stitch repeat a lot more than 80 times…” When I got to row 10 of the fourth chart, I got a little worried. By my calculations, I had more than 38,000 stitches to go, having completed about 12,000 stitches to that point. And I was already starting my fifth ball of yarn out of the 10 I’d purchased for this project. But I merrily knit on, knowing that I have a very bad track record when it comes to how much yarn is required (see Fascine Braid Socks and February Lady Sweater posts).

At row 14, I finally tracked down a pair of 60″ circular needles, and proceeded to move my lovely blanket off of the short pair. Once I had the stitches mostly-evenly distributed, I laid the afghan out on my bed, and called my husband in to admire my work. “Look,” I said, “it’s even lovely from the back!” because I’d finally managed to control my tension and make all of the stitches the same size.

Then, for reasons I can’t explain, I counted the leaves at the center of the blanket (this would be the part knit whilst I was pontificating the possible reasons for my slower-than-molasses knitting). I should have had 20. When I got to the 20th leaf, I wasn’t even half way around the blanket. Holy crap!

I know that my mistake started somewhere in chart A (back when there were only 80 stitches in each round), but I can’t for the life of me identify what happened.

Luckily, my mom bought me a ball winder for Christmas, so I was able to re-wind 1100 yards of yarn in no time at all (by the way, watching 1100 yards worth of knitting unravel, intentionally, because you screwed up is one of the most heartbreaking, yet beautiful things ever. The yarn I knotted in ever increasing circles seemed to jump joyously back into ball form). Then I took my yarn, and the needles, and the pattern, and I put them into my knitting chest to “rest” until I am stable enough to try it again.

But all was not lost (well, all was lost for Girasole; but that’s not the only stick I’ve got in the fire). I started over on the Alpaka Tunic from Interweave Knits Fall 2009 that I’m making for my daughter. I’d misinterpreted the chart so many times that I had stopped making a sweater and started making a jumble of yarn that wouldn’t, in the end, make either of us happy. This time, in order to practice with the chart a bit, I’ve started with the sleeves, which only have one pattern repeat, and are only 30 or so rows long. I finished the first one yesterday at the bookstore, and I was looking forward to getting the second one cast on today during lunch.

Anyone want to venture a guess as to what happened to that plan? Please note the time of this post (obviously written around lunch time), and the use of the phrase “…was looking forward…” in the previous paragraph. Well, I have my yarn. I have my pattern.

But I have no needles.

So, if anyone knows why the knitting fates are ticked off at me, please share the reason with me so I can make amends. This is getting old, and I’d really like to knit something (anything) this evening.