Still hot

It’s still hot, but that hasn’t actually stopped me from making progress.

Here is what I did this morning:

Hemlock Ring Blanket by Jared Flood (Brooklyn Tweed), in Schoppel-Wolle Baby Alpaka naturbelassen

That’s the Hemlock Ring Blanket, all washed and pinned out on my bed. I think it’s lovely, and I can’t wait to pass it to its recipient on Christmas. I hope he likes it!

While that’s drying (which, due to the extreme heat and lack of humidity should take about 10 minutes) I’ve moved my computer, knitting bag, and myself into a comfy chair at Barnes & Noble to suck up some free air conditioning.

And then I knit some more

The Hemlock Ring Blanket has survived it’s mistake, and all is well with it. In fact, on Tuesday afternoon I reached a critical point in its progress. I was at the row where brooklyntweed ended his blanket, and I was originally planning to do the same, especially since I wanted to do the fancy edge and was worried I’d run out of yarn if I did any of the additional rounds. So I did what any responsible knitter would do.

I called Clever Knits, where I bought the yarn I’m using, to see if she had anymore. And she did. And she had it set behind the counter, just waiting for me when I went to knit night.

This morning I took a quick detour to stop at another LYS because the short size 10.5 needles were driving me crazy. I got a set of 45″ long Addi Turbos, and oh, what a difference it has made! The needles I started with have horrible joins, and I was constantly having to coax my stitches from the cable to the needle. Now everything just slides. I have nine rows left to knit, then the bind off. I’m planning to be done sometime tomorrow so I can block it on Saturday. As soon as I have it pinned out, I’ll post a photo so you can share my excitement.

Now that I’m coming to the end of the Hemlock Ring Blanket, I’ve been trying to organize & prioritize my knitting projects. Here, then, is a list of what I think I’m doing. Since many of these are gifts, I won’t be mentioning who they’re for.

  1. Finish the Irish Hiking Scarf (it’s soooo close to being done)
  2. Sweater for Christmas gift
  3. Birthday Shawl
  4. FLS (only one sleeve, for the love of wool. Just finish it already!)
  5. Socks for Christmas gift #1
  6. Socks for Christmas gift #2
  7. Mittens for Christmas gift
  8. Socks for Christmas gift #3 (these ones are small, so they can go at the end)

Holy moley!! Maybe I shouldn’t have written all this down. Although, I have to say that getting the Hemlock Ring Blanket done in less than two weeks has given me hope and new confidence in my knitting abilities.

Later!

Crap!

As you may know, I restarted the Hemlock Ring Blanket on Tuesday night at the Clever Knits Knit Night. And it was going well. I made it all the way through the center, and up to row 43 of the “Feather and Fan” chart before I made an error. And boy, oh boy… what an error.

This is really a pretty simple pattern, once you make it through the center, but I’ve had issues in my previous attempts at this blanket with keeping track of how many stitches I had (the many, many, many YOs and combined stitches make counting a challenge, at least for me). But I swore this time, it would be different. I used rings to mark the 8 sections, in order to facilitate counting higher than 10 reliably. When I got to the chart section, I’d knit the pattern, counting carefully, then on the next row count each section again to make sure I caught any mistakes right away. Then I could confidently knit away at the next three rows, knowing in my heart of heart that the next pattern row would just work (due to stitch-fidelity).

This method was working perfectly until this evening. This morning I decided that, although longer needles would make my progress more comfortable, I was going to forge ahead and finish this thing up today. I’d decided to end where brooklyntweed ended, for fear of running out of yarn (as is my tendency), which meant I only had 15 rows left vice the 30 I thought I had. So, knit, knit, knit…only 10 rows left.

I set the thing down to have dinner, and when I picked it back up and had nearly finished the second to last pattern row, I noticed I had one too many stitches in the 7th section. It was pretty easy to find my error: I’d done a random YO two rows previous (in a row where I wasn’t counting). I dropped the stitch, and decided to let the stitches even themselves out during blocking. So, knit, knit, knit… this is looking TOTALLY DOABLE!!

Yeah, but in the next section, I noticed something wonky. Strange, I thought to myself, there shouldn’t be any YOs here…I’m doing the pattern row now… Hmmm.

Yeah, I screwed up. For some reason, after 70+ rounds of starting the new row when I get to the cool white ring marker, I opted to start at the purple marker instead.

I put the blanket aside, played some stupid games on Facebook, took a bath, put the boy to bed… and in doing so, have managed to put off tinking (that’s “knit” backwards, +an “ing”) 1224 stitches until tomorrow. If anyone has a suggestion re: how to avoid this, please let me know ASAP.

Thanks.

(no photo of blanket, because it’s in time out)

Weird Weather and Other News

It looks as though summer has finally arrived here in Southern California. Our May Gray and June Gloom extended, with only a few exceptions (i.e., really outrageously hot days that happened to fall on the days that I was at home rather than in my over-air conditioned office), well into August. In fact, just yesterday there were thunderstorms in Santee (thanks for rubbing it in, Sharon!), and strong winds and overcast skies here in Escondido. It felt more like October than August, and I was happy for it was perfect knitting weather.

Today, it was HOT and HUMID. Apparently, I was a little too happy yesterday, and the weather gods have put me in my place. And yet, even though it was about a billion degrees, and 900% humidity (yes, I did that on purpose), I knit. I finished off the 5th skein of yarn and started on the 6th for the Irish Hiking Scarf. I’m really, REALLY liking this project. The only thing that would make me like it more is if I’d used yarn that had more than 110 yards per skien. I used the spit-splice method of joining the ends, so I’ll only have my first and last tails to weave in, but still. What a pain in the arse!

I’m taking a short break from the Hemlock Ring Blanket because my needles are too short. I just looked up 60″ size 10.5 needles online, and have to wonder: why is there a $5.00 price difference between the size 10 needles (which I could have used) and the size 10.5 needles (which I rather foolishly did use)? Well, I can tell you that there is no way I’m starting over again just so I can save five bucks. I’ll skip a coffee or two this week to make up for it. The blanket, despite my break, is doing well. I quite over-achieved on my plan to do five rows per day (which would make one “feather and fan” pattern repeat), and am now ready – as soon as I get some suitable needles – to begin the ninth out of 14 repeats.

I put in a “lifeline” (I threaded some cotton string thru the stitches) and removed it from the needles so I could check my progress. I measured it, and it’s only 41″ in diameter. Wow, and I thought I was nearly done. Well, after some further reading, I found that brooklyntweed’s blanket was just 48″ in diameter, so it would appear that I’m on track. Especially since I didn’t stretch it out at all to take that measurement, and I know that my stuff grows with blocking. Although it would be more comfortable using longer circulars, I might just finish this up on the ones I’m using now so I can call it done and revel in all its loveliness.

Revisiting an old Friend

Last night I went to Knit Night at Clever Knits in Vista again. In preparation, I pulled out my Hemlock Ring Blanket and frogged the very last project I’d been working on back when I was twisting my knit stitches. I think I may finally be over it (knitting wrong thru so many projects) by the time I’ve finished this blanket. Why, you ask, is it going to take me until I’m done? Why not be over it right now? Well, because the difference in the appearance of the product, when knit the correct way, is so stunningly great that I can’t help stopping every so often and marveling at how much better it looks now. The center isn’t nearly as puckered, and the spots where I’m gathering three stitches together lay in a neat line, one above the next.

While I was at Knit Night, a lady asked about what I was making, and I replied that this was the fourth time I’d knit this pattern, and still had nary a blanket to show for my efforts. I explained further, and was shocked to find that two others, sitting very near me, had had a similar experience. One had twisted both her knit and purl stitches, and (although she now knits the right way) argued that a twisted stitch was a perfectly valid stitch. True, I replied, but only if that’s what you were meaning to do. The other lady did exactly what I’d done (twisted the knits, but not the purls), and had likewise banished the sweater she’d been working on at the time of her discovery to a bag in the closet. “I’m still angry with it,” she said. Funny, that’s exactly how I’d felt about the FLS!

The second lady was wearing a beautiful shawl that she’d made, and was working on another project, so it looks like she’s embraced the idea that just because you didn’t do something right when you started, you can still do it right later. You know, it’s that whole “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” lesson. She was very nice, and I’m glad that she kept at it, otherwise I’d never have met her (although I still didn’t remember to introduce myself or ask for her name).

I’ve made it to the charted part of the Hemlock Ring, and I think I’ll do one pattern row along with the four rows of knit a day. This will be easy at first, but once I get up toward the end, it might be a bit of a stretch. According to my (current, optimistic) schedule, I’ll finish it by September 2.

In between rows on the blanket, I’ll continue working on the Irish Hiking Scarf. Here it is, with the last of the yarn. I’m almost done!

So close

The knitting gods smiled upon me these last two days. At least, that is, until last night.

I knew it was too good to last, but I was tired and weak (two more reasons I should have known better). I was so close to the chart portion of the Hemlock Ring Throw, I just had to keep going. I got to the point where I was moving my markers over 9 stitches, and in the third pattern repeat…wait! Why isn’t this falling neatly in between those two decreases?? OMG! I missed one! Three rows back??!! 

Needless to say, I stuffed it into my knitting bag and went to bed. Today I’m cleaning again rather than knitting. Oh well. I won’t get my blanket done, but my house will look nice.