Baby Steps

365.52 dpns 2

Knitting in the round is undoubtedly my most favorite way to knit things. I will happily steek a cardigan, and if I were a little braver and more of a pattern follower, I’d be happy to steek sleeves – I’m working on that one. Once I have a better grasp on designing the tops of sweaters, no question. The reasons are many, not least of which I’m a pretty speedy knitter and a less speedy purler and after the efficiency discussion last post, I’m sure it’s clear that knitting is a more efficient use of my time. Also I love color work and that is just miserable on the purl rounds. I convert anything that can be converted to in-the-round to it. In this sense I think EZ was brilliant (I am not a huge fan of garter stitch, but other than that, I think she’s pretty ok).

There seem to be two camps on in the round knitting when it comes to equipment. Double pointed needles or magic loopers. I have been a dedicated dpn lover. I love circulars for sweaters and things where the circumference is similar to the needle length, but for small things, mittens being my most favorite of all time, I’m all dpn all the time. And one reason, I’m sure you’ve all guessed, is that I’m faster at it. I am capable of magic loop, I understand the concept, but all the sliding around of the stitches and cables just drives me crazy. Aside from just that it’s faster for me, there is something very comforting to me about having 5 needles on there and going in circles and circles and circles. I love thinking of all the other people throughout history who have done exactly the same thing.

Now, here is the rub. I am not a sock knitter. I have, however, discovered that I am madly in love with hand knit socks from hand spun yarn. I’m not sure what it is about them but they fit and feel great, and they make me happy. But I hate knitting socks. And I’ve thought about it, since I love mittens and hate socks, I’ve determined that it is the heel that I hate. Upon further contemplation, I don’t hate knitting heels. When I’m doing it, I’m fine with it. And this leads me to wonder why I hate them. I’ve determined it’s the matching and second sock syndrome. I knit one sock at a time, and I don’t use patterns. I’m a toe up girl, since cuff down makes me feel either like I’m wasting material, leaving me with 100 yards of yarn I don’t know what to do with, or living on the edge, wondering if I’ll have enough to finish if I make leg longer. Toe up eliminates both of these scenarios, since you start at the toe, you knit, and when you run out of yarn, you’re done. Voila. Pas de problem. Since I don’t use a pattern, I keep putting it on my foot, and when it’s big enough I stop increasing, when it’s long enough I put in a heel, etc. This works great for the first sock. But matching the second one while not hard is not always exactly right, which is irritating to me. Plus knitting two of something you weren’t even psyched about knitting one of is kinda a drag. What would solve this problem? Doing both at the same time. And now, folks, what is the most efficient way of doing THAT?

Yes. Unfortunately I have to admit it’s magic loop. A few nights ago, I decided to do the sleeves of the new-favorite-sweater and since I was being kind of lazy and because I was dreading second sleeve syndrome, I thought, well, I’ll try this two at once thing one more time. And at first it was terrible. There was yarn tails and working yarn everywhere, loops of the cable, things sliding everywhere. I hated it. But partly because my goal this year was to learn to spin a consistent 3 ply sock yarn, and I need to at least try and get this two at once thing, and partly because I was too lazy to fish out my dpns from my bag, I kept going. And you know what? I got it. I sorted out a way to hold them that I felt ok about and after a while stopped having yarn twisted everywhere.

365.49 magic loop

Now as exciting as this should be, I’m a little upset. I feel a conflicted. I love my dpns and I feel like I’m cheating on them, or just cheating in general with magic loop. I mean, my dpns and I, we’re tight. We’ve knit a lot of things together! Well that, and I’m the worst changer in the world. Change and I are not friends. Down to how I knit my socks… And while I’ll still knit mittens and some sleeves, I’m afraid it’s like the typewriter – it still works, but we’ve moved on to better things. However, being an open minded knitter, I must admit that I don’t mind it much and it would make knitting socks much less daunting and prone to not-matching. So I ordered a few circular 0 and 1’s from knitpicks and I’ll see how this goes. But I think I’ll always be a dpn girl at heart.

Over-Productive

365.43 Bobbins

I have a small problem which I realize every so often, try to fix, then get seduced by productivity again. I am over productive. As multi-tasking-genius, I tend to do way too may things. On Friday, I get home, get the yeast started for pizza dough, sort and start laundry, then start dough, get dressed for a workout, finish kneading the rested dough, do workout, punch down dough, switch laundry, shower… so I’ve done three things in the time normal people do one. I read while knitting or plying yarn. I am expert at spending more time than I should at work deciding the most efficient order of operations when I get home to do the most things before I crash into bed. I am the worlds worst relaxer. I can count on one hand – probably three fingers – the number of times I’ve sat down with a cup of tea or wine and done nothing for even 10 minutes in the past 6 months. Right at this moment I’m thinking – if I stripped the bed and got the laundry done, I could do that while blogging and… Ok. Stop. This kind of thinking leaves me feeling like the above photos – head full of things to do and slightly off kilter.

Now this seems great. I blame the 50’s housewives and more recently Martha Stewart for just ‘whipping’ things up as if it were no trouble, busy bees. Ok, that’s not true. I blame my OCD. But really, there is almost never a time I sit down to do something that I’m not thinking of all the other things I could/should be doing, and how I could possibly do those things WHILE I’m doing whatever I’m doing. I mean how many blogs do you read and think “How are they doing two sweaters a month” or “god, how to they cook so many fantastic meals EVERY DAY?” Ok, here’s their secret. They, I suspect are crazy too. While trying to make it look easy, I am about 99% sure they’re hyperventilating also. My perception anyways is that society is all into multi-tasking and productivity and doing more more more. On a rational level I know this makes no sense and is driving me crazy, but I continue to think of how I can fit more things into my day. Seriously, life is short! I also blame my goal orientedness. I am currently trying to read a book a month, spin 8-10 oz of wool a week, keep up with the news, do my P90X workouts, work 40 hours a week, keep the house pretty much presentable and us with clean undies, cook every night, take a photo every day… I seriously wonder where my brain was when I decided on these goals.

So I’m going to make a concerted effort over the next few weeks to play video games without thinking of all the things I have to do (seriously, if laundry doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen, life goes on) and knit a sock or something without thinking of how I can balance a book on my lap. I will try.

Mad Progress

365.40 shoulder

Here is the neck of my new-favorite-sweater. The front and back are done, joined at the shoulder and I picked up around the neck and am working up the funnel turtle neck thingy right now. It’s working great, I think… I hope! Very relaxing working with this yarn, which some have asked what it is. It’s Tahki Tara Tweed, the color is poetically “009.” It’s working up quickly at 4 st/in, almost like instant gratification. I love it.

Another bit of mad progress? This photo was taken today, when I got home from work… WITH NATURAL LIGHT!!! We’re getting there! The sun is coming back! I cannot even explain the excitement here.

Teaser

365.37 yellow flowers

I am normally not a fresh flowers person. I do love them, but I always feel sad when they die and I throw them out after a week. Or more like they die and I refuse to believe that they’re dead and pretend they’re not until it’s not something anyone no matter how delusional could believe and then am faced with washing out a vase with green gunk stuck inside. However, the recent weather of stupid amounts of snow and then (thank goodness) rain (but still, cold rain. Who want’s that?) wore me down and I bought myself something sun colored and happy at the grocery store. And I love my flowers. I have no idea what type they are, but they’re yellow and happy and that’s good enough for me.

And since it was icky, this is where I stayed this weekend:

365.36 Saturday Night

This is my couch, with my knitting bag overflowing with sweater. Also sweater being measured on the back of the couch under the alpaca blanket. Note the puffy pillows. And handspun handknit socks. Yes, I am lame but this was a great day. New favorite sweater is done in the front, mostly done in the back, at knit-night tonight if I don’t screw up I expect to get them together and start the funnel turtle neck thingy, then it’ll be onto the sleeves.

With any luck I’ll have it finished sometime this week or next. Which is good. Since it’s still February and it’s still cold and snowing and I’m still seriously considering hibernation.

Glad I’m Not a Duck

365.32 not a duck

On Tuesday of this week, I brilliantly took the train to work to avoid driving in a snowy mess. It was a brilliant idea on the way out, less brilliant on the way back when the train was delayed over an hour leaving me sitting outside wondering when said train would show up. (I tried to take the 4:47 train. I ended up taking the 4:12… at 5:45). Anyways, on the walk to the train, before it ruined everything by being late, I was commending myself on the carless commute and noticing that I wasn’t as anxious, tired and generally annoyed as I usually am in traffic, even though I was walking in ankle deep snow the mile to the train. I was also commending myself for remembering to bring my camera and took my photo of the day not in my house at 10 pm as usual, searching for something mildly interesting, but rather outside. These are the ducks that are sitting in the Charles River in the middle of a snowstorm. And after sitting on the platform for more than an hour, I can honestly say I’m glad I’m not a duck. While there are some great things, I’m sure, about being a duck, I’ve identified some pretty important reasons why being a duck is not for me.

1. Ducks are fatty. And while it serves them well, I think I’d be rather self conscious if I had enough fat in me that I floated in water without trying.
2. I’m not 100% sure what ducks eat. I am, however, sure from my walks along the Charles that when it’s not stale leftover bread that some kid is chucking at me, it’s obtained by diving to the bottom of the river. The top of the Charles is gross, I don’t want to even think about the bottom.
3. Boy ducks get the cool green heads. Girl ducks get… brown. While it serves an important function of not getting them eaten when they’re waiting for baby ducks to be born, I’m much happier that we human ladies get the bling.
4. This goes for all birds that float on rivers on sub-freezing days, but I don’t like being wet even on warm days. I’m pretty sure if the best place I could find to be was in water next to ice, I’d be a pretty unhappy duck.
5. I’ve seen ducks with bum legs and even heard tell of a duck that co-workers watched get pulled under by a snapping turtle. This is nature, but is uncool. Also, another reason not to swim in the Charles.

I’m sure there are perks like ducklings which are admittedly adorable, and you can fly and you get to be outside all day on beautiful days, but I’m pretty sure that would not make up for the 5 items above.

All this is to distract you from the lack of knitting news. It’s been all consuming to shovel, get to and from work, etc. Also I’ve reached the armpits and have to make a decision and I just can’t muster the motivation for that until tomorrow.