29 August 2006

I'm really behind

I've fallen into the evil trap of procrastinating on posting an entry to my blog; worse still, I'm procrastinating because I have so much to share, which means it only gets worse the longer I wait!

So now it's time for an incredibly long post to try to catch up. So long, in fact, that it is going to have an outline. (Or something approaching an outline. Or maybe a table of contents? Whatever you wish to call it.)

1. Teaching my friend to knit

2. WIPs

3. Frogging?

4. Anything else I think of before I'm finished

Part the First: Teaching a Friend to Knit

One of the things I've been up to is teaching a friend to knit. I should note that this friend is very ambitious, and has a history of jumping straight into the deep end with crafts. So, of course, she fell in love with a scarf (not so bad) that was knit in novelty yarn (not so good) in two strands (getting worse) and in the following pattern: P1, *YO, P2Tog* (Danger, DANGER Will Robinson!!) She was very excited, though.

I wanted her to like knitting so much, and yet I was terrified that she was going to hate it after trying and failing (because, I was really really afraid she was going to give up one of the many times that she couldn't get the pattern.. and who would blame her?). Not only was it two strands of novelty yarn, but one of them was a very open railroad-type ribbon yarn.

So I tried to teach her, and it kept getting messed up. She would have too many stitches, or too few. Because it was a novelty yarn and an essentially unknown stitch to me (e.g. I have not knitted in it for any length of time so I didn't really know how it SHOULD look for sure), I didn't know what she was doing wrong. She started trying to tackle it on some black acrylic that we have lying around. She was still having trouble, so she tried just purling, and got that down. (Just so you know, I tried to get her to do that the first time, but remember what I said about jumping into the deep end? ;-) )

Then I stupidly thought, "Purling is just knitting backwards, so shouldn't the pattern be able to be adapted to knitting? And wouldn't that be much easier?" So I had her try this: *K2Tog, YO* K1

She came to me and asked ME to try it, because she couldn't get it. I tried it and discovered that it does something completely mysterious. I still haven't figured out why this didn't work, but suffice it to say it didn't.

By now, though, she had apparently started to get the hang of this all, because she started trying the original pattern on the black yarn again, and actually got it. Success! And then she cast-on and started knitting the actual scarf.

There have been set-backs aplenty; she dropped one or both needles several times, and one time the lifeline wasn't in correctly and I couldn't rescue all the stitches and had to frog back further for her. One time (before the lifeline) she tried to frog back on her own and discovered why people use lifelines when YOs are involved.. they just disappear on you. I felt so bad.. by the time she had the needle out and was frogging back, it was too late, so I decided not to jinx her; she had already completely surpassed all my expectations for a beginning knitter, and I wasn't going to put anything past her!

Amazingly, though, she is almost finished. This whole saga started less than three weeks ago, and she basically knit to the end of the yarn (we cut the fringe beforehand), and I'm going to teach her how to cast-off tonight. At the beginning she was frustrated [ed: not frustrating, as in previous, mistyped version] as all get out, but now she seems to be starting to discover how relaxing it is and what a nice break from other tasks it can be.

Hopefully I'll be posting some lovely pictures (or at least a link to her lovely pictures) of the finished project.. I have been SO impressed with her, and I want you all to see what she's accomplished! I wish I could claim credit, but I swear that if she didn't have an apparently bottomless reservoir of perseverance and stubbornness, I don't know how she could have stuck with it. I wasn't really that helpful except talking her down when she wanted to do something drastic. It's been an interesting process. Hopefully, we have a new knitter in the club!

Part the Second: WIPs

I have a ridiculous number of WIPs now, and people have been clamoring for pictures of various ones. (Okay, clamoring is not the right. Occasionally asking quite politely is more accurate.) So, I grabbed all my WIPs (in several trips) and took pictures of them. Some of them have not had particularly much progress, or not noticeable process, but this will probably be good for me, too, to really recognize that I have NO reason to be starting a new project right now.

No numbers for the projects because I don't want to know...

Doctor Who Scarf

There has been a bit more progress on the Doctor Who scarf, which puts it just past a quarter of the way finished. Or, in pictures:

I thought the garter stitch would be relaxing, but it turns out that knitting in the round is much more relaxing because you don't have to go back and forth. For this reason, there's been some reasonable progress on...

"Tie-dye" Soleil

Several of you commented that the yarn is getting kind of a tie-dye effect. I agree. Also, thank you to everyone who gave me tips, including interspersing two different skeins every few rows to avoid pooling. If I decide I can't stand it anymore, I'll frog back and do that, but in the meantime, i can't bring myself to do it just yet. The patterns are at least fascinating, even if I'm not sure I can wear them.. (Oh yeah, and they DO look a bit more noticeable in pictures than they do in person. The flash probably changes the colors just enough to emphasize the differences.. or at least, that's my best guess.)

My preference for mindless knitting should be a warning that I haven't done much more complex knitting, ala:

Calliope Shell

I had to go back in the archives, in fact, to see what I was calling this one, and as it turns out I hadn't shown off the progress since before I stopped making it. So, this will look like a lot more (most of the back, in fact). It also has my favorite handmade stitch markers (also my only handmade stitch markers.. gotta fix that eventually..):

Ballband Dishcloth

I'm recovered from my stupid cold/allergies/whatever it was, but the ballband dishcloth craze has continued. A completely different combination of colors than I was using previously:

I finished two more in the green and blue of the other pictured one, and probably will get one more out of those colors when I can stand to look at them again. In the meantime, I'm working on this to match a friend's kitchen. :-)

Sensational Sock

Wait, a sock? Where did this come from? When did I give any indication that I was going to knit a sock?? Was it the gnomes? How dare they get into my stash! And they even turned the heel, apparently.. my favorite part!

(Yes, you can see my plan. When you have too many WIPs, there's an easy solution: deny, deny, deny. You can't deny the existence of the WIPs, of course, so the best bet is to deny having had anything to do with the knitting of said WIPs. Isn't it ingenious??)

Part the Third: Frogging?

Okay, to get those pictures I had to carry all my stuff downstairs, twice, because I stupidly managed to DELETE the pictures from my camera instead of downloading them onto my computer. So, I don't want to go down to the basement and dig through boxes to find the WIP that I'm going to be talking about here so I can take a picture, because, well, I'm lazy and tired. So there.

Anyway, LAST fall I started knitting a sweater. It was a pretty sweater with lots of nice details like ribbing around the bottom and also around the neckline. It wasn't particularly complicated. I never finished it--got halfway through the first sleeve before I realized that I was not going to finish before it was much too warm to wear it, and put it away.

It was also knitted with two strands of worsted weight yarn held together, in order to get a gauge of 3.5 sts/inch.

So, even though I've finished the front AND the back, and half of the first sleeve, I'm seriously considering frogging. The fabric is not nearly as nice as I know it would be if I knitting one strand at the correct weight, and I'm not scared of needles smaller than size 9 anymore (like I apparently was before) so that's not really an issue. I'm also seriously considering knitting it in the round, thus removing the need to sew up the side seams. The yarn is a lovely orange that is going to look very good on me, so I'm having trouble finding anything wrong with the plan.

Well, except for the fact that I have all the WIPs above already, and now I'm talking about making this project take even longer. I don't know what to do...

Part the Fourth: I'm Tired Now

Okay, I included a fourth part because I felt that there was something else I was supposed to add that I was forgetting. But, I've already made an INCREDIBLY long post (don't know if anyone's even reading, at this point), and I still can't remember, so I'm going to finish now. Maybe I'll even manage to post again before a week has gone by, especially if I remember whatever's lurking in the back of my head.

If you actually did read this far, thanks! I'm so glad to have all of this out of my head and onto my computer/blog!

(P.S. Sorry if you got multiple indications in your reader of choice or it did anything else weird.. I was having a horrible time getting this to post and getting all the pictures in there. More motivation to post more frequently with shorter posts!)

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