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Adventures in Knitting: The Project - MoonScape [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
e_moon60

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Adventures in Knitting: The Project [Apr. 27th, 2011|10:29 am]
e_moon60
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[Current Mood |accomplished]

Though once I was  a pretty decent knitter, it's been decades, and I'm back to "inexperienced" (though experience is rushing in, as I make novice blunders and have to fix them.)   I picked a large First Project, for several reasons, one of them the conviction that knitting and purling long, uninterrupted rows would help me get back my rhythm, which lay behind my (formerly) very even stitches.   Lots of just plain knitting, garter stitch and stockinette, I thought, would be just the ticket for retraining my hands, now used to a lot of little up and down and slightly sideways movements of typing.  

It might have been wiser not to change all the variables at once.  

But hey, challenges are good for you, right?   ER....   Well, anyway, I started off with something bigger than I'd ever done before,  with unfamiliar yarn (I'd never knitted with synthetic yarn, or vari-colored yarn), and unfamiliar needles (I'd never knitted on a circular needle of any kind--had knitted in the round on double-pointed needles.)   And here I am, a solid inch and a bit into the length of it (but 180 stitches wide, total width of fabric of around 40 inches.)   About a thousand stitches in, I estimate.  It is making a relaxing change from typing--my hands like it.   So my new plan (as if any plan survives contact with real life) is to stop and knit a row whenever my hands start to hurt.   And I can take it along on trips or anywhere else that "sit and wait" is likely to be necessary.

I have made a number of mistakes.  I have fixed them, more or less.  This is not the most beautiful, even, perfect stretch of knit you'll ever see.  Tough.  It's coming along.

Things I didn't know going in:  the color variation in this yarn coincides with variations in the yarn's feel and behavior on the needles.   The dark blue feels soft, well-spun, and flows nicely on the needle tips.  The yellowish feels harsher, the twist opens up making it very easy to split the yarn, and "wants" to widen out stitches.  In between the other colors (and the blends between them) have each their specific behaviors.   On a circular needle, the work likes to inhabit the cable, where it's got more room to slide (the cable being of much smaller diameter than the needle points.)  It has no desire to climb up onto the left hand needle (I'm a right-handed knitter--this is the needle whose stitches I knit into) and put itself in the comfortable spot to be worked.  So instead of being able to knit nonstop across a row, I'm constantly (every 10 stitches or so) having to stop and move the work forward (until near the end of that row, when the weight of the work isn't on the cable pulling stitches back.)    That doesn't allow me to build up the long rhythm I was hoping to, but I'm developing better tension and rhythm anyway.  The cable is also naturally curly (the manufacturer of mine claims its cable doesn't have a memory and thus doesn't curl up, but...yes, it does.  Maybe less, but it does.)   Its ability (and desire) to curl in 3 dimensions leads to interesting topological forms, but also wildly twisting work and (at times) a tendency to get in my way.   I may be crazy, but I think a limp, more cord-like cable would be easier to work with.   And if asked, I'd prefer needle tips about an inch and a half longer.  I have big hands; I would like to feel the back end of the needle (where it joins the cable) with the heel of my hand, because it would let me keep the yarn on the needle tip from slithereing back onto the cable when I don't want it to.

Still: it's coming.  I'm now over a thousand stitches into it, and the thing is an inch long.  It's looking less like a mess and more like something that might turn into its intended end--a 40 inch wide fabric of some sort (ultimately a small, child-sized blanket of ~40" x 48".   I have relearned (or invented) some creative ways to fix mistakes, using a crochet hook, a spare double-ended needle and intense concentration.  Some of these are, no doubt, unorthodox....faced with the need to rip off 160 stitches to "properly" fix one, I looked at it repeatedly for a couple of days and instead did something else.  Then fixed the mess that made.  Don't ask--I'm not telling.

Current images of the project:  first is of the whole project on its needle and the yarn (note pink "stopper" on end of one needle point (near yarn ball); you can't really see the green stopper point on the other end in this shot.  In the close-up image, it's the confusing bit of green on the other one, underneath the bit of knitting.   That loose end of sage-green yarn is from the long-tail cast on.   Yes, I should have pulled it straight for the picture.  And turned the yarn ball so you could see the label.  Sorry...   The needle is KnitPicks Harmony wood.  Love the feel and the little wood-on-wood click.  The yarn is Berella Comfort, a nylon/acrylic blend, knitting worsted weight, and I'm using size 7 (US) needle tips.   The white stitch markers are set where I'll want them for the design I've planned (20 stitch garter-stitch border throughout, 35 stitch alternating sections of garter and stockinette for the interior.

       
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: ladymurmur
2011-04-27 03:49 pm (UTC)
Knitting is my "relief" from typing, too! Sometimes crocheting, depending on the project at hand. But for some reason yarn-work offers a respite to hands tired from typing all day. Though be aware, if you start knitting for longer periods of time (multiple rows on this project), that tired-from-typing hands can quite easily become tired-from-knitting hands, too. :-)

I love the color variation in that yarn. (Also in your needles!) That quality/feel variation in variegated yarn is something I've noticed in multiple yarns, though more so in synthetics than natural fibers for some reason. I think the blanket will turn out wonderfully, and cannot wait to see more pictures as it progresses!
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-04-27 04:17 pm (UTC)
Yes...I'm limiting myself to one row (or less) at a time, in hopes of preventing the "knitting-tired" syndrome to merge with the "typing tired" syndrome. Love the non-impact side of knitting, compared to typing, but it's still repetitive movement.

I like that yarn so much I'm thinking of getting more, to make myself something from as a reward when I finish this project. Thanks for confirming that it's not just my years away from knitting that made me notice a difference in the feel of the different colored areas on the yarn.
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[User Picture]From: teriegarrison
2011-04-27 03:58 pm (UTC)
You are a Wicked Woman, you know? I've now reached the point of googling knitting classes in my area. :-P
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-04-27 04:18 pm (UTC)
Don't blame me. It's all Robin McKinley's fault (or rather, it started with her blog community, many of whom seem to be knitters, spinners, and so on.)

Edited at 2011-04-27 04:25 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: keristor
2011-04-27 04:25 pm (UTC)
As far as I'm concerned knitting is 'magic' (any sufficiently advanced technology), but it looks good to me. And as an engineer, if the way you're fixing things works then go for it (even though, for some strange reason, your method seems not to involve a hammer *g*).

(Incidentally I have a tendency to read 'knitters' and 'knitting' as 'kittens' which results in some stifled giggles occasionally...)
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-04-27 05:44 pm (UTC)
There are many, MANY jokes about knitting and kittens, most involving kittens IN the knitting and the problems that causes.

For a kitten to have maximum destruction with a ball of yarn, the working end of the yarn should be attached to something...such as knitting on a needle that does not have a "stopper" on the end. Such as something *almost* finished when the phone rings and the knitter drops the work in the chair and goes to answer the phone, forgetting that Dumpling/Tiger/Missy/Juno/Grasshopper is in the house, in fact in that room, apparently asleep back in some corner.

But though the phone didn't wake up the kitten, that soft noise as the knitting and needles fell into the chair seat did. And now (while the knitter is responding to whatever the call was about) the kitten discovers that a) the chair seat recently left by a human is warm and b) it's full of interesting stuff.
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[User Picture]From: fair_witness
2011-04-28 12:07 pm (UTC)
Once when I was knitting a mini-kitty, Smoke kept grabbing the project bag in his teeth and dragging it off whenever I wasn't looking. I won't say he'd never done that before, but usually he'd gotten bored or distracted after the first time. He was persistent about this particular project, though. My best friend opined that Smoke was jealous of anything with the potential to be cuter than him.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-04-28 12:13 pm (UTC)
Smoke's expression in that picture is certainly unfriendly towards the orange knit-kitty.
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[User Picture]From: fair_witness
2011-04-28 02:05 pm (UTC)
Pure jealousy, I think. He was probably quite happy to see me pack them up and ship 'em out.
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From: ozdragonlady
2011-04-28 01:14 pm (UTC)
They are fantastic! ( ... and so is Smoke ...)

Do you have a pattern for them please?
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[User Picture]From: fair_witness
2011-04-28 02:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

It's not my pattern, but I certainly can pass along a link to the pattern:

http://geobabe.livejournal.com/195349.html

Enjoy!
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From: zackthedog
2011-04-27 06:29 pm (UTC)

knitting

There's a new snake on the land!
No wait... the yarn was a dead giveaway. The closeup is gorgeous bit of knitting. Almost makes me want to pull out my sticks and go for it again. Almost.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-04-27 07:34 pm (UTC)

Re: knitting

I knew a spinner once who made yarn of dog undercoat (her family bred Samoyeds and she knew someone who bred poodles.) The Samoyed silver-poodle mix was like moonlight, and the Samoyed-apricot poodle mix was impossible to describe but beautiful. But you have to have a long-haired dog that grows a thick undercoat of fine hair....you wouldn't happen to have such a dog, would you? (I have no idea what Goldens' undercoat is like.)

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From: otterb
2011-04-28 12:21 am (UTC)

Re: knitting

I met someone at a craft fair once who was spinning a lovely soft white fiber into yarn. It was, she told me, three years of spring shed from a Siberian husky named Tasha.

Having owned a husky-malamute mix, I can believe it.
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From: (Anonymous)
2011-04-28 02:05 am (UTC)

Re: knitting

Some god undercoat (the fluffy parts) has enough "tooth" to spin a coherent thread from all by itself, and some doesn't -- fortunately you can still spin it if you mix it with sheep's wool. (Though I'm told that dog-hair wool has an unfortunate tendency to smell like a wet dog when it gets wet.)

I was contacted once by someone who wanted to make an "Afghan afghan" to raffle off for her Afghan hounds group. Unfortunately I'm neither a terribly good nor a fast spinner; it would have been fun.
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[User Picture]From: jon_d_r
2011-04-28 02:02 am (UTC)
Knit one, purl two, drop seven. Dang!
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From: (Anonymous)
2011-04-28 04:18 am (UTC)

knitting with looms: less math required

Being attention impaired, I prefer knitting on lap rakes or looms. I have a big one for doing horse blankets, but it is still lap sized: you go back and forth inside the oval to make a flat piece. Much less counting of stitches, I mostly count rows or inches for stripes. Hooking yarn over pegs with one hand while keeping the right tension between pegs with the other hand can be done on auto-pilot. The pegs are not a sufficient guarantee of "no dropped stitches" though: you still have to give it at least some attention, while talking to real people or mentally rewriting the latest attempt at witty dialog between characters.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-04-30 03:16 pm (UTC)

Re: knitting with looms: less math required

I knew about weaving on small peg-type looms, but not knitting--looked it up online. That's fascinating.
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