December 21, 2012

Nearly a mile to knit before I'm done!

There are many assumptions made by non-knitters about the knitting of an afghan. I don't know many knitters who have knit afghans and, of those, I don't think I know many who liked knitting afghans. Myself, I hate knitting them. Why is this?

Non-knitters think afghans are easy to knit. Theoretically, yes they are. In reality, they are mind-numbing lay tedious and put a tremendous physical strain in the wrists, hands, and elbows.

Non-knitters think that an afghan is a "quick knit". An Aran cabled sweater is a quick knit compared to an afghan. Even if the needles are US 15 and the yarn is bulky, there are often so many stitches in a single row that it could take an hour to knit an inch. Just ask me.

Non-knitters think that afghans use a relatively small amount of yarn compared to a more intricate pattern, like a fair isle sweater. An afghan is usually somewhere in the neighbourhood of 4 feet wide by 5 or 6 feet long. That's like knitting a linebacker. Pause to think about that for a minute; then, try to calculate how much yarn it would take to knit a linebacker.

So it's been five weeks and I'm sitting here knitting on this custom order afghan, still. By the time I'm finished, I will have knit 1.7 miles (yes, MILES) of bulky weight yarn. By my calculations, I've knit just under a mile so far, which leaves me nearly a mile more to knit. I'm also going to need physical therapy.

I can say with absolute certainty that I will not be knitting another afghan in the near future. Maybe not again in this decade.

December 14, 2012

Friday FOs: Hats, hats, hats!

That afghan that I am supposed to have finished next week isn't making much progress, but I did manage to finish up a few hats.  The first is Honey's Skully hat that I was making as a birthday gift, and which, I think, is going camping/hiking this weekend.  It's still a bit damp and will hopefully hurry up and dry after it's first wash in the picture, but I wanted to share anyway.

Finishing this was a bit of a chore because the pattern that I purchased was missing the key for the final chart abbreviations and the decreases ... well they didn't actually match the stitch count of the project.  But, I persevered and Honey has a pretty cool hat, if you ask me.

Then these two hats are for nephews:

I had made several of these before the last festival that I attended and they completely sold out.  Haven't had time to make more for the shop, but I'm hoping that their popularity around here will translate to well-worn gifts for the boys.

Hope your Christmas knitting is moving right along too!  Knit happy!

December 10, 2012

Weekend Quick Knits

I stumbled upon a flowered head wrap in a department store that Rocket seemed to really like a few weeks ago and thought "I can do that!"  So, after a bit of trial and error, I came up with a pattern that has turned out to be a seriously quick knit--so quick in fact that I knit up 7 of them plus one for Rocket for Christmas in a few hours this weekend.  I even went so far as to learn to crochet flowers to give it that trendy look.  The fruits of my labors (and these are all machine washable and dryable or you can lay flat when damp and block them out to whatever size fits you best) are now available in the Etsy shop and are adjustable (21-23 inches as blocked).  I picked a bulky acrylic because it's super-soft and not everyone likes to wrap themselves in wool.

These are in the shop:

And this one for Rocket:

And now maybe I will make one for myself in wool!  Well, after I finish the projects already underway, that is. ;)

December 05, 2012

The Grass is Always Greener in December

 I am not sure how this works, perhaps that as I get older my attention span gets shorter, but it seems to me that I can never get more than 1/3 of the way into a project during the holiday season--even a project to which I am fully committed--without thinking about how I should/could be knitting something else, something more exciting.  If there's a "grass is always greener" syndrome for knitting, I've gotten it.

So with less than one chart to go (approximately 3 inches) on the Skully Hat, and 1/3 of the way into the custom order afghan (which Karma is using to laugh at me with every stitch because it's a Dawg blanket and I am, although an alumni, NOT a Dawg fan), and the second run at my Urbanista fingerless glove pattern, which is finally written and just lacks a good photo, that is being knit up with a shorter cuff in 100% alpaca but is only half-way finished, and my Irish Aran, which is scowling at me from the shelf because I haven't touched it in weeks, I dyed more yarn on Monday and thought "Ooooh! I should cast on some cable-y mittens in a red silk!"

Here's the red silk that resulted from that moment of whimsy.

It's actually a 60% silk/40% merino blend, but it's pretty gorgeous and wouldn't it make a nice pair of big girl mittens?  Does it count as knitting from your stash if it has been sitting on the shelf waiting to be dyed for the last six months, even if you didn't originally purchase it for yourself?  I think it does, especially since it's officially mine now, so that's extra points for me!  (There are definite perks to owning your own yarn company, albeit a small one.)

So, four plus hours into my new project and I am reminded that it is often the concept of a design that must be the motivating factor instead of having one's heart set on a particular pattern as being "the one" the first time out.  Although the modified woven cable pattern that I chose to use for these gloves is quite attractive, silk has zero stretch and I have found, 16 rounds into the thumbs, that this cable pattern done on smaller-than-recommended needles pulls in the hand a little too severely for comfort. So, a frogging we will go.  I absolutely love the stitch definition on the cuff, so I am thinking that an all-over cable pattern is the wrong path to take for this project and maybe a wrapped stitch cable or two just down the back is a better plan. 

With that said, I am not sure, however, how casting on for these is going to help me to finish any of the other projects with actual deadlines, but I can honestly say that while knitting these mittens I don't much care about those deadlines.  Sometimes I think my brain needs to take a break from plain ol' stockinette and do something that requires great focus. I don't think I would have made a very good cottage industry knitter.

Sidebar:  I received my package of yarn support from Knit Picks today for that Fall 2013 pattern that I am working on and it is sumptuously gorgeous, so I hope that Knit Picks doesn't have any thoughts of making me give over the final product because I really think I am not going to be willing to give this one up without a fight.


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