Sunday, August 16, 2009

Knitting with a Deadline

This isn't the first time that I've done this to myself, and it probably won't be the last. I've given myself a deadline to finish a knitting project. Deadlines can do strange things for me. Either they really motivate me to work hard and finish on time, or they pressure me into feeling like I'm tied to one project, which makes me want to knit anything but the project that I'm supposed to be working on. In this instance, I really hope that it's the former.

I started working on my Red Hot Mountain Stole in July. It was my first real lace project, so I was nervous and excited to see how it would turn out. Then my husband and I got tickets to see Wicked when the tour comes to our city. We'll be seeing it in October, so an elegant lace stole is exactly what I'll need to pair with a little black dress for our evening out. Since I'd already started Red Hot Mountain, it seemed logical to try to finish it in time for the show.

So I figured out exactly how many rows I'd need to knit for the stole. (550!) Then I counted how many I had already knit (I think it was about 38...). So I counted days and gave myself a little buffer for blocking and determined that I needed to average 9 rows per day in order to finish the stole before the show. It's going to be challenging, but I should be able to do it.

So far I'm doing pretty well. I'm ahead of schedule by about 4 days. If I can keep that up, then I shouldn't have any trouble meeting my deadline. Here's my updated progress:

Word of caution - There is a downside to calculating the number of rows you should average in order to finish by a deadline. Once you know how many rows are in the project (550), and you know how many stitches are in each row (99), it's hard to resist the temptation to calculate the number of stitches in the project (54,450!!). And trust me, you're better off not knowing.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Works in Progress

Yep, that’s plural - Works in Progress. I’m a big fan of having more than one knitting project going on at the same time. That way, I’ll always have something that will suit whatever I feel like working on. At least I tell myself that’s the reason. In actuality, I just really love to start new projects. I love to sort through patterns, pick out something that I really want to knit, and choose a yarn that will make the pattern come to life. So I often stray from whatever I’m knitting to cast on something new. And I mean often. I can’t exactly say off the top of my head how many projects are sitting around my condo in an unfinished state, but it’s quite a few.

I’m going to introduce just a few of them. These are the ones that I’m currently spending most of my time on. There are a couple more, but they’re gifts, and just in case the recipient stumbles across my blog, I’d rather keep them a surprise.

This is my Red Hot Mountain Stole:

The pattern is actually called Cold Mountain and was designed by Kieran Foley, but I’m calling it Red Hot Mountain because there is nothing cold about this color. This is my first real lace project. I’ve done a couple of “lacey” projects, but this is the first one using lace weight yarn. The yarn is 100% cashmere, and comes from a sweater that I bought at Goodwill and unraveled to reuse the yarn. I’m a huge fan of doing this, and I’ll probably talk more about it in a later post.

This is my Deep V Argyle Vest:

This fantasic pattern was written by Eunny Jang. I’ve made quite a bit of progress since taking this photo, so I really ought to take another one. This past weekend I set the steeks for the armholes. Yep, I’m steeking. For my non-knitting readers, why I are you still reading this? Haven’t I bored you to tears yet? Well, if you’re still reading, I’ll probably explain steeking in greater detail some other time. For now, let’s just say that it’s kind of a big deal. I have done steeking once before, but it was a teddy bear sweater that I knit for the sole purpose of learning to steek. This is more recycled yarn. It’s 100% wool and the sweater was entirely the off-white color to begin with. I took about half of it and dyed it with Kool-Aid to the mocha brown color that you see here. I guess I’ll have to explain the process of Kool-Aid dyeing in another post too.

And this is Glynis:

Glynis is a sock (obviously). I LOVE knitting socks. Socks are the reason that I learned to knit. My grandmother taught me to crochet a long time ago, and I picked it back up just a couple of years ago. I made some nice things and joined a knitting group where my newfound friends admired my crochet abilities. For a long time, I resisted learning to knit. I guess I felt like I was sticking up for “the underdog” by not learning to knit. But my knitting friends could make socks… And they were beautiful! They were lightweight, stretchy, colorful, and had many qualities that I could not replicate with my crochet. So I learned to knit. And now I love to knit socks.

Yes, I know, you can crochet socks, but they just aren’t the same. I’m not saying that to insult crochet. I love to crochet too. But each skill has its own strengths and weaknesses. When it comes to making socks, knitting wins.

Now this specific sock is Glynis from Cookie A’s Sock Innovation. I think it’s a fantastic book, and I’m currently challenging myself to knit every single sock from this book. This is the first sock pattern in the book, and it’s made of a beautiful yarn called Merino Sox from Sandy’s Palette. Sandy is a yarn dyer from Wisconsin who had a booth at the Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival this summer. The yarn is 100% Superwash Merino Wool and it seems to be a good match for Glynis.

So there you have it. I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I Think Too!

Well, here is - My Blog. It seems like everyone else that I know has a blog, and lest anyone believe that my head is without thoughts, now I have a blog too. I can’t promise that anything here will be entertaining, or even the least bit interesting for most people, but here it is anyway.

I’m going to start out with a disclaimer before you read any further:

I’m going to talk about yarn, a lot. Knitting with yarn, buying yarn, dyeing yarn, even destroying perfectly good sweaters (or not-so-good sweaters) to reduce them to a squiggly pile of yarn.

Every now and then, I might talk a little bit about what is going on in my life, but knitting has become a pretty big part of my life. It’s my outlet to unwind, to create, and to challenge myself. So check back sometime if you care to hear about my yarny pursuits, or if not, don’t bother. I’ll be too busy knitting to notice anyway.