Monday, February 16, 2009


I've had some personal life upsets recently, and these have *gasp* interfered with my knitting! The horror! So until I have a chance to take some pictures and sort some things out, I won't be blogging. Wish me a speedy return . . .

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cross stitch indeed: a rant.

This may come as a shock to you all, but knitting was not my first love. I didn't learn to knit until I was in college, but I'd been doing needlework for years and years. My big thing for a long time was cross-stitch.

Now, I haven't cross-stitched in something like ten years, but I got a hankering for it last week. Why not, I thought, and picked up a kit at what we'll call Craft Store A. At home, I dug out my needlepoint paraphernalia and set out to stitch. I noticed that the kit was missing the promised needles, but I didn't think that was such a big deal--I had some anyway. A moment of digression: this is the frame I use. The rods I have require that you sew your working fabric to the attached webbing. You then put the rods in the bars and use the knobs to hold everything in place. So I sewed the fabric on, put the frame together, and started to sort the thread . . . only there was no sorting list. Half the instructions were missing. Grrrrrr. No cross-stitch for me!

Fast forward to yesterday, when I went to the grocery store. I wasn't at my usual store, but another across town, which just happens to be next door to Craft Store B. I went in, and they had a ton of stuff on clearance--so I got another kit. I also grabbed another set of rods for my frame (I needed a bigger set, anyway), noting vaguely that the package said something about a "two-part" system. Since I had a frame already, I figured that was what they meant.

At home, I opened up my new kit, checking VERY carefully that all the bits were there. Success! Now to put the fabric on the rods. Um . . . Turns out that, since I'd bought my frame, the company has introduced a patented "no baste" system. Instead of my familiar webbing, attached to the rods is this weird cloth. I need the specific part for the fabric to make it work . . . which of course I didn't have. After a little (okay, a lot of swearing), I decided to go to Craft Store A and see if they had any of this magic no-baste crap.

Turns out, Store A does have the fabric part it--but they don't have it alone. It's all packaged in with rods and frames. More swearing. Facing the prospect of buying a whole 'nother frame just to get the stupid stuff, I take a closer look at it through the package.

It's just velcro. It's just motherfucking velcro.

Literally two yards away, I grab a package of velcro and proceed to buy it in triumph.

I get home, pick up my prize . . . and realize that it is iron-on velcro.

I believe this is the point when I lost my shit.

Anyway, I finally got my fabric in the frame (I will say this, iron-on velcro means business--that shit's not moving), sorted all the colors out, threaded my needle, and finally, at long last, began to cross-stitch.

And then I remembered why I'd quit cross-stitching in the first place. It's fucking boring.

Forgive me, knitting. I will never leave you.

(By the way, if you were under the impression that this was a family blog . . . I do apologize.)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Sea socks

This is what I've been spending most of my time on lately.

It's Society Socks (75% wool, 25% nylon) in colorway #218, "Caribbean," a Christmas gift from my mother. The woman obviously wants socks, and I am happy to oblige. The pattern is Merino Lace Socks from Favorite Socks. It calls for working them on two circulars, but I, ever the iconoclast, refuse to do so. Vivan las DPNs! Also, I don't even own any circulars, so I'd have to go out and buy them anyway.

I've been thinking of them as "Sea Socks"--the colorway, of course, and the middle panel (what will run down the front and back of the leg on the finished sock) looks like ripples in water to me.

What I don't understand is why knitting these takes so much less time than plain socks. I'm still working on the toe-up Regias, which are just plain stockinette. These have decreases and yarnovers and purling and so on--they should be slower! And yet, since taking these photos I've turned the heel and knit about half the foot. It's magic, I tell you.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Moar mittens

I finished my mittens! And today, taking advantage of the sun (!!), I went outside for a photo shoot.

They're North Star mittens, from Knit Mittens! in Rowan Cashsoft DK. I recommend the yarn without reservation--it's very smooth, in that cashmerey way, but the knitted fabric feels pretty sturdy, for all it's quite drapey. I think it'll wear well for mittens.

The pattern, though . . . oy. I mentioned in my first post about these mittens that the chart had an error and that the instructions were confusing. This pair was knit from a different chart (as it was in a smaller size) . . . but THAT chart had an error as well. I also discovered several more typos in the instructions, and once again was completely baffled by the decreases to the extent that I just did as I pleased. They're very nice mittens, but I can't recommend the pattern at all.

I knit these in the smallest size because my last attempt produced mittens too long for my hands. I should have looked at the given sizes--these are still too long for me. I'll wear 'em regardless, but if I were to knit them again, I'd just start about eight lines farther up the chart when I came to the stranded knitting. Which is, in fact, so easy a solution that now I'm depressed for not thinking of it before I made mittens too long for my hands . . .