August 29, 2006
When in doubt, Improvise!
10:17 am edt
Lace charts are a wonderful invention, but when a knitter's hands are full of needles and yarn, she needs some way to
support the chart so that she can refer to it without standing on her head or twisting herself into a pretzel. Someone
on one of the forums suggested the use of a music stand, as something easily moved from one place to another and adjustable
for height. Pondering this solution, I was preparing to embark on a phone book search for music stores when my eye lit
on a relic of my counted cross stitch days. 'Twas my giraffe - a wooden structure designed to hold a stitching frame
at a good working height. Hmmm... with the addition of a cookie sheet propped up by the clamping mechanism, this
The chart is the final page of the Peacock Feathers Shawl from Fiddlesticks Knitting. This company's charts are
excellent - larger than most that you'll find, very clearly marked, very easy to read.
In spite of the excellence of the charts and pattern, for some reason the Peacock is lagging behind schedule. I
had hoped to have it finished before Labor Day, as part of my participation in The Amazing Lace, but it's looking as if it'll
take at least a week or so longer than that. Such is life. Oddly enough, though, other knitting is happening -
nine washcloths in the last month. Why washcloths? They're mindless. They're small. They're
August 22, 2006
Slumps R Us
9:34 am edt
No, I'm not dead, but the title says it all. For the past couple of weeks, I just haven't felt like knitting on
anything much. Yes, a washcloth or two has gotten done, but that's where it ends, alas. The Peacock Feathers shawl
is approaching its end, but because of its structure, each row is now taking more than 40 minutes to complete. Depressing
as it's going to be, let's do the math: 40 minutes (minimum) per row, and 40 rows left to knit. That's 1600 minutes,
divide by 60 gives us a minimum of 26 hours and 40 minutes of knitting time left. After that's done comes blocking,
and I'm really not looking forward to pinning out over 160 litle loops along the bottom edges.
Knitting doldrums aside, the summer is progressing inexorably toward fall. One certain sign of this is the increase
in the number of students riding the bus to campus in the mornings. Today was standing room only for the last mile or
so, mostly international graduate students getting their orientation before the masses of undergrads reappear later this week.
Fortunately, Mother Nature has decided to take pity on us, giving us warm sunny days and cool, crisp nights - perfect
for sleeping. Whether this will last, only time will tell, but I'm going to enjoy it while it's here.
August 1, 2006
10:56 am edt
Not too long ago, I posted a photo of a scarf being constructed from Karabella Gossamer. To refresh everyone's
memory, here 'tis again:
I'm having something of a love/hate relationship with this yarn. The softness and fuzziness is delightful to feel,
and both the color and the golden sparkles make me smile. On the other hand, the yarn itself is less than wonderful
to try to knit. The two plies are very loosely bound together, with one of them frequently making cloverleaves and loopies
around its partner. The result is a thick and thin texture and occasions of about eighty-seven loops around the needle
all part of just one stitch. Inevitably this happens just where the pattern calls for a K3tog, and making sure you've
got exactly those three stitches, no more and no less, can be ... well ... irritating. Not to mention slowing me down.
It's a good thing the finished scarf isn't needed until December, as I keep setting it aside when the irritation factor
gets too high.
On the meteorological front, the stinkin' heat this
past week or so has left me unwilling to touch anything even vaguely connected with wool. Fortunately, there's plenty
of cotton in the stash; I've finished four washcloths thus far, and will probably produce one or two more before the
weather takes a turn for the cool.
For me, the worst part of this weather is the whipsawing of going from an air-conditioned apartment to the stinkin' heat
to wait for a bus that's freezing cold, then back into the heat to walk from the bus stop to the walk-in freezer that calls
itself my office. These sudden radical changes in temperature do nothing good for an arthritic body. Trust me
The only comfort I can find in this is the certainty that if August has arrived, September and Fall can't be far behind.