Knits & Purls

Wheel Turnin' Round and Round

Some knitting projects are adventurous because they offer variety in pattern and texture and color.  Some knitting projects are adventurous because . . . they are just big.  Both types of projects require stamina, concentration, and commitment.  

But those big projects?  

They're a little too close to the movie Groundhog Day.  Y'know?  Living that same day over and over. . . Knitting that same thing over and over . . . 

This one?  Totally a Groundhog Day kind of project.  
Big.  
Repetitious.  
Over and over.

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Finish one square . . . move right on to the next square.

You go back, Jack
Do it again

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It was more than a bit tedious after a while.  But I knew if I didn't keep going, I'd never get it finished.

Wheel turnin' round and round
You go back, Jack
Do it again

Totally repetitious.  And totally worth it, in the end.

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(So glad I can move on to something else now.  And stop living this Groundhog Day knitting existence.)

You can find the Ravelry details here.

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To see a "homespun" version of this Steely Dan song, check out this very old video of high-school-senior Erin performing it at her piano recital in 2007.

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And be sure to pop over to Kat's for other Unraveled posts today!


Raveling Along

When I have time to pick up my knitting, I pick up my mitred square project.  It continues to delight, and I love watching it grow.

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It’s a perfect project: portable, easily memorized, and endlessly entertaining.

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Even though it doesn’t look it, the project is already at the midpoint.  It’ll be completely raveled before you know it!

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How about you?  What are you raveling right now?

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Posting on my phone today.  Hope it works...

 


Unraveling . . . Life

So, I'm still knitting away on my little mitered squares project . . . 

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It's fun.  It's easy.  It's slow.  I like playing with the colors.  It's a great way to (finally) use all the Koigu I've had rolling around in my stash for oh-so-long.  And it's rhythmic.

Which gives me time to think as I knit.

And as I stitch, I've come to see that this project is actually a pretty good metaphor . . . for life!

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  • Life plays out on a neutral background.  There are plenty of colorful bits, and every now and again a bright pop of color.  But's it's the ordinary, everydayness of neutral that holds it all together.

  • Balance is essential.  Too many pops of color in one place throw the balance off . . . making you crave more of the neutral, that more ordinary rhythm of things.

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  • Building a strong foundation makes for structural integrity.  Yes, it takes a long time to build that foundation, but once it's there, you know you can make anything happen.

  • Focus is the key.  When you want to get something done, chip away at it a little bit every day.  One stitch at a time . . . adds up.

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  • A colorful life is a messy life.  Regular maintenance - and cleaning up your messes as you go - can keep things humming right along though.

  • Risk is good.  Don't be afraid to make a mess.  It's fun.  And besides, once it starts coming all together, no one will see the mistakes, the missteps, the crookedness . . . except you.  Perfection is over-rated.

  • Life is about resilience.  Sometimes you have to re-think and adapt.  Problem-solving is a good thing.  It makes us stronger and it keeps our brains supple.  (And that's a story for another Unraveled Wednesday.)   (Just sayin.)

What are you unraveling today?  (In knitting or in life. . . )

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To read other Unraveled Wednesday posts, check out the links in the comments over at Kat's.


No Actual Unraveling

Knitting has been slow, but somewhat steady.

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The base tier is taking shape.

It's nice, relaxing, mindful knitting.  Except for the flip side.

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Yeah.  Trying to deal with that mess every four squares or so.

No rush.  No hurry.  No stress.
And - best of all - no unraveling!

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How about you?  What'cha making?

And be sure to check out the links in the comments over at Kat's for more unraveled posts.


A Post-Unraveled Project

So.  What does a knitter do after unraveling a disastrous project?

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Well.  This knitter picked up her Alabama Chanin stitching and made spitty-raspberries at all things knitting for a few days.  

But then, I decided to let it go; that maybe a project like this would take the edge off a bit.  

This project is fun to knit, leaves plenty room for creativity and color-play, and - best of all - feels kind of fast.  (It's also a great way to use up all those single skeins of Koigu I've been hoarding with absolutely no plan in mind.)

How about you?  What are you making today?

 

 


Unraveling, or . . . You Can't Always Get What You Want

Today's soundtrack.

We'll just begin with this:  I was completely smitten with Kate Davies' Carbeth pattern the first time I saw it.  Long before "banging out a Carbeth" became a rallying cry in the knitting world, I was crushing over that distinctive shoulder line, the cropped and slightly boxy shape, and (I'll admit it) Kate standing there with her arms flung open wide in that brilliant Scottish winter setting.

I wanted one.

But I was concerned about the cropped thing.  Could I pull that off?  Once I decided to just suspend my judgement on that little point, I set to looking for yarn.  Now, the pattern calls for a DK weight held double, and I happened to have this most lovely Madeline Tosh DK just sitting there, deep in the stash, waiting for its turn to shine.

I swatched.  And I washed and dried my swatch (because Tosh DK is superwash, and superwash is always a bit of a crapshoot).  I found my gauge, made some adjustments for the superwash, and set about to knitting. 

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The yarn was lovely to work with.  It was going to be just glorious, I could tell!

But.

It turns out . . . not all Carbeths are meant to be "banged-out."  Including mine.

I could show you this photo (where the final sweater looks just fine; passable, even), and we could call it done.  But I'm a Full Disclosure kind of gal, and this is a Full Disclosure kind of blog.

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Ooooo.  Ahhhhh.  Isn't it lovely?

Not so much.

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(Does this look like someone who is pleased with her sweater?  Nope.  No joy.)

Let's break it down.

  • Remember that this is supposed to be a cropped sweater.  I knit the body a half-inch longer than the pattern called for (because chicken), knowing that the superwash would stretch (according to my swatch) by about an inch and a half.  That would mean my body length should be 10 inches.  By the time I took this picture, the body was measuring 14 inches -- and growing longer by the moment.
  • As I was posing for the photos, I had to do a lot of Positioning of the collar and the shoulders.  Because they were also growing by the moment, and the whole sweater was in danger of falling off.  The underarm had stretched down almost to my elbow (major batwing action), and I could barely keep the collar from slipping down off my shoulders (think Flashdance).

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(This is where I wanted to insert a rather hilarious video of me adjusting and fussing with this sweater.  But when I tried, I blew up this entire post and I had to re-start.  So try to imagine it for yourselves.  Sorry.)

Here's the main thing I learned from my Carbeth experience:  There is barely any structure up top (no seams; the shoulders hold all the weight of the sweater), so it is highly sensitive to weight.  The weight of the yarn - and the sweater itself - can make a huge difference in fit.  My yarn (doubled) was super heavy -- and it pulled that sucker South in a hurry!  (I did have an inkling about this as I tried the sweater on a various points during the knitting process.  Every time I put it on, it was longer.  I should've seen this coming much quicker than I did.)

If you're going to knit a Carbeth - and especially if you are going to add weight by lengthening the body - really consider the weight of your yarn.  I would suggest using something light and lofty (Brooklyn Tweed's Quarry comes immediately to mind).  I would avoid doubling DK yarns, too (unless using super light and lofty DK yarns - like the one Kate used for her original).  And I would avoid superwash like the plague (because Problem Children).

Carbeth is a great pattern -- fast, fun to knit, and a great design.  Just think carefully about your yarn!

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You can't always get what you want.
But if you try real hard, you just might be able to prevent someone else from making the same mistake.


Not Unraveled . . . Just Undecided

Okay, gang.  

Here's the thing.

I've been just stuck with my knitting for several days now.  Right here.

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And, no.  I didn't run out of yarn.

It's just . . . well.  I tried on my sweater before beginning the charming Audrey Hepburn-style neckline. . . 

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and decided I kind of like it without the charming Audrey Hepburn-style neckline.

(I also decided that I wish I'd not chickened out and added that extra inch to the length.  Because it doesn't look very cropped now, does it?  But that train has left the station.)

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So.  I'm undecided.

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Charming Audrey Hepburn-style collar?

Or not?

Thoughts? *

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* Other considerations:

  1. I'm not a fussy-neckline kind of gal, and true turtlenecks drive me nuts.
  2. It was 68ºF  yesterday, so I've got a touch of spring fever.
  3. Although last night I had decided to cast off as is and put myself out of my misery, today I'm leaning more toward sticking a lifeline in the neckline with 4 rows of ribbing complete, and then knitting the collar as written to . . . just see.   (Then if I don't end up liking it, I have an easy place to rip back to.)

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To see other Unraveled posts today, check the comments over at Kat's.


The Burning Question

Okay.

I'll admit it.

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I jumped on the Carbeth bandwagon.

(But not without a lot of measuring, calculating, thinking, and swatching.) 

The burning question remains, though:  Can an almost-59-year-old woman (who does not own a charming, plaid kilt by the way) pull off wearing a cropped pullover???

(Tune in next week to find out.)  (Because this sweater really does fly off the needles.)


Unraveling on a Wednesday

No actual unraveling around here this week . . . just lots of nitty-picky, fiddly knitting that I can't blog about because Gift.  (Tune in next week, and I'll show you.)

I did finish something I CAN show you, though . . . 

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It's a very heavy cowl (free pattern courtesy of Churchmouse Yarn & Teas).  At first, I thought it was maybe too heavy for me to wear, but I gave it a spin yesterday while running errands.  It was perfectly comfortable and kept me warm on a very cold, snowy day.  

(You can find all the details here - on my Ravely page.)

Now, I'm looking forward to knitting my way through the Olympics.  I joined . . . 

Team rules schmules

(Because who needs rules when it comes to knitting?)  

I think I'll knit a sleeve.

How about you?  Are you planning to knit through the Olympics?