Monday, November 28, 2011

Another pictureless post

The mittens are continuing unabated, though I have given up on Continental knitting in this project.  It did horrible things to my gauge.  Whatever I knit next (perhaps fingerless gloves for my mom, if I ever finish her slippers (only three more pieces to go! . . . then felting (scary))) I will start with CK and use it the whole way through, and then we will see how I really feel about it.  For now, mittens in good old English.  They continue to garner lots of attention at work, which is becoming a little annoying at this point.  If one more person asks me "What are you making?" I may just answer "A noose."  Just because.  However, one of the managers asked me a new question.

"Is it difficult?"

This caught me a little off-guard.  Usually this is framed as a statement.  "That looks difficult.  I could never do that.  You must have lots of patience." 

I replied, "It's really not much more difficult than knitting with two needles, because you only use two at a time.  The hardest part is keeping the joins between needles."

I almost fell out of my chair when he said, "I should start soon.  I bought a kit - I'm going to learn how."

Then he wandered off to do managerial things; I don't know what.  The world suddenly seemed much bigger than my dumb red mittens and their wandering cables and little knitted tumors.

I did finish the scarf for my sister, other than weaving in the last end.  Now I must somehow convince myself to make her a hat.  My enthusiasm for Christmas knitting (and crocheting) is waning fast.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I'm a stubborn person.  When I set my mind at something, I'm difficult to sway.  It's the only reason I keep knitting.  It's not because I'm patient.  It's because I'm too pig-headed to know when I'm beaten.

These mittens are killing me.

I had to rip back to the ribbing because I didn't like how my cables had started with the new stitches, so I'm just sticking all the extra stitches into the middle of the cable and letting it widen itself out naturally.  It's not as though someone is really going to come along and say, "Hey, that isn't exactly what it looked like the in the movie!"  I've already tried googling them, and there is no photo evidence of Emma Watson wearing them.  I'm safe.  And far too stubborn to give them up as a bad job.

Now, I've always been an English knitter.  I attribute my inability to pick up knitting when I tried to learn as a child to the fact that the book I was using only featured Continental.  When I relearned from memory of the basic technique (stab through loop from front to back, yarn goes around needle), I unknowingly did so in classic English style.  Hey, this is easy!  Why did I have so much trouble as a wee lass?  I scoffed at Elizabeth Zimmerman's advice that Continental knitting was the way to go.  When had I ever given credence to her opinions?  The woman was clearly nuts.  Why should I knit more loosely, either?

The fact is that now my hands are sending out angry pain signals that the woman may have been right.  So I'm practicing my picking.  The good news is that I'm much better at it now than I was as a child, and I'm developing a rhythm and picking up speed.  The bad news is that I still hate it with a passion.  "Just let me knit the way I'm used to!" my fingers cry.  "Stop trying to make us learn new things!"

Sorry, girls, but I've stubbornly latched onto an idea now, and I won't give up until I'm distracted by a new one.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Christmas Crafting

I'm not a big fan of knitting gifts for Christmas.  I've done it, and enjoyed it, but I find deadlines highly intimidating and the idea that someone might not appreciate something that I've put hours, days, or weeks into; that they might not wear it, or they might never let me see them wearing it (I'm looking at you, people who still haven't sent me pictures of things I've made them for Ravelry).

However, I've put that aside to finally make something for my mom.  French Press Slippers are just too darn charming to pass up, and I've been half-heartedly promising to knit slippers (or socks) for her for several years.  I don't particularly expect them to turn out, or to fit, or to be comfortable, because my mom is so rarely pleased with things I make for her, but I lay my pride down this year.

And since I can't think of anything else to make for my sister Laura, who remains an enigma to me in spite of vigorous efforts on her part for us to bond, I am making her a red version of the One-Skein Scarf that I made for Ryan's sister.  If I have time and can find a good pattern, I'll make her a coordinating hat.  I don't even know if she wears hats.  Or scarves.  Or likes the color red.  I'm a terrible sister.  On the other hand, she's in Iowa now.  If she didn't wear hats or scarves beforehand, she will now.

I should have bought blue yarn instead.

Speaking of things made of red yarn, my Hermione Mittens are chugging along, after only three false starts.  Goldilocks couldn't have had more trouble making mittens.  "These mittens are too small!"  "These mittens are too big!"  "These mittens aren't airtight enough!"  Instead of trying to change my gauge, I added eight stitches, which has thus far given me a much more comfortably roomy cuff.  I like a long cuff, because many of my coats have sleeves that are a little too short (I have my dad's insanely long arms), so a little more room means I can make the cuffs longer without shaping.  On the other hand, I'm getting pretty tired of knitting ribbing.  As for the cable pattern that the book insists can't be altered, I'm just going to stick the extra four stitches on the back of the hand on either side of the two-stitch cable, where they won't be noticed.  I'm feeling pretty clever.
We'll see if that lasts when I hit the thumb gusset and forget to compensate for my changes.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I need a hand . . .

Sometimes you have to stop, take stock of your life, and realize: this isn't working.

This mitten is too small.

That cute little mitten is the beginning of Hermione's Cable and Bobble Mittens from "Charmed Knits" by Alison Hansel, based on Hermione's mittens in "The Prisoner of Azkaban."  The only sizing options, unfortunately, are by changing the gauge.  Of course, I don't want to end up with the same problem I had with my first mittens.

My understanding of gauge has come a long way since high school.