Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Too hot to knit

Not that I'd let it actually stop me, but it has certainly been excruciatingly humid around here of late. It's a change from the rain, but oy vey. Thus, I have tried a new fiber! I picked up a few skeins of Fibranatura Flax at The Sheep's Stockings while visiting my dad in Marshalltown. Lovely little yarn shop, by the way, with a very friendly, helpful owner. The yarn is 100% linen, which turns out to be like knitting with something halfway between cotton and twine, though I've been assured it will soften up beautifully with washing. I'm not too concerned about it, because I'm just making market bags out of so far.

The Monteagle Bag, of Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines. The pattern fully admits to being made up of entirely trippy stitches, and there was much growling, swearing, and frogging in the making of the first one. The second one worked up much more quickly, and for all the craziness I discovered that I'd fairly easily memorized 90% of the directions while making the pink bag. The other 10%, alas, left me frogging. I was baffled by the design choice of seaming the bottom. Seams?! Psh! Even without a working internet connection, my web browser was able to pull up Judy's Magic Cast-on for me, and there were no seams, unless kitchenering the end of the handle to the bag counts, but I consider grafting and seaming to be two different animals. I'd graft over picking up stitches any day of the week.

The bags hold quite a bit.  In trying to get the veil stitches to open up, I must have stuffed at least a dozen cans of various pantry items into the blue bag.  In the end I did have to go through and stretch almost every individual stitch out, but we had Netflix on in the background, so it wasn't too tedious.

The pink bag took almost every last yard of one skein (137 yds), and the turquoise bag took a little less - I have about 13 yds left over. I have no idea what to do with 13 yds of sport-weight linen yarn, but you never know what will pop up.

 I've been working on this baby blanket for Project Linus. It has also led to an awful lot of frogging, tinking, and dropping stitches down a few row and wrestling with a crochet hook. It's a very simple lace pattern, which makes me cocky, which makes me think I don't have to pay attention, which makes me miss YOs or add them where no YO was meant to be. Fortunately I don't have any kind of deadline for this one, especially considering I'm only able to work on it comfortably in places where the air conditioning is mighty cold indeed. There's nothing like acrylic squeaking through your hot, sticky hands on a muggy day to make you contemplate jumping ship to a less tactile hobby.

Crocheting and cotton yarn really are a better combination for this kind of weather. I made a scrubby, whose enormous bobbles please me greatly.

Did I mention that I bought a drop spindle? It spent weeks sitting on the desk with the bag of Romney roving that came with it, while I eyed it with apprehension. Finally I manned up, watched some YouTube videos, and made some really appalling yarn and an absolute mess of the roving. In desperation I flung myself on the mercy of the Ravelry forums, where I was gently instructed that I was doing everything wrong. The step-by-step directions one Raveler gave me led to a much more confident plowing forward and something that looked a bit like yarn instead of one long slub. I was amused that one person's advice, however, was to ditch the drop spindle and get a wheel instead. Okay, Internet spinner! I have $300 lying around here somewhere!

 There will be pictures as soon as I find my camera charger, so, you know, in six months or so.


  1. You've really captured my attention with greatest appreciation. Your blogs are always great and invited but this one has really motivated me in using the cotton bags avoiding the plastic bags.

    1. Thank you! It's nice to know someone is reading them :)