Friday, August 3, 2007

I ordered yarn for another project yesterday. We have D&D tonight so I expect to make a lot of progress on my shawl. Since I switched from bamboo straight needles to the nickle-plated circulars it has been much easier. I don't know why it didn't occur to me to do that before. I was using 13" straight needles and they were driving me crazy, especially because the end of the right needle would get caught in the yarn feeding up from the ball, and I would keep having to stop and untangle it. Also, as I knitted the right needle would get heavier and heavier as I was moving the entire weight of the shawl every time I got toward the end. It has been much easier knitting on the 24" circular (for nonknitters who struggle through these ramblings, a) I love you b) a circular needle is made up of a cable with two short needles at either end). Now as I knit most of the weight moves off the needle and onto the cable, so that it is supported by both hands and not just the right one. Also, the cable allows it to hang lower, so some of the weight can actually rest in my lap. Finally, it is easier to stop in the middle of the row on the cable needle if I need to, because I can just pull the needles themselves up until all the stitches are resting on the cable, rather than trying to cap both ends of the long needles and get the whole mess in my bag. Even more finally, the circular needles fit in my GoKnit pouch, while the 13" straights don't really.

I've gotten used to the metal needles so the drag that I used to love so much on the bamboo is actually kind of irritating to me now. The yarn I'm using for my shawl (Patons SWS in Natural Navy) is very slick so I have had problems a couple of times with jerking stitches off the end of the needle on accident, but again, I've gotten used to the metal ones so now that happens mostly when I am fidgeting and not when I am actually knitting. The stitches slide up and down the needles much easier which more than makes up for it, as I kept having to stop and push to get them up and down the bamboo needles (have I mentioned that I knit really tightly?). The Knit Picks Options set has been a very good purchase and I'm glad I got it.

Made decent progress on my slipper last night, though I had to stop and pull out a bunch of rows because I am an idiot and can't follow directions. Repeat rows 3-4 7 times =/= repeat rows 1-4 7 times. I am a little affraid I'm going to be tired of working on it after getting one done, but I'll just have to grind through it anyway. I do want to get some things finished and off the needles, just to make me feel better. I always get antsy when I have too many things in progress.

I think I am going to make one more sachet for a total of three and then call that finished. I feel a little lame about it, but there are so many more interesting projects I want to do, so I decided I will finish off the one that's on there now and pick those up again some day when I want something little and quick. Fall's coming up so I really want to do my cape and my photography gloves, plus some gifts for other people. Amy is dying for something made of alpaca so I got some Ambrosia in Horizon (light blue) to make a Dimple Shale Scarf. This will serve as my first lace project. I try to be mindful of how these things have to be cared for so I don't give anybody something that's a pain to clean, but Amy is so meticulous anyway that I don't think she will mind handwashing the scarf. Amy is just one of those people where giving them gifts is absolutely addictive because she is just so darn grateful. Anyway, I'm hoping I will get it done by Christmas and it can be her Christmas present. Five months - that's low-pressure enough, right?

I really ought to finish K's hat. That one is beating me right now. A couple of good weekend days ought to go a long way toward finishing it. I hope.

My nightstand has become my holder for all of my in-process projects, except my shawl, which has pretty consistently stayed in my GoKnit pouch. The second drawer in my nightstand has become my stash area for everything else. When we curl up for the evening to watch TV or whatever, I just reach over and dig out whatever project I feel like working on. I'm also keeping the pattern books in there for whatever I'm working on, plus my knitting journal and the binder for my Options set. When I'm ready to go to bed, I just toss my work and pattern back in the drawer.

I have enjoyed keeping the knitting journal. It's not as detailed as it was when I first started doing it, where I was trying to keep track of how many hours I was spending on a particular project, but it does give me a place to write down all the things I WANT to knit, keep track of yarn costs and other things so I can see how much a particular project cost in the end, and I can write down where I stopped at any particular time so I don't get lost in the pattern. I admit I actually bought a special journal for the purpose instead of just using a spiral notebook. My excuse, which I just made up on the spot right now, is that the spiral on this book is covered so I can keep it in the same drawer as my projects without the spiral catching on the yarn. It also has a bunch of reference informaton and a needle guage in the back which is kind of handy.

I have over time built up a little accessory kit that I carry with me in my knitting bag or in my knitting drawer. I used a little pink mesh zipper bag from a previous MK preferred customer gift, and I put in a small pair of scissors, a couple of plastic embroidery needles, my packet of ring stitch markers, my packet of locking markers, needle point protectors and two sizes of crochet hook, one for thick yarns and one for thin yarns. The packet seems to get bigger with every project. The latest additon was a clicky row counter which I get way too much joy out of. It just makes such a delightful noise when you click it. It makes my little knitting packet a little too big though, and I am only using it for my slippers at the moment, so I took it out of the bag and just put it with the slippers by itself.

I do feel like I need a packet for my drawer and a packet for my goknit pouch. The one for my pouch wouldn't need as much in it, but it would definately need a crochet hook big enough for whatever my 'travel' project is at the moment, a couple of each type of stitch marker, and a pair of scissors. It is extremely frustrating to be caught away from home without a crochet hook as that guarantees you will drop a stitch and not be able to fish it out with the needle alone.

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