Thursday, May 7, 2009

Knit the way the wind blows

I got no spinning done on Tuesday after all, thanks to doggie-related issues. But, it was my fault, I put trimming their toenails off so long that I am really surprised the vet techs did not scold me when I finally took them in. I really just hadn't noticed they had grown so much. I wonder now that I didn't hear the difference - with newly trimmed nails, the pups have gotten much more stealthy. No more clicking across the hardwood floor!

Anyway, between that and an errand I had to run for my mom, I didn't get much of anything done Tuesday night. My sock in progress was in the car, I didn't have enough time or energy for lace, and likewise I didn't have any time or energy to rip out my sweater, so instead, I started a swatch.

I bought some Plymouth Royal Silk Merino from when they had it on closeout. I'd planned to use it for Eris, which I've been planning to knit almost since I started knitting, but I'm starting to question whether the color really fits it. I like it much better in the subdued colors that the models are knit in. On the other hand, there are sweaters like this one that would be very nice in that color. We'll see. I'll give it some more thought.

I feel like I have a problem right now project-wise, because I have broken my personal rule, that it is just fine to have several projects going on at once, as long as they are projects that take up different categories of knitting time. There's TV knitting, focused knitting (lace), travel knitting (easy to carry and easy to memorize), and social knitting (a little harder than TV knitting but not so complicated that I need to be glued to the pattern).

Right now I have on the needles:

--Water Turtles Shawl from Wrapped in Comfort - social knitting
--Phyllo Sweater - focused knitting
--MS4 - focused knitting
--Panda socks - somewhere between social knitting and travel knitting
--Moody Mansocks - currently at social knitting, will get back to travel knitting once the gusset decreases are done
--Swan Lake - focused knitting
--Beginner's Triangle - focused knitting

Now, I do very well when I only have one project going in a particular type of knitting time, but when projects start to compete for knitting time I get frustrated. Part of this is my fault, and part of it is due to the natrual progression of projects. The sweater was TV knitting for a long while but I have to pay attention to the yoke chart. It's not hugely complicated, but I have a tendency to get off by one or two stitches if I am not really paying attention. The heel turn and gusset decreases on a sock take enough counting that they're somewhat less mindless than the rest of the sock, so my socks very often stall when I get to the heel because I need a little bit of time to concentrate. I can knit the flap and do the heel turn itself pretty easily so that part is still social knitting, but I have to concentrate to pick up the stitches and set up for the decreases. Then it stays social knitting until the decreases are done (have to count and be mindful of which rows are decrease rows) and then when I'm done with those it's travel knitting again until I get to the point where I need to check the fit for the toe.

I've gotten quick enough at socks that these slowdown moments come sooner than I would liek them too, especially if it's just a plain sock.

The panda socks are a little less suited to travel knitting for me because I've had issues memorizing the pattern. I don't know why, it's not hard. It just doesn't quite stick in my head. So, I have to keep the pattern in my back to check when I need to, so they haven't gotten as much play as they could. Plus, the yarn is a little splitty and so requires a bit more attention.

All these sock issues shove the Water Turtles shawl farther down the queue since they take up social knitting time. Also, I'm not loving the shawl as much as I expected to so I am less motivated.

However, the profusion of lace on my needles is entirely my own fault. I got impatient and started things before finishing others, and resurrected some UFOs. I've moved Swan Lake into 'hibernating' status on my ravelry page for now. I'm not as enchanted with the beads I'm using as I thought I would be, and I have to think about whether I want to embrace it as it is or whether I want to frog what I have and go pick out different beads.

MS4 and the Beginner's triangle are very different projects; I need more focus for MS4 and not as much for the Beginner's Triangle. Working on Beginner's Triangle now has really shown me how far I've come, when I thought about how frustated I was when I first started that project. I think my mind has adjusted to reading charts now, so where before I could not understand the pattern and had to pay attention to every stitch in the chart, now I can look at it, understand the repeat, and just remember some key things I need to know to get me through the row. Also, I can 'read' lace now whereas I couldn't before, so I catch mistakes quicker because I can actually see when a yarnover is out of alignment.

So, I might be able to promote that shawl to certain social knitting situations - if I didn't have a billion other social knitting projects at the moment.

As if I didn't have enough going on, I'm also fidgeting around waiting for some new yarn to arrive. The SO got me French Girl Knits for my birthday and it JUST SO HAPPENS that Little Knits has the discontinued Rowan Kidsilk Night on sale and I'm going to make Veronique.

I also have plans to make the three scarf ruana from The Knitting Experience. You can see from the list above, that I have nothing in the 'tv knitting' category. I need some easy knitting that will not be over too quickly. This should totally cover it. Plus, I think the finished garment is neat. I hit up the WEBS anniversary sale for some more Valley Yarns Northampton. That was not actually on sale, but the Colrain Lace was. Then I also threw in some of the silky alpaca lace to get me in to discount range. Maybe a little overboard, but the yardage on all three yarns is criminal for that price. Love it.

My first experience with alpaca yarn was not particularly favorable. It shed EVERYWHERE and it was the wrong choice for the garment I was making, and it just generally didn't work out. The end product is stuffed in my closet huddled in shame under some pyjamas that are too small for me. But, I want the lace yarn to knit Anjou (again from FGK), and after deciding on the colrain I checked in on the ravelry discussion and saw some things that made me think I might need some halo for this project, so if that's the case I can go with the alpaca/silk instead of the colrain (merino/tencel).

On top of that, the SO's family got me the Hanami pattern and materials for my birthday, so that's sitting there tempting me, AND Pink Lemon is coming out with a new pattern for a lace stole-capey thingy that I've been waiting on anxiously.

Alas, there is no solution for me but to completely change my personality, throw caution to the wind and cast on as many projects as I want and care not whether and when they get finished - or to just motor through what's on my needles now as efficiently as possible.

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