Well, when I sait that the last post would in fact be my last post...I thought I was joking. But, due some technology switcheroos in my usual blogging time, I've had to put it off more than usual. Work has been killing me, but I'm finally coming up to the end of my little marathon of pain (I think) so hopefully I can come up with blog posts more regularly.
So. What I Did On My Unintentional Blog Vacation
1. Featherweight Cardigan. I love this peice. Miles of easy knitting. It's been great. I really seem to have a love for lightweight yarns. I'm not sure if this a summer fling and I will go back to heavier yarns when winter rolls around again, or if I just plain like lightweight yarns, but I have really enjoyed this cardigan. I'm a little pouty now that it's time for the ribbing. Now I have to like...think. In fact I got two rows in on the ribbing, and discovered I had accidentally knit two stitches in a row in the very beginning and so both rows were off. I could have lived with it, but would have annoyed me, so I tinked. Now I am back at the start of the ribbing again.
2. MS4. I spent a lot of time working on mindless projects until the last couple of weeks, but I finally got up enough energy and attention to start back up with some lace. I powered through chart 6, and now MS4 is half done. A little over half, actually, since chart 6 is knit only once. Then, thinking I could put that momentum into starting the second half, I did the cast on and started chart 1 again, and - argh. I got so frustrated. It's just SO SLOW. Chart 1 is very heavily beaded, and it just takes forever to get anywhere. So, I put it aside and took out...
3. Swan Lake. The beads on this one are much more sparse and a lot less annoying to work. For one thing, this stole is designed so that you set the bead and then knit the stitch. MS4's designer prefers to knit the stitch and then put the bead on immediately after. I didn't like the way it looked way back long ago when I started MS4, and it was part of the reason I ripped out and started over (the other reason was that I didn't like the beads I was using, if I recall correctly). The problem is, in order to get the beads to sit where they are designed to sit, I have to put them on during what would normally be a mindless purl row. So, I keep forgetting and knitting past them. Swan Lake is much easier for me to follow since I am looking at the chart anyway. I'm so happy with this one - it's so beautiful and the beads add a great, tasteful sparkle. However, I'm up to the cat's paw piece that goes across the back, which is...long. But, that's okay - I think since it's a chart and not a 'repeat this 8 million times' I will get through all right. The visual of moving my marker up a chart gives me a concrete feeling of progress, so I don't feel like I'm going to be knitting the same thing over and over until the end of time OH GOD WHEN WILL IT END.
The only gripe I have is the double-wide charts. I get so frustrated because the marker for my chart holder (I have the magnetic KnitPicks chart keeper) can only go over half, and then I have to move the chart and the marker and it really just bugs me. Contrary to the belief of everyone who actually sees me knitting, I am not a very patient person. I like progress. I HATE stopping and starting. This is why I could never get into drop spindling the way I did wheel spinning. I don't want to have to stop and wind and then start again. I just want to freaking spin!
Ahem. So, having faced this problem on Scheherazade, MS4, and now this one, I have given up and decided to get a second chart holder. But, while I'm waiting for that to come - I went to JoAnn's and got some highlighter tape. I've heard about it in a bunch of places, but never found it before. I finally found it tucked in the quilting section called something else, but it's at least holding me out for now. I still prefer the ease of just bumping the magnet up a row (less stop and start), but at least I am not getting dizzy trying to follow a row out to the end with no marker because I can't stand to stop and move the whole frigging chart.
4. Swatch. Last night I finally finished out the swatch I started months ago, the one I am doing with Plymouth Royal Merino, which will hopefully become my Eris sweater. I had some real issues measuring the guage, though. I kept checking and checking and it really seamed like I had the same stitch guage on all three needle sizes. Then I remembered something I'd read in the Yarn Harlot's book (I think it was Knitting Rules, but it might have been SPM Casts Off). I made the SO bring me some blocking pins ("Honey, can you run upstairs and grab my blocking pins?" he goes up and calls down "How many do you need!" "Just bring me the whole tub," I called back (I keep them in a small tupperware container). there was a moment of silence, and then I called up again "or if they're in a pile on the floor, just grab me five or six." "Ah, okay! got it!"). Then I put in a pin, counted out the number of stiches I was supposed to have per inch, and put in another pin. Then I put my ruler between the pins and was able to clearly see whether the pins were an inch apart or not. Brilliant. Anyway, I think I got guage, but I still have to wash the swatch. I almost started without washing it, to be honest, but the directions didn't make sense to me so I decided I needed to sleep before attempting anything (since I have read those directions before and they were perfectly clear).
5. Photography. Some church friends got married this weekend and I took a bunch of pictures for them for their rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, and the bride's shower.
What I Did NOT Do On My Unintentional Blog Vacation
1. Spinning. I have entirely neglected my spinning wheel until last night, and last night - it showed. My spinning was AWFUL. I don't know - did I just get really bad because I haven't been doing it regularly? I can see how that might happen. What was wierd, though, was the way I was noticing the qualities of the wool, which I really hadn't been before, or at least, I don't remember noticing before (but then, it has been a while. Anyway, it was depressing, and feeling woeful, I gave up. I will have to take another shot this weekend and start spinning faithfully on Tuesdays again, so I can get back in shape. Also, I lost my wheel oil at first, and ended up finding a puddle of oil on the TV tray on which I had piled most of my knitting and spinning detritus. That's what I get for not paying attention to my things.
2. Cleaning/Housecare. The house is a wreck. I am doing only enough laundry to get me through the week and only when absolutely necessary. In the meantime I have four baskets of clean laundry in my room, and only one of them contains anything that can actually be worn. The flowerbeds are full of weeds. Some mystery animal keeps pooping on my deck. There is a half-empty bag of potting soil that we unwisely left out that is now growing things. The SO stubbed his toe last night on a framed piece of cross stitch that I have been intending to hang on the wall for weeks. There is predrafted spinning fiber draped over my dining room chairs that have just been left there. There are two buckets in my kitchen floor that I use to soak yarn or knitted items in prior to blocking that I have gotten so used to walking around that I didn't even realize they are both still full of water!! The couch and ottomon are buried in stuff. Even the dog is dirty! The clutter issue is really making me insane, because what happens is I go to my craft room and get what I need and bring it downstairs, and then downstairs becomes saturated with stuff, and so I take it all back to the craft room and - rinse, repeat. Also, larger-scale crafting projects like my scrapbooks don't get any time at all, because the amount of cleanup it would take to even be ready to work is appalling. I really don't know what to do about this issue. Maybe I should just make the living & dining room my craft area and move the dining room upstairs! No one comes to visit me anyway, I don't really entertain, and the current system isn't working at all.
3. Photo Processing. I am avoiding this like the plague. I hate this part of the process, but especially in the kind of low-light situations I was in, the photos really have to be processed.
4. Quilting. I am desperately struggling against impulses to attempt quilting. Kelley talked about English Paper Piecing on the Knit Picks podcast and I was like...I could totally do that! A number of things are stopping me:
a. I have no sewing machine capable of actually sewing anything. While the piecing is done by hand, I'm pretty sure some amount of machine sewing would eventually be involved for backing, actual quilting, etc. to preserve my sanity. However, I am reasonably sure I know at least 2 people who DO have a machine capable of this stuff.
b. I would like to try something small. However, everything I've seen that I would actually want to make is big.
c. I'm pretty sure this would take up the same type of time as knitting. I have come to understand from long experience that having crafts that compete for the same time slots is bad for my mental health.
d. Do I really need more crap to clutter up my house with?
e. As much fun as I think it would be to shop for fabrics, every time I start looking at combinations I get confused.
f. If I want to sew, I still have a lot of cross stitch patterns waiting for me untouched.
g. Fabric cutting. This sounds like it would be about as much fun as cleaning mystery poop off my deck.
5. Sleeping. I have had some trouble sleeping at night, which is not that surprising with the stress I've been under, but I am finding it impossible to get myself to nap because...well, I could be knitting. Fortunately, as the stress has eased up a bit this week, the sleeping has improved.
6. Sock Knitting. This is not entirely true - I did do a little sock knitting, but it wasn't very much. It's very pretty, though. I think there are three things contributing to my lack of sock knitting: a. other simple projects like the featherweight cardigan b. I am bummed at not going to Sock Summit, even though I totally thought it through and decided that I should not go. c. it's hot. wool socks and summer don't go together that well, and I don't have that many blends that are warm-weather friendly. The sock I started is a wool/seacell blend from Sereknity. Hilariously, my knitting buddy (the one whose wrath I feared in the previous post) was recently in NH, went to the same shop where the SO bought this yarn, and bought the exact same yarn in the same colorway. Hee!! Anyway, I'm using the embossed stitch pattern from More Sensational Knitted Socks, which will I think make it the first sock pattern I have ever knitted a second time. I think it's a good pattern for yarns that maybe have a little less elasticity - plant fiber blends, etc - because it has some inherant bounce to it.
7. Finish anything. I haven't finished anything since my last post, although prior to that post, I had finished the spiruluscious mitts which have been sent off to my mom and received with admiration. But, other than that - I have finished nothing. Despite this, I'm feeling really restless to start new stuff. Finishing the swatch (well, I guess technically I did finish something) was the first step toward starting Eris. I got it in my head that if I were to finish the collar before we leave for vacation at the end of September, the rest of it should be mostly stockinette and would make great car knitting while we are driving around in yellowstone. I definitely have to have a stockinette or garter project for that, because I want to be able to keep my eyes on the landscape. I'm also feeling very tempted to start a circular shawl, and I'm not really sure why. Am I seeing a lot of them lately, or is it just me? If it is just me, is it that I am seeing them because I am interested in doing one? Is it the Loopy Ewe's fault for their Girasole knitalong? I don't know. I do have to say I'm tempted by WendyKnits' new pattern for Order to Chaos. I like the wedges. I also have the pattern and yarn for a Rona Lace shawl at home that I haven't gotten around to doing anything with. BUT, I also have Hanami and Flamenco standing by (both also from Pink Lemon) and...and...and. There's always more Ands. It's kind of like playing wheel of fortune. Projects spin through my mind and whatever is at the top when I finish one project is the next project to get started.