Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Zero Sum Game

I did pretty well over this 3-day weekend. I got my house clean (at least on the main floor, we shall not speak of the state of my bedroom). I lounged around, I went out with friends, and I knit till my hands were sore. So, I guess I feel like I had a pretty balanced weekend overall. A little responsibility, a little lazyness, a little fun. However, my food intake was way out of balance and I paid for it last night. My stomach was bothering me and I couldn't sleep.  So, despite a pretty okay weekend, I'm not any more rested!

I finished the second half of Pfeiffer Falls and after many (many many) false starts, I managed to graft the two pieces together. Because I didn't do the pockets, I missed the directions that said to bind off one stitch on each side after finishing the pocket, and I just decided to ignore it and keep going the way I was. Well, this was fine, except that the directions for grafting in pattern were written for two less stitches than what I had on the needles. It took me a few attempts at the graft before I remembered this, and a couple more after I figured it out, but I did get it done and the seam doesn't really show unless you're looking at it, so I feel good about that.


I do not feel good about picking up the stitches from the hood. I started from the center and picked up half the number of stitches for the hood, intending to pick up the other half on the other side of the seam. But, when I measured the length of my picked up stitches, I was covering way more distance than I was supposed to. You're supposed to have 8.75 inches on each side of the center seam, and I was coming out with more like 10. Big difference. I pulled it out, picked up stitches again. Then I did what the directions actually told me to do and measured out the 8.75 inches and started picking up stitches, but when I hit the center seam I was about 10 stitches short of what I was supposed to have. So I had to put it away and think for a bit. Clearly, my row guage is not what it is supposed to be (no, I did not swatch, because it is a scarf and it shouldn't matter, right? This is the one place where guage, especially row guage, is not that important, right? That is the way it is supposed to be! I feel betrayed.) so I have a couple of options. I can:

1. Pick up the correct number of stitches, ignoring how wide it is.

2. Pick up the number of stitches it takes me to get the correct width, and wing it.

3. Pick up the number of stitches it takes me to get the correct width, and increase immediately to get the correct number of stitches.

The thing is, the scarf is, or at least will block to, the width that it is supposed to be. I believe that my stitch guage is close to correct. The hood is knit perpendicular to the scarf, so the width of the hood will be determined by my stitch guage and not my row guage. This means that the hood will be about as wide as the pattern says it should be. I think that this means that option 1 poses an unacceptable level of risk, because if I let it spread out that wide and then the width of the hood wants to be the width described in the pattern, the whole thing will pucker. I'm not really confident enough in my ability to wing it for option 2, and there is also the risk there that the hood will not be as wide as it needs to be, since my stitch guage is mostly correct and therefore fewer stitches will result in a narrower hood. So, I think I'm going with option 3. The risk there is that it will look wierd at the place where the hood attaches to the scarf, but even if it does, I think it won't show too much because the yarn is so dark. In any case, to my mind this risk is the least. The instructions are to pick up and knit, so I think what I will do is kfb in the picked up stitches as needed to get the correct number of stitches. So, that's the plan, now I just have to implement it.

I've been working on my triangular Yellowstone shawl as well, and I think some changes in my plan are necessary. I finished the first skein of Mineral and I'm probably nearing the halfway point on the skein of Earth. I had intended to knit a stripe of Mineral after the skein of Earth, but looking at the transition from Mineral to Earth so far, I don't think this is going to work. The transition between the two colors is much more subtle than I expected, so there is not the hard line I expected. I'm really kind of astonished, I thought the two skeins were so different that I was actually worried they wouldn't tie together enough. But, I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing. I don't think I will need that second skein of mineral for size, I think the shawl will be plenty big even if I don't use it. So, I'm thinking I will just go straight to the Woodland stripe and hope for a similar effect. I'm not even going to try to predict whether this will work or not, but that's what you get when working with handpaint yarn. It's also possible that as I get more of the Earth skein knit in, the contrast between the two will be greater. I'm just not sure. I think I will have to put it on a longer cable so I can spread it out and take a better look at it.

As I was cleaning this weekend, I ran into a familiar frustration that I have never been able to really deal with effectively. I have SO MUCH STUFF. I have an obssessive nature; I get into stuff, and I think, wow, this is cool, and then I get WAY into stuff and then all of a sudden I am sitting here broke and surrounded by stuff. I love to make things, and I love to try new things, and I often can't tell what is going to be a long-term thing and what is going to be a flash in the pan. I'm like, "hey, you know what would be cool?" and then the voices in my head are lilke "doooooooo iiiiiiiiit" and the next thing you know I am, once again, sitting somewhere broke and surrounded by stuff that I probably spent a lot of money on and have no idea how to get rid of. My attempts to organize the Stuff have been temporary and mediocre at best and catastrophic at worst, leaving me sitting somewhere broke and surrounded by stuff that is further cluttered by an organizational system that does not actually work for me.

Paper crafts have been the worst for me, because it involves a lot material that is really difficult to store. Also, my crafting style is a major contributor to my frustrations in this area. I'm not a planner; I don't sit and come up with a sketch for a page and then sort things out and put everything I will need for that page in a box. I work on the fly, I use the stuff I can get to easily, and I throw stuff around in different combinations until I get something that works for me. My paper crafting is almost a mania, where I pull things out of boxes and spread them around and make a huge mess. As a result, my work area is a complete disaster when I'm done, and I always feel like I am using only a very small portion of the resources available to me because I forget what I have. I feel like I go over this problem again and again in my mind without finding any real solution. Should I just reduce the amount of stuff I keep at home, focus on the techniques I really like and try to let go of all the cool stuff? If I do decide to pare down, what do I do with all the stuff? How can I get back to a place where I can enjoy my paper crafts again without feeling like I am constantly spending money and creating a mess?

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