Sunday, February 22, 2009

Being a Good Knitter

I'm shivering in pain right now. While it has a little to do with the cut on my finger (go-go washing knives stupidly), it mostly has to do with what I've got soaking in the sink right now: a gauge swatch.

I'm not a huge fan of the gauge swatch, but I understand its importance in making things the right size and all that. I even knit them occasionally, but then I rip them out so I can use the yarn. I never ever actually wash the swatch or anything.

I know I should, of course. But in a project like a scarf, it doesn't really seem to matter.

Of course, I want to branch out from scarves, though scarves are absolutely lovely. In fact, my Christmas yarn has been taunting me lately, saying "Don't buy anymore yarn! Knit with us! Please?" And I've been putting it off, saying "I don't have a project for you yet! I don't have the right size DPNs! I have to finish other stuff first!" But that's not fair to those yarns. Almost two months they've sat in my stash, waiting patiently for me to get my butt in gear and do something with them, and that's what they deserve. Today I bought appropriately sized DPNs for them and decided to start with the Iro. I'm going to make fingerless mitts/gloves (I haven't decided yet) with them, and that kind of necessitates having a good idea of your actual gauge. You know, that whole "they need to fit around your hand" thing and all.

(I just took it out of the sink! This is final! Holy crap.)

So ... I knitted a cheating gauge swatch (gotta love the mock circle gauge swatch), bound it off, snipped the yarn (do you have any idea how long I debated with myself whether or not to actually go through with it?), pulled it through the last stitch, and tossed it in the sink with some Eucalan.

It's drying on the bookshelf. I think it's a good thing I won't be able to measure it until morning. I'm sitting here kicking myself. What if it's like, two stitches to the inch? What good does that do me? Then I'll have to buy new needles and waste more yarn trying to get it to a gauge that'll work for my pattern. Why the heck didn't I measure the gauge before I snipped the yarn and merrily tossed it in the sink to grow twelve sizes larger? God, I'm an idiot.

I'm sure I'll be fine, of course. It's probably this painful because it's my first time, and when I make mitts that are actually totally awesome because I took this time and effort, I'll be quite thrilled. And if I have to do it again? Not a huge deal. I've got small hands. I won't need a ton of yarn. And if I do? Oh well! Not the end of the world. Yarn pretty.

(I'm going to sneak off and measure it right now. If it's a huge sucess, I'll be back crowing it to the rooftops. If it's a failure, you will not hear from me for several days while I sulk. I consider this fair.)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Everyone Likes a Good Yarn!

Astute readers of my blog may have noticed my (intentional!) leaving out of some things in the last post. Like ... what books I ordered! Pictures of the spindle! And so on. All done for one good reason, dear readers: it gives me something to write about next time!

I honestly don't know much about the spindle kit. It appears to have been put together by one of our consignment dealers and included four different rovings, a half-box (to drop the spindle into?) and an Ashford spindle. Looking at their page, it appears to be the 2.8 oz student top whorl. As for the roving ... not a clue. I got four pretty colors of it, though!

My books came yesterday. Both of them focus more on the wheel than I thought they would, but do contain useful information for using the drop spindle. I purchased Hands On Spinning by Lee Raven (which I've mostly left alone, to be honest) and Start Spinning by Maggie Casey, which I've had a lot more luck with.

So ... I attempted to spin some yarn last night. Let's just say it didn't go so well! I've tried to watch YouTube videos, but either there aren't enough good hand close-ups or they go a little too fast for me. I did try, and it kind of looks like yarn, but I was disappointed that it wasn't perfect the first time around (me, a perfectionist? never!).


Wait a minute ... I think that IS yarn! Look at that! It's not very good yarn, and it's not a lot of yarn ... but that looks like a single to me. Not too shabby! Though I forsee a lot of money getting sucked out of my wallet going to more practice fiber ... Sigh. The sacrifices I'll make!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tales From the Yarn Store

At some point, I need to write up a post about how working at a yarn store rocks. That day is not today. However, I'd love to share this hilarious moment with you, and hope to make it a regular feature of the blog ... if you like it, of course!

Today was hoppin'. We had a lot of people from out of state. This one woman plops a ton of books and magazines onto the counter. "You going for all of this?" I ask her, and she confirms it. I ring it up and ask her if she wants to know the damage, which is almost $90 (!!!).

"My husband told me I can't bring any more yarn home," she says. "So I'm getting these instead!"

Classic. And so, so smart. Filing that into the back of the excuses folder!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Love is in the air!

Spring is in the air, blogland! It's a summery (:D) 52 degrees, the ice and snow are melting and little rivers are running pell-mell for lower ground. I've thrown open all the windows in order to introduce a little much-needed fresh air into the apartment. What a great day to have off! With a day like today, you want to run and get some silk and cotton and start on some new projects! But I must resist.

Did I mention I got my Valentine's day present early from hubs? He asked for a few ideas, and I came up with some, never thinking he'd go out and get something before I was done brainstorming! The LYS I work at has started carrying local consignment items, and he bought me a drop spindle kit with roving! I can't wait to learn how to spin it. I haven't come across anyone who can teach me yet, but I just ordered two books from Amazon. I can't wait to get them.

By the way, blog, I have neglected you for far too long. You deserve awesome pictures of colorful fibers and all that jazz. Here, have some Noro Striped Scarf:


(Best section of that scarf, by the way.) That's the beauty of Kureyon. May not be as soft as Silk Garden, but sure is a heckuva lot more gorgeous. Speaking of Noro, wanna see my Christmas Iro? Yeah, I thought so.


I'm thinking ... mittens.

But then ... there's the Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk.


(Something with cables.)

And the Rowan Kidsilk Night.


(I want to do Ice Queen.)

Too much, blog? Have these cold, dreary, picture-less winter months left you gasping "The color! Enough!" and shielding your eyes? I suppose we wouldn't want to overload you, dear readers. No, don't want the warm weather and my awesome photographs to cause you pain or harm. SO I'll stop. But I'll be back.

Oh yes, I'll be back.


(Oh, Cotton Kureyon. I couldn't resist. I'm going away for real this time! I'll be back ... again.)