Wednesday, August 18, 2010

2 busy 2 knit

To encompass all my reasons for not knitting as much in late July and early August, I'd have to add "2 hot" to the title of this post.

But still, I've finished a small shawl and that pair of socks from the heavyweight yarn--Toasty Toes. There's a photo of the first one in my last post. Take my word for it, the second one looks just like the first. They went so quickly that I'm thinking of starting another pair from that pattern, something I never do. I have yarn leftover from the shawl, as well as a long yarn to go with it. To save those who are bored with too much yarn talk, I've included several links to encourage wandering.

It all started with a hank of Jitterbug that I bought a year or so ago to try that rather popular sock yarn. I started a pair of socks, but they came out too big. After looking in Ravelry at other socks knitted with Jitterbug, I concluded that it is heavier than the sock yarn I normally use. Since it is heavier, the 110 gram hank I bought only had 320 yards in it. Rather than worry that there wouldn't be enough to finish a pair of socks, I started a shawl. Since the pattern I selected is named "198 Yards of Heaven", I was confident that I'd have enough yardage--at first.

The pattern is intended for worsted weight yarn, not fingering weight Jitterbug, even if it is heavy fingering weight. I was using size 5 needles, not the size 8 or 9 intended. Nonetheless, I saw several other "198 Yards" projects using Jitterbug on Ravelry, as well as a few using other lighter-than-worsted weight yarns. I'd just knit more repeats to be sure my shawl would be large enough. Ah, but knitting more repeats takes more yarn. I began to worry that 110 grams of Jitterbug would not be enough.

Looking at the success I had mixing different yarns and colors in another shawl and another project or two, I thought I'd buy another hank of yarn to use for the border. I first bought a hank of Unisono, not realizing until I'd gotten it home that it is a self-striping yarn. I didn't want stripes in the border. Oh well, another hank for the stash, I decided, later talking myself into doing the right thing and buying another hank of Jitterbug.

Once again, when I brought the yarn home and looked at it more closely, I found something I hadn't seen in the store. The new hanks of Jitterbug are larger, 150 grams and a full 400 yards long. There's plenty there for a pair of socks. At least there was, until I used a good portion of the hank for the border of this shawl.

Never mind, I like the border in the lighter colorway of Jitterbug. I like that I used an i-cord border along the top of the shawl. I like the size of the shawl. I really like that I have a hank of Unisono for socks and probably enough Jitterbug for a pair of socks, especially since I didn't use all of the dark blue in the shawl.

With that, I'll conclude this long, rambling story about knitting. It's mildly interesting to me, so I assume it will be to the knitters who read this blog. I'm not sure it would sustain interest in a conversation, though.

I've never heard knitters have a long conversation about knitting. I wish I had. I've tried to catch one, tried to initiate one, tried to sustain one. Is knitting really that boring?

I walked into a yarn shop in a small town the other day. There was a large group of women sitting around a table, knitting and talking. The shop owner told me that it was the guild meeting. I couldn't help hearing their conversations as I walked around the small shop, looking at the yarn and other items. Not once did they mention knitting. Not even spinning, or any type of fiber craft.

Even when shown a knitted item, the response was brief, then the conversation moved back to remodeling, children, men, weather, the usual stuff. I've visited with every knitting group I could in the past few years, gone to a guild fashion show, set up meetings with other knit bloggers or Ravelry users, but I've never found anyone who actually talks about their knitting, or other people's knitting, for any real length of time. I imagine that it would be great fun to find someone who would talk about knitting at length, but I'm not sure. Until I find someone else who has the same level of interest in knitting as I do, blogging about knitting and reading knitting blogs will have to suffice.

Now that the little shawl is finished, I've started a big one. I found the pattern in Clara Parkes' Book of Wool, but have since found it free on line. The free pattern is a big plus, since I can print out the charts in a larger format. I'm using some silk yarn I originally bought to knit a sweater, Mulberry, from Louisa Harding's line of yarns. The pattern is by Sivia Harding. Coincidence, or relations? I'm not sure, but either way, the yarn and pattern is a pair. The yarn is the perfect color for a wedding I'll be in later this year (not mine, no). My suggestion of a sweater was vetoed as being too casual, so I'm hoping a beaded stole will be dressier. If not, the silk yarn should frog well. I have two other stashes of yarn for stoles if this one won't do. Between the stoles and socks, sweaters have been abandoned for a while. I'll get back to them eventually, but I've had a realization about hand-knitted sweaters. I don't wear the summer ones. Summer sweater projects are halted. The yarn will have to be re-purposed for spring and fall sweaters.

I'll explain my problems with summer sweaters in my next post.

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Jamy said...

I wish I lived nearer to you because I would like nothing more than to spend an hour now and then talking about knitting. Pros and cons of different construction, how to seam, what sweater would be the most flattering/interesting/rewarding to knit, yarn stuff, etc.!

The knitting group I sometimes attend has way too little actual talking about knitting for my taste. People seem hesitant to talk about their projects or ask questions. I don't get it.

Marjorie said...

I like the way the shawl turned out.

I stopped by a local stitch n' bitch expecting there to be lots of knitting talk, but the conversations (aside from identifying the source of the yarn or pattern) were about all sorts of other things. Since I had to make a special effort to get there, I just stopped going. It never occurred to me that this was just standard for knitters who gather together. I wanted to talk about knitting, and I too have just resorted to hanging out on Ravelry or visiting knitters' blogs. But the electronic network still is energizing. Before I found knitting blogs, I was just a lonely, solitary knitter who talked to herself.

The only thing I've found where people do go on and on about knitting are the encounters at Stitches. There people really do talk about what they're doing, what they bought at the market, what they hope to buy, what they hope to knit (you get the point).

Zibeline Knits said...

When I started blogging about my own knitting, which was just last Spring, I had the same confusion. All these knitting blogs and no one really seemed to be talking about knitting. Which made me think, why do they have a knitting blog, then? I have come to the conclusion that if you knit, you really just 'know" and aesthetically appreciate and there is little reason to have a long conversation. If I want to know something specific, I ask a specific question. Otherwise, I'm just happy to be in company with people who love doing what I love doing.

Affiknitty said...

I actually read this post a couple of day ago, but I came back to comment today because your post has stuck in my mind. I read blogs, write my own blog, and browse ravelry because I am pretty much obsessed with knitting. I am lucky enough to have a knitting group, but I wish I could be exposed to more projects, learn more about knitting, and discuss knitting with others even more than is satisfied by my knitting group or my LYS.
I second Jamy's comment that I wish we lived closer so we could get together for coffee or tea and talk knitting. I also second Marjorie's comment that I have found Stitches to be the one place where my obsession to absorb more information about knitting is somewhat satisfied. Have you been to Stitches West?
I've added your blogs to the list of ones I follow and I look forward to reading more of your posts about knitting. :)

Laura said...

I have been pondering your observation for a few days. I agree with the comment on Stitches events -- I have had great knitting conversations there with total strangers over the years.

I was a solitary knitter for many years and only started joining a knitting group recently. It really works for me because it is small, rarely attended by more than 6 or 7 knitters. Various topics come up (chocolate especially, with an alarming frequency) but we always come back to knitting questions, feedback, requests for advice, critiques of recent knitting mag issues, etc. I think in a larger group things would be drastically different.