Sunday Lexicon – Weight

At today’s knitting group, someone asked what “DK” meant. Although she’s a long time yarnaholic like the rest of us, she’s never really learned about the differences in yarn and how they can affect a project. That inspired me to start a weekly lexicon for those who may not necessarily be new to the craft, but are new to the terminology. This week, let’s talk about weight.

Weight is another way to refer to a yarn’s thickness. It is highly variable, depending on the manufacturer. The most standardized way to determine a yarn’s thickness is WPI, or Wraps Per Inch. To determine the WPI, take a ruler, or anything you can make a one inch measurement on, and wrap your yarn around it. Count how many lines of yarn you see between one inch. Easy, right? Now it doesn’t matter who makes the yarn, you can easily ensure you’re using the same weight of yarn called for in a particular pattern.

This WPI sheep is adorable!

This WPI sheep is adorable! Sold on etsy by MoonsongFiberworks. Click the pic to go to their listing.

 

Starting with the lightest weight:

Cobweb: 40 or more WPI, about 1200 yards per 50 gram skein

Cobweb is often used for shawls and other lace projects. It is super-fine, sometimes thinner than sewing thread. NEVER try to wind cobweb weight yarn without a yarn swift, trust me.

Lace: 36 to 40 WPI, about 440 yards per 50 gram skein

Lace is also used for shawls and other lace projects, but can also be used for colorwork if you want to keep the thickness of your final project manageable.

Fingering: 24 to 30 WPI, around 220 yards per 50 gram skein

Fingering, also known as sock yarn, is most often used for…socks! It’s also popular for baby items, fingerless mittens, and gloves. It’s easy to work cables in fingering, too.

Sport: 18 to 24 WPI, around 120 yards per 50 gram skein

Sport is popular for socks, baby items, hats, gloves, and colorwork. It’s also great for summer weight tops and sweaters.

Double Knitting, or DK: 12 to 18 WPI, about 120 yards per 50 gram skein

DK is perfect for, well, double knitting! DK and Sport are often interchanged, so be sure to compare the WPI of your chosen yarn with the WPI of the yarn recommended for your project.

Worsted: 10 to 12 WPI, around 110 yards per 50 gram skein

You may hear the term “worsted weight” a lot, as that is what most big box store acrylic yarn is, particularly Caron Simply Soft, Red Heart Super Saver, Lily Sugar ‘N Cream, and much of the Lion Brand line. Worsted is the go-to yarn for many items, particularly sweaters, slippers, and bags. It is the workhorse of yarn craft. Anything from slippers to afghans, hats, gloves, baby items, bags, scarves…anything you can knit, you can knit with worsted (and yes, I do mean lace!).

Bulky: Less than 8 WPI, around 60 yards per 50 gram skein (although most often sold in 100 gram skeins)

Bulky is great for rugs, heavy jackets, and bags. It’s also great for felting, as with felting, projects need to be knitted larger so that when it shrinks, it is the right size. Larger yarn means fewer stitches, and since you’re felting it anyway, who cares?

Chunky: Less than 6 WPI, around 50 yards per 50 gram skein

Chunky is also known as super-bulky, and is also good for rugs, heavy jackets, and bags.

Don’t think that this will save you from making a gauge swatch, though! If you’re making a fitted item, swatch, swatch, swatch. But if you are making a blanket and don’t mind if it’s a bit off, or like the pattern but want your product to be much larger (or smaller), knowing the weight of your yarn vs. the recommended yarn weight will help. Personally, I love shawls, but spending a month or more to make a lace shawl isn’t always do-able, particularly if it’s a gift. Switch over to worsted weight and a larger needle or hook, make fewer repetitions, and finish a whole lot faster!

Weight isn’t the only factor in determining how your finished fabric will look and feel, but it is definitely important. Hook/needle size, tension, and the yarn itself will all play a role, but weight is the first thing to consider when trying to figure out how your chosen yarn will compare to the recommended yarn.

Enjoy and remember, “Knit through everything!”

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Friday On The Needles – Flames!

(Ok, I know this is late, but better late than never, right? Just pretend you are reading this last Friday!)

This has been a busy week of project swapping. I started a scarf but got about 40 rows in and decided I didn’t like it, frogged it, and started another.

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The Mariner’s Scarf. I like the basket weave, but it just wasn’t draping right with this particular yarn.

 

The Winter Flame Scarf is much more suited to this particular yarn. It requires a stiffer drape so that the stitch definition really shows.

The yarn is much more suited to the Winter Flame Scarf. It requires a stiffer drape so that the stitch definition really shows…now if only my phone camera would cooperate.

I checked out Wendy Knits Lace by Wendy D. Johnson from the library and fell in love with several of the designs, particularly the Tiffany Shawl and the Two-Thirds Shawl. I had the perfect violet bamboo yarn for the Tiffany Shawl in my stash, so I whipped up the first chart in the pattern.

The beginning of Chart A of Wendy D. Johnson's Tiffany Shawl.

The beginning of Chart A of Wendy D. Johnson’s Tiffany Shawl. Not sure how I feel about the stitch definition with this yarn/needle combo, either. May try a smaller needle before I commit.

However, for the Two-Thirds Shawl, I faced the classic knitter’s dilemma. In spite of the countless skeins of yarn in my stash, I did not have enough of any of them. Seriously? I’m obviously slacking on my stashing here! Fortunately, a friend handed over a gorgeous hand dyed skein of pure bamboo cobweb. My favorite LYS owner offered to wind it for me if I was willing to bring it in when she didn’t have a class going. However, my being the impatient sort, I decided to wind it myself, without so much as a second pair of hands. HUGE mistake. Or as I like to refer to it, a horrifying tactical yarn disaster. With three cranks of my ball winder’s handle, my beautiful skein turned into a somewhat hopeless pile of thread spaghetti.

Lesson learned: buy a yarn swift or wait for the LYS to wind it!

Lesson learned: buy a yarn swift or wait for the LYS to wind it!

I have spent several hours a day for the last four days unraveling the mess a few inches at a time. This is a 1050 yard skein, so 3150 feet of  tangled web. It will be months before I’m done winding it, but I did learn a valuable lesson in patience.

Wendy Knits Lace is well written with easy to follow pattern instructions. As a bonus, the pattern charts can be downloaded from the publisher’s website, so no trying to scan the chart and ending up with blurred symbols. I’m not a huge fan of the 3in1 stitch used in the Stacy Shawl, as I think it twists the yarn excessively, but most of the other patterns are quite straightforward. Wendy includes something from the most popular wearable categories, including scarves, shawls, socks, caps, and sweaters. As one of my LYS owners said in a recent knit group, she only buys books that have at least three patterns that interest her. Wendy Knits Lace meets that requirement and more.

My KnitPicks order came today and I am overwhelmed with smooshiness! All of my wool and alpaca is so soft and luscious, I can’t wait until winter! Okay, maybe I can because if not, I’d never have these projects done in time. I immediately dug out a skein of Swish DK in Coal and started the first few rounds of the Eva Marie hat. This is my first “in the round” project, so I was thrilled to have my join turn out surprisingly effortless, thanks to this fabulously helpful video from New Stitch A Day!

For the moment, Morrigan is taking a break, and the Quilt and Cable is still in time-out. I’ll get back to them soon, no worries.

I managed to make it to my Saturday and Sunday knit groups, as well as my Tuesday morning, but haven’t been anywhere since then. My lovely daughter turned 21 (that’s her in my header!) on Tuesday, so we took her out for karaoke and some not so wild drinking. Because she’s only had a margarita here and there, she has no tolerance and spent Wednesday trying not to move in an effort to keep water down. She very cleverly took Wednesday off from work, so she had the entire day and half of Thursday to recover and I stayed home to take care of her.

Last night, I had a painful flare of PCS (precordial catch syndrome) that lasted until 6am this morning. In spite of pain meds, I spent the night tossing and turning because I couldn’t breathe. I am hoping that taking time to stretch in between knitting frenzies will help it from happening too often. Just another bunch of letters to add to my alphabet soup of pain syndromes. Thank goodness for knitting, because it really helps take my mind off much of the pain.

In spite of that, I’m going to this weekend’s knit groups come hell or high water.

Friday On The Needles

It’s been a long and busy week. I started the Morrigan shawl on Sunday and I’m about 3/5ths done already. I love love love these easy patterns that look so intricate! Even though I’ve been super tired this week and have had to take naps and go to bed early several times, I still managed to get quite a bit knitted up.

It helps that I made the effort to go to Wednesday night’s Inskein Asylum, a knitting meet-up at my LYS, Inskein Yarns. Of course, there were a few distractions when I first walked in the door, like the long shelf with tons of gorgeous yarn all 40% off. I managed to keep myself under control, just barely. I met more knitters and had a blast. Conversations always start with, “What are you working on?” and go on to, “And then he took off his clothes…” Knitters are quite passionate, with yarn or without!

Tonight is another knitting meetup at another LYS, Yarnivore. It will be my first one there, but I’m sure a few of the people that I met last Saturday will be at this group too. I’m just hoping for comfy chairs. My tailbone can’t handle another evening of uncomfortable chair pressure; I’m still recovering from last weekend.

This week, I’ve mainly worked on Morrigan while the Quilt and Cable throw is in time-out. I went to pick it up on Sunday evening and discovered that I made a terrible cabling error that was super obvious, so I had to frog it back six rows. SIX! I wanted to cry. That’s well over 2000 stitches. I finally got that done yesterday afternoon, so it’s ready for me to pick it up again in a few days.

My main problem with these two patterns is that I’m working both of them on 7 needles. Although my Chiaogoo interchangeables came with three small cables, I only have one pair of each needle size. Fortunately, my needle set came with end stoppers so it’s not that hard to switch them out. The other problem is that I only have a 14″, 22″, and 30″ cable. The Quilt and Cable throw is 5.5 feet long, which barely squinches onto my 30″ cable. Back when the set came out, that was the longest available, but after a quick check on Amazon, I found they now carry 37″ and 50″ cables! FIFTY inches! I double checked on eBay and found them for a few bucks cheaper, so I ordered it in both the large and small diameters as well as a second set of end stoppers. Having that extra length will make my life so much easier, especially when working up a large shawl or a side to side scarf. Ever since I got them, I’ve used my interchangeables for everything. I’m so used to the flexibility and the small needle length, it makes my straights seem bulky and uncoordinated.

Last night was a little splurgy after I received an email from KnitPicks about their yarn sale. OMG! Who can resist cashmere for less than $5 a skein? I bought some alpaca, Peruvian Highland, and merino (regular and some superwash), as well as a set of Caspian cable needles. I tried using regular cable needles but they are too small and slick; I tended to drop stitches when the needle slipped out. The Caspian cable needles come in three sizes and they have ridges to keep stitches from dropping. Genius!

Of course, now the question is what to work on next? I’ve been furiously adding patterns to my Rav queue, and I ordered this year’s Knit Scene Accessories issue because it features a beautiful hat and cowl set by SusannaIC, the Eva Marie. I also plan to pick up Dee O’Keefe’s Lace Triangle Collection ebook. All four of the shawls in the collection are breathtaking and I can’t wait to get started on them. Meanwhile, work continues on Morrigan. I’ve finished the third repeat, so technically I only have one more repeat to go, but I want mine a bit longer so I may add another one or two repeats. We’ll see how much yarn I have at the time.

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My son graciously modeled for me. You can see my life lines in white. I may be insane but I’m not crazy! I’m not using stitch markers, but I always use life lines.

Have a great weekend and remember, “Knit through everything!”

Knitting Insecurities, WWKIP, and Ravelry

Saturday, June 14 was World Wide Knit In Public day and I was so excited to finally be qualified to go. As a crocheter, I’ve seen posts about WWKIP for years and desperately wished I could join in, but I didn’t knit. This year, not only was I out there knitting, I helped to teach someone else to knit. That’s what I love about this craft; while there are classes galore, knitters are thrilled to pass along their knowledge and skills for free. I took along my Cambria throw, but I was so busy admiring other people’s projects, feeling up all the yarn, and chatting up a storm with others who speak my language, I only managed to get about 30 stitches done.

I was really nervous about going, since I’ve only hung out at my LYS (local yarn store) twice since I learned how to knit back in October, so I didn’t know anyone. When I arrived at the mall food court for the event, there were already about twenty people sitting around several tables casually pushed together. Everyone smiled, moved over to make room, and welcomed me into their conversations. Knitters are the NICEST people ever! I had worried that I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to, but these women (and boy and man) enfolded me like I was an old friend. It helps that every knitter has instant conversation starters: “Oooh! What are you working on? I love that yarn, where did you get it? Did you make the one you’re wearing?”

I held out for three hours on the worst chair ever, and in that time, I added seven people to my Ravelry friends, met a published designer, several spinners, and a lovely woman who dyes the most beautiful yarn. Stacie from Must Stash Shop handed me a business card with a gorgeous mini-skein of sock yarn attached. What a great marketing tool, because now I’m lusting after her work.

I’ve tried to join other groups (non-crafty ones) before but I was often made to feel like an outsider. While people might say hello, they certainly weren’t friendly. So many groups want to feel exclusive and they do it by excluding people. Not knitters! Much like the sheep that give us our fiber, they are a fold and are happy to bring someone new into it. I was invited to attend other knitting meetups around town, including one that night and the local Stitch ‘N Bitch group. After going home for a much needed nap, I venture back out for more fiber goodness. The night group had several people that attended WWKIP, so I felt right at home. Although I was in another awful chair, knitting and great conversation took my mind off the pain. I stayed for another couple of hours before my back started screaming at me, and even then, I still found it difficult to pull myself away.

Being surrounded by knitters with way more experience, I felt somewhat inadequate. I only brought one project but everyone else had two to four works in progress that they switched between. What?? Startitis is not only embraced but encouraged? Yay! So yesterday, I cast on for the Morrigan shawl (published by Hedgehog Fibers) with some super soft cashmere/mink blend. Morrigan is a super easy lace that looks impressively intricate. The most difficult stitch is a centered double decrease (which is not hard at all) so it’s perfect to take along for knit nights. I got pretty far in the nine hours that I worked on it (off and on, of course) and I’m quite tickled.

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As promised, here is a pic of the Cambria throw now that I’ve finished the second set of wraps. While it is more rounded than an EKG, I think the up and down wave pattern is fitting for a cardiologist. I love patterns that are deceptively impressive but truly simple.

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There was lots of Ravelry talk on Saturday, and as I mentioned, I added several friends throughout the day. I learned how to find my Ravelry number, too; I am Raveler #1102279. Considering there are now more than FOUR MILLION Ravelers, I’m old hat! One person in our group is in the 20,000s, so she’s definitely a veteran. Rose-Kim Knits has an excellent tutorial on how to find your number. Check it out and post your number in the comments!

 

 

Better Swatch Out

I am always one who jumps right into something with little to no planning. It usually works out, but sometimes, it costs me a lot of time that I would have saved if I’d done it right from the beginning.

I’m currently working on a cabled throw for my son’s cardiologist. I bought 24 skeins of navy blue Ice Alara yarn, but it’s a dk weight, while the pattern, the Cambria Quilt and Cable Throw calls for chunky yarn on size 8 needles. Since I’m a tight knitter, I thought using an 8 would still work, so I cast on and started knitting without swatching first. After over 40 (very long) rows, I decided it was too loose and I didn’t like the drape. I tried size 6 needles, but that made it too small and I wasn’t sure I’d have enough yarn to get the size I want. Finally, I settled on a size 7.

Again, I cast on and started knitting. After five rows, I decided it was too short. I frogged it and cast on a third time, only to find I had it too long. I gave up and worked up a swatch so I could find out how many stitches to the inch, then calculated how many stitches I needed for the number of inches I wanted. With the fourth cast on, I finally have it right.

My first try (on the 8 needles) seemed to go so much faster. Of course, I had 72 less stitches per row, and the stitches were bigger. The 7 needles are giving me a good tight stitch, but with 340 stitches per row and 5.5 rows to the inch, I’ve only got about four inches after almost an entire week.

Sigh. I will take this as a life lesson to swatch, swatch, swatch…at least when I need a somewhat exact size. I console myself with the knowledge that this project is something to be very proud of and will make an amazing thank you gift, so it was worth all the effort to get it right.

I finally finished a shawl for my friend. I was supposed to have it done by the end of last October, but that project also suffered from start-over-itis. In the end, the shawl she received looked amazing. I used the Kuura pattern and Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable in the Tidal colorway. It is so soft and airy, and looks impressively hard even though it was ridiculously easy. Unforgettable is self-striping, which made it even more impressive.

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Kuura is a  great pattern for beginner lace work. It’s easy to memorize the rows and I only needed one stitch marker before the center stitch.

I have recently stocked up on some gorgeous alpaca and alpaca/silk yarns, and I am super excited about the project after this throw is finished: the Bella Botanica shawl. I plan on ordering some glass beads from Lima Beads, but I think I’ll skip the nupps. I don’t think they add much to the overall design and will detract from the beadwork.

I’ll post pics of the throw as soon as I finish the first cable set. Right now, I’m still on the first set of 16 rows of ribbing, with four rows left before I start the cables. My worst problem is that knitting relaxes me to the point that I keep falling asleep!!

Friday On The Needles

Wow. It’s amazing what can be done with a simple knit and purl when you add a few yarn overs and knit2together and slipslipknit stitches. But damn, it is seriously complicated to keep track of exactly where your yarn is supposed to be when you’re switching between all of the above stitches.

After a hole disaster with the cashmere scarf that was on my needles last Friday, I had to frog that entire project. I guess when I started it, I either missed a stitch or didn’t completely slip under a stitch and instead just caught a bit of fiber, because as I was well into my second skein of yarn, I noticed a huge hole somewhere around row 6 or 8. It wasn’t there when I took the picture last week, so my guess is the fiber just gave.

Very depressing, but a lesson well learned. Instead of restarting the scarf, I decided to move on to the next project that I’ve been looking forward to and that is the Cavallo Point Wrap. I’m using JL Salvia merino wool yarn (discontinued…I’ve had this yarn for a few years now), in a cream, rust, and forest green colorway. It’s really soft and is working up beautifully.

While I feel like I’ve sort of mastered the five simple stitches (K, P, SSK, YO, and K2Tog), doing them in combination is like a giant puzzle. Doing a K, YO, K2Tog, YO, P, YO, SSK, YO, K is a serious challenge for a beginning knitter, but now I think I’ve got the hang of it. The occasional S2KPSSO still throws me for a bit of a loop (PUN!), but as long as I pay attention, I can muddle through it. I love knitting because I love watching what seems like just a mess of yarn slowly take shape into a beautiful piece of lace work.

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Rather than buy a manufactured lace chart holder for a small fortune, I was lucky enough to take advantage of my friend Bill, who machined a scrap piece of sheet metal into paper size with nice smooth edges and rounded corners. At a discount outlet store, I found a package of “magnetic locker wallpaper” for $2; it is really just three magnetic, 8.5″ by 11″ orange sheets with purple butterflies. I spent $2 for a plain white binder and $1 for a set of tabbed index sheets. Using a small paper trimmer, I cut two long, two medium, and two short strips from the magnetic sheets. I now have a  knitters notebook where I can organize my printed patterns into categories and a lace chart holder, all for $5. I may pick up a package of sheet protectors so that my patterns don’t tear or wrinkle, but for the moment, I just slide my printouts into the pockets in the binder.

Slowly, I’m starting to feel like a real knitter…now if I can actually finish a project!

Friday On The Needles

Woke up this morning to a gorgeous snow day. Yes, I’m from the South, so snow is a complete novelty for me. I think it’s beautiful. This is a little dark because it was early in the morning, and the haze is actually snow falling.

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Anyway, since we’re homestuck (and I don’t mean the game), it’s a perfect day to have a cup of tea and wander around in my fluffy socks with the sticky dots on the bottom. Leigh has made me a beautiful room to nest in (she really did make it for ME!).

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Crocheted shawl on the back of the chair, and knitting bag in the seat, of course!

Today, I got up, made my coffee, took photos, helped Bill with breakfast, loaded the dishwasher, took a shower, and I’m finally sitting on my bed about to get back to work on the Simple Lace Scarf, which is incredibly easy…just three rows of lattice lace then four rows of knitting. It only takes a bit of concentration in order to remember to YO, K2TOG or K2TOG, YO. They alternate so that the lattice is actually slanted and pretty. I needed something simple to work on while we drove to Connecticut, and this fit the bill perfectly.

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I’m using a cashmere silk blend, so it’s soft and fluffy with a bit of squish. It’s not blocked yet so the lace isn’t quite as prominent as it will be. I doubled the width because I like my scarves wider than average, but that’s just me.

The snow is really coming down and  tomorrow is due to be record lows. My husband wanted me to really experience winter in the north to make sure it doesn’t affect my fibro and make it worse. Fortunately, I think my meds are exactly balance, plus getting away from the Hill Country Cedar was an instant fix for my runny nose.

This is my second full day here, and I’ve already accomplished tons!

Santa Baby

I know I’m a few days late, but in my defense, I’ve been sick pretty much since Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day was no exception. While I rallied enough to get all the wrapping finished up, on Christmas Eve I ended up crashing at around 3:30pm. When I woke up three hours later, I found a spotless house, including the bathroom, and the kitchen floors. It was a perfect Christmas surprise, and I was able to throw myself into the baking frenzy of pies for the next day.

On Christmas morning, I had the best time watching my kids, my son’s girlfriend, and my husband open presents, particularly my husband. The only things he had asked for were a pizza cutter, a knife sharpener, and some snapware bowls. Instead of the knife sharpener, I bought him a set of Ginzu knives, which he was amazed at how sharp they are. However, as he opened lame present after lame present (pajamas, flannel shirts, kitchenware), I kept having to hide my smile as I waited for the right moment to give him his “real” present.

For ages, he’s been waffling about getting a tablet of some kind, so I did my research and decided on the Google Nexus. A few days before Christmas, he said that if he were going to get a tablet, it would be a Nexus. I laughed and said, “Whatever,” as if he would ever buy one. So while I had been a little worried about whether or not he would like it or just complain about the expense, I stopped worrying. Sure enough, when he opened the tiny little box, he was so happy. He loves it and spends much more time in his chair or in the bed, reading all sorts of things. Yesterday, all he read about was dinosaurs.

I highly suspected I was going to get the ChiaoGoo needles, but as I opened my presents, it wasn’t in any of the boxes. I did get a kindle (great for pattern pdfs!) and a fantabulous craft tote with lots of safe, non-velcro compartments. Finally, I was down to my last box and I was NOT disappointed! There in all of its black and white floral glory was the ChiaoGoo needle carry case.

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Because he got me the complete set, I have from size 2 up to size 15. It came with six cables (two of each length, with one for the large set and one for the small set), cable connectors, stitch markers, tightening keys, a gauge/ruler, end caps, and of course, the case. I was too exhausted to play with it that day, but the next day, I switched from my Velocity fixed cable over to the ChiaoGoo and OMG! Let me say again, I was NOT disappointed!

Having lace tips is worth its weight in stainless steel. I love the “click/swish, click/swish” sound they make because I can stitch so much faster. The cashmere silk lace scarf that I’d had to give up on because it refused to cooperate with my Boye needles? I’m now on row 15, and I doubled the width (I like wider scarves). It took me about 45 minutes total to get that far which is waaaaaay faster for me.

I love the stitch markers, too. They are so cute! All the different sizes makes it easy to use the smallest one so it isn’t difficult to knit over. Having a set of end stoppers makes it easy to have multiple projects going at once (because what knitter/crocheter doesn’t??), so I had to give a go at the Kuura shawl with my ICE merino and I had a ball (LOL!) because even the few rows that I worked up were so simple and I can tell it is going to be a gorgeous piece.

I cannot say enough good things about these needles. The key makes the joins super tight, so it’s highly unlikely they will unscrew on their own. Combining the cables was such a huge help for my ever expanding Afternoon Tea shawl. I’m flying through those rows, too, so I should have that done by the end of the next week. The joins are super smooth, too.

Although Amazon hiked up the price $26 from $129 to $155, my husband said there was no way he could *not* get them for me, even though he waited too long. Never underestimate the truly fantastic gift that a good set of needles make. While my other needle purchases sort of propped open the door, these needles have thrown it wide open to the world of knitting possibilities.

I highly recommend getting the complete set, and I also intend to get more cables, connectors, and end stoppers. The combinations are endless, and one could easily make a cabled afghan of any size with a few of the 30″ cables put together. I feel like there is nothing I can’t tackle now!

All I Want For Christmas Is…

One thing about learning a new hobby: it often requires a whole new set of toys. When I learned to crochet, I got subscriptions to several magazines, downloaded patterns, bought hooks, stitch markers, yarn, yarn, more yarn, and oh, some yarn. Knitting is nowhere near that cheap.

Sure, I could get just a single set of straight needles and make flat hats and scarves in worsted weight yarns until I die of boredom. But if I want to make shawls, blankets, hats, sweaters, or socks, I need stuff. Lots of stuff. 14 inch straights, circular needles of various lengths and sizes,  cable needles (although for the moment, I’m faking it with a third straight), yarn, yarn, some yarn, and oh, more yarn! I’ve discovered that yarn that is nearly impossible to use in crochet, because the stitches get lost, is easy to use in knitting, because the stitches are right there on the needle. Hello mohair, boucle, and novelty yarns!

Every year, my parents, nieces and nephew, and my family all draw names after Thanksgiving dinner. It’s easier to get gifts for one person, and they get a cooler present than if I had to get seven of them. This year, my mom got me, Aubrey got my mom, I got my dad, and my dad got Aubrey. How funny is that?? Because my mom is going to be gone for Christmas and I’ll be gone for all of January and most of February, we decided to get together on the 15th for brunch.

My mom is difficult to buy for, but Aubrey is a whiz shopper. She hit up Etsy and found the most beautiful thing…I’ll show pictures after next Sunday when we open our presents. My dad is equally difficult, as he has everything he could ever need. I searched through Etsy and while I found some really awesome stuff, it all comes from Israel and wouldn’t be here in time. Because I wasted so much time looking at various indie websites, I ran out of shipping time. Thank goodness for Amazon and Prime. Two days guaranteed! I found a beautiful wool/viscose Irish Ivy Hat; I’ve seen my dad wear one so I know he’ll like it. I’m frantically working on a cabled scarf to go with the hat. With only six days to go, it may be a very short scarf. I’m using the Lion Brand Reversible Cable Scarf Level 5. I’m not sure why it’s considered level 5, because it’s really easy, as long as I don’t lose track of when to knit and when to purl.

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Mom finds me equally difficult to buy for, although I think I’m pretty easy. Obviously, knitting stuff is at the top of my list. But she wanted to make sure she got me exactly what I wanted, so while we were on the phone, we shopped on KnitPicks.com together. I picked out a set of Caspian DPNs, some needle coils, point protectors, cable needles, and two skeins of Shimmer yarn in Shallows colorway. That’s going to be a lace shawl for sure! I can’t wait for the DPNs so I can make my first pair of knitted socks.

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Of course, I’m still hoping for the set of ChiaoGoo interchangeables from my husband. Hint…hint!

 

Here I Row Again

I’m super new to knitting, so I’m still learning things like what a pain in the ass it is to not discover my stitch count is off until I’m a couple dozen rows down from where I made the mistake that threw it off. I’ve been working on this shawl for about six weeks now, and the majority of that time has been spent doing the same  dozen or so rows over and over. After this last round of frogging, I’ve become super paranoid and I’m now counting my stitches after every fourth row. The other three rows are just knit stitch, so as long as that fourth row is right, the next three will be right, too…assuming I don’t drop a stitch somewhere, but I usually notice that right away. Everyone around me notices, too, because there’s a whole lot of cussing going on when that happens.

It’s so much more difficult to frog in knitting than in crochet. With crochet, the stitches in the row beneath don’t collapse when I rip out a row, whereas with knitting, stitches don’t neatly and patiently wait for me to run the needle through. After putting my working stitches on and off the needle for what seemed like the millionth time, I realized it would be much faster to just run a line of embroidery thread on a tapestry needle through the stitches to hold them while I counted. If they were still wrong, it only takes a second to pull the thread, unlike trying to smooth 257 stitches on and off my circular needles.

Every needleworker has their own little tips, tricks, and admit it, quirks. I admit that my OCD makes me rip back rows of work if I’m off by one stitch, whereas a normal person would just, oh…add a freakin’ stitch. Every time my husband comes home to find me under a pile of loose yarn with that crazed look in my eye, he laughs and reminds me that’s what stitch markers are for. I remind him that knitting needles are much sharper than crochet hooks.

Fortunately, this pattern is a very easy beginner’s lace, so I have this section memorized. After doing it a billion times, I’m much faster at getting through the yarn over rows. Since Texas (and most of the rest of the country) is hunkering down for the southern bit of Winter Storm Cleon, I have nowhere that I have to be, which means I can knit and watch Law And Order: SVU while snuggled under my layers of quilt, blanket, and comforter.

Meanwhile, my luxurious yarn stash continues to grow. In today’s mail, I received my JL Daisy Alpaca in black and another skein of JL Mira, this time in hot pink. OMG, the alpaca is so soft, I know it will have to be a scarf so I can bury my face in it. It’s like snuggling a kitten!

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