Blogging Classmates Who Impressed Me

I am particularly attracted to unexpected things, and there were several people in the class who impressed me:

I’ve Got a Brand-New Microphone

For a long time now I have been unable to write because I haven’t had a microphone. Now I got a really good one, and it’s making absolutely all the difference in the world. It understands the first time I speak, and its error rate is way below one percent.

So this blog and my others as well will be hearing a lot more from me from now on.

Current knitting

I have slogging through the Iro jacket. The yarn is very heavy, and I find it very hard to work with. But I will get it done. I bought this yarn at Stitches in 2008 I think, and I’m not willing for one more year to go by without it being done. There will be pictures.

The Iro Cardigan rises again…

Cue the moody music, lighting, and thunder. The dread Iro jacket has risen from the dead to terrorize again with it’s button bands from hell. Only this time, I’m just going to follow directions and knit it from the bottom up, which will amke the whole a great deal easier because I have a professionally developed pattern from Brooklyn Tweed who has never done me wrong yet. He’s become an industry unto himself, which generally disqualifies people from me doing their designs, but this is Smokin, among the first things he published, in somebody else’s book Son of Stitch ‘n Bitch. So I feel OK about it. I’m certainly not using private label yarn to execute it, and the only thing about it that really matters to me is the method of beginning the button bands. Once I get that straight, I’ll do the rest of it however I like. I think I may need to throw in a design element or two.

Knitting as Purposeful Work

So for much of this afternoon, I’ve been sitting here in my living room chair watching laborers trundle past with big wheelbarrows full of granite chips and dust destined for the new paths in my backyard.
My reaction to this swung back and forth between two poles:

  1. Gratitude: If they didn’t do this, nobody would. Neither of us actually could. And with any luck the new paths will make me more productive in the garden because I will not be so much at risk of falling.
  2. Depression: The purposefulness of the laborers made me feel irrelevant. They knew eactly what they were doing and why. I don’t.

For much of the time since I became disabled and retired, knitting was something I did because I either couldn’t manage anything that didn’t involve sitting still in a chair, either physically or mentally or both. No longer.
Motivated by the laborers I hereby declare knitting to be part of my job. I will hold myself accountable for being reasonably productive.
I declare that what I do matters, and that I can and will do it well.
Many people I know knit socks ans shawls and such as works of art, and derive great satisfaction from their artistry. That is not my path. I want to make things that serve some purpose. Things that are simple and sturdy and usable. So I will.

Current Knitting

I am working at the moment on a couple of things:

  • a pair of toe up shaped arch socks based on the Arch Villain pattern by Yarmando,
    blue socks in progress
    I am doing this partly to teach myself his process, but mostly because I really can use more socks, and blued is the color I wear most.
  • The Little Red Mantle Runner. Jaime wants something to go along our mantle that works well with the warm color of the bricks. So I choose Knit Picks Palette Pimento. I’m using a pattern by Knitty Debby that I really admire for its elegance and simplicity.

    2013-08-15 18.51.49
    I just wish the pattern came with a chart. Usually I find it easier to use written out instructions but not in this case. I think there is chart making software available, and I may track some down.

    Current Spinning

    Cotton. I am spinning cotton.
    2013-08-15 19.23.21
    I proud and pleased to have learned how. This achievement represents a great leap forward in usability. Because we both wear cotton most of the time, and we use cotton items all the time. I have visions of home made dish cloths and dish towels, and bath rugs and shirts and shopping bags all dancing in my head. Whee!

New Year’s Resolution(s)

Tuesday is my 64th birthday.
Around this time every year, I tend to take stock of who I have become, what I have accomplished, and whether or not I like it. There is always good news and bad news, things I like and things I want to change. And out of this assessment tends to fall new year’s resolutions, things I want to do next year.
Yesterday, I asked my friends at Monday Night Knitting what blogs they read, and Crafty Andy summed up exactly what I want to do with his statement:

…I read blogs to put myself out there as a designer and to meet people…

That’s it exactly.
I want to put myself out there, and to meet people.
Unlike Andy I have no ambitions as a designer. I don’t want other people to follow what I do, I actually want them to do their own.
But I do want to be known, to participate in a lively, wider world. And that requires meeting people, lots of them.
And that is not something I do easily. I have always been a loner, and pretty self sufficient.
My husband and I have been a multitude, happy in a private world of our own making.
I had friends at work, and they provided all the social time and energy I needed. Not anymore. Since my disability, I’ve spent more and more time alone in my suburban garden world. And you just don’t run in to new and interesting people working and sitting in your own back yard.
So now I have to deliberately and consciously reach out to the world, something I’ve literally never done before. Wish me luck.

Current Knitting

Taking a page from Queer Joe‘s playbook, I’m going to structure my entries in parts. I’ll begin with what’s on my mind, and then report on what i’ve knit, and spun since I last wrote.
Knitting is not easy for me these days. But it does help my hands stay limber to do it. So I’m making do something on my current project every day.
It’s socks. Done according to Yarmando’s Arch Villain pattern which I’m treating like a recipe using a different number of stitches and such. I’m grateful to him for his clear approach to toe up shaped arch socks.
blue socks in progress

Current Spinning

I’m working my way through 5 lbs of carded domestic dark brown wool, intending to produce enough two ply heavy worsted weight for a work sweater to wear while I’m working outside in the winter.
brown wool
My hope is that by the end of this, I will be skilled enough to tackle a sock yarn. When I get good at sock yarn, I will have reached the end of my yarn buying career. I’m looking forward to that, but it’s a ways off still.

Knittings from the Portuguese

With apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I have a small achievement to report. Actually, it doesn’t feel small to me. Yesterday afternoon I taught myself to execute the knit stitch in the Portuguese style. The Portuguese purl stitch is almost easier than falling off a log. Not so the knit stitch. It’s more complicated because the yarn is always coming from the front, so you have to do some manipulation to make a proper knit stitch. And I taught myself to do this yesterday from watching YouTube videos. Yay for me!

Stranded Socks and the Silk Garden Sweater

Suddenly I am knitting and enjoying it. This is a refreshing change. I have begun a pair of stranded socks using yarns I got from Knit Picks. I’ve never done stranded socks before so I picked a very simple pattern: alternating stitches. It went well up until I got to the heel. I wasn’t working to a pattern and therefore didn’t have instructions for turning the heel, so I improvised. Not surprisingly, my improvisation didn’t work out well. So I took out the heel, and put it aside until I can figure out a better way to proceed.
After that I took out my Silk Garden and cast on for a sweater. I will use the same plan that I’ve used for the other two I did this year. So far I am really liking the look of the Silk Garden. I’m excited to be working on it.

The Blue Araucania Socks

These have been waiting for months and months for me to figure out the big mistakes and get back to them. Well that’s happened. This big mistake (learning opportunity) was to turn the heels and pick up the gussets one at a time, rather than simultaneously. Once I figured that out, all went swimmingly. I’m delighted with Marlowe Crawford’s pattern for arch shaping, once tweaked to fit my feet of course, and the Kitchener stitch across the toe went adequately. So all in all they’re a great success. Next week I plan to try to figure out the whole photography things and start putting pix of finished objects up.

Knitting Has Started Working for Me Again

Just in the last week or so. I’ve been able to finish some things. Or at least find out how to finish them. With the Pride scarf, for instance, I have found out that I can use a three needle bind off to finish the beginning end. So I took out the waste yarn and put the scarf on double points but haven’t yet gotten to the actual bind off. It’ll only take a few minutes when I do.
As for the Brooks Farm sweater that I have been slogging through, all that remains is to graft together the underarm seam. I’m going to give that a rest before I do it. I wonder if I will ever get so I like that sweater enough to wear it. I do hope so. I spent a fortune on the yarn and have been trying to finish a sweater made out of it for half of forever.

So I Finished the Pride Scarf

I am really, really pleased with it. I find it’s actually hard for me to confess that I like something I made. I feel I ought to be pointing out every small imperfection in it, and there really are several. But that’s not the point. The point is that I had this idea of creating a Fair Isle scarf in the pride colors, did it Portuguese style, and it turned out great. Tomorrow or the next day. I’ll post pictures.

A Little Bit of Fun

so I bit the bullet and just increased to cover the missing stitch and went on for a few rows yesterday evening. It didn’t make me mad and that was good.