It has been since I last bought yarn!

Friday, February 15, 2008

I Have A Problem.

I fell off the yarn wagon in a big way when I was in NYC last weekend. Hello my name is Jen, and I bought more yarn.

It's Koigu (*slobber), if that at all explains my utter disregard for my yarn diet. I thought I was strong enough to go to a yarn store and "just look" - I guess I was wrong. Alas I didn't just buy the yarn, I also bought more needles, (for the MiL), some SOAK, (special wool wash) and Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Workshop. (EZ, is like the ULTIMATE knitting guru, I had been wanting this book for some time but had a difficult time trying to find it, I actually have NO GUILT on the book purchase.)

I walked into Purl Soho, thinking that I would just look at their 'wall-o-Koigu'. But then the blue color, especially, popped out at me and said "BUY ME OR YOU WILL LEAD A VERY UNHAPPY LIFE". (Logic you I dare you to argue with.) Once I had the blue in hand, I remember nothing else- except leaving the store with more yarn and various other goodies. I cannot explain this compulsion to buy yarn. Except when I am there, and I see the pretty, pretty colorways and I all I know is that another person, (who must make more money than I), takes over and insists that I buy! that! yarn!. The Harlot often blames this phenomenon on "yarn fumes"- I think there's something to this logic.

Aside from totally falling off the wagon on the yarn diet, (which is SO. BACK. ON. AGAIN- seriously people I have yarn for 13 socks right now. THIRTEEN- I must. stop!!!!!!!), I've been making slow progress on the Downer Blanket. I am currently in blanket purgatory, (perhaps another explanation for the yarn buying compulsion?), knitting pattern repeat after pattern repeat without seeing or feeling there has been progress. My goal is to have 25 inches by the end of this weekend. I really am doing my best to finish this project by the first week of March.

Usually by this time I'm considering what my "reward" knitting will be for finishing my blanket, but alas, all I know is that I must cast on another blanket immediately in order to be done before the next baby arrives. I am desperate to knit something other than a baby blanket right now. Straight stocking knit stitch (the ultimate in knitting boredom) scarves for HOURS would be preferred to knitting another baby blanket.

I soldier on-- logging my sufferring for posterity. In the mean time I think I'm going to pet my new yarn and dream up projects for them, knowing that some day we'll get to play together. I have a dream! Someday I will reunite with the Koigu.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Progress Where No One Else Can See Progress

Behold- a picture of the Downer Blanket’s progress.

Those who are faithful to the blog would note that this picture looks an awfully a lot like the last picture that showed up here on this here blog of the very same Downer Blanket. (Linked here for your pleasure) To the untrained eye you would be correct, I don’t seem to have gotten much further- but for those in the know, there is in fact a lot of progress made on this blanket.

You see- I’m an easily excited knitter. I get a pattern, I break out the yarn and I throw myself into a project whole heartedly. Sometimes though, while knitting the pattern I will skim, rather than carefully read a pattern- only to my detriment.

The Story (for those with a strong knitting constitution only):

I thought I read the pattern correctly. (Any knitter will tell you that this is a horrible way to start a story.) The pattern, as I read it, called for me to cast on 179 stitches. So, merrily I cast on 179 stitches and then I knit the pattern over and over again until you saw the picture of last week’s progress. Right after that picture was taken, while working on the blanket, I made an error, dropped a stitch and wasn’t quite sure how to fix it. Non-plussed by this common event, I went back a row, “erased” the error and stopped to count the stitches. (You count the stitches to make sure you’re back on track!)

For some reason my stitch count was higher! 195 stitches. I thought that I was only supposed to have 179 stitches… so I went back another row, 195, and another row, 195 and another row, 195. My heart started to pound loudly in my chest. I couldn’t figure out WHY I had a 195 stitches when I was supposed to have a 179 at cast on. I went back six rows- still 195 stitches. Defeated, I decided a grievous error had been made and I made the executive decision to rip the work back and start again.

Non-knitters would ask why I chose to do this – you see to go from 179 stitches to 195 stitches means that the blanket is going to be wider- and I thought I was adding too many stitches as I went. Worried that I was going to have a blanket that was more bell shaped than rectangular, I decided to go back to where ‘all was right with the world’.

And so gentle reader, I ripped all that work back to the moss stitch border and picked the stitches back up. In a matter of minutes I ripped out about approximately 18 hours of work. Yes. That’s not an exaggeration, eighteen hours, of work. Watching 18 hours of your life and stitches disappear to a “frogged” mess is painful- and so I did not capture this carnage on film. (If you need proof that this in fact did happen, please contact my sister Crystal who was there and watched as my hard work disappeared before her very eyes.)

Determined to get back on track I picked the stitches up, counted my 179 stitches that were supposed to be there and set back to work reclaiming the blanket. I was careful this time too. After each row I decided I was going to count. I knit and paid attention to every single instruction meticulously. On row 2 I was back to the problem again – 195 stitches. I couldn’t figure out WHAT I was I doing wrong. Completely disgusted with myself I decided to investigate the pattern more closely- because clearly, in my mind, the designer was sniffing some pretty crazy stuff when she concocted this crazy pattern that made no sense.

*sigh* You must know by now what’s coming.

I dug into the pattern and began trying to figure out where I was going wrong. I noticed something at the end of Row 2’s instructions I hadn’t before…. “195 sts”. Oh yes. I WAS RIGHT THE WHOLE TIME.

And in case I have to spell it out for you…


It’s okay if you need to lie down. I did when I realized this. I also may have drunk a glass/bottle of wine.

You see the picture above is what I managed to accomplish on Saturday/Sunday and Monday’s knitting- I got it back to where it was. I’m trying not to think that it should actually be DOUBLE in size by now, therefore easing my impending panic attack that I won’t finish it in time.

This is life. This is a testament to how much I love this craft.

In happier news- I also knit a bunch of baby hats on Saturday, knowing that the next few weekends were probably not going to be productive on the baby hat front. So- viola, I give you 3 more baby hats for the yearly total!

Speaking of babies- I would like to thank our three friends for announcing they are expecting FOUR BABIES at the end of summer yesterday. (If that math isn’t working for you—one is expecting TWINS.) Thank you for ensuring that I will be in baby blanket purgatory for the rest of the year, at least! (Although seriously, and I can’t believe I’m saying this… I might BUY the gifts this time because I physically cannot allow myself to think about all the knitting I’d have to do to just keep up to our “rabbit-esque” friends.) STOP IT PEOPLE!