Oh hey, knitting…

So it’s been a while, but some of you may remember sometimes I do this thing where I use two sticks to tie long pieces of string in fancy knots.  Then I take pictures of the knots and talk about them on the internet.  Which I know sounds odd, but it’s been a while since I’ve had time to do it (there was this book thing…it was time consuming), and I find I sort of miss it.  So, how about a picture of some fancy knots.

petioleThat’s the reknit of my old Petiole pattern.  The original pattern had the hat (though no brim) and the cuffs (though much shorter).  But I had enough yarn left over here this time that I simply had to make a little scarf to go with it.  Mine is short (I’ll hold it on with a pin), but you could totally go long if you had the yarn (and the patience).

Instant Gratification

It’s starting to get cool.  Not cold (cold comes later) but just slightly cool.  It’s that time of year when you haven’t gotten out the winter clothes yet, but your summer clothes aren’t quite warm enough (sorry southern hemisphere folks, I know it’s only doing that here, not there).  It’s the time of year you start pondering scarves.  Not thick chunky ones, light fluffy wispy things.  More fashion statement than insulation, but just what the weather demands.  The sort of thing that, were you to actually knit it, would take you a freaking year because it would be on lace weight and size 2s and you’d be sick of it 4 inches in and then would come the despair.

So here’s what you do instead.  Go to Target.  Wander to the Halloween section.  Find these:

Buy them.  Take them home.  Open them up.  Each one is 9 feet long and 2 feet wide.  You’ve now got about a dozen different potential scarves at your fingertips.  Things I’ve done so far include:

1) braid them together

2) ply them together, either 2 or 3 of them (just like you’d do if you were spinning…impart twist to the individual ones, then twist them around each other)

3) tie them all 3 together in a loop, double it up

4) tie one in a loop, triple it up

5) one loooooong scarf (1, 2, or 3 of them at the time)

You’ll be amazed.  They’re a ridiculous amount of fun to play with.  I’m sure there are a zillion other ways to wear them (I’m thinking of finger knitting one of them).  Now, of course, the package says ‘decoration only, not a toy.’  So if you’re inclined to follow directions precisely, you’d never ever do this.  I’m not saying it’s the most designer chic thing you’ll ever see, but wow is it fast and fun and it looks totally fabulous.


Instant Gratification

I don’t knit scarves.  Any attempt to knit a scarf is met with boredom and then despair.  I don’t have the necessary fortitude to make a giant rectangle of unending sameness.  Cowls, yes.  I can even see a shawl (especially one of the charming asymmetrical ones).  But not scarves.

So it may come as something of a surprise when I say I whipped out a scarf on Friday afternoon.  A proper, woolly, fiber-y scarf.

It started like this.

A few minutes later it looked more like this.

And a little bit later still it looked like this.

That last picture isn’t quite the final version.  It needs a tiny bit more felting and a tiny bit more drying before I can show it off in all its glory.  But overall, the whole project was very quick, and deeply satisfying.  You get to play with bubble plastic, you get to take out any lingering frustrations on some accommodating wool, and you have a scarf by the end of the day.  What more could you ask for?

Well Dressed Pumpkin

Why yes that is a pumpkin.  Three of them really.  Well, I’m not actually sure if the white one or the green one are technically pumpkins, but they’re playing the role of pumpkin for me this year.  And yes they’re still on the porch.  As far as I’m concerned the pumpkins can reasonably hang out on the porch and be considered ‘festive decorations’ rather than ‘signs of terrible yard maintenance habits’ until Thanksgiving weekend or until the squirrels devour them — whichever comes first.

Why do you ask?  Oh, you were surprised about the neck warmer on the pumpkin.  Well, that’s slightly more reasonable.  Really though, do you have anything better in your immediate vicinity around which you could drape a woolly scrap of fluff for a quick photo?  Because the pumpkin was the best I could manage on short notice.  The cats weren’t going to cut it, and taking a picture of your own neck is more challenging than you might think (and it’s a really really unflattering angle if you get it wrong).  I may see if I can co-opt a photogenic friend into modeling it for a proper photo next weekend.

I’m still under-buttoned, but the bone skewer is growing on me.  The wrap is too.  It’s more or less a one row pattern.  It looks almost exactly the same on the front and back, it doesn’t curl, and it’s super lofty, which means its warm.  You could make it just about any size you wanted and it’s soothing to knit while not quite being totally mindless.  Perhaps most importantly, it matches most of my pajamas, which means I can convince myself it’s fine to wear it around inside when I’m cold.  It was the perfect thing to do with a shortish skein of somewhat…eclectic…yarn.  What more can you ask of a quick knit?

Just as important, this means I’ve finished Heather’s socks, the tentacles, and the neck wrap all in the space of a few days.  This feels like progress, like getting things done, like ticking things off the dread and dire list, which is spiffy in all ways.


See those dots?  Those giant, fluffy, white dots?

Those are snow flakes.

There are not many of them there in the picture (it turns out there is a distinct limit to how long I’m willing to stand barefoot in the snow in my pajamas waiting for snow flakes to alight upon my knitting in a picturesque fashion), but quite a few in the yard.  It’s our first snow of the winter and it’s a good one.  It’s coming down hard as I type this.  The grass is covered and it’s starting to stick to the sidewalks.  I wholeheartedly approve.  I will be making soup and bread and maybe a pie to properly mark the occasion.  All of you thin-blooded types who take unreasonable delight in the scorching soul-crushing heat of summer?  This is pay back.  It’s my turn to flit about like a deranged elf informing anyone within earshot that it’s snowing and I’m happy about it.  I won’t be quite this enthusiastic come the end of February, but for now?  Unrestrained glee.

It was snowing when I woke up, so (after doing the requisite first snow dance of joy and informing The Boy of the important event) I grabbed my little neck warmer and finished the last half a dozen rows, bound off, rolled him up, and took him outside to introduce him to his nemesis.  He fared quite well.  He’s off for a bit of a soak and block now, but will be ready to report for duty by tomorrow.  All I have to do is find buttons.

Bits and Pieces

Having the furnace on is lovely.  It is definitely warmer with the furnace on, but it’s not exactly warm.  We have an old house (built in 1920), and it has the original windows and absolutely no insulation in the walls.  We love it, it’s beautiful, but it is more than a bit drafty.  We also have an old furnace.  It’s not quite as old as the house, but is still rather elderly as these things go.  The combination of old furnace and drafty house means the gas bill gets rather staggering if we set the heat above about 58.  So we spend the winter well wrapped up.  Now please don’t worry that this is any sort of a hardship.  We’re both wired for the cold and are likely to start cracking the windows if it gets much warmer than that.  We’re totally fine.

The only time it’s a problem is if I have to sit still for a long time.  Say, to work on the computer.  Or knit.  Or read.  The obvious solution is to have lots of little bits of wooliness about to wrap up in if I happen to be sitting still for a while or sitting somewhere exceptionally drafty.  I’m almost always wearing woolly socks, and I’ve got fingerless mitts scattered all over the house.  I also have a little mini scarf/neck warmer thing I made with some of my earliest handspun, and I love it dearly.  Last night, instead of, say, working on any of the zillion other things I really should be knitting, I cast on for another one.  Now the yarn I’m using is like my second handspun ever.  I know it’s more or less crap.  I did it on a lousy toy spindle, and I had no idea what I was doing (not that I know much now, but I know enough to know this was not done well).  I’m pretending the whole project is an experiment in making the best of a yarn with some…erm…challenging characteristics.  It’s bulky, there’s not much of it, and it changes in thickness rather dramatically from one spot to the next.  But it is soft, and it’s one of the very few blue things I like (the roving was the colorway Superstition and came from etsy seller Fiber Optic).

And thanks to everyone who likes my I’m-sick-and-can’t-be-bothered-to-do-anything-hard socks.  While they’re super simple to make, they’re oddly challenging to write up.  I’ll probably do it eventually if enough people are interested, but it will have to be some time early next year at the soonest.  There are just too many other things going on to get it done any sooner.  The next thing I finish will be Heather’s sock (likely done tonight).  Then my friend’s hat.  And I may need to make an extra tentacle for another project.  Then I’ve got some birthday socks I really should make some progress on if they’re to be for this birthday.  I think I really need to institute a moratorium on casting on until some of the current projects are done.  I’m not usually prone to such scattered knitting, but lately I’ve been helpless to resist.