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February 22, 2009

About Friggin’ Time
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 09:39 AM * 203 comments

Part of the friggin’ point of Making Light is supposed to be friggin’ “knitting.” I mean, it’s right up there on the masthead, beside “language” and “fraud.” Therefore, it is with great joy that I promote from Open Thread 119:

#650 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2009, 11:33 PM:

Open threadiness: for the knitters.

Especially the fourth strip down. Anybody know the tune?

#651 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 12:57 AM:

You want the tune? Your wish is my command!

Comments on About Friggin' Time:
#1 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 10:49 AM:

So, Jim, what have you got on the needles at the moment?

Seriously - you should take up knitting and make all kinds of hugely useful things for emergency medicine. Knit your own bandages! Improvise splints for extremities with size 15's, or perform emergency surgery with some DP's!

Me, I'm busy with quilting and bookbinding, though I am flirting with making a Sackboy (pdf) from Little Big Planet. But getting yarn is a pain at the moment, and I'd have to make two to prevent the kids from fighting over it.

#2 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 10:53 AM:

Thanks for promoting that, Jim. I don't often follow the links in comments, and I would hate to have missed that.

#3 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 10:54 AM:

In the Particles, this wonderful combination of two of ML's greatest themes:

#4 ::: MamaDeb ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 11:11 AM:

Ooh, knitting.

I just finished a pair of alpaca socks for a friend, using this pattern. (PDF warning.) Since I had quite a bit left over, and the yarn is not suitable for baby socks, I'm making a pair of matching fingerless mitts and hoping the yarn holds out.

#5 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 11:12 AM:

Abi: You need ... yarn?


I was just remarking to Jim that there's a pun buried in that shanty:

TNH: There's a pun buried in it.

JDM: Amusement is its own reward.

TNH: Shear your sheep, wash the wool, card it up for spinning, until it's a soft unspun rope with its fibers all running the same way. (Which you can buy already made up, if you just want to do the spinning, or if you want to knit it unspun.)

The name of that stuff is roving

JDM: Roving's been my ruin.

TNH: I'm sure there's many a knitter or felter has said so.

#7 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 11:40 AM:

Drat you, Jim. I'd deliberately forgotten about Kate's magical stash, which I bought a cubic yard of several years ago. Let's see, do I buy yarn or a ticket to Montreal? Decisions, decisions.

I've recently begun to knit mittens. They're even more addictive than socks.

#8 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 11:43 AM:

Oh, and abi: tell me what you want. I'm sure we can work out a trade.

#9 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 12:03 PM:

TNH @5:
You need...*yarn*?

Yep. I have roving* and drop spindles, but it turns out I'm called to spinning thread rather than yarn, so I have lots of material for lace knitting and none for Sackboy. It's what I'd call an ironic twist of fait.

* So I'll spin no more my roving
So late into the night
Though the spindle still is moving
And the twist is not too tight.

For the silk outwears the card
And the wool wears out the wood
And the linen draws too hard
And naught I make is good

Though my spinning is improving
And my bobbin's growing full
Still I'll spin no more my roving
Not the silk, nor the wool.

#10 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 12:06 PM:

TexAnne @8:

Right now, what I really need is at least 30 hours a day. I flirt with knitting, but I think I've got too much on my plate as it is.

But thank you for the thought.

#11 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 12:10 PM:

abi, 10: 30 hrs/day for knitting time. 24 for everything else.

#12 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 12:18 PM:

TexAnne @1... 30 hrs/day for knitting time. 24 for everything else

That is possible, according to Einskein's Law of Relaweavity.

#13 ::: cgeye ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 12:23 PM:

Earflaps for a hat I should finish today (in black, not green....)

Several coasters that were promised as late Xmas gifts, and they've only gotten later...

More cap/liners for the troops (we're over 2,000 past goal)

A scarf for my previous academic advisor, which since he doesn't know about it, it's not really overdue

Various and sundry caps, for myself and the babies.

Oh, yeah, all of that's in crochet, 'cause that's how I roll....

#14 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 12:31 PM:

While we're on the topic: if knitters have leftover bits a few yards long, not enough to do anything with, I might have a use for them in my kumihimo braiding. My interests:

Thin yarns: anything from crochet thread up to worsted-weight that does not include wool or acrylic. (These are used for pendant cords, so I don't want things that might cause a skin reaction.)

Chunky or novelty yarns in any fiber. (I just got some ideas about what to do with these.)

I can be contacted via the e-mail linked to my name.

#15 ::: Beth Friedman ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 12:38 PM:

I'm currently working on Bazaar Socks from Interweave Press. This is an insane project involving seven different colorways of socks, knit in Fair Isle style, requiring the purchase of 14 different balls of Brown Sheep Cotton Fine yarn.

I'm getting close to done with the first sock, and am having great fun with it, though I wish I could figure out why my Fair Isle knitting has a tendency to be lumpy -- I don't think I'm knitting it too tight, but that's the obvious culprit.

I'm also working on spinning my first ounce of silk on my Louet wheel, having graduated to that from a silk/merino blend. I think it may take roughly forever, and I have no idea what I'll do with the silk thread when it's done, but it feels lovely. And it hasn't broken yet, even though spinning so fine feels as if it really shouldn't work.

#16 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 12:42 PM:

Lee: there are people sensitive to acrylic? Wow. Usually that's the safe one! I'd suggest that you avoid all animal fibers, just to be sure, and that you warn people that your braids have been around cats.

#17 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 12:45 PM:

My sister-in-law has asked for knit or crocheted vegetables, to go with the toy kitchen her husband is making their two year old.

I can't think of anything quite as much fun to knit than toy veggies. And fruit. Except maybe the set of toy insects I'm making for my daughter's birthday. I have lovely soft brown alpaca wool for the cockroaches, and darker matter for the spiders (I'm using pipe cleaners for the legs, inverting the concept of an exoskeleton in favor of structural integrity).

As to needing yarn... doesn't that mean you just need someone to knit up the toys for you, Abi?

#18 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 12:45 PM:

Beth: when you finish color 1, spread out the stitches you just worked, so that color 2 isn't too tight. My stranded work went from awful to pretty overnight.

#19 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 12:50 PM:

I wonder who else, given the start of this thread, has been wondering if the assembled knitters can produce sheets, stays, and halyards.

#20 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 01:00 PM:

Mary Aileen... Didn't you once knit something HellBoy-themed?

#21 ::: Tracey S. Rosenberg ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 01:15 PM:

My knitting dropped to nearly zero when the semester started, thanks to a) those durn students and b) quinine-based antibiotics. (If I can't stand upright without wobbling, no way in hell am I holding pointy sticks.) Thank heavens for roleplaying and basic scarves - k2p2 is easy enough to interrupt when dice rolls are required!

#22 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 01:34 PM:

Texanne #16 : there are people sensitive to acrylic? Wow.
Yep, right here.  Only thing that brings me out in a rash.  Wool, cats, peanuts - no problem.  Acrylic - it’s ’orrible, I tell you, ’orrible...

#23 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 01:46 PM:

Dena Shumra @17 -- it sounds like the owner of this site might be a kindred soul -- check out the gallery, she has quite a few tutorials.

I am working on my first "real" lace project, Laminaria, in very thin laceweight yarn. Challenging, maddening, addictive. I've also been learning to use my drop spindle, but really need to invest time in a job search rather than dealing with more yarn in any form!

(Actually, to get cross-thready, I find knitting a good thing to pump up my self-confidence in trying new things. Being somewhat used to Fair Isle, I've looked at lace and tended to think, "I could never do that." Not true, of course, and stretching myself here will, I hope, help me stretch myself in other areas that are more critical. Just need to avoid using knitting as a safe refuge to keep me from doing other things; that's happened a time or two.)

#24 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 01:57 PM:

There were three knitters cam' to the door
And downstairs ran the lady-o
One sang high the other sang low
And the third sang "Where'd I leave my pattern-o?"

Last night I sat i' the TV den
Watchin' How I Met Your Mother-o
Tonight I'm doun i' the mall yarn shop
Havin' SEX* wi' the raggle-taggle knitters-o.

* Stash Enhancing eXpedition

#25 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 02:03 PM:

Serge (20): I don't knit*, but I did make a demon teddy bear last year.

*heresy, I know

#26 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 02:08 PM:

There were two knitters side by side
Sing I down, sing I day.
There were two knitters side by side
The boys are bound for me.
There were two knitters side by side
The eldest for angora cried.
I'll be true unto my WIP*
If wool be true to me.

*work-in-progress; not to be confused with UFO (unfinished object)

#27 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 02:17 PM:

I am very glad I started going to Knitter's Breakfast at the new yarn store in town. It's within walking distance, it's not insanely early on a Saturday but is early enough that I wake up for it, and... really fun knitterfolks. I am a crocheter, and I'm doing some very fine thread crochet (thirteen rows left at two rows a Breakfast), but it's all the same sort of thing. We talk about lots of fun things. I have been complimented that my crocheting is so good it looks like knitting. Or yesterday's:

"Oh, what a lovely felted scarf."
"It's not felted, it's crocheted."
"...I have some tension issues."

#28 ::: Torrilin ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 02:17 PM:

though I wish I could figure out why my Fair Isle knitting has a tendency to be lumpy

Well, Cotton Fine is 80% cotton, 20% wool. Stranded colorwork (which covers Fair Isle, Norwegian and a lot of slipstich techniques) was originally designed for 100% wool yarns, and really relies on the stretch and spring of wool. Spreading the stitches helps, and blocking will help more... but there's no turning cotton into wool sadly.

#29 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 02:31 PM:

Tracey S. Rosenberg @ 21: Have you considered circular needles? I've got a really simple drop-stitch baby blanket pattern that's basically just knit across, purl back; switch colors; knit across every other stitch, knit back every other stitch. I've been making it in stripes, but it could be knitted with just two contrasting colors, it takes circular needles well enough, and people think it's really complicated . . .

#30 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 03:23 PM:

This is just to say

I have knitted with
the Kidsilk Haze
that was in
your stash

and which
you were probably
for a shawl

Forgive me
it was made of crack
so soft
and so warm

#31 ::: Natalie L. ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 03:26 PM:

I am within 12 rows of finishing off Anne Hansen's Bee Fields shawl. I knit a hat (Vortex, Knitty) this week and started some stranded colorwork mittens (Bird in Hand, Kate Gilbert). I have three other lace scarves on the needles, and one set of my DPNs has gone on walkabout.

I repaired my little spinning wheel this week and need to finish the merino/tencel laceweight that's being spun on that one and the mystery tweed wool/silk batts on the big wheel.

However, I have book reviews to write, so they should come first. Well, maybe. I read two books today and only have one more to go, so I may spend this afternoon/evening watching MST3K and knitting as a reward for my virtue.

#32 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 03:26 PM:

I gather there is a collection of Victorian knitting erotica called The Purl, that contains contributions by major literary figures of the nineteenth century.

#33 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 03:37 PM:

abi @9:
Set to music; pick your version.

#34 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 03:43 PM:

Pendrift @33:

It was the Baez version I test-sang my version to.

My mother used to sing it in the evening after I'd gone to bed in our cabin; it's associated for me with the scent of woodsmoke and the golden light of kerosene lamps on the plywood roof.

Entirely appropriate for handcrafts.

#35 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 03:45 PM:

Fragano Legister at #32:
are you casting the Purl before us swine?

#36 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 03:48 PM:

Come to think of it, do you mean erotica about knitting or erotica that is knitted?

#37 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 04:11 PM:

That's knit/purl fanfic, right? (grinning, ducking and running)

#38 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 04:28 PM:

Just making sure everyone's noticed that Lee (14) can use your oddballs! Including crochet thread ... Lee, send me your address.

Beth (15), unlike some of the old Laines Anny Blatt patterns, I don't get the sense that those socks were deliberately designed to make you buy lots of different yarns. They look like the designer already had the whole color range in her basket, and suffered an attack of joie de vivre, possibly while leafing through the Encyclopedia of Ornament.

Dave Bell: Only if we worked in linen, in an interweave stitch. Nobody wants sheets or line that stretches -- or, worse, shrinks after getting wet.

Debbie (23), that's a gorgeous pattern. Let us know how it's working.

TexAnne (30), the idea of knitting someone else's Kidsilk Haze was so distractingly shocking that I had to read the rest of the poem three times before it sorted out in my head.

Your green socks are getting a lot of happy wear, especially on days when we get a cold draft running about two inches deep along the floor. Thank you again for making them.

Abi, how thick is your roving? That Sackboy pattern takes chunky-gauge yarn. You might be able to get the right gauge if you knit your roving unspun, or give it a once-past-the-spindle twist to make it a bit more durable.

Jim: So: when are you going to learn to knit? We can teach you. You've obviously got the turn of mind for it, you're clever-handed, and you spend a lot of time twiddling your thumbs in hospitals and the backs of ambulances; so why not ... surrender?

#39 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 04:30 PM:

Fragano @32: The Purl! How can I have forgotten it? It's another argument in favor of Jim learning to knit.

#40 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 04:46 PM:

I don't have any problem with lace, but Fair Isle is something I don't do much of. Tension is my problem ....

I'm working a 'Medallion Square' shawl for the [Russian] wife of my cubicle-mate. About a third fo the way up the body ... for the second time, because the first time I got to the far end fo the diagonals and had either one stitch too many or one too few, and couldn't find the mistake.

#41 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 04:55 PM:

Teresa, 38: Yes, stealing KSH is wickedness, isn't it? Much worse than mere plums! I'm glad you like your socks. Are they holding up OK? I accidentally ran a pair through the dryer and was sorry.

Abi's Sackboy pattern is a little odd. The yarn is called chunky, but the gauge is 20st/4"--which is standard for worsted-weight. Swatch first!

PJ, 40: That's where I'd cheat and do a K2tog. Or a K3tog/yo.
Also, I've been looking for a square shawl pattern. Do you have a link?

#42 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 04:56 PM:

TNH @38:

Because I thread-spin, I have a little of many colors of roving. It's all silk, because the only times I've used my own spinning, it's been on books. And we Do Not Use wool on books; bookworms and silverfish are bad enough without adding moths to the pest list.

I don't use it often, which means I have lots of silk thread lying around. I should try lace knitting, or send some to Lee. (The impediment there is the need to go to the postkantoor and speak Dutch, though I guess that depends how much I'm sending.)

But I digress. Let's just say that a Sackboy made out of my roving would be small and very odd-looking.

Besides, Dena Shunra has already offered to send me some yarn, or maybe even knit me a Sackboy or two, in exchange for a handbound book.

#43 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 04:58 PM:

I miss knitting. I only have the patience for it when it's combined with gossiping, and my knit-and-gossip friends are scattered far and wide. Therefore I have not yet made anything but scarves, not even a hat.

Hmm, possibly I should combine it with audiobooks. I was getting all set to start complaining that I read while doing everything (including cooking and cleaning), and you can't read while knitting. But you can if you've got an iPod and a public library full of audiobooks -- both of which I have.

Ho ho.

(Not that I need something to spend more money on.)

#44 ::: Kate Y. ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 05:10 PM:

Alas, alack, and well-a-day; knitting-heavy events on successive weekends --> tendonitis in both elbows. I am picking up ice bags instead of needles for a while. How the hell am I supposed to watch TV without something to knit?

#45 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 05:19 PM:

Erik Nelson #35: I'm not crotchetty enough to call anyone a swine, or even a Swinburne, I assure you.

TNH #39: Getting a knitting/Victorian prün pun in ahead even of Tvatre and Fretr is, I believe an achievement.

#46 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 05:19 PM:

Texanne, it's from the _Gossamer Webs Design Collection_. Which, if you can find it (probably used) is worth meeting, along with the book _Gossamer Webs_. Between the two of them, you get four shawl patterns and a lot of design motifs, as well as the technique.

BTW, they're in garter stitch, with all the decreases either k2tog or k3tog.

#47 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 05:41 PM:

PJ, thanks! I don't usually order knitting books sight unseen, but I keep hearing good things about this one. I'll keep an eye out for it.

#48 ::: lucyp ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 05:48 PM:

I just got my first drop spindle last week and I'm teaching myself how to spin. I'm sp excited! I love it, and I don't totally suck. But I'm worried about what I'm going to do with all the wool...

#49 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 05:49 PM:

Teresa @38, thanks -- it seems like a good pattern for a relatively experienced knitter but new lace knitter. And it's providing a learning curve, complete with odd numbers of stitches at the ends of rows which, alas, aren't fixable with extra k2tog's or such. If Jim Macdonald were to write a First Aid for Handwork post, he'd surely include a recommendation for lifelines. Kind of equivalent to immunization or full tanks of gas.

PJ Evans @40 -- with FI, it's hard to tell if your tension has been really bad until after blocking.

#50 ::: MamaDeb ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 05:53 PM:

Debbie@23, I loved knitting Laminaria. I made it for my mother as an anniversary present. I had a lot of fun making it, and I'm happy how it came out.

#51 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 06:02 PM:

Debbie @23 - oooh! Indeed, a kindred spirit.

Erik @35 - I think Fragano is casting on the purl.

#52 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 06:51 PM:

comment #38:

So that's where the word "oddball" comes from?

It's one of the words that was literally true before being a figure of speech, like "odds and ends," "having your work cut out for you," etc. ?

#53 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 07:10 PM:

Erik @52: Elinor Kapp wrote Rigmaroles & Ragamuffins: Unpicking Words We Derive from Textiles - I heard an interview with her on episode 73 of Cast On.

Kapp used to be a psychiatrist & child psychotherapist. After retirement, she took up a degree in textile art. Hearing the interview with her heightened my sense of the extent to which words about fiber are woven into our language and life.

#54 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 07:11 PM:

Erik @ 52
You got a clew?

(another term from the yarny side of the aisle)

#55 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 07:23 PM:

TNH@38: I'm familiar with Priscilla Gibson-Roberts (the designer of the bazaar socks) from her books, including Ethnic Socks & Stockings, which is all about Eastern European and Middle Eastern socks. I would guess that her design was based on her extensive knowledge of socks from that region. It's an amazing book--I got it through ILL, and it was well worth the wait. (That she is one of the teachers at next summer's Sock Summit really makes me want to go. I'd link, but the iPod I'm using doesn't have copy/paste.)

#56 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 07:46 PM:

Serge @ 12: Einskein is relevant only if you're knitting for family. Otherwise, it's a crewel lie -- and, no, I am not smocking you.

#57 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 07:56 PM:

Ginger, 56: No, but you are ribbing him.

#58 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 08:08 PM:

I've developed a sudden compulsion to make dishcloths.

It started with reverse-engineering one that was hanging around our cupboard and has to be at least twenty years old, faded but it's worn well, and the garter stitch pattern has enough texture to be good for scrubbing.

I made a close copy of it, figured out what I'd done wrong, and made a closer copy of it. Then I started crocheting one (which I haven't finished yet) before I found another knit pattern, this one off a yarn wrapper, for a doily-style round cloth, which I promptly made two variations of (one with garter-stitch inserts into the open work, and one with the main design in garter rather than stockinette because damn it all, I like two-sided stitch patterns for dishcloths.)

Now I've got a garter-entrelac thing on my #7s and a "baby's blocks" framed in garter stitch on my #6s and there's still that half-crocheted one lurking in a pile and instead of working on any of these (or a small quilt that ought to have been done a month ago) I'm reading the internet and trying not to drool.

I have an inordinate fondness for the Kitchen Cotton / Sugar-N-Cream cotton yarns. I don't know why, because I would never knit a whole sweater or anything wintery in cotton - not while I live in New England, anyway, that's what wool is for, though I appreciated cotton sweaters in Louisiana where it's almost never unpleasant enough to make wool or acrylic seem like a good idea.

So every time the stuff goes on sale, I find myself with "5 for $10!" or "Buy one get one free!" in the basket and never mind the large box of it that's been inexorably accumulating because I like the colors or thought it a good idea at the time.

If this jag keeps on long enough I expect I'll have a box of them for the next church rummage sale. At least it will get some of the yarn out of the house - making room for the next round.

#59 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 08:46 PM:

Texanne @ 57: Keeping him in stitches, aren't we? I'm sure Serge will be only too plisséd to see you join in.

#60 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 09:01 PM:

abi, #34: Okay, that's certainly not the version of "A-Roving" that *I* know! Ah, the comedic confusion that arises when there's more than one song with the same or similar titles...

Teresa, #38: Sent via LJ private message.

abi, #42: Silk is good, lace-weight (which is what this sounds like) is not. I'd have to use a multi-strand, and that starts giving Interesting results. One of the reasons I haven't gone into kumihimo with traditional Japanese silk thread is precisely that issue.

Thena, #58: OTOH, cotton sweaters are wonderful for the kind of chill we tend to get in Houston. And those cotton yarns do come in some absolutely luscious colors; I've used some for kumihimo cords, and if I were a knitter, I'd definitely look into doing some sweaters with them.

I've never been comfortable in wool or acrylic sweaters -- they're itchy. It's not an allergic reaction, just enough discomfort that for a long time I thought I didn't like sweaters. Then my ex-in-laws gave me a 100% cotton sweater for Christmas one year, and I became a convert! Sadly, it's too hot here for them to be useful even in the evenings during most of the year.

#61 ::: cgeye ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 09:31 PM:

Thena #58:
If you eventually don't want your Sugar & Cream yarn, let us know here, so I can beg for it accordingly. It also makes right fine baby hats for Fall and Spring...

#62 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2009, 10:58 PM:

The youngest couple in bookgroup had a baby six months ago and Friday I finished an afghan just in time to take to bookgroup yesterday for her half-birthday. The nursery is sage, yellow, and cream, with nursery rhymes. But I'm back to beading tonight. Next crocheting will be a new cat blankie for my bed.

#63 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 12:33 AM:

on 'just pack the necessities'

I wish! I have jury duty tomorrow, and knitting needles are explicitly mentioned on the 'don't even think about bringing these' list, which they claim is 'airport-level security'. (I'd be a lot safer to be around for the day if I could take the knitting.)

#64 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 02:14 AM:

This notice is posted in the Nurses' Lounge at Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital (my local hospital):

Would anyone have yarn, knitting needles, or crochet hooks that are not being used and just cluttering your space?

I could use any of these for patients. If you have a donation, please leave in the Activities Office, and we will make sure the patients with an interest have them.

Thank you.


That's Claudette Hebert, a nice little old French lady. (Her father owned a Line House back during Prohibition: A tavern where the bar was in East Hereford, Province Quebec, Canada, but the front door was in Pittsburg, New Hampshire, USA. Take that, Homeland Security!)

She runs the Patient Activities office, with a budget of approximately zero. She herself is a volunteer.

If you'd like to help her out, the address is:

Claudette Hebert
c/o Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital
181 Corliss Lane
Colebrook, New Hampshire, USA 03576

#65 ::: dichroic ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 07:06 AM:

"You can't frog life" is now my new motto.

OTN: a Mr. Greenjeans sweater I'm hoping to finish before it gets too hot to wear it. I've only got one sleeve and a placket to go, but I'm losing the race with summer (hot climate here).

#66 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 07:58 AM:

dichroic @65:
Being an interfering moderator-type, I fixed your link. Then, since I had the window open, I deleted the duplicate comment.

For future reference, put an http:// at the front of your links or Movable Type thinks they're somewhere on our servers. Which confuses the reader's browser mightily, causing whine "404" until someone gives it a sweetie and a kiss better.

Won't someone think of the browsers?

#67 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 09:04 AM:

abi: you frogged dichroic's posts :) (and tinked the row line with the wonky link)

#68 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 09:21 AM:

(quick Google for "frog knitting"; new vocabulary!) So dichroic can't frog life, but I can?


#69 ::: K.C. Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 10:35 AM:

I'm spinning hair from the neighbor's dog in order to make him (the neighbor, not the dog) a scarf. I was hoping to have it done by now--but oh, it's awful stuff to spin, short and fuzzy like dryer lint. I also don't really have enough. I suppose I will have to ask him for more, which means I have to spin more of it. Which I don't want to do. Then again, if I don't, I'll have to crochet with these horribly overspun singles. At least if I ply it some of the twist will come out and it won't be quite so snarly.

I expect I'll crochet the scarf anyway with a great big hook, probably a sort of filet pattern so it's all big open squares. Otherwise the poor guy will die of heat exhaustion the first time he wears it. Any suggestions for patterns?

After I finish this project, I have bags and bags of luscious puppy fluff from my uncle's golden retriever to spin. That I can't wait to get started on, maybe as a reward for finishing the dryer lint dog fur. When did I become a chiengora expert among everyone I know?

#70 ::: Avedaggio ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 11:04 AM:

K. C. Shaw @ 69-- It's too late for this now, but when sinners are asked to spin up most dog fur, especially stuff with really short staple, they blend it with wool. This makes it much easier to spin and, in the case of wirey hair, more comfortable. What about plying it with something a little softer? That would give you the twist relaxation you want, and more length.

For Christmas my folks gave me a couple pounds of groomed fur from their Shih-Tzu (or, should I say, Sheep-Tzu) Mulan that I am in the process of carding into rolags. Mulan's fur is 9 inches long (no need to blend with anything), and we've had it spun before (by a professional, before I started spinning), and it makes beautiful, soft warm 2 ply. I knit my mom a lap blanket out of the stuff they had spun for me.

#71 ::: K.C. Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 11:20 AM:

Avedaggio @70 when sinners are asked to spin up most dog fur

That's my problem! I have sinned, and therefore I must spin up short-stapled dog fur.

Actually, my first thought was a desperate need to blend this stuff with something like alpaca, but the neighbor wants it dog-fur-and-nothing-but. I think his dog has a lot of chow in his background, with very long, fluffy hair that would be a joy to spin if the neighbor understood that I only want the longer, softer fur he combs from the dog's shoulders and sides. Explaining this to him (he's quite old and a little hard-of-thinking, but a very sweet man) seems more trouble than it's worth. Also, he has a beard you could hide owls in so he probably won't notice how scratchy the scarf is.

#72 ::: K.C. Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 11:23 AM:

I also meant to say that that blanket is GORGEOUS. Envy!

My very old Newfoundland dog died this past fall, and I'm so glad I had spun some of his fur over the years. I have a filet crochet kerchief I made from it that I really need to edge and finish so I can wear it on chilly spring mornings.

#73 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 11:48 AM:

Abi, I was getting bored with the current project on the needles, and now my purpose is clear. Hokey smokes, I need to make a SackBoy. Now.

#74 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 11:53 AM:

Maybe it's just me, but the word 'roving', even in the context of knitting, feels like a dirty word to me. I blame the previous occupants of the White House for this unfortunate association.

#75 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 12:31 PM:

Serge @ 74: don't feel too badly. True-life pre-coffee story from just now:

Terry: *reads me the relevant bits of 14, 38 and 52, carelessly omitting names*

Me: "somebody's got a WAY cleaner mind than I do..."

Terry: "Dearheart, nearly *everybody's got a cleaner mind than you do*

Me: *retreats into coffee cup*

#76 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 12:37 PM:

Marna: And so you are properly whipped into shape.


I really like the terms of rope/yarn, knitting. I used to knit. I have been fighting the importunings to relearn the art. I am afraid (as with golf). The things I really like doing (shooting, bowling, fencing, archery, horseback riding, writing, etc. tend to be things one is striving against oneself to improve at.

And I look at my so-so facility on the penny-whistle, and I can see it now... lots of tearing my hair, and the pattern out, because it's not quite right.

But twist, roving, carding, etc. are all wonderful terms, and every so often I pull out the drop spindle and spin a bit, just because it's so much wonder to watch the wool go from semi-choate mass to ordered thing of usefulness.

#77 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 12:54 PM:

Giner @ 56... TexAnne @ 57... Coming soon, "The Scarf of Khan"... See a great yarn! See the warp-and-woof drive explode!

#78 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 12:56 PM:

P J Evans @ 63: I'm coming up on my very first jury duty ever. I haven't received any lists of prohibited items -- I just need to show up with summons and photo ID in hand.

And park in the city parking deck that's notorious for women being followed and approached by unsavory characters, and depending on how long I'm detained, miss the Tufte course I'm registered for the next week (and miss out on getting free copies of his four books).

Knitting might make me feel better. /grump

#79 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 12:58 PM:

Marna Nightingale @ 75... somebody's got a WAY cleaner mind than I do

Don't look at me. You never heard me make those jokes during the scene with the carrousel horses in Mary Poppins.

#80 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 01:23 PM:

Serge @ 79: pull the other one, it hath got a skein of Lopi tangled around it :-)

Also: Guerrilla Knitting!

#81 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 02:19 PM:

K.C. Shaw, #69: Is "chiengora" a real word that I just haven't heard before, or something you invented for this? I love it -- perfectly descriptive of what you're doing! Now what would be the cat equivalent?

Marna, #75: Glad to have been of service -- although it took me a couple of readings to figure out what part of my post could have been interpreted that way! Not enough tea yet...

Incidentally, I think I just figured out who you are in a different venue.

#82 ::: K.C. Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 02:32 PM:

Lee @81: Oh, no, I can't claim chiengora as my invention. I've seen it in different places. It really does exactly fit the fiber (and sounds much less smelly than "dog hair").

I haven't seen a word for cat hair used as fiber. Although, from experiments spinning my long-haired cat's fur, I'd suggest "pre-felt" for it. (Or maybe it's just my cat whose fur felts as soon as I look at it--lovely felt, but definitely, solidly felted.)

#83 ::: Don Simpson ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 02:34 PM:

Rogues of Wool is some of the best of that sort of thing I've seen since Walt Kelly's Pogo comics. Wow.

#84 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 03:06 PM:

Sympathies. The parking structture is not good - what are they thinking, that they don't have some security there?

They let me out earlyish, since AFAIK I don't get paid for the day, and they had enough people already. (They'd already pulled everyone who got more than 10 days pay for a potential trial.) Didn't need photo ID (just the x-ray machine and the metal detector), and the parking is in a nice flat lot around the building.

#85 ::: flowery tops ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 03:56 PM:

I find my dog's hair everywhere - nasty, short, orange hairs bristling out of everything he lies on (he's a wheaten ridgeback, but the individual hairs look surprisingly orange), *what* a nasty scarf that would make.

I'm knitting possum pouches for a dear friend who recently did me a few good turns. She's an animal rescuer, and after some stealthy research I determined that such folks can always use cosy places for orphaned beasties to snuggle.

#86 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 04:13 PM:

Lee @ 81: You're ahead of me, then; I'm fuzzy on who I am most days :-)

If you mean LJ and you think I'm Commodorified, you're quite right.

#87 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 04:18 PM:

Terry@ 76: I see room for further improvement in my shape ... and we'll get you playing with sticks and string yet, see if we don't.

#88 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 04:45 PM:

K.C. Shaw @#82: Although, from experiments spinning my long-haired cat's fur, I'd suggest "pre-felt" for it. (Or maybe it's just my cat whose fur felts as soon as I look at it--lovely felt, but definitely, solidly felted.)

I've got a long-hair too, and if I don't keep up with the brushing, her fur tends to felt on the cat! :-)

#89 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 06:49 PM:

Diatryma, #27: "...I have some tension issues."

Until I got a bit of practice in, my stitches were so tight that I seriously thought about downing a martini before I started to knit.

#90 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 07:27 PM:

debcha, #89: For some weird reason, that statement crossbred in my brain with episiotomy repair and produced a very peculiar mental image!

#91 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 08:36 PM:

@90 - OW.

Cotton sweaters - I've still got a couple from my southern days, big floppy shaker knit things, which I wear in spring and fall when the temperature hovers +/- 5 degrees farenheit from the freezing point of water.

I thought I couldn't wear wool or acrylic either, until I moved to a place that has the sort of winters that are cold enough to be dry, really really dry, meaning that I don't get sticky sweaty in them and thus don't really much itch. But it has to stay down below 25F or so (outdoors, natch) for the air to be dry enough that heavy sweaters are cozy instead of miserable. Oh, that and layering over a nice smooth cotton turtleneck or long-sleeve tee.

(I think it's got something to do with indoor air temp, too - my experience has been that down south, people seem to keep their houses summer-warm and then wonder why it's too hot for sweaters. Sorry folks, heavy sweaters - the woolen or wool-and-acrylic kind- are what you want when it hasn't thawed in over a week and indoors is just scraping 65F if there isn't a draft. Not the 75F that I remember being "winter" temperature in the houses of people who were not as cheap thrifty as my folks.)

#92 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 08:48 PM:

And I forgot to add that, all that being said, I still seek out 100% cotton sweaters when I can find them, and avoid the 100% acrylic ones, because it has to be pretty darn cold for me to want to sit wrapped up in plastic. But blends feel okay in the colder weather.

#93 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 08:57 PM:

@Thena and others--There is non-itchy wool out there (barring allergies). Try merino or lambswool. There's a new process that stretches merino fibers so they're as fine (and therefore soft) as cashmere. IME cheap cashmere is scratchier than decent-quality sheep's wool--because cheap cashmere is mostly guard hairs. The moral, of course, is that you get what you pay for.

And for fans of sturdy, waterproof, longlasting wool with character: British Sheep Breeds. This stuff is the ovine equivalent of heirloom tomatoes. I'm dying to make Wash's sweater out of it.

#94 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 11:43 PM:

Caroline @43: I have taken to watching too much television while I knit. Have now wired the craft room for sound, and must obtain audiobooks. Also, panels and filking at CapriCon this weekend were good for almost a whole sock. (Why, when I have just made a virtuous vow to finish too many languishing projects, does the SO make an actual explicit request for socks? Which requires buying new yarn?)

TexAnne @93: I haven't heard of this stretching of merino-- I thought the fibers were just that fine. Any references you can point me to? I know some people find that superwash wool is less itchy, because the scales have been partially destroyed; others think it is also less soft. Alpaca suffers from that quality effect that you mention with cashmere-- alpaca are bred to have very few guard hairs, but they still need to be removed. I have several pieces that are both heavenly soft and distressingly itchy.

#95 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2009, 11:55 PM:

Zelda, 94: Optim merino.

#96 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2009, 12:09 AM:

Lee at 90: I cannot even imagine the OW.

It does remind me a bit of one of the women at Knitter's Breakfast (oh I love these women) who made a bunch of felted vaginas for the Vagina Monologues. I can get behind any craft where part of the procedure is 'stab repeatedly' even if it is a bit too symbolic on that particular project.

The tension thing comes in handy with my filet project, infuriating (and occasionally painful) as it is. It mean that my stitches are very, very regular without me even trying, and it makes the not-as-crazy-as-it-could-be fine thread seem even more impressive. I'm holding myself back from a table runner. That would take a decade.

#97 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2009, 02:36 AM:

Lee at #90: [me crossing my legs]

I wonder if the byline on this knitting thread was what helped bring out the surgical/first aid meaning of 'stitches.' Eesh.

Crosstalk with Open Thread 119: reading this thread makes me realize how little I actually know about knitting, despite having produced some credible projects.

#98 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2009, 10:27 AM:

To drift: There was a production of the Vagina Monologues which used vulvae made from sculpy as ticket tokens.

#99 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2009, 10:37 AM:

Tex Anne @41

I'm working on a square shawl right now. Eugen Buegler's "Frost Flowers and Leaves" which right now looks like a big pile of gray nothing. When it is done, it should look like a silver gray version of this, which is the version knitted by Eunny Jang.

The pattern is in Gathering of Lace and insofar as complicated large lacy things knitted on tiny needles go, it's not particularly difficult.

#100 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2009, 11:05 AM:

Texanne, here's a photo of someone else's Medallion Square Shawl. I'm just almost past the bottom corner of the double-eyelet diamond in the center section, right now. (Four repeats up the outer (wide) border on the sides.)
Reading inward: edging, outer border, inner border, corners, the three nested borders of the center, and the center diamond itself.

#101 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2009, 11:21 AM:

P J Evans

That's stunning!

#102 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2009, 11:35 AM:

One piece of advice when doing something like this, in garter stitch: use different markers for the two edges, so you can tell which side you're on.
(I'm using green and blue for the right-hand edge on the right side, and red and orange for the right-hand edge on the wrong side. Because it's hard to tell them apart, and you have to know what side you're on ....)

#103 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2009, 11:58 AM:

Zelda @ 94: I can't watch television that I actually have to watch (because I'm still green enough that I have to watch the needles and stitches constantly, lest I add/drop some). Television that I just have to listen to -- like a movie I've seen 3478563856 times -- is okay. This is why gossip works, and why I think audiobooks would work.

#104 ::: K.C. Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2009, 01:05 PM:

David @88: Yes, my cat has a tendency to turn into a felted cat if I'm not virtuous with his grooming, which he hates. In fact, at the moment he's getting pretty lumpy, so I need to pull out the mat splitter and bribe him with as much time as he likes sitting in the sink with the water dripping.

I'm another knitter who has to watch what I'm doing. I hadn't thought of trying audio books. I usually put on music or a movie I've seen a billion times.

#105 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2009, 01:16 PM:

TexAnne @95: Interesting; gracias. 19 microns down to 16 at the cost of destroying the fiber's elasticity-- I vote for just spinning it softly, as in Malabrigo or some of the stuff from Frog Tree. Not terribly durable, but then neither is the stretched stuff, according to that review.

Caroline @103: I say "watch TV" because that is the set phrase. I do mean "listen to TV." Actually I *can* knit stockinette without looking, but it takes *more* of my conscious attention that way; if I look, I can connect eyes to fingers without involving the forebrain. When I am knitting at things like con panels, I want to let the speaker know that yes, zie really does have my attention, but I have the choice of making eye contact and *looking* like I am giving the speaker my full attention, or letting my eyes rest on the knitting and *actually* giving the speaker my full attention. Fortunately, there seems to be a surviving social convention at cons-- half the other women in the room are usually doing handwork of some kind, and panelists seem to take it in stride.

#107 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2009, 06:04 PM:

Carol, 106: oooooooOOOOOoooh, pretty.

#108 ::: Avedaggio ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2009, 06:31 PM:

I just had a thought--how about a Making Light Ravelry group? Would anyone join? Great way to share projects and patterns. I group? Would anyone join? Great way to share projects and patterns. I love Ravelry.

#109 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2009, 06:36 PM:

Carol Kimball @ 106... Very nice.

#110 ::: siriosa ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2009, 08:59 PM:

Woohoo! I got promoted! Okay, yes, actually Chris Baldwin and Little Dee got promoted. Still: chuffed.

Could President Obama make the security stupid go away, please? I'd love to take pointy sticks with me wherever I like.

"It's not my fault, officer. He backed into my knitting needles." "Thirty-seven times, ma'am?"

#111 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2009, 09:27 PM:

I am working on a Pi shawl, and am in the last pattern set with 576 stitches per round, and I have set it aside in favor of working on this cross stitch, which is a present for a wedding which occurred a year and a half ago.

I would join a Ravelry group - my Rav. name is redrose.

#112 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2009, 09:33 PM:

debcha, #89, that's another thing that changed with the stroke. Before the stroke, I always used a hook two sizes larger than expected to get the right swatch, but now I can use the expected size.

#113 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2009, 09:50 PM:

Avedaggio @108 - I asked if there was one a few open threads ago, but I don't think one was ever formed.

My current projects are three different pair of socks and two Daleks in various stages of completion. Plus the tail end of a layette set for my cousin, which I really should finish.

#114 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2009, 09:55 PM:

I'm pleased to say that I can now accurately claim to know how to knit. I can't knit as well as I can crochet*, but I can knit.

Since Christmas, I have made the following:
8 dishcloths
2 scarves
2 pairs of mittens (1 pair felted, 1 pair unfelted**)
1 hat
1 triangular shawl
1 cell phone cozy
Assorted swatches to be scrumbled together at a later date

It looks like a lot, but none of the projects were terribly difficult. Everything was worked flat. Most of it was either garter or stockinette stitch, with a little 2x2 ribbing and some simple cables.

I keep looking at lace patterns and getting intimidated by the size of the needles. I really shouldn't be, since I've made crocheted laces from tatting thread using a correspondingly fine hook.

I don't know how my gauge is, since I didn't check on the hat or the mittens. I've got plans for a sweater vest, so I guess I'll find out on that project.

* I can crochet in total darkness, at normal speed, so long as I don't have to worry about what color I'm using.

** Acrylic/wool blend, and so will not be felted.

#115 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2009, 10:09 PM:

You can do lace with any weight of yarn, and needles of appropriate size. Think large yarn and large needles, like afghans. In fact, I've met patterns that use sport-weight yarn and US7 needles.

I have to admit to not being able to read while knitting. Or knit while reading. Takes too much attention. (But then, when I'm reading, I'm gone.)

#116 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 01:23 AM:

I don't mind felted vaginas for The Vagina Monologs. I do think they're pretty horrid as parts of t-shirts for fans of the Twilight books (thank you for an image that I didn't really need), but this may just be another failing on my part.

#117 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 01:33 AM:

The idea of a Making Light Ravelry group is wonderful. I signed on in its early days and got distracted (that's a powerful lot of distraction). My life right now consists of watching a lot of great stuff go by, but I will cheer you on and hop back in as I can.

re standard idiot comment: "I don't have the patience to knit"

Knitting generates patience and stability, right up there with you guys bouncing gossamer bubbles, throwing out poems, puns, or giving specifics of what ordnance to train on legitimate steampunk targets masquerading as bubbles.

#118 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 02:42 AM:

Zelda, #105: I can do that with kumihimo, if it's my favorite 8-strand double spiral that I can do in my sleep -- I still have to look at the work, but I can listen to someone, carry on a conversation, and there are plenty of break-points at which I can look up and make eye contact. Any pattern that I have to think about... not so much. I shudder to think what trying to do it with knitting would be like; that is not an automatic process.

#119 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 06:26 AM:

Automatic processes: I stil have to look at knitting, I only started learning about five years ago (that long already?!). I learned to crochet a decade earlier and can all but do that in my sleep. I find I cycle through the textile crafts (knitting, crochet, quilting/sewing, embroidery, etc) at random intervals and it's probably because I need to make a baby quilt for someone who's joining the world ANY DAY NOW that I'm so absorbed with knitting trifles I can't be fussed to turn on the sewing machine...

#120 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 06:37 AM:

re standard idiot comment: "I don't have the patience to knit"

RAMIREZ: You ain't knitting?
COWBOY: I ain't got time to knit.

Suggested redneck knitting t-shirt slogan:


#121 ::: dichroic ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 07:41 AM:

TexAnne@ 95: Er, careful with that stuff. Have you tried it yet? To anyone that does, I would warn that this yarn is one where it is absolutely essential to wash and dry a swatch first.

I knitted a whole sweater out of Optimum that I bought for cheap (anyone in Tempe, AZ, SWTC has garage sales now and then). Did swatch, didn't wash. Then I wet it to block it and the whole sweater went FLOOMP! Lost all elasticity and never regained it. The ribbing shows knit/purl definition, but does not pull in together at all. As this was an oversized sweater to begin with, the effect was unfortunate - it's cozy, but pretty much only suitable to wear in the house.

Soft, though.

(Abi: sorry about the bad link and duplicate comment before :-(

#122 ::: dichroic ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 07:53 AM:

I hope this wasn't impertinent, but the Ravelry group sounded like a good idea, so ... I created one, called Making Light, of course. I invited the people here whose Ravelry IDs I knew, but there were only three of those - anyone else on Ravelry can join, or I can invite, as you choose. Also, anyone else want to be an Admin?

#123 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 08:29 AM:

Sarah S @ 99 - oh, I love that shawl. I have the pattern, bought the yarn, wound up using it for something else... Someday after I finish the Giant Mohair Shawl of DOOOOM, I'll try it again.

(Really, I love the giant mohair shawl. I bought the yarn at MD Sheep & Wool because it made me happy to look at it, and even though I really don't like mohair, it's soft and doesn't seem to shed too much. It's a faroese shawl pattern, which is neat - complicated enough to be interesting, but easy enough to memorize. The only problem is that I only seem to work on it during the summer. Here in the swamp. Ugh.)

Right now I'm making my third glove of a pair, since I managed to lose the right one less than a week after finishing the first two. Go me! Turns out the pattern (Rosalie's Gloves, which can be found through Ravelry) was inspired by Twilight, which amuses me no end now that I've noticed it. Watch my alabaster skin sparkle like diamonds through my lacy mitts!

(Kidding aside, they are REALLY nice gloves, quick to knit and much more impressive-looking than difficult. Pattern was worth every penny. I'm going to make a few gift pairs too, 'cause why not? They're even more fun than socks!)

#124 ::: Phiala ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 09:31 AM:

Wow, look at that. After months and months of resolving to start reading Making Light regularly, I subscribe, and there's a KNITTING post front and center. Must be fate. Plus, I'm wearing handknit socks today.

@17: I crocheted Carrot-thulu for Halloween, and proudly displayed him on my desk. None of my co-workers got it, even after explanation. I obviously need a better class of co-workers.

@19: Knitting is too stretchy for those purposes. I do however know how to make proper rope, and the correct technique for weaving sailcloth.

@63: It baffles me. Knitting needles ARE allowed on airplanes, but never at jury duty. Even bamboo dpns. *grumble*

@104: Your felted water-loving cat wouldn't happen to be a Maine coon?

Ravelry, you say?

#125 ::: K.C. Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 10:32 AM:

Phiala @124: I think he may be half Maine Coone (maybe all). He looks and acts like one, certainly, right down to the remarkable sociability and the little kitten voice.

I feel guilty throwing out his fur after I brush him, but it takes so long to spin that I can't work up too much enthusiasm. I did ply some of his spun fur with some of my Newfie's spun fur and made a square with it for my spinning guild's last afghan. The afghan's theme was non-wool animal hair, and it's an amazing creation. One member even spun and wove her own hair for a (very scratchy) square.

#126 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 10:42 AM:

Cat Meadors @123

I'm a glove knitter too. I knit them in strong preference to knitting socks. My work doesn't really allow for the handknit socks with clogs thing, and gloves are so much easier to show off!

#127 ::: Phiala ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 10:43 AM:

KC @125: I have the same cat. :) My part-Maine coon is black, and oddly enough has identical twins all over the internet.

To make you feel unguilty: I tried saving his fur once, but it felted into a mat all by itself, even though carefully stored in a paper bag with no pressure. Unless you spun six inches a day to avoid storing it, it just won't work.

#128 ::: spoonfork ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 11:41 AM:

Has anyone seen the Knitted Dwarf Battle Helmet?

This is destined to be my brother-in-law's Christmas present. He's a Carrot Ironfoundersson sort of dwarf, though, so I'm probably going to need a few more skeins. . .

#129 ::: Ruth Temple ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 12:05 PM:

I love it when knitting breaks forth in the Fluorosphere, and fibery filks? Bliss!

I've joined the Ravelry group, and made my hellos.

oddballs? Those are thrums, a word I adore.

Chris Baldwin's Little Dee archives are worth delving into, especially the Rogues of Wool sequence from about a year and a half ago, and Vachel the vulture's early knitting adventures. "What are you making?" "Tank cosy." It might be noted that pal Rosemary Brock who has snapped up the originals of so many of these fiber-related comics is one of the movers-n-shakers in the Black Sheep Handweavers Guild on the Peninsula / SF Bay Area.

@73: Brenda Dayne's splendid podcast about knitting and, as here, really about all of life, surely deserves a link:
The episode with the Elinor Kapp interview re her book Rigmaroles & Ragamuffins: Unpicking words we derive from textiles, is in Episode 73: The Poetry of Code. Be warned, even if you don't knit, you may well find yourselves entranced with over three years' worth of archived podcasts.

I don't post often, and am slow at composing villanelles (which I adore) but it can't be said often enough: I love this place. You folks roc*.

*look it up. it is a pune, or a play on words, since we haven't had a spinning game yet.

#130 ::: rams ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 02:07 PM:

Late to the party. Hard to type while breathing into paper bag. O. My.

Beth @15 -- I was ready to type "It'll block out" --then saw it's cotton. Still.

Caroline @43 -- I'm reading THIS while knitting. Clipboards work, too (though not so well on my monitor.) And audiobooks are heaven, of course.

Oh, jurors -- try circular plastic needles. It doesn't look like knitting to most people and goes through metal detectors. If they ask, tell them it's sprang. Or scumble. (Well, mostly wool.)

And a Ravelry group, too?!? I'm off to sign up. Any neurologists out there want to investigate the link (probably Kitchener) between passionate knitting and a taste for Pratchett?

#131 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 02:17 PM:

Carol Kimball @117: Knitting generates patience and stability

Absolutely. I am not by nature a patient person; any patience I have I learned from textile crafts. I have seen some people state that they are patient becase they knit, meaning that knitting while waiting keeps them from going nuts by keeping them occupied.

I maintain that assorted textile crafts (I started with cross-stitch, and have been wandering randomly through various branches) have actually changed my personality and made me more patient. They're a sort of intermediate gratification-- certainly not immediate, oh no!-- in that you can *see* progress, like training wheels for faith that it will all come around in the end.

#132 ::: rams ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 03:22 PM:

Well, and there's the repetitive-motion soothing aspect, like rocking or quilting. Fuzzy Valium, that's what it is.

(Spinning's more potent -- we're talking flatliner territory, there.)

#133 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 03:46 PM:

rams @ 130

Pratchett spins, btw.

#134 ::: rams ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 05:37 PM:

Sarah S @132 -- Took me a minute -- I was hearing "Pratchett spins" as a variant on "Jesus wept," meaning " his grave..." Light dawned. Wheel? Spindle? I was touched by the new spindler above who worried about what she would do with all the yarn -- like the gardener worrying about how to can peas. Not generally a big problem...

#135 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 06:20 PM:

P J @ 115:

I know, I know. I even worked a lace swatch in worsted weight yarn on size 13 needles last week, and it was lovely. I just keep getting tempted by patterns that call for a size 2 (or smaller).


I, too, cycle through needlecrafts. I'm on a yarn kick right now, which means a mix of both knitting and crochet. Knitting takes care of my desire for NEW! SHINY!, while crochet is good for things which should be completed quickly. This includes the yarn I was recently given with the stipulation that it be made into charity projects. I believe it will turn into baby blankets.

#136 ::: m.k. ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 06:44 PM:

When I did my jury duty, on the first day, the ladies at the security checkpoint had a good laugh as they confiscated my folding knife, Swiss army knife, scissors, sewing needles, and metal dpns from my person and my bag. I was allowed to keep my crochet hook and yarn, though.

On the subsequent days they all smiled when they saw me coming. As older Filipino women, I think it's possible they were actually charmed by having had to confiscate knives and knitting needles from the same person.

I was the jury foreperson and I started smoking again during that trial. Can't remember if I was allowed a lighter or if I had to stick to matches.

#137 ::: Cynthia Gonsalves ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 07:32 PM:

#116: Joined the Ravelry group, thanks!

Those of you who are as charmed by the knitting related stuff as I am can get "We Rogues of Wool" shirts or a tote bag ( link to order swag). The shirt had to be mine.

My lunchtime knitting comrades at our LYS were mightly amused by "We Rogues of Wool" as well, I had to squeeee at them.

#138 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2009, 11:26 PM:

I've been able to take embroidery through with needles - and it did get x-rayed. Scissors, even the kid-safe ones, not. Can't take nail-clippers, either.
The courthouse security has pictures posted of some of the things they've found, and it's enough to explain why they have such strict rules.

#139 ::: Dichroic ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2009, 12:06 AM:

Do you guys know the dental-floss trick? If you carry dental floss, the cutter can be used to cut your yarn when you're in places that don't allow scissors.

Plus, then if you're knitting lace, you can always use the floss for a life-line :-)

#140 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2009, 05:49 PM:

A question about socks - not knitting them, but mending them.

I have a pair of commercially made socks, made from a wool blend yarn and knit in a pattern. They are very comfortable, and I wore them a lot... until I started wearing holes in them at the heel and the ball of the foot.

My question is this: Is it worth trying to darn these socks? There appears to be enough original sock left in the worn areas that I could work into, and the darns will not be visible when I have shoes on. However, the darns will be right against my feet. Should I try it anyway, or bid a reluctant farewell?

#141 ::: Jill ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2009, 06:02 PM:

Finally dragged out of long-time lurkdom by this thread. (Posting a comment means putting down the knitting needles to hit the keyboard - easier on brain & project to just browse).

Carol Kimball @117: Knitting generates patience and stability

Absolutely. I'd add that knitting also develops problem solving skills and keeps the mind supple. I also find it helps to keep me centred and focussed on what I'm doing. If I knit while reading I remember more, somehow. If I knit while praying my mind doesn't wander. If I knit while trying to think my way through a difficult problem, things come together in my mind more readily. Heck, at this rate, I'll be able to produce a reason (or justification?) for knitting in every situation. Well... nearly every situation.

I'm not a monogamous knitter - currently working on a couple of garments for myself and a baby blanket while wondering what to cast on in place of the just-finished lacy scarf.

I may take the liberty of inviting myself onto the Ravelry group (and commit to commenting more often in return).

#142 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2009, 07:59 PM:

Questions from a knitting beginner:

I finally tried knitting for the first time: a tech conference I was at had a hallway session on an introduction to knitting*. I made two squares. This wasn't nearly enough to see what I think about knitting, so I bought a 'learn knitting' kit, watched web videos**, and have practiced at home.

At the conference, using chopsticks, I got to the point where I only needed to glance down a few times per row. Moving from 'needle' to 'needle' was easy.

At home I've had to look at each stitch, it can take multiple tries to get the point into stitches, and loops/rows go from too tight to too loose randomly***. My hands get tired, quickly. The kit came with size 7 and 10 needles- I have the same problems with both (mostly working with the 10s).

Could I be using the wrong type of yarn for beginners--worsted medium[4] acrylic which can untwist easily? Wrong brand of needles? Making an invisible (to me) error when casting on that affects the stitches? Is the best fix to bring my attempts to Potlatch and ask the knitters I'll bet will be there?

* one type of casting on and the knit stitch, using chopsticks. We made palm-sized squares that the organizers will later combine into a blanket.
** Susan Bates/ Coats and Clark kit. I've learned other types of casting on, the purl stitch, and binding off.
*** from my perspective.

#143 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2009, 08:30 PM:

@141 - I'm a novice myself but it sounds like you may be pulling your thread too tightly if you're having difficulty getting the point of the needle into the stitch. Try leaving yourself more slack than you think you need, especially in the cast on. (I screw that up all the time.) If you've got loose stitches and tight stitches in the same row they'll even up a bit when you block the thing as long as you're using a smoothish yarn. For a lot of beginners including me, the purl stitch tends to end up a lot looser than the knit, which makes pattern work fiddly but doesn't stop me in the slightest.

Bring your samples to the experienced knitters and they'll give you more advice and encouragement (sometimes contradictory!) than you know what to do with.

#144 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2009, 09:20 PM:

Kathryn: yes, ask the Potlatch knitters, or look at

And now, my opinions. We all have needle sizes that our hands and brains prefer. My natural medium seems to be sock yarn and US0, or laceweight and US5. The round bamboo chopsticks I'm thinking of are probably around a 5, maybe even a 4. I'd say go back to them and see what happens.

Kit yarn is also notorious for being crap. Go find a LYS, fondle their wares, and bring home a scarf'orth of the one that leaps into your arms and refuses to be ignored.

#145 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2009, 09:29 PM:

Kathryn @141

I'd agree with Thena that you probably have a standard beginner problem with knitting too tightly. The only thing that worked with that for me was time, really--which also evened out my stitch size.

Another possibility on the tightness front is that you might be twisting your stitches, which makes it more difficult to get the needle in (though it has its uses). In-person help is probably the best for explaining this.

If you're pulling your stitches really tight because the needles slip out otherwise, try switching from metal needles (if that's what you're using) to wood or bamboo. Slightly more friction will help hold the stitches on.

If you're looking at every stitch because the needle goes through the yarn instead of the middle of the stitch, try using blunter needles, which will slide past the yarn instead of into the yarn.

Acrylic yarn is a bit less forgiving of uneven stitches than wool. (In my opinion - and it is also my opinion that acrylic has its place. I hope I will not start one of the infamous acrylic vs. wool arguments by saying this.)

You are more likely to have evenly-sized stitches if you are tensioning the yarn around your fingers instead of dropping the yarn between each stitch. There are a variety of ways of doing this; try looking up Continental knitting or English knitting for the two most common (there are other names for them, but those are pretty common.)

I also recommend for their videos.

Unsolicited advice, unrelated to any of your questions: as long as you are not injuring yourself, and you are producing results you like, don't let anyone tell you that you're holding the needles or yarn wrong or that you're wrapping the stitches in the wrong direction.

#146 ::: Jill ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2009, 09:45 PM:

Kathryn @141

I agree with the advice you've already been given. A couple of other points worth considering. You say that you're hands get sore when you knit. That sounds to me like you're gripping your needles too tightly, which is consistent with producing very tight stitches. Why not go back to the chopsticks for a while until you feel you've properly got the hang of making stitches, then have another go with regular needles?

Remember too, as others have said, that not all needles are the same. Composition (metal, wood, plastic), diameter and the length of the needles will all affect the way they feel in your hands.

#147 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2009, 09:48 PM:

Singing Wren, #139, I've darned socks, but unless you really can't live without them, it will be better to get new ones.

#148 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2009, 10:17 PM:


I learned with acrylic on size 8 (5.0 mm) bamboo needles. I have gathered that aluminum needles are harder on the hands than bamboo ones, so you might find it worth investing in or borrowing a pair to see if they help.

#149 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2009, 10:31 PM:

Acrylic is good for things that need to be washed frequently, or in warm or hot water (afghans, sweaters and jackets, that sort of thing). Wool has a better feel when you're knitting (but there are some good acrylics out there). Soy/wool blends aren't bad, either.

#150 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2009, 10:44 PM:

I wasn't dissing all acrylic. I was dissing kit acrylic.

#151 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2009, 10:51 PM:

TexAnne, I've never bought an acrylic knit kit, although I believe I have some 'kit' yarn - it was in the color I wanted and it was the only yarn in that color I could find. Bought online, a Big Name Label that's usually decent stuff, and it's got more joins per skein than any major brand should have. Fortunately it's going into an afghan, and I can hide the joins reasonably well.

#152 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2009, 11:43 PM:

Marilee, #112: Ouch. While I'm glad something good came out as a result of your stroke, I think I'd have to vote for the martini instead.

Speaking of knitting with extremely fine yarn, I stumbled upon this Wikipedia entry for sea silk.

#153 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2009, 03:41 AM:

Kathryn --

re: hands getting tired. Mine used to at first, especially when I was trying to learn to knit socks with double-pointed needles. When I listened to my body, I noticed I was tensing up everywhere, not just my hands, and had to make a conscious effort not to. Time and practice paid off, although I notice that it's easier for me to relax with certain needle sizes and yarn gauges.

#154 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2009, 08:34 AM:

Kathryn @141

You don't mention the material that your needles are made out of. That, in combination with the material that your yarn is made out of, can make an enormous difference to the comfort with which you can knit.

Acrylic yarns can be very very "sticky"...they can really cling to the needles very stubbornly. That means that, in combination with bamboo needles or unfinished wood needles, it's like trying to lift weights instead of knit. You might want to try metal needles, if you aren't already using them, to see if that's the problem.

#155 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2009, 12:42 PM:

I have roving* and drop spindles, but it turns out I'm called to spinning thread rather than yarn, so I have lots of material for lace knitting and none for Sackboy.

But that's what plying is for.

I'm told a lot of people spin thread at first, because trying to spin thicker leads to lumpiness. It certainly does for me. Maybe practice would help?

Speaking of oddballs, if anyone's got extra sock yarn, or the remnants of balls left after making the socks, I will happily pay postage in order to give it a home in my Sock Yarn Mitered Square Blankie...

#156 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2009, 10:37 PM:

I crochet with a lot of acrylic because my finished objects are for babies, little girls, and cats. You want to be able to wash all of those in hot water and put them in the dryer. (In my house, cat blankies get washed every week because I'm allergic to dust.)

I'm allergic to most wools (I'm sure there's some I haven't tried) so I make things for myself with cotton. All my clothes are cotton.

#157 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2009, 10:15 AM:

As a direct result of this thread, I finally picked up the knitting needles and yarn I bought 3 years ago and started today. There is something immensely gratifying in watching yarn turn into a thingummy, although I now see why crappy acrylic yarn is not the way to go.
I still don't know how the 60 stitches I made when casting on turned into 61 when I moved to the knit stitch, but will chalk that up to beginner's magic.

Will bamboo barbecue skewers work as a substitute for bamboo needles in a pinch, or are the latter much sturdier?

(OT: TexAnne, if you're reading this, did you ever get my second email?)

#158 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2009, 10:30 AM:

Um, bamboo barbecue skewers.
With something like sock or lace-weight yarn, probably not too badly. You could put a point-protector on the blunt end as a knob. This is also where I'd pull out the needle gauge to see what size I'd be dealing with.

(I used a plastic coffee-stirrer once, when one of the sock needles had gotten away. It was unpointed, but it held the stitches.)

#159 ::: Anna K ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2009, 12:46 PM:

Bamboo skewers might be tricky if you're a tight knitter, though. It sucks to knit with splintery needles.

#160 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2009, 03:20 PM:

Pendrift @#157: If you're going to try bamboo skewers, you might want to go over them with sandpaper first. They tend to have rough surfaces, which is teh bad, especially for beginners.

#161 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2009, 04:18 PM:

Carrie S. @160:
I'm using metal needles right now, but wondered if the bamboo ones were better. Availability seems to be a problem in my town so the skewers were a potential alternative (and yes, I did think some sanding would be necessary).

I will not look at our collection of chopsticks.

#162 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2009, 04:44 PM:

Are you aware of KnitPicks? I'm not affiliated with them, but they have some nice needles at reasonable prices. Some decent workhorse yarns, too.

#163 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2009, 04:45 PM:

Pendrift @161

I've had some decent success with sawing dowels from the hardware store into shorter lengths, sharpening the ends with pencil sharpeners, and sanding them (including rounding the ends). You can optionally wax them.

I've also heard of people knitting with weed whacker cord - it's about the size for socks, IIRC. It is flexible, so I imagine it wouldn't be to everyone's taste.

#164 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2009, 05:05 PM:

Carrie S.@162: I live in Belgium, so that's out, unfortunately. There hasn't been a resurgence of knitting here, at least not to the same extent as in the US. Although there are still a good number of knitters around, the range of supplies seems to be fairly limited. I'll have to check a good crafts shop the next time I'm in a major city.

Naomi Parkhurst @163: Thanks for the suggestion, I think I'll try that once I've mastered my knits and purls!

#165 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2009, 05:29 PM:

Pendrift @164 -- actually, the Knitpicks needles are available in Europe now under the name "KnitPro". Haven't tried them yet myself. KnitPicks doesn't sell their yarn over here yet, though.

Knitting's picking up quite a bit in Germany. Feel free to mail me if you want some enabling online sources.

#166 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2009, 07:19 PM:

A random thought: has anyone here ever knitted a Thneed? ;-)

#167 ::: m.k. ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2009, 09:48 PM:

Pendrift, I've used bamboo knitting needles in similar gauge to skewers, and found that they tend to warp and are fairly easy to break.

A (German) yarn shop owner here despises bamboo needles and will carry only metal and birch wood needles. I've used the Brittany brand of birch needles and crochet hooks and liked them, although I don't personally see any superiority over bamboo (which I love and have several sets of, just not in anything below 3.0 mm).

#168 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2009, 10:18 PM:

The Knitpicks wood needles ('Harmony') are really good for lace. They're laminated dyed birch, so not too flimsy, but they will bend while you're using them. The collar where the cable and needle meet on the circular needles is well designed; the stitches don't hang up there. I don't know how the interchangeable needles are, as I don't have any of them.

#169 ::: Anna K ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2009, 10:36 PM:

I like my Knitpicks interchangeables a lot (mostly nickel, one of harmony). Some of the joints loosen and in general they're not perfect, but I'd get them again (well, I'm trying HiyaHiyas next because they go smaller).

But if you want to start drama on Ravelry, Knitpicks is one of the classics. There are {ahem} conflicting opinions.

#170 ::: lucyp ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2009, 08:23 AM:

There's a wonderful knitting shop in the Hague, if anyone needs some low countries enabling.

#171 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2009, 09:21 AM:

#157, Pendrift -

I frequently end up with one more than I cast on. This is inevitably because I was counting as I cast on and forgot to count my initial slipknot as a stitch. Luckily, it is easy to fudge if you discover it late.

#172 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2009, 10:49 AM:

This morning on the train, casting on 331 stitches, with yarn doubled, for the bottom edge of a shawl. Markers, markers, markers ....

#173 ::: Phiala ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2009, 11:10 AM:

@172: This sounds familiar somehow. Did you get it right the first time?

I've never knitted a shawl. They are gorgeous, but I'm not sure I would use it.

#174 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2009, 11:33 AM:

Counted each set of stitches twice, before putting in the marker. (It took the whole trip: about 40 minutes.)

I use 'craft thread' for markers that ride on the needle; it's cheap and comes in lots of colors. Buy a couple of packages in assorted colors, and you're pretty much set for life.

#175 ::: Phiala ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2009, 12:21 PM:

PJ - I was thinking of this tale of casting on 331 stitches with yarn held double.

Markers are good. Weaving thrums work great for making stitch markers.

#176 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2009, 12:38 PM:

Same pattern. Which is why the markers include two bracketing that center stitch. (Actually it's my second try, but not with the same yarn. The first time I was using yarn, um, less suitable for the project. It will get reused, but for something it's happier to become.)

#177 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2009, 01:06 PM:

Phiala @175:

I have been having much the same experience as the one you link to, which is why the lace-weight spun silk (plied double; you should see how thin it is when single!) is back in the box, closed away, and the lace shawl idea is shelved for the forseeable future.

Gotta wait till the luck is in again.

#178 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2009, 01:16 PM:

Phiala, #175: OMG. I laughed so hard my partner came in to ask me what was funny, so I read some of it to him and he laughed even harder. She really does have a way with words!

I've had days like that with bead-stringing, which believe me is an accomplishment. (Of what sort, I refrain from mentioning.)

#179 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2009, 01:24 PM:

'If you haven't ripped it out, you're probably doing it wrong.' - me

#180 ::: Phiala ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2009, 02:58 PM:

Lee @178: She's great fun - glad to spread some entertainment on a Monday.

abi @177: Knitting lace is fun, but I've only done it in not-too-tiny wool. My particular insanity is weaving.

#181 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2009, 03:08 PM:

abi @177

I *love* to knit lace.

Mail me all your yarn, now!

Just kidding.

You might find that an Addi Lace circular knitting needle is worth the investment, particularly for very fine handspun laceweight like you describe. The needle has *very* sharp points, which are excellent for all the manipulation of stitches that lace knitting requires, and it has a bit of a coating to it to make the needle a little more *grabby* (good for slippery lace yarn) without rendering it immobile.

Addi is a European company, so I suspect you could find their needles with little or no trouble. They're pricey, but the right tool makes the job much easier.

(I'm unaffiliated with the company. Just a fan.)

#182 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2009, 03:17 PM:

Phiala @180:
My particular insanity is weaving.
Had I but a loom...reminds me, I need to see if my mother can find my grandmother's table loom (my grandmother wove) and would be willing to bring it across.

Sarah S @181:
Mail me all your yarn, now!
About one more disaster with the stuff...

No, really, it's mostly that I don't want anyone who knows anything about fibres to see my spinning. I'm sure it's all too tight, or too loose, or both at once somehow. I've never seen anyone spin in person, nor even much on YouTube. I just kinda made a spindle, bought some roving, and fiddled around.

#183 ::: Phiala ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2009, 03:24 PM:

Abi, you don't need a loom. Two C-clamps (== G-clamps) on a board works just fine for many kinds of band weaving. The eensy band in my link was tablet-woven on a frame made of PVC pipe. Lots of low-equipment means of textile production out there.

And I bet your spinning is just fine. If you can successfully make anything out of it, then it's great. And if anyone comments (HIGHLY unlikely), just tell them it's high-end art yarn.

#184 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2009, 10:06 PM:

And as a follow-on: at the end of the first pattern row, the knitting came out even. (Sometimes, even with the counting and the markers, it's still off by one.)

#185 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2009, 10:23 PM:

abi, I'm a connoisseur of yarn. I'll be happy to give you an opinion on the quality of your spinning, if you'll mail all your yarn over here.

(Transparent as a pane of glass, that's me.)

#186 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2009, 10:24 PM:

I have a list of things I am not allowed to learn right now. Spinning, knitting, and beadwork are pretty high on the list. The thread project I have right now, some three years of crocheting intermittently, will end right around serious crunch time for the master's thesis. Unless I do three rows a week rather than two, in which case I may not be able to use my left claw for a while. Three rows of filet crochet on fine thread is tough on the hands.

#187 ::: kmd ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2009, 10:38 PM:

m crchtr nd knttr, nd m nsbscrbng frm ths blg bcs f th thngs wrttn by Ptrck n th nln dbts bt rc nd sf&f n th pst fw mnths. Dltd lvjrnl? S mch mr hnrbl thn nnymty. N, rlly.

#188 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2009, 01:52 AM:

Y'all did me in. After years (perhaps decades) of saying, "I'll relearn how to knit, I gave in and asked Marna to show me.

So, with my flight back to Calif. tomorrow morning I have picked up needles again. The basics are still there (Marna was a trifle approbatory at my not really needing to be more than shown).

I was surprised at how much it's in there. Tension sucks, and yarn management sucks, but I've managed to avoid any really incredible errors in the boring aspects of, knit, turn and purl.

#189 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2009, 03:42 AM:

kmd @187:
Thank you for the kind invitation, but I am not minded to drag this community through the LJ Race Fail 2009.

No, really.

(Confused people: Google or ask me privately for links.)

#190 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2009, 08:09 AM:

abi: Apologies, I should have left it lie.

#191 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2009, 08:17 AM:

Terry @190:
I have removed your previous comment.

I've said it before in another context; I'm saying it now. The way to not have a conversation is not to have it. Which is what we're going to do.

The Race Fail shredded the community on LiveJournal and hurt a number of our beloved members (on both sides) rather a lot. If it is ever productive of good conclusions, we will adopt them. Until then, we will be a place where this argument does not occur. We, here, cannot add anything of value; if there is useful stuff to say, say it where the discussion is already going on.

And it's not a discussion that will create a better Making Light by having it here.

Leave the matter where it lies.

#192 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2009, 10:40 AM:

abi, I decided to ignore the (now disemvowelled) comment, as something of a non-sequitur.

#193 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2009, 06:31 PM:

Too true: My clever plan of knitting happily away in front of him while he looked on in envy has borne fruit, and I have dispatched Terry back into the wild bearing with him one pair of 6 mm x 40 cm bamboo circular needles, one skein of Alafoss Lopi (Monet Blue Tweed), reasonably detailed instructions on how to knit, purl, join up circular knitting, check gauge, and make garter, stocking, and rib stitches, and decrease via K2TOG, my copy of Knitting Without Tears, and the suggestion that nobody doesn't love the woolly hats.

That ought to effectively put an end to his habit of smugly referring to me as a "shameless yarn junkie"...

#194 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2009, 07:18 PM:

Debbie @165: Just came back from Paris, where I picked up some loot knitting supplies, including KnitPro stuff.
This is worse than the Gmail tea house theme when it comes to productivity loss. Then again, I'm actually producing something else.

#195 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2009, 09:35 PM:

Thanks for all the ideas you've given me.

TxAnne #144, Naomi #145, Nancy #148, Sarah S #154
The kit's needles might be aluminum (some strong and lightweight metal with a coating) and more pointy than the (cheap wooden) chopsticks I used originally.

Once I get in-person advice I'll test different types to see which have the best feel. I suppose it's like paintbrushes or pens.

The acrylic both feels sticky and unravels easily--perhaps not good for beginners. It didn't come with the kit, but was on sale at the store (Red Heart soft yarn).

Thena #143, Jill #146, Debbie #153
Good points-- plus not relaxing can cause a feedback loop.

#196 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2009, 09:30 PM:

The shameless yarn junkie was able to offer something I'd not had handy; someone who was regularly knitting in front of me.

Because I really have, for about 20 years, been meaning to do it again. I waited until just before I left so as to avoid various trials (the urge to teach, the counter urge to be left alone in my abject failures).

I've used a bit less than half the yarn, failed at ribbing, ripped out some lines, and recovered the work, added some stitches, found myself trying to plot patterns, decided the thing was too wide (it's going to be an ugly scarf, unless I decide to make it a boring hat), and ripped it all out and re-balled the yarn.

I don't know if I'll pick it back up tonight, or not, but I suspect I'll cast on 30 stitches, and see if I can make the thing work.

#197 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2009, 12:58 AM:

Has anyone developed a detailed animated knitting simulator (not a knitting machine, but a computer program that shows precisely how it is done)?

#198 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2009, 10:57 AM:

I don't know, but I know you can get DVDs showing you how to do knitting stuff.
This page has a bunch, including two with the basics ('Knitting Essentials').

#199 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2009, 11:39 AM:

Also videos all over YouTube, and the site .

#200 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2009, 09:09 AM:

#197, Earl Cooley III -

One knitting author came up with the (brilliant, I think) idea of a flip-book that displays an animation of the process.

I also second TexAnne's recommendation of youtube. It can be incredibly helpful to see not only the route the yarn and needles take as you form a stitch, but also to see the wide array of ways that knitters hold and manage the needles and yarn, so you can find one that is comfortable and natural for you.

#201 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2009, 09:14 AM:

To the novices and not-so-novices, flea markets could be your best friend supply-wise. I found someone selling knitting needles and crochet hooks (not spanking new, but with original packaging intact) in American sizes 0 to 10 (metric 2.5 to 6.5) for 50 euro cents a pair. Whee!

#202 ::: Cadbury Moose has a revelation of linkspam @ #202 ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2012, 07:19 AM:

This post has been somewhat of a revelation to me.

...but it's still linkspam and the gnomes will remove it in due course.

#203 ::: Xopher Halftongue sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2014, 08:53 AM:

More obvious spam text.

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