Monday, January 23, 2017

Great Prismatic Cowl from Spinnin' Yarns--Day 5

The penultimate step...

This was a very long bind off.  

A can’t finish it all in one day my fingers are cramping long bind off. Made even longer by the fact that I chose to use my favorite bind off, Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off, so each of the nearly 300 stitches had to be worked through three separate steps.  A total of 834 steps, by my count.

I’m always impatient with bind-offs.  I never like the last step of anything.  I don’t mind putting wash in the washing machine or transferring it to the dryer, but I loathe taking it out of the dryer and folding it.  I don’t mind loading the dishwasher (too much) but find it a much more unpleasant task to unload it.  I love to make plans but find the execution wearisome.  I love Mondays but am often frustrated by the unsatisfying closure of a Friday where I didn’t get everything done.  I’m forever leaving cabinet doors open, things on the table, items out instead of neatly put away.  A friend believes this is a peculiar form of ADHD, but I think this is just the unique character of ALLIE.

On the upside, one of my frustrations with bind-offs is that they frequently don’t quite match the cast-on, either in appearance or tension.  Since the one continuous bind-off means it’s all bind-off, that’s not an issue here—everything matches.  I have to admit, that’s nice.


I find the cowl a bit rustic and bumpy at the moment, but it hasn’t been blocked, so that’s not a fair assessment.  There’s the final step to go.  

This could be one last step I really do enjoy.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

January Reader Who Knits: Liz Barringer-Smith

It's the third Wednesday of the month, so it's time to meet this month's Reader Who Knits.  DestiKNITters, say hello to Liz Barringer-Smith!

Liz, what's on your needles right now?
I’m making a simple lace scarf for a friend’s January birthday.

What feels like your favorite/greatest knitting accomplishment?
That I sell my work in an art gallery in Columbus.

What feels like the worst knitting mistake/foible/wrong choice youve ever made?
Trying to do something that is too involved either pattern or time-wise because I am a busy working mom and I also breed labradoodles and teach Tai Chi so I my knitting needs to fit in with all the other stuff.

Straight needles or circular?
Straight

Metal or wood needles?
Bamboo

White chocolate, milk chocolate, or dark chocolate?
Milk chocolate

Coffee or tea?
Both, coffee in the morning and tea the rest of the day.



Whats your favorite Allie novel?


What are you reading now?






Give a shout out to your favorite local yarn store:
We don’t have one anymore and my mom buys WAY too much yarn so she gives me most of my yarn (lucky me!).

As a thank you for participating, Liz chose a copy of Mission of Hope for herself as well as ten hanks of Cascade 220 in Eggplant, and a friend receives The Lawman's Oklahoma Sweetheart.  If you'd like to be featured in Readers Who Knit, email me at allie@alliepleiter.com for details.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Great Prismatic Cowl from Spinnin' Yarns--Day 4

The thing about a project with all one edge…is that it never stops.  

I hadn’t realized the little burst of achievement that an end of a row gives me.  Big believer in mini-goals that I am, I suppose rows represent mileposts, small “got it done” boxes to tick off in the long process that is knitting any project.  

I’m missing those here.

Yes, there’s a lone stitch marker to signify the beginning of each “round” (which is actually two rounds given the whole one-edge-two-sides thing), but it doesn’t seem to do it for me.  Each time I reach the marker, I don’t feel accomplishment. I only feel how many more rounds there are to go.

I find myself wishing I had gone for the Great Prismatic colorway with all those rainbow color changes.  The blue-to-green-and-back-again is pretty, and much better suited to my wardrobe, but it isn’t as exciting.  Soothing, I suppose, but that’s not the same thing, is it?  Besides, the effort of the linen stitch seems to negate any solace.

Even with my mix of feelings about this project, the bottom line is that it’s still too early to tell.  How a project looks on the needles is only a hint of how it might look and feel once finished and blocked.  I’ve learned, over and over, that it is by no means the complete picture.  Knitting is about faith in the creative process.  I have faith that the challenges of this project will pay off in a lovely accessory.  


And that’s what keeps me knitting.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Great Prismatic Cowl from Spinnin' Yarns--Day 3

Stitch and sniff...

I’ve discovered something between this project and my last linen stitch project.

I’m not a big fan of the linen stitch.

The thing I like most about the majority of shawls, scarves, and cowls that I knit is the drape.  I rarely go for the chunky projects—I like the finer ones, the lacy but not fussy stuff.  While I’m a big fan of texture, linen stitch feels to me like all texture and no stitch.  All those bumps and nubs!  

And for whatever reason, linen stitch feels like too much work to me.  I can’t explain it; the quick-as-a-wink slipped stitch should make up for all that switching the yarn back and forth, and this isn’t that much different than a 1x1 or 2x2 rib, but it feels like more work.

In this cowl’s defense, I am coming down with a cold, and I’m cranky.  So there’s that.

Also in this cowl’s defense is it’s stunning color.  It really is a balm to my spirit to work a bright, clear color on a cloudy, wet, cold Chicago January day.  We do seem to specialize in especially dreary winters in Chicago, so this stunning teal-turquoise was an ideal therapeutic choice. The vibrant, almost tropical play of hues is just what I need right now.


Well, that and some NyQuil.  

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Great Prismatic Cowl from Spinnin' Yarns--Day 2

Brains and fingers...

My fingers grasp that I’m knitting one long edge.  I have physical, tangible proof that I never turn a corner or a start a new row.  
My brain, however, still strives to ponder the concept.  How can this be one long edge that has two edges?  If you had to teach this concept in a math class, knitting a moebius loop would be an excellent, hands-on way to do it.

I’ve found three different spellings for the word, by the way.  Moebius, mobius, Möbius—which is the correct knitting usage, I wonder?

With an odd number of stitches, the linen stitch pattern zips along seamlessly.  I find it takes a bit more effort than I like to swap the yarn from front to back and knit into the front of the appropriate stitches (my needle keeps wanting to knit into the back), but this is a minor challenge.  For the most part, the project was the perfect “don’t need to look down much” knitting during the recent New Year’s Day catch-up and new season episode of Sherlock.  If you haven’t enjoyed this brilliant PBS series, you owe it to yourself to check it out!  

Even though linen stitch has a crucial alternating rhythm, the single edge of odd-numbered stitches ensures that everything lines up exactly where it needs to be. Unless I somehow mess up, in which case all is lost because I have no idea how I’d tink my way back to fix an error.  I’d probably need Sherlock’s mastermind to figure it out--after all, he is a knitter.

I’m enjoying the bright color amid these grey cold Chicago winter days.  It reminds me blue skies and sparkling waters are somewhere in my future when Spring arrives. Plus, you get all sorts of lovely “feels.”  The stitch pattern, combined with the slightly nubby, uneven texture of the yarn, makes for all kinds of tactile goodness.


 I’m supremely happy to watch the swaths of blue-green grow between the “sides” of my circ loops. Yarny bliss!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Great Prismatic Cowl from Spinnin' Yarns--Day 1

The long and winding edge...

I consider myself an accomplished knitter, and the moebius cast-on made me nervous.

It looked complicated.  Even multiple viewings of the go-to tutorial video did little to lower my pulse.  It looked like the kind of thing that could go horribly wrong long before you realize the error.

So I did what any smart person ought to do—find a smarter person.  The best way to keep me calm and correct while attempting this was to do it in the presence of knitters who knew the ropes (or is that the yarns?).

It turned out to be a wise tactic.  While my brain understood the concept—the video is very clear—I had several rounds of holding my knitting up to my friend yelping “is this right?”  “Do I count this stitch or this stitch?”  or “It’s supposed to look like this, isn’t it?”

Like handling dpns for the first time, one’s first attempt at the moebius cast on feels like you are tying your circular needle in knots.  Even our video hostess Cat Bordhi admits it’s a struggle, and exhorts us to hang in there for a few rows until it begins to make sense.

And it does.  After two full rounds (which is actually four times around your needles), it finally settled into something that didn’t make me cringe.  The stitch-filled space between my needles grows with each round, the physical embodiment of the moebius’ mind-bending single-yet-double edge.  


The whole thing is just one giant row.  Mind blown.

Happy New Year, DestiKNITters!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Caterpillar to Butterfly Scarf from Sheep's Clothing--Done!

Transformed!

Blocking this involved stringing two short blocking wires through the looped fringes on either side of the scarf and tacking it up over a doorway.  Super easy.  While blocking did straighten things out a bit, the yarn also didn’t hold the straight shape for long once I put it on.  Still, its light texture makes this a good choice for warmer or transitional climates where a wooly scarf would feel too bulky.

It’s a bit of an odd length by my taste—not quite long enough to loop around my neck, but too long to leave just hanging lose.  It needs a hitch around itself to be thee right length, but then you loose the openwork effect.  I’d want another foot in length if I did it again.  I’ll have to play with it some more to find how I want to style it in its current length  

All things considered, I still view this a very good improvement over the drop stitches scarves I never quite seem to master.  The unraveling is great fun and highly satisfying.  This would make a terrific project to give a young knitter ready to move beyond basic garter—as long as you can be looking over his or her shoulder for the tricky cast on and transformational bits.

Thanks, Sheep’s Clothing, for a unique and ingenious knitting experience!


Next, we move on to a mobius cowl from Griffith’s Spinnin’ Yarns.