Thursday, December 13, 2007

Agility of the Brain

Can I keep this brain agile or is it too late? One of my knitting gurus (You know who you are.)referenced an interesting article in the NY Times earlier this week. It had to do with keeping your brain agile as you advance into your septua- and octogenarian years. The idea is you need brain stimulation: work, travel, play cards and board games, work with computers, write books, do puzzles, knit . . . Whoa! Was that "knit" I saw as I skimmed the list? I'm there!

I cast on the lacy socks that were not comforting to knit and decided to switch to some mind-numbing, plain stockinette socks. Then I read the complete article. It seems for the stimulation to be beneficial it was found that novelty was crucial for the aging brain. Doing the same thing over and over again, without introducing new mental challenges doesn't cut it. So the article warns me if I knit, I must challenge myself with more than simply stitched socks. I should try a complicated pattern or garment. I'm almost tempted to start Koigu's Charlotte's Web Shawl. I said "almost." I'm ready for more stimulation, not a nervous breakdown.

I shopped my stash and found the navy Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock purchased four or five years ago when I first became addicted to knitting socks and collected patterns by the binder and box full.

I'm going to cast on the Blueberry Waffle Socks (fingering weight). In my current level of life's stresses the lacy skirt is challenge enough and I need some comfort knitting. I will make the Blueberry Waffles--simple yet stimulating--at least more stimulating than knit every row and less hair pulling than lacy socks knit with splitting Wildfoote.

My guru puts me on the right path yet again.

Bona Fide Knitter

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

In Search Of: Comfort and Joy

I am having a heck of a time. 'Tis the season to be jolly. Oh great ti-i-dings of co-om-fort and joy, comfort and joy. I'm looking for some comfort and joy. I'm in search of it here, there and everywhere. Even in my knitting.

The lacy flirty skirt, as I call it, has been ripped back to the lifeline and the lace begun again. I worked on it last night while watching Wynton Marsalis' Red Hot Holiday Stomp live from the Lincoln Center on PBS. I'm not very much of a jazz fan, but that show brought me much comfort and joy with arrangements of Christmas classics (Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer never sounded so good [cool, hip] before!), other songs and a Maya Angelou poem set to Wynton's music and danced by Jared Grimes. Check your PBS listings and catch the next showing.

The 2007 Beach Socks are finally finished. Fraternal not identical and they're not freaking me out.

Wait'll next year. I fully intend to actually knit the 2008 Beach Socks ON THE BEACH!

I put some new socks on the needles, a pair of nemisis socks that I started once before, before I was a "bona fide knitter." They were too advanced for me. I gave up on them that time. They are lace, knitted on 000 Addi Turbos, a Nancy Bush pattern from Folks Socks. They are no longer too advanced for me and now I have figured out the problem with them. They are not fun to knit! The yarn, Brown Sheep's Wildfoote, splits like crazy when using those 000 needles, especially during SSK and K2tog and there are a lot of those in the pattern. Urrrrgh!

I have so much else going on giving me agita and angst I do not need that from my knitting, especially my zen inducing sock knitting. When I have a few minutes later today, I will cast on another pair of socks, solid color, Lorna's Laces, no pattern more involved than 2" of 1x1 ribbing and some good ole stockinette, knitting every round on a long circular. Just writing it soothes me.

Bona Fide Knitter

Sunday, December 2, 2007

HELP! Throw Me a Lifeline!

The linen skirt is back on the front burner. The beach socks ( which were not made on the beach) are just one waiting room visit from completion. Winter has come with snow and icy rain. All is right with the world.

I put a lifeline in the linen skirt and will rip it back to the vicinity of the increase row for the lace to begin. I have a new take on the YOs thanks to my first lesson in Basics Basics Basics. Who said I didn't need to take that course?!!! I think I was doing YOs right, but the first round of YOs might have had a boo-boo or two. The YOs occur on purl rounds. After the pattern is set up in rounds 1 through 6, they go like this:

Rnd 7: *P12, YO, K3, YO: repeat from * to end of round.

All even rows are "knit the knits and purl the purls."

Rnd 9: *P12, YO, K2tog, K1, SSK, YO; repeat from * to end of round.

Rounds 7 and 9 are repeated alternately until ending with row 57. There is a note after the list of rounds to be worked as Rnd 7, "NOTE: your knit sts will increase by 2 with every rnd worked." After the list of rounds to be worked as Rnd 9 there is a note that "your sts between your K2tog and SSKs will have increased by 2 with every round worked."

And finally this little bit of information, 12 purls + 25 knits = 37 sts in each repeat.

From the pattern directions to my needles is all I can say!

I plan to use stitch markers, do what I think I should, be consistent and go for it! But first I think I'll check with the Ravelry members who have made this skirt. Du-uh! Why didn't I think of that three weeks ago?!!! Heck, I might even make a graph as well.

Anyway, that is my December challenge and now it's time to go crank out some socks on my new sock machine, right after a quick look in Ravelry. Is there such a thing as a "quick" look in Ravelry?

Bona Fide Knitter