Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Out With the Old . . .

It's New Year's Eve. The year 2008 is almost over. For me it had some highs and some lows. One of the highs was so high it mitigated the lows.

I flew to Rome, spent a couple of days there then I went on to Venice by train for a Mediterranean cruise that stopped at Croatia,


and Greece.

After returning to Venice it was another train ride to start a week-long stay in Italy's Umbria region for food and wine and knitting and fun. The whole trip was enveloped in shopping, shopping, shopping. Divine! My travel buddy is my friend and doll-collecting knitting guru and traveler extraordinaire, the one who proclaimed me to be a bona fide knitter. I couldn't have made the trip without her.

My knitting year started off slowly. I had to miss the Pottstown Knit In and Maryland Sheep and Wool because tendonitis in my ankle made walking impossible for the first five months. I sat and knitted, but can't think of a thing to show for it except socks. However the year ended on a knitting high. After knitting all over the Mediterranean and Italy in September and on Cape Cod for a month in October, I went to Stitches East in November. I allowed fiscal responsibility to finally take hold and was conservative in my shopping. However, accustomed to pampering after the cruise, I think I spent more money on the luxury hotel and room service than yarn. Well, maybe not . . . quite.

Recently I've been on a roll and have something to show other than socks for all my knitting time. Without the ubiquitous sock my needles, I have been able to finished three projects in record time. And I can remember what they are! I went back to my knitting guild meeting in November and December. Next year I'm going to take advantage of all the features of Ravelry and keep track of my projects, yarn, needles and books. Yes, it's that time again. Time to "start anew and do better" (in lieu of "making resolutions").

More on the fruits of my labors tomorrow.

Bona Fide Knitter

Thursday, December 18, 2008

UFOs to FOs

I think I've hit upon something big. It will be a boon to my UFO reduction. I went back to my first UFO from this current reincarnation of knitting (2001) and finished it in a few days. Then I started and completed in another few days the second project I bought back then and had never started. They were so easy to do now that I'm a "Bona Fide Knitter!" I will not dwell on the fact that I messed it up ON THE BIND OFF ROW and frogged the whole thing! That touch of OCD I have kicked in.

In case you're wondering, it is . . . er . . . was a triangle scarf made of two Trendsetter novelty yarns held together. It was quite hairy upon completion. The yarn was bought at Stitches 2001 when scarves of novelty yarn were in vogue. When I was near the end I wondered if I would ever wear it. Maybe messing up the bind off was a Freudian slip. Are there Freudian slips in knitting? For the moment the point is moot because the scarf is no more.

I frogged it and I started a new item, the ribbon shawl from the fall foliage colored ribbon I bought at Stitches East this year.

That's my strategy--one old project and one new project, one at a time. Once the shawl is done I will make the hairy scarf again. Then on to a new project--one old, one new, that is the plan. The plan contains a moratorium on sock knitting, but I don't know if I can stick to that.

In fact, right now I am contemplating making toe up socks to use the remainder of that extra ball of yarn I had to buy to finish the Italy Socks. I'm thinking "2 on 1, toe up." Translation for non sock knitters. Two socks done at the same time on one circular needle, from the toe up. With Cat Bordhi's help I will master Judy Becker's Magic Cast-On.

So, right now on the needles--the working needles, not those which are hibernating--is the colorful ribbon shawl. I need to go put some inches on it.


Bona Fide Knitter

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Needle in a Haystack

How do you find a needle lost in a haystack, or more accurately, big honkin' Addi Turbo size 19 circulars with plastic tubing as the cable? One would think a needle that big would be very easy to find. Not here. Not in this den of chaos and clutter. I can't start the shawl of the ribbon in fall foliage colors until I find that needle.

So far in the search I've found:

  1. at least 15 circular needles

  2. at least half a dozen cables missing from my various needle sets

  3. two red Kotcha-Kotchas (row counters)

  4. more UFOs than I care to mention

  5. multitudes of patterns printed from the Internet

  6. many purchased patterns in their plastic sleeves

  7. innumerable hanks, skeins, balls and cones of yarn forgot I had

  8. a bevy of little pattern books

  9. more knitting bags/totes/carriers than I could count

  10. a few dust bunnies bigger than my Bichons

What I didn't find was the Addi 19s. Oh, and I didn't find my Swiss Card.

Drats! I've finished a project and can't start the next one until I find those needles! I refuse to pay $30 to buy them over again.

The good news is I found the project that began my new love affair with knitting.

Picture this: it was 2001. I went to my first Stitches. It was Stitches East held in King of Prussia/Valley Forge, PA. I was enthralled. I was smitten. I bought yarn to create the latest rage--a scarf! Not just any old scarf, but one made with novelty yarn, pretty novelty yarn in a colorway that called to my love of purple. I had not been what I would call a knitter in over 40 years (if I don't count the little bit of doll-size knitting I was attempting to do).

That scarf, begun on size US11 aluminum needles from my 40+ years-old needle collection, became my first UFO in the present reincarnation of my knitting. I knitted on it today. I knitted it off the old aluminum straight needles onto some shiny, slick KnitPicks nickel-plated circulars, then after learning the hard way that they were too slick, onto some smooth, fast KnitPicks Harmony wooden circulars. Aaaaah, much better.

I don't have any socks on the needles at the moment. What to do . . . what to do . . . ?

Bona Fide Knitter

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Italy Socks

The additional skein of Colinette Jitterbug arrived and I finished the Italy Socks.

I took the picture with them folded differently. At the top of the sock on the left you can see the Eye of Partridge heel flap. On the sock on the right you can see the wider toe I like. I end my socks with 32 stitches to Kitchener instead of the usual 16.

Then I spent an inordinate amount of time looking for a toe-up pattern that wouldn't tax this old brain too much. I've never done toe-up socks because, quite frankly, provisional casts-on are my undoing. No pun intended. I've decided to try Judy Becker's Magic Cast-On for Toe-up Socks. I've even watched Cat Bordhi demonstrate it on YouTube and I'm set to give it a go . . . I think.

Aside from the ubiquitous socks on the needles, I'll be ready to cast on something else this week. No, I'm not ready to tackle any of the UFOs right now. They are for 2009. Perhaps if I start my latest project and work my way back, when I start doing UFOs in January 2009 and work forward, by December 2010 I will have knit up everything! That gives me two years and does not allow for starting anything that isn't already in house. What do you think? Can I do it? It's a two-edged sword. Can I knit that much AND can I not buy anything else? Check with me this time, 2010.

Bona Fide Knitter