Frogged.

I’m trying not to look at the time spent knitting this ill-fitting top as a waste.  I’m trying to be all peaceful about it, telling myself that “time spent knitting is never wasted”, and “I get to knit something new with this lovely yarn”.  But shoot.  I wanted little PB to have a new summery mama-knit top!  Now that the ripping (and whining) is over, it’s time to start thinking about what this yarn wants to be next.  What would you knit with 328 yards of Aran weight cotton?

Welcome, Fall

And so it is the end of the first day of fall.  Welcome, favorite season of mine, with your cool air, warm colors, and invitations to be both cozy inside and playful outside in these mild days before winter.  Today was a day of transition, home-making, and enjoying the comforts of a new routine.  I baked banana bread, made some beef stew, sorted through my knit accessories, and took a hand-made-sweater-wearing Peaceful Baby to the park. It was a good day.  And tonight?  Wine, knitting, and some much-anticipated television viewing!

I also spent a significant amount of time ripping out a good two hours worth of knitting.  I took my new hat project to a local knit night, my first in town.  I thought it would be a good project for public knitting, and things seemed to go well at the time (the knitting did, anyway.  Being the new person at an established knitting group is hard, people).

It wasn’t until I pulled out my little purple hat this morning that I realized I had done the first cable cross about 6 rows too soon.  I knit on in denial for a couple of rows before deciding this could not be ignored.

I pulled out my needles and ripped back to the ribbing.  This was the easy part; as you may know, getting 2×2 ribbing knit in smooth yarn back onto slippery metal needles is no quick task.  There were a lot of dropped, laddered stitches, and it took me an embarrassingly long time to get everything sorted out.  The good news is, I’m back on track for completing my stylish, wooly hat in time for the fiber fest on Saturday.

Too bad it’s going to be 80+ degrees out.

Day 1

This week I have been sorting through the various storage containers in my craft room.  My stash has gotten to the point where it has spilled out of my charming yarn cabinet and is now inhabiting the dreaded plastic tote box.  This is where I have decided to put larger quantities of yarn for long term storage.  I also have a box filled with hibernating works-in-progress.  This is where I found my Hemlock Ring Blanket, a granny square crochet blanket, Show-Off Stranded socks, Coraline, and  Lace Ribbon Scarf.

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My first thought was to rip the acrylic yarn out of the crochet blanket and donate it.  But then as I held it up I realized that it was pretty far along.  So far along, in fact, that it is practically a baby blanket already.  For the past several days I have been a crochet-machine, hooking and looping my way to a (nearly) finished blanket.  More on that later…

For now I want to concentrate on the Frog It or Finish It attitude with which I attacked my works in progress.  Here everything is laid out for inspection.  Big Martha was positively bored by the entire process.

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In the end, I decided to frog Coraline.  She and I just never really hit it off.  When I looked at our relationship realistically, I realized we would never be together as knitter and finished object.  2 1/2 balls of yarn (and knitting) riiiiipped straight from the sweater onto the ball winder.  Very satisfying.

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Then came the Lace Ribbon scarf.  I started this last winter, and while I was enjoying the way the yarn and pattern were working together, I just don’t feel like picking it up any time soon.  Besides, it had already been pillaged for the needles and was on a  stitch holder.  So easy to riiiiiip out!

My Show-Off Stranded socks are still in the waiting room.  Yesterday I wasn’t able to take the plunge and rip them out, thinking that I would somehow feel motivated to finish them this month as part of Socktoberfest.  Of course, I’ve been thinking they’d magically get finished since June and that hasn’t happened.  I give them another week or so before deciding their fate.

And then there’s my Hemlock Ring blanket.  The two of us got off to a really good start last spring and flew through the center and first 46 rows of feather and fan.  Then at some point, the stitch count got off and things weren’t lining up correctly.  I’ve been reassured that feather and fan doesn’t always look like it’s lining up with the previous rows until later, but still something is off.  The two of us need to sit down, do some counting and stitch marker arranging, and see if we can work things out.  This is another project that  will likely become a baby blanket in the interest of clearing the decks quickly.  I think a knitter’s babe is truly worthy of a Malabrigo blanket, don’t you?

All this ripping, finishing, and rearranging has me feeling like I have refreshed my knitting somewhat.  Which leads me to believing I need to cast on more projects!  It’s a cycle I have come to accept, one that I enjoy very much.  So while I’m trying to finish up some crochet today, my mind is really daydreaming about knitting this shawl and these socks.  What projects are you dreaming about while you work on something else?

Of Mice and Frogs

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This recommendation from the Yarn Harlot could not have come at a better time.  Actually it could have come a few days sooner, I suppose.  Like last Wednesday, the day before I discovered my craft drawers had been seeing some mouse activity.

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I am fortunate enough to have a craft room to call my own.  It is a sweet room, with a dormer window that allows for a built in window seat.  This is where I have my swift and ball winder set up on permanent display.  Cut out of the wall next to the yarn winding station is a charming set of 4 drawers that slide right out of the wall. When setting up the room, I had fun putting away my knitting notions, button tins, and finished objects that had no home in these drawers.

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Over the weekend I was attempting to tidy this room up a bit when, upon opening the knitting needle drawer, I discovered this:

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That’s my gorgeous silk Lantern Moon needle case, home to all of my straight knitting needles.  And Someone decided it looked like a good snack, or building material, or stuffing for a tiny bed in the attic.  Someone was very sneaky and didn’t even arouse the suspicion of either feline in residence.  I need to have a talk with those cats.

Further inspection of the drawers revealed a few minuscule mouse turds, and a hole from the attic space into the framing of the drawers.  Sigh.  I immediately tossed my stash of FOs onto the floor, as well as anything else I thought the mice might find delicious or comfortable as bedding.

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Fortunately, I had kept these items in sealed plastic bags and there does not appear to be any damage.  But seeing it there, all piled up on the floor, made me sort of sad.  I did not knit these things so they could languish in a dark, mouse-infested drawer!

So I set about doing something I have never done: I picked out the items I knew  a) would never find a home because they were ill-fitting or poorly finished, or b) I loved the yarn and could re-use it in a new project.

In all, I have frogged 3 projects so far:

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  • Pattern:  Shrug This, original details here

  • Yarn: Araucania Pomaire Multy in color 4

This was just a bit too small around the arms, and after wearing it a couple of times the stitches in the underarm were stretched out and looking a little shabby.  Since I had about 3/4 a skein of the yarn leftover, I think I could remake the same pattern a little larger.

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I loved this yarn and pattern together.  The dropped stitch “lace” was fun to create, and the payoff looked more complicated than it actually was.  And even though I originally cast on fewer stitches than the pattern called for, it was always a little to short to be a satisfying scarf.  Now I have a skein of beautiful sock yarn back in my stash that could become anything!

The final project was a neckwarmer in a fantastic hot pink shade of Malabrigo.  It seems I was dissatisfied enough with it from the beginning, because I have no photo of the finished object to reference!  But you can imagine it now looks more like this:

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The one on the left, or course.

If you have any FOs or works in progress that have been languishing in knitting purgatory, I urge you to set them (and yourself) free!

This frogging of finished objects exercise was surprisingly satisfying.  I no longer have to convince myself that I will wear something or find someone to gift it to.  I have yarn I love back in my stash, ready for me when I have the urge to knit with it again.  Now I think I’ll go see what else I can frog.  I know there’s some perfectly good Malabrigo going to waste…

Raspberry Lemonade Liberation

Yesterday was a beautiful Spring day, the kind that inspired me to turn off the furnace, throw open all the windows, and bare my feet in flip flops. It also inspired me to make my favorite summertime drink: raspberry lemonade.

My recipe is simple:

  1. Put some ice in a tall glass.
  2. Pour as many frozen raspberries into the glass as you like.
  3. Top with Newman’s Own virgin lemonade.
  4. Stir and enjoy!

This tasty and colorful beverage in turn inspired me to do something with a couple of similarly colored projects on my knitting hit list.

Before

Before / After

This was the No Plastic, Please market bag that I started on the cruise in Rowan cotton. It was a little small, but I kept knitting. It is meant to be knit flat, then folded flat and seamed up the sides. Wouldn’t this be better knit in the round on larger needles? That’s the thought that caused me to stop knitting. So, I FROGGED IT, and it felt great!

This is the Spiderweb Capelet from Stitch ‘n Bitch Nation, another cruise project. The beautiful frothy yarn is brushed alpaca in a subdued raspberry color that I love. The pattern is fun, but takes a lot of concentration to keep the yarn under control. So I sat down with no television or other distractions and whipped out a few rows. And this felt good too!

I think some projects are doomed from the start and should just be put out of their misery before they drag you down with them. Others are difficult for a reason, and the challenge is what makes it a rewarding project to knit. Some projects are right for certain mind-frames, and need to be put away until you can focus on them. I think I had some of all of this in my hit list, and taking the time to address each one has been liberating. I’ve made good headway this week.

Thank you for all of your encouraging comments! It’s great to hear your ideas and suggestions, and I love hearing your feedback on my projects.