Why Does This ALWAYS Happen To Me?

In the past couple of days, I've made excellent progress on the baby blanket for Baby A.K.'s pregnant daycare teacher. I now only have one more Super Ball of yarn to get through, and it's finished (a Super Ball is what I get when I roll up 2 or more yarns together to create one large ball to knit from). But as usual, I'm getting scared that I'll run out of yarn before getting the length I want out of this project. You see, the blanket is made up of large rows of alternating squares of Stockinette and garter
stitches. Right now, I've got 2 more rows to go to complete a single large row of squares. I've measured and re-measured how many inches I get with one Super Ball, and I've concluded that I should have enough yarn for those last 2 rows, then one more large row of squares, then 10 rows of garter stitch border. Perfect.

But this scenario isn't new to me, and it's likely that one of two things will occur. Either a) I'll worry the entire time I finish up the blanket, bind off, and sigh with relief when I see that all that's left is an arm's length of yarn; or b) I'll worry the entire time I finish up the blanket, bind off, and cry with despair when I realize that all I need to finish is an arm's length of yarn. Experience tells me that this'll end on a high note, but no matter what, I have to worry through that last Super Ball.

On a positive note, congrats to New Sock Knitter (remember her? Go back a couple of posts.), who has successfully completed her first sock and is off and knitting on the second. The first one came out great - the only things she needed to learn how to do was PU&K, and the SSK decrease. Everything else she either knew off the bat, or she knew but didn't trust the pattern (short-row shaping, anybody? Definitely sounds weird to the uninitiated.). But lo and behold, a new sock is born. Yay!


Process vs. Product

Before I begin, congratulations to Lori Lynn, who correctly guessed the theme to Baby A.K.'s soon-to-be blankie: Dora The Explorer. Dora continues to be a household favorite here, and anyone who's seen the show even once will recognize the familiar hot pink, bright orange, and electric purple that are Dora's signature colors. Somehow they're fitting for my rambunctious, bubbly, silly baby, too.

Last week, Knitting Daily had an interesting post about process knitting versus end-product knitting. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about: enjoying the entire creation process, from choosing pattern and yarn, swatching, knitting, finishing, and wearing/giving away/whatever, or just doing what you gotta do to get the project done and over with. I'm a total process knitter - I love the whole experience. Even swatching. Even finishing, which is truly my least favorite part, but still lends itself to the whole experience, and to my knowledge base. My mother, on the other hand (and in my opinion), is a product knitter. She enjoys knitting, but really does it only to get to the part where people exclaim, "Oh, that's BEAUTIFUL!" as she, or, in most cases these days, Baby A.K., struts around in the FO. I think whether you're one or the other is a personal choice - there's no right-or-wrong here, really. But there just seems to be something very robotic about being a product knitter. I can't help but think that you're missing out on a great deal if you can only see the finish line.

What do you think? Are you a process or product knitter? Is one better than the other?


Black Friday At The LYS.

We're back from the wilds of NJ, full of tryptophan and apple pie and mucho knitty goodness. Like what, you ask? Well...

I made Baby A.K another pair of socks.
I started a pair of socks for Mother of A.K. No picture yet, but they look just like my Koigu beauties, except in another color.

I went nuts at my LYS. How nuts?
Two skeins of Katia Nordic Print yarn for holiday gifts. Shoulda got another skein for a gift to myself. Oh wait, I kinda did that, but with......three balls of Filatura di Crosa Superior, for my first foray into lace knitting. Can I just say right now, that this yarn is absolutely the softest, most luxurious yarn I've had the pleasure of just touching? I can't wait to knit with this stuff.

And yarn for a baby blanket for Baby A.K. Remember that fit she threw a week or so ago when she realized the blanket I was making was for her teacher and not for her? Well, she's been "reminding" me every so often about that: "Knit blankie for me?" "Cozy blankie... knit now?" I've got to get this done quick, so I'm going to stick to the pattern I'm using for Baby A.K.'s teacher, since it's easy. I know I haven't posted a picture of this blanket yet, but you hold 3 strands of yarn at once for the whole thing to create a really colorful and interestingly-textured piece. What colors to use for my girl? After careful consideration, and a consult with Dori and Leslie, I decided on these colors:
Bonus points to whoever can guess what the "theme" for this blanket is just by looking at the colors. Hint: watch a few hours of Nick Jr.

Time to settle down with a piece of pie and my sock knitting, although I really ought to start one of those Katia scarves...


Another Convert Joins The Ranks.

A while ago I wrote about a friend of mine who thought that sock knitting was too hard for her ("I could never do that," I believe she said). Knowing that this was complete bollocks, I suggested that if she wanted to try, she should start with kid-sized socks, and once she got the hang of them, she could move on to adult socks. I gave her a shopping list of things she'd need to get started, and I'm happy to say that today, she became a sock knitter.

I spent a very agreeable lunch hour with New Sock Knitter, where I helped get her started on the road to hand-knit cozy goodness. There was really very little I had to demonstrate - heck, she had to show me how to do the cable cast-on. The hardest part was, of course, joining the round, but once that was done, she was off to the races. I think she'll be ready to start the heel flap by Friday, but the question is, will she be brave and give it a try without a mentor, or will she wait until we see/talk to each other next week? She has the knowledge to take the plunge on her own - I just don't think she realizes it yet.

I'll probably be off-line the rest of the week. Tomorrow night is the monthly Central PA S&B at Borders on Jonestown Rd. in Harrisburg - come join us if you're in the area. Obviously, the rest of the week is dedicated to the insanity that is Thanksgiving with La Famiglia A.K. If I have any strength left in me, I'll blog all about my adventures in NJ on Saturday. By then I should have acquired more yarn for my stash to blather on about.

'Til then, have a happy and safe Thanksgiving, everyone.


Anything New?

Sadly, no, there's really nothing new. More like an "Everything old is new again" kind of weekend.

I started working on a second pair of Cascade Fixation socks for Baby A.K. I'm still feeling guilty about the baby blanket fiasco (see update, below), so maybe I can placate her with some more socks. They're just like these:
... but in orange. Orange is pretty much my least favorite color since it looks so bad on me, but I wouldn't condemn Baby A.K. to an orange-less life unless/until she deems it so. And I kind of like this variegated orange yarn - reminds me of an Orange Julius.

Update on my attempt at live-blogging the Sheep-To-Shawl contest at the PA Farm Show: made a few phone calls, spoke to some press secretaries. Approval pending. I'll be calling them again next week.

The baby blanket for Baby A.K's teacher is coming along nicely. It knits up pretty fast, what with my using size 17 needles for it and all. I think it'll be done in another couple of weeks, at which point I'll proudly post a picture of it.

La Famiglia A.K. will be back in NJ for Thanksgiving next week, and I'm sure my willpower will be such that a purchase from my LYS will be inevitable. I have no idea what I'll get - maybe some yarn for Christmas gift knitting. Good thing payday falls on Black Friday.

Time to get on with my Saturday night. But what I wouldn't give for an Orange Julius right now...


Preaching To The Choir.

For those of you who were curious, Husband of A.K. did very well knitting his first garter-stitch swatch. I decided not to teach him the long tail cast-on so as not to scare him away too quickly. I set him up on some Size 11s and Husband-like yarn from my stash and got him going with the knit stitch, back and forth, back and forth. He made all the same mistakes we all made when we first learned: the accidental YOs, accidentally knitting the stitch beneath the one on the needle, accidentally slipping a stitch or two or four... but once he got back on track, he created a very nice, very even, and very tight little swatch. I don't know if he'll stick with it, but I love him like crazy for trying it out.

At the encouragement of the very talented Kathleen of Kathleen Taylor's Dakota Dreams, I've started pursuing media credentials to get onto the floor of the PA Farm Show's Sheep-To-Shawl contest to make it a live-blogging event. I'm at the very beginning stages of this venture, but I'll keep you posted on my progress. BTW, for those of you who are planning to attend, the contest will be held on Wednesday, January 9th, at 3:00 pm. Whether I get to live-blog this thing or not, I'll definitely be there, so grab a milkshake and an order of fried veggies and come find me!

I'm starting to really dig the concept of concurrent UFOs - I guess you could say that I'm a convert. With Baby A.K.'s teacher's baby blanket tucked away in my office desk drawer, I'm filled with a strange sense of inner peace just knowing it's there waiting for me whenever I have a spare moment or lunch break. I love the fact that at some point during my work day, I'll knit a few more rows, then go home and work on something completely different (at the moment, it's another pair of socks for Baby A.K.). As if I didn't look forward to my daily knitting fix as it is, I get a little more excited about it when I've got a few projects to knit on, round-robin style. Yeah, I know what you're thinking: "DUH!!!!!" But what can I say - I may be late to the party, but at least I'm there now. Pass me a Corona... don't forget the lime.


I'm Back...

...from a long weekend in NJ. I successfully scored a ton of Zara for a baby blanket project, but even better: I bought a blocking board. It's so big and clean and... big - I actually can't wait to finish something just so I can use it.

Baby A.K. pulled her first guilt trip on me. The Zara baby blanket is for one of her daycare teachers, who is expecting her first child in a couple of months. And Baby A.K. knew this - she kept saying "Yarn for Miss Miranda!" when I bought it, when I re-rolled it into balls of 3-colored strands, and when I was about to start knitting it up. Baby A.K. asked me to play with her, though, so I set the huge ball aside. Ten minutes later, Baby A.K. toddles over to the yarn and says,

"Oh, pretty yarn! Thank you, Mommy, thank you!"
"But honey," I said, "That yarn isn't for you... "
"IT'S FOR MISS MIRANDA!" she wailed as she threw herself onto the floor and bawled.

Ohhhhhhh, man. This is a new behavior. Was I supposed to read into this 2-year old brain and know that she wanted a blanket, too (BTW, she already has 3 knitted blankets, one made by me. But it's so scary that I won't show it in public. But I'll blog about it someday.)? Should I have anticipated this and bought a truckload of Zara so I could've avoided this sad display? I laid on the floor with Baby A.K. and asked, "Do you want this blanket, honey?", to which she replied a definitive "YES!" So I've got 2 baby blankets to knit up in my immediate future. But I won't be back to NJ until next week for Thanksgiving, so I've cleverly hid Miss Miranda's blanket in my office desk for the time being. It won't make another appearance at Casa d'A.K. until Baby A.K.'s blanket is done. How do I allow these things to happen?

BUT... proving that the universe strives for balance, Husband of A.K. completely knocked me for a loop when he uttered these words:

"So I was thinking, I kind of need a scarf to go with my one of my coats. And I thought to myself, 'When I'm hungry, I cook for myself. If I need a scarf, why don't I knit one for myself?'"

He's upstairs now putting Baby A.K. down to bed. When he's done, I'll be teaching him how to cast on and knit his own scarf using a skein of yarn from my stash that I'd never use for myself - 4 oz. of Christopher Sheep Farm's 100% pure virgin wool in Terra Cotta (orange. I look terrible in orange. But Husband looks great in it.).

I've said it before, and it's still true. I'm the luckiest woman in the world.


"It's So Crazy, It Just Might Work."

It's tough having a a toddler, for all the usual reasons, plus you get their illnesses. A lot. I'm still mildly under the weather, this time with a hacking cough, scratchy throat, and general tiredness. But it might be that I'm tired because I was up unusually late last night.

Was I the only one interested in the election returns? Being married to a political journalist kind of makes you a political junkie by default. I wasn't actually watching the election on TV, though - I was getting a play-by-play from this very insightful, intelligent, and devastatingly witty blog. This particular one does "live-blogging" better than anyone in the state... even on an off-year election.

It got me thinking... why can't I, the Accidental Knitter, live-blog something? I tried in NJ a few weeks ago, but alas, no wireless Internet connection existed at my destination. What else could I do? I could live-blog our monthly S&B. That could be really funny, knowing our group of intrepid yarn mavens. But I'd get no knitting or spinning done - I'd be on the computer the whole time, or taking pictures. Not exactly the way I'd want to spend the evening, since it's become the one night a month that I can get the most knitting accomplished in one sitting.

Then it hit me. A live-blogging idea that's so unique, so bizarre, and so downright crazy, that it just... might... work.

Pretending for a moment that the right conditions exist (wireless Internet available, the right contacts secured, the right permissions secured, the right security secured), what if I, The Accidental Knitter, live-blogged the Sheep-To-Shawl contest during the 2008 PA Farm Show? I know, it's kinda nutty, but think about it: if I were allowed access to the floor and a small table off to the side where my laptop was set up, I could talk to the contestants as they card, spin, and weave their hearts out (not while they're shearing, though. That'd be scary.) and post it immediately. I could take pictures and post those immediately, too. I could talk to bystanders and get their take on the event. I could talk to event coordinators and transcribe the history of the contest in PA and other such historical anecdotes. The whole thing could be captured for the world to read and enjoy just as much as those of us who are actually sitting there watching it happen. HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE?????

Or am I just a complete weirdo?

Weigh in, but be kind. Remember, I'm unwell.


Uh-Oh... Here It Comes...


Not only have I been under the weather this past week, but I've also been rather uninspired with my Koigu socks. Not that they're not fun, not that they're not turning out lovely... it's just that I've been so... very... blah. I was ready to chalk it up to PMS when it hit me: I'm not working on anything other than the socks. Nothing. No large projects. No presents for anyone (shame on me, with the holidays only weeks away). Nothing to challenge me. Nothing to learn from (Kelley Petkun, maybe you're onto something with your 7 UFOs). I need... project... now.

Alas, I'll have to make do with just my socks for a few more days. I'll be visiting my fave LYS this weekend, and I know exactly what I'm gonna get: tons and tons of Zara. I love this yarn. It's so soft and cozy, and if you hold 3 strands at once in different colors, you can make the most luxurious baby blankets. And that's what I'll be making. Two of Baby A.K.'s daycare teachers are expecting their first babies, and they've been so good to my Little Monkey that they deserve handknit blankies. I love the pattern that I use for my baby blankets, too - it's one of those things that's really easy to make, but always elicits "ooohs" and "ahhhhs" from the non-knitters. I'll definitely have pictures in the near future. For now... I'll content myself with my socks. Sigh.


Read Any Good Books Lately?

This week has kind of been a wash for me. I don't know what I've got, but the combination of a head cold, unexplained exhaustion (I slept a blissful 12 hours last night, and still took a little nap this afternoon. I know. I'm lame.), and a slight case of the blahs has put me in the mood to do... nothing. Some knitting on the Koigu socks was done during the week at lunchtime. A tiny bit of spinning was done in the evenings, mainly at the behest of Baby A.K., who just loves to watch, and try to help, me spin. But my head hasn't been in it. I think when I feel like this, I mostly enjoy...

Reading. So what's everyone reading these days (it doesn't have to be craft-related)? I've started reading that book I promised myself I'd order last week: Spinning in the Old Way, by Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts. So far, I really really like it - it's well-written, has great illustrations, and best of all, concentrates on just spinning with a high-whorl spindle, and doesn't go off talking about wheels, making me feel like OH MY GOD I HAVE TO GET A WHEEL RIGHT NOW.

I think I'll go make myself and Husband a cuppa tea, and sit back with my book until either I fall asleep on the couch, or this headache I'm fighting forces my eyeballs to shut down for the evening...

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