Kim needs...

Have you seen the blog "activity" where you plug in your name + needs into Google's search engine and then list the top ten google results? Here are mine -- I think the first one is very ironic, considering my last post:

Kim needs to take off the gloves
Kim needs to talk
Kim needs some hints
Kim needs some help
Kim needs him the most
Kim needs a boxer
Kim needs to talk
Kim needs to go
Kim needs counseling
Kim needs your help

Two completed projects

I finally got the Highland Triangle Shawl blocked. Isn't it amazing what blocking can do for wool? The points are pointy, the holes are open, and the whole thing is bigger. The drape is so much better. Yippee. She's stretched out above on our newly exposed wood floor. The flash makes the color wrong -- it is actually a darker blue, and the floor is actually a little more gold looking. The shawl is knit in KnitPicks merino (storm) on the size needles specified in the pattern. She measures 80 inches across, 50 inches from edge to point, and 60 inches on the angle, which is bigger than the pattern specifies.

I have also finished the gloves. They knit in leftover merino style from the pattern in Weekend
Knitting. I found what I think are a few errors. Here is what I found, and how I "fixed" them:
  • The index and ring finger patterns call for decreases in the tip of each fingers, which is fine and expected. However, starting with 15 stitches on the needles, I was supposed to knit two together around, and end with 12 stitches. Truly knitting 2 together to complete the round would yield 8 stitches. Instead, I interspersed 3 K2T while knitting the rest of the stitches = 12 stitches at the end of the round. I then continued on with the decreases as specified.
  • When I finished the left glove, the index finger and middle finger were too long. I wish I had taken a picture because the glove looked a little deformed. I frogged back the decreases at the end of each finger and three rows of regular knitting. I then knit the decreases to finish the finger (in effect, making these two fingers three rows shorter than the pattern specifies). The other two fingers and thumb were fine as designed.
  • I had some trouble with the directions for the right hand glove. The only described difference in the right and left gloves is the placement of the thumb (which was fine). The instructions are to knit the other fingers as for left hand (placing them in the correct order for the right hand). In order to make this work, I joined the yarn at the base of each finger on the back of the hand instead of on the palm, as described for the left hand.

I had to come back and stitch closed a few holes at the bases of the fingers. Maybe with the next pair I will be able to avoid these holes. I also noticed something that looks like a seam in the garter stitch cuff where I changed from purl to knit and back again. Springy seems to be having the same problem.

Glove Knit Along

I joined NonaKnits Peaceful Palms KnitAlong. Check out the patterns and updates.

How I Found Knitting Confidence in the Palm of a Glove

I don’t remember why I was thumbing through my copy of “Weekend Knitting” by Melanie Falick. I had it with me on a Friday evening, sitting in front of Chili’s, waiting for a table for dinner. My husband and two boys were with me, and they are used to mom bringing her knitting along. I stopped on the page with patterns to make gloves – both fingerless and whole. The pattern calls for DK weight yarn; I had just finished my Highland Triangle Shawl using Merino Style from KnitPicks, and knew I had almost two skeins left of this DK weight wool.

I have been knitting for almost two years now, but almost all my life (since fourth grade?) I have been a crocheter. I am fond of saying that I can crochet anything, as long as it is square (or rectangular). When I started knitting in early 2004, I was motivated by a New Year’s Resolution to “learn to knit.” I started knitting; it was fun. I found an internet community of knitters; it all became even more fun. I was determined to really learn how to knit – not just rectangles, but other, more useful, shapes. My first finished project was a scarf followed by a multitude of Christmas present scarves. My resolution in 2005 was to knit a pair of socks – sufficiently un-square. I’ve done that. This year I’ve knit socks, a clapotis, a shawl, three bags and a lace scarf. I saw the glove pattern, and thought, “I can do this.”

And then I read the pattern. It looked intimidating. I snapped the book shut that Friday evening, and said, “That’s too hard. I would never be able to finish a glove.”

However, on the way home from dinner that evening, I stopped and bought the dpn that I would need to knit the gloves. That evening, I started the pattern, using my very soft, storm colored merino wool along with my hope that if I just followed the instructions, I could actually knit gloves.

The next evening, I was dancing around the family room, holding up my half-finished glove, sing-songing, “I have a thumb. LOOK! A thumb.” Happily, my husband was suitably impressed.

Knitting gloves in public is a fun adventure. First of all, your knitting looks like a porcupine, with all those sharp needles sticking out. Friends and strangers alike must ask what I am knitting. At this point, I get to enjoy the fun of showing them the first, already completed glove. I really enjoy their reaction – “A glove? You’re knitting a glove? Isn’t that hard?”

We all know that it isn’t. It’s just one stitch after the next. But – WOW – at the end of the project, I’ll have a pair of gloves. I will also have a huge pile of self-confidence to tackle the next, more difficult project. I am on my way to becoming a Knitter (with a capital K). Someday I’ll do a sweater – one stitch at a time.

Book Review -- KnitLit Three

I just finished the book KnitLit the Third, and thought I would share my thoughts about it. The book is edited by Linda Roghaar and Molly Work and is subtitled, “We Spin More Yarns.” As can be divined from the title, this is the third book in a series of collections of yarn stories – stories written by knitters across the country (world) and compiled for our enjoyment.

Before reading this book, I had read the other two editions, and very much enjoyed them. They are full of funny and heart-warming stories concerning our lives with knitting and yarn. I was looking forward to the third edition.

After reading it, I must admit that this sequel is more poignant than funny; it has more stories concerning the role of knitting in the crises of our lives than in our mountaintop experiences. I felt that the balance of hilarious to tear-jerking stories was out of balance. This book has many more stories centering on death or illness than previous editions. I felt bombarded with deep-felt emotion with not much to relieve the stress. I don’t mean to say that all the entries should be funny, but I could have used more light stories to counteract the heaviness of the others.

However, this book does have some gems. I love the story by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (the Yarn Harlot concerning her experience in an airport without (gasp!) her knitting. (And if you would like to read another story about the Yarn Harlot in an airport, check out this blog entry about “The Weenie.” Hilarious) It was great to read Ann Shayne (of Mason-Dixon Knitting) tell the story of how Ann and Kay came to be blogging buddies and then co-authors. “Have a Mice Weekend” by Kay Flores was a hoot. The poem by Harry Kelley called “The Cardigan” reminded me of Dr. Suess, but was a great read. There were other stories that I won’t take the time to list that made the purchase of the book worth its price.

Overall, I’m glad that I read it, but hope the next one is less morose and more merry

Highland Triangle Shawl Hints

In order to always know where I was in the pattern, I used an excel spread sheet with row numbers and the number of stitches in each row. I had the spread sheet laminated and then marked off each box as I completed a row instead of using a row counter. I used two spread sheets: middle section and edging.

When doing the lace pattern, be aware that Row 1 and Row 2, as written in the directions, are rows 1 and 2 of the chart.

When working the edging, be aware that there are always just two stitches between the center markers. The YO at the corner are on the outside of the markers.

I used markers throughout the knitting of the center and edging. It takes some work to place the markers correctly so that the decreases do not displace the markers. Using markers really helped me to know if my stitch count was correct.

I checked the stitch count often -- sometimes at the end of each row -- to try to catch mistakes early.

Be sure to follow directions and "bind off loosely" at the end so that the shawl will block nicely.

For all posts relating to this shawl, go to this link.

(Post recovered and added from old SandpiperKnits website, which is now closed (due to Geocities stopping free web pages).

Yarn and needles

We went to Lexington again this weekend, and I made a trip to the yarn store. I purchased Encore DK weight yarn in color 455 -- it's a mix of green and black -- 2 skiens. I thinking another pair of gloves for a Christmas gift. I also bought a pair of Lantern moon ebony needles, size 15 (a splurge) and an Anne Norling pattern for scarves.

Look! A Glove!

I had some leftover yarn from the Highland Triangle Shawl, and I saw a pattern for gloves in the book Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick. I read the pattern, thought that it looked way to complicated for me, and decided to try it anyway. Look! A glove. I'm working on the other one now. I feel like a real Knitter!