On Giving In Gracefully

So, back in March I made some bloggy resolutions about what I intended to do for weekly posting goals.  Obviously, I haven’t kept those up… and then I started feeling like I was in catch-up mode all the time with myself, and oh noes, panic!!  Which is bad, since this blog isn’t supposed to be a duty!  Therefore, I have Made A Decision: I’m giving myself permission to “give up”.  In actual fact what that means is that I’m going to forget about Project 365 this year, since taking the photos already wasn’t working out – maybe I can go again another year, but I’ll see how it goes.  I’m still going to do the Friday 5 whenever I feel like it, but not necessarily every week.  I am going to try to post more about knitting and spinning and things in general.  This way, it’s more of an adjustment of my goals to something more realistic, rather than really giving up.

Another thing that I’ve decided to let go of is taking strict part of the Sock Knitter’s Pentathlon ’09.  I haven’t been knitting very fast this year, and I’d ended up knitting nothing but those socks and still not finishing them.  It all got a bit too much like hard work!  So even though I love the patterns for the first two socks, and I really like the look of the third one which has recently been released, I’m not going to start #3.  I do intend to finish the first two socks, but not as my most immediate projects.  Instead I’m going to go back to my other knitting works in progress and try to get those finished off.  They’d been pushed back while I was knitting just socks.  That’s meant that I’ve now almost finished the shawl I’ve been making for Emily (I’m casting off at the moment, but that’s deadly boring so I’m just doing a few stitches at a time then putting it down again *g*).  And I’m really looking forward to picking up the projects I’ve been neglecting and making some real progress on them.  Hooray!  I don’t even feel like starting something new, because my old projects are almost like new ones by now.

I’m also thinking about giving in using Coppermine for my photo album software.  Yes, I’ve been using it for years on this site, so it seemed like a more sensible decision to keep using it and integrate it with WP rather than migrate to something else.  But there’s a good photo album plugin for WP, and the integration plugin for Coppermine doesn’t do precisely what I want it to do – it’s a great plugin, and it’s probably perfect for everyone else… but I’m picky!  Also, I do have to do some tweaking of the source code every time it updates because of the way I have my Coppermine set up, and… well, in the long run it might just be easier to change to using something more integrated with WP.  It’ll mean not having to theme Coppermine to match WP, too.  I’m going to ponder it a while more, but I expect I will change over.

Why am I mentioning this, when no-one but me cares?  Because it kind of fits the theme of the rest of this post: I’ve been hanging on to some things that I should have gracefully given in on a while back.  Letting go and making a few small changes will make things easier.  Note to self: change is good, and giving up on something doesn’t necessarily equate to failure.  There we go, that’s my deep personal insight for the day.  Now I shall stop rambling, let go of this post and send it into the big wide world (= hit the publish button)!  TTFN.

Project 365, 22nd March – 4th April

I meant to post these weekly, but I’ve gone and slipped up already.  So here are another two week’s worth of Project 365 photos.  They’re also up at Flickr in my Project 365 ’09-10 set and in the Project 365 album for this year in the photo album here (you can see the great-big full size versions there).  This time I’m going to put the medium-size pics up here rather than the thumbnails and put some comments in as well.  Ideally I want the medium pics to link to pop-ups of the full size versions, but the plugin I’m using to integrate the blog with the photo album is being a bit temperamental about that.  But with a bit of luck that’s what I’ll get.  Here we go:
Continue reading “Project 365, 22nd March – 4th April”

To Frog or Not To Frog?

… That is the question. The other question is, hey where did the last week disappear to? Bzuh?? I know I was quite busy, but I didn’t realise it had been that many days since I posted last. Whoops! My Secret Pal package did arrive on Monday as expected, and yay, it’s awesome! But I’ll babble about that more in a separate post, because I haven’t uploaded the photos yet.

What I am going to babble about now is my frogging dilemma. Forest Canopy so far; click for larger versionSee, I’m about 10-15% into my Forest Canopy Shawl, and it’s very pretty and all. But I’m not quite sure that Eva is the best yarn to use for it. It’s gorgeous and shiny, but it hasn’t got as much elasticity as an all-wool yarn, which means that the sl1 k2tog psso decreases look a little baggy. I’ve hibernated it anyway until I’m done with my Christmas knits, so I was thinking that maybe I should rip it. Because it also occurred to me that Eva would make the most beautiful Clapotis

I know, I know: everyone and their dog / cat has already made a Clapotis, and I’m the last person in the world to jump on this particular bandwagon. You know, I wasn’t even particularly enamoured of the pattern until I started thinking how well Eva would suit it. And suddenly, it clicked for me. Well, I’m late to everything else, why not this too? It really would show off the yarn soooo well. Posh Yarn Emily in SelvaAs for the Forest Canopy? Well, I have a skein of PY Emily in some lovely shades of green that strikes me as rather… forest-y. Is that too predictable? I think it’ll look good, though, and I like green. So there ;-) Plus, I’m pretty sure that it’ll knit up better Emily. My other choice would be YY Merino, or possibly Sock, but I don’t have a colour in either of those that I want to use for the shawl, unless I used the YY August club yarn. But I have that earmarked for a particular sock pattern, so I don’t think I will.

I have another frogging dilemma as well, although this one is less of a real dilemma. A couple of years ago, I started knitting a zip jacket that was actually a man’s pattern by Debbie Bliss featured in Simply Knitting mag. Well, I say I started knitting it. I went out and bought the yarn (a substitute, but pretty well identical: Sirdar Denim Sport Aran instead of Debbie Bliss Denim Aran), and cast on. Aaaaaand that’s as far as I ever got! I spose I was distracted by other things (this was right before Dad’s accident) and somehow I never picked it up again. And then, in the most recent issue of Knitty, I saw Mr Greenjeans. Ooooooo, I thought. I like that! My first idea was that I could maybe use some Jaeger Matchmaker Merino Aran that I have lurking in my stash for it – it’s a lovely dark green colour, and I’ve been wanting to find something to use it for for ages. But when I double-checked, I don’t have enough of it. D’oh!! (One of these days, I might pick up some complementary yarn and make a Tubey with it. That would be nice.) So I kind of figured I’d have to give up on the idea of that cardigan for a while, until it suddenly struck me that I have that Denim Sport Aran sitting around not being knitted. Was I really ever going to knit the zip jacket? Probably not. So I think I’m going to use that yarn for the Mr Greenjeans instead. The only thing that’s vaguely bothering me is that I’m not 100% sure the yarn is actually very me. Will I wear a blue denim-effect cardi? Oh, I spose I will. I could think of it as work clothing! At-the-computer attire. After all, it won’t show the cat hair as badly as all my black clothes do. *g*

I spose that’s decision made, then. Zip jacket thing: Frog, and re-purpose the yarn as a Mr Greenjeans. Forest Canopy: Probably frog, re-purpose the yarn as a Clapotis, then re-start with the green PY Emily. Hoorah! (This isn’t helping my startitis any, you know….)

Forest Canopy

Forest Canopy pattern set-upI can’t quite remember if I’ve mentioned this here yet, but I have cast on my Forest Canopy Shawl. This isn’t the best photo – it wasn’t good light and for some reason I couldn’t get the focus. Maybe I should have zoomed in or something? Anyway! What you can see here is about half of the set-up section of the lace pattern. I’ve now completed the set-up section and I’m about to start the first body repeat.
Project stats:
Pattern: Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl by Susan Lawrence.
Yarn: Posh Yarn Eva 4-ply (55% silk, 45% cashmere) in Tuscany.
Needles: 4.5mm (bamboo straights for now, to change to a circular when it gets wider)
I’m actually kind of confused about this pattern. Not about the knitting of it as such – the pattern looks straightforward enough in terms of knitting the stitches. But it’s the construction of the shawl that’s stumping me. It’s not making sense in my head. You see, the pattern describes it as a “top-down” shawl. To me, the top of a shawl is the widest part, the edge that goes across the shoulders. Am I mistaken? Because the shawl starts out with… um… I’ve forgotten how many, but only a few stitches for the cast on, and then you increase from there. That would indicate to me that I’m knitting from the bottom point upwards.
I would have just assumed I’d got confused with what top-down meant. But. When you’ve knitted the desired number of pattern repeats, it then tells you to knit the border along the bottom edge and follow the directions to get the scalloped cast-off, etc etc. It doesn’t say anything about casting off the top edge and picking up along the bottom. Yet, if I’m starting with a pointy bit….. argh! Perhaps I’m missing something vital about the shape of the shawl because I haven’t yet started knitting the main pattern. I know I’m not knitting from a corner, either, because I’ve got the centre stitch right where it should be for knitting directly up or down.
Can anyone give me any clues? Anyone? Help?


Skein Wars: Victory! (Click for larger version)So, I finally beat that skein of Eva Tuscany into submission and got it wound into a ball! Woohoo! However, I have to admit… I did resort to scissors. I tried for three whole days (on and off, not constantly, obviously) to detangle it. And I suppose I could have unwound the 1/3 I already had on the ball-winder. But that just seemed like the road to further tangling, so in the end I took a deep breath, and…. snipped. Once I’d done that, the detangling actually went dead fast, and as you can see I now have a lovely neat centre-pull ball. Two extra ends to be woven in, yes, but never mind.
So, I’ve been busily swatching away. I’ll be making the Forest Canopy Shawl with it, and as Eva 4ply’s not the same weight as the recommended yarn (which I think is a worsted weight), I needed to figure out which needle size I want. This is a pattern which is fairly friendly for using different weights of yarn, and gives lots of comprehensive information on the pre-knitting part of the process – three whole pages, in fact! Since this is my first big lace project (hats, socks, and even BP (which is ‘big’ but only a very simple lace pattern) don’t count) it’s nice to have clearly laid out instructions and suggestions like that.
Anyway! I started out with 4mm needles, but that gave me a gauge of 24×28, when what I was after was 22×14. I have no idea how that can be, actually – surely you normally get more rows to a gauge than stitches? Stitches are wider than they are high. I’m wondering if that’s a typo, and it should actually be 22×24? You know what? I think it has to be. I’ve just had a glance through every pattern I have to hand (which is quite a few, since I just printed a whole slew from Knitty), and 22sts x 24rows makes far more sense. Also, that’s the gauge I’ve now got by swatching on 4.5mm bamboos, and I like the way that knitted up as well. Drapey, but not too floppy.
Posh Yarn Eva 4ply 'Tuscany' (Click for larger version)So that’s what I’ve decided on: Forest Canopy shawl in Posh Yarn Eva 4ply ‘Tuscany’, on 4.5mm needles. As I mentioned above, I’m starting off on bamboo straights, but when it grows too big I’ll have to move it to circulars. I’ll need an 80cm one, I think, and I don’t actually have a 4.5mm one in that length.
I wonder if it’s worth getting a set of Denise’s or Boye Needlemasters? I’m drawn to the Boye ones, because they’re shiny. Literally shiny: multicoloured metallics. Shiiiiiiiiiinyyyyy. Plus, I think they have a couple more sizes than the Denise set. If I learned the Magic Loop technique, I could use them for the sock knitting as well, and not need to get the new DPNs that I was coveting. Anybody have them, and/or have any opinions on which might be better? Or if it’s worth it at all? This would also solve the possible problem I have with making Fetching from PY Sophia 6ply – I’m not sure that 4mm needles are going to get the right gauge for that. Although of course, going up to 4.5mm might make the fabric too floppy, in which case I’ll just have to get some 8ply instead. Maybe I should have gone for that in the first place.
Still, I spose there’s only one way to find out: SWATCH!