Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Brains, braaaaaaainsssss

Okay, not really a total zombie, but I've got two projects on the needles that require my brains, that means no distractions, in order for them to proceed without... incident. Oh yes, incident.

The first project is the Bellatrix socks I cast on last month.

I took these socks to our Pascha feast (Eastern Orthodox Easter) and tried to knit them there. 1) I was also carrying on at least two conversations at the same time, broken up by one child or another stopping by to ask questions. 2) Beer. I had three. Not a crazy amount, but, well, there were still three.

I came home and tinked back 2/3 of the rows I knit while I was there. Mind you, it took me a week to tink back to a spot where I could move forward again. (I just kept putting it off.) Now I'm just a bit past the point where I found the errors, so I've technically made some progress.

I really do love these socks. The pattern is a delight (Monkey Toes pattern) and the yarn is wonderful (Scout's Swag Superwash Merino/Tencel in Death Eaters). Even with the tinking I've done, I am really enjoying these socks. However, I decided this pattern requires a bit more thought than my previous socks. That's fine, I can do it. I just had to learn that I needed to give this project more attention, that's all. No action movies, no conversations with people that involve more than a 'yes' or 'no' answer on my part, and absolutely no adult beverages.

No worries.

So I thought I could use another project, to fill up the time when I couldn't do the socks. So what'd I pick? EZ's Pi Shawl. (And no, I wasn't at the beer again when I made this decision!) I've been wanting to do this pattern since Kelly started talking about it on the Knit Picks podcast. It sounded like a simple project to try out lace. Big, sure, but not too tricky. Uh-huh. So it only took me 6 tries or so to get the darned thing cast on. I knit up to 144 stitches only to find I had 142. I tried counting at various spots to see if I could figure out where I lost stitches. I didn't seem to have dropped any stitches, so did I forget a couple of yarn overs? I have no idea! (although the lost yarn overs seems most likely, either that or accidental K2tog somewhere). So I tried ripping back to the spot where I last had the correct number of stitches. In. lace. weight. Yep.

So it only took me two tries to get the thing cast on the second time, much better. Oh, but then the yarn broke off at 36 stitches. That annoyed me, so I started over again. I got the thing cast on correctly in one go this time! Go me! I'm nearly back to the 144 stitches again, and this is how it is looking right now.

I'm knitting this in Cashwool by Baruffa in a bright red. Why would I do this to myself, you might well ask? Well, my grandmother (dad's mom) was in the hospital for a little over three weeks. When she got home she kept talking about how chilly it was for her all the time she was in hospital. I had knit up a washcloth for her in red and white, and she commented how much she'd like to have something "to go around her shoulders in a bright red". Well? What could I do? She gave me the perfect opening to try the Pi Shawl, the yarn was a decent price and the perfect color. I think I might find it less, um, challenging, if it were in a heavier weight yarn, but I didn't have anything red except the cotton yarn, and that wouldn't work. So while I was open to a fingering weight yarn, I didn't find anything that was cost-effective and the right color in a decent quantity for this project.

So, humor me here, I'm sure once I get used to using the laceweight yarn this project will go a bit smoother for me. I'm getting in a minimum of about 30 minutes of knitting a day, right before bed. I'm trying to trade back and forth between the socks and the shawl, so I'm making a bit of progress on both. However, I feel that I'm going to need a brainless project soon. One that I can do while talking or watching something exciting from time to time. We'll see how that works out. The important thing is that I'm learning a whole bunch of new knitting things these days. If I survive the experience, I'll be an even better knitter. (Go on, humor me some more...)