Saturday, February 13, 2010

Olympic Knitting

Before the opening ceremonies, I gathered my yarn, needles, and books:

Here's my progress, after 3 hours.

It would have been about twice as much, but I misinterpreted the directions for left twist (LT): "K the second st tbl, then k the first st and sl both sts off needle." I stuck my right needle into the back loop of the second stitch from the front of the work (going between the 1st and 2nd sts), to knit that stitch, then knit the first st, and slipped them off the needle. Didn't look right, but I persevered. Three rounds later, I decided to try putting my needle into the back loop of the 2nd stitch from the back of the work to knit that stitch, then knit the first stitch and slip them both off. Ah, that looks better. So did I stop at that point, rip back & redo the first twist round? No. I plowed on, did 3 more rounds, telling myself that it wouldn't look too bad. On the third twist round, I decided it really didn't look too good, so I tried fixing one by laddering down and working back up. Bad idea. Next step: rip it back to the first twist round. So I wasted about an hour and a half. Oh, well. I'm much happier with the way it looks now.

This morning, I finished the bottom of the sweater (not really ribbing, not a hem -- what do I call it?), increased from 90% to 100% of my stitches, went up two needle sizes, and started the stockinette body of the sweater.

I started a pair of socks for the February Spring Fling KAL. These are Wendyknits' Mock Cable Socks. Notice that they have twisted stitches, too. I have been taking the stitches off the needles, switching them (right or left, depending on where they should go) and then knitting them. Time consuming. I'm wondering if I can do LT and RT instead. I'm an old pro at RT (right twist: knit two together leaving sts on LH needle, then knit first stitch again, slip both sts off left needle). I figured there should be a similar procedure for LT, and now that I have learned it, I think I'll try doing the twists instead of the cables on this sock.

A recent post on ScoutJ's blog led me to this pattern: Rosemary Hill's Brandywine Shawl. She is donating $5 from each pattern sold to Haitian relief efforts. While watching the new version of "We are the world" last night, I told my husband I had donated to Haitian relief by purchasing a knitting pattern, and he just reacted with a facepalm.

Oh, and in the "completely random" category, Mock Homecoming 2010. My favorite high school senior and his mother (doesn't look a thing like me, does he?):

Monday, February 01, 2010

Snow Day!

At this rate, we'll be in school till June. For some of you, this may be a cause for confusion, as you're always in school till June. We started school on August 19th, a good 2 1/2 weeks before the traditional after-Labor-Day start that seems to be more common on the East and West coasts. For whatever reason, our district never builds snow days into the calendar. They tease us with Spring Break, then take it away to make up missed days. Our total so far this year: 2 1/2 days in October for flu, one day the following week for flooding, 4 days the first week of January (2 for a "boil water" order in town, 2 for snow/ice), last Friday and today for snow. We had school on MLK day, and will have school on Presidents' Day. That makes up 2 of the 9 1/2. Four more will come from Spring Break (they're letting us keep the Friday). That leaves 3 1/2 which I guess will be tacked on to the end of the school year. Looks like May 25th could be our last day. God willin' and the crick don't rise. And that's happened, too. We've already missed one day due to flooding in October. Spring rains could cause more of that. Que sera, sera.

I received a plea from Afghans for Afghans. They're conducting a youth campaign right now. They need sweaters, vests, socks and mittens for 7 - 14 year olds. Apparently, they have plenty of hats. Deadline is early March.

I have decided to kill several birds with one stone. I wanted an Olympic knitting challenge, and this is it -- a sweater for an Afghan youth. I have some wool yarn that a friend gave me years ago. I should have enough to make a sweater with a 34" chest (stash reduction). Now, for a pattern: I have never made the Basic Crew from Jaqueline Fee's Sweater Workshop, and this seems like the ideal time for it. So I have already swatched (pats self on the back) and filled out my "Gauge Page". I don't care for the 2x2 ribbing at the bottom of the sweater and the sleeves, so I have to figure out what to do instead. I think I'll still use the 90% of key number cast-on (key number is gauge x chest circumference) and the 2-sizes-smaller needle, but some other kind of edging. I have Nikki Epstein's Knitting on the Edge; I should be able to find something in there that will work.

Meanwhile, I have finished Tudor Grace (photo above), and am starting the Spring Fling February challenge, a Wendyknits pattern. This will be the Mock Cable Socks from Socks from the Toe Up, in Trekking XXL color 147 (wine).