Monthly Archives: January 2007

In which I realize that I am a selfish knitter

[Edit]: My friend Kelly has just (JUST, like, this past week) started spinning with a drop-spindle and I’m sure there are many of you who know the ways of spinning who would be extremely capable of heading on over there and celebrating her first handspun and giving her tips. Wouldn’t you? *bats eyelashes*

Although I didn’t do much posting last week, for some reason I spent a bit of time mulling over the whole “why I knit” concept. And then Lolly posted about her “Someday” projects, the ones she wanted to knit for a while and didn’t because she wanted to work up to the skill level first (and BTW the hoodie she’s making is looking gorgeous).

Somewhere in one of her books, the Yarn Harlot talks about process knitting vs. product knitting: if, on a desert island, you would choose to unravel your one knitted item and re-knit the yarn over and over again, you’re a process knitter. If you would leave the knitted item intact and go off in search of other materials to knit with, you’re a product knitter. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a product knitter – ultimately, I think I knit because I want the finished thing, to use or to wear or just to have and say, “I made this!”, and move on to something else.

I think I have the same trepidation as many knitters of “I can’t do [insert knitting skill here] yet, so I’ll hold off on that pattern for a while”, – and I KNOW I had that trepidation in my first year of knitting in particular. Right now, I’ve become the sort of knitter whose trepidation is, in the end, always outweighed by the fact that I’m stubborn, ambitious, and oriented towards the ultimate goal of having the finished thing. Also, the more I knit the more I convince myself that I am capable of knitting – whether with new skills or skills I’ve already learned. This explains why, in 2006, I managed to knit 6 sweaters (2 of them fair isle, 3 involving a few cables), 7 pairs of socks, and many other miscellaneous things, and why my stash continues to grow and my mental knitting wish list gets longer every month. ;)

So when I call myself a selfish knitter it’s because I am ultimately knitting for me, me, me. ;) Knitting is close to my only hobby these days. For the past ten years or so I spent a great deal of time doing volunteer work with the same organization, and last year when my commitments there came to an end I decided to take a pause with that work and do things that I wanted to do for myself. I never used to do that – I was always the person who was out doing something different every night, either working or volunteering or taking on a new project. It’s very refreshing to me that I’ve streamlined the commitments I have in my personal time – whether this is permanent or temporary, only time will tell ;)

The thing that holds me back in my knitting, more so than whatever skill level I’m at, is always time or money – the time to knit the thing, or the money to buy the yarn or pattern or whatsits that the thing needs to get knitted. I got clued in to this fact when I realized that my “Someday” projects (the ones I’m waiting until “someday” to do), are all ones that I covet dearly but have to wait to start until I have fewer things on my plate. I think the project that goes at the top of my “Someday” list is from the book Viking Patterns for Knitting, the ‘Ragna’ pullover. It’s got 4 long panels of cabling that join up a few inches above the bottom to form a kind of medieval tunic look. (Also, I borrowed this book from my friend K and really need to get it back to her and buy my own copy to drool over.)

I swear, when K let me borrow the book I was this close to leaving lip-prints on the pages, that is how much I was taken in by all the patterns. The cables are friggin’ gorgeous. I don’t know how much I would actually wear the Ragna pullover (it would be very warm, very big, but at the same time oh so gorgeous and a fantastic challenge), but damn I want to knit it. Someday.

Today, I still have wee unfinished socks. And other unfinished sweaters. ;)

A “Someday” list, of sorts:
*Ragna cabled pullover from Viking Patterns for Knitting
*The nightie and dressing gown from Mason-Dixon Knitting
*A lace shawl – the Icarus Shawl, perhaps?


Filed under knitting philosophy, socks


Sarah rightfully prodded me to show photos of my 2nd Ivy sweater, which I have not photographed for some reason, despite the fact that I’ve had it finished for about 3 months now. Poor darling, she’s probably feeling unloved.

I’ve made a quick ‘FO’ post over here at the Ivy Knitalong, with Ivy #2 – I’m not ruling out a 3rd one sometime in the future, I’ve gotta say. But not yet. Lots to keep me busy in the meantime…like Baudelaire #2!

I managed to start the toe last night and got through 2 repeats of the lace pattern on the foot this afternoon while at coffee with friends. I’m looking forward to being able to wear them, there’s a real shortage of bright pink socks in my life.

Robin asked me about the yarn I was using for the Baudelaires. It’s Fortissima Socka, that I found at my LYS a few months back and snagged pretty much for the colour alone. Upon closer inspection of the ball band I discovered it is 60% superwash wool and 40% polyamide, which is a different material proportionality than I’ve used before (although strangely that is not the same proportion that is listed on the yarn link above. Hmm…). That probably explains why the yarn feels all smooth and shiny in my hands, heh. It’s not as soft as other sock yarns (like Knitpicks Essential or Austermann Step), but it does feel quite sturdy.

In other news, I’ve recently been approached by some nice folks at Random House books to do some blog reviews of their upcoming knitting books. Watch this space for more – I tells ya, the excitement never ends around this place.

And now I’ll stop with the insane amount of weekend blogging and head back to the last few gasps of weekend hours. Oh, Monday…


Filed under baudelaire, ivy

2006 Finished Objects – Year Roundup

Just so that I can have the final list in one place! Here’s the final tally for 2006.

  • *Basic socks, With Fortissima Socka Colour self-striping yarn
  • *Striped Hat and Scarf, yarn and Pattern from Philosopher’s Wool (FO pic)
  • *Basic Socks, with Kool-Aid Yarn skein #2
  • *”Colour Your Own” Fair Isle pullover, yarn and pattern by Philosopher’s Wool (FO pic)
  • *Kool-Aid yarn Jaywalker socks (FO pic)
  • *Pamir scarf (black raspberry), using stitch pattern from a recent Yarn Harlot post
  • *Pomatomus socks, in Patons Kroy, winter eclipse (FO Pic)
  • *Ivy, #2, in Elann Highland Silk, dusky lavender
  • *Simple Stripes Fair Isle Socks, with Patons Kroy (black) and KnitPicks Simple Stripes (sweet tarts) (FO pic)
  • *Basic Socks, with Austermann Step, dark blue (FO pic)
  • *Fetching, in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, Eggplant (FO pic)
  • *Rib and Cable Socks, Interweave Knits Fall 2005, in Patons Kroy Socks (FO pic)
  • *Basic Socks, following guidelines by the Yarn Harlot, with Austermann Step (FO pic)
  • *Harry Potter Quidditch Sweater, Ravenclaw, my own pattern, in Elann Peruvian Highland Wool (FO pic)
  • *Honeymoon Cami, in Luna, raspberry wine
  • *Seed stitch and lace baby cardigan, Hip Knits (Better Homes and Gardens) (FO pic)
  • *Ivy, in Elann Peruvian Quechua
  • *Basic Socks, in Fortissima Socka Colour self-striping yarn
  • *Tradition, fair isle cardigan, pattern and yarn by Philosopher’s Wool
  • *Twist Cardigan, ChicKnits, in Elann Peruvian Highland Wool, light grey heather

    Filed under 2006, year in review

    "Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it."

    Over at Knit the Classics, knitters read a different ‘classic’ novel each month, and are challenged to come up with a knitting project that matches the novel in some way. December’s novel was, appropriately, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I decided to knit this cap, for reasons I shall explain further below (along with the pattern for the cap). Time will tell if it’s at all clever or just plain dull ;)

    (Bob Cratchit’s stocking night cap – or is it Scrooge’s?
    Briggs & Little sport-weight 1-ply)

    By the end of the first chapter of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge makes his way back to his large but cold and dark house. Despite the fact that he is extremely well off, he doesn’t even bother to light all the gaslamps in his home because light costs money – “Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it.” He dresses in simple bedtime attire and eats a bowl of gruel before retiring – “Thus secured against surprise, he took off his cravat; put on his dressing-gown and slippers, and his nightcap; and sat down before the fire to take his gruel.”

    We aren’t given an impression at this point of what the home life of his clerk, Mr. Cratchit, must be like, but given the miserly wages that we are led to understand Mr. Scrooge pays him, we can assume it is quite meagre. By the time we see the Cratchits on Christmas Day, we are shown that their merry feast is gratefully received but still quite sparse – the goose isn’t very fat, and Mrs. Cratchit frets over the pudding because if it doesn’t work out there is nothing else to serve instead.

    It occurred to me, reading these passages, that Scrooge and Cratchit’s day-to-day home lives are actually quite similar on a material level – the only difference is that Scrooge keeps himself in a simple and modest lifestyle because of his miserly inclinations, but Cratchit is forced to do so by necessity. I began thinking of the kinds of basic, modest garments they might both wear – knee socks came to mind, particularly with the cold winter – and eventually settled on the idea of the night cap. We know Scrooge wears one and I can only guess that Cratchit does, too.

    In my stash I have had a couple of skeins of very simple, very utiliatrian sport weight wool from Briggs & Little, just waiting for a project to complete it. I thought it matched the basic materiality of A Christmas Carol‘s humble beginnings quite well, and so the nightcap pattern seemed to fit. Here is the pattern, for those of you who would like to try it!

    Scrooge/Cratchit Night Cap

    22 ins circumference, 19 ins (approx.) from brim to top
    (to modify the size, simply add or subtract from the given # of CO sts by a multiple of 4)

    1 skein Briggs & Little sport weight 1 ply (or other sport weight yarn to substitute, approx. 420 yds), dark grey

    1 40 cm 3.5 mm circular needle
    1 40 cm 3.25 mm circular needle (or DPNs)
    1 set 3.5mm DPNs
    tapestry needle
    stitch markers

    6 sts/8 rows per inch on 3.5mm needles, or needle size required to match gauge


    Available here.


    Filed under free pattern, knit the classics

    January things

    Blogger has been gabbing for several days (possibly weeks) now about the New! And! Improved! Version of Blogger! And how we’re all supposed to switch over right now! Act now! So finally I did, only to receive a screen that said something along the lines of “Oh, but we didn’t mean YOU were supposed to have the new Blogger.” (Well, it said something more like “We’re sorry but your blog isn’t able to switch over yet. We don’t know why and you’ll just have to try again later.” Still. BAH.)

    So, me and my old and antiquated and not-yet-new-and-improved version of Blogger are contemplating one of my yarny Christmas gifts, from my sister:

    (4 skeins of Noro Silk Garden, colourway 201)

    It’s a little more in the earth-tone area than what I’d normally purchase for myself, but the purple and blue jewel tones are just lovely. Provided that 4 skeins are enough, I think I will earmark these for Poppy. I’ll have to think of what other yarn to combine it with…but since this would technically still fall under the category of “buying yarn to complete a project with stash yarn”, I’m allowed to do that, right? (Look, 3 days into the new year and I’m already stretching the rules of Knit-From-Stash ;) ) I won’t rush into this though, I’ll just let the yarn sit and I’ll contemplate the colours and what shade to make the bodice to go with the Silk Garden sleeves/shoulders.

    Speaking of my sister, though, she has succumbed to the peer pressure and gone and gotten herself a blog: Under the Influence. Her most recent post there is a nice summary of our activities from Christmas through New Year’s, which handily saves me the trouble of doing the same thing. Feel free to go over and say hi, she’s nice!

    (January socks – Fortissima self-striping yarn, 2.75 mm DPNs)

    I finished these on New Year’s day, but the bulk of the knitting was done in 2006, so I’m adding these as the last of the 2006 FOs to the list at the sidebar. Heh. I wasn’t wild abou the colourway when I first started, but now that I’ve finished the socks it’s starting to grow on me. They look good with jeans, and I like the teal stripe quite a bit. Very wearable.

    One last picture and then I’ll skeedaddle back to the New Year Decluttering – my (almost) finished first Baudelaire! ;)

    (Baudelaire #1 – Fortissima Socka, 2.75 mm DPNs
    Still life with Christmas cacti and Noro Silk Garden ;) )

    I started these socks back in November, got 2/3 of the way through Sock #1 and then promptly abandoned it for other things. I took it along on our brief New Year’s trip and finished it with the exception of the cast-off – the pattern calls for the sewn bind-off which I’ve never done before, therefore I have to go and look it up. So it’s just patiently waiting for that final step and then I’ll be sure to start up on Sock #2 before I take another 2 month hiatus on it ;)

    Happy, Happy New Year, and many Happy Knitting Adventures await I am sure!


    Filed under baudelaire, finished object: socks, socks