But what the heck? It's a few hours until I pick up the rental car, I'm up early, and I have things to say. Besides, I'm already packed. Really and truly I am! I'm so proud of myself. A couple of hours of diligent work last night and I have a full, and well-planned suitcase to show for it.
As a reward for all of my good work, why not knit a bit? Kate isn't the only one getting a new beret around here.
It's the Parachute Beret pattern by John Brinegar, which is a house pattern at The Point. I had been eying it for weeks, and I finally decided to jump. I'm knitting it in some Twinkle Handknits Soft Chunky. To call this stuff "yarn" is a bit of a stretch; it's more like lightly spun roving. Still, I like it. And because the fabric made from the yarn is rather stiff in structure (but still feels soft) I think that it'll hold the shape of this beret just fine.
Lucky for me I "thought" to pick up an extra set of US15 DPNs when I was at the Spiders. For "thought" read "bought a set because she couldn't remember if she had any at home". Since I'm leaving town today, I'll have limited access to yarn stores for a couple of weeks (although Allegra did point out Maschenkunst in Cologne) and I knew that I couldn't get home only to find that I lacked a set. I would be screwed! Well, turns out that I now have two sets. [Of course, at the time I knew that if I purchased the needles, that would guarantee finding a set at home....]
But with all the increased necessary for this beret, it's not such a bad thing to have a few extra needles. I appreciate having these bulky stitches spread out among eight DPNs.
So, will I be able to wear this hat through airport security on Tuesday? Only time will tell.
Somehow the day got away from me yesterday, and I neglected to post:
It's Kate's finished hat-and-mittens set, all ready for gifting.
Kate's Orange Hat and Mittens
Pattern (for both): from Anne Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns.
Needles: US10.5 DPNs for the ribbing, and US11 DPNs for the remainder.
Did I like the yarn? Yes? Yes. I'm going with yes. The bulky yarn consists of many strands of a thin two-ply thread which are themselves plied together (Spinners? Am I explaining this correctly?) It was a wee splitty. Nothing, however, that I could not handle.
What would I do differently next time? I would jog the needles more when knitting the hat, to eliminate the slight ladder that formed at the join.
This project was a close call. I'm in Christmas denial this year, and I don't know why. I've got the Christmas carols blasting on the iPod (thanks Virginia for the rockinest Christmas mix of the year), my shopping is done (and so is my wrapping), and you can't walk two steps around here without bumping into some holiday thing. For some reason, however, the mere fact that in less than a week I'll be jingle-belling it with the Kate-ster hasn't yet registered.
Perhaps the reason is that early on Christmas Day I've got to high-tail it to JFK and get on a flight to Germany. I'll be spending a few days with Sven's parents (along with Sven, of course) and then we're off to do more visiting. And lucky for me Sven's family lives in places like Cologne and Prague, and skis near places like Innsbruck. Yup, it'll be a Subway Knitter European Tour. I'll be gone for the better part of ten days. I haven't really done one iota of packing for this trip, and as of some time tomorrow I've got to leave with everything I'll need for the next two weeks packed into a little suitcase.
It's not true, I guess, that I haven't done anything. I've made a list of Things To Not Forget. Look:
To talk about Christmas shopping.
Too funny! Thanks, Amber, for pointing me towards it. I even think that I see my stop. Too bad that it's sold out (and no, I didn't buy it).
Okay, break over. Back to Kate's hat. As you might have expected, fixing the decreases took little time. The only part of this hat that makes me less than happy is the slight ladder that developed on the left-hand side. That was my join. In hindsight I should have moved my needles around a bit more as I was knitting. Oh well.
In fact, it took so little time that I had extra time (thanks to a longish subway ride to get my hair cut) to knit one mitten:
I'm starting to feel better about this.
Holy guac! What's going on with that hat? It's like a cross between a beret and a little elfin magic.
For about a second I thought that I could keep that wacky shaping. It is cute in its own way. But stupid cute's not what I'm going for here. I want a little ooh-la-la on Kate's head this year. "Ooh-la-la" on a one-year old is cute in a way that "What's up with that crazy hat someone is making her wear?" is not cute. After all, if she's getting a French coat (oh yes, nothing but the best for our girl Kate), she needs a little beret to go with it. Non?
What went wrong? There's obviously too many rows for the hat to lie flat. I'm using the tam pattern from Ann Budd's book. Those patterns are pretty basic as basic goes, and I couldn't believe that I had messed that up. At first I thought that there was a mistake in the instructions. Perhaps Ann didn't test knit every gauge. Then I realized that there's some confusion (for me, at least) when it comes to following the instructions. Which instructions to follow? The shaping instructions in the pattern body say to decrease six stitches every other row. This works fine for the basic shaping. But I want something different (of course! Me? Follow a pattern as written? How long have you been reading here?): a swirling decrease pattern given as a modification. To my reading, the main pattern indicated that one should decrease (SSK) one stitch at each marker every other row, and the swirling decrease will result.
As the photo shows above, that's sooooooooooooo not the case. In my confusion, I reread the modifications section. Those instructions indicated that one should decrease one stitch at each marker EVERY row. Ah ha! That would work.
Let me distract you from my knitting disaster with a picture of my neighborhood:
It's the Soldiers' and Sailors' Arch at Grand Army Plaza, all decked out for Christmas.
This was the scene that greeted me:
Kate's hat, and it's nowhere near completed. Christmas is slightly more than a week away, but I think that the hat needs to be done, blocked, and wrapped before I leave for my parents' house this weekend. It's just bad form to be knitting Kate's gift in front of her.
And if you recall, there's not just a hat to be knit, but a pair of mittens, too. A pair of mittens! I had better get cracking.
[Did anybody notice how Bloglines totally freaked out yesterday? My feeds, along with many others, had 200 new posts to read. And my subscriber numbers are all off (I'm embarrassed to say that I keep track of them).]
Even The Point gets a mention (as it should, being home to The Spiders). I like the neighborhood-by-neighborhood rundown of the city's crafty places, including my local fav' BG. Mmmm, Brooklyn General.
Time Out published its gift guide a few weeks ago, but this week's article (with associated sidebars) might help a few of the muggles in our lives with their holiday shopping. Do yourselves a favor and point them toward it!
[Let's hope, however, that none of our holiday knitting will qualify for this contest in 2008.]
When I lived in Boston I lived at the tail end of the Orange Line: Forest Hills. That meant that I was almost always guaranteed a seat when I boarded the train (and if I couldn't find myself a seat then, I knew that we were in for a bad ride, indeed). I always felt a bit sorry for those people who got on at Ruggles or Back Bay when the train was almost already full. No subway knitting for them, I thought.
When I moved to Astoria I once again lived at the end of the line: Ditmars. I was still almost always guaranteed a seat, and the long commute meant that I had lots of time to knit.
In Brooklyn, however, things are different. I'm mere steps (to use realtor parlance) from the 2/3 at Grand Army Plaza or the B and Q trains at 7th Ave. We're living in a super location--maybe the best urban spot I've lived in to date (although I gotta say, Astoria wasn't far behind). My commute is the shortest its ever been. If I change to the 4/5 at Nevins I'm looking at a total of six stops. Six stops! That's like, nothing. Six stops didn't even get me out of Queens.
So, not that I'm complaining or anything, but just like those people getting on the train at Ruggles, I seldom get a seat now. And when I do, I'm off the train so fast that there's little time for subway knitting.
There's little time for picture taking either. Look, dude, get out of my frame, will ya?
Oh, the challenges of subway knitting! Perhaps I'll just have to learn to knit while standing.
Yup, a little housekeeping is in order 'round here. Gleek's kindly signed on as my MT consultant, and has already figured out quite a bit of my posting and commenting problems.
I'm really excited about the new look. A girl's gotta move with the times, you know. That graphic's a clue.
So, now that I have a new scarf, what's next?
Well, obviously I also need a new hat to match the new coat. Who doesn't need a new hat? Who doesn't, indeed.
What's that? The orange doesn't match the scarf? I know.
Confused? Don't be. I'm not the only person who has a new coat this season. I got word from the Big Guy (i.e. Santa) that our girl Kate is on the list to have a new coat delivered directly to the Christmas tree. Mighty convenient, I think, as I'll be seeing Kate on Christmas morning. I've got to have some accessories ready to match the new coat.
Now, I can't show you a picture of the coat. You can't see it before Kate does. I, however, got a sneak peak so that I can get a jump on some holiday knitting.
In purchasing this yarn, I discovered a new (to me) Park Slope yarn store within walking distance of chez Subway Knitter BKLN: Stitch Therapy. It's a teeny store on Lincoln Place, just up from Seventh Avenue. So tiny that when I was there last Saturday a beginners crochet class was occupying almost the entire store, making browsing a bit difficult.
I didn't get a good sense of the yarn inventory, but from the quick glance that I made I would say that it's adequate enough for me to be grateful it's in walking distance. Let's just say that I didn't see any Astoria Woolease :-). I found what I wanted pretty quickly, with some helpful advice from the store owner (gotta love that). The yarn is a bulky merino, from Filtes (website is in Italian). and with its purchase I broke my pledge of knitting for Kate with only easy-care yarns. This is a handwash only. But for a hat and pair of mittens I think (hope!) that it's okay.
Okay, let the holiday knitting begin!
There's a new scarf 'round my neck these days.
I've kinda been putting off writing this post because I suspect that it's going to be boring as all get-out to read. But it needs to be written. You need to know what I've been up to.
Anyway, back to the scarf. As you can probably see, this is a nubbly, boucle yarn. It's soft and squishy, and very cosy and warm. All good things in something that's going to be around my neck.
Why then didn't I speed this scarf through to an FO? I'll tell you. Believe it or not, I knit this scarf not once, but two, maybe three times.
It had a pretty inauspicious beginning. A simple garter stitch panel.
Too simple, in my opinion. And too flat and stiff, as well. Okay, do over!
What's a knitter to do? Look for inspiration, that's what! Cruising blogs one fine day I came across Nik's own design of a drop-stitch scarf. This is the second time that Nik has inspired my knitting, and I'm grateful for it.
Would the drop-stitch pattern work with my yarn? There was only one way to find out.
Yup, not bad. At the suggestion of fellow Spider, Virginia, I placed the YOs ever sixth row, instead of every other row. While Nik lives in North Carolina, and can probably get away with a light-weight scarf most days, here in New York we need some thermal protection (especially today, brrrrrr).
I was happy with what I saw. I knit, I knit, I knit and I knit.
Meanwhile, fall continued on:
I filled an apartment with boxes:
I rescued my stuff from storage:
And I moved to Brooklyn:
The scarf was easily four-feet long at this point. I ignored that nagging sensation that was telling me that my scarf was to wide. I had enough going on in my life and I didn't need to be bothered by the details of what I was knitting, I just needed the feel of the yarn and the needles in my fingers. I kept knitting, and ignoring.
I ignored, I ignored, I ignored. Until I could ignore no more:
That darn thing is too wide (thanks Lisa, for the photo).
I frogged, I frogged, and I frogged some more. I started again. [Yes, I frogged the entire scarf. What good is a too-wide scarf? And why should I waste the money that I spent on that yarn on something that I would never wear?]
So, once again, I knit, and knit, and knit. Pretty soon I had something nice to show for it.
Here I am (thanks Nancy) with that look of concentration I seem to get when I'm engrossed in something (hey, at least my tongue wasn't sticking out).
There, now you have it. Now you know.