Saturday, November 25, 2006

Oh, Noro, how I covet thee...

There are two types of knitting I'm not crazy about: scarves and afghans, mostly because of the rectangular sameness of it. Add garter stitch to it, and the revulsion is complete. I'm not clear at all about why the most popular first project is a garter stitch scarf. It's a wonder anyone goes on to knit anything else. My first project was a sleeveless, v-neck cotton sweater. It never occured to me to knit anything else. In fact, I probably didn't knit anything but sweaters for 10 years, when I started making fruit caps for babies (mine, and then others).

A year ago, for Christmas, I gave each of my close friends a gift certificate for a hand-knit item of their choice. To my dismay, three (three!) of them chose scarves. One wanted an Aran-style/cable-y scarf, which I happily knit, once I corrected the three major errors in the pattern.*

Another one wanted a black (black!) novelty-yarn scarf with bits of bright colors strewn through it. I finished that one in an evening. The third specified colors she liked, but nothing else. I made her a multi-directional diagonal scarf (still needs fringe, though). It's a garter stitch pattern, made tolerable by short rows and frequent increasing and decreasing. I was finished. Completado. No more scarves.

Until I happened to be perusing the Lion Brand website (I'm still not sure why I was doing that) and noticed they had a cashmere blend (more like a merino blended with a bit of cashmere and nylon) at a quite-reasonable price, which was discounted (a week later, the price went up and the discount went down). They also had a free pattern for what I felt was a very interesting item: the reversible cable scarf. Yes, a scarf. I ordered the yarn, and that was it. Until I found myself at the Knit Picks website a few minutes later (I think I was ordering more tips for my Options needles when I accidentally filled in the fields to search for cashmere blends.) Turns out Knit Picks has an even nicer cashmere blend yarn - Panache - which is baby alpaca, cashmere, silk, and superfine merino. And wouldn't you know it, there was a free Windowpane Seaman's Scarf pattern for that yarn. The next thing I knew, packages were arriving at my door filled with yarn I barely remembered ordering. I think this is the knitter's equivalent to a blackout caused by excessive drinking.

Somewhere in there, I found myself at the liquor store yarn shop five blocks from my house fondling Noro Kureyon and dreaming about Lizard Ridge afghans. Afghans! I had just finished Nina's Taste of Aran afghan, and I was thinking about making another afghan? Afghans are like scarves, only bigger. How could I be contemplating another afghan? I bought 9 balls of Kureyon that day -- every colorway the LYS had that I found appealing. Then I went online to find more colorways, and somehow I ended up with 10 more colors on a wishlist.

* I just looked at the designer's website, and she posted a corrected pattern just two days after I emailed her back in January. Which means I can happily recommend this pattern! It's absolutely gorgeous. It's Alison's Scarf by Annie Modesitt. I came across it originally on an Internet search, and then later saw it in my 2006 Pattern a Day calendar, too.

Climbing Lizard Ridge
Yesterday, I made this, the first of 24 squares:

Noro Kureyon, color 102. Everyone in the house finds this square repulsive, except for me. Michael deemed the square "'70s colors," Nina and Sophia thought some of the colors were okay, "except for the purple," only they didn't agree on which color was purple. Sophia wanted to know what I was planning to do "with that weird afghan you're making." This is the girl who huddles under the thin rayon chenille throw I bought at Costco. What possible use could this family, who lives in Minnesota, have for a wool afghan? Hmmmm.

After I made the square, I worked on my mom's Pretty Petals socks for a couple hours, getting past the heel flap, heel turn, and the gusset pick-up. A few more days and they'll be done!

Then I went down to the basement, where I had the Knit Picks cashmere stored, and knit the first of (approximately) five skeins the Seaman's scarf will take.

While I worked on this, Michael and I watched Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," trying not to get too depressed about the state of the environment and global warming.

All in all, a good knitting day, except for the derogatory remarks from the peanut gallery.

But back to the knitting group the other day, someone mentioned that WEBS had good prices on Noro and that when you bought a certain quantity, you got a nice discount. I like Noro and I like discounts. So this morning, I went to the WEBS site, clicked on Noro, and guess what I found? Noro has a new cashmere blend, Called Noro Cashmere Island! It's a dk weight, and I like the colors. I started calculating how much of it I would need for a cardigan, what my discount would be, etc., completely forgetting that I had come to look for Kureyon for my Lizard Ridge afghan. You know what else I found out, while Googling for more pictures of Noro Cashmere Island? Noro makes yarn for machine knitting. I have a knitting machine. I have two knitting machines: my SIL's old bulky-weight, completely manual knitting machine, and my "regular" weight, quite-computerized knitting machine that I haven't used for 10 years.

I really have to stop Googling for yarn. Although, have you been to the Philosopher's Wool website recently?

I had to recharge my camera before I could download the pictures. While that was happening, I worked on my mom's Pretty Petals socks. As I headed toward the toe, I began worrying about having enough yarn. Koigu is on the skimpy side of yardage for socks, and I'd run out of Koigu when I made my first Pomatomus sock, but that was a 72-stitch pattern (Pretty Petals is only 64 sts), and I was just getting the hang of Norwegian purling, so I was using more yarn than I should have, which I could tell after I bought a 3rd skein mail-order, spent two months knitting other things and getting better at Norwegian purl, and then knitting the second Pomatomus sock using just one skein of Koigu and finding that sock was a bit narrower than the first. But I digress...

The first Pretty Petals sock, knit this past summer in time for my mother to try it on when she was here for a visit, used most of a skein of Koigu, but I had enough left over that I didn't worry about the second skein. Unfortunately, I used the leftovers from that skein as scrap yarn for various other socks. I say "unfortunately," because here's what happened last night when I was about half-way through the toe decreases:

I need about five yards of this. If my LYS, where I bought this last spring, doesn't have any, I'm going to have to rip out the toes of both and knit them in green. Koigu apparently doesn't make this colorway any more, and googling for KPPPM P149 gives me exactly one hit: this blog. (Note: I have since discovered that I misread the handwritten label for this yarn. It's actually P140, which I can find online. Thank goodness.) I have put out an APB to several yahoo groups and the TKGA forum, and I sent a note to Shelly, asking her if she has any in her impressive sock yarn leftovers stash (sadly, she does not). I actually filled out Koigu's Contact Form last night, asking them if they had any in their backroom, gathering dust, but clicking on the Submit button resulted in a minor explosion and a request for a login id and password.

Koigu, I love thee, but from now on, I'm knitting you toe up.

1 comment:

Connie said...

I made the Seaman's scarf for my son in law last Christmas. I hate making scarves too but this pattern was nice to work up.