Saturday, March 24, 2007

Happy Birthday, indeed

Look what the mail carrier brought me today:

Look familiar? It's my Master Hand Knitting Level 1 submission, back from the committee already. I mailed it March 12.

Here's some good news:

I have two re-submits to do: Swatch 16, which is the color changing swatch, and the answer to one question.

I was worried about various things on swatch 16 -- were the ends woven in well, for example -- but the one thing I didn't worry about was whether or not I followed the instructions correctly!
In the stockinette portion, I was supposed to knit 10 stitches and then change colors. Instead, I changed colors on the 10th stitch. Otherwise, the swatch was acceptable.

The answer to the question is easy enough to fix. One sentence contained an incorrect statement regarding the referenced swatches. The committee pointed out the error, but didn't give me the answer, which I thank them for. Once I looked at the swatch in question, I could see what my mistake was. I should be able to make my corrections this weekend and send them off on Monday.

Here's the best part, though, from the bottom of page two to the top of page three:

Wow. I knew I was obsessing about my knitting not being "good enough," but I had no idea how far over the edge I actually was. Turns out there's a name for my problem. Neurotic Perfectionism.

Note: turns out I don't have to resubmit my answer to that one question. Just need to re-knit the swatch. I looked in my stash of swatches and found another swatch 16, but guess what? I made the same mistake on that one!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Mystery solved

I couldn't figure out what the deal was with the non-matching stripes on the Regia Clown yarn. I mean, look at this:

Once I was 3/4 of the way through the second leg warmer, I figured out the problem:

While the colors repeat every four stripes, identical sets of four stripes take longer.

Luckily, I had four color repeats of every color (with cast on and cast off edges of a row or two), so the length of the leg warmers ended up matching.

In Master Hand Knitting Program news, I received a post card yesterday telling me they'd received my submission and had sent it to the judges.

Monday, March 19, 2007


Get a load of these:

Legwarmers. For a baby. I had no idea they'd become de rigeur for the infant set. My hair dresser asked if I could make something like these as a gift for a pregnant friend. She told me to charge whatever I thought was fair, and then she offered to swap me a haircut for the legwarmers. $85 for one of her haircuts. I'm in. One issue with the yarn: the color run lengths aren't consistent. I thought maybe my gauge had changed from one to the other, but 50 rows on one is the same length as 50 rows on the other. The stripes simply aren't the same width.

Yarn: Regia 4-ply, color 5048 Clown
Needles: 2.5mm Knit Picks Classic Circular (Magic Loop)
CO: 48 sts
Gauge: 8.5 sts/12 rows per inch
Pattern: my own

Here's what else is on my needles:

This sock might never have a mate. Reading my knitting on the first sock was nearly impossible. It's hard to know whether or not to decrease if you can't tell what you did the row before. The striping is so subtle that I'd be fine with fraternal socks, except for that white stripe, which makes mismatching obvious.

It's ON-line yarn, color 5048. ON-line is an okay yarn, and I have another skein that I'll knit up someday (easier colors to differentiate), but knitting with it is scratchy. It's not bad on the foot, but there are so many reasons not to use it again. I think my biggest problem with it was that I started this sock after finishing my Cherry Tree Hill 100% merino Monkey Socks.

This is Regia sock yarn in a color I'm too lazy to look up. I love this cheerful yarn. I feel happy just looking at it. I didn't start the second one right after the first because as I was decreasing for the toes I noticed I had more stitches on the sole than the instep. I hadn't decreased the gusset stitches down to 16 stitches on each needle, but rather to 18. Which means the foot circumference ended up 1/2" bigger than I intended. I may have to rip back, because it feels looser than I'm going to be able to stand. Either that, or I have to find someone with wider feet and make the second one to match. Still, the idea of ripping back 1/2 the foot was too depressing to deal with right away. So I moved on.

To these:

Notice I had no problem starting the second sock on this one. The colors look crappy because I took the picture at night under artificial light, but they're in the laundry now, so I can't re-take the photo.

Yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit Multieffekt, color 3123

Monday, March 12, 2007

Previously on Rox Talks...

It's, uh, been a while, hasn't it? It appears I am able to juggle four balls at once, but not five. Definitely not ten.

I'm writing again, which was a great hope goal of mine for 2007. So that's good.
I'm teaching an online Deconstruction of a Novel course over on the Cherry Forums. That's good, too.
I'm knitting socks. Although not pairs, it seems. I have three lonesome socks waiting for mates.
I finished my Master Hand Knitting Level 1 Program. As soon as I post this, I'm off to post my binder.
There's parenting, too, so maybe I can juggle five.

Everything else...totally neglected.

Here it is, my binder of knitterly knowledge

Funny thing about the Master Hand Knitting program. (Not funny ha-ha, although looking back...) I was at the breaking point, knitting and reknitting a couple cable swatches, knowing that I had a problem rowing out for a few stitches on the left side and unable to fix the problem. Here's how crazy I was: I cried. I cried over little swatches of wool. I screamed my frustration over at the TKGA forum and Arenda (one of the MK judges), bless her heart, told me to email her digital photos of the "problem" swatches because she had an idea I might be the teensiest bit...nutso probably isn't the word, because she wouldn't ask for email from a crazy knitter who owns a great number of pointy sticks if she thought I was crazy...the teensiest bit unrealistic about my lack of knitting skilz is more likely.

So I emailed her the pics and here's what she said: "You are worrying WAY TOO MUCH!"

Oh. In other words, I'm an obsessive compulsive perfectionist.

This binder represents more to me than the accomplishment of knitting the swatches and answering the questions. I returned to knitting two years ago because I had lost any sense of objectivity about my writing and was paralyzed by perfectionism. (Well, that, plus the mind-altering rollercoaster that is perimenopause.) Knitting was a way to remind myself of the pleasure behind creativity. I knit because I love the process. It's not all fun. There are moments of frustration, but mostly, I love it.

That's what writing used to be like for me. The Master Hand Knitting program almost sucked me into the perfectionism vortex several times, but when I recognized what I was doing I stepped back and turned to knitting-for-pleasure projects -- sometimes for months -- to remind myself of the fun factor. Only after having fun could I return to knitting swatches with a level head.

What this binder represents for me is the completion of a creative project that tested my skills, forced me to look outside of my existing craft skills, and was both fun and frustrating. I learned a lot. Kind of like writing a novel. Writing a novel is the hardest thing I've ever tried to do. Because of what's in the binder, I'm done trying. I'm doing.

Oh, and that return-to-knitting project? This is it:

5000 beads in that shawl. I'm not sure what I was thinking. I mean, I could have picked knitting a hat to get myself back into knitting. Maybe I am nutso.