Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Give me those ruby stitches

But first, let us rejoice in the silence of the house. The Longest Spring Break Ever is finally over. Doesn't 17 days seem like too much if you aren't at the beach for at least a week of that? Doesn't it seem even longer if the "break" you get is 24 hours at the Waterpark of America? My ears are still ringing from the noise bouncing off all that indoor waterparkiness. Plus, isn't it unfair that you can be in a hotel room at WoA with free wireless that you can connect to but not actually use?

I consoled myself by working on this:

It's my FLAK (Follow the Leader Aran Knitalong) sweater, out of its plastic box it's been in for the past 12 months. I'm trying to decide if I want to wish for a long, cold spring so that I can wear this thing before next fall. I'm about 3/4 of the way done with the front and about 1/3 done with the back (unless it's the other way around). The sleeve cuffs are torturing me. I tried to get creative with them and my punishment for that is ripping them out and re-knitting them again and again in the hope each time they will not act as attractive tourniquets rather than sweater cuffs. If I don't have a chance to wear it, maybe I'll enter it in the State Fair this year.

One problem I'm having is that my needles are the standard 12" long, which squishes the stitches a bit too much.

This sweater is designed to be knit in the round, but I hated knitting cables in the round as soon as I tried it, and hated it more the longer I stuck with it. I am a knitter of many talents: I can knit Continental, and prefer to do so in the round, but when cables are involved, forget it, because I can't manage the cable needle and tensioning the yarn in my left hand at the same time. When I knit flat, I anchor the right needle at the junction of my hip and thigh and throw the yarn with my right hand. I don't even tension my yarn through my fingers the way you're "supposed to." Here, look at this

See how I don't actually hold the right needle?

I'm particular about straight needles. I love my Aero needles, purchased while I lived overseas. They're wonderfully smooth and have nice, pointy tips. I can order a pair of 14" Aeros from Canada -- only $2.50 a pair -- but I have to pay something like $7 in shipping and for some reason I'm too cheap to do that, so I've been squishing the stitches.

Meanwhile, I got some good news Saturday. I got my re-submitted Level 1 swatch back and I have officially passed Master Hand Knitting Level 1. I promptly ordered Level II and got Fair Isle fever:

All three are new purchases. As I flipped through the books, I was reminded of the Shetland knitters, who knit with the assistance of a knitting belt into which they anchor their long, double-pointed needles. It's a speed knitting device, really, and I have often wished for such a device, not because I wish to knit faster (I'm pretty fast already), but because it serves the same purpose as my hip/thigh junction, while also allowing the knitter to knit in the round without puncture wounds to the hip/thigh. Even if I had a knitting belt, I wouldn't have the needles I'd need, as I've never seen DPNs longer than 8". I sighed and felt sorry for myself for a day or two until I realized that if anyone sold such a device, it would be Schoolhouse Press.

Look at this. (scroll to the bottom of the page). A knitting belt AND long DPNs. DPNs in the brand I love most (outside of Knit Picks). I realize that a $40 knitting belt and a $7 set of DPNs is more than a $2.50 pair of straight needles even when you do include postage from Canada, but that's not the point. The point is that I can get a knitting belt!

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