Monday, October 22, 2007

How jsins became a knitter: A tale that includes a couple of firsts, the last and the latest

I have a little tale to tell of how jsins, she of the limited attention span, went from declaring that she would never knit again to becoming the intrepid and obsessed knitter that she is today.
In a time long, long ago (1999ish), a career hobbyist was at Joanne Fabrics with her friend Mary Jo who was picking up supplies for her daughter's Girl Scout troup craft project when she spotted a brightly-colored variegated yarn in rainbow colors. Feeling inspired, she went to her local library and picked up a book on how to knit so that she could make herself the most amazing technicolored scarf that the world had ever seen. Excited about how cool her scarf was going to be, jsins immediately went home, opened the book and had her mother dig out her knitting needles. She knit and she knit and she knit.
Then she got bored and the scarf when into a basket next to the recliner chair in the living room. Every so often she would pull the scarf out of the basket and knit on it some more only to become bored with it again and set it aside. After about a year of such behavior, she had a garter stitch scarf that measured somewhere around 10 feet long. She was quite over knitting the scarf but stuck with it due to stubborn perseverance and a strong desire to prove to her mother that she would indeed finish it as there was much doubt. Upon casting off, jsins declared that she would never knit again and had her mother do the fringe. The end result was this:

A number of years pass by and one spring day in 2006, jsins once again ends up in a Joanne Fabric and while roaming around the store happens into the yarn section. Again, the yarn calls to her and she feels inspired. She purchases a few skeins that are on sale and heads down to the Barnes and Nobles located within the same shopping complex. Once there, she makes her way to the craft section and proceeds to pick up another knitting book. This time it is Stitch and Bitch: The Knitters Handbook by Deb Stoller. This time, jsins learns not only the knit stitch but also how to purl and knits the ribbed scarf from the book for practice but does not finish it before taking the leap to knitting in the round. Heading to a LYS, she picks up a few better yarns and proceeds to embark upon a project that is a bit more interesting than a garter stitch scarf (not to diss the garter stitch scarf as I still wear my 10-foot behemoth to this day) and a love affair with knitting is born. In a single weekend, jsins creates the following:
While knitting the Adults Only Devil Hat, jsins learns how to knit in the round, seed stitch, who to pick up stitches, do i-cord, increase, decrease and cast on additional stitches. The monotony of endless garter stitch is over and an intrepid knitter is born.

Now, jsins has a number of FOs under her belt and the career hobbyist who bounced from hobby to hobby, new project to new project, has a hobby that can keep her interest long enough to finish a sweater (Egads, who'd have thunk it?) and to tackles socks with very thin yarn on extremely tiny needles. Why just last week she finished the following:

With Rusted Root, she tackled lace and stuck through even the portion of knitting a sweater when you knit and knit and knit and it doesn't seem to grow at all! She's learned how to customize a garment through shaping so that it fits her just the way that she wants it.

Upon casting off her UnRusted Root, jsins immediately cast on for Juliet and has progressed to the start of the lace portion. This is her first garment using bulky yarn and she is quite enamored with how quickly it is knitting up but must admit that she is also looking ahead to what she will cast on next.

Monday, October 8, 2007

A restful weekend and a little bit of knitting

I actually got to catch up on my sleep this weekend and to put a little bit of time into focusing on my UnRusted Root. Another couple of hours knitting and it will be done. Here is a pretty crappy progress pick from Sunday. I have since finished another 1 1/2 lace repeats. It should only take another lace repeat before I can do the ribbing and consider this one finito. I am loving the fit. I was a little overly conservative and made things bigger than I needed to when I was knitting Green Gable and the lessons learned on that sweater really show on UnRusted Root. It fits perfectly. Although it's not even finished, UnRusted Root already tops my list of best knits ever. I so hope that I can finish this on Tuesday so that I can have it washed and blocked to wear it on Thursday when I go to the Bob Dylan/Elvis Costello concert.

In other news, I catch up on my netflix movies while knitting this weekend. I watched 300 and Four Brothers. 300 is really well done with amazing visuals (including but not only the really hot half naked men featured prominently throughout the film.) I enjoyed the film but it is not one that I will have to add to my dvd collection at home. Four Brothers was good as well but not overly memorable. It had an interesting twist by having the brothers all be adopted and of different races but other than that it was a typical "find the person who killed my ..." revenge film. Not a bad background movie while knitting but not so great that I would recommend that you seek it out right now. I did not watch Suze Orman's Young Fabulous and Broke although I need to because it felt too much like homework after a really rough week.

In movies that needed to be added to my dvd collection, I hit the jackpot at the previously viewed section of Blockbuster last week and added Hot Fuzz, The Departed, Blood Diamond, Little Miss Sunshine, The Holiday and Marie Antoinette to my personal movie stash.

I also went out to Penny's for an excellent roast supper on Sunday complete with lamb, roasted potatoes, ratatoulle, creamed leeks, mixed veggies and gravy. It should be the perfect time of year for turning on the oven but, oddly enough, it is currently 90 degrees in Pittsburgh. Where is fall? I am definitely ready for sweater weather and being able to turn on the oven to make a proper meal now and again. It may be a while before we can have another roast supper if this weather holds up.

Flash your stash

Thursday, October 4, 2007

It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world.

Things have been crazy busy and a pain in the ass over the last week or so. It just sucks when the times when you most need something to calm you down, like knitting or a good stiff cocktail, are when you get the least opportunity to do so.

I haven't made much progress on the knitting front lately. I ended up stuck on the PA turnpike Tuesday night and would have had 5 hours of prime knitting time but, having believed that I would either be in meetings or driving the entire time, I neglected to bring any knitting. I actually thought about taking some with me but decided not to. Important lesson learned, always take your knitting with you when you are traveling as you never know when you will be parked on a major roadway for 5 or so hours. Plus, it is nice to have a distraction when sitting in your car alone in the dark on a turnpike. Otherwise, you sit and think about all of the terrible things that could potentially happen to you and have happened to countless other people that you have read about in Ann Rule books and see on Dateline. (Note to self: perhaps I should cut back on Ann Rule books and not stop to see what's going on in primetime news shows.)

I have embarked on a new knitting adventure. I am undertaking my first attempt at knitting 2 socks at the same time via Magic Loop. (I always knit my socks using Magic Loop but this is the first time that I have knit more than one at a time.)

Imagine how much further along they would be if only I had grabbed them to take with me on my road trip.... (Will never leave house without backup knitting project again.) These socks are a Christmas present and also my October socks for the Sock a Month KAL.

I am hoping that I will have a lot more knitterly progress to post over the coming days. I am going to the Bob Dylan/Elvis Costello concert next Thursday and would really like to be able to wear my finished UnRusted Root to it. Will I make it? Only time will tell.