Knitting Emergency!

Oh, sweet Jesus! I have never before seen such a perfect storm of knitting problems in one week.

First, deadlines:
1. Melanie--tiny, sassy, rocker chick--requested some charcoal gray fingerless mitts for wearing while she plays her bass guitar at outdoor venues. She needs them by Saturday night.

2. Baby Adler--not yet born daughter of English department colleague--needs comfy and colorful rainbow blanket. The baby shower is this Friday afternoon.

3. Ravelympic Gods--mean, spiteful deadline pushers--demand that I finish my Aria scarf by the end of the winter Olympics. This Sunday night.

4. Grades are due for 2nd trimester next Tuesday.

Second, stupidity:
1. I cast off my "Nereid Mitts" two nights ago, tried both on, and then screamed bloody murder. There are 10 more rows of ribbing on one cuff. THE CAST-ON EDGE OF THE CUFF! Twisted knit ribbing and lace. Fingering weight yarn. Help. Me. God. Several people argued with me that I should just give them over, flaws and all. But Melanie is a triple Virgo. I might as well just spit on her hands and call it a mitt.

2. Blankets (even the baby sort) are big and time consuming. I am stressed. Not a good combo. I should have gone with booties.

3. I scheduled a major paper and a spelling quiz due in the last week of the trimester, both of which must be graded by next Tuesday.

Third, solutions:
1. I CUT out the lower ten rows and am currently attempting (unsuccessfully) to shimmy 60 consecutive stitches onto some needles so I can bind it off. I'm going into my LYS today, my head hung with shame, to beg for assistance.

2. The blanket is worked from the inside out and bound off whenever you feel like it. I'm thinking this will be a small blanket. I don't know this colleague that well, anyway.

3. There's always Sunday for Ravelympic stress. Yeah, I can look forward to that....


A difficult scarf for some difficult hair

Pattern: "My So Called Scarf" by Allison Isaacs, available free here
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend - single-ply DK weight, 30% silk/70% merino wool
Colorway: Prairie (3104)
Mods: CO 36 on US10 to compensate for gauge differences

Plus: My, oh my, what a fine lookin' stitch! It's a pretty bizarre set of motions, and I can't imagine trying to figure this thing out without the helpful video, but after a few slow starts, my hands just knew what to do. I loved working with this yarn, far more than the rather rough Wool Classica. I have to give thanks to my knitting bud Shelley for gifting me with two skeins of this lovely fiber for Christmas.

Delta: A warning to fellow timid knitters: this is not a rip-back friendly scarf. Although it doesn't look like lace, I recommend treating it as such and using a lifeline (note, this is not advice I followed myself). Somehow, half-way through the scarf I noticed that my total number of stitches had decreased from 36 to 30!!! I can't imagine how I would accidentally decrease in this pattern without an outright dropping of stitches, but there it was. A Hanukkah miracle! After considering the possible merits of a lopsided scarf, I decided to make metaphorical lemonade--increase back out at the same rate to a total of 36 for an impressive hourglass-type-shape-thingy. This was easier decided than done since the stitch pattern is so funky. However, I am proud to report that the sneaky increases look....abysmal. Don't try this at home, kids. Count your stitches; use a lifeline.

This is a dreadfully late holiday gift for my dear friend Jessica (a crocheter, so she may understand). At our Christmas party, as my handknits were snatched up quickly by various folks, she waited patiently and calmly like the classy dame she is. Unfortunately, the only item left over was the Easy Wave Scarf, and the dear girl drooped her lovely auburn head and sighed, "Um, I can't...wear...pink." I'm thinking these colors with complement her trademark tresses beautifully, so beautifully that no one would dare say, "Hey, is it just me, or does that scarf have a waist?"

I'm currently gripped in the throes of the Ravelympics, by far the nerdiest place my knitting has taken me so far. The idea is to challenge one's knitting prowess and dedication, as inspired by those maniacs currently wiping out on the snowy mountains of Canada, by selecting a project which will be a challenge to finish within the 17 days of the Winter Olympics. Cast-on with about 10,000 other knitters during the opening ceremonies; cast-off before the torch is extinguished. Pat yourself on the back if you succeed. Hate yourself for two years if you don't.

I chose a scarf with short-rows, not because it's terribly difficult, but because it's just the sort of thing I would take forever to finish because it's not exactly riveting, nor is it mindless and comforting. We're more than halfway through the allotted time, and I just passed my 33% point. Better step it up.

Watts Afghan Square #17


Grief in the Snow

Over the weekend I spent in Wisconsin, reflecting on the life and death of my paternal grandfather, I had this comforting project in my lap the whole time:

Pattern: "Baktus Scarf," by former Norweigan blogger Strikkelise, available on her Flickr page here
Yarn 1: Rowan Calmer - stretchy 2-ply (Feels like DK weight, but Rowan encourages knitting it at worsted weight gauge) 75% cotton/25% microfiber
Colorway 1: Onyx
Yarn 2: Noro Kureyon - single-ply heavy worsted weight, 100% wool
Colorway 2: 170

Plus: Alternating solid and multi-colored stripes served three purposes: one, it made it easier to see when I was supposed to increase or decrease within the four row repeat, essential considering the distracting and fluid circumstances; two, I wanted to find a clever use for two leftover half-skeins of my Kureyon, so I increased until I used one up and decreased to use up the other; three, it looks purty. A fiber/pattern match made in heaven.

Delta: In an ideal world, I would have knit this on 8's or even 9's, instead of 7's, to get a more width and drape. However, I like wearing it kerchief-style with the point askew in front and the ends tied and tucked behind my neck. I've received several complements so far.

I had a hard time watching my dad and grandmother cope with the sudden, unfortunate event. They both seemed rather lost, unsure of whether they were playing their roles appropriately, trying to grasp the truth while avoiding the weight of it around friends and family. I was grateful for the opportunity to see and hug my relatives on that side, none of whom I see very often. I should also admit that I had a blast bunking in with my sister and her husband; despite the terrible circumstances, we kept one another in high spirits and constant giggles. We all found the abundant snow so exhilirating and special; knowing that we never see such snow in Dallas, we danced and played our hearts out.

Ah, the irony. Within the week, Dallas was blessed accordingly.


Watts family afghan square #16