Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Enough knitting?

For the first time we are going on a trip as a family. Aside from the obvious joy of spending a great deal of time with my men, I am incredibly excited because:
There will be no bottles to prepare nor pumping apparatus for 12 days.

Oh, and the knitting.

There will be plenty of time to knit in the car (assuming BabyMan sleeps some and DaddyMan doesn't want me to drive too much), and I'm terrified of running out of knitting projects. I'm tempted to bring more than I could get through in a month of vacation, but I'm trying to keep it under control. I've settled on 3 projects (I think)

1. Jacques Cousteau hat
Intended to be a Christmas gift for one of the men in the family, and I'm excited to say that despite my many failures with hat sizing, this looks like it will actually fit someone. (all that ribbing doesn't hurt). I'm about 1/3 done with this, but it's good simple knitting, no pattern sheets needed, and I can almost knit it in the dark.

2. Inadvertant Baby Socks
I had originally meant to make these for myself, but in a fit of sleeplessness cast on ¾ the number of stitches I should have. I had already meant to make a pair of socks for the BabyMan for his first birthday, so I decided that would be a fine alternative to ripping and restarting. The yarn for this is really lovely, a gift from a friend who is sadly leaving us (despite the fact that BabyMan and I both adore her, and she can make him laugh with absolutely no effort). These socks deserve a post of their own, with pictures. Sleeplessness hasn't been kind to my intentions for yarn, but I persist. I have one sock almost done, so this hardly counts as a project – right? The second sock will only take a few hours.

3. Socken it to the Family Returns!
Mom sent me some sock yarn that she didn't intend to use and I couldn't resist casting on to see what happens (I haven't knit with self-patterning yarn before. Verdict: It's interesting.). I still don't know who they're for – I cast on 70 stitches and decided to wait and see what the gauge will be. I'm better than half-way through the leg of the first one, but the foot and the second sock will take a good bit of time. It's this project that is making me try to stick to 3 projects and no more. Fairly mindless knitting except for the heel – excellent driving at night knitting.

4. If I were to take a fourth project…it may as well be something I need this winter, right? On the heels of my potentially successful Cousteau hat I'm thinking of casting on a hat for myself. I haven't chosen a pattern, haven't swatched, and I still have to pack tonight. So we'll see…

Friday, August 01, 2008

Do I do it?

I'm honing in on the end of the wedding shawl I'm knitting - I have the body of it done, I did 4 rows of transition openwork (basically a lot of YO/K2Tog to signify the boundary of the pattern), and now I have to select a decorative edging. Since I don't have any more yarn that what is in my working skein, I can't overshoot. I've narrowed the edging options down to two choices:

1) Famous/typical feather and fan stitch. This is a 4- or 6-row repeat that will give a nice wavy edge to the shawl.
2) Slightly more unusual pointed edge lace motif. This is a 12-row repeat, and I think the angularity will fit better with the stitch pattern of the rest of the shawl.

Because I'm a nerd with unfettered access to Microsoft Excel, I've calculated that I knit 11,336 stitches with the first skein of yarn. If I do option #2 I will be trying to knit 11,005 stitches out of the second skein. I'm assuming both skeins are the exact same size (though this is rarely the case). Also, I switched to larger needles for the edging and I'm not sure how much extra yardage the larger needles will eat up.

Do I go the safe and less preferred route, doing feather and fan with yardage to spare, or do I push it to the limit and try to eke out the pointy edging? Something to consider: I do not have time to reknit an edging on the shawl if I foul this up.

Train knitting is making such a difference! I realized today that I finished a pair of socks in two months, while also doing a pair in a month, while also working on the wedding shawl. Maybe a couple of knitted holiday gifts aren't out of the question...

I *will* take photos of this before it is packed off to Michigan.