on knitting and healing and other stuff

Archive for December, 2007

My Favorite Things…

Posted by Janis on December 16, 2007

soundofmusic4.jpgYes, yes — it’s a still from that fabulous scene in “The Sound of Music.” (Just for you, little Ray.) Here at year’s end, there are so many “best of” lists, that I thought I’d put a knitting one together. But before I do that, could we just discuss for a moment how the hell “My Favorite Things” became a Christmas song, for Pete’s sake? I mean, there are a couple of lyrics that could pass for holiday references: “brown paper packages tied up with strings” – but that could as easily be a nice piece of cheese from the fromager or a few chops from your local butcher’s, couldn’t it? “Sleigh bells” – but if you live in a very snowy land, you’d need a sleigh from November to March anyway — so I just don’t get it!

Back to my favorite things – knitting-wise:

* White cotton-microfiber crochet thread/yarn/whatever it’s called: I have used this more in the past 2 weeks than anything else in my knitting arsenal. It’s waste yarn for mitten thumbs or provisional cast-ons, it’s a measuring line from where the armholes begin so I can measure the top of the back of the sweater accurately (what a concept!), it’s basting thread for putting together the sweater pieces… And apparently, it’s a choking hazard for big, nosy dogs who try to snuffle it up, thinking it’s something edible. They’re all OK, but I gotta be careful with the little snip-ends of the stuff… (It’s about DK weight, not the very fine stuff, though I have some of that for lace life-lines.)

* Knittyboard advice. How amazing is it to have a knitting question, problem, or even a full-blown knitting crisis empathized with, advised upon, and even solved — sometimes within minutes? I don’t even know if I’d be knitting beyond scarves now if it weren’t for the awesome Knitties of the Knittyboard.

* Blocking. Yup, just plain old wash or spray or steam and arrange to measure. I am constantly surprised and delighted by the wonders of blocking. (OK, so it’s never taken much to amuse me.)

* KnitPicks Options nickel-plated needles. Studies show… they really are pointier than regular Addi’s. Wow. And the cables are great – super flexible. I’m ordering the Harmony wooden ones next…

* Addi Lace needles. Ohhhhhh, the points! Wish they made these points for every size and length.

* The Best of Vogue Knitting: 25 Years. Just received from Orestes for my birthday, this book is INCREDIBLE! I was afraid it was Vogue patterns, but it’s all articles from the mags — great technique stuff, knitting history, etc., etc. Really well-written instructions by expert knitters, and very well-illustrated.

* The pattern gallery on Ravelry. It is so helpful to see the finished results of various yarn substitutions, a whole host of sizes, and more. Of course, it makes my to-do queue that much longer, but still — it’s inspiring.

* Sandi Wiseheart’s series on how to fit knits on KnittingDaily. This information has been a revelation for me, not only in fitting my hand-knitted things, but in finding knitwear that fits and flatters in ready-to-wear.

* Elizabeth Zimmerman. I’ve read her books straight through several times this year and know I will do so again and again. I just love her voice, ideas, and passion.

Soon it’ll be time for New Year’s Knitting Resolutions, but I’ll give you a sneak peek a little early: the theme is “Knit from the Stash.”


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Blocking is Good

Posted by Janis on December 4, 2007

This is a quickie post – I just have to share something good with my Knitties: BLOCKING. Sunday was a gray, rainy, dreadful day, so I mostly laid around moaning about how depressing it is when it’s gray, rainy, and dreadful. When I finally got sick of myself, I decided to go ahead and block the first 2 pieces of the Dad sweater, just to see how it would look. OH MY – it is so nice! Still drying, but I tell ya — blocking rocks. I wish I had taken before and after pix, but didn’t think of the “before” in time. Will do the afters when it’s dry and sewed up, though it won’t be quite the same.

The blocking episode inspired me to knit up a ribbed headband for my almost-daughter’s birthday which is coming right up. A satisfying little knit and one to check off the list. So I went to bed a good deal more satisfied than I arose from it. And that is a good day indeed.

Last night I cast on the second sleeve for the Dad sweater and did the first 4 or 5″. Why, oh why can’t the first sleeve look as nice as the 2nd? I want all first sleeves and first socks to look as good as the second one – is that too much to ask? Hey, Santa Baby – if you’re listenin’ – that’s what I want in my stocking this year.

One last thought on holiday knitting: this year I decided not to try to knit for everyone on my list, or even everyone in my immediate family. I have to say, it is making the things I am knitting ever so much more pleasant… ahhhhhhhh! Of course, it also gives me a perverse little desire deep down to cast on MORE holiday gift items immediately, ’cause hey! – I got time to spare – but I am trying to resist that evil little voice inside of me. (I won’t tell you about the beading projects I swapped for knitting projects this year ’cause I know those won’t take but a minute. Honest. It just makes good sense.)

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