Friday Gauge Check: Binding Off and Casting On

Friday means it’s time for our Friday rituals, the ceremonies of escorting one week out and preparing the next one. Which, around here, is the Gauge Check, where I take a look at my week and figure out where I’ve come from and where I’m going. Sometimes there are goals, sometimes I just talk about what’s going on in my life and my crafting. You are all welcome to join in in the comments.

Welcome to the last weekend of 2011!  Everyone and their blog-writing dog is dong a year-in-review post, and… I’m just not feeling it.  I suppose I could look over my gauge checks and hit some highlights or something, but.  But it’s late, and I’m tired, and I just don’t have the energy to wade through 2011 a second time.  It was hard enough doing it the first time.

This year was hard for everyone I know, and plenty of people I don’t know, and I’m very glad to have made it to the end.  I have an apartment and a job, a city that’s fast becoming home, and a relationship that is more satisfying and joyful with every passing day.  There are so many blessings in my life, and I will choose to dwell on those tonight, rather than looking toward the things that dissatisfy me.

Jack had two more interviews with the company I mentioned last week.  If all goes well, there will be at least one more, so I’m going to ask for your good thoughts and prayers once more.  I still haven’t heard back from mine, but she did tell me it would be two weeks.

Knitting!  I feel like I’ve made excellent knitting progress, though I think it was more mental than physical.  Remember how I mentioned that I was wanting to make a Turn a Square hat for Jack?  Well, over the weekend I actually pulled yarn out of my stash, cast it on, and finished it, and he’s been wearing it all week.  I had a skein of beautiful dark teal alpaca gifted by a friend of mine for the main color, and a skein of Felici Sport in Seaside for the contrasting color, and it turned out beautifully.  I don’t actually have any pictures, but I’ll try and get one up on my Ravelry in the next couple of days.  It was a lot of fun to knit, just varied enough to be interesting but simple enough that I could do it at work without any problems.  I may have a little bit of a knitter’s crush on Jared Flood.

After that, I decided I probably had enough yarn to do a reverse version of the hat, and I cast on the ribbing and started knitting on the body when Jack mentioned that he wished he had a pair of mitts that coordinated with his new hat and the grey scarf I made for him last winter.  (I’ve made him a lot of mitts, just nothing that works well with the colors.)  I went looking around Ravelry, thinking that surely someone had adapted Turn a Square for mitts.

Apparently not.  Inspired, I ripped the hat out, divided the remaining yarn in half with a little help from my handy-dandy digital scale, and set to work.  It’s still very much a work in progress, though I’m happy with the ribbing as it currently stands.  I’m going to rip back a little of the hand, but I have a good idea that I know where I’m going at this point.  I’m adapting Robyn Devine’s Merrymeeting Mitts for stripes, just because I’m really familiar with the pattern at this point.

I’m a little obsessed with socks right now, because Jack wore his BFF socks tramping around Portland one day, and the soles had practically disintegrated by the time he made it home.  I’m not sure which of us was more upset by this; I suspect it was him.  As for me, I can always knit more socks.  I have since discovered that it may have been due to the composition of the yarn: Merino and Tencel, while lovely, are not optimal for socks.  This knowledge was acquired courtesy of the copy of The Knitter’s Book of Socks by Clara Parkes that I was able to borrow from the library.  (This book, incidentally, is absolutely fantastic, and I recommend it most highly.)  So I’m hypothetically knitting socks.

In reality, I ripped out the cast on of the second Test Knit sock, since I hadn’t actually gotten any further than that, and re-cast it on as a vanilla sock so I can knit on it at work.  Interesting construction, being interesting, requires more attention than I have available, and Jack doesn’t care if his socks match as long as I made them.

While I was head-on with reality, I looked at the two-color pink basketweave scarf in its Hello Kitty project bag that I haven’t touched in nearly a year.  I pulled it out and examined it, being really honest with myself as to the likelihood that I would a) ever finish it and b) be willing to wear it in public if I did.  It was one of the first projects I ever cast on, back in June 2010, and… well, let’s say that my skills have improved considerably since then.  Even if I did pick it up, I imagine that the second half of it would look very strange next to the first.

A pile of pink yarn that used to be a scarf

This is the conclusion I reached.

At left, you can see the conclusion I reached.  It was really satisfying, ripping all of it out.  I need to break down and pick up a niddy-noddy, because that’s an awful lot of yarn to skein around the back of a chair.

Funny story associated with this picture, actually: I ripped the scarf out, was about to start winding it back into a ball (just to get it all off the floor) and decided that I should take a picture of my efforts.  I dropped the ends of the yarn onto the top of the pile (that’s the better part of two skeins there; it’s two solid pink colorways rather than one variegated one as you might think from the picture), snapped the shot, went to pick the ends back up… and couldn’t find them.  I ended up spreading this tremendous tangle across my kitchen floor, digging for the ends.  I did find them, though I’m still untangling the last of it.

This is another (hard) lesson in “if you don’t love it now, you won’t love it later.”  I stopped loving the scarf a while back, riddled as it was with errors and my earliest attempts at knitting, and now I have the raw materials to turn it into something else, something that I will genuinely love and be proud to call my own.  What half-done projects do you have sitting in a bin that might be improved upon by being reduced to component parts?

Ripping projects out is actually becoming kind of addictive.  I’m also thinking about the proto-Emily shawl that’s been waiting for me to think about how to re-make the border, and the Celtic Moonrise mittens that never quite worked the way I wanted them to.  How satisfying would it be just to say, “No, this isn’t working,” and start over?

Ten Things I’d Like to Do, Redux

Last January, I listed off ten things I’d like to do, as a crafter.  It hasn’t quite been a year, but it seems like a good time to take a look at those and see where I’m at.

Goal One: Knit a Sweater.  Well, I still haven’t knit a sweater, but I have a swatch, and yarn, and a pattern picked out.  Give me a few months, and this one will be accomplished.

Goal Two: Try Fair Isle.  Still haven’t done this, though I’ve done slip-stitch colorwork and two kinds of stripes.  I haven’t found the Fair Isle project that makes my heart sing, just yet.

Goal Three: Take Something From Design to Finished Object.  I’ve done this twice (the Spiral Lace hat and the Yawoll gloves) and I’m working on two more.  Design is fun!

Goal Four: Grow My Stash.  I grew it, then I shrunk it down to a single box, and now I’ve grown it again.  It’s about at the point where I can’t really buy much more yarn because I don’t have much space, and I have an entire bin that’s mostly fiber.  I keep thinking about sweater quantities of yarn, though.

Goal Five: Spinning and Dying My Own Yarn.  Halfway there on this one.  Dying is still something I haven’t quite managed, though it’s mostly from lack of time right now.  I’m slowly collecting the pieces to attempt some dying, and one of the things I picked up at the Knit Picks sale in September was a skein of fingering weight Bare.

Goal Six: Take More Commissions.  I did, but I also struggled with them.  Things I am learning: how and when to say no, and not to take on a project that’s too big or too difficult.

Goal Seven: Hats!   I have made hats.  I, in fact, love making hats.  I want to make more hats. ALL THE HATS.  I now live in a climate that requires hats; my life is eminently better because of it.

Goal Eight: Needles.  I don’t have to buy needles very often, but when I do find a project that requires needles I don’t have, I buy them without angst.  I have needles for hats, interchangeable cables in three different lengths, square needles, and multiples of my favorite sizes (mostly US3).  I’ve gotten rid of 90% of the straight aluminum needles I didn’t like.  My needle situation is vastly improved.

Goal Nine: Sew.  I took a sewing class!  I have a sewing machine fund!  VERY SOON, this goal will be met, and I am SUPER EXCITED about it.

Goal Ten: Make More Stuff For Myself.  The Gretel tam!  The Codename: Garnet mitts!  The monkey socks, though I don’t want to talk about those.  I’m still not a very selfish knitter, but I have made stuff for myself, and I have more stuff in the pipe, such as my sweater.

All in all, I think I’ve made good progress on my crafting life.  I’ve also learned to weave, bought a spinning wheel, and made eight pairs of fingerless gloves.

How has your week been?





~ by Amber on December 31, 2011.

2 Responses to “Friday Gauge Check: Binding Off and Casting On”

  1. Happy New Year! I’m glad that things are going so, so well for you and Jack. ❤ You guys sound like you're doing great up there.

    I would also like to say that I remember when you cast on that basketweave scarf. 🙂

    There is but one (real) resolution for me this year: Knit more for me! I can count on one hand the stuff I've knit for myself this year, and this needs to change. Don't get me wrong, I love knitting for others, but I want more wearables.

  2. Happy new year for you too! I should make plans to come visit you. I think I’d love that place as well. 🙂 Knitting sounds very relaxing, you and CG do it so often. Maybe once life settles I’ll look into it.

    Happy New Year. I hope it’s wonderful.

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