Friday Gauge Check: Creeping up on March

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.

I’m just going to keep reminding myself that February is a short month, and that’s why it’s gone so quickly.  Is anyone else having this problem?

This week was both long and short at the same time, because Jack was out of town on a business trip for all of it.  He left stupidly early Monday morning and I just got him back a couple of hours ago. On the way back from the airport, he was complaining about how heavy his duffel bag was after he put his new work-related binder in it.  “I was thinking about checking it,” he said.  He never checks bags, if he can help it, and he ended up not doing it.  While he was considering it, though, he decided he would take everything out of his duffel that he would be heartbroken if he never saw it again, if it was stolen or routed through a hell dimension or something.  He grabbed the cord for his computer, because that would be a hassle to replace.  The only other things he grabbed to put in his smaller carry-on?  The hand-knits I’d made him: several pairs of socks, a hat, and a pair of fingerless mitts.

I think this is the very definition of “knitworthy,” don’t you?  Of course, if you’re not a knitter, you probably don’t have a definition for knitworthy (other than “Jack,” I suppose), so let me throw one at you.  Someone is generally considered knitworthy if they don’t ask for knits, but genuinely appreciate the knits they’re given, treat them with the proper respect (hand-washing as appropriate, for example), and wear them.  A lot.  (If someone ever gives you a hand-knit item, don’t put it in a drawer and consider it “too special” for regular wear.  Knitters actually consider that insulting; we’re weird little beasts that way.  Hint: if someone makes you a knit something and you wear it to the point that you’ve worn it out, generally they’re only too happy to knit you a replacement.)

Hearing this, I was utterly delighted that I’d (frantically) finished the colorwork hat minutes before I’d left to pick him up at the airport, and presented it to him on arrival.  It’s a two-color version of Jane Sharp’s Robot Hat, a black hat with robots on it in red.  I don’t have any pictures of it yet, because I’m probably going to need some serious sunlight to get a good shot of it.  It’s really cute, though, and I enjoyed the stranded colorwork chart enough that I’m very willing to do it again. (Colorwork, that is – I’m not sure that I’d re-make the hat.  A stranded colorwork hat with robots on it has a very specific sort of audience.)

I finished the swatch for the Through the Woods cowl, including washing and blocking it, (aren’t you proud?) and I’m thinking I need to go down another needle size, just because while I more-or-less got gauge, I’m not really happy with the fabric I produced.  I’m wanting something denser.  (Previously I’ve habitually gone up a needle size, because I’m an insanely tight knitter. I don’t know whether my tension has relaxed overall, or if the designer is an even more insanely tight knitter than I am.)  Gauge!  It is a mystery.

The other thing I worked on this week was the socks I’m still test knitting.  I came to the realization on the train yesterday that I really hated the yarn.  Like, really hated it.  It’s a blend that includes cotton (which I really don’t care to knit with, unless it’s dishcloths), wool, nylon, and far too much elastic.  Stretchy does not begin to describe it, which I suppose would be nice to wear, but it’s horrible to knit with.  I was getting laddering between the needles, and nothing I could do seemed to be able to fix it.  Not a thing.  Maybe there’s a trick I don’t know, but eventually I just decided that I was not enamored of the color, I hated the yarn, and the socks were taking an eternity because I hated working on them.  The thing to do, clearly, was give up.  Back to my stash I went, found some Knit Picks Essential that I’d picked up at the warehouse sale in September, and cast back on.  I’m still doing them two-at-a-time, so I knit about half the toes last night, and then today was devoured by robot hat, so I didn’t pick them back up, but I’m kind of excited to do so tomorrow.  It’s a lovely yarn.

Some time ago, Jack had expressed interest in giving weaving on my Kromski Fiddle a try.  At the time, though, I had a warp on it, so I said he could do so once I finished the project in process.  A little later, I realized that I probably wasn’t going to finish the project in process, because I didn’t like the warp, and also the tension had gotten seriously messed up when I moved the loom across the country.  It might have been fixable, but since I didn’t like the warp anyway, there wasn’t much point in wasting more weft yarn.  Last week, I gave up, admitted these truths to myself, and cut the warp off the loom.

Over the weekend, we ended up at Close Knit, and Jack picked out some yarn that he wants to try weaving with.  The warp is Plymouth Earth Hillside Linen, which is a linen/alpaca blend, in a natural medium brown colorway.  Anyway, today I re-taught myself (courtesy of this video from Ashford) how to direct-warp the loom, which was just as likely to cause back pain as I remember, and prepared it for him to try.

While I was digging around in my craft room for the clamps and warping peg, I stumbled across my drop spindle and spent a few minutes playing with it.  It pretty much got put aside when I got my wheel, and I was reminded how much fun it was to spin that way, even if it’s much slower than wheel spinning.  I’m thinking about pulling it out to work on more regularly.

This week’s book that I enjoyed much more than I expected to was Melissa Marr’s Graveminder.  I picked it up on a whim at the library, and while I’m not going to get into huge amounts of detail because it’s late and I’m tired, this was a fantastic book.  I liked all of the characters (except the one I was supposed to hate), and the story was really different.  (Flesh-eating zombies! Towns making pacts with the devil! Strong female characters!) It was pretty slow to get going – it took me two weeks to get through the first half and less than two days to get through the second – but once all the pieces were in place, it was really interesting.  In general, I have an issue with problems that could be solved or avoided entirely if the characters would just talk to each other like grown-ups, but the reasons behind the not-talking actually make sense from a real human being’s perspective, and I bought them.  I also thought the reaction to the reveals (and the fact that the character hadn’t been told) were reasonable and very real.  So, yeah, if you’re looking for a decent small-town fantasy, you could definitely do worse than picking this one up.  (Also: there are multiple female characters in this book who have sex outside of marriage and are not slut-shamed for it by anyone, including the author.  This is unusual enough to be remarkable, which is sad.  Considering the circumstances, there’s a lot of female agency in this book.)

That’s been my week!  I also visited a new yarn store, but I think I’ll talk about it next week, after the Rose City Yarn Crawl.  (If anybody wonders why I moved to Portlandia, this has much of your answer.  There are more than nineteen local yarn stores up here.  I don’t know how many more, but I’ve been to at least one that isn’t on that list.)

Check your gauge in the comments, or tell me about your ideal city.

~ by Amber on February 25, 2012.

2 Responses to “Friday Gauge Check: Creeping up on March”

  1. Hint: if someone makes you a knit something and you wear it to the point that you’ve worn it out, generally they’re only too happy to knit you a replacement.

    That makes me feel a lot better about the fact that the hand-knit fingerless gloves I have been regularly wearing have been showing signs of wear. I was starting to get worried over it or something, but I guess since they’re meant to be worn, that’s okay.

  2. Don’t know if you’ve seen this, but it seems sort of relevant to your interests…

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