Friday Gauge Check: Snow on Wednesday, Sun on Friday

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.

Out my kitchen window, snow-covered rooftops. In March.

It seemed like the entire country was experiencing unseasonably warm temperatures this week.  Even when it comes to the weather, though, the Pacific Northwest is off doing its own thing.  While my friends on the East Coast and in the Midwest were complaining about the heat, we got… snow.  Several inches, in fact.  It came down thick and fast on Wednesday night, which is when we’d planned to celebrate the beginning of Spring.

This is how it looked out my kitchen window at about 11:00 yesterday morning, after much of it had melted.

Today, though, as if in apology, it was absolutely beautiful, with temps in the mid-50s (almost warm!) and glorious sunshine.  It’s back to the rain again tomorrow, but the high temperatures will continue to be in the 50s, which does hint at spring.

I did sporadic cleaning and arranging throughout the week – nothing overwhelming, but enough that I wasn’t too far behind on dishes.  The breadmaker came out on Wednesday (before the snow) and produced a lovely Italian herb bread.  I need to start looking for a countertop butter dish again, because fresh bread really needs butter soft enough to spread, and it just doesn’t work right coming out of the fridge.

My knitting this week hasn’t been entirely monogamous: I did put in a couple of rounds on the Enya socks here and there.  The Through the Woods hood is clipping along at a good pace, though, and the end really is in sight.  I finished the main body and the two tabs, and then picked up a million stitches around the inside of the hood and knit 2×2 ribbing for approximately eternity, then bound off.  (No, it wasn’t actually a million stitches.  It was about 120.  But I had to attempt to pick them all up three different times to get them even.  And I determined that eternity is 24 rows.  This is why I will never knit a 2×2 rib sweater.)  After that, I had to pick up MORE stitches around the bottom and do it again.  I dove in again, and again, the stitches were unevenly distributed across the bottom.  I said to myself, “Self, there has got to be a better way to do this.”

Fortunately for me, Myself is pretty clever sometimes.

Out came the measuring tape from my notions bag.  This is a small retractable tape I picked up at Pier One on clearance, and it lives, eternally, in my notions bag.  It comes out, I use it, it goes back.  This is the only way I can consistently find a tape measure.  I measured the bottom of the hood, where the stitches needed to go, I looked at the number of stitches the pattern suggested you might want to pick up, and I did some basic math.  (If you’re not so good with the math, there are apps that will do it for you; my numbers were easy enough that I was able to figure it out myself.)  Math told me about how many stitches per inch I needed to pick up, so I did that, checking every inch or two to make sure my count was right, because I did not want to have to do it again.  If my count was off on a given inch, I’d pull those stitches out and do it again.  I marked every twenty stitches (because I’m not good at counting, I’ll be honest) and ended up pretty much dead on.  Success!  Now… well, now it’s back to 2×2 ribbing for eternity.

Then there was the spinning.  I mentioned last week that the blue cake was tangled, and I needed to sit down and pick the knots out, so I sat down to do it on Monday.  And Tuesday.  Also Wednesday.  By Wednesday evening, I gave up, pulled out the scissors, and cut the knots out.  I finished plying the teal until I ran out, and then I started to ply the blue on itself.  This was harder, because the blue was less consistently spun, and I kept hitting patches that came apart.  Mostly I felted them together, but occasionally, I’ll admit it, I tied knots.  I don’t think this two-ply blue is going to be good for much of anything, but I’m okay with it.  It gave me some practice plying, if nothing else.  I plied the blue on itself until the cake collapsed and I hit more knots, at which point I gave up.  There’s not much blue left, anyway.

Next week, the blue-and-teal yarn is getting introduced to my niddy-noddy and a nice bath, and we’ll see how it turns out.

I promised the list of potential projects for the Year of Good Intentions, and then Jack threw me a curve ball that made me start reconsidering.  Now, I knit a lot for him (you may have noticed).  I knit for myself much less often, and generally only practical projects that get immediate use (like the Through the Woods hood).  So I was talking about potential projects with him, and he says, “How many of these are for yourself?”

I count.

“A lot of them,” I say.  One of the reasons I don’t delve into my library very often, I suspect, is that many of the patterns are ones that I wanted for myself, and, well, if I don’t knit for myself, they don’t get used.

What he ended up suggesting was that I knit all of them for myself.  He points out that these aren’t the only projects I’m going to be knitting – after all, I’m aiming to take a year with this, so it will be approximately one project a month, so if I want to knit something for him, or someone else, I can.  As a result, I’ll have to take another look at some of these to figure out which project I’d want to do if I were making something for myself.

Here, therefore, is the preliminary list of books and projects for the Year of Good Intentions (aka Library KAL).  They are presented in alphabetical order, more or less, by author.  The links will take you to Indie Bound, if you’re interested in purchasing the book.  If I were feeling really ambitious, I’d link the individual pattern to Ravelry.  Someday I may go back and edit this page so it does just that.  This is not that day.

Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines: Kay Gardiner & Ann Shayne
Belinda stole
Remember how I said I wanted to knit something out of Rowan Kidsilk Haze or a close cousin?  This is that project.  Pretty much everything else I want to make out of this book is a sweater. Perhaps someday I will do the Year of Sweaters.  This year, I think I’m going to have my hands full.
Mason-Dixon Knitting: Kay Gardiner & Ann Shayne
– Dishcloths!  (there are several, take your pick)
– Big dotty cushion for my spinning chair
– Dishcloth rug for the kitchen?
You know, I’ve never knit a ball band dishcloth?  I’ve done quite a few others, but never that quintessential dishcloth pattern. Maybe this is the year for that.  Or maybe I should knit a cushion for my spinning chair.
Toe-Up Socks for Every Body: Wendy D. Johnson
– Manly Aran socks
– Fair Isle socks
This is one of the books I’m going to have to re-examine, since obviously at least one of my short-list patterns was intended for Jack.  There are a lot of pretty socks in this book, though, so I don’t anticipate it being a hardship.
Knitting Mochimochi: Anna Hrachovec
– Feet Eaters
– Plucky Mushrooms
 This was a book I picked up when Borders was going out of business, because it amused me.  I’ve obviously never knit anything out of it, and it makes me kind of sad.  I could make slippers!  Or maybe I’ll knit a squirrel with wheels, because who doesn’t need one of those?
Charmed Knits: Alison Hansel
– Invisibility shawl
– House beret
This book has a lot of cute Harry Potter-inspired knits, including the expected batches of scarves and socks and horrifying intarsia sweaters, but the Invisibility Shawl was actually one of the reasons I bought the book.  Also: a House beret in Slytherin colors would look super-cute on me, not gonna lie.  (I’m totally a Slytherin: fanatically devoted to my people, fond of beautiful things, something of a superiority complex.)
Big Girl Knits: Jillian Moreno and Amy R. Singer
– Sexy ribs pullover
– Sandy cardigan
– Bombshell tee
 I have several sweater books; obviously, this is one of them.  Generally, I object to the implication that having meat on your bones makes you any more real than not doing so – but the sweaters are pretty, and it is nice to see a book that does work around the curves that I, at least, have been blessed with.  My selections run the gamut – one pullover, one cardigan, and one short-sleeved sweater.  I don’t wear short-sleeved sweaters, but I might make an exception for this one.
Mindful Knitting: Tara Jon Manning
– A trio of washcloths
– Aromatherapy tea cozy
– Kata Felicity scarf
 One of my projects this year is learning how to meditate.  This book is about the process of meditation through knitting.  These may work together, since the whole “sit five minutes doing nothing” thing isn’t really working for me.
The Intentional Spinner: Judith MacKenzie McCuin
– Three-corner scarf
Technically, this isn’t a pattern book – I believe it has three patterns in it.  But you know that blue-teal yarn I just finished?  Yeah, if I have enough yardage, this is where it’s going.
2-at-a-Time Socks: Melissa Morgan-Oakes
– Sugar Maple
– Sailor’s Delight
Back to the sock books, and the disclaimer that I’m going to have to look at this book again to pick out a pair of socks for me. Such a hardship, I know.  I have the toe-up version of this book, and I have knitted socks out of it.
Wrapped in Lace: Margaret Stove
– Lace Medallion
– Rosebud
– Rata scarf
Technically I bought this book for design theory; an alternative would be to design a lace shawl. No pressure.
Stitch ‘N Bitch Nation: Debbie Stoller
– Hurry up spring armwarmers
– Headhugger
At one point or another, I have had pretty much all of her books; I have knitted out of all of them.  Except this one.
Little Red in the City: Ysolda Teague
– Lauriel
Another sweater book.  Technically I bought this for the design theory, too, but Lauriel really is a pretty sweater.
Shear Spirit: Joan Tapper
– Taos beret
This is kind of a coffee-table book, and I don’t have a coffee table.  The hat is pretty, though.
Coastal Knits: Alana Dakos and Hannah Fettig
– Gnarled Oak cardigan
I did say that this list was more-or-less in order, right?  This would be the “or less.”  In fact, this book almost didn’t make the list, because I bought it on the Yarn Crawl, so it’s not like it’s been mouldering on my bookshelf for any length of time.  But I’m kind of in love with this sweater, and it would look beautiful in green, and it calls for DK weight, and gee, guess what I happen to have a sweater’s worth of yarn in?  So I’m making it anyway, and I might as well get credit for it, right?
There you have it: my personal brand of insanity.  There are actually fourteen books on this list, so I can safely skip two and still have a year’s worth of projects.  I probably won’t.  But I could.
Anybody else up for joining in?  Let me know!  And, it being Friday, you can always check your gauge in the comments.  Even if it’s not Friday.  It’s never a bad time to check your gauge.

~ by Amber on March 24, 2012.

8 Responses to “Friday Gauge Check: Snow on Wednesday, Sun on Friday”

  1. We’ve taken to buying the “spreadable butter” which is really fantastic and might work if you don’t want to leave butter out? Just a suggestion. ❤

  2. wow, a refrigerator full of food for thought. I am considering Mindful Knitting especially but all the books look juicy enough. Love the rooftop pic.

  3. […] Comments « Friday Gauge Check: Snow on Wednesday, Sun on Friday […]

  4. […] rounds on the Enya socks, but that’s because I was busy with the first two projects for the Year of Good Intentions.  ”First two?” I hear you say. “I thought you were going to do one a […]

  5. […] week is the beginning of May, which means it will be time to decide what the next project for my Year of Good Intentions is.  So far I’m thinking that I want to work something out of my stash, and probably not the […]

  6. […] much consideration and stash-diving, I’ve decided that the May project for the Year of Good Intentions is going to be the Hurry Up Spring armwarmers from Stitch ‘N Bitch Nation.  I don’t […]

  7. […] I also decided on the June Year of Good Intentions project.  I cast on the Diamonds and Cables Socks from Wendy D. Johnson’s Toe-Up Socks for […]

  8. […] almost the end of August, and I still haven’t picked a pattern for the month for the Year of Good Intentions.  Rather than stress out about it, I’m going to skip August and pick a new pattern at the […]

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