Saturday, August 20, 2011

I Write About Knitting Because... the moment, it's easier than writing about politics and how screwed up this country is.

Scary Perry, Batty Bachmann, people going off on Obama for a vacation (he's taken less vacation than Shrub, by the way. Look it up.), and an economy where the rich WANT to pay more taxes and the Republicans think that "job creators" deserve tax breaks while people at poverty level "need to pay their fair share..."

That's why I'm writing about knitting. Sometimes, you need to bury your head in your stash and look at the fact that you are able to afford this hobby and you have the ability to create something beautiful with sticks and string.

Which is what I think I'm doing right now. I'm knitting another project, and this one has a reasonable chance of getting done in time for me to wear it in late summer! It's a pattern from Knit One Crochet Too called Tee for Two, pattern number 1652. If you can get your LYS to order it, please do! It's for "advanced beginners" and it's a lovely little tee shirt. Please order from your LYS so that they can stay in business and be your local yarn COMMUNITY. It's kind of like the bookstores. I love my online bookstore, and I have ordered yarn from a number of online retailers.

But I wouldn't give up my LYS for anything; even though she doesn't have the "vast and unlimited stock" of an online store, we have a community, and as a small-business owner in our larger community, she deserves our support.

Color 631, Lot 187
I'm doing it in the Ty Dy cotton. See here: it's called "Blueberry" and it's 100% cotton. The label says hand wash, but there are about 4 gals at the LYS who've made this and one does toss hers in the wash machine.

I figure that I have a gentle cycle, so even if I do that part, I can put it on a drying rack to dry.

You can see the luscious colors I've got here. The cotton has several colorways and this pattern takes advantage of the way the colors lay out.

One of the gals (the one who tosses hers in the wash) has altered this design to give her 3/4 length sleeves. I'm adding a few inches to the sleeve, but that's only because my office is always cold! You knit the front and back panels, then pick up stitches on either side and stitch the sides and sleeves. Seaming up the side and you're done.

Front panel
Here's a shot of the front panel; I have about 3 rows to finish it. You can see that the bottom has that big whack of pale blue on it. I'm thinking of breaking open another ball and starting the back panel with that same big swath of blue.

Yes, that's a little nit-picky. But when the rest of the world seems like it's going down the Big Crapper, it's nice to think that at least my knitting is something I can control!

Click on the photo to enlarge it; it rolls because it's all stockinette stitch, but once you pick up the stitches, you see the whole thing lay much nicer.

I was looking at the design, and it called for a cable cast on; well, I lengthened it. It's a cropped shirt, and there's NOTHING on my belly that needs to see the light of day, thank you!! So I added 2" to the bottom. That necessitated me using a long-tail cast on because it's more elastic than the cable cast on. So, as I was looking at the cable cast-on directions in my knitting reference book, I noted that the author said, "when I use long tail, I make my first row a purl row so that the cast-on edge lays flatter."

Well. Okey-dokey. I did that. And you know what? It doesn't curl nearly as bad as my stockinette hat did! Look at the bottom of that photo: it's darned-near flat!

Reading. Gotta love it! Had I not been dithering about that cast-on, I'd have missed that portion of the book and I probably would've been muttering about the "%&$* rolled edge" as I went on.

Of course, picking up and knitting the sides? That forces the front and back panels to lay flatter anyway, because the sides are knitted long-wise. The whole thing is very "painterly" and is a sweater that's easily 3-season-wear. And I can seriously think about making it in Ty Dy wool, or in a more autumnal colorway. Or even my favorite Cascade Ultra Pima Cotton - where I could use solids and take advantage of the texture of the yarn itself and that gorgeous sheen that this yarn has.

Please patronize your local yarn stores. Please knit. It's very calming. In a nerve-wracking environment, knitting is like mental yoga. It's something we can hang onto, it creates garments and useful things. And it keeps us centered.

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