Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I've been watching the winter Olympics in Vancouver since the opening ceremonies last week and have learned a few things along the way.
1. Apolo Ohno is cute and if I was 40 years younger, his poster would be on my bedroom wall. But I'm not, so instead I'm thinking how proud his father must be feeling.
2. Alexander Bilodeaux is cute too and I'm so happy he won. The elation on his face was amazing.
3. Olympians have something special that keeps them pushing when the odds are against them. Snowboarders competing with broken ribs, skiers holding onto their poles with fingers casted, skaters that get back on the ice after devastating crashes that require physical therapy. The average person might say, "this is too hard" and move on to something else.
4. I think I'm average.
I don't have near the obstacles, nor do I have the physical challenges that are involved in a competitive sport, but I'm not yet ready to give up on the socks.
The Lindsay sock is my knitting olympics project. I cast on the required 61 stitches Friday night during the opening ceremonies. I followed the directions closely for the one-inch cuff. I measured diligently to make sure I didn't go over that one-inch. I studied the chart for the pattern. When things didn't look right, I went to Ravelry for errata, found it, and continued. I searched for the meaning of ssskp. Found it. I was into the pattern chart for two repeats when it happened. I crashed. Extra stitches turned up on my needles. Knitting four stitches together on bamboo needles not much bigger than toothpicks made my hands hurt. I tried the crochet hook method and couldn't figure that out either.
By Saturday afternoon, it was evident I was failing. This sock was beating me. So I did the only thing a beaten knitter could do. I frogged. Ripped that sucker right back to string.
I examined my needles. A circular would be ideal, but I didn't have one in the right size. There are no LYS in my area without traveling and deep snow keeps me from wanting to travel. There must be a better way.
I found aluminum Susan Boye DPNs, size two. A little bigger than the pattern calls, but these socks are going to a growing girl whose feet are already bigger than mine, so I think I'll be okay.
I thought about trying a different yarn, but decided to continue on with this one.
By Sunday, I had another cuff finished and again started on the pattern. I didn't get one repeat finished before I crashed again. Big time. Dropped stitches with no idea how to fix it. Once again, I frogged. Then I put it away for the night.
Monday came. I impulsively grabbed another yarn ball from the plastic tub and decided I would give it one more go. I started again during my lunch break at work, then worked a little more at home after dinner. I came to a couple conclusions:
1. I love this new yarn. It is Ty-Dy socks from Knit One, Crochet Two. I bought it at an LYS in Salem, a little less than an hour away from my house, but likely the closest LYS to me. I will be going back. It is stretchy, machine washable and I can't wait to see how the colors work out with this pattern.
2. I can keep going, even when the odds are against me. My hands are killing me, particularly my left wrist, on which I have been wearing a brace for nearly two weeks, even before the competition began. The arthritis plaguing my thumb joints also is painful. But I figure my hands would hurt whether I was knitting or not, so I might as well get something productive out of all the pain.
3. I need more light. The lamplight is okay when there is natural light coming through the windows, but after it sets, the lamplight is not enough. I need a stronger bulb as well as a light over my head that shines down on my work. I must investigate this light issue.
I haven't gotten to the pattern yet, still working on that one-inch cuff. I'm running out of time. I am not a fast knitter and haven't even addressed the issue of heel and gusset on this pattern yet. I have less than two weeks to knit two socks around my job, my dogs and cats that seem to need constant attention, and the rest of my life.
I may not make it by the closing ceremonies, but I'm certainly going to give it a shot.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Having a ball

I hate when I lose the ball bands on my yarn.

I really do try to be more organized, but sometimes, if I start a new project away from the comfort of my lair, or if I'm just too lazy to get up and put the band in its proper place with its proper label, sample piece and description of what I'm making with it, it gets put aside for another time, which never seems to come.

That is the case with the yarn I'm working with now, a moss green worsted that is currently becoming a mistake rib scarf, for me.

I know where I bought the yarn and when. I picked it up July 2009 in a small, newly opened yarn shop in Moundsville, W.Va. called A Yarn Among Friends. I was traveling to that area with friends and after Googling for yarn shops in the area, came across the address for this one. The husband kindly entered the address into Audrey, our GPS, and she got us there without error. I love Audrey most of the time, but that's fodder for another blog.

I bought two skeins of this yarn because green is my favorite color and this particular shade of green is at the top of the list. The shade lies somewhere between olive and moss and it is soft and nice to work with.

I carried it around with me for several months trying to decide how to best display this yarn. It saw me through several socks, a baby sweater, some doll clothes and a hooded sweater for my granddaughter. And then I thought, why torture myself? I only had two balls, not enough to make a sweater or even a shawl. Instead, I thought, I will just make a scarf. For myself.

Very little of what I've made in the past year, having only taught myself to knit (okay, YouTube basically taught me how to knit, along with "Knitting for Dummies" and several well-written blogs), and on those aforementioned blogs, I managed to see the mistake rib scarf pop up several times.

I decided to give it a go, and now the scarf is nearly finished, still in time for winter weather, and I'm anxious to get it blocked and see what happens to this yarn then.

Here is what I know....
It's wool
It's hand washable
It's green
I like it.

I know that ball band is around her somewhere. When I find it, it will be when I'm looking for something else.