It's been a while

It's been a really long couple of weeks. I suppose that doesn't really excuse my blog neglect, though at this point I suspect it's probably chronic and I really should just learn to embrace it. Work has been kind of stressful, and for some reason my social life has, well, become something that could actually be called a "social life" without severely distorting the definition. As a result, I've been tired, cranky, and have done almost no knitting.

I finally ended up with some amount of downtime this weekend, mostly because I took my vacuum cleaner in for repairs and it hasn't come back to me yet so I wasn't able to do nearly as much cleaning as usual. (on a related note, I'm fairly horrified at the sheer amount of cat hair that's accumulated. I'm certain that I'm going to have a carpet instead of hardwood floors by the time my vacuum finally comes home.) So I wound up taking it pretty easy on Saturday, spending the afternoon watching movies and knitting in between folding loads of laundry. And what have I been up to knit-wise?

Not a whole heck of a lot, truthfully. I worked about five more inches on Katie's bootsocks and am nearly ready to begin the toe decreases. I'll be glad to get these off the needles for good, but now I'm at the point where I'm counting rows to make sure I end up with two socks of the same length, and then I knit for a while and lose track of how many more rounds I've added so I have to stop and count again. The whole tedious mess could, of course, be totally avoided if I would just use a stitch marker. But for some reason getting up to look for a marker seems like "too much work" and so I haven't.

I worked another round or two on Sarah's Belated Birthday Socks, but since those come with a fiddly lace chart I find it difficult to work on it with anything on the tv. And since that's where I get most of my crafting done, I think this might have quite a bit to do with why SBBS are taking so !#@$% long. I thought of casting on for another pair of quick worsted socks, with that pretty blue Cascade 220 Superwash I bought on my latest yarn binge. But frankly the idea of ANOTHER pair of socks made me want to take a set of DPNs to my eyeballs.

So I cast on for a hat.

Yeah, I know, doesn't look like much of a hat. It's got kind of a weird construction that I find both attractive and interesting. The brim is knit in one long strip, then joined and bound off. Next, stitches are picked up along one edge and the crown is knit from there. The pattern is from Classic Elite 100 Quick and Easy Patterns. I was fairly "meh" on most of the patterns in this book, but this Quincy Hat was one of the few patterns that leapt out at me. The unusual construction, the allure of a blessedly mindless swath of garter stitch, the tidy icord edging that's cunningly knit as you go--

What, you don't see the icord edging?

Clever you! Me, it took another ten inches to figure that one out... My complete and utter lack of reading comprehension strikes again. So I frogged down to the cast-on and set about it again. I've now got about three inches. Luckily, it's a bulky yarn knit on accordingly bulky needles so it does go along quickly (as the title of the book would lead one to believe all of the projects contained in a book titled Classic Elite Quick Knits would be. Projects in sock weight yarn, faire isle, complex cabling? I don't know about the editors of this book, but those sorts of projects aren't exactly "quick" for me. I know I'm a slow knitter, but a book advertising quick projects would lead me to believe that the patterns it contains are of the sort I could manage to knock out in a couple of evenings. And to be fair, some of them do fit that description (such as the Quincy Hat I'm working on now) but even at my best, I think the large faire isle bag on the cover, for example, would still take me over a week to complete. All in all, this is one book I'm glad I borrowed from my local library rather than bought and added to my personal collection.

On the topic of knitting books, at the same time that I checked out Classic Elite Quick Knits, I also borrowed Vintage Modern Knits. I like to check out books from the library before commiting to buying them; it's nice to be able to take my time browsing through them and seeing for myself how the patterns are laid out before deciding whether or not to plunk down money for them. Books with only one or two patterns I like get sent back to the library with the mental note made to recheck them out when I finally get around to wanting to make whatever pattern I like. Books with half or more patterns I would like to make get put onto my wishlist and eventually purchased. Vintage Modern Knits is one book that went straight onto my wishlist. I'm in love with so many of the patterns published in there, though it's going to be quite a while before I make any of them. The recommended yarns are all from The Fibre Company, and as I haven't yet won the lottery or found a tree that money really does grow on...

My LYS, Natural Stitches, has a sample sweater knit up in Road to China Light, a beautiful sport weight yarn that is 65% Baby Alpaca/10% Cashmere/10% Camel/15% Silk. It feels like a dream. And at $15.50 for a 50 gram skein, knitting with it is going to remain a dream. There is a beautiful sweater pattern in that book that calls for this very yarn in the worsted weight, which is close to the same price. It's the Rhodes Point Gansey, and I would knit it exactly as is, aside from making it a touch longer -- I like my sweaters to hit about where her purple shirt ends. The smallest size requires 15 50g skeins to complete. There is absolutely no way I'm going to spend $230 on a sweater. I don't own a single item of clothing that cost that much. Even my freaking wedding dress, including alterations, was less expensive.

In the meantime, a girl can dream, can't she?