Saturday, May 3, 2008


I broke down and cast on the Dale sweater the other night. Hey, I didn't start the yellow socks, so this will be the substitute reward for having finished ten projects, ok? I can tell already that it's going to be The Sweater That Has No End. I've been knitting and knitting, and I don't even have the hem facing done yet. Which is actually ok, because I need to order a longer circular needle, and once the facing is done I have to start colorwork. Erk!

I thought I would save my sock yarns anyway because I joined a summer sock contest here. But I'm having second thoughts. Last year's winner knit 42 pairs of socks. I just did the math (in my own inimitable and probably incorrect way) and, as the contest runs from June 21 to September 1, that comes out to almost one and a quarter socks per day. That just makes me want to laugh semi-hysterically. A sock a day???? Well, I might as well stick with it, though I'll be doing well to finish a sock a week. I have yarn for at least eight pairs of socks (and probably more that I've forgotten) so it's a good way to work through it all and be prepared for next winter's sock needs even if there's no stinkin' way I can win the contest.

Right now, a problem I'm having is getting things up and running on my computer. I need a new one desperately--in fact, I've given up on mine and am working on the husband's. (Wow. I don't have to wait forever for a page to load, I can have two Explorer pages open at the same time, and so far it hasn't shut down on me! What luxury!) When he gets back from wherever it was he went, we are getting online and ordering me a new computer.

In the meantime, I can't set up my Ravelry page like I need to, and I'm even having a hard time getting a blog post done before my computer craps out on me. Photos are out for the moment, because they take forever to load. Not to mention that itunes simply will no longer run correctly, and it messed up my ipod because I had to shut it down while it was supposedly synching. Which it wasn't doing, because it didn't even show the ipod as being connected. Grrr....So no audio books during spinning & knitting.

Enough with the computer gripes. I got more cleaning and organizing done in the sewing room yesterday, and I can at least walk partway around the loom now. I can get to the various boxes, even if I have to move five to open one. That's still progress. My desk is a disaster area, however, so that's next on the list.

I was thinking as I was organizing (Yes! Multitasking!) about how much my "crafting" has changed over the years. In fact, I'm trying to figure out when I became a Knitter. I started out as a Quilter, even though I had knitted a sweater when I was a teenager (before I knew about gauge swatches and the horror of acrylic yarn. You can imagine the results.) I started making quilts when I was 20, and my first one was a Lone Star for my sister's first baby. That was my obsession for the next 14 or 15 years. I collected fabric, worked in a quilt shop, taught classes, went to guild meetings and quilt shows, and except for occasional forays into cross-stitch, quilting was my Thing. I remember reading the Kaffe Fassett books, and even met him at a yarn shop on one of his tours, and I loved the way he used color and texture. Part of me wanted to do that, but given our budget and my committment to quiltmaking, I just admired without doing any serious knitting. A baby sweater and a garter-stitch shawl (again acrylic, because I couldn't afford wool from the LYS) were the extent of my knitting attempts. I pored over Threads magazine (back when it was all-inclusive, not just sewing) and started seeing how the construction of knitting worked. I just wasn't ready to go there yet.

I guess it started changing when we moved, and I no longer had a separate sewing room. All my fabric and supplies were stored in our walk-in closet, and I had nowhere to set up my machine or frame to work on big projects. I started doing more and more cross-stitch, especially samplers, and even designed and sold patterns for a short while. I still admired knitting, and even made two major-sized afghans (still hadn't broken free of the Dark Side--acrylic) but I wasn't a Knitter yet. Though for some bizarre reason, I ended up with a 45-inch loom sitting in my bedroom, and actually made a few things on it.

So when did the whole Knitting Thing happen? We moved into this house almost four years ago, and I had TWO sewing rooms, but the quilts still languished unfinished. Why? Ahhh, I just realized why. I had learned to spin, bought a spinning wheel and about a million handspindles, went to SOAR one year, and was collecting fiber. Yep, that was the beginning! I stopped reading my quilting magazines--I just wasn't captivated by anything in them anymore. Spin-Off magazine became my new favorite, followed soon by Interweave Knits and Knitter's magazine. (It's taken me a little longer to warm up to Vogue Knitting, but it's now on my must-buy list as well.) And I now appreciate the "real" fibers: wool, silk, cotton, and all those funky new things made from various natural sources. That has to be the Spinning influence. Who spins acrylic, for crying out loud? (Though I do have some EcoSpun fiber to spin for hiking sock liners. But that's different.)

Yes, I've gone through the Novelty Eyelash Scarf Phase, but I think that was the obligatory warm-up for the Sock Phase. I'm kind of moving through that into the Incredibly Difficult Multi-Colored Sweater Phase. And I will always be in the Shawls Knitted With Yarn That's Finer Than Frog Hair Phase, partly because I can spin super-fine and I have several tons of alpaca, silk, alpaca/silk blend, superfine merino, and Optim fiber stashed upstairs. I'd say I'm now officially a Spinner and Knitter, with a little Quilter, Cross-Stitcher, Weaver, and Needlepointer thrown in for variety. I will never, ever be a Scrapbooker or a Seamstress.

Funny how things work out. I still love quilts, but maybe I knit instead of quilt because I get faster results, as long as I don't hop from project to project, of course. I wish I had kept all those back issues of Threads now, because I could get so much more from them. And boy, do I wish I had bought Alice Starmore's Tudor Roses book when it came out! I just found out yesterday that it's out of print, and copies are selling for something like $180 on So naturally I won't rest now until I get one. I may have to content myself with getting it from the library and renewing it as many times as possible. I remember flipping through it and oohing and ahhing, but thinking that I would never be able to knit something so complicated--much less be able to afford the yarn--so I didn't buy it. Actually, I probably couldn't afford the book itself at the time!

I also wish I hadn't thrown away that first blue basketweave acrylic sweater I knitted when I was 18. It would be good for a laugh now. And it was so big that we could use it for an afghan.

When I get the new computer, I'll do better about posting photos of WIPs. And I might even have more than one project listed on Ravelry!

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