January 14, 2014

Casting

It’s a word that has a lot of different meanings, in general and in my own life. It makes me think of my grandpa, who loved to fish. I remember throwing a line off the dock into the St. Croix and pulling up a small, iridescent sunfish a minute or two later. It seemed like there were a million of them. If they weren’t hurt, we threw them back, as I recall. I was very young at the time.

‘Casting’ also brings up a lot of associations from my acting life. In this context, it’s a loaded word. Are they casting? Did they cast already? Was I cast? Who’s in the cast? The answers to these questions could instantly change my day, for better or worse. One of the reasons I’m not acting anymore, actually.

In knitting, though. In knitting ‘casting’ means one of two things: beginning (casting on) or finishing (casting off). Oh what wonders are involved in both! And how simple it can be. I know knitters who use the same cast-on and cast-off, no matter the project. Others may have a couple of go-to’s: one stretchy and one sturdy, perhaps. And then there are those who tailor them to each project. I fall somewhere in between, although on my wishlist is Cast On Bind Off by Leslie Ann Bestor. I like my cast-on to match my cast-off when I knit something with two ends, like a scarf. And I like to make sure that things that are meant to be stretchy, like sock tops and mitten cuffs, are sufficiently so. I thought the long-tail cast-on was pretty stretchy, and I have been using it on most of my socks and mitts, but I’ve started to notice that it has its limits. (Maybe I just pull it too tightly? If so, I’m amazingly consistent.)

I’ve been knitting mittens for Cherry Bomb, an awesome holiday pop-up shop in Beacon, and one lone pair hasn’t sold, despite interest.

Cat, who runs the shop, let me know that the cuff is a little too restrictive, even though the ribbing stretches pretty far. So I went back to the drawing board and came up with the Old Norwegian cast-on, (with grateful thanks to Ann Budd and her Getting Started Knitting Socks, a book I find invaluable). It has an extra loop and that makes all the difference. Problem solved, for the next pair of mitts, anyway. Gotta love those old Norwegians!

The books are linked to KnitPicks, by the way. They're having a sale at the moment. I am not affiliated with them in any way, nor will I receive any compensation from linking, but I do like to shop there.

January 7, 2014

Finished Enough

The river is frozen to the shore this morning. Slabs of ice indistinguishable from the rocks. The tide fights its way up beneath the crust. In places the surface of the river looks oddly like sun-cracked desert sand. Only completely bleached of color.

I wore every layer I could think of to keep out the subzero blasts of wind. I committed a knitter's sin, in fact. My leg warmers have been fully knit for, oh, about three years. But I haven't gotten around to weaving in their ends yet. (Maybe we should make it two sins...) I wore them anyway. One end escaped my boot and threatened to trip me on the station stairs. I don't care. My legs are warm.

They're the Faux Cable Legwarmers by Alice Hyde (scroll down a little on her pattern page to find them). I knit them with some leftover KnitPicks Swish Worsted in Eggplant, that I'd used to make a baby blanket. Superwash merino. Doesn't get much softer than that. And yes, they are as squishy as they look.

January 5, 2014

Please Remain Seated

Sunday afternoon. It’s supposed to be a time of rest, right? But I’m completely restless today. My mind is hopping from one project to another and I want to start five more. I have a sock, a baby sweater and a pair of mittens on the needles right now, and I’m dreaming of other sweaters, other socks, more mittens and a scarf or two. And a hat. And an afghan. And a shawl. Maybe it’s meteorological. The temperature has been swinging wildly from single digits to up above freezing. We’re expecting rain this evening, after several inches of snow. And then more single digits, possibly more snow. Turbulence is the word that comes to mind. Keep your seat belts fastened.


January 3, 2014

Oh the Pressure

I've been struggling with what to write in my First Post. So much so that I haven't been able to write it. So I decided to write my first post, instead. Phew.