Thursday, June 25, 2009

Knitting & the Art of Zen......

Last night's train ride was...eventful in a totally uneventful way. The baby bullet had engine problems and had to stop 2-3 stops down from SF(at a non-baby-bullet stop). We sat for about 20 minutes before the engineers gave up and the conductors announced that we had to get off the train, but that the train behind us was going to stop and pick us all up.

So, about 100+ people got off the train into the nice warm day (most of us having to travel back to the last train car in order to get off on the actual platform), and waited and waited.

Because of the baby bullet delay, the train behind us was 38 minutes late, which we didn't find out until about 15 minutes into actually getting off the train. *joy* Gotta love Caltrain service!

I had placed several calls to DH who was picking me up AND who claims he was actually ON TIME to pick me up at the train station and cites that's why the delay occurred. I had him just go home and wait for my call since I didn't know how long it was going to take to actually get home.

Most people were a bit frantic at being delayed so long, and many were on the phone either complaining or passing the time away, and there were many small congregated groups also bitterly complaining about said delay. There was also a lot of people who started reading email, the web, or whatnought on their phones. (I wonder what would have happened if we had been in an area with little signal??) Or just standing there and sulking for the train to arrive.

And, while I was somewhat miffed at the delay (I was eager to get home, PLUS I was starving), I sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed a bit of sun. I took out my knitting and just worked away at my stole.

One person even commented at how lucky I was to have brought it, but I've started carrying around a knitting project because I find myself waiting a lot. It's something I don't think I've noticed until I STARTED carrying around the knitting.

There's waiting in lines, waiting for the next bus, waiting on the bus, waiting in a waiting room, waiting for food to arrive....just a lot of waiting, waiting, waiting....Five minutes here, 10 minutes there, a couple of minutes here, 20 minutes there.

That's lot of time wasted just waiting around.

However, I'm finding myself 'zen'-ing out with the knitting during these waiting times. It gives my hands something to do, it allows my brain to go into a meditative state, and I find myself less hurried and frazzled during those waiting periods. Especially, yesterday, I found myself relaxing versus most of the very frazzled people waiting around for the next train

Plus, when everything is said and done, I end up with a finished product. THAT alone delights me to no end.

Of course, I could also be reading a book during these waiting periods, but I find that I require a good chunk of interuppted time in order to get into the flow of a book (at least 10 minutes); any time shorter than that is unproductive for reading. However, I do find that if I've got two minutes, I can easily whip out the knitting and get a few stitches done without any issue.

But, with the audio books, I am definitely getting a bit of 'reading' done while knitting, so I'm quite pleased with the setup.

Yesterday, it took over two hours to get home (Left work at 5; got home around 7:30), and I got a lot of work done on the stole.

AND, random piece of trivia -- In some Southern American countries, such as Costa Rica and Peru, a person who doesn't know how to spin (or tend sheep or weave or something "practical") by the age of 5 is considered useless.......

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

First Skein

After letting the skein for a while, the yarn I made is actually starting to look like yarn instead of a gnarly tangled mess. A majority of the twisted kinks have stretched out. Actually, the whole of the skein has really stretched out. I'm definitely going to get a lot more yardage than the initial measurement.

However, I am thinking about dye-ing it some color; Now, I've dyed fabric & taken a few dye workshops, but never worked yarn. But I don't think the process differs that much. But I have a few websites bookmarked just in case. I'm going to start simple and use Koolaid to do some variagation on this skein.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Egads. I've done it to myself again, and picked up a new hobby. This weekend, I started using a drop spindle.

I started at S's craft day at her apartment. I picked up a drop spindle and some fiber over at Purlescence in Sunnyvale.

I've just finished the skein I started at S's apartment. I've set the twist, wrapped it around a make-shift niddy-noddy (amazing what extra PVC pieces will make with the right connectors), and then set the twist. It's currently hanging to dry. It's about a worsted or DK weight yarn.

I initially measured about ~432 inches (~12 yards) of yarn around the niddy-noddy. However, I think I overtwisted the yarn, so I'll probably end up more...if it's not too overly twisted to use (I hope).

We'll see how it turns out. Not sure how much I enjoy it yet, altho', I do have to say it is a bit of fun. :-)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

On the Needles

Because the entrelac scarf was finished, the 'Viral Clap' stole is now my train commuting knitting. It's working up relatively slow. I'm only getting about 2 rows per train ride, and it's only going to get slower as I increase the stitch count.


This past weekened, I cast on the Jared Flood's Hemlock Doily Ring blanket/throw, which is a free pattern; you can find more on Ravelry. The yarn used is amazingly inexpensive (considering how much yardage you get PER skein) and is knitting up relatively quickly on US 10.5 needles (as it's a bulky worseted yarn). HOWEVER, the throw does go up to about 500 or so stitches (I'm only on about 136 right now), and it's already taking a long time to finish a single round. It'll be FOREVER to finish a round when it's bigger.

A friend, L, already made this project, and warned me that casting off is also going to take "forever". This is actually my first "lace" project, as the blanket was adapted from a vintage doily pattern.

Hemlock Ring Blanket

I'm "itching" to make a pair of socks, for which I have the yarn, but I'm holding off because I have two project on the needles, and do I really need any more? (Don't answer that....)

Of course, I might end up casting a pair on later, but I digress.


Project Ideas: Something I heard on a podcast that made me say, Hmmmm......

- Felted wool blanket from Thrift store sweaters -- basically: felt the sweaters, cut out squares, then quilt the whole of it together.

- Use the sleeves of said sweaters for leg warmers or the cuffs as wrist warms.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Finished Entrelac Scarf

On Thursday's train ride home, I finally finished the Entrelac Scarf. I still had a little bit left over to crochet an edge to it. I wasn't too pleased with it just having that straight boring cast-on/cast-off edge.

So later that night, before bed, I took a quick glance at different crochet edgings online. First, I tried a picot edge, but that didn't look right, so I frogged the several I had made as a trial. Then I settled on a scalloped edge instead, which looked much much nicer.

I had just enough yarn left over to scallop both ends, and still have a good foot of yarn left over. (Yaay for winging yardages!)

On Friday, I wore it (prior to washing or blocking) because I very much wanted to do so. Friday night, I washed it & blocked it, which made it about 6" longer on either side than I anticipated. Now, it's *very* long.

And, I'm debating whether I want to line the wrong side. I should have enough of the gold lining fabric from the Mandarain Collared Robe to do so, but am not sure if the color will work.

Entrelac Scarf

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Out with the Old; In with the New

The Cigar Gloves are pretty much done. I have to bind off the last finger covering, and then it's over. They're pretty darn comfy, and I'll have to make another set of just actual fingerless gloves. I might have enough of this particular yarn to make another set. I'm absolutely amazed at the yardage that comes with the Socks that Rock Yarn by Blue moon.

Photographer Gloves

In the meantime, the Entrelac scarf is almost done with the last fricking skein. Although this is my train knitting, I've felt like I'm in a project black hole with this one. I heard this term from someone else, and I've been in this situation before, so I thought to appropriate it.

A project black hole is that project, where despite all of your efforts or amount of time spent on it, seems to get *nowhere*.

In this instance, because I like long scarfs, this seems to go on *forever* and it doesn't seem like I'm making any headway, except that the skein is getting smaller. Luckily, I started the very last row today...much to my absolute relief! This will probably be finished by this afternoon's train ride.

New Project:
I've also cast-on a new project, which is "Clapotis", using a 100% Italian merino wool I got on clearance sale on my birthday. It was the last 6 skeins in a gorgeous burgandy red. It's an Aran weight wool and is soo super soft.

However, as I realized upon starting the project, that the yarn has a tendency to split if I'm not careful, despite using my sharpest needles. And the ends of the projects (both on the needles and not on the needles) are curling. However, i think this is in part how the pattern lays out. Subsequent checks on other people's projects using this pattern show the curling at the ends.

The pattern is one of those really pretty, but it seems to be a viral knitting patterns -- almost everyone seems to have done this pattern after it came out -- so I've decided to call it the Viral Clap on Ravelry. LOL.

It's knit "on the bias" I am referring to it. It's an elongated parrallelogram, starting at one point, knitting increases every single round, until you reach the farthest point. The finished product reminds me of a bias cut fabric; and supposedly, the finished knitted piece is super stretch too.

However, this project, too, also seems like a project black hole. Right now, I'm only knitting on it in the evening for a few rows -- so I only have gotten about 4-5 inches since starting it last weekend. The stitch count increases every row, so by the time I'm at the widest part, there should be 100+ stitches & 18 stitch markers separating every 6 stitches. With the aran yarn, this should end up pretty darn warm.

As it is, I'm not making it as long as the actual recommended pattern (820 yards with a finished size of 55 x 21 inches). I have 570 yards (6 skeins), so it'll be just somewhat shorter (40 x 19 inches).

Of course, this required much of my rusty math skills. I had to figure out the area of the original pattern versus yardage used, with the stitch gauge....then apply that to the yardage I do have to keep the same yarn yardage per square inch. OY!

No wonder there's a bunch of mathematicians who have taken to knitting!