Sunday, 21 December 2008

Houseguests and the Hazards of Knitting

Disclaimer: Lest anyone get the wrong impression, the houseguests were not the cause of the hazardous knitting episode. I just wanted to show y'all the two little furballs who have been staying with me whilst their mama moves to her new apartment. On the left is Captain Jack (who would not cooperate and the first couple of pictures were just of his butt) and on the right, Commodore Norrington aka The Guinea Pigs of least that's what they are known as while they visit. I love to spoil them by giving them fun food like apples, parsley, cucumbers, and peppers. Some things go over well and others just get the cold shoulder. But there's always the old standby romaine lettuce and carrots should their palates not be tempted by the new menu. At least now Norrington will come and sniff my fingers, which is a major accomplishment on the guinea pig social scale. Jack is a little friendlier and I have even let him watch me read blogs and Plurk whilst sitting in my lap. It's fun to have them visit and, yes, for the cynical people out there, I would still have them over even if Heather didn't bring me the XBox 360 as a perk. So, there!

Onto the knitting front -

Another pair of fingerless gloves heading for Texas will fly out of here Monday evening. A second pair, same colour but a different design, is completed and spoken for. Some denim blue shorties are on the needles and I have to buy yarn for a men's pair which was ordered earlier this evening. Whew!

For some reason, this last pair proved to be a temporary thorn in my side. I messed up the pattern twice so I took out first about 3 inches and then 1 inch. Frustrated, I decided to start over. Okay, I also thought I'd change my knitting method from dpn's to using 2 circular needles. It's not a method I'm unfamiliar with, so I thought I'd see if it was faster than using 4 or 5 dpn's. (For the record, the dpn's I've been using are bamboo and I enjoy working with them. I don't want any dpn's out there to feel that I'm prejudiced against them.)

Okay, so I went through my two pencil pouches full of circulars, sizing everything, trying to find two size 7's for the project. One 16-inch Addi Turbo - great! Then there were a couple others that were various brands and lengths. I grabbed one that was much longer and hoped the length wouldn't annoy me too greatly.

For some reason, I had a bad feeling about this glove. (cue Star Wars music) Something wasn't quite right. Some little voice (my Inner Knitter, most likely) was trying to get my attention but I kept telling IK to shut up. Finally, with six rows to go (I kid you not), I decided to walk across the room and pick up the first glove (previously, I had been too lazy to get up. Laziness cost me dearly.) When I compared glove 1 to glove 2, I discovered that the one on the needles was smaller! WTF? I grabbed the needle gauge and discovered the culprit. One of my circs was a size 6. So, I had knitted the entire palm in stockinette stitch on a smaller needle. And it ended up making a difference which, in my "perfectionista" brain was egregious.

--An aside to the knitting audience: Some knitters, who shall remain nameless, might even consider it truly odious if I dared pass off this flawed garment as first-rate. Therefore, a monumental decision hung over my head or (to use another visual) the glove was like an albatross around my neck.

The way I saw it, I had two options. I could either knit two more gloves - a left one to match Thing One (dpn glove) and a right one to match Thing Two (circ size 6/7 glove). Or, I could frog the one on the needles and start over...again.

My decision? Well, I really didn't care for the size 6 needle because it was long and unwieldy and actually slowed down my knitting, so I didn't relish the thought of spending a couple more hours knitting with it. I opted to frog the nearly-finished glove.

Then, after the yarn had resumed its unknit form, I had a brainstorm. Actually, I call it a Scarlett O'Hara moment. "As God is my witness, I'll never use the wrong size circulars again!" And an idea burst forth (I wish it had emerged fully-formed from my head, but I actually had to mosey downstairs to the sewing nook to implement my devious plan). I would make a slap-dash, quickie circular needle holder that I could hang on the wall and store all my needles by size.

I remembered a refashioning that I had seen somewhere on the Net, using a pair of jeans to make a holder, so I grabbed an old pair that are now too big and have a hole in one knee. They were destined to become a skirt or who-knows-what, anyway. I borrowed about 30 minutes from my knitting self, loaned it to my sewing self, and ended up with this.

It's not visually exciting or aesthetic but we're going for function here, folks. Now I can easily find the right needles without spending about fifteen minutes sizing them all. And, whilst arranging all the needles in their proper slots, I discovered the reason why I ultimately ended up with two different sized needles for the glove fiasco. Lo and behold, I only have one number 7 circular needle. Duh!

(Since this unfortunate incident, Heather graciously picked up another size 7 for me - a 16-inch Balene. We'll see how I like working with this brand as I've only used straights and crochet hooks by them before. Thank you bunches to Heather!)

So, on Sunday evening after our regular Chili's dinner, I camped out in Borders' cafe and made a lovely left glove which is happy warming my hand as I write this (not as I enter it into the computer. I actually wrote this entire blog after I finished said glove and was waiting for Ded to get off work at 10pm)

(Note to Syler: Yes, Sis, I wear each pair for a while to see how they fit and assess if I want to make any future design adjustments. So you could say I "broke in" your gloves. I wore Seguin's too, if you recall. The way I look at it, if I'm not happy with the way they fit, you probably won't be either, so I have to take each pair for a test drive.)

So, that's about it on the knitting front. Elsewhere, I've been playing Sims2 because it runs so well now that there's nothing else installed on the compy. Giuli got the 24-hour flu early in the week, followed a couple of days later by Michael and Mary. Heather moved to a new apartment. And the Lost Boys had a cd release gig last night which I missed because I was having way too much fun knitting, frogging, sewing, and wishing Mary wasn't sick or I would have grabbed her and Giuli and enjoyed an evening of "Heroes and Scoundrels". One last picture here - the other pair of fingerless gloves...aka the ones that didn't drive me over the edge.



Girl Meets Needle said...

What a great post! Those guinea pigs are so darned cute. :) When I was a kid I had a really HUGE guinea pig (then again, all my animals seemed to grow HUGE when they were supposed to be tiny), named Pumpkin and she was my best friend. Hardly ever let her stay in the cage.

As to the knitting, I've done stuff like that. Although, my issue is usually making it larger than it needs to be. And I also test drive every bit of gift-knitting I've ever done! I think every knitter does. Or at least, I'm hoping so...that way we aren't the only two weirdos out there. ;)

Anonymous said...

I sent home the needles with Giuli on Saturday.

I miss my piggies. :(

Paul F. McDonald said...

Your piggies even came up and sniffed my fingers ... it was a good time.