Thursday, February 01, 2007


I'll admit to being a mostly a product-knitter. I love a finished knit. I love the high I get when I finish a project. I love to wear the handknits, or give the handknit gift. I love knowing that I shrunk the stash. While I have multiple WIPs, most eventually make their way to the finish line. And while I really enjoy the process, really I do, for me, it really is about the FOs.

So here it is, the first of February, and I have no FOs for 2007.

Well, almost nothing.

Two Sugar N' Cream dishtowels

By the end of last year, I was really cranking out the FOs, but this month, the finishing of projects is objects being sacrificed on the altar of my knitting ambition, with process motivating my knitting choices. I have two major projects on the needles, as well as two new challenges that have dominated my knitting time.

Major Projects: Dylan Goes Electric and Icarus

Mr. S's sweater plods along as only an XXL sweater can. The plan is to finish it in the next two weeks for a certain romantic holiday, when Mr S traditionally gets his annual special handknit...

Icarus stalled after completing the second chart. At the urging of StuntMother, I started knitting it using Boye Balene needles, and found My New Favorite Lace Needle. The combination of the pointy tip and the smooth, flexible needle was perfect. But once I got about 400 stitches scrunched up on the 13" straight, it just became too hard to read the lace enough to stay on track, and I started making mistakes. When I tinked back 4 rows (that's 1600 stitches, people!) after spotting a mistake, I knew Icarus had to go into a holding pattern while I awaited new needles. Not having any luck finding a US3 circular, I had to go with another needle.

An Inox 40" circular showed up this week, and I am now chugging along with chart 3. Lace is such a pleasure to knit, both in the process and in the final product.

Challenges: Colorwork and Test-Knitting

For about a week in January, I put all the WIPs on hold to practice colorwork in anticipation of my Latvian Wrister class at Loop with Beth Brown-Reinsel. I chose to knit the Kefeely Mitten pattern from Handknit Holidays as a sort of practice swatch, on the recommendation of Eyeknit, one of my classmates for a fantastic Sunday afternoon. It was preceded with a great lunch at TenStone with Jody, my new In Real Life friend. Both Jody and Eyeknit did a great overview of the class here and here, and they both finished their wrister. Jody even posted a tutorial about some of the techniques we learned. I did not finish my wrister, and I also frogged my Keefely mitten and have not picked it up since then. I learned a lot about colorwork from the class, but have not quite been bitten by the stranding bug yet. I do crave some stranded mittens, though, so I see these moving back into the queue promptly.

I also cranked out the socks in 2006, and I am genuinely surprised that I have not completed a pair of socks in '07 yet. Socks for me are the Holy Trifecta of Knitting Perfection: great yarn, an intriguing yet quick process with many new techniques to try, and a useful FO to enjoy and admire.

I did knit one sock this month:

Electric Eyelet, Black Bunny Fibers Sock Sample

I offered myself as a test knitter for Carol of Black Bunny Fibers and the Go Knit in Your Hat blog, and she started me off easy with a sock pattern for Black Bunny. It was my first chance to knit with BBF, and I highly recommend it. What really intrigued me was how the very electric-green sock was toned down and subdued a bit once knitted. The pattern is an eyelet rib, which creates a sort of ruffled effect and a very comfortable cuff.

This was my first experience test-knitting, and I focused on executing the pattern exactly as written, and checking it carefully for errors or ambiguity. As this sock is intended for use as a sample, I also wanted it to be completely error-free, so there was more than the usual frogging. I am often content with "good enough," especially with socks, but that would not do for my first professional knitting gig.

So, I've focused on the process. But when, oh, when will I get my jolt of an FO???


Carol said...

Darlin', you did such a great job on the sock that I will gladly supply you with whatever you desire in the way of sock yarn -- maybe some DK weight that will knit up faster? We can't have you pining over lack of FOs. Although definitely that sock qualifies in my book.

You rock.

Carol said...

Damn, I've got to learn not to hit send too soon.

Have you tried KnitPicks circulars? Word is that they have a very pointy tip, and I know they come in smaller sizes, just not sure whether they have the millimeter/cable length combo you'd need.

Mo said...

I'm thrilled to see you test knitting! That's a cool deal!

As for FOs, you'll be rolling them out soon, and I'm sure they'll be stunning. Very worth the wait.

Plus, nothing wrong with a dish cloth.

Ann said...

I also heard great things about the KnitPicks -- Amy has some and she loves them. Very pointy,would be great for lace.

And remember Obi Wan's wise counsel: Patience, Luke. You will encounter the FOs soon enough.

Anonymous said...

rock on, little knitter girl!

the test sock looks fabu!

to paraphrase "horton hears a who" - an FOs an FO no matter how small.

anne marie in philly

Sally said...

I have faith in you Lizzie-poo. You will keep plodding along, and then all of a sudden, you will have so many FOs on your hands that your digital camera will fall apart with exhaustion and Blogger will inplode. It's all good. Hang in there. The end results will be worth it!!

Dorothy said...

The sock looks great. The perfect bit of bright for a grey winter's day.

I find that sprinkling a dishcloth or two into the mix of large projects makes you feel like you are accomplishing something on the days when the knitting seems to hit the black hole.