Two Unfinished Objects

In an earlier blog entry, I introduced you to the world of UnFinished Objects, UFOs in knitters’ parlance. I thought you, dear reader, might like to meet a couple of my UFOs.

First up is the Stonington Shawl. I started the Stonington as part of a KAL (Knit-A-Long) on the Yahoo! Group, EZasPi, a group devoted to the designs of knitting god Elizabeth Zimmermann. I was using the instructions found in one of her books, the title of which I forget. Maybe The Knitter’s Workshop. Anyway, in the book the shawl is just plain garter stitch, so I added Old Shell for the border.

The shawl is knitted using a technique that EZ “unvented,” and I thought I’d give it a try. I personally think the technique would have been better off not being “unvented,” but I’m sure there are knitters who strongly disagree. Anyway, after knitting the shawl, I ended up with a garment that was too small to be used for anything, and the Stonington technique doesn’t allow for adjusting the size of the shawl by adding more rounds to the border. I decided I had two choices. One was to travel to the frog pond (more knitter’s parlance) and rip-it, rip-it! But ripping it out was not an appealing option because the yarn I used is very hairy and ripping it back is a royal PITA. (That’s a general acronym that needs no explanation.) The only other option, as I saw it, was to knit a second border using the knitting-in-the-round technique.

Stonington Shawl in progress

Shawl ready for second border

So I knit the set up rows and set the project aside because, quite frankly, I was sick of looking at it.

Stonington Shawl in project bag

Stonington Shawl in its project bag

But lately this shawl has been creeping into my thoughts, and I think that it will soon become a WIP again. EZ completely defeated me with that abomination known as the Adult Surprise Jacket, but I won’t be beaten again. I will conquer the Stonington and have a lovely, or perhaps not so lovely lace shawl to show for it.

Projects often get set aside, like Stonington, or jettisoned altogether, like the Adult Surprise Jacket, because the pattern just isn’t working for the knitter. But sometimes a project goes from WIP to UFO for more benign reasons.

The latter is the case for my Dale of Norway St. Moritz sweater. The Heilo yarn is wonderful to work with, the colors are beautiful, the pattern interesting.

Dale of Norway St. Moritz in progress

But because I’m knitting the crew-neck version instead of the zippered version of the sweater, I have to refer to two different charts to knit the central motif, and the charts are on different pages. It’s confusing and tedious to have to go back and forth between the two charts, and it’s easy to make mistakes. Knitting this part of the sweater takes concentration. It isn’t television knitting, at least not if the television program actually requires the vision part. I guess I would describe knitting the central pattern as being okay for television listening, but not okay for television watching, if you get my drift. St. Moritz isn’t football knitting, and it sure as heck isn’t hockey knitting. It isn’t TCM (Turner Classic Movies) knitting, either.

Once I get past the central pattern, St. Moritz will become mindless knitting again. But getting the central pattern done is a big obstacle. And so, here sits St. Moritz, all forlorn, sadly watching me knit lace shawls, socks, hats, all manner of things, while she patiently awaits the knitting spirits to move me to tackle the remainder of that central pattern.

St. Moritz in project bag

St. Moritz in its project bag

Someday.

Not A Bed Of Roses

I am quite certain, dear reader, that you are well aware that life isn’t always a bed of roses. Even when life is sweet, there are always a few dark clouds around. Yeah, I know, I’m mixing my metaphors. So, sue me!

Anyway, right now life is pretty sweet. It’s autumn and that means football is in full swing and hockey is just around the corner. Yesterday was a pretty exciting day in the NFL. My beloved Buffalo Bills finally beat the Boston New England Patriots in a very exciting game. I think it was the Bills first victory over the Pats since 2003, and folks, these two teams are in the same division and play each other twice a year. Yikes! That’s a lot of losses to your arch rival, and to finally get a victory feels really, really, really nice. It actually makes up for the Mountaineers losing to LSU on Saturday night. And last night the Steelers managed to limp to a victory over the Colts. It wasn’t purdy, but a win’s a win. I’ll take ‘em any way I can get ‘em.

And then there is hockey. The season begins in earnest on October 6, but the preseason is in full swing. The Pens are 3-0 in preseason games and looking great. Evgeny “Geno” Malkin has recovered from his knee surgery and has never looked better. The Pens are so deep that they will have to send some mighty fine hockey players back to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. I just hope Eric “Big Dog” Tangadi isn’t among them. I really want to see him stay in the Burgh. I think we need his rather sizeable presence in front of the net. And the best news of all is that Sid Crosby is progressing very well in his recovery from last year’s season-ending concussion. He had some set-backs earlier, but now he’s not only skating with the team, he’s scrimmaging with them. Let’s hope that there are no more concussion symptoms and that he will soon be cleared for contact. Maybe he’ll even be back to playing before the end of the year. Wouldn’t that be grand?

Okay, here come the clouds. 🙂

If only my knitting were going as well as football and hockey. Sadly, it ain’t no bed of roses. I decided to finish up some WIP before starting anything new and now I’m committed. Or should I say that I should BE committed. LOL

Ages ago, I started one of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Adult Surprise Jacket. This is a grown-up sized version of EZ’s famous Baby Surprise Jacket (BSJ). I’ve never made a BSJ, and maybe I should have followed Meg Swansen’s advice–Meg is EZ’s daughter, for those of you who don’t travel in the wonderful world of knitters–and made a BSJ before starting the adult version. The  BSJ is an adorable baby sweater; the ASJ is anything but adorable. All that freaking garter stitch in worsted-weight wool?!?!? What’s the word I’m wracking my brain for?  Um, ugly. Yeah, that’s the word. Ugly.

I started working on the ASJ back on October 1 of 2009. Like a tattoo, at the time, it seemed like a good idea. And I will admit that there are things about the ASJ that are fun. The construction is really ingenious. But it get very boring very quickly. Very. Boring.

I had progressed this far

ASJ in progress

when I set it aside to knit socks. And there it sat, on top of my knitting basket. Looking forelorn. Making me feel guilty. Day after day. Week after week. Month after month. I just didn’t want to pick it up again. Did I mention it was boring? But I’d gotten this far, and I needed something mindless to work on while watching football and hockey. And endless rows of garter stitch is about as mindless as knitting can get.

Last night I finally got the button band started. It was my third or maybe fourth attempt at picking up stitches along the edge of the center front of the sweater. I kept ripping it out because it looked like sh#t. This most recent, and dare I say final, attempt looks better than all the rest, so I’m going to live with it. I have the buttonholes done and only a few more rows of mindless, boring garter stitch are left. Then it’s on to the sleeves. More mindless, boring garter stitch. Then comes the fun part–folding the messy-looking blob into a sweater and trimming it with I-cord. Oh, I cannot wait to knit yards and yards of I-cord. (That’s sarcasm, folks, in case you couldn’t tell.)

I’m bound and determined that I am going to finish my ASJ. And wear it, too, even if it is less than lovely to look at. Normally I have no qualms about ripping out a project that is not going well, even if it is nearing completion. But the ASJ is such a trainwreck that I just cannot take my eyes off it. If I don’t finish it, it will haunt me to the end of my days. So my plan is to finish it, then toss it into the corner of a closet and forget about it. 🙂

The ASJ isn’t my only knitting cloud. As you may recall from a past episode, I started a sock in the Froot Loop pattern using a lovely sparkle yarn from Draygone Yarnes in a colorway called Prom Dress. The knitting was going very well, and I had progressed to this point…

Froot Loop Sock #1 ripped

Froot Loop Sock #1 before I ripped it out

and I decided to try the sock on. Yikes! It was just a little too tight. Not so tight that I couldn’t pull the sock on and off, but just tight enough that the sock wasn’t comfortable. What’s a knitter to do? I can only speak for myself, but what I did was–you guessed it–rip it out and start over. On bigger needles–2.5mm instead of 2.25. What a world of difference a quarter of a millimeter can make.

Froot Loop Sock #1 Remake

The fabric is much nicer and the pattern looks even better. I think the sock will fit this time around, but I won’t know for sure until I have turned the heel and knitted a few rounds of the gusset decreases. Fortunately, I enjoy knitting this pattern, so it isn’t a big deal that I had gotten so far only to have to start over.

I have a few more unfinished projects waiting for my attention, most notably St. Moritz,

Dale of Norway St. Moritz in progress

so as soon as I finish ASJ, I’ll get to work on St. Moritz again. The big question is, can I restrain myself from starting Joan Schrouder’s lovely lace sweater in A Gathering of Lace when the yarn I ordered for it arrives?

I was thinking it would make a nice Winter Solstice present for a certain someone, but I doubt I will have enough time to finish it by then if I finish St. Moritz first. Oh, what the hell. St. Moritz has waited this long; what’s another three months?