Just One More Leave of Absence; also a Discovery

I’m back again. And I’m about to leave, AGAIN.

I just can’t stay near a computer or internet service long enough to get anything posted on here lately. I’d apologize, but A) I’m sure you understand, and B) I was having fun. Anyway, thanks to my father-in-law, I’ve got something to write a post on.

The original plan was to move East before now, but we got tempted by members of my family to join them on a short jaunt to the West. Yellowstone, Grandpa’s cabin, ghost towns, all that. It was most certainly worth the delay, and it’s a shame I can’t show you all 400 (appx.) photos that we took. But if you’ve been, you know how nice it is. And if you haven’t you should really think about it sometime.

With all that time in the car, you can bet I came prepared to knit. On the way out, I cast on and finished a set of fingerless brioche mitts. It was another Nancy Marchant design, the Fiets Hand Shoes. It became obvious pretty early on that my gauge was a little off (isn’t it always?) and that I would end up with gloves that were far too baggy for my hands. I’m stubborn, though, and refused to rip back and start over like a reasonable person. So instead I decided that all dimensions of the gloves would be knit in a similarly large manner, and that I would later shrink the gloves down. I was thanking my lucky stars that I made these with the Lorna’s Laces Green Line yarn, since it isn’t a superwash.

I wish I’d actually taken pictures of the gloves during this process, but alas, I only have the end result. Let me assure you, though, that prior to shrinking, these were gloves for some kind of monster. Also, you’ll have to pardon these photos. Everything’s in boxes, I have no daylight, and I really wanted to get this post done before The Move, so they were taken just moments ago. I’m too impatient to fix them.

The gloves ended up felting a little bit, as expected, and got down to just the right size. I’m sad to lose some of that stitch definition, but when you touch the gloves, you can still clearly feel the ridges of each color, so I’m more or less okay with it. So let’s declare it a success!

I decided after finishing that it was probably my last brioche project for some time. The nature of brioche makes it necessary to work on needles a couple sizes smaller than usual so that you don’t end up with absurdly wide, stretchy items, and I am more than ready to work on needles bigger than a size 5 again.

Oh, wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. I already cast on for something else, and it’s lace-weight on size 1s. Quoth Homer: D’oh.

Miriam Felton put out a six-pattern e-book called The Chevron Collection earlier in May, all of which I like, and several of which H really likes. In particular, The Rill Scarf. So, I cast on. It’s going really well, and if I’d remembered to bring it in from the car, I’d have a more current picture of it for you. But here’s what it looked like back in Idaho:

Anyway. My last note is about a nifty little shortcut I devised for this scarf, or for anything else. (This likely isn’t new, but it’s new to me, and I did it myself!) What you have to understand is that I’m a lazy knitter. I’ll put in the hours to knit a piece, but I still have ends to sew in on gloves I wore all winter. It’s more than just sewing in ends, though and there is a particular evil of knitting that bugs me every time. It’s not even that hard, I just feel like it wastes time: the ssk. It’s irrational, but I just don’t like it. If I could make all my decreases k2tog, I would. And now I do.

When I was reading “Knitting Without Tears” a while back I realized that I do the sort of cheater version of purling my stitches. EZ talks about the proper way to wrap your purled stitches, and with a bit of experimenting at the time, I found it really changed nothing about my tension or uniformity; it just took longer. Oh, and it makes the stitches lay in the other direction… That last bit is what I suddenly remembered a couple days ago.

What I do now is single out the stitches that would normally be part of an ssk in the next row, and when I get to purling them, I wrap those stitches–and only those–the other way. It takes maybe a hair longer, but not nearly so long as a dreaded ssk, and as and added bonus, nothing has to jump around between needles and risk dropping, which is a constant dread in tiny lacework. When I get to the next row, viola. The ssk stitches are already facing the other way and can be easily k2tog’d. Every time it happens, I want to go back 30 seconds and thank myself for thinking of me like that.

Laziness: not exactly the mother of invention, but a sort of highly influential uncle.

Well, that about does it for me tonight. I’ve got one more day here in the ‘burbs and then it’s The Big Move. When I’ve got more than a few minutes at a computer, I swear I’ll catch up and comment on your blog posts, dear readers! See you in Maine!

  1. Rue said:

    That scarf is going to be really lovely! (And thanks for the link to the collection – I don’t know how I missed it.)

    Good luck with the move!

  2. Jodi said:

    Good luck with the move! I’m very impressed by all the brioche stitch — it drives me absolutely bonkers, so I’ve never actually finished a project with it.

  3. Instead of a ssk, I usually ktog through the back loops – it’s essentially the same maneuver, without the annoying slipping, slipping again, re-slipping, then knitting…

    • Oh, dang! That’d totally work! I’m going to have to throw a few of those into this scarf as well. Thanks!

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