Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Little Rest and Recreation

Whoosh. That was the sound of February slipping past. I started working on this post 10 days ago, stopped to take a couple of photos and whoosh, 10 days later.

The knitting projects continue ahead of schedule. I take these crafting spurts of energy rarely, so I enjoy them while they last. Right now my mind is too scattered to read or work on my computer projects in the evening, so knitting is the perfect alternative. (So long as I don't tackle a complicated pattern.) It relaxes me, calms my mind and generally puts me to sleep, so it's a wonder that I'm making any progress.

But progress is being made. About a year and a half ago I tackled a crocheted shawl which turned out to be a study in frustration. I prefer knitting as a rule, but once in awhile I am tempted to the dark side of crochet. And every time I succumb to temptation, I have to relearn all the stitches. Since I don't particularly enjoy crocheting, I tend to work for awhile and drop the project for awhile, and then when I pick it back up I have to go back and learn all the stitches again. I have a real mental block about crochet.

So it took a long time to finalize the shawl, but the end was attained earlier this week.

I was a little upset that the shawl turned out to be a capelet, much smaller than the dimensions given by the pattern. I was upset until I turned to Ravelry (an online fiber arts community) and found that much more proficient crocheters had run into the same problem. Now I'm upset with the designer, but much relieved that I am not a total flop in the crochet arena.

Earlier in the month I completed another scarf, a kit I impulsively acquired back in December. Impulses get me into trouble and this was one of those instances. Even though the result is fairly pleasing, I hated the yarns in the kit and was much relieved when I finished. To add further aggravation, Dixie decided that one of the hairy yarns really needed to be killed and would sneak into my knitting bag whenever I was working on the scarf, grab the offensive yarn and race away. I lost track of how many times I had to rewind that particular yarn.

A couple of weekends ago, I was tempted by Yarnorama's Facebook posts to trek over to Paige and check out her sale. While I was there, I inquired about table swifts and if they worked as well as umbrella swifts. Swifts are tools that help you wind skeined yarn into balls of yarn when you don't have a handy set of hands to hold the skeins while you wind. I've had this umbrella swift for many years and it works fine - except, it scares all the pets when I set it up and set it to spinning.

Susan, Yarnorama's owner, assured me that table swifts work just as well and she had one in stock that she set up and demonstrated. I liked the thing immediately, so I added it to my pile of purchases. When I set it up at home and wound a skein, no pets were disturbed.

Not only were the pets happy, but I was happy that it will be much easier to set up and take down and store. That umbrella swift has always been a problem. Although, I don't know that I will be able to part with my old friend, so now I have two swifts to store.

Naturally I did not escape without buying more yarn.

And before the evening was over, I had completed another ruffled scarf made with a special yarn "fabric" that requires very little actual knitting and looks like it was a complicated thing to accomplish.

I'm actually way ahead at this point, having completed two projects in January and 3 projects in February. I am more than half-way done with a Bamboo/angora yarn cowl, so I should stay on course through March at least.

A nice side-effect of my current knitting passion is the discovery of the Ravelry website. I have been able to catalog the yarn I have stashed, the needles I have on hand, and now if I'm out shopping and run into a tempting project I can pull up Ravelry on my iPhone and check my stash to see if I have the necessary yarn and needles on hand. If I have yarn that I've forgotten what project it was purchased for, I can inquire on the yarn and see what others have made with it and get fresh inspiration. It's a really cool place for knitters, crocheters and weavers to hang out.

I'm enjoying getting back to my knitting. The thing I need most right now is peace and quiet and lots of calm. Knitting is the perfect solution. Although - I'm tempted to make another run at that Tree of Life afghan and if I give into that temptation, I may be headed for a nervous breakdown.


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