Thursday, June 09, 2005

Knitting Nemesis

And her name is Lace. Me and the lace capelet are not seeing eye to eye. In fact, my eyes are crossed. And I am cross. Silly blob of yarn! *fling* There she goes.

Ohhhh. I'm having a hard time but it's mostly operator error (I'd say 85%) and the rest is the dang yarn itself. I have cast on for this project 6 times. 194 stitches each time. Why? Well. Let me tell you. Grab some coffee.

Originally, I bought 2 types of yarn, Berroco Cotton Twist and Soft Twist in 2 close shades. The CT matched my dress perfectly so that's what I planned to use. However I didn't pay attention the first time and grabbed the ST instead. There goes one. The second time I cast on during the drive back from Reno on Saturday. Bad, bad idea. The third attempt was later that night and it went well except...I either dropped a stitch or added one. Plus, the stitches were very loose. After sleeping on it, I decided to frog it and try a different set of needles (the Denise instead of bamboo) as well as the knit cast-on to tighten things up a little. Iteration 4 was too tight and I was splitting the yarn like crazy. Cotton Twist, by the way, is horrible for that. It is very lightly twisted with some kind of shiny rayon or nylon strand that catches on everything and my hands are rough. The yarn label should come with a warning that says "Loose knitting is required". Trial #5 was back on the bamboo needles. By this time my eyes really were crossing and I had a tough time focusing. I was OK with the cast-on but I screwed up the very first row (dropping/adding stitches somewhere) and I lost it! I was at the point of tears. Karl was asking how he could help. I frogged again, cast on for the 6th time. After doing that, I asked Karl to count the stitches to make sure I had the right number. Then I took a bath.

Later, I consoled myself by speed knitting the second sock. I have been longing to work on the sock. The leg part is almost done. If you know me, however, you know that I will not give up on something until I am I satisfied that I did it properly. This is a good and bad trait. Good because it shows perseverence and discipline, bad because it can be fueled by anger and frustration. Ask my friends who have gone skiing with me. Therefore, I cannot work on the sock until I am happy with the capelet.

Early this morning, before getting ready for work, I took out the lace cast-on and carefully worked two rows. So far so good. The pattern itself is quite easy so I hope I'm not scaring you away from that. It's not the pattern. It's my own fault. The capelet will work up fast if I just pay closer attention to what I'm doing.

So that's been my knitting week so far. I was hoping to have a pretty picture of the capelet by now but it's not going to happen. The good news is that I'm still having fun with my sock and wish I could start on another pair.

I will end with a few penguin photos for Rebekah who enjoys these little guys as much as I do. In New Zealand we went all over the South Island tracking down rare penguins. In Oamaru, there was a colony of tiny Blue Penguins who regularly trekked the beach in the wee hours and then at dusk, back and forth from the ocean to their nests.

Further down the coast in Dunedin, we took a tour of the Yellow-Eyed Penguin Conservation Reserve. The Yellow-Eyes are the rarest penguins in the world. The conservation has built a reserve for them along the beach so they can nest in peace. The reserve consists of tunnels that people can walk through and view the penguins at ground level, through "hides". You will have to zoom in on this photo but there are 2 penguins who have just emerged from the ocean. They shook their bodies and flapped their flippers, then waddled/hopped across the dunes to their respective nests. So endearing.

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