Caution: Knitter at Work

Sweet Georgia says you have a problem when you start making makeshift drop spindles so you can spin at work. She didn't specify what *kind* of problem, and some very innovative ones have been suggested in the comments.

Since my last 10 days worth of knitting have been heavily biased towards a Seekrit Project that I can't show anyone (yet), I got thinking about my work situation. Now, lots can be said about same, but given that this is The Knitting Bit, I thought I'd present a catalogue of the yarn that is temporarily stashed in and around my desk. Given that almost all of this yarn was bought with specific projects in mind, I'm noting those, too, lest I forget.

Brace yourselves:

  • 10 balls Rowan 'Polar', in white – The wonderful Polar is now discontinued, and this is intended to become a baggy, snuggly jumper, probably Ice Maiden from Rowan 30. I bought it thinking I could dye it (evenly or unevenly – undecided), but I might also like a big, white jumper. Until I spill coffee on it, anyway. Maybe I'll make it white, and dye the whole garment when it inevitably gets stained.
  • 8 balls of Debbie Bliss Maya in wonderful, dark green colourway. – I'm sure I had a project in mind when I bought this – at the very least, I checked that this is enough to make something wearable and useful. I can't remember what, though. Maybe a chunky cabled thing, but there might not be enough for that. I'm sure it felts beautifully, but I think that might be sacrelige
  • 12 balls Rowan Biggy Print, kind of a chocolate colour – Hmm. This was definitely intended to be Roxie, from Big Just Got Bigger. Unfortunately, that calls for *Chunky* Print. Pants. So now I'm thinking Jude, from Bigger Picture. Very wearable with jeans in the winter
  • 2 balls Rowan Chunky Print, in a sludgy grey-brown – heaven only knows. Special offer.
  • 1 ball of Rowan Big Wool, in Arctic – ditto
  • 9 balls Rowan Plaid in very dark grey – not enough to make Gust, from the Plaid collection – and I've gone off Thunder (it looks like a poncho with sleeves). I'm thinking maybe Atmosphere, but sized down slightly. It's crying out for cables, anyway. I have a design of my own that may fit the bill…
  • 4 balls Rowan Cotton Tape, in raspberry – part of the Strawberry Stripe set
  • 10 balls of Rowan Biggy Print in Troll – a mix of apple, acid and sludge greens. I love it, and it's a discontinued colour (I think). Destined for Gina, from the aforementioned Bigger Picture
  • 12 hanks Noro Iro, very dark colours including navy, browns and purples – I swear i had a specific project in mind for this, but I can't find it now. Alternatives include Sherbie from Naturally Noro, Larstorp, from the second Cornelia Tuttle-Hamilton book, or again, maybe my own design with the cables that I hinted about above.
  • 2 hanks of Lorna's Laces in Somerset – an actual project, supposed to be my first socks (but of course incorporating lace – why make anything simple?), but I've since completed a totally different sock (see below). I'm trying to cultivate a sock-knitting habit at work, where I often get short bursts of downtime (2 or 3 minutes at once) – but the lace pattern requires too much thought for such short spells
  • 2 hanks Regia 4-ply, in Helsinki – one of these is already a sock, and the other is in progress (at the heel flap stage). These are part of my Dad's Christmas present, and have been much more successful work knitting.
  • Three more hanks of sock yarn – also destined to go to my Dad at Christmas, hopefully by then in sock form.
  • Wendy Peter Pan yarn, three balls, variegated blue – also a nylon/acrylic blend, but machine washable and not all that bad really. It's the secret project, and is almost all knitted. Honest.

So, what do you look like as a knitter at work?

What a little cutie!

This wee fella was sitting calmly just past the fence by the path as Jack and I walked back to the office after lunch yesterday. It's easily the closest I have ever been to a wild squirrel for any length of time; he was quite unconcerned by us and sat, eating conkers and swimming through the long grass to find more, for about five minutes.

He's *tiny*, and I'd say very young – this year's baby, I'd guess. The grass was too long for me to get many good shots (and none at all of his tail, which was fluffy and luxuriant, seemed about twice as long as he was, and showed only when he jumped), but at this point I though he was going to hop closer to say hi!

He almost looks as if he was about to run, but he was just interested, I think:

Does this sound otterly to you?

Alison's Existing Situation

    Active, outgoing, and restless. Feels frustrated by the slowness with which events develop along the desired lines. This leads to irritability, changeability, and lack of persistence when pursuing a given objective.

Alison's Stress Sources

    Delights in the tasteful, the gracious, and the sensitive, but maintains her attitude of critical appraisal and refuses to be swept off her feet unless genuineness and integrity can be absolutely vouched for. Therefore keeps a strict and watchful control on her emotional relationships as she must know exactly where she stands. Demands complete sincerity as a protection against her own tendency to be too trusting.

Alison's Restrained Characteristics

    Feels that she cannot do much about her existing problems and difficulties and that she must make the best of things as they are. Able to achieve satisfaction from sexual activity.

    Feels that things stand in her way, that circumstances are forcing her to compromise and forgo some pleasures for the time being.

Alison's Desired Objective

    Needs release from stress. Longs for peace, tranquillity, and contentment.

Alison's Actual Problem

    Needs to protect herself against her tendency to be too trusting, as she finds it is liable to be misunderstood or exploited by others. Is therefore seeking a relationship providing peaceful and understanding intimacy, and in which each knows exactly where the other stands.

Take the ColorQuiz yourself right now!

Bobbins!

Well, Mask is progressing nicely, but rather than just showing another progress shot:

and the obligatory nightmare of yarn behind the knitting:

I thought I'd let you know about my 'bobbins'. Maybe this is a technique that many others have already pre-invented and is in common use, but I think it's useful. I'm winding mini-yarnballs and securing them with small hairbands – the terry towelling type with no metal join or edge to 'catch' on the yarn:

The resulting bobbins are light, easy to unwind and easy to manage. I managed to get a whole bag of (really ugly) hairbands from the local chemists for £1:

Sorted.

Slow progress

But I'm enjoying every minute of it! I'm now 18 rows into the 'Mask' motif. It's much more of a recognisable motif than it was at three rows in; but there's still a long way to go:

Heh. Did I mention that I am yearning to make Brocade from the latest Rowan mag?? Now, *that's* a lot of intarsia.

In other projects, York is seamed:

Only a zip required, and then it's All Done. I've enjoyed knitting this one; and I'm looking forwards to wearing it even more.

I've had several projects on the go at once recently (though not as many as some seem to!), but I can't say I like it much. I have the Mask jumper, and another Christmas project that is plain, easy knitting for when the intarsia gets too much. The easy knitting one is another Noro, McKee, in Silk Garden. McKee is also very portable, which multiple intarsia bobbins aren't. At work, I have the Second Sock (yet more Christmas knitting). And until recently, I've had York on the go, too. In fact, since the zip needs buying and inserting, I'm still 'on the go' with it. And though I like having a couple of options (e.g. socks at work, portable non-intarsia, challenging project for enhancing skills and vocabulary), I find it hard to work on any one project without feeling guilty that I'm *not* working on the others. Which has the irritating side effect that I occasionally end up working on Nothing. Which is frustrating and unproductive.

I guess I'm more of a 'one project' person than most.

4 out of 63

Started the intarsia pattern on the front of one of my Christmas projects today; I'm doing the Martin Storey 'Mask' jumper from Rowan 31, but in the discontinued Cork (custom dyed) rather than the intended Handknit DK cotton. The gauge is obviously massively different, which will result in oversize motifs, similar in scale to what you'd see on the child's version of the original sweater. (What do you mean, 'making life difficult'??!?).

Anyway, I've done 4 out of the 63 rows on the front mask motif this evening. It's taken me about 2 hours, and though it's only two colours, it's intarsia. Wanna see the back??

Yikes. Wanna see what that mess has acheived on the front?

Hmmmm.

First sock complete!


Regia 6-ply 'Helsinki', 56 stitch cast on, 2×2 rib cuff. Eye of partridge heel flap, and a 1×1 rib section on top of the instep for extra fit. I used the 'generic sock' recipe from here as my guidance, but modified the toe shaping. My Dad's feet (for whom this pair of socks is destined) are shaped similarly to mine:

We have a pronounced toe-slope, with the big toe being easily the longest and the little toe easily the shortest, with a pretty smooth slope between. This being the case, I didn't want to have a symmetrically shaped toe with a point in the middle. Therefore, instead of decreasing at both sides on every other row, I decreased only once per row, every row, but did 2 decreases at the 'little toe' side for every one decrease at the 'big toe' side. I'm pleased with the result:

The observant will notice that this means I now have a definite 'right foot' sock, and therefore need to remember that the next must be a 'left foot' sock. I bet I forget.

The sock fits me well in shape, but is a smidgen on the big side. Which is appropriate, as Dad's feet are slightly larger than mine:

I'm inordinately proud.