The other night, I realized that my knitting has reached a level of disorder that’s above my tolerance threshold. I came to that realization when I went to bed, my head trying to wrap itself around all of my various projects, both planned and on the needles, how to right the ones that have issues, and where the yarn, needles, patterns, and other source material might be located. Where are the small circulars I need to pick up the stitches for the hat? What yarn should I use for my son’s scarf? How should I re-work the cowl that’s not turning out the way I’d like? Where did those mysterious dozen extra stitches come from on the shawl, and how should I deal with them? It was all a bit addling.
Too much clutter stresses me out and keeps me from being able to focus. That’s true for my knitting as well as about everything else in my life. Right now, next to my knitting chair, I’ve got a mashup of sidelined projects, books and sources for upcoming projects, and projects I’m actively knitting. I won’t even pretend that I’m going to get all of that, plus my stash, needles, supplies, and books all super-organized, but I do need to bring some order to my little part of the universe if I hope to continue to make progress on these things.
So, I decided that before I devote any more time to knitting, I need to tidy up a bit and think through each project I have on the needles and those that are going to be cast on soon. A little thinking and planning will help me progress more quickly.
Pruning my projects: I’m designing some colorwork mittens, and the first prototype was a partial success, but only that. I came up with a basic mitten design that I liked, but the colorwork will need to be significantly re-worked — I just wasn’t happy with the design. Nor do I have time to devote to it right now. Not with work demands, and not with the late summer food preservation efforts that I have to undertake right now. No, the redesign will demand some quality time with my drafting software and some Fair Isle motif stitch dictionaries. I’ll pack the yarn and charts away in my sewing room for now, rather than have them take up space next to my knitting chair.
Getting a grip on current projects: The Shetland Crepe Shawl is doing just fine. No worries there. I just have to plug along on the ever-increasing rows, and will get there eventually.
The Shawl Collar Shawl is cast on, although I must have accidentally cast on an additional 12 stitches, as there were 12 too many when I completed the first patterned row. Rather than take the whole thing out and then cast on again all 363 stitches, I included extra decreases toward the end of that first row, and am hoping that the extra decreases won’t be that obvious and that the rest of the shawl will go more or less according to plan. If the next row or two don’t bear that out, I’ll frog it and try again.
I’m pretty sure I’ll have to frog the Encompass Cowl. I’ve modified this one to be just a skosh smaller than what the pattern calls for so that I can include about an inch of ribbing on each long side. I don’t like to cast on umpteen stitches and then attempt to “join, being careful not to twist.” I’d rather add some back-and-forth ribbing and then join. Anyway, when I modified the pattern, it looked OK on the gauge swatch, but when I started knitting it up in the round, I didn’t like the patterns I’d chosen for the blocks. I modified it to use just charts 2, 3, and 4. Only after I had this on the needles did I see that I’d prefer to have four charts, modified to be smaller than the original pattern. I don’t have the right number of stitches cast on to add in a fourth chart, so this is going to have to be frogged, and frogged carefully so that I can salvage all of the yarn. For this one, I’ll need to reconsider the charts and possibly look at a stitch dictionary to see if there are any other reversible patterns to consider, re-do the math, and then cast on again. Back to the drawing board. Heavy sigh.
Then, I’ve got to work on the Coronet Hat. I had one skein of yarn left from the Rainbow Scarf, and decided this hat would be the highest and best use of that skein. I cast on and did the cabling, making it long enough to go around my head, and then did a three-needle bind off (yes, I hate Kitchener that much). I attampted to pick up the 80-odd stitches, but managed only 54. I didn’t think 54 would cut it, so I took out the stitches and blocked the cable band to try to even the stitches back out again, which was only a partial success. This time, I’ll pick up the stitches with a much smaller needle and then transfer them to the working needle.
If I take care of all of those things, plus do a little tidying up of my knitting basket and bag, I should be able to think about my upcoming projects: With autumn coming on, the guys are starting to ask me about their sweaters and other things they’d like knitted for them. I’ve got to get Eric’s Aran out of storage and finish that up. Steve’s sweater yarn is on order, and while that’s wending its way to me, I need to have him choose a sweater design, or at least show me some things he likes so that I can design something he’ll actually wear.