Sooner or later, I knew I’d give in to startitis. I knew that the longer I delayed it, the crazier it would be once I gave in. So, I wasn’t overly shocked with myself when I recently devoted an entire day to starting new projects, and started no fewer than four of them.
In January, I watched wistfully as knitter after knitter tweeted or blogged about starting new projects after the Christmas rush. Not me. Instead, I knit dutifully on Steve’s Aran. No new projects for me. February came and went. The knitters who had started projects in January were proudly showing off their first finished objects, or at least WIPs, and sometimes starting even more projects. “Nope,” I grumped. “Not me. Gotta finish that second sleeve.”
It’s March, and I finally have that sleeve off the needles. I’ll spend some time next weekend getting the Aran seamed up. In the meantime, I decided to start this Birdsfoot Wrap to take with me when Steve and I go to London in May:
The pattern is Birdsfoot Wrap by Alice Starmore, and the yarn is Virtual Yarns Pebble Beach.
Casting on the wrap did take the edge off my startitis urge. I knitted away on it, happy to be knitting something other than the teal Aran. I began thinking about our upcoming London trip. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to start my travel knitting projects, just to make sure I didn’t have any issues with them before we left? Yes, it was a good idea, but I was reluctant to give in to startitis until I was pretty sure I could finish the Birdsfoot wrap in time for the trip. I knit on.
A slushy, sloppy, winter-into-spring snow set in on Friday. I had the day off, with no pressing errands to run. I scooted husband and son off to work and school. Eight hours of peace. What to do?
I took out the Birdsfoot Wrap for a reality check. I was getting about four inches of wrap for every skein, and I had 16 skeins. Goody. I wouldn’t need to order more yarn for my 60-inch wrap. I was knitting about an inch per hour, too, and had about five inches done already. I had 55 more knitter-hours to go. Nine weeks left before the London trip. I usually knit about 10 hours per week. Perfect. If I made this my principal project for the coming weeks, I could finish the wrap in time for London, and still have time to knit on some other things, to keep me from being bored or resentful of the wrap. I really could, at last, give in to startitis.
First up: the Meteliza Scarf. This fluffy fuzz-ball of a yarn has a glint of silver running through it, and the knitted fabric reminds me of the fake snow that adorns fancy department store window displays around the holidays. The scarf is my first foray into Orenburg lace knitting. I pulled out my new electronic row counter, the better to keep track of both rows and repeats for this project. So far, so good. If all goes according to plan, this will be a Christmas present for my mother-in-law.
The Ravelry link for the pattern is here. The yarn is Kid Seta Noir in white.
Next, I turned my attention to my travel projects for the London trip. I wanted to take not one, but two travel projects, given that we’ll be away for 10 days, and I don’t know if I can be faithful to just one project for that whole time.
So, why was I casting on my travel projects ahead of time, particularly this far ahead? Because I just hate it when I pull out my project at 35,000 feet, only to figure out that 1) the yarn and needles aren’t compatible, or 2) I hate the yarn, or 3) the pattern is so riddled with errors that it cannot be knit without a major re-write.
I started with the Malabrigo yarn, which will eventually be Hittchiker, a shawlette for my sister-in-law. I pulled out my new 10-inch size 6 signature needles, which I’d bought especially for this project. I knitted a bit, thinking about how the yarn and needles were working together. I held the needles together, point to point. Held so, I had a 20-inch wingspan. Hmm. Airline seats aren’t quite that wide. Would I be poking my husband constantly while knitting? And wouldn’t that perhaps put him in a less than romantic mood for our anniversary trip? I pondered. In addition to the wingspan issue, I had a color compatibility issue: The needles are green, and the yarn is a greenie-brownie-indigo colorway.
The pattern is Hitchhiker, and the yarn is Malabrigo sock yarn, colorway Pocion.
I had a hard time seeing the stitches. I thought about the sketchy, unpredictable lighting in hotel rooms. The dim lighting in airplanes. Two strikes against those needles. I sighed heavily. Even though I’d bought the needles for just this project, they probably weren’t the best idea, given the circumstances.
I tried circular Harmony needles. Circulars took care of the oar-like situation, but the needle and yarn colors still weren’t distinct enough (although they look distinct in this photo):
This is exactly the sort of thing I need to discover well before a trip. I decided to order tips in Sunstruck, which is a blond wood that will show off the stitches easily. I put Hitchhiker away and moved on.
My second travel project is a cashmere-silk scarf for me. I’d swatched for this project, so I pulled out what I thought were the right size needles and cast on. A few rows later, I could see that the scarf would be way too wide, so I had to size down two needles to obtain the correct finished width. Yet another reason why I start travel projects before I leave on a trip.
The pattern is CashSilk Fern Lace Scarf and the yarn is Sweet Georgia CashSilk Lace in Mist.
By this point, Eric had returned home from school, and Steve texted to say he’d be home before too long. I had time to start one more project. I cast on a pullover.
It’s all stockinette, and almost all in the round, so I’m telling myself it’s kind of like a giant sock — I should be able to just pick it up and knit a round or two whenever I want to take the edge off, and eventually, I’ll have a sweater.
Four projects started in one day. Two will be Christmas presents, two will be travel projects. Even if I don’t work on them much for the next several weeks, as I crank on the Birdsfoot Wrap, at least I’ve got them started and in my knitting basket. A started project is one that I have a pretty decent chance of finishing, even if it takes me most of the year.