Saturday, March 31, 2007

Knitting projects

I've been meaning to do a post about my knitting projects for ages, but it just keeps slipping my mind whenever I sit down at the computer. Easy to do, considering the modest progress that I have made. When I read about other people whipping through one project after another (especially Vivi, who apparently is just as much a debutant as I am and yet I am in awe of the things she has managed to do) I kind of wonder if I might not be missing some critical knitting gene. I keep plugging away at it and am desperately proud of everything I've done, but I suspect no one else would quite understand why. I've been meaning to take some photos but my camera is out of batteries and the other day at Monoprix I spent 25 euro on replacements and then left them sitting there on the counter. I am still vaguely hoping that the turn up at the bottom of my purse or maybe the Battery Fairy will come and leave some under my pillow. In any case, the idea of going back and spending that much money again pains me.

So no photos. Anyways, half of the work I've done is just sort of practice swatches to get in the hang of things. I started a scarf from a really lovely blue wool that I bought at Anny Blatt and it was such a mess- full of holes and stretchy patches where the tension wasn't tight enough- that I decided it was worth the time and yarn to just practice a bit more. After a few weeks of that, I unwound my scarf and started again. I am really pleased with the result. Of course, its just a plain scarf, there isn't even a fringe on the end, but its a lovely color and I've started wearing it (must get a crochet hook though to finish weaving in the ends where I added a new piece of yarn.) It looks a bit messy at present, but I beam with pride whenever I wear it. I've got two balls of the yarn left to make a hat but I haven't found a pattern yet that will work. For one thing, I don't have any circular needs and that seems to be the easiest way to go out making a hat. Keeping forgetting to stop in the shop to pick some up so I imagine spring will be here by the time I do buy them. Oh well. That takes the pressure off.

I also managed to make a practice hat from a Beginners' Kit that I had in the cupboard. It was a bit of a trick for me because it was stripey and by the end, there was such a tangle of extra yarn hanging off the one side, I could barely see what I was doing. The only problem is that it is teeny tiny and it only fits on Ella- who, naturally, hates it. But it definitely looks like a hat and it fits like a hat should fit (if your head is only 51 cm in diameter...) I felt so proud of my new skills, that I decided to launch into a proper knitting project and last night, I cast on 88 stitches of bubble gum pink Baby Blatt yarn to make a sweater for Ella.

I'm so in over my head. I found the most basic sweater I possibly could- its a Phildar pattern, edged in seam binding tape so I don't have to do any fancy edges or button holes. But I need to use size 3 needles, which seem so tiny to me. When I first started using this yarn for the practice sample, it felt like I was using bamboo skewers and dental floss. The worst part is that the knit is so tiny that I need to do 64 rows before I even get to the arm holes. Now, I'm clearly not a seasoned knitter, but 64 rows seems like a lot of work, which means a lot of time, which means plenty of opportunity to throw in the towel or get distracted. The last thing I want to do is put in 30 hours of work on this, and still have so much left to do that I give up and pack it away in one of my craft cupboards. I might have to do regular updates here in order to keep myself motivated.

I suppose part of my enthusiasm is due to the fact that I managed to get back to the knitting group on Thursday this week. Last week I tried and just ended up running so late, that it seemed like it wasn't worth it (besides, B and I were both in terrible moods and it was much more satisfying to shout at each other and stomp around the apartment than go out. We are the classic Old Married Couple. Remember George's parents on Seinfeld? Well, we are getting there. ) Originally, this Thursday I was planning on going out to a party at Maxim's with Mimi but she backed out at the last minute. Finally, I'm glad she did. Its gotten to be a bigger group than it was originally and there are lots of different kinds of people. I feel like I am turning into a real Parisienne, the way I've gotten stuck in my tiny little group of friends (who are all fantastic, this is no reflection on them) and just don't bother making new friends. Having half of them move away has sort of forced me to make some efforts, I suppose. This knitting group is the perfect antidote. I mean, I don't know if I'll end up life long friends with anyone, but even just having the chance to talk about different things with new people is a welcome break in the monotony of the stay-at-home mom lifestyle.

I'll go to knitting next week with my sweater and get some opinions on how long it will take me to finish that kind of project. If the concensus is "Forever" then I am abandoning it in favor of something else, made with big fat yarn that is about 10 rows front and back. Knitting is not the best hobby for someone cursed with the need for Immediate Gratification but I'm trying. Baby steps, right? And I should also have photos by next week. We are doing an egg hunt with the playgroup on Tuesday and when I suggested it to the other moms the only thing going through my head was 'photo op.' That gives the Battery Fairy 3 more days to come through. Failing that, I might just ask B to pick them up. I would just kill me handing over the money. 500 euro for a pair of shoes? No problem. 2 times 25 for some batteries and I'm coming out in hives. There is no sense in it.

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