Stitchy McYarnpants

Confessions of a husband-neglecting, cat-shooing, yarn-hoarding knitaholic. But in a good way.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

I should take up knitting

I know, I know. This is supposed to be a knitting blog, so where’s the ever-lovin’ knitting?? Well, I haven’t been very productive with yarn lately. It’s a total bummer. Work has just been so busy, I can’t get a good solid chunk of time to really get into something as challenging as I’d like. I’m still working on Clapotis and have promised myself that I would make some mittens by the end of January, as well. Of course, I’m totally useless with dpns and am more likely to put out an eye (either mine or that of an innocent bystander) with those things than actually produce something useful. I tell you, I’ve tried and tried and tried. I completely understand how it’s supposed to work. I’ve read loads of tutorials. I’ve looked at painstakingly detailed photos of every step of the process. I’ve watched other living humans crank out socks with no problem whatsoever. I just. Can’t. Do it. My hands, it seems, want no part of it. I can’t hold all the needles right and they go every which way, then the yarn gets all tangled in the needles and then I do the thing where you tighten the stitch to avoid the ladder and end up with not only a ladder, but the ladder has a neighboring row of stitches that are tiny and cowering.

And yes, I’ve tried the two-circular method and it just served to further disgust me. I had a major problem getting the stitches past the joins on the needles when I switched sides. I had to pry them over with what seemed like excessive force. And again with the ladders and their terrified neighbors. It’s just not happening, kids.

Luckily I found an old pattern (among my heaps of old patterns) for mittens that are knit flat, then folded and seamed. How will they look? Who knows, probably crappy, but when my hands are ensconced on some luxurious wool or other, I won’t care. Honestly, I might as well just shove each hand into the center of a skein of yarn and just move on.

In other, more happy-making news – I got Sirius radio! (I admit it. My guiltiest of pleasures is listening to Howard Stern. There, I said it. Or typed it. Whatever. Why are you looking at me like that? Don’t leave!) Turns out, satellite radio is amazing! My drive to work is an hour each way, so I have a lot of time to invest in the radio. I got the Sportster Replay boombox package, so I can listen to it when I work from home, too. During this morning’s commute, I heard Adam Ant, Tom Waits, The Smiths, Freedy Johnson, and some comedy bits by Eddie Izzard and Jerry Seinfeld. When is the last time you heard Tom Waits on the radio? Never, that’s when! And do you know what I didn’t hear? Commercials. Not one. As you scan channels, you can see the name of the artist and song playing (or the name of the show and host if there’s a talk show on), so you can just zip right by without stopping and find something you like on one of the other 120 stations. I listened to a cooking show the other day! There are two NPR stations! We drove to my parent’s two hours away for Christmas and never lost the signal (it transmits to your car radio – you pick the station that has nothing else being broadcasted to it). I’m hooked, I tell you!


Blogger MonkeyGurrrrrl said...

Hmmmm. A friend of mine got it for the same reason - Howard Stern. It's amazing how otherwise intelligent people are amused by him. Me, not so much, but who am I to judge? I'm glad you're supa happy with your pressie.

As for the dpns, I'm with you. But I love doing the double circs. Maybe its b/c I have Denise needles? They really are loverly.

12/29/2005 02:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Imbrium said...

Howard Stern? Really? *sigh* It's okay...I like you anyway.

Good luck with your mittens...if they don't work out, that "shove each hand into the center of a skein of yarn" idea doesn't sound so bad. ;)

12/29/2005 03:14:00 PM  
Blogger Carole said...

Well, I don't want it for Howard Stern but I am thinking about the SSR. You really like it, huh? I may just head to Best Buy tonight!

12/29/2005 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger gina said...

Kate Gilbert also has a free pattern for mittens knitted flat. I tried it, they look like mittens and fit well.

12/29/2005 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger Chrissy said...

I use the Magic Loop with a 32" Addi Turbo(super smooth joins) for any round knitting, and it's a piece of cake. My hands/brain have something against dpns too.

12/29/2005 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

Just a plug for my local station (that is accessible on the internet) - they definitely play tom waits, and then devotchka, and then chuck prophet, and then leonard cohen. commercial-free! kexp:

12/29/2005 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger Mothlady said...

Adam Ant and The Smiths? Really? Just thinking about them makes my hair all big and red... Oops, eighties flashback ;)

12/29/2005 04:08:00 PM  
Anonymous melanie said...

I'd totally get that radio for Tom Waits. I'm going to check it out right now.

12/29/2005 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger Deenz said...

I believe Yankee Knitter Designs has both a 2 needle pattern for socks AND mittens. Even better, it's for multiple sizes and gauges...

12/29/2005 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger claudia said...

What's wrong with listening to Howard?


12/29/2005 04:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Laurie said...

Just being able to skip the commercials would be worth it. They have gotten so cheesy in the last few months. Ancestors! Mobility chairs! Cash advances that aren't loans!

12/29/2005 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger Madame D said...

I've been thinking about it for Howard, but the joys of the '80s AND no commercials? God, how I loathe being poor!
I picked up dpns not that long ago. I was intimidated by them, and a bad experience with circs, but I'm not bad at making arm warmers. I'm wanting to try socks, but the short row knitting...that scares me.

12/29/2005 06:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Tish said...

Crazy Aunt Purl mentioned some tee-tiny circs made by Clover that she ordered off the internets awhile back. Maybe those would work for you. I love my dpns and just taught my 14yo daughter's friend (she's here for winter break and brought a beautiful pair of mittens that she knit flat and seamed and then added sequins) how to use them. I have a feeling her Mom will be taking her to the yarn shop when she gets back home! She and my daughter are on their 3rd project each and are pawing my stash with wild abandon (I carefully hid the cashmere- I have my limits!!)

12/29/2005 06:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Tish said...

Found it! The link (Halcyon Yarns) to the Clover mini circs is on CAP's Nov 14 entry. Just click on the link and scroll down to the bottom.

12/29/2005 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger ErLeCa said...

Oh man, that sirius thing sounds pretty damn tempting. I love to listen to the radio, problem is, most of the time I hate what they're playing and I hate the commercials! Hmmm, someday when I can afford it I'm definitely going to have to look into it.

Oh, and I love the idea of just sticking your hands in a couple of skeins of yarn! Hysterical!

12/29/2005 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger Knitting Painter Woman said...

I'd probably like Sirius... I'd certainly like to have more NPR than just the local stuff in my car... although I can get quite a bit on the 'puter. And Stern? well, I think he's smart and deliberately outrageous... which I find preferabl to stupid and unwittingly outrageous.

I do worry sometimes that "free communication" is costing so much and making this into a country of haves and have nots. I resent cable for the same reason. Can too much "capitlism" be a bad thing?

Oh, and the joy of dpns is giving up on being in total control all the time. I've sort of (not completely, mind you) gotten used to the occasional parrallelogram collapse of socks. But like most problems, it's always fixable.

12/30/2005 03:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's true that knitting with DPNs is often like knitting with a porcupine, but ... persevere, dear.

Don't try to pull the stitches tight over the between-needle interstices. Instead, just knit a few extra from the next needle before you start knitting with the empty needle.

Did that make any sense? It works best if you're working with five needles (knitting around a square) rather than four (knitting around a triangle).

You come knitting along, working towards the end of the stitches on your left needle. Boing - end of the stitches on the left needle. DO NOT start knitting from the NEXT left needle with the empty needle. Instead, knit two or three stitches using the same right-hand needle as you were, from the new left-hand needle.

THEN start knitting from the new left-hand needle with the empty right-hand needle (that was the old left-hand needle).

Knitting is the devil to explain in words. Yell if that didn't make sense!

12/30/2005 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger natasha said...

ok, i know everyone is on your ass about circular knitting...i used to use dpn's just to finish off a hat, or whatever, never knitted socks, due to my hatred. i tried to learn on 2 sets of circs...big pain, i thought, also. i had a bunch of people tell me to try magic loop and i finally gave in and tried because i hate sewing stuff so i try to knit all in one piece whenever i can...go to, and look at the magic loop directions...if you have never used the site, you will love it, it is video footage and it is as though you are looking over her shoulder. and i swear it is much easier to do....

12/31/2005 11:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Leisel said...

I don't know if you'll ever quit hating DPN's (I'm using them... but I'm most definitely NOT loving them), but...

it sounds like your laddering problem is the same as mine. The issue isn't the first stitch on the needle (so tugging really tight won't help)... it's the last stitch on the needle. It gets stretched out when it's the only one holding up all the knitting. Try to support it so that it's not doing all the work. There's a couple of ways I do it that help. One is to rest the knitting on something so that it doesn't hang. The other (which works better, but is a little more fiddly to accomplish) is to hold the left needle together with the next needle so that last stitch doesn't get pulled (not parallel, just however it works for you to keep the two stitches together).

Ohhhh... I just had another idea, and I haven't tried it, so I can't promise anything. When you get to the last two stitches on a needle, slide the needle through them so they're at the other end and slip them onto the following needle, but still knit them onto the current right needle. Or, if you're brave and the yarn isn't too slick, just slide the needle out and then the next one in.

It's after 2 am, so if I'm not making sense, then email me (there's a link on my blog), and I'll try to make more sense during normal waking hours.

1/02/2006 04:29:00 AM  
Blogger maryse said...

i hear you can listen to martha stewart on sirius as well. what's not to love? (and how dull must she be on the radio?)

i find that i have an easier time with bamboo dpns than with metal. the bamboo have more give and allow for more control -- with the metal dpns, the needles tend to fly out of my hands making me a danger to animal and human alike.

i am not familiar with the laddering problem when knitting with dpns (i get the ladders when i knit intarsia though). unclench your hands a little ;)

1/03/2006 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

Oh honey!

You know what? Knitting is supposed to be fun and relaxing. Just don't use dpns or circulars if they're stressing you out. There are what, like 6 gazillion patterns out there that don't require them? Even if you sat down and knit all day every day for the rest of your life, you would never run out of patterns that you could make with straight needles, right?

Work on your clapotis, or make something else. Give yourself some time and try dpns again later. Maybe it's just not the time for you, maybe it never will be. Just don't beat yourself up over it, it's not worth it...


1/03/2006 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger Dani said...

I think I would need a lot of deprogramming before I could enjoy radio without commercials. I can't listen to music on my mp3 player for more than an hour because I miss the talking between the songs. I tend to listen to podcasts during the day.

1/21/2006 10:20:00 PM  

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