It’s been a productive week here at Chez Folkcat. It seems like I’ve kicked in some new level of discipline and enthusiasm, and my project rotations in the 99:99 Plan are happening easily.
I’ve got a lot of progress to report for just a couple days of crafting, so this is a long post with lots of pictures. I find it exciting to see how much I’ve accomplished, though!
Opportunities Sometimes Come Via Doors
To begin with, on Tuesday I actually invoked the flexibility clause in the 99:99 Plan, and chose to jump out of the normal project rotation to cast on something new. I’ve been hankering to knit the Bubbly Curtains from Mason Dixon Knitting ever since I got the book, and I took the opportunity with gusto.
I don’t want to use the curtains in a window – we actually need light-blocking and privacy curtains, being that we live in downtown Wilton with our windows easily visible from surrounding points. However, I do have an interior application for curtains that I decided would be suitable.
Vegetable Noren in Living Room Door
This is the door between our living room and kitchen. We like to hang a curtain here in the summer time, because the living room air conditioner works more efficiently if it isn’t trying to cool down the kitchen, too. What’s hanging here now is actually the Japanese noren that normally hangs in our kitchen window.
Noren are the curtains used in many Japanese shops to cover the doors. They’re used in windows as well. A few years ago, in better financial times, I bought a number of them to use on our windows. My bedroom and living room windows are all completely dressed with noren in several styles.
I’d like to be able to return the vegetable noren to the kitchen window, though. I’ve been toying with knitting something for the door, ever since a friend brought me this last year:
A local beading friend who observed my rising interest in knitting last year picked up some yarn for me at her town dump, in the “Still Good” shed. (Technically, it was the “transfer station”, not the dump. But we all still call them dumps.) This cone was the largest item in the small pile. Clues to its identity are few – there was a piece of masking tape stuck to it that read “polyester,” and there’s a sticker inside that says “Model Dye Southern, Inc. Sumter, S.C., 29150″*. This is followed by a few illegible numbers and the word “Green.”
The yarn is a light fingering weight, and there’s lots of it. I haven’t taken the trouble to weigh the cone, but it’s easily near a pound. I’m making a wild-assed guess that there will be enough to knit curtains for my door from it.
I did some tests with size 4, 5 and 6 needles – the original pattern in MDK calls for size 5, with a gauge of 5 stitches to the inch. I got gauge with size 6, so that’s what I went ahead with on Tuesday night.
The plan is to knit two panels. If I get gauge, I can follow the pattern as written, since it’s aiming for an 18″ wide panel – perfect for half of my door.
By the end of the evening, I had this:
My Knitting is Too Loose
I wanted something not so loosey-goosey. I mean, these will be lace curtains and you expect a certain amount of open structure passing light through, yes. But I also want the curtains to have a certain amount of visual weight to them. Also, it appears that my gauge swatch lied – I was getting way too big a width here for what I was supposed to be getting.
I knew I’d need to re-group, and perhaps do this on the size 5 needles called for in the pattern. But it was the end of the night, and I wanted to go to bed.
I got going early on Wednesday. Early for me, at least. Gryphon went out to do some errands, and while he was gone I did my exercises, blogged, and got to work on my crafting.
First up was the Knitting WIP category I call “Warm Things.” This is items I’ll knit for a friend’s physician mom to donate to her immigrant patients at a clinic. Great opportunity to knit every scarf that ever appealed to me, without having to keep a million scarves in the house.
I began by blocking the Slanted Eyelet Scarf that I’d completed. Acrylic yarn, so a good steaming would do the trick
The Whole Thing
Don’t worry about the dark spots, the iron was spitting a bit of water because I overfilled it a little. The scarf dried fine.
And the Close-Up
I think I may have worked this one a little too short. I was aiming for a length to suit a child, but given the width in the pattern, this scarf should have been longer. I will re-work the pattern next time to be at least one stripe narrower.
Still, it will wrap around someone’s neck and tuck into their coat.
And Next Up:
Having finished one Warm Things scarf, it was time to begin another. This pattern is another from the 2006 Knitting Pattern a Day calendar – January 19, I think. Alison’s Scarf.
The original is knit in a super bulky yarn with size 9 needles. Again, I’m aiming for something that kids can wear, so I pulled out the discontinued Lion Brand Wool-Ease Sportweight in Fuchsia that I’d bought a while back, and did some swatches.
Alison At Bat – Click for a closer look, the cable and lace detail is nice.
Size 4 needles gave a nice look, and made a narrower scarf that would be appropriate for the young. The fabric is a little thin with the sportweight, but the nice thing about that is I can make the scarf longer for wrapping an extra time or two around the neck.
Interesting thing about this pattern is the cast on – an I-cord cast on. Basically, they give a way to knit a starting I-cord strip, while at the same time creating all your stitches that you’ll be knitting from. Much better than having to pick up stitches all along the side of an I-cord!
At the other end of the scarf, there’ll be a matching I-cord bind off as well.
It’s my plan to do all my “Warm Things” projects as sets of at least a hat and scarf. So I will be looking around for simple but pretty hat patterns to go with both of these. Or maybe making up my own!
After working on the Warm Things for a bit, I took a break with a couple of podcasts. I have listened to a few episodes of Cast-On, and enjoyed it, but it’s been hard for me to fit podcast listening into my routine. So what did I do? I made an item in the 99:99 Plan rotation out of it!
100 minutes is enough time to listen to two episodes of Cast-On. I’m listening to them from the beginning, and hoping to stay disciplined enough that eventually I catch up to current episodes. Yesterday, I listened to Episodes 9 and 10 from back in February.
What do my hands do while listening to a podcast? They knit! Since the podcast itself was a 99:99 rotation item, I gave myself permission to step out of the usual WIP rotation and work on whatever appealed to me. And what appealed to me was a second try at the Bubbly Curtain.
I grabbed a size 5 circular needle, cast on, and started knitting. By the end of the two episodes of Cast-On, I had gotten as far as I had with the previous try. And I liked the results a lot better.
My Knitting is Just Right!
So the Bubbly Curtains are now on track, and I think I’m going to like this a lot. You know, all our windows do have venetian blinds, too – maybe I can do Bubbly Curtains for the bathroom? But am I then going to want a matching shower curtain?
Deconstructing Silk Angora
Next up on the WIP rotation – continuing work on recycling the sweaters I’ve been picking up at thrift stores and rummage sales.
This silk angora continues to come apart nicely. I had frogged the sleeves before. Last night, I did the neckband, and a large part of the sweater front.
The only problem I ran into – the sweater was a v-neck, and I guess when they knit that they did the neckline with a steek. Because when I started frogging down from the shoulders, the yarn was cut at the neckline on every bit.
There’s a lovely lacy cable detail down the front of each piece, so I thought rather than just wasting this, why not cut them off at the bottom of the vee and see if I can use them somehow? Patches in something, maybe make a small bag – I don’t know what yet, but that’s what I’ve done.
Phew! Lots of progress on lots of things on Wednesday. I’m pleased that I’m feeling this much momentum these days. It’s good to be able to look back and see how much I got done, and it gives me new enthusiasm for getting up and doing it again the next day!
I’ve had a very good response to the new packaging on my beaded stitch markers. That, coupled with Gryphon’s and my need to improve our budget somewhat, is inspiring me to work a bit harder at them – while not letting my days become nothing but making stitch markers.
My normal rotation of projects under the 99:99 Plan doesn’t ensure that anything happens every single day. When I want to make sure something gets a certain amount of attention on a specific schedule, I need to modify the plan some.
And so I’ve come up with the concept of daily “Compulsory Exercises.” Those items which I want to make specific, regular progress on, regardless of when or where they would come up in the project rotation.
I already had that in a way with my blogging – that happened every day, in spite of where the “Computer Work” card came up in the rotation of projects in my index file. So it’s not a huge leap to apply that to other things.
Like making stitch markers. If I just give them a certain amount of focused attention a few times a week, I can probably go somewhere with them. And if I can stay as disciplined with the 99:99 Plan as I have this week so far, I will still do enough other things that I won’t feel the stitch markers have taken over my life.
And So, On to Tonight
Knitting Around at Panera tonight – hope you can make it! Needing to carry a WIP for public knitting once again means I can step out of the rotation and pick whatever appeals to me to knit, and I think it’s going to be the Bubbly Curtains tonight. I’ve got to do two panels at least five feet long, and I’ve knit two inches so far – wouldn’t hurt to make some more progress!
*A Google search for “model dye southern” only brings up a couple mentions of an OSHA case of some sort. And then, only as a citation of precedence in someone else’s case.