Monday, March 06, 2006

Workroom thrills

Welcome everyone, to another rivetting (well, of course I'm being sarcastic) episode of 'Workroom Progress'!

When last we checked in at Insanity Headquarters, the last of the shelves were being put up and a promising method of stash storage was being procured.

Today we are happy to report that all shelves have been assembled. Also, eighteen cardboard boxes were purchased. Unfortunately, they did not turn out to be the ideal storage solution that was originally thought. On the Staples website, these boxes are touted as being twelve inches deep and fifteen inches wide. They are, unfortunately, no such thing. In real life, they're bigger - and that's even before you put the lids on 'em. So there is no way that two of them will fit side-by-side on a single shelf. Unless...said shelf is the top shelf, so that the boxes are free to jut out at the sides.

Therefore, all stash boxes are being stored on the very top of the knitting shelves. Behold my consolidated, sorted and containerized stash, plus one empty box for expansion purposes:

(I find it amusing that my first reaction to seeing this was "Hmph...not too bad," but my mother's was, "Oh my gawd, dear, you have to stop buying yarn!")

Getting the stash tidily out of the way was a HUGE step. For one thing, it is incredibly reassuring to know where all my yarn is and where to find exactly what I want. For another thing, it enabled me to come up with this:

That is my first completely organized shelf. Yarn on top, then projects, then textile arts-related gadgets and some boxes full of yarn labels (yeah, I keep them, every damn one of's a sickness, really), and then knitting books and booklets.

Isn't it purty? Ahhh.

(As a sidenote, I was shocked to discover, whilst organizing this shelf, how few knitting books I have. Seriously, look at that picture - that partially-occupied bottom shelf is the sum total of all the knitting books I own. That's just nuts. Clearly I must acquire more.)

The rest of the workroom continues to come along - more slowly than in the days of the initial frenzy of organization, but there is still definitely progress happening. For one thing, there is now a printer shelf in the computer closet:

That is a thing of beauty. Scanner and printer are now hooked up. We have a fully functional computer workstation in the freakin' closet. I love it.

I'm now mostly occupied in going through all the crap in the spare room and throwing out the dross before bringing the 'keeper' stuff into the workroom for further organization. This will likely take a while. But it is getting done. The challenging bit will be finding good homes for the 'keeper' stuff. I have given DH the mission of getting us a lot of tupperware-type containers, in a variety of sizes, on the cheap. These will be used to store all the smaller craft-ish items that now have no home - thread, paint, trim, brushes, buttons, snaps, bias tape, beads, ink, etc. etc. ad nauseum. This will be a huge help in making the shelves look great and be fantastically functional.

It's happening. It's really happening. In fact - dare I say it - a lot of it has already happened. Wow.

Scarf for DH
We have run into a significant snag. DD, obsessed with the idea that the re-cast-on stitches are her knitting, is not only refusing to let me work on it (well, almost never anyway) but also adamantly denies all offers of knitting help. She prefers to stick one needle into random parts of the knitting and wave it around while I work on one of my projects. Thus we are 'knitting together', you see. While this is all incredibly sweet, it don't exactly get the scarf done! Conversations to persuade her to get onside have thus been complete failures. Such as:

Me: Can I show you how to knit, sweetie?
Her: I am knitting!
Me: Wellll...not exactly, honey, can I help your hands to do it?
Her: No, I am knitting!

Sigh. I mean really, what else can I do - she's two. It's a wonder she's interested in the craft at all. I don't want to give her a complex about it or break her spirit by convincing her that she isn't really knitting, so...I guess we'll just wait and see if she gets more willing to do the real thing down the road.

Oh, and did I mention that she refused to let me hide the knitting when DH came upstairs at one point? Then when he came in the room she totally spilled the beans: "I knitting, Daddy! I knitting a scarf for you!"

At least she didn't say 'for Father's Day' or there is no way I would have been able to pass that off to DH as her merely making up a little fantasy of knitting him a scarf. But clearly we have a long way to go before we grasp the concept of 'secret'. ;)

Basic Sweater for DD
Sometimes, plans change.

You may notice the complete absence of this project on my list for 2006. It wasn't even on my ideas list for 2007 (yes, I have a preliminary 2007 list...shut up :). The impetus for this project just kind of came to me like a bolt out of the blue on Saturday. For some reason I plucked my copy of Top Down for Toddlers: No-Sew Knitting off my knitting book shelf (I love how that sounds...I have a knitting book shelf!) and thumbed through it. Just for fun. Not really looking for anything, just revisiting the book, flipping through, la la la... The first pattern, the Basic Sweater, didn't even remotely jump out at me. Until I started noticing the yarn with which one of the sample sweaters was knit. It was instantly recognizable as Magic Garden 'Buttons', which I've used before (and which also, it seems, does not felt) and really enjoyed. It's mostly New Zealand wool, very soft, with brightly-coloured polyester flecks here and there.

This put me in mind of another yarn I own, King Cole Sapphire Confetti DK. It is absolutely not New Zealand wool, it's acrylic (2% nylon), but it does have brightly-coloured flecks throughout it and a single boucle-ish ply to liven it up, and it's pretty cute. Very baby. I got it as a Christmas gift from my MIL when I was pregnant. The problem is that she gave me 200g of it. That's not enough to make a blanket, but it's way too much to make just one baby garment. Plus, it's mostly white, which I always try to avoid in knits for babies because it'll just get grungy. So I've been agonizing for years over what the heck I'm going to make out of this thing.

Fast forward to me on Saturday, staring at the Basic Sweater pattern in the book. Hey, I thought, you know, DD's growing out of some of her sweaters. She'll need new ones. And hey - I need to do something with that Confetti yarn. And hey - she's way past the spitting up stage and has actually been seen to be careful about spilling stuff, and some of her white tops do stay sorta clean. And hey, this will be a quick knit...

Next thing I know I'm casting on for the rolled neck.

There's just one problem: I'm doubtful that I will have enough yarn. I'm making the 4-year size, which calls for 6 50g balls of 123 yards each. Instead, I have 2 100g balls of 307 yards each. Logic dictates that I will be 124 yards short, which is quite a bit. Tough to fudge. On the other hand, patterns usually overestimate how much you'll need. And often, I find that sleeves in baby/toddler patterns are way too generous in length. And...and...and...well, to hell with it, I'll never know if I have enough until I try to knit the thing. Right? It's not like I've got anything else to do with this yarn. Right?

And so. Once again I have set myself up for failure.

I'm cutting corners, yarn-wise, where I can. For instance, I knit just 1.5 inches on the rolled neckline (the length for the 2-year size) instead of the full 2 inches that the 4-year size calls for. (The neck looks fine.) I scoffed at the need to have an entire row devoted solely to placing markers while merely doing more stocking stitch. (The top of the yoke looks fine.) That kind of thing. Also, as much as I would love to knit this thing continentally so that it would really zip along, I need the tighter gauge (read: greater efficiency with yarn yardage) that I get by throwing with my right hand. I'm figuring, if I can complete the yoke and one full sleeve before my first ball craps out, I'll probably be okay.


Especially since I'm not sure I'm going to make that goal. At lunch I completed the increases on the yoke and gleefully continued reading the instructions, sure that I would be starting the sleeves. But no. I had to work another 2.5 inches of stocking stitch (248 stitches per row) before I could do that. Ball number one may crap out before I even get to the first sleeve.

Stay tuned for the universe giving me my come-uppance. It should be fun. (For the audience, anyway.)

Striped socks for moi
The slow trip up the leg continues.

Garden Shawl for MIL
I've probably mentioned it before, but I lovelovelove the shawl calculator available at Rose-Kim Knits. It tells me that I am now 8.3% done the body of the shawl. That looks like this:

Forgive my lame (and uneven) attempts at pseudo-blocking using only one hand and one foot, but otherwise it's just a noodly lump of silk and cotton.

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