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On the needles – Part 1

Oy, I shouldn’t have done that. We’re going away for a week or so, and I thought “This holiday would be an excellent time to finish up some works in progress! Let’s see what’s on the needles!”.  I probably gave a gay little trill of laughter, too, congratulating myself on my excellent idea. It soon became apparent that it wasn’t in my interests to look too hard, but I think this is most of them. (Not counting Green Sprite, of course, who was sitting in its own back with the smug certainty of the A-list project.)

Woolly superfluity!

Of course, it all depends how you slice the pie: the white bag on the far left is full of yarns that are promised to specific projects, but I haven’t got around to starting. The mitten at the top right? A finished project that just needs a thumb mended. The long green tube, top-left? That’s my sockhead hat, but I had an idea to give it more tendrilly tails, so it’s kinda in finished-but-still-being-worked-on-limbo-land.

But even if I take those babies out of the equation, there’s…three projects in this picture that are actively on the needles. (And Green Sprite. Hi Green Sprite! Hope you’re reading this! Love you!) So let’s put on our big-girl pants and look this WIPs in the face. (You ever been WIPped in the face? It’s kinda hot.)

These mermaid gloves have easily got the sternest claim on me:

Accusing gloves!

Cast on in 2009, I finished the first and loitered on the second. I’ve been hawing and humming and generally making annoying throaty sounds about these babies ever since. I can’t think why. I did a fantastic job on the first one, and they look great.  Wait — wait, it’s coming — I remember! (I think.) I put them aside because I wasn’t completely sure about the fit! The first one looks awesome, but it’s pretty snug and I was a little worried I needed to go back and restart them with an extra pattern repeat for comfort. But whether I’ve beefed up, lengthened out, shortened up or tapered down, I tried them on this afternoon and they feel pretty good, sir. Feel pretty damn good.

The next project making a “What Have You Got To Say For Yourself, Missy?” face at me: Wintergrey Socks Round 2.

Accusing socks!

I usually get two pairs of socks from one ball of Opal self-patterning; this is the first of the second pair. Its heel is turned and I’m on the home stretch: just up the leg to the cuff, cast off, start the next one. BAM. Socks. So, why has it been wallowing in the knit bag, alone and palely loitering?  Well, there is a reason, but it’s kind of a poxy one…I want to make the next one the same length, and I want them to use up the yarn completely — so how do I know when to finish the first one? With maths! Maths that I haven’t gotten around to doing. If I was totally committed, I’d weigh the lot, weigh a spare set of needles, subtract the weight of the needles from the total, divide that figure by two and work out how much yarn, in grams, I could give to each sock. Then I’d weigh the sock in progress, subtract the weight of the needles, and work out how much I had left to finish with. Then I could work to the finish and cast off, secure in the maths-based certainty that I had enough yarn remaining to complete its partner. As it is, I think I’ll work this one until it’s about the length I want, then put it on a holder and pick up the other end of this ball and cast on its partner. When they’re about the same, I’ll put them on a pair of circs and work them side-by-side until they’re ready to cast off. I think that will work, although I’m not totally sure it’s actually a less involved challenge than the maths-based one. Still, let’s see how we go: now I’ve got a plan in place, I feel like I’ve already faced the biggest challenge.

That top picture also reveals a second sock on the go: on the far right, you will see some lush green wool on light grey needles. These socks are rocking my world. Simple and beautiful: there will be no problem finishing them. In fact, they’re coming on the trip as reward socks when I’ve worked my way through the Wintergrey socks and the Mermaid gloves.

Ooohhhhh, the potential...

This sack is exciting me. (Oh come on, sacks are exciting…Hi Google!) It’s full of various balls of Merino Supreme, my knitterly weakness. It’s so soft, so springy…so machine washable…but you need a bazillion balls to do anything with it, because you only get about four metres of yarn in a ball (this is an exaggeration). But there’s a little knitter in the back of my brain whispering “striped socks…Grumperina’s jogless stripes…striped socks ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION TO ME?…stripes…” and that little voice is getting more insistent. Every day my cold legs remind me that my thick, aran-weight boot socks only go boot-high; the vision of lush, knee-high stripey socks gets a little brighter. There’s also several balls of plain black Merino Supreme, which I am hoping to turn into sturdy fingerless mitts for a certain paternal figure in my life. (Dude’s been waiting a while.)

While rummaging in the knitting waiting room I came across some other paraphernalia.  First, a long-lost friend:


This, dearly beloved, is my “better” tape measure. Since I’m working Green Sprite from scratch, I have been in need of a friend like this: one that actually goes all the way around me. My other tape measure, from my “First Sewing Kit”, given by a kindly grandmother, is both ambiguous in its measurements and very very short. Having said that, I’ve come this far with it…maybe I’m not giving it all the credit it deserves…

…I think I’ll stop that train of thought. I’m contemplating the competing merits of my tape measures, and frankly that doesn’t really gel with the kind of person I want to think of myself as.

Secondly, I found the origins of Green Sprite!

Archaeologists can only speculate...

This is the scribbly note page that led me to start writing up the pattern. Also, there’s a cryptic recipe for jam drops, noted so I didn’t have to take my laptop into the kitchen to read it.

So now I’m totally stocked with a load of to-be-completed projects. I’m trying not to murmur things like “the time has come!” and “this ends here!” as I march around the house, trying to figure out how to get all my knitting, novels and notebooks into my wee backpack without taking out my toothpaste or thermals.  I feel productive, progressive, forward-moving; rounding up all these lingering jobs and Taking Care of Business (Is it stuck in your head now? Mine too. Didn’t want to be alone.). I suspect the sincerity of this sentiment is somewhat compromised by an unconscious knowledge that, armed with all these good intentions, I will work only on Green Sprite for the whole week.


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