aswim in knits

Monday, October 29, 2007

making a Maf-ghan

Last Monday, I mentioned that I've been working on a secret project. Now that the cat is out of the bag, I can tell you what I've been up to.

I've been making an afghan for the Mafia. A Maf-ghan, if you will. It's not done yet, but here's the 'ghan as of Friday:
Lucy with the Maf-ghan
(Thanks to our friendly LYS-owner, Lucy, for helping with the photo shoot.)

As many of you know, Ms. Mafia is going through a pretty crappy divorce. I know that it's been hard for her to not blog about it. (Because the Mafia ... not so good with the self-restraint.) So, I thought that it would be a nice idea to make an afghan with squares contributed by some of her fibery buddies, so that she feels the love even when she can't blog and hear back from people.

I stalked her commenters for a couple of weeks sent some emails to her friends and commenters and asked them to knit up some squares. I got about 75 squares back. Wow!! I never expected this much of a response, although I guess I should have.
(Some of the squares and seaming/bordering yarn.)

So, thank you to everyone who mailed me a square. Or shared some "good karma yarn" that I've been using for borders and seaming. Or taught me new ways of seaming an afghan. Or invited me to your knitting group and helped lay out the squares. Or sent me nice emails (nearly 500 of them!), and notes for Ms. Mafia.

Rest assured that each contribution has, or will have, a place in the afghan. The big photo above shows 48 of the squares -- the rest are still being seamed! The final blanket will be 10 rows long - the first 6 rows are shown above. Oh, and I have room for a couple more squares if there is anyone who wants to make a square but wasn't able to earlier or didn't know about the project. Just email me (aswiminknits AT yahoo DOT com). (ETA: Thank you all! We now have plenty of squares!)

I told Ms. Mafia that I learned a lot from making this afghan...
  1. As you may know, I am a wee bit obsessive. Yes, there was a detailed spreadsheet created to track your squares, and each is tagged on the back side with the name and blog of the sender. Yes, there will be a labelled schematic when the afghan is complete. Yes, I am a bit of a perfectionist. Some would also allege that I have some control-freak tendancies (I'm not arguing...) So, for me to ask for squares made with the vague guidelines of "knit an 8"x8" square. Worsted weight wool, wool blends, etc would be best. Anywhere between DK and Aran weight. Any brand, color, stitch pattern, etc." ... well, let's just call it "a personal growth experience" for me :)
  2. Gauge. And measuring tapes. I own many, many measuring devices (see above, "obsessive", "perfectionist", and "control freak"). I'm not so sure about the rest of you. Apparently, knitting an 8" x 8" square is harder than it looks. Only about half of the Maf-ghan squares actually measure 8" square. But that's OK!! Really, it is!!! With some creative seaming techniques, all of the squares fit together (I think there is a metaphor in here somewhere). And, you have given me the opportunity to experience tremendous personal growth because of this. But, people? I'm just curious - how do you actually knit garments that fit??
  3. Most importantly, I have learned how truly, deeply, caring our fiber community is. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I feel blessed to have been able to "meet" so many of you this way and to have the opportunity to bring some happiness to a friend. I could not have done this without all of you.
And if you didn't read the Mafia's own description of the Maf-ghan please do. It's much better than anything I could write.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Claudia Handpaint sock

I should have posted this in my last post, but this is the sock I started at Rhinebeck. The yarn is Claudia Handpaint, and I've started a Jaywalker with it. I love the yummy colors. Not sure if this is the right pattern or not -- suggestions are welcome. (Remember -- I dislike pooling and patterns that can't be seen in the variegated yarn!)

claudia handpaint

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Monday, October 22, 2007


I'm back! [Deep sigh ...]

I had a wonderful time, with so many people. I bought no yarn, but plenty of spinning fiber. Spent some quality alone time wandering through the buildings, and had lovely conversations with people I'd never met and never caught their names. Went to parties, some organized and some not. Seamed a sweater that I never ended up wearing.

In short, a lovely weekend that I can't even begin to describe in words, so I won't.

After I rest up a bit, I'll be back to tell you about a secret project that I've been working on.


Monday, October 15, 2007

a conversation

A brief conversation with me and Boss Lady:

Me: I'm going to be out of town this coming weekend.

Boss Lady: Oh really, where?

Me: In New York.

Boss Lady: And what will you be doing there?

Me: Going to a sheep and wool festival .

Boss Lady: A sheep and ... WHAT????

[45 minutes later Boss Lady sticks head in the door to say goodnight ...]

Boss Lady, in a quiet voice: A sheep and wool festival .... [shakes head in confusion and wanders off to the elevators]

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Rhinebeck knitting

Etherknitter posted today about her Rhinebeck knitting.

She wrote ...

Little minds (mine) are hopelessly entertained by the concept of Rhinebeck knitting. No, not the FO type. I'm speaking of the WIP species needed for the weekend's festivities. The well-known criteria include mindless pattern, easy project, just-make-the-stitches while communing with Our People. Many, maybe even most, choose socks.

The pattern is easy. I planned on my tried and true stockinette stitch sock. But isn't there a subtext here of cool yarn? Indie dyers? Hard-to-find-sold-out-instantly yarn? Those casually knitting with Wollmeise this weekend probably win this knitters' unspoken challenge.

That Etherknitter. She nailed it. I've been thinking about my Rhinebeck project for several days, and it will be a pair of socks.

Unfortunately, I have a Rhinebeck sweater to finish first. Update: The sleeves are done. The body is seamed, and I started weaving in ends tonight. I need to seam the sleeves, and graft the collar, crochet the edging, and buy buttons. I've got lots of other stuff I need to finish this week, too. Including but not limited to homework, real work, and a few nights of class, etc. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Back to the Rhinebeck knitting (not to be confused with the Rhinebeck sweater) ...

I figure that I'll bring socks, for the reasons outlined above. However, I have none on the needles! That opens up a world of possibilities. 14 possibilities for yarn, according to the contents of my sock yarn stash drawer, and countless pattern choices. The curious among you can see many that I've queued in Ravelry..

But, there's a big risk in bringing a new project. What if I don't like the yarn? The pattern? Like both, but the pattern doesn't work with the yarn? What if I need different size needles? OK, I guess that last one is not a huge concern if I'm going to be at a wool festival with dozens of vendors selling needles.

I could bust out with the Wollmeise -- because the competitive side of me thinks "hey, I could rise to the 'knitters' unspoken challenge'" -- but it hasn't yet told me what it wants to be. A stockinette sock would be best, but it should be variegated. Is Koigu cool enough, or is it sooooo 2004? I have some Socks That Rock, but are knitters over the STR craze? Claudia's Handpainted in a Jaywalker? (Yeah, passe, isn't it???)

Help!! I'm drowning in possibilities, and I don't have time to swatch before leaving. I'm strongly considering packing a duffle bag with all 14 different sock yarns, needles in sizes zero to 2, a few sock books, and my laptop. Shouldn't that cover me for any eventuality? Please, one of you saner knitters convince me that this is just a wee bit obsessive ...

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Saturday, October 13, 2007


Happy Saturday. Here are a few of my favorite recent photos.
Favorites, October 13
Clicky-click for bigger.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

8 more sleeps

I'm going to Rhinebeck! A hotel room has been booked and driving plans arranged. Now all I need to do is finish the sweater...

Nantucket Jacket

This is the Nantucket Jacket that I started last fall. I put it on hold for a while this winter/spring while we were in the thick of house-hunting and home-improvements. Then summer came along and wool did not hold any interest for me. Then September came, and wool caught my fancy, but I was seduced by some Peace Fleece.

When I picked up the Jacket two weeks ago, all it needed was sleeves and finishing. These are the sleeves, above, being knitted two on the same needle. I've just started the sleeve cap shaping, so I'm into the home stretch.

Thanks for all your kind words about my new wheel earlier this week. I've played with her a bit, but I haven't had the time I need to spend to really get to know her. Hopefully, this weekend I'll get in some uninterrupted spinning!

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Remember that road trip that I mentioned on Saturday? I was picking up a wheel. A lovely Schacht Matchless DT with WooLee Winder (not shown) for a ridiculously good price. I didn't blog about it until now because I was too superstitious ...

Schacht Matchless DT

Use your imagination to picture curtains on those windows.
I finished sewing them this weekend, but we still need to hang them.

Of course, I had to play with it last night. I got some ice cream and a Gilmore Girls DVD, spun some very poor yarn, and enjoyed myself greatly :) Now, I need to sit down with the manual and learn how to really use the wheel so I can spin some nice yarn.

On the way home from New York, where I picked up the wheel, we visited my in-laws. I did a brief demo for my mother-in-law, and she said "I want to learn to spin!" My answer ... ? "I know this woman who lives near you ..."

I just showed my boss this photo and she said "wow, you must be one of a very few people in Massachusetts with a spinning wheel!" Ha, ha, ha, ha!

Ah, wheel love.

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

going on a road trip ...

... be back on Monday!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

squarely done

Moirae is collecting mitered squares for Afghans for Afghans. Since I just acquired a copy of Mason-Dixon knitting in a Ravelry trade, I thought I'd whip up a few squares for her.

mitered squares

I'm not sure if you can tell, but the top square is smaller than the other two, even though I used the same yarn and needles, and knit all three squares one after the other. Crappers. Oh well, it's pretty close, and I'm sure it will come out OK in the seaming. This is why I knit two socks at once, two sleeves at once, two cardi fronts at once, two mittens at once ... you get the idea.

This was a little side project in between two big sweater projects. Photos of sweaters to come when I have daylight again.