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WIP Wednesday: Too many things on the needles!

It’s official: I am knitting too many things simultaneously, and as a result, I seem to be getting very little accomplished.

Solemate Sock-and-a-toe

Solemate Sock-and-a-toe

First, there are the Solemate socks that I started for the Ravellenic Games. I finished the first sock and cast on for the second, and then I got distracted by the felted slippers. Yep, Second Sock Syndrome has hit hard here.

And then there are the afore-mentioned Felted Slippers, which I have now knit twice. I am hoping that the third time is the charm, but honestly, my track record here is pretty bad, so I’m wondering what’s going to go wrong this time…

Scalloped and currently sleeveless...

Scalloped and currently sleeveless…

The Scalloped Lace Toddler Cardigan is still waiting patiently in my knitting bag. And the toddler in question needs me to finish this soon, especially because then I can work on the other project I had planned for her this fall, a cabled sweater jacket that will hopefully carry her through those cooler fall days.

Cathy Sweater-in-progress

Cathy Sweater-in-progress

And then there is the Cathay sweater, for which I took the Tahoe sweater from Knitty as inspiration and then proceeded to change every single thing except the original yarn. (Yeah, I’m a pain like that.) I knit it at a slightly tighter gauge, added bust and waist shaping, added sleeve shaping, and plan to finish off the yoke using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s seamless set-in sleeve. Which reminds me, I still need to spin the yarn I plan to use for the trim around the neck and buttonband…

And those are just the projects that are currently in progress. I’ve also got swatches for the cabled sweater for my daughter and a cabled vest for me.

I either need more knitting time or a 12-step program…

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Pack your knitting first

Today is the first day of school here. My son is grumbling and packing up his new school supplies, but like many moms, I’m looking forward to the start of the new school year. Especially since my youngest will be attending preschool for two mornings a week, which means that I will have two whole hours to myself, two mornings a week. Yes, my first stop will be at my LYS. How did you guess?!

The last couple of weeks have been crazy. In addition to all the back-to-school errands, we snuck away for a family vacation (from which I brought home a lovely stomach flu souvenir, sigh). We made our annual pilgrimage to my parents’ vacation home on a lake in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. It’s a lovely, peaceful place. We sleep in (well, as much as the kids will let us!), take long walks, and go swimming and canoeing. My husband and son did a lot of fishing in the lake and caught enough keeper-sized fish for dinner one evening.

I, of course, brought plenty of knitting to keep me busy while our youngest was napping. I had the second Solemate sock to finish, as I had gotten distracted from my Ravellenic project by the felted slippers for my daughter. The first pair of slippers were a bit tight on her, so I cast on for a second pair, which I brought with me. The project I most hoped to complete during the week was the Scalloped Lace Toddler sweater, but at the last minute, I also threw in the Cathay yarn I’d purchased for a Tahoe sweater. I didn’t want to be caught “under-yarned” as the Yarn Harlot says!

The key words in that last paragraph are “at the last minute.” I’m the chief packer for my family. My husband packs his own clothes and the fishing gear, but I’m in charge of pretty much everything else. This means that I pack clothes for myself and the kids. I pack toys and activities to amuse them. I pack the not-insignificant amount of gear that you need with a toddler. I plan the meals we’ll eat and decide what we should take with us and what we can buy up there. There’s no washing machine, so we pack our own sheets and towels, plus beach towels, etc. You get the point; it’s a lot of stuff. And I’m always worried about forgetting something vital, so I made lists and triple-checked them. So the end result is that, although I thought about what knitting projects I’d want to take with me, I didn’t actually pack any of them until the morning we left.

I realized my first mistake before we’d been on the road an hour. I pulled out the slipper I was working on and discovered that, since I’d been working in the round, I had two different size tips on my circular needle. Which wouldn’t have been a big deal except that I was ready to begin working the heel flap, which is worked flat. D’oh. I contemplated changing the tips around at the end of every row and decided I’d rather just poke myself in the eye with one of them. I dig around in my bag and came up with an empty size 6 circular needle. I was using a size 11 (8mm) needle for the slippers, so I figured I could make two wraps for each stitch on the size 6 (4mm) needle and come up with the same approximate gauge. A size 5 probably would have worked perfectly, but I made do with the size 6, as the slight gauge differences will vanish in the felting process.

Once I’d finished the slippers, I reached for my next project, the scalloped lace cardigan. I carefully removed the waste yarn from the sleeve stitches and put them back on the needles. Then I picked up stitches from the underarms and resumed working in the round. I worked up to the point where I needed to work the first color, and then I reached in my bag. You guessed it; I had every color but the one I needed to use first. Another d’oh!

I worked on my sock for a bit, but I was really craving a larger gauge project that I didn’t need a magnifying glass to handle. (I really missed my knitting chair at home, which has a convenient reading lamp just over my right shoulder.) That left the Cathay sweater. For this project, I had actually remembered to bring both the yarn AND the needles I needed. Thank goodness! I was able to knit a second swatch, calculate all my stitch counts, and cast on for the bottom hem. I had a nice chunk of knitting time in the car on the way home, and have been making good progress in the evenings since then. Now that school has started, I might even be able to sneak in a bit more knitting time during the day. A girl can dream, right? Of course, I still need to finish the Scalloped Lace Toddler Cardigan, now that I’m home with my missing ball of yarn…

Think of me as your public service announcement: If you’re planning to travel, pack your knitting projects first!