Aside

To-Do List

I have too many project ideas in my head, and the Ravelry queue doesn’t help much either. So a quick to-do list for the projects I want to complete this winter.

  • Fiona Baby Sundress for Aaru
  • Socks for H (my first socks, yay!) – Buy yarn?
  • Skirt for G – buy yarn! And use this pattern.
  • Honey Cowl
  • Cap
  • Any sweater!
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Winter approaches!

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…and I’m yarn-crazy again. After about ten months of terrible weather when I didn’t even want to look at my well-stocked stash, I recently began to feel the itch to pick up those needles again (which was a relief, because I thought for a while that knitting had disappeared from my mind, like most of my sudden interests, after a period of frenzied activity.) Then, last week, I opened my balcony door in the evening to feel that distinctive winter-is-on-its-way nip in the evening air and sure enough, the sun has started getting lazy too, and is rising later and later every morning. Sigh. I love, LOVE winter–one of my favourite things about Delhi.

So, I decided to go back to the last project which I had put on hold at the end of last winter, which, as it turns out, was the Fiona Baby Sundress. I had shopped obsessively for this pattern, which was pretty special because it was supposed to be my first knitting-in-the-round project and super-special because I’d planned it for my sister’s then-soon-to-be-born daughter, Nameless. Of course, by the time I picked up the needles again recently, the baby was born and the name Aarabhi has a very, very precious little brat attached to it now, for three months 🙂 After a few testing attempts at knitting in the round when I inevitably did the one thing EVERY tutorial warns you not to do, i.e., twist the stitches, I FINALLY fell into a comfortable rhythm and actually started enjoying myself and admiring my work. Uh-oh. Big mistake.

I have this superstitious theory about my knitting–that the old adage about pride going before a fall is gospel truth. Every time I admire my own knitting skills, something goes wrong and in the early days of my knitting this was truly disastrous because I didn’t know a thing about correcting my own mistakes. But now, I think I’ve finally got the mechanics of the knitting process down, so I think I can deal with most of the common errors with a crochet hook and other bits of advice I’ve picked up from here and there. Which of course meant that what went wrong was not something I could simply correct or even control in any way: My darn cable broke.

I cursed myself for having used, or even allowing myself to be foisted with, a cheap set of circular needles in the shop where I bought my yarn (Bala Ji Wool Centre in Lajpat Nagar). The store was great, but mental note: never buy needles from there again. Anyway, as I was immobilized by a badly twisted ankle that day, I regretfully put away my needles and wondered if this was the end of my knitting career for the season. Thankfully, the tantalizing memories of all the yummy yarn in my stash came back to haunt me, and I finally gave in and picked up one of the yarns that my sister had got me from Alabama last year:

Red Heart Super Saver Artist PrintIt looks a tad dull in this picture but it’s actually quite a beautiful, rainbow-shaded yarn. Anyway, variegated yarns are so exciting to work with, reigniting your interest with every purl. So I cast around for an interesting pattern and settled on one I’d been wanting to try for ages, the Baktus Scarf. This pattern is actually a wonderful beginner pattern. It is a plain garter stitch so you just knit every row, and the only complication is a yarnover, a knit-through-back-loop, and a knit-two-together-through-back-loop but it’s soothingly regular and the results are so pretty! However, after doing more than half the scarf (in less that half a day), I decided it didn’t really go with the type of yarn I was using–the Super Saver isn’t supple enough, and is in fact too heavy for this pattern. I’ll probably come back to it later, so I decided to rip it out and begin over with another pattern.

I'm knitting somehwere over the rainbow

I’m knitting somewhere over the rainbow

So I’ve finally settled on the Drop Stitch Scarf pattern by Christine Vogel. It goes pretty well with my yarn and the original pictures use a visually similar yarn, in fact. I’ve finished what feels like about 20% of the project and I’m really liking the way it looks. I’m a little apprehensive about the blocking, as I’ve never done it before, but I know I have to in order to give the scarf a finished look, especially to make the drop stitch pattern pop. It won’t be much of a looker otherwise, and that would be a pity for such a gorgeous pattern!

Not much of a looker now, but so much potential!

I’ve decided to name my project the Dhanak Drop Stitch Scarf because of its rainbow shades and also in anticipation of the 14th of October, when the first meeting of Dhanak, my university’s only queer club, is scheduled to happen. At the rate I’m going, it looks like I’ll be able to finish it quite comfortably 🙂 I haven’t decided if I want to keep it for myself or gift it to someone. Perhaps I’ll give it to one of the people at the meeting–it’s going to be full of the people I like most on campus!

Watch this space for pics when I complete 🙂

P.S.: Please excuse the crappy image quality–I’ve left my fancy camera at the home base and this is about all my basic camera, the GIMP and I can manage… for now.

P.P.S.: I went out for a break and left this post open so I could come back and add the pictures, and guess what I see while sipping chai from my perch among the rocks on campus? An honest-to-goodness rainbow. I take this to be nature’s way of showing approval and wishing me luck on my first winter project 😉

The journey of a thousand patterns begins with the first stitch…

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Oh what a wonderful new obsession is knitting! I never expected it to be so addictive! I picked up my first pair of needless on a complete whim a couple of months ago while at home, in warm, sultry Chennai of all places. Got a couple of cheap ten rupee yarns at Raja Thread store and found the YouTube videos.

One thing I learned was that it requires a LOT of patience. I could see why it’s traditionally taught from mother/grandmother to child: there are way too many ways to screw up and without some sort of supervision, knitting can be very frustrating to the beginner, and not nearly as rewarding as imagined or advertised. I, sadly, did not learn it from my grandmother before she passed away, and I do feel it might have been a wonderful point of bonding between us. But she lived only long enough to catch my rebel feminist phase, when I shunned embroidery and rasam making loudly and daily. And so I’m left with struggling through YouTube videos and correcting my own, terribly knotty errors, as I knit and purl till my fingers ache!

But once you get those basics down, there’s just no looking back! Particularly at this point in history, when there’s so much support so easily available. YouTube, of course, and the incredibly talented ladies who upload excellent videos. And then there’s Ravelry, which has a mind-boggling number of patterns catalogued, a lot of them free. And an amazing community where I can get in touch with Indian, even Delhi knitters. And then numerous websites, a whole lot of blogs… Android apps for added convenience. And then there’s crochet too, although that’s really a distant goal for me. I feel dizzy just thinking about it all.

And I’m just at the tip of the iceberg!