Thursday, May 24, 2007

Comfort knitting and a dye question.

As of tonight, it's looking possible that the design for the Mystery Knit will get submitted. But thanks to the suggestions yesterday, I think my NEXT Knitty submission will be an article on how to do design (and how to copy sweaters you already own and like the fit of). However, I also had some other requests for info that I thought I'd answer here.

First, comfort knitting. Sheepish Annie's going to be putting in some serious couch time, due to an icky round of pneumonia. (Having done my share of pneumonia, my only, lame, advice, is to get lots of sleep.) Anyway, she wondered if we had suggestions on what to knit while she's doing time. I'd say, it depends on how sick you are and how good your concentration is. (When I'm sick, my knitting goes all to hell.) If you're planning on being sick for a while, something big is good. An afghan is nice, you can snuggle under it as you go, and you can choose the pattern by how good your brain's working -- garter stitch if you're delierious, or some kind of cable or lace if you can actually concentrate. Lots of people knit socks as comfort knitting, and those work great too - they're small but you can knit a million of them and have a use for every last one. (Wear 'em mismatched if you have to.) When sick I go for something simple (like the Mystery Knit, now), and when I'm really stressed I embark on complex, epic projects that take a lot of time and attention to keep me from thinking about whatever I'm stressed about. Usually this translates to big, complex doilies on small needles with crochet cotton, but if I'm ever in a situation like that again, I'm considering doing a Shetland Shawl.

So, anyway, food for thought, for Annie. Anyone with any thoughts, leave 'em, or pop over to her blog and leave thoughts there. Or both. I'm curious about what other people think is comfort knitting.

There was also a dye question, namely, should a person practice on the good yarn they plan to finally use, or should they learn on cheap stuff and work up? I'd say this one depends on what you're doing. If it's a general feel for the process, go for the cheap stuff. If you're trying to get an exact color, or perfect a more complicated dye process like dip-dyes, use whatever yarn you intend to dye for the final project. If you're trying to find a cheap substitute, the most important thing (I think) is to match fiber type. If your final deal will be wool, practice on wool. If it's alpaca, practice on alpaca. IF IT IS SUPERWASH, PRACTICE ON SUPERWASH. I continue to boggle, even now, at the difference in superwash and regular wool, when it comes to dye uptake. (Does this make sense? I'm drugged.)


The suspense continues on the Mystery Knit. The one slight silver lining is, I'm knitting off both ends of the ball of yarn and the husbeast is impressed as hell with my cleverness. (We don't need to tell him that's a pretty traditional thing and not my original, idea, okay.) I've got about two inches to go before I get to the shoulder bindoff. Still no idea if there's enough yarn.

I hate suspense.

7 comments:

Amy Lane said...

I'm waiting anxiously for the news on the Mystery Knit--

My advice would definitely be socks or something that involves going around and around and around... (a really simple pi shawl, for instance...) all the comfort of knitting, all the brainlessness of, well, brainless knitting... I've been sick and forced to work on hard small stuff and I'm just WEEPING for some basic stockinette or garter... that I can do this lace-leaf thing as sick as I've been is some sort of sign that maybe I missed my calling in life...

Louiz said...

You know about crochet bindoff, right?:)

Comfort knitting? christmas stockings. Big, easy and you can make them as complicated or simple as you like, and you only need to make one so no trying to remember what you did with the other one in your drugged up state!

Roxie said...

Ah ha! The Mystery Knit has SHOULDERS! Fingers are crossed. If necessary, you can bind off with a different color since that last row is lost in the seam. If there are sleeves, and you need at least a dozen yards of yarn, you can steal the cuffs and put on contrast cuffs - always a cheeky design touch.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the answer to my dyeing question! And I'm keeping my fingers crossed that your yarn won't run out before you get to the end of you Mystery :)

debsnm said...

I hate the uncertainty of that last ball of yarn! If you end up doing the collar in different yarn, I like roxie's idea of contrasting (or complimenting, depending) cuffs - make 'em match the collar.

Laural said...

I'm waiting to hear the verdict and hoping for the best.

Comfort knitting? I'd say hats on circular needles. Correct size circs too like 16." They are easy and you just knit around and around for however many inches until you start decreasing. I do have an afghan that I work on when sick too.

Sheepish Annie said...

I think I've settled on socks. I love my Samurai yarn and was planning on a ribbed pair so I don't think it will be too taxing. Since I'm on codeine for the coughing, pain and general gumpiness, I think the nice bright color will keep me somewhat focused! And I will be able to find them again should I set them down and wander off in a narcotic haze...

I love the suggestions for comfort knitting. I've had some really good ones since I was struck down with this plague. Almost makes me wish I could stay sick so I could knit all of the things that people thought of!

Thanks for the suggestions in both the knitting and pneumonia arenas. This isn't my first bout with it, but it always seems to take me by surprise.