I'm losing the race to get stuff done, partly because the one thing I really don't want to do (finish my accounts) is hanging around my head like some big black cloud obscuring my vision and distracting me from all the other stuff I want/need to do. The solution, of course, is to Just DO It. Which I will, as soon as I finish this.
I have finished some stuff. Because this is an honest record of what I did and how, here's a photo of the Shell Tank on me, even though I REALLY don't photograph well. I don't look quite so like a weight-lifter In Real Life, and the volume at the sides is not me, it's the wind catching the top. I just don't know if there's something I could or should have done to make it more flattering. The design seems to have to fall/flow freely from the shoulders/bust, and I definitely didn't want it so tight that my curves distorted the lines of the stitches, as I think that would emphasise my shape. So, being a 38, I knitted the 40 1/2, which is clearly too big. I always make stuff too big. I think in this case the best thing would have been to listen to the inner voices telling me it wouldn't suit, but the design of the thing intrigued me. I don't regret making it, and may wear it -- it's very comfortable -- but I think I will cherish the lessons I learned from it most of all.
I don't like knitting cotton. With patience, mattress stitch seams can be fun and *perfect*. Grafting is fun (I grafted one shoulder and did a rather cool if I say so myself 3-needle bind-off on the other). Picking up stitches by hooking the new yarn between the stitches of the existing fabric gives a MUCH better result than picking up and knitting loops of the existing stitches, which is what I used to do. If I have to knit cotton, I must join the new yarn at the edge of the work, even if it means ripping back 3 stitches short of an entire row. I like cabling without a cable needle even more than cabling with a cable needle, which is an almost indecent amount of liking.
Another success: I think I've cracked the short-row heel.
This pair of socks has only three heels, and the above shows both sides of the third. It may not be clear from the photos, but they match and the holes are tiny! I finally realised that, as you work back up the line of wrapped stitches, the intention is to knit or purl the wrapped stitches in such a way that the bulk of the stitch is forced to the back/inside of the sock. The trick lies in picking up the wraps and the stitch in the right way. There are a lot of sites explaining this; the resource most helpful to me was an Interweave Knits subscriber-only download by Véronik Avery. In short, knit a wrapped stitch by inserting the righthand needle normally, but through both wraps* and the stitch itself, then knit these three together. To purl a wrapped stitch, begin by using the righthand needle to raise first one wrap and then the other from the BACK of the work (that's the 'right' side of most socks) onto the lefthand needle. Then purl the two wraps and the stitch together. I have a lot of photos showing stages in this; if anyone thinks it helpful, I'll post them. Turning the heels leaves me feeling as though I'm on the home straight (although I may go up a needle size somewhere near my calves), so I've bought the yarn for a pair of socktoken socks:
I hope she likes it (Lorna's Laces in Bittersweet). On brief acquaintance I think the colours will suit both her appearance and her character. I have to think about a pattern; although I like both the multi-coloured socks I've made, I'm very aware that the yarn conceals the texture and vice versa. I want to try something different, something very simple that reveals the yarn. I recall seeing someone's straight stockinette stitch with a spiralling pattern of YO and k2T, possibly with a picot top. That sounds about right.
The shawl for my sister is growing steadily if less rapidly now I'm on repeat 9 (of 12). It doesn't look like much, but the foamy mess stretches to over 36" across. I am exceedingly well-pleased with this so far: I like the way the unblocked shawl looks like seafoam, I like the weight of the fabric, I like the way the pattern and yarn are working together. I like the fact that there's no way it can't possibly require all the yarn I set aside for it, so I get to think of something to do with the rest.
That means the treebark (alpaca/silk) scarf is at the top of the pile of projects. Yesterday was cool enough to knit it, but the forecast is for a warm week -- perhaps I can finish the shawl? Unless I'm distracted. Major likelihood of distraction here
Ages ago Joanne suggested learning to spin on a Bosworth. P&M Woolcraft didn't have any Bosworths but it didn't matter, as I couldn't bring myself to put down the Kundert. Also pictured is some almost unbelievably soft Blue Face Leicester in natural (aka cheap) and toning colours, one blue and the other the same blue with yellows, orange, etc. I want to play with plying. I think this lot will almost certainly end up too pastel-pale for my liking, but I have to start somewhere. And the spindle wants to spin, I can feel it waiting. It's very strange. It's hand-turned wood, 'organic' in origin, and yet in my hand it feels like a precision engineering instrument. I put a leader on it and practised spinning it clockwise (for singles) and it just hangs there, spinning. Waiting. But dammit, I have to do the accounts.
* I do the double-wrap thing to close the dreaded gap: after working a wrapped stitch, I then put a second wrap around the next stitch on the lefthand needle, the stitch that I'll be working when I come back that way.