The Practical Obsession

‘Tis the heat and humidity season in our part of the world. We call it “air you can wear”. The ferns we hang optimistically around the front porch each summer are thriving this year but it comes at the cost of sweaty, clinging clothing, and surrendering my hairstyle to the natural curls no amount of product or flat ironing will tame. I’m listening to the radio as I type these words and the announcer just reported the temperature as “98 degrees with a heat index of 115.” I’m not even kidding. Before the week is out I will once again make Steve pinky swear that we will not retire to a hot climate like I do every summer.

Warm weather influences us knitters. We tuck away big projects in lieu of small things. I know one person working on an afghan but she’s really hard core. Me? I’m finishing things and looking for the “next big thing” to tackle when it gets cooler so I’m digging through books and websites looking for a little inspiration. The website “New Stitch A Day” (newstitchaday.com) always has a treasure trove of stitch patterns to dive into. I happened on the Bee Stitch a few weeks ago and it was love at first sight. Color work, lots of texture, easy set up and execution – - – what’s not to love?

A great way to experiment with a new stitch pattern is to try it on a dish cloth. I sent the last dishcloth in my stash off with visiting friends earlier this month so it was time to replenish. I grabbed my stash of 2nd Time Cotton (from Knit One Crochet Too) and cast on 41 stitches on a US #8 needle. It was clear after six rows this was going to be waaaay big. I ripped it off of the needles, started over with 35 stitches and it started to sail off of the needles . . . Bee Stitch v1

I loved the look but it was a little on the loose side for my taste so I started a second experiment. I went down a needle size and combined another 2nd Time Cotton (Color A) with a hand painted cotton (Color B) from our LYS – yarn (yarnthestore.com). I cast on 37 stitches and found I like this gauge much better.

Bee Stitch v2

It’s a heavier dishcloth, but in my interpretation, still a little on the big side. For the next experiment I cast on 33 stitches on a US #7 and used the same hand painted cotton as Color A and a different color 2nd Time Cotton for Color B.

Bee Stitch v3

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner! It’s hits all my dishcloth buttons for texture, gauge, and size. Oh, and I like the way the color plays, too! However, by this time, I couldn’t leave the Bee Stitch alone. I was obsessed. I had to see how it looked as a solid color so I grabbed yet ANOTHER color of 2nd Time Cotton (yep, I’m a little obsessed with this yarn, too) and cast 35 stitches on the US #7 needles. It turned out like this . . . Bee Stitch v4I still like the texture and overall pattern but I think using the second color really makes the stitch pop. Each of these Bee-utiful Dishcloths have their own special look and they’re lovely grouped together. 
Bee Stitch Dish Cloths trayAnd since you’ve been patient enough to read through this entire post, here’s a link to the two color pattern for the Bee-utiful Dishcloth (click on the title to open and print the pdf). Here’s hoping it’s a cool little project to add to your summer knitting basket!

 

 

Loose Ends

A friend used to say, “I’m just in a mood.” There’s never an explanation of what the said mood was, it simply seemed to describe a general need to get something done and heaven help the person who gets in their way.

I’m feeling the same way about my knitting this week. I’m just in a mood. Too many things have been hanging fire and I’m being strict with myself when it comes to new projects. I’m not putting anything new on the needles until a few things are finished. And as it happens, there’s at least one project that isn’t showing up the way I’m seeing it in my mind’s eye.

I’ve been thinking for awhile that a log cabin type baby bib could have a couple of benefits. It could be adorable AND use up a lot of tiny little odds and ends of cotton yarn I’ve got laying around. I’ve been noodling on the idea for awhile, and now I’m noodling on the beta version of a pattern. I’m finding a couple of hiccups. There are going to be a bunch of ends to weave in. I’m rarely enthused about weaving in ends. Baby Bib - BackI’m going to need to get my mind right and generate a lot of enthusiasm to deal with all these ends.

And I’ve got to figure out why my pick up stitches are making my joins off kilter. Baby Bib - Front

I know, it’s a small thing but my OCD-ness is kicking in and making me a little nuts, to tell the truth. This project has been laying in the bag for a few weeks now because frankly, I’m annoyed by it. However, it’s close enough to being done that I’ve written “Finish baby bib” on my To-Do List for this weekend. Maybe the thrill of checking it off will give me the inspiration I need to get it done. Here’s hoping. If you don’t see me until Monday, you’ll know that I’ve ginned up the enthusiasm and am weaving in ends. Those endless loose ends.

I’m also within sight of finally finishing a sweater I’ve had on the needles for much too long. The back and two front panels are complete and I’m currently working on both sleeves at the same time. If you know me, you’ll know that my brain/learning style has balked at the “two of anything at the same time” method of knitted garment construction. There are a pair of mittens currently languishing in my project basket in Time Out for that very reason. Cable Swing Coat Sleeves 5 2014However, these sleeves only had one small setback in the beginning and that was before the cable pattern started. They may be the thing that convinces me this technique isn’t as twisted (literally) as I’d previously thought or experienced. It’s good for me to remember that just because I experience an “insurmountable opportunity” with one project doesn’t mean I can’t ever be successful with a specific technique or future project. It may take time for the memories to fade and the willingness to try again, but who knows? I might just enjoy myself the next time around.

Now, where’s that baby bib?