Merino superwash for the win!
Oh, it is so soft. So lovely and soft. It slips through the fingers and strokes them. It rewards you for knitting with it with pats. It practically purrs. I am serious.
I had a lovely morning and lunch out with Pasley yesterday. We wandered all over Pointe-Claire Village. There was a rogue flake or two in the air, but apart from that the snow was the only thing missing from a perfect Christmas shopping trip. Apart from the not really buying anything, that is. It was more of an appreciative viewing of all the lovely things out there. I did pick up fudge as a treat and a pair of secondhand boots for the boy, and a very inexpensive hand-held milk frother for our hot chocolate, but I was very good indeed and did not buy any of the other stuff I sighed over, including piles of gorgeous ornaments, smoked Cheddar, and Green Mountain coffee.
After dropping Pasley off at home I realised that there was no point in going back home; I’d just have to turn around again to leave for the South Shore, fight through traffic, and collect the boys. So, having recently done a search online for the knitting shop Ceri and Mousme mentioned last time they were over, I knew it was a couple of minutes away from Pasley’s place. I’d stop by, poke around, see if I could find a good yarn to do Mousme’s Hat v2.0. And maybe something soft for my armwarmers, because the Berocco Geode is a bit too loose and I keep splitting my stitches.
I found Tricot Quartier no problem, and it’s just lovely. I’m so glad I put gift certificates from this shop on my wish list! I poked about for half an hour and ended up with the Mission Falls 1824 Wool 100% merino superwash in black for my armwarmers, a pair of size 10 straight needles for them (because I love the size 10 circulars I’ve just finished using with much love, and of course I am working with wooden needles), and I decided on a yarn for the hat. It’s a wool/silk blend, not as fun colour-wise as the acrylic I used for the trial run; more sedate, but still with a touch of whimsy.
And I got to HRH’s office in twelve minutes. Stupid non-existent traffic! Good gods, world, can you not even be consistent in your trafficky habits? Usually there is miles of traffic on the 15 south and around the bridge at that time! Good thing I’d bought yarn and a pair of needles to occupy myself while I sat in the office for an hour, otherwise I’d have gone spare. (No, I wouldn’t have; I’d have gone to the school supply shop and bought myself a notebook, and done some writing instead. Still.)
Anywhats, did several rows of the first armwarmer (v1.5) and realised that my straight needles weren’t creating the lovely stockinette stitch that the circulars had (duh). Which meant I had to teach myself to purl.
May I say right here and right now that I hate purling? Passionately, even. I mangled a length of test acrylic at home while watching television last night by casting on, trying to purl, ripping it out, and repeating the whole process. After ninety minutes of stabbing at it and lassoing needles, I got it. Sometimes I managed to do it. I could do it several times in a row, even. But when I tried to alternate with a knit stitch it all went to hell. Eventually I noticed that the yarn lies in front of the needle while purling, while knit stitches have it coming from behind. I pulled out my how-to-knit book and finally found, long after the how-to-alternate-knit-and-purl-stitches section, a sidebar that said, “Hey, you may have noticed that the yarn lies on opposite sides when you alternate knits and purls! You have to watch for that and move it to where it needs to be for your next stitch.” Gee, thanks. Maybe putting that information before or next to the how-to-alternate section would have been helpful? Instead of twenty pages and a chapter later?
Yes, this is one of the drawbacks to working from a book. Had I been sitting next to an experienced knitter they’d have taken one look at my laborious attempts and said, “Oh, hey, I see your problem: you need to have the yarn lying in front of the RH needle before a purl, and behind it for the knit. Just flip it over.” And a two-foot length of acrylic would have been saved from a horribly mangly torture and eventual death.
So now I know how to purl (go me! though I still don’t like the stitch as much as knit) and can produce rib! I personally like the look of seed stitches, so I suspect that’s what I’ll do the armwarmers in. Or even that may be too ambitious. I should probably do stockinette or 1×1 rib and be thankful that I don’t have to think about what comes next and what stitch starts each row.
This knitting thing is so interesting. It simultaneously engages my brain and lets it relax. And on top of that, it has tangible, visual reinforcement: look, the article I am knitting is getting bigger! This works! I am producing something moderately useful! And I can see how easy it is to start a yarn stash. I spent most of my time wandering around the shop petting the yarn. I want to bring piles of the merino home and cuddle it. I love working with chunky needles and yarns. Although I have absolutely no interest in knitting socks (she says, knowing it will horrify most of her knitting readers — too small! yarn too thin! DPNs of doom!) one of my next projects will be sock-based: I want to make slipper-socks and sew a suede-ish sole over the bottom. Nothing fancy; cables scare me and I want a single colour for them. No stripes or patterns. Just a really nice yarn.
And maybe seed stitch. And ribbing at the top.