Knitting by Blind Faith

A Little Bit of This, a Little Bit of That
Monday, June 9, 2008, 5:00 pm
Filed under: Life,Reflections

This weekend, RAM and I took a trip to Orlando to see his friend, Larry. Another friend of ours had restored an antique radio for Larry that had belonged to Larry’s family, and RAM and I made the delivery this weekend.

We met Larry’s roommate, Debbie, who is a doctoral student. Debbie and I chatted while the guys got caught up. It turns out she has studied aroma therapy, and she makes soaps, lotions, and bath salts, scented with herbs.

I should mention here that one of my favorite places to visit in the Orlando area is a store in Downtown Disney called Basin. I love their bath bombs, lavender bath milk, and sugar hand scrubs. I even made my own scented candle there once.

Well, Debbie’s products are so good that I bought hers this time instead. She saved me money and a trip to Downtown Disney, which was a bit out of the way.

Of course, my knitting went with me, as usual. I’ve been practicing those double decreases, and they’re coming along nicely. I’ve gotten some very sane, logical, and level-headed suggestions that I should start with some worsted yarn and a plain vanilla sock. The truth is, all of you who have said that are right, and I know this. But I just want to try this, even if it doesn’t work out. I want to challenge myself. Even if it means one step forward and two steps back, even if I don’t succeed this time, I will come away from the challenge a better knitter and a better person.

RAM and I have started going to church again. We lost Loyal during a time of prayer and fasting last year, and we just couldn’t bring ourselves to go back after that. The church we are attending is a smaller church closer to home. The people are friendly, and the Word is preached unashamedly and with sincere hearts.

One of the things that caught my attention was a statement that one of the pastors made in one of his sermons: our lives are a pendulum. We are never standing still. We are either moving toward God or away from Him.

I hadn’t given it much thought, but as I look at my life over this past year, I would have to say it’s true. I have moved from turning my back on God, to listening to His still small voice calling me back, to slowly making my way towards Him, to actively and earnestly seeking Him. Now, I feel alive again, and my spiritual hunger and thirst have been rekindled.

As I reflect on the times I thought running away was the easy way out, or those times I have tried to make God conform to my will instead of conforming to His, not allowing Him to form me into what He wants me to be, I am grateful that He never let me go. I am grateful that nothing can separate His child from His love.

Those Darn Double Decreases
Wednesday, June 4, 2008, 12:15 pm
Filed under: Knitting

The Jaywalker sock I stared this past weekend was going along just fine…until I finished the ribbing and got into the actual pattern. I ended up frogging it because I was having trouble with the double decreases. To make the double decrease, you slip two stitches together as if to knit, knit the third stitch, and pass the slipped stitches over that knit stitch and off the needle. Well, every time I tried it, all three stitches would come off the needle together. I worked on the technique and started to get the hang of it, but it felt so awkward that I wasn’t sure I was on the right track.

I made poor RAM watch videos at just to see if there was anything I might be missing. He lovingly tried to interpret what he saw, but he is not a knitter, so neither of us was one hundred percent sure that what we were doing was right.

Well, last night at Knit Night, I told my friends of my sock knitting woes. The Healing Teacher whipped out some scrap yarn and spare needles, and Judah showed me the decrease. It turns out I was on the right track all along. I just need to be sure to hold that top stitch in place as I bring the slipped stitches off the right needle. Then, I can drop them off the left needle tip.

I’ve decided not to work on the sock for the moment and instead take some scrap yarn and make a pattern swatch. I want to practice those decreases until I can do them in my sleep–or at least, until I’m comfortable with them–before knitting the actual sock. My friends and I agree that this is an ambitious project for a first sock, but I am eager to take on the challenge.

On another note, I finished the diagonal baby blanket! Well, except for weaving in the ends, which I hate. If I had used the Lion Brand Pound of Love yarn, I only would have had two ends to weave in. But I used the Sirdar Snuggly DK, which comes in 50-gram balls, so I have considerably more than that. (Photos coming after I weave in those darn ends.)

As I was working on the blanket last night, I held it up for my friends to see. They unanimously agreed that it was the perfect size and not too small. So that means my nephew gets to be the recipient, after all. And here I thought I didn’t have enough yarn! Don’t you just love how God miraculously provides?

I guess Peace will have to keep waiting for her blanket. I’m sure she won’t mind, as long as I throw in a few extra belly rubs with my apology.

My First Socks
Saturday, May 31, 2008, 3:20 pm
Filed under: Knitting,Life

As I was reading Marti’s blog last week, I got to thinking about sock knitting. In her post, she expressed frustration at her lack of sock knitting progress. Still, she doesn’t want to give up, and I wrote a note to encourage her.

As I thought about it, encouraging someone to knit socks when you haven’t actually made any yourself means that you may sympathize with their frustration, but there is no way you will empathize with them. I had an introduction to sock knitting by making a couple of pairs of felted booties, but then sock knitting went by the wayside because of projects I was, and am, working on for gifts.

Today, RAM has to work at our local hurricane expo, and I offered to tag along. That means five hours of sitting at his radio station’s booth, waiting for people to walk by and inquire for information and about hurricane preparedness. Peace’s blanket is almost finished and barely fits in my GoKnit pouch. Moreover, it is getting bulky and a bit awkward to handle, so it needs to be relegated to the knit-at-home pile.

Five hours with idle hands is not a good thing. I needed something portable to knit. I know, SOCKS!

As I was searching for sock patterns in Ravelry, I came across the pattern for Jaywalkers that Marti was working on. After looking over the pattern (I had to edit it, because my screen reader did not translate the PDF correctly), I decided to give it a try.

I raided my stash of sock yarn and chose a beautiful blue. I made a gauge swatch and cast on for the socks.

These first few rows are agonizingly slow and involve a lot of concentration. I haven’t worked with fingering weight yarn before, so my fingers are tripping over themselves as I both knit and look at what I’m doing, but I am making slow but sure progress.

Marti, I feel your pain, but just for you (and as a spiritual challenge), I promise to swallow my pride and post photos of the good, the bad, and the ugly. I don’t know how many “design elements” there will be or even if these socks will actually fit when I’m done, but there is always more yarn, and I have a lifetime to get it right. So do you!