Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Obsessive Behavior

I tend to collect things, not that I'm a pack rat or anything. In fact, I can become rather obsessive about my "collections." When I get my jones on for something, Oy! It can seriously get out of control.

Books are easily my biggest obsessions. In my office are a row of bookcases, twelve feet long and about seven feet high. They're filled. Completely filled. There are research books on a wide variety of subjects as I tend to buy no less than three or four new research books for every book I write, quite often more, depending on the subject matter. Romance novels, of course, by my favorite authors line the shelves of one bookcase. And let's not forget the keepers, those books, no matter how old, that you simply cannot part with. I have my collections there, too. My Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Lisa Gardner, JoAnn Ross and Vicki Lewis Thompson collections demanding the most space. I should probably mention the stacks of books TBR (to be read) piled up around my filing cabinets, but we won't talk about those.

Then there are the official "collectibles" I've gotten my jones on over the years. The Cerished Teddies, Precious Moments, Calico Kitties and This Little Piggy collectibles by Enesco which I can't live without. Or my obsessions with all things hummingbird. And I can't not mention the antique china pattern that I'm continuously working to complete. Almost there, too. Three more place settings and only a dozen or so more completer pieces and my china collection will be complete.

My latest jones is all things knitting. I blame our darling Barbara for reawakening the knitting gene in my DNA. I've been buying needles most recently. Only one more size and I'll have all of them. I tend to prefer the aluminum ones, so collecting all the sizes has been somewhat of a challenge as they're becoming more difficult to find.

The husband doesn't even mind my newest obsession with all things knitting, because a pair of new needles or a few skeins of yarn tend not to break the bank like a $65 Precious Moment figurine. I can't walk into WalMart without hitting the craft section these days, or drive up to Erie and not make a side trip to Michael's to browse through the yarn department. Bless his heart, he even understands that it's simply not possible for me leave the store without making a purchase because a specialty yarn or color that I know would look fabulous on one of the grandbabies has caught my eye.

Lately, however, I feel the obsession building for circular needles. There's a fair isle sweater I'm dying to try out for one of the granddaughters. I have the pattern and colors all picked out in my mind, but I have a confession - circular needles terrify me almost as much as the upcoming Sock Hop has me quaking in my fuzzy slippers.

How do you count the rows? Do you just keep knitting round and round and round? And for those patterns which require circulars, but no circular knitting, how on earth do you "turn" the work to purl on the WS?


Tomorrow is my monthly journey to Erie to do the shopping. Of course I'll have to go to Michael's. Your mission today, should you choose to accept it, is to help me overcome my fear of circulars. I'll even buy a pair and get started on that lovely fair isle sweater for the granddaughter. And post pictures of my progess on my next blog.

So, what do you say? Are you up for the challenge? Please say yes. That sweater would look fabulous on the granddaughter.


Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

Jamie, to knit flat on circs all you have to do is think of the needle tips as representing two separate straight needles. Turn the same way you would turn using straight needles and purl the same way you would purl using straights.

I know, I know. Your mind is screaming, "That sounds weird." But try it. Cast on twenty stitches and your hands will immediately see what I mean.

9:45 AM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

PS: Once I started knitting flat on circs I never went back. My straight needles might as well be chopsticks now for all the knitting they do. ALL my flat knitting is done on circs. It's easier on my hands, supports the weight of a lengthy or heavy garment more easily, more portable, eliminates the fear of dropped needles.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Annie said...

I agree with Barbara. In fact, I am bringing almost all of my straight needles to a yarn swap this weekend, because I use my circular needles exclusively

11:05 AM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

I'm with Barbara and Annie: I adore my Addi circular needles and choose them over straight ones whenever possible.

I've never tried to knit something circular on them but for flat stuff they work great. And even though I've been practicing a lot with the turning issue I still occasionally end up flipping them the wrong way. You figure it out pretty quickly and just reverse the turn.

Trust me, you'll become addicted too.

P.S. I'd love to see a photo of the antique china you're collecting. I love that stuff.

11:09 AM  
Blogger Jamie Denton said...

Pffftttt! Y'all make it sound so simple and easy. You just wait. I'll muck it somehow :::sigh:::

Now, does anyone care to explain how I'm supposed to "join in rnd?" I take it this where those cute little stitch markers come into play. Yes?

I'm making my shopping list as we speak.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

To further confuse you, Jamie, you don't really need stitch markers unless you can't resist their cuteness. (I have tons of the little buggers but don't use them.) A piece of contrasting yarn works just as well, sometimes better.

Also, I use the tail end of the yarn to ID the beginning/end of a round. When it's on the right when I change needles, I'm starting a new round. When it's on the left when I change needles, I'm at the mid-point.

This refers to working Magic Loop or 2 circs method.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Cindi Myers said...

Call me ignorant, I'd never even thought of knitting flat on circular needles.

And I do like the cute little yarn markers to help me keep track.

I like aluminum needles, too, Jamie, and have a lot. I'm just getting into circulars -- will have to experiment more.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Personally, I like stich markers. They stay up at the top of your knitting while the tail end gets further and further away.

However, this is when the knitting is being done in the round on a single circular needle. (Like for hats or sweaters. Socks, being done - by me - on two circs, are another story.) Otherwise, I can tell approximately when the new round is supposed to start, but not exactly.

Hope that makes sense... I don't have a picture to use as an example at the moment.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Knitting said...


Knitting in the round is really quite enjoyable - a few things I've learned along the way are:

To join the yarns together, just start knitting and keep going - around and around don't turn your work. The join will happen when you get to the last c/o st. and then continue knitting right through that first c/o st. It'll join perfectly.

Also, to do stockinette in circular knitting, you knit every stitch - not k1 P1 like you do when "flat knitting"

Just some things I know. Barbara is right, just buy a pair of needles and cast on - you'll see what we're talking about instantly.

Good luck!

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Gwyndolyn O'Shaughnessy said...

It's one of those things (like falling off a bicycle) that you say, "It can't really be that easy!"

It really is that easy.

Cast on enough stitches to fit comfortably around the circumference of the needle. When you get to the last cast-on stitch, the first stitch on the other needle is your target. Sneak up on it -- don't scare it -- and knit into it. Voila! Skinned knees. See?

I just keep reminding myself that I'm smarter than the needles AND the yarn .... I mean, they're not the sharpes needles in the box.

(ducking and running)

3:44 PM  
Blogger Fran Baker said...

Boo, hiss!!!

But Gwendolyn's right. I love circs for knitting in the round and for flat knitting both.

7:13 PM  
Blogger Jamie Denton said...

Okay, okay, y'all have me convinced I can do this. I'll keep Gwendolyn's wise words close to my heart and keep repeating them!

These are not sharpes! I am smarter than needles and yarn!

These are not sharpes! I am smarter than needles and yarn!

3:08 AM  

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