Recent knitting activities: (this was just going to be a list, then I started typing. pictures to come, someday.)
I finished the knitting part of the On the Moon bag from Knitty. Now it just needs 2 small buttons and a large button. I made it with popsicle (turquoise-blue) Cotton-Ease on size 7 needles. I haven't checked the gauge at all, but it holds tampons just fine, which is all that matters. I had to alter the pattern for the I-cord button loops. It says to use the backward loop cast-on to add two stitches, and I just couldn't get that to not be all loose and saggy and ugly, so I cast-on 34 stitches to begin with and went from there. It took me a few tries on the handle to think of that and get it correct-looking. I also added a purl bump row on the right side for where each of the pockets is folded in, mostly because I didn't have the pattern in front of me when I was working on it on the airplane (I didn't print it until a day or two later at my parents' house), and remembered that there were bumps for the fold, and thought it was for all three folding places. P.S. I <3 the cable cast-on.
This was my first experience with seaming that went well. I think its called the mattress stitch, but my Vogue Knitting Reference book (the little version of the bigger book) just called it an invisible vertical seam. It really was invisible once I got the hang of it. So cool.
Also with Cotton-Ease, I started a big ol' gauge swatch. I cast-on 20 stitches and am knitting 20 rows in stockinette, making a purl bump and then switching needle size. So far I have used US size 3 aluminum, size 4 Clover Bamboo (10" long), size 5 Clover bamboo (14" long), and size 6 aluminum needles. Next will be my favorite needles, size 7 yellow plastic. Next in line will be size 8 Denise, size 9 casein, and 10, 10.5 and on up will all be from the Denise set. The ball label calls for a gauge over 4" of 17st + 24 rows on size 8 needles (aka Aran weight). I saw this exercise written up somewhere to demonstrate how needle size, gauge and the resulting knitted fabric are all related. I figured that since I hoarded so much Cotton-Ease, I should see how it knits up over the whole range. When I finish, I will post a picture or two.
At the White Sox game on Friday with Charlie I cast-on (with 6" US size 2 dpns from Crystal Palace) for "Beginner's Lightweight Socks" from a Knitting Pure & Simple pattern. It was in fact the first pattern I ever bought individually, and I still haven't made anything from it. I am using the first sock yarn I ever bought as well. Its very gaudy, pink, orange, blue, green and yellow. I have no idea how it is going to stripe up, as I lost the ball bands ages ago and haven't made much progress on the socks.
I am into the ribbing right now (I told you I hadn't made much progress) and am trying out the Norwegian Purl. Its very loose, and I'm not sure how to tighten up my purls and still do them the magical Norwegian way. I love not having to move the yarn back to front and front to back all the time. Also, I hold/throw the yarn with my left thumb when I purl the "normal" way, and I hold/throw the yarn with my left index finger when I knit/have the yarn at the back of the work, so there is a lot of rearranging needed to do ribbing the "normal" way. And thusly, I hate ribbing.
On these socks I think that I am going to do more ribbing, to make up for its loosey-goosey nature and not go the whole 7" on the leg. My first pair of socks were just too tall at a 7" leg and 10 rounds of ribbing was insufficient. The size 2 needles are like toothpicks. A woman on the train going home asked if I was crocheting, and when told that I was knitting, she said that she didn't know you could knit with such small sticks.
Also in progress is the "Lunchbag Tote" from Knit One, Felt Too for my mom. I finished the main bag part and made a swatch. In that order. I don't care about gauge as much as checking the ratio of felted to unfelted size. Besides washing the test swatch, I need to go to the fabric store and get washable 9/16" seam binding. I have no idea what that is, but the pattern calls for it, and maybe all will be clear as mud in the instructions once I have it in hand.
That's it for the current WIPs (Works in Progress), I will post photos when there is something finished to show.
Peg, feel free to ask as many questions as you want about what I've written. Someday, you will learn how to purl. and then you will no longer be a baby knitter. Does the farm that you bought shares in have sheep/wool/yarn available? If they do, you might be able to take a class there, if you were interested. And you work in Manhattan, where there are many opportunities to learn how to purl.
Keep Smiling! =) especially if you made it this far.