Great teachers. Teenage boys. The Gettysburg Address.  A box of Kleenex. Watch The Address, a new film by Ken Burns.

Ask the Problem Ladies! Ask Them!

Dear Kay,
It’s time for the Problem Ladies to answer another batch of knitting-related questions.
If anybody has somehow incredibly missed the most recent installment of Twist Collective‘s most discursive column, here’s the Spring/Summer edition of Ask the Problem Ladies.
And if anyone has a question, please leave a comment. The Problem Ladies will either answer it or, or in time-honored history test style, rattle on about the Battle of Gallipolli.
Love,
Ann

29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. *sob* My beloved local yarn store just went out of business. No more knitting night, no more on-the-spot helpful advice about Japanese knitting chart mystery symbols, no more last minute emergency runs for the *other* kind of pastel plastic stitch markers or the last skein of the dye lot, no more lovely new yarns to contemplate (and fondle) at leisure. What should I DO?

  2. I was just on the Twist Collective site reading the comment from the person who is tired of knitting. While I’m still knitting (albeit, slowly), I can relate to the item about stash bringing one down. I can’t be the only one who has an existential crisis every time I ponder my yarn stash? Those skeins of sock and lace weights; the sweaters-worth bags–I can’t look at them too long without confronting my own mortality, which is, frankly, a bummer and takes a lot of the fun out of the whole endeavor.
    OK, now I have to go look at some cute kitten photos…

  3. Stephy, I recommend calmingmanatee.com. You can’t feel too bad after a few minutes with those guys.

  4. I got so excited I lost my post–that site is so cute. But also, OMG, Ann–this is a weird coincidence. My fiance and I are planning a Florida Keys elopement/roadtrip and just this very week I fell in love with manatees while watching YouTubes of snorkelers snorgling them. Maybe they’re my new spirit guide.

  5. Regarding the infamous eyelash yarn I did see one actual use for it:
    http://www.stickatillbarbie.se/Monster%20Barbie/Engelska/101-200/146%20In%20English.doc
    number 146.

  6. Can someone come undo the lace shawl I am working on to the point where I went wrong…sort of pick me up and put me back on my feet? Must be done for son’s wedding 7/14 …irony: used rescue lines until “oh, what the heck…everything is going so well, I won’t keep that up….”

  7. One of you is in NYC, right? I work in NYC!

  8. I actually have found one use for eyelash yarn, Knitty’s Raccoon Hat (it’s called something else, I forget what.) It is necessary, though, to string along some other sort of “real” yarn (except for the tail) or you can’t see what you’re doing.

  9. I always love reading the Problem Ladies column! We have two dogs. The older one is an English Lab who decided that all of my balls of yarn needed to be released from their bags and stacked up in front of the television. (He knows I knit while watching TV, so maybe it was empathetic on his part?) The younger one is a Lab mix who has decided that anything in my yarn box is a toy that needs to be chewed on, unraveled, or generally for amusement. I think he’s been taking lessons from the cats. :)

  10. Dear Problem Ladies,
    At a recent knitting retreat, knitters with 1,000 years of experience among them sat around a table. One knitted homework for a workshop – casting on and joining in the round BEING CAREFUL NOT TO TWIST. She turned to her neighbor and asked if it looked twisted. Her neighbor said it did not. About three-quarters through the homework, the first knitter looked at her work and saw it was twisted. The group, drunk on the merriment known only to knitters sitting around a table knitting, immediately blamed the second knitter for her assurance that it was not twisted. The second knitter wrested the knitting away from the first and ran off, returning in the morning with a perfectly knitted (in the round, untwisted) piece of homework. Both knitters were deeply embarrassed, which only resulted in more merriment. My first question: who was at fault: the first knitter, the second knitter, or the instructor, whose completely unnecessary admonition to be careful not to twist the yarn doomed the knitting to twist? My second question: what do you suggest to eliminate having to knit these fiddly homework things? And still learn anything?
    Claudia

  11. Thank you for teaching me a new word! Just wondering which definition you were meaning. :)
    1.lengthy with digressions: lengthy and including extra material that is not essential to what is being written or spoken about
    2.rational: using logic rather than intuition to reach a conclusion
    By the way, I am having Olive withdrawals. Photos, please!

  12. OK – how do I tell a new-ish knitter in my knitting group that she needs to branch out from raglans? Her shoulders droop and her bust sags and she looks four inches shorter and 10 inches wider. She would look so much better in a set-in sleeve. But she persists with raglans becasue they are “so easy”, and that’s what her mother always made so she already has all these patterns. Extra credit if you can talk her out of using cotton yarn so her stitches come out all wonky.

  13. But…but…Where’s Jack White?

  14. Oh Tracey, were I not in London I’d do that for you!
    But I cam here to say – Ann, please ramble on about Gallipolli to me. We never did that at school.

  15. One more defense of eyelash yarn! I made this in grey/silver and have to make another since my mother begged for the first one:
    http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEfall02/PATTveganfox.html

  16. I’ve been wondering a long time about how to turn certain colorwork projects into something steekable. For example, there’s Takoma in Knitty Deep Fall 2011–it looks totally feasible to steek it, except what does one do with the solid-colored sections? Would a bit of handstitching suffice if the wool is sticky enough? Or is this totally unfeasible? Give me the truth–I can take it, I promise!

  17. I’ve found that a woman I work with who was taught the very basics of knitting at age 7 by her grandmother who died not long after. More than 50 years later my friend only knits basic scarves & afghans and has yet to disover superwash wool, cashmere laceweight, hand dyed sock yarn, Noro, Ravelry, KALs, Friday night knitting groups, and all the other joys of modern knitting. 1) How do I gently inroduce her to knitting in the 21st century without overwhelming her? 2) She has no stash! This is a serious problem that must be corrected! Can you give me some suggestions for selecting parts of my stash to give her so that she can have her own yarn collection?

  18. I’ve been working on a fair isle cardigan for a while. The colors are lovely, the pattern isn’t too hard and the steeking was fun. So what is the problem…. well i had the sinking feeling while working on the yoke that it was getting smaller. “Thats just the shaping and you’ll be cutting it open so you’ll be fine” i kept telling myself.
    Well we all know where this is going. It is too small now on the top. I’m going to finish it anyway because i’m sure i have a tiny friend somewhere who will love it. But for next time, what is a good way to keep things from getting super small when you are doing fair isle? Pulling at the floats? Going up a bit in needle, just knitting a size bigger… Any advice would be great.

  19. Oh Joy of Joys, you’ve been “nominated” for the Versatile Blogger Award. This is, so far as I know, a completely bogus award given with the requirement that you (1) thank the person who gave it to you, (2) post links to 15 blogs you have “nominated” to receive this award, (3) notify those 15 bloggers of their “nomination,” (4) post seven random things about yourself, and (5) post the Versatile Blogger Award on your site.
    Seriously, though, I’ve loved your blog for ages. Check out the post on my site for some other great blogs to look at (if you’re into that sort of thing).
    PS – I just learned that Knitty has accepted my Seanair pattern for the September issue. :)

  20. Dear Problem Ladies,
    I had the joy of taking a rare breed spinning workshop with Deb Robson recently and am naturally excited to explore all these delightful new options. And then I learned that an old friend just took delivery of 4 alpacas and wants some help figuring out what to do with their fleeces. I also have a stash of a certain size that lurks at me from the basement. And then there’s that issue of the PESKY day job (PESKY = Purchase Enabling System for Knitting Yarn) and the family who apparently still expects to see me on occasion. How do I stay focused long enough to actually finish anything?
    Also, I was in NYC this weekend and made unauthorized side trips to School Products and Kinokuniya, for which I hold y’all entirely responsible. Not helping…

  21. Dear problem ladies -
    I think it’s time for us to talk about knitters’ ADD: “oh, look – another lace pattern”, “oh look, this completely unseen-before-must-have-totally-ridiculous wool blend” “oh look, titanium alloy DPNs”. Serious side effects include beyond-life-expectation stashing and unfinished project malaise. I say that as I labor through the last, long (very long) color block of Grace Anna Farrow’s beautiful shale pattern and keep repeating to myself:”don’t look at the next project, yet, don’t look at your stash, pass the knit shop, do not collect more yarn…”
    I also challenge you to find a picture that shows Jack White knitting, now wouldn’t that be the coolest ;-)

  22. I have yarn. Shedloads of yarn {well, not quite literally shedloads, perhaps 10 dog kennels’ worth of yarn. Anyway. I digress}. I also have patterns. Lots and lots of ‘em. I even have a little time to knit at the moment. I am a lucky duck, I know.
    My problem is this: I can match the patterns and yarn together pretty well but then they never seem quite THE perfect match for one another. Too much yarn left over, perhaps. Or the yarn is too sproingy for the pattern or something. Or not quite the perfect shade of grey. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m just making excuses not to knit. What can I dooooo, Problem Ladies?

  23. Yarn Ladies
    I love knitting. I try to knit some every day, but in truth, I have a more-than-full-time job, two very young boys, and more laundry than I could ever get done (see also: two young boys). I never know what to say when people ask me to make them something. I don’t churn out hats the way I did B.C. (before children), my friends are making babies left and right (all boys! sweet little girl patterns be damned!), and sometimes I want to make something for myself.
    I think when people ask me to make things, it’s because they don’t know how long it really takes to go from yarn to garment. I don’t want to educate them, but I do need an emphatic but polite way to say no.
    What do you say when someone suggests that you could just whip them up a honey cowl, while you’re at it.
    Stephanie
    PS. If I had all the time in the world to knit, the answer would likely be yes to all requests.

  24. Yarn Ladies
    I love knitting. I try to knit some every day, but in truth, I have a more-than-full-time job, two very young boys, and more laundry than I could ever get done (see also: two young boys). I never know what to say when people ask me to make them something. I don’t churn out hats the way I did B.C. (before children), my friends are making babies left and right (all boys! sweet little girl patterns be damned!), and sometimes I want to make something for myself.
    I think when people ask me to make things, it’s because they don’t know how long it really takes to go from yarn to garment. I don’t want to educate them, but I do need an emphatic but polite way to say no.
    What do you say when someone suggests that you could just whip them up a honey cowl, while you’re at it.
    Stephanie
    PS. If I had all the time in the world to knit, the answer would likely be yes to all requests.

  25. Dear Problem Ladies. No matter how hard I try, how come my edging on shawls is always too tight??? I did abrazo from twistcollective, what a BEAUTIFUL shawl, and the points are more rounded petals. I switched to a bigger needle for the cast on edge, but it didn’t help. I am now doing color affection, and used Yarn Harlot’s tweak of a yo after the first stitch, dropping it on the way back, and STILL too tight on the edge. I hope my B.L.O.C.K.I.N.G. until the shawl screams will help. But in the meantime, does this problem have any solution? Signed – gauge is right, but edges are uptight.

  26. Dear Problem Ladies. No matter how hard I try, how come my edging on shawls is always too tight??? I did abrazo from twistcollective, what a BEAUTIFUL shawl, and the points are more rounded petals. I switched to a bigger needle for the cast on edge, but it didn’t help. I am now doing color affection, and used Yarn Harlot’s tweak of a yo after the first stitch, dropping it on the way back, and STILL too tight on the edge. I hope my B.L.O.C.K.I.N.G. until the shawl screams will help. But in the meantime, does this problem have any solution? Signed – gauge is right, but edges are uptight.

  27. my wee little stash has asked me to leave them
    alone till i make up my mind one way or another
    you leave the manatees alone in florida go visit
    snooty in the south florida museum etc bradenton
    the queen mum knows how to put on a party
    your omelet will be just fine if you call it a crepe with whipped cream and jam

  28. Last year, on Memorial Day, we were spending some time with a few Aussies and Kiwis, and the subject of Gallipolli came up. And I got the recipe for Anzac Slice.

  29. Dear Problem Ladies: Why are you ladies a problem? Seriously, what tips do you have to help a knitter who has carpal tunnel problems and wants to put off surgery as long as possible?