Intangled in Intarsia

I didn’t get a lot of knitting done this past weekend. Instead, I spent a lot of type hacking my TiVo (this is “stuff I do with my hands”). It’s got bigger hard drives now (to record 10 days of TV, yes, days) and an ethernet card, and pretty soon, I’ll be able to transfer shows from it to my Macintosh and burn DVDs.

For the curious, here are a few pictures. The first is what the inside of a TiVo looks like. It’s really just a computer. The second is the hacking setup — I had to put the TiVo hard drive into a PC to format it and I needed my Mac laptop to read the webpages with the instructions. The last is a close-up of the “tools” I had to add to the PC to temporarily hold the hard drives (see the Cadbury Egg box near the middle and at the very bottom, under the hard drive in the lower left corner, is a GladWare container that I used as a platform - it was just the right size).

But enough about that.

In the odd moments that I did knit (watching my TiVo, hoping I didn’t break it), I worked on the Mouse Baby Blanket. I’m more than half finished as you can see in this photo:

As you might guess, there’s a lot of instarsia. For the non-knitters, “intarsia” is the practise of knitting with multiple balls of yarn to create color blocks. Everywhere I switch colors, there is another ball of yarn. Fortunately, I can start over at each new row of squares. But, with the 4 different squares and the two sections of edging, and the adornments of stripes or polka dots or mice (the grey blobs), that’s a lot of balls to keep in the air. So all I see is this:

Now, I could use some yarn bobbins instead of whole balls, but the squares are pretty big and I’m doing enough weaving at the corners and for the embellishments that I don’t want to risk having too little yarn on a bobbin. I finally had the epiphany over the weekend to stick each ball in a separate ziploc bag. This minimizes the tangling. And I’ve worked out a great system where I line up the balls I’m working and do a quick swap when I have to switch colors and twist the yarn. But the bags are slippery and they take up a lot of room next to me on the couch. And my husband eyes it all with disdain, because after all, he thinks he should get the whole couch. What I really need is a small milk crate with individual cubbies to stick each ball in. A bag won’t do, because I want something rigid that will hold the balls upright in their proper places. Maybe it’s time to run out to the liquor store (to find a box with cubbies!).

The good news is that there end up being so many tails to weave in with this project, that I pause to take the time to do it after I complete each row of squares. Otherwise, I get hopelessly tangled while I’m working. So when I finish this blanket, there will be minimal finishing work to do.

I was going to say something about the dangers of reading other knitter’s blogs, causing one to want to do yet more projects. But not tonight.