Friday, April 27, 2007

Ok, ok, twist my arm.

Unanimity is a rare thing, but it's easy to understand in this case:

I don't think there's a word for this stuff besides be-fucking-yootiful. The depth, the softness, the COLOR! I can't stop ogling it.

Now my only problem is that mistake about 4 rows back. It wasn't bothering me that much on the mitt itself, but every time I look at this picture it's like it's eating my face. I can't see anything else. Rip rip rip.

ps. why is it that everything in IK always looks so much fun to knit, and yet like nothing i'd ever wear?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Berry fudge sundae vs. um... a spicy sweet japanese treat?

Thanks for all the sweater-love, y'all. I continue to be massively, giddily pleased with it.

It did represent, however, a departure from my usual knit-on-the-bus-and occasionally-during-a-movie routine, and I've found myself taking a bit of a break now that it's done. This is the sum total of my knitting in the last several days, and it's causing me a bit of a dilemma:

Eunny's Endpaper Mitts, with Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Blackberry and Chocolate. (mmm, blackberry and chocolate....) I love these colors but I'm not positive they work that well together for this pattern. If anything, the contrast is a bit less in real life than in this photo, and the pattern is just a leeetle bit hard to make out. On the one hand, I really do like the subtlety and the warmth, but on the other, why go to the trouble of doing colorwork at all if it's not going to be crisp and pretty?

If I were to try another color scheme, I'd probably keep the brown and replace the purple with Shibui sock yarn in Wasabi, which would be a different thing altogether. (Okay, okay, I'll say it: it would be a whole nother thing. Mark my words, friends, "nother" will be in the OED in our lifetimes. But I digress.)

What do you think? Stick with the berry fudge sundae or try something new? FYI: I'm not happy with my tension in this mitt so far, and ripping and reknitting may happen anyway... so that's no deterrent to switching colors.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

FO: Stripey

Pattern: Hourglass Sweater, from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, Joelle Hoverson. Stripes inspired by Specs's Dirty Sailor.
Yarn: Cascade 220 in green and jet (poorly named... it's a charcoal-y grey), 2 skeins each.
Needles: US 7
Modifications: I made the sleeves 3/4 length (or a bit shorter, even), and without the bells. No fancy mods here, just started with the same number of stitches that the pattern recommends for the narrowest part of the sleeve, knit for about 4 inches, and did the increases as written.
I also wanted to make sure the waist wasn't too loose, as my figure is in fact hourglass-shaped, and excess fabric around the waist makes me look like a big thick box. So I chose the second smallest size, which is actually a just a hair on the small side for my 38" bust, and did one extra set each of bust increases (this involved doing fewer even rounds between increase rounds) and yoke decreases.

It fits exactly the way I'd hoped it would. I didn't block it very aggressively, and it didn't grow a whole lot. In my eagerness I neglected to measure, but here's the pre-blocking pic for comparison: note the mostly-visible belt, pretty much entirely hidden in the above shot.

All in all this was an easy-peasy, stress free knit. Errata aside, the pattern is lovely, simple, and easy to follow. There was only one icky moment: right after grafting the armpits.

(Taking pictures of your own underarms is no easy task, folks.) My solution to this was not particularly elegant. I basically threaded matching yarn through the stitches surrounding the hole, tightened it up, and knotted it. I have an aversion to true knots in knitting, but I can't argue with success:

I've already worn it twice and will probably wear it again tomorrow, if it's not too hot. I am deeply, deeply in lorve. (You heard me. Lorve.)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ze sweater, she iz blockeeng.

(Modeled shots coming wery, wery soon.)

Is it weird that I scrubbed my sink more thoroughly for this than I do for things that I eat off of?

When I started this project I figured I could do it in 3 weeks. Instead, I finished the knitting in 2, plus a day for finishing and one for blocking. This was a case of almost pure project monogamy -- the only crafty break I took was to make some lino cuts for The Lady's Earth Day booth.

This kind of almost-singleminded devotion is an increasingly rare thing 'round these parts: last night, for the first time since last summer, I had zero WIPs. In this moment of weakness, I may cave to the power of the chevron scarf.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I couldn't possibly understand.

In July of 2000, when i was 18 years old, I witnessed this firsthand. I still don't have words for what it meant to me then, but I'm keenly aware that it continues to affect me in pervasive and subtle ways. The most tangible of these is my memory of coming back to Copenhagen afterwards and reading about the accident and its aftermath in the paper, looking at the pictures and realizing that the man who wrote it and most people reading it hadn't been there. I remember thinking, "That's exactly what it looked like, but it's not what it felt like at all. They couldn't possibly understand." Ever since then I can't watch news coverage of sudden, unexpected tragedy without remembering that to someone, it is far more real than it will ever be to me.

To thousands of people who woke up yesterday morning like just like any other, this isn't television. I don't even know what to say next. It is overwhelming to me, 3000 miles away, and more overwhelming to realize that I don't know the half of it.

I'm doing my best not to feel helpless: holding the ones I love, continuing to write my congresspeople about gun control, and sending love eastwards to people I've never met.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

RIP Kurt.

I'm not sad. He was sort of old, and he was ready; he said it himself.

"You know, you go to a party and you hone in on the couple people you know. There are none of those people for me at parties any more."

Nope, not sad. More... reminded, I guess, of something I tend to forget. Just a feeling really, something about how if you can't laugh at the world we live in, you're not taking it seriously.

If you haven't already, definitely check out this interview.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

And I was worried about losing steam...

Pshaw. My worries were SO unfounded, folks. Having the color changes to look forward to is really propelling me forwards on this one. I thought briefly about taking a break and starting those hemp washcloths for the April Showers-along, or the Endpaper Mitts I promised The Lady awhile back, but the very notion seems laughable now. Even when I don't fall asleep thinking of this sweater, I wake up thinking of it.

Hanging out with Dave the turtle.

It's going faster than I'd anticipated, despite a steady stream of houseguests. I think I can reasonably expect to finish this weekend. (Remember, the sleeves will be 3/4 length. I'm at the beginning of the 3rd sleeve stripe in the photo above; after this morning's bus commute I'm near the end of the 4th, and when I'm halfway through the 7th it'll be ready to join the yoke.)

One more thing to love: as I was googling around to learn how to do a slipstitch hem, I stumbled on Carolyn's knit-it-together-as-you-go technique. It's not hers exactly, and I guess it's featured in Nothin' but a T-Shirt as well, but at any rate I was thrilled to find it as I hate finishing with big red capital H.

I get an embarrassing amount of pleasure out of looking at these neat little stitches.

Though slightly tedious, this method turned out to be pretty idiot-proof. I was certain I'd get to the end of the live stitches and find I still had a dozen cast on stitches left to pick up, but nope. It all went quite seamlessly. (Ha!)

Friday, April 06, 2007

My eye candy is made of mouth candy!

My friend Joohee recently decided that if we make gingerbread houses at Christmas, then making gingerbread churches at Easter is only logical. While I don't entirely follow her reasoning, I can't argue with the concept of adhering food to food with other food.

At least as much candy ended up in my belly as on my crenellated cathedral. I thought I wouldn't ever want to look at sugar again, but two days later I was pillaging like a pirate.

And now, without the slightest attempt at segue, I leave you with a progress shot of the hourglass, lounging in the goldeny morning glow of my east-facing house. (I love spring.)

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Sometimes all it takes is a wee little tweak. The hourglass sweater had never particularly caught my eye, until I saw this. The stripes! The cuteness! I was at the yarn store faster than you could say "gauge swatch".

What's that? Why yes, actually, I did. Thanks for asking.

This is not only my first real sweater, but also the first thing I've knitted for myself in... well, sort of ever. There was that swatch a year ago that turned into a scarf, and then there was the picovoli that was intended for me but turned out too tight, but that's it. For once, I'm more excited about wearing something than about knitting it. (Why else would I commit to hours of stockinette?) So anyway, it would defeat the purpose even more than usual if the damned thing didn't even fit.

So. Swatches! Blocked swatches, and two of them. I wasn't even looking to "get gauge" per se, just to see how the fabric compared on 6s and 7s, and use whatever gauge I got to alter the math as necessary... but instead, I hit it on the nose with the 7s, including row gauge. (!) Off I went:

I'm super pleased with these colors. I definitely go through color phases -- for awhile whenever I imagined a new project, it was red or purple. Then brown and gold. Now, if I'd had the money to buy yarn for Forecast at the same time as this stuff, it would be a bright kelly green, just a shade bluer and brighter than the green above. Maybe this is a sign I should join Project Spectrum.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I win!

Either I am the last person on the face of the internet to finish up her Christmas WIPs, or everyone else is just too ashamed to admit it. For the record, these were actually done in early March (cuz that's so much better, right?) but fell prey to the great camera drought of 2007.

Pattern: Child's First Sock, from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Denim, well under 2 skeins
Needles: US 1s

After three abortive attempts at Pomatomus with this yarn(I wish I'd taken a picture of the last iteration. I followed the pattern compulsively, to the letter, and still got these huge holes along the right side of the foot. Sometimes you're just more in the mood to move on than to document your faliures, you know?) this was a huge relief. Cuff, leg, heel, foot, toe. Repeat. Nary a frog in sight.

The lace pattern is easy easy easy, and not too lacy, which is good because seeing feet through socks makes me feel sort of uncomfortable. The slip stitch heel is thick and sturdy but still soft. I will definitely be keeping that one in my arsenal.

They fit my mom's little size 6 feet perfectly. I couldn't be more pleased.

Plainspoken Quilt, from The Modern Quilt Workshop by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr

I don't know if I will ever make a queen sized quilt again. I certainly won't do it with a deadline, however forgiving of tardiness the recipient might be. I thoroughly enjoyed the piecing and even the basting, but everything else, particularly the quilting, felt like a bit of a chore.

That said? I love the result.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Returning the favor.

Remember how my mom was my first inspiration to start knitting? Well, this weekend I returned the favor.

We were sitting around the table, eating massive amounts of goat cheese -- this happens every time my mom visits, and that's fine with me. Katie was painting, and I was finishing up Jeffery's Shedir. (for the third time. don't ask.) And then mom got the itch. She kept staring at my hands until finally I said "you know, i have plenty of yarn. you want some?".

It's been years, I think, and it took her a few minutes to get back in the swing of things, but she was obviously pretty thrilled.

Here's the crazy part though:

She's a thrower.

She's the one who taught me to knit, and when I picked it back up (many times, one of which stuck), it was all from memory -- no friends, no books, no websites. So how, and when, did I turn out all continental-like?