Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hello December...

I meant to post well over a week ago, but somehow, time kept moving without my posting. Actually, I suppose it's a good thing time kept moving. I'd hate to have the power to stop time until everything I'm supposed to get done/want to get done actually gets done, because really, I'm a big fan of the whole "time moves forward" thing. Huge fan. Because it means that no matter how lousy I feel, as long as I don't give up, time will move, and things will change. Improve, I hope, but change at the very least. (I'm sick - sore throat, congestion, runny nose, the whole shebang - so please forgive my less than spunky attitude at present. It's hard to be spunky when your head feels like it's been stuffed full of poorly washed fleece.)

So (and I'm sure this will shock you), I'm behind on blogging about my knitting. This sort of thing happens when one continues knitting, even if one is not blogging about it. I've got two new projects and some serious progress on an old one, but no photos of them, which makes it kind of hard to share. Instead of showing you my new knitting, I'm going to show you some of my old, but previously unblogged about, knitting. I give you, as a finished object, Winter Jaywalkers:

I made these socks as a birthday gift for Mr. Darcy. (In the interest of complete honesty, his birthday was about a month ago, and I totally got the socks to him before his birthday. I think that makes two birthdays that I managed on time.) He tells me that they should come in handy during his upcoming sojourn under the ocean. He also tells me that they fit, which is good, since they clearly don't fit me.

As always, the Jaywalker pattern was a fun one to knit, and I enjoyed the Regia yarn. This pair took somewhere on the order of two and a half balls, some of which went to careful alignment to make sure the striping didn't suddenly change anywhere. I was quite pleased with the resulting near-identical nature of this pair, too.

And now, if you'll pardon me, I'm going to go take more cold medicine and then attempt some homework. I think it will add an exciting new twist to reading about optimization. Although, on reflection, I suppose it might not be optimal... oh well.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Slip Sliding Away...

Today is my mom's birthday. Since she's a knitter with a well-defined color palette (green, mostly, but also blue and brown), she's easy to shop for. I got her yarn (what else?) in green and brown. I also knit her socks, since she isn't so much of a sock knitter (although you should see the way she turns out hats), and everyone who's loved by a knitter should have at least one pair of hand-knit socks.

Pattern: Slippery
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Icehouse (note the green and blue)

(It's tilted because it's really hard to take a picture
of you're own feet when you're standing like that)

The pattern was a fun one to knit, and it didn't bother me at all the the socks are more fraternal than identical. Especially since the striping at the ankles did turn out to match pretty closely (see first picture).

I made very few changes to this pattern. I knit a different number of repeats/partial repeats in the leg to end the side panels in a place that I thought made more sense, and I change the chart just before the toe because I thought it flowed into the stockinette of the toe better my way.

Anyway, happy birthday Mom, and I hope you like the socks.

Monday, November 24, 2008

One of those people?

Thank you for the kind comments on my new sweater. I'd be wearing it every day if it weren't for the fact that I think my coworkers might worry about me if I did that. Well, that, and it tends to leave blue fuzz behind on whatever I wear it over. But I'm still really, really enjoying it.

Lately, I've been wondering if I might be one of those people. I think maybe I am, but I'm not sure which kind of them. You see, I'm very nearly done with all my Christmas shopping, sewing, and knitting. I have part of a sock to finish, and two quilts to finish binding, and that's it. Before you start to think that I really am one of those freakishly on-top-of-it people who gets everything done early, let me share something with you. A few weeks ago, I finished up my sister's birthday present and sent it to her. This was for her most recent birthday, which, I'm ashamed to admit, was in February. So I think I may actually be one of those so-late-and-scatter-brained-you-wonder-how-they-ever-get-anything-done-on-time people. You can see how I might be uncertain, though, all things considered.

But on to what you really care about - the knitting of this mysterious gift!

This project required that I develop some new skills - intarsia, introducing knitting to the sewing machine, and my favorite: mattress stitch.

Believe it or not, I'd never before done a seam with mattress stitch, but now that I have, I'm a huge fan. It produced such a neat, sturdy, and nearly invisible seam:

I'm somewhat less a fan of intarsia. I really like the way argyle looks, but I've gotten my fill of knitting with it for a while. I will say, though, that you can do some really fun things with it. How else would you ever get arrrgyle?

Project details: Dale of Norway Baby Ull in black, grey, and red, total usage, about a ball. It's lined with black cotton flannel, which helps both with wind blocking and makes it far more comfortable for those who are wool-sensitive.

I hear my sister likes it. Indeed, she seems to like it enough that she's fogiven me for being months late with it. Either that, or she's just afraid that if she complains about my timeliness, I won't knit her any more socks. ;-)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Better with buttons

The Tangled Yoke Cardigan is done. Gloriously, beautifully done.

I finished sewing the buttons on Thursday night (I don't know how it can possibly take two entire evenings to sew on 9 buttons; I really thought I was more efficient than that) and I wore it to work on Friday (as predicted, I was at work on Friday, and as expected, it wasn't much fun). I also wore it all day today, and will probably wear it tomorrow.

I am completely in love with this sweater. I love the yarn, which is a wool/cashmere/alpaca/microfiber blend. It is, I think, the softest tweed I've ever touched. Also, I love the tweediness, especially the bright blue slubs.

The only thing I'm not completely in love with, is that the soft, dark yarn makes it a little hard to see the patterning in the yoke. But it doesn't make it that hard, and it's such a small fault that I can very easily forgive it.

On the whole, I loved this project from start to finish. The pattern was clear and easy to follow. The yarn was a joy to knit with (even if it did turn my bamboo needles blue). And perhaps best of all, the sweater fits wonderfully and is a joy to wear (of course, it helps that the weather finally turned cold).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Is it Friday yet?

Yes, I know it's only Tuesday, and that I have two or three more days to get through. In theory, I get every other Friday off in exchange for working 9 hour days instead of the usual 8, but that theory is dependent on things going fairly smoothly - nothing breaking, no boss types getting into tizzies about my stuff, and my being able to make some progress on my veritable mountain of work. If Monday and today have been any indication, I'll be working on Friday. Today was so bad that I was at work for 12 hours, ate lunch at my desk, and didn't make it to the gym (I often use my lunch hour to work out). At an early afternoon meeting, my boss thought it was Wednesday. By 4:30, I could have sworn it was Thursday... So even though it's only Tuesday, I'm really, really ready for Friday.

In the knitting news, the Tangled Yoke Cardigan is tantalizingly close to being done:

I got all of the knitting and weaving in of ends finished on Sunday, so all I have to do is sew the buttons on. Unfortunately for the knitting, last night I had neither the energy nor coherence to sew buttons. I probably would have sewed them to the band with the buttonholes in it, or something equally stupid. Tonight, I've got a little more energy and coherence, but after I blog, I'm spending it on necessary adult things, like cleaning the kitchen. I'll do a finished object post for it this weekend, after buttons are on and once I get some decent pictures in some natural light.

I've already started my next project, although, since it's only ribbing so far, it isn't very interesting, photographically speaking. The swatch is much curiouser:

Also curious is that I can't decide if the yarn is a blue purple or a red purple. It varies amazingly with the light.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to take care of the requisite bits of adulthood and then go to bed so I can get through the rest of the week with something at least vaguely akin to dignity and grace.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Purple warmth and an evening for myself

Over the weekend, I finished the Koolhaas hat. And just in time too! Our lovely warm temperatures of the weekend and last week gave way to a nice, brisk morning today and gave me the opportunity to wear my new hat, although not the matching scarf (it was only 40ish - it wasn't that cold).

The matched set:

Linen stitch scarf and Koolhaas hat in Queensland Rustic Wool, knit on size 9s and 7s, respectively.

I knit what the pattern claims is the man's size hat because the woman's size was too short - it didn't cover my ears, and that's a requirement I have for winter hats.

The scarf will be really great when it gets cold enough to wear my coat and I need something to block the wind and cover my face. It's long enough to wrap around my neck twice and still easily tuck into my coat. It almost makes me excited for winter!

I really like the way the yarn looks in both patterns, although the two effects are quite different - not just in appearance but in texture. The hat is delightfully thick and squishy, while the scarf is just as delightfully firm and drapey. All in all, I'm quite pleased with the results. :-)

It's been several weeks now since I've been able to really relax (perhaps unsurprisingly, this coincides with Mr. Darcy's departure for his ship and his suddenly being quite busy and not able to spend nearly as much time talking with me as I'd been used to), partly due to parenthetical statements, and partly due to my workload at work and school. My plan for tonight was to work late, and then come home and work on homework. But tomorrow's a holiday, so I didn't stay very late at work, and this morning I learned that my homework isn't due until Thursday. So I shelved the responsible plans when I got home, poured myself a glass of wine, got a book, and took a bath. It was, really and truly, the first time in weeks that I've been able to relax without feeling guilty about the work I was putting off. In short, it was fantastic. And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to continue my lovely evening by more reading and some knitting on the navy tweed blob with sleeves (which is coming along nicely, actually):

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Democracy - it's a nerve-wracking process.

Today, I exercised my right to vote. I got up a little earlier than usual, got myself out of the house about a half hour early, and was at the polling place before it opened (at 6 a.m.). I stood in the line that spiraled around a basketball court (I vote at an elementary school) and knit. After 40 minutes or so, I got to skip the last 30-some feet of the line because they were looking for people with last names at the end of the alphabet (sometimes it works out well to be a W). And then I cast my vote. It amazes me that my government trusts its citizens enough to let us pick the leaders. I feel empowered. Now, all I have to do is sit and wait patiently to learn how the rest of the citizenry voted. While I'm not considering moving to Canada, I am anxious about the outcome. Patience may be a virtue, but it isn't one I have a great deal of at the moment.

Right now, I should be asleep or doing homework. (In my defense, I did do one problem and started to look at a second, and there are only three in the assignment, which isn't due until next week anyway.) But this is what I am actually doing (well, technically, right now I'm blogging, but you know what I mean):

Knitting on the Koolhaas hat that I started Sunday night and, in between stitches, hopping madly from site to site to see how the election's turning out. (You may think that it would be easier to just pick a station or two and listen to/watch the coverage, and you would be right, except for the fact that I don't own a TV.) I'd pick just one, but they are all using different guidelines for calling the states and their associated electoral votes. The knitting is, I think, the only thing keeping me from going crazy as I wait and watch...

I kind of hope it ends soon so I can go to bed.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Happiness is...

Technicolor daisies:

A finished scarf:

With enough yarn left for a matching hat:

Progress on a sweater:

Having found buttons you like:

A scarf of purple sparklies:

Being the crazy lady in the bookstore cafe because you couldn't wait to get home to read It Itches, and it's much too good not to laugh out loud, even in public.

And finding the time to blog, especially when things get tough. And personally, these are some pretty tough times. I'll be back in a day or two!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Warped spacetime

I have a theory.

We know that we live in what seems to be a four dimensional world and in which we are subject to certain rules. Nothing can go faster than light in a vacuum. Nothing, even light, can get out of a black hole. For some reason, we can move anyway we want in the first three dimensions but only forward in the fourth. In this world, some things like matter and energy are conserved. Neither can be created or destroyed, although they can be interchanged (but you're probably even less interested in the details of that phenomenon than I am in explaining them).

My theory is that knitting is subject to a similar conservation law. We've all experienced the knitting equivalent of a black hole, where we knit and knit and knit on a sleeve or scarf or something and it just doesn't get any longer. Here's what I think: all that knitting that's not going into your project, despite the motion of your hands and needles and consumption of yarn is actually going to some other knitter by way of some warped aspect of spacetime. Some other knitter is moving her hands and needles and using up yarn at the usual rate but ending up with rapidly growing sleeves or scarves or socks. It's a sort of conservation of yarn and knitting.

I could be wrong, but I have no other way to explain the amount of knitting I've done since I posted last Sunday. Since that post, I have spent approximately 50 hours at work, 9 hours commuting, and 10 hours on school work. I have read Free Range Knitter (start to finish) and about half of Quantum of Solace. I've gone for a bike ride, a swim, and a run (on different days). I've been to church, got my car washed, bought groceries and made a trip to Target. I'm not living in squalor - I've kept the dining room table clear, the kitchen clean and my floor free of dirty clothes. I have slept (not as much as I would have liked - probably about 50 hours for the week). And somehow, even with all of that, I have managed an incredible amount of knitting.

The winter jaywalkers are now a complete sock (I even wove in the ends) and the start of a mate. (By the way, the first attempt at the first of these socks? Too big. It turns out I was right, and size 11 feet aren't quite that big. They're large, just not that large.)

I'd mentioned a scarf. This is the scarf, knit in linen stitch out of Queensland Collection Rustic Wool. I'm really liking it, especially how purple it is. I think the linen stitch is producing a nicely mottled and fantastically dense fabric. I can't wait to get to the end so I can add fringe!

And I think I said something about a sweater, too. I don't have much experience knitting sweaters - I've only knit one before. That was my Olympic sweater and it took me a bit over a year to finish. This time, though, it's going much faster (I've started with sleeves, so that may be part of it), and I'm cautiously optimistic that I'll have it done by Thanksgiving. (Of course in saying that, I've probably jinxed myself, but I like to live on the edge a little, at least when it comes to knitting.)

Really, I think the only way that I could have done this much knitting is if I was benefiting from some other knitter's black hole. To that knitter: I'm sorry I'm stealing your knitting, but thank you for the effort. I hope someday, you get to benefit from one of my black holes.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Brought to you by the number 3

Three scarves, knit for charity (specifically for the scarves for the homeless drive at my church)

Pattern: Multi-directional diagonal scarf. Each scarf is made of short-row polygons with 3 sides (also known as triangles).

Each scarf was made of 3 skeins of Patons Soy Wool Stripes.

Natural Denim:

Natural Plum:

Natural Blue (which has a surprising amount of brown in it):

The yarn is very soft in the skein, and knits up nicely, although it's not quite so soft as garter stitch. The main virtue of this yarn is, I think, that it's inexpensive. It cost wonderfully little money. Unfortunately, the was one drawback: knots. In 9 skeins, there were 7 knots. But for an inexpensive yarn, it's really quite charming - soft, warm, and with much less raw vegetable matter than Lopi.

This post is made possible in part by yarn, blogger, and readers like you.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

SSS: Socks, Scarves, and Startitis

As I was updating my Ravelry today, I realized something. Not only have I been absent from the blog for the past few weeks, I've been delinquent in posting some of my better projects for months. And by "better" I mean "anything not actually given away."

A brief survey of unblogged FOs (detailed blogs to come in the future, I swear):

As you can see, it's all scarves and socks. Not a lot of variety. Sadly, there isn't much more variety in my recently unblogged UFOs, either:

Which brings me to my final S: startitis. I'm craving something new, something for myself, and something not socky. But mostly something new. So I've cast on two new projects, both for myself. A linen stitch scarf (linen stitch is slow, but makes a lovely, dense fabric, and besides, it's in a great color) and this. Details to follow when I have pictures.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


This week has been one of those weeks. You know the sort. One of those weeks when even though nothing major goes wrong (no serious illness, job loss, financial crisis, etc.) and you've still got a lot going for you (you've got your home, food, clothes, family, friends, etc.), the week still seems awful. All the little things pile up until you think this adulthood kick is one lousy deal, and you really wish that everything would just go away and leave you alone for a little while.

This week, while I felt like I was being smothered by a gajillion little things that refused to go right (for instance, the gallon of milk that went sour more than 10 days before its sell-by date), even my knitting wasn't much help.

I've been working on the second Bayerische sock. It's actually going pretty well, and when considered on its own, I'm quite pleased with it. The problem is in comparing it to its mate:

This shows the problem even better:

They aren't the same size. I think to get a matched pair, I'm going to have to knit 3 socks. Fortunately, I have plenty of yarn for doing so. The real problem is that I'm just not that in love with this pattern. While I think it's absolutely gorgeous, I also find it a little fiddly and hard on my hands.

So as my alternative, easy, mindless sock project, I started some Jaywalkers for Mr. Darcy. I really like the Jaywalker pattern. It's easy and smooth and I can knit it while I'm reading. In less than a week, then, I got the first sock done:

Looks pretty good, no? And it even took less than half the yarn I had. There's only one problem. I'm a little nervous about the size. Are size 11 feet really that big?

(Sock that fits a ladies' 9.5 included for scale.)
So it's on hold until I see Mr. Darcy in a week and a half and can make him try it on. There's no way I'm frogging two socks, if it comes to that.

Given the state of things, what's a woman to do? What antidote can there be for all the unpleasantness and frustration, when even the knitting is involved in the conspiracy? There are, I would think, many options such as hiding under the bed, running away, or setting fire to something, but I chose a different path.

I took some very lovely, recently acquired yarn

(Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 in Blue Lagoon)
and wound it into an equally lovely yarn cake.

And then I cast on while watching Sleepless in Seattle. (I did get further than the picture suggests.)

New sock in pretty yarn while watching delightful chick flick = pretty effective antidote.