Tuesday, December 18, 2007

FO: Fiery Shetland

"Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames." -- Rumi

Viv's Fiery Shetland Triangle
Pattern: Shetland Triangle from Wrap Style
Needles: US 8 Lantern Moon circulars
Yarn: Sheep Shop 3, 1.6 skeins red-orange
Mods: Left off last two rows of edging, did 10 repeats of main body chart.

The above quote by Rumi seems so appropriate here. Vivian has been one my best friends for eight years. We met in college and quickly became friends with two other girls, Nicole and Maya, and the four of us have basically shared a brain since then. We do a good job of fanning each other's flames, both positively and negatively. I am not a confrontational person, but these are the first friends I ever had with whom I felt comfortable arguing and fighting. There's something to be said about meeting non-family who will love you no matter what you do or say. And there's definitely something to be said about meeting people who will always tell the truth even if it's unflattering.

So, this is my Christmas present for Viv. A bright, fiery, lacy, cuddly shawl. Seriously, this shawl is almost neon. I half expect it to burst into real flames.

And although the pattern refers to a "fir cone motif," I say, "Pshaw!" This ain't fir cones. This here is what I call fire. Ok, maybe not fire, but at least a flickering candle.

I left off the last two rows of the edging chart because I saw it done so often on the Ravelry lists and I liked the subtler, gentler scallops. The rest of the pattern flows so beautifully that it seems a shame to end it with sharp points.

The underside of the shawl actually does remind me of fir cones. Or maybe sea foam on an ocean of fire. One of the most beautiful things about nature, in my humble opinion, is the repetition of shapes and forms and colors and textures. As if every little thing understands its intrinsic relationship to everything else around it.

I also cannot wax poetic about this yarn enough. This is my first time working with Sheep Shop and I can assure you that it won't be my last. There's just enough shading to lend dimension and depth to the finished product and the color hardly bled at all once it hit my Woolite wash. The feel of it is like the softest of feather down and reminds me of that Little House on the Prairie book when Pa shoots a swan thinking it's a goose and they use the swan's down to line the hood on baby Grace's coat.

Final verdict: This shawl is a quick knit, looks much harder than it actually is, and my other friends say that Viv will faint when I give it to her. I think that's a good verdict.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I Didn't Start the Fire...

...but I can't seem to stop the impulses of startitis. Mostly because I hate shopping for Christmas presents. In NYC, it's basically a bloody nightmare times six, six, six. People shove you around, yell at you because you don't walk fast enough, yell at you because you move too fast, glare at you for taking more than three whole seconds to figure out what you're ordering at Starbucks, and generally transform an ordinarily optimistic gal into a growling, troll-like misanthrope. Did I mention I don't like shopping for Christmas presents?

This is why, when December reveals the true colors of venomous shoppers everywhere, I try to take refuge in things that don't involve waiting in line for three hours to buy the perfect gift. This is also why, inevitably, I fail to finish many Christmas presents and end up running around on December 23 like a chicken with its poor head cut off.

I'm older and wiser now. I'm not trying to knit everyone a present. But Mom and Dad will get one and my friend Viv will get one. Viv has been one of my bestest friends since my sophomore year of college. We bonded over a cappella, Muppets, and our combined sense of mischief. Unfortunately, she moved to LA a year and a half ago to go over to the dark side (e.g., law school). She'll be in lots of offices that pump the a/c like crazy so I offered to knit her a shawl for Christmas. She said, "Can it be bright? How about yellow? I like yellow." Um...I am not knitting her a bright yellow shawl because it will make her look like a banana. This is the compromise:

The beginning of a crazy bright Shetland Triangle from Wrap Style. The real color is a blazing coral red with glimmers of orange. I'm a little obsessed with silk/wool blends right now and I'm going to work through a few brands one by one. This one is Sheep Shop 3 and it's heavenly. Soft and light but with enough weight to create a nice solid fabric.

The other project I cast on is the Moderne Log Cabin Blanket from Mason-Dixon Knitting. I'm kniting it up in Berroco Ultra Alpaca, which is luscious without breaking the bank.

It's a big project. I may have bitten off more than I can chew. But it's entirely garter stitch and I'm knitting on it every chance I get. I chose camel, brown heather, bright purple and plum. My mom and I have birthdays two days apart in February and the amethyst tones seemed appropriate. And its Mondrian-inspired lines make me feel like my simple garter stitch rows are like fine art. But I may have to plan on a small back-up present in case my knitting powers are not as strong as I imagine.

I also finished up the Helsinki Hat Scarf a couple weeks ago and it's sitting pretty at the store:

I'll try to get a better photo of someone actually wearing it. For now, it's pretty happy sitting on that chair and being tried on by random passersby.

There's also been some indie yarn pr0n Chez Sway:

Top: Chewy Spaghetti in "Serendipity;" Bottom: GypsyKnits BFL Fingering in "Whirlygig," both from The Loopy Ewe. Colors make me happy. Now I have to go finish my Christmas shopping. Durn.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Young Scarf

When I was 10, my father finally put aside his Ph.D. studies and got a job for the first time. That year, we bought our first house and that Christmas, my parents finally sprang for a Christmas tree. A week before Christmas, my dad came home with a giant turkey provided by his office to all the employees as a sort of Christmas bonus. My dad's first name happens to be Young and his co-workers had played a little joke with his turkey crate. Instead of "Young Turkey," someone had added " 's" to the "Young." My brother and I thought this was the funniest thing we'd ever seen. We ate "Young's Turkey" for Christmas dinner.

Since my dad keeps making sad little comments about how many things I've knitted for my mom and how I've knitted nothing for him, I am knitting him his very own Young Scarf:

I'm using Noro Iro and the Braided Mischief pattern by Teva Durham in Scarf Style. At first, I thought about seed stitch, but my hands are not that deft right now for whatever reason and I found it fiddly, especially with chunky yarn. I moved over to a broken rib pattern and was seriously displeased with the curling. I figured I should look through Scarf Style since I've only made one pattern out of it so far and it was like seeing the pattern for the first time. The sample in the book is knitted with Felted Tweed, but the Iro is so much squishier.

I also read this:

I cried a lot. I haven't seen the film version yet, but I hear it's equally heartbreaking and moving. Jean Bauby was the editor of French Elle when he suffered a massive stroke in 1995 that left him paralyzed. The only part of his body that he could move was his left eyelid. Using this one movement, he and his nurse figured out a method of communication by which he eventually wrote this incredibly uplifting and beautiful memoir. The title comes from this passage in the book: "My diving bell becomes less oppressive, and my mind takes flight like a butterfly. There is so much to do. You can wander off in space or in time, set out for Tierra del Fuego or for King Midas's court. You can visit the woman you love, slide down beside her and stroke her still-sleeping face. You can build castles in Spain, steal the Golden Fleece, discover Atlantis, realize your childhood dreams and adult ambitions."

I am always in awe of those who refuse to give up despite the awful things that can happen in this world. A year ago, when I was in the depths of despair, I read some poetry by Wislawa Szymborska and found the following sentence: "Not without its charms is this terrible world; not without its mornings worth our waking." This book captures that idea so perfectly.

I also couldn't stop myself. I knitted a sock. Monkey pattern again, this time with Socks that Rock Lightweight in Scottish Highlands:

I think the pattern complements the dye job beautifully. The hills are aliiiiiive with the sound of muuuuuusic.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

FO: Giant Sea Urchin Beret

Once upon a time, I used to be a pre-med. I thought I would devote my life to saving small children from malaria epidemics in Africa. Thankfully, I reached the understanding that I was not meant to be a medical doctor before I wasted my time and everyone else's by groaning my way through the rest of my chem labs and even through med school with a big frown on my face.

But I did enjoy science a fair bit and I liked my freshman year bio lab well enough. Our TF once handed us male sea urchins and told us to inject the male urchins with a chemical that caused them to ejaculate. Then we were told to take the...um...stuff...and fertilize sea urchin ova. After that, we had the fun of looking through a microscope as the cells rapidly divided.

That's basically all I was thinking about while I knit this the other night:

Giant Sea Urchin Beret
Pattern: Bulky Beret by Lipp Holmfeld in VK Holiday '06
Yarn: Rowan Big Wool, 1.3 balls in color Mulberry
Needles: US 13 24" circulars and DPNs

This may be my absolutely most wearable knit. The thing is, I am not a hat person. Not at all. I hate how they make my head look, I hate how they flatten my hair. Yuck. When I wear a normal hat, I keep thinking of Tom Hanks' line in A League of Their Own when he mutters to the umpire, "Did anyone ever tell you, you look like a penis with that little hat on?"

But this hat is different! Yes! Different! Better! Not hair-flattening! Love-worthy! So much so that I stuck a little feather on it and called it macaroni.

Yep, Yankee Doodle ain't got nothin' on me. I actually stuck them together because these are the colors that make me happiest. Deep green, gold, and vibrant purple. I am a bit obsessed by that little feather pen. When I'm down, I dip it into (violet!) ink and scribble away in my journal and imagine I am Charlotte Bronte.

And here is me modeling it in oh-so professional fashion without even changing out of my pajamas. I have also decided that Rowan needs a big round of applause for creating the most perfect plum-purple shade EVER. It's not coming out right in the photos, but the true shade is like the purpliest of purples that leans juuuuust enough towards burgundy. Big Wool is also a scrumptious yarn and I finished this in an hour. You heard me. One measly hour. Truly, a last-minute knitted gift. Only this one is a gift for me.

Totally off-topic, but if you haven't seen No Country for Old Men, get thee to a movie theater!

It was so good that I went through an existential panic attack during the last scene. Ok, that doesn't sound like a positive recommendation, but the movie gripped me in a way that very few movies have over the last year. It's incredibly sad and incredibly thought-provoking. Tommy Lee Jones' weathered face and his understated performance are both just wonderful and Javier Bardem continues to convince me that he's a fantabulous actor with (gasp!) depth.

In addition, I also saw American Gangster this weekend and was a bit disappointed. Denzel is Denzel and Russell is Russell. Not much else goes on other than glamorizing the drug business and painting most of drug law enforcement as crooked. But the common denominator in both movies: Josh Brolin. Who knew that Brand from The Goonies would become a fantabulous actor in his own right? Somewhere, Andy Carmichael is very, very glad that she gave Troy back his letter jacket.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Brought to you by the numbers...

...2 and 8!

Meaning the winners are, in order of my hand pulling numbers out of a hat, Punkin and Tiennie! Punkin, the Cluckers has your name on it and Tiennie, the mag and Louet Gems are antsy to get to your house. So you two need to email me and lemme know your mailing addys so I can send some lover-ly goodness your way!

All your comments were so fantastic, though, and it really got me excited for the holiday season...which is upon us in about, oh, ten seconds. I was also lucky enough to start reading some of your blogs! Over the weekend, I was extremely grateful for friends. I have never really been particularly lucky in the romance department, but my cup runneth over in the friends department. (I'm trying to learn how to scoop some of the leftover friend ju-ju into the romance cup.) I discovered that one girl I've been peripherally friends with for over a year actually loves knitting, too! We had a little gasping session over sock yarn.

Och, and I've kissed the Blarney Stone:

Mighty handsome, no? He'll keep me calm while I try to adjust to the pace of the next few months. This is what my life looks like right about now:

I've committed to writing a screenplay for a friend and I am starting research on it in a major way. I'll continue working on my novel, but I think I need to re-familiarize myself with that thing we refer to as a "library." In my downtime, I am a bit obsessed with Six Feet Under. It also lends me some insight into my screenplay plot so I'm starting to pore over every detail. That last book is my favoritest knitting book evah. I flipped through it a few times and I seriously want to make every single project in the book. Every last one. We'll see how far I get, but most of the projects are small-scale, so I think I'll be reaching in a lot for quick Christmas gifts.

Speaking of quick knits:

Simple Garter Scarf
Yarn: Trendsetter Yosemite, 2 hanks
Needles: US 19 Lantern Moon straights

I know those ruffle-y scarves are referred to as the potato chip scarves, but these chunky garter stitch yummies are my potato chip scarves. Yosemite is some fantastically squishy yarn (50% wool/50% acrylic) and the colors are vibrant. The total length in yards was about 150 and it's nice and long. I casted on 13 stitches this time with just one strand of yarn. The chunky bits remind me of circus peanuts.

I also, er, did some shopping. But part of it was on a gift certificate.

I got two hanks of Schaefer Anne yarn in the Althea Gibson colorway (I think). I can't figure out exactly which color this is because Schaefer doesn't label the colors. This is earmarked for the Trinity Stitch triangular shawl in Victorian Lace Today.

I also bought my first ever knitting bag:

It's the Sanibel bag from Amy Butler's Sweet Life line. It's huge and can double as a weekend bag when I go visit the 'rents in Joisey. I just keep cooing to it and singing, "I think I love you."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

FO: Noro Sock...and a ThanksGIVEaway!

First we have a finished stockinette Noro sock. It's sad. It's rone-ry. But there's another one at the store that it can play nicely with when I take it in on Sunday. I've named her Rainbow Brite. 'Cause she's like, seriously bright.

Rainbow Brite Noro Sample Sock
Yarn: Half skein of Noro Sock Yarn sample
Needles: US 0 Inox circulars

I didn't really "conquer" the short-row heel and toe, but I did make progress. They ain't gonna lick me anytime soon.

Also, I put in an order at Blue Moon Fiber Arts to buy some sock yarn. I know, I don't need more sock yarn and I haven't even started knitting the one STR that I own, but I. Don't. Care. I got all excited about the Raven series but didn't really feel that I wanted to knit socks that were that dark. I'll wait until I find a perfect lace pattern and buy some Lightweight Raven for a shawl instead of socks. Although, this is making me feel mighty tempted to go ahead and order some anyway.

So, I ordered four skeins:

Clockwise from the top: Saratoga, Cluckers, Rooster Rock. I love these colors. The Saratoga has a blend of butter yellow, lavender, brown, sky blue, and orange-y rust. The Rooster Rock (which I'm sure everyone has seen) is brick, slate, brown, fuchsia, and beige. The Cluckers is sage, coral red, ochre, tan, and a grayish-purple. The Blarney Stone is...

Wait, what's that you say? There is no Blarney Stone in the photo? Well, it seems we have a problem here. Blue Moon sent me an extra Cluckers instead of a Blarney Stone!

At first, this made me terribly sad. I love the Cluckers, but I really wanted four different colors. I have specific plans for the Cluckers and Rooster Rock and don't know what I'd do with another Cluckers. I e-mailed Blue Moon and asked if I could exchange the skein because of the error. They are just the nicest people ever and I got an email today saying that they would ship me the Blarney Stone and I can do whatever with the extra Cluckers. How nice is that?

It seems that free knit blessings are just falling into my lap right now, since a non-knitting friend of mine also got me an issue of the Interweave Holiday Gifts after I'd purchased one for myself.

I've been so lucky this year when it comes to knitting. I started blogging and joined Ravelry around the same time and people have left such nice comments and introduced me to their blogs, all of which really make my days a little bit happier. I'll be honest and say that I'm just coming out of a few not-so-good years personally and this season, I finally have my head on straight, I know who I am and what I want to do with my life (at least right now), my family is all healthy and whole, and my friends are just some of the best. I am an incredibly lucky and blessed person this season. I know from reading some of the blogs out there that other people are going through some hard times and we all need a pick-me-up once in a while. And it's easy to get lost in the horrors of rampant consumerism during the holiday season and forget the whole point of just sitting back, taking stock of our blessings, and just being truly grateful for the good things in our lives. So in honor of giving thanks, this is my ThanksGIVEaway. Excuse the cheesy portmanteau.

Leave a comment sharing what you're thankful for this month. It can be funny, cheesy, tragic, simple, complicated. You can be thankful for the moon. You can be thankful for cheese. You can be thankful for indoor plumbing or Johnny Depp. The cut-off will be 11:59 pm., EST, on Friday, Nov. 16. At midnight on Friday night, I'll pick two random comments. The first will get the STR lightweight in Cluckers and the second will get my extra copy of Holiday Gifts along with two skeins of Louet Gems in Crab Apple to make either the Sweetheart or Veronik socks featured in the mag:

The things I'm grateful for right now: Socks, Law & Order re-runs, the power of email, brand-new giant towels, and my mom's health.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

FO: I Love Autumn Scarf

I didn't even blog about starting this li'l thing:

Simple Garter Stitch Scarf
Yarn: One strand of Berroco Hip-Hop and one strand of Manos del Uruguay Wool
Needles: US 19 Lantern Moons

Really, though, there ain't nothin' to tell. I started it at the store last week during a slow hour and finished it that night when I got home. I cast on 16 stitches with the two strands and just kept knitting until the yarn ran out. It took up two skeins of the Hip-Hop in Karaoke and one skein of the Manos in Prairie.

Sometimes, simple is goooood. Autumn is my favorite season and I'm always so sad that it seems the shortest. The smell of the air changes and I just feel right. I grew up in New Hampshire where there are lots o' woods to explore and the scarf reminds me of a particular gravel path that always got littered with falling leaves as soon as October hit.

Speaking of leaves...I went for a run this morning (which is highly unusual for me nowadays, but I'm trying to make it more usual) and these leaves were just lying on the ground and waiting for me to notice them.

I have no idea what tree they're from, but their waxy sheen and brilliant color reminded me of a vintage necklace a friend of mine bought me two years ago:

I wish red were not such a difficult color to reproduce via photographs. The true color is just so much richer than what's showing up on my computer screen.

And since we're on the subject of things that make me happy:

Fairy tales and the scholarly discussions they inspire are two of my favorite things. I still love the expurgated, Disney-fied versions just for fun, but the actual fairy tales themselves are what's fascinating. Mostly because they offer such insight into the moral and psychological depths of different cultures and societies. Also, I love that the authors tell children that most adults are not to be trusted and that girls can be the heroes. Word.

And finally, my latest obsession: These beautiful, beautiful notebooks.

Barnes and Noble sells them for about nine bucks a pop. The graphics are done by MFA sutdents at the Savannah College of Art & Design and it's like carrying around a little work of art. They're good for journals, reminder books, sketchbooks (they sell ruled and plain), and whatever else you want to scribble. I think I'll ask my parents to get me a bunch more for Christmas.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Ebony and Ivory...living in perfect harmony

The other day, my roommate C's girlfriend told me I have the craziest memory of anyone she knew. My other roommate, J, overheard this and started laughing. All this came about because I was rattling off a very long list of old Disney songs without forgetting any of the lyrics. I can't help it. I heart Disney. I also apparently heart many old 80s songs that should be forgotten.

But I started a new (and I hope very fast) project for the store and every time I pick it up, those lyrics just keep poppin' on up like a frickin' Pop-Up Video episode on VH1. Yes, I watch VH1. I'm only 27 and I haven't been able to keep up with the crazy MTV kids since I was about 19.

This here is the Helsinki Hat Scarf (very creative name) in Rowan 42. The yarn? Is the recommended yarn, Rowan Cocoon. It feels like cotton candy, just without the stickiness or the gaudy fluorescent colors. It's truly, truly beautiful. A bit pricey, as is most of the Rowan line, but scrumptious. The needles? They are ebony needles from Lantern Moon. My first pair. Definitely not my last. Someone kept raving about them and I buckled and bought them for this project since I promised my cousin to make him an Urban Aran at some point and it'll use the same size. They're so smoooooth. (If you get the obscure Dead Man on Campus reference, I heart you, too.) I think I love them even more than Addis. Dang, this knitting thing just keeps getting more and more 'spensive.

We also got in a huge shipment of Noro Silk Garden and I decided to rip out the Kureyon Lady Eleanor and start anew:

Methinks this will be given to my mother. She wanted a big shawl and I don't have the patience to go through another Clapotis, considering that I haven't finished the one that's on the needles.

I also participated in my first swap. Ravelry's Fiberflix group hosted a Halloween scary movie/yummy yarn swap and my lovely swap partner, Lisa (who unfortunately doesn't have a blog) sent me movie snacks (all of which I promptly consumed within a period of 24 hours) and Shaun of the Dead, which I watched twice over the weekend. Zombies + British humor + Queen = Good Times. She also sent me the most beautiful skein of Smooshy, ever.

The color is called "Dusky Aurora." I told her my favorite colors were the "in-between" ones. Burgundy, teal, plum, rust, etc. I was floored when I got the package and the yarn contained every last one of those colors.

I could stare at this yarn for a week. I think I have. Wow, I need to get a life.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Eye Candy, presented to you in Technicolor

This here, folks, is somethin' special. I now give you...(drumroll please)...

...Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn!

Now, this ain't available yet. For good reason. The prototype that we got at Annie's is 100% wool. It's basically li'l Kureyon. It sticks to itself like buttah on bread. Just trying to reskein the durn thing so that two people could each knit up one sock was an ordeal. But apparently they're reworking it and they're planning on adding some nylon to it before they start selling it en masse. In the meantime, I get to knit a sample sock out of half a skein. The label said the skein has about 430 yds. I decided to conquer short rows -- both heels and toes. Take that, you pesky turn-and-wrap holes!

I'm still trying to figure out what garment I shall make next, but all this Kureyon talk got me weak in the knees and I had to go and do this:

Lady Eleanor, baby. But I keep wanting to write it "Elinor," like Miss Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility. The entrelac is highly addictive. Every time I want to put it down, it goes, "No! Another rectangle will give you yet another color change!" What can I say? I'm a cheap date.

I started with two balls of different colors and I can't decide if I should continue alternating those two colors or just keep picking up whatever color catches my eye next. Do I want two-color elegance or do I want multi-color ragamuffin-y goodness?

Also, my pick-ups don't look bad, but the side that's ssk or p2tog looks raggedy. Is this normal or am I incompetent?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

FO: Like sands in the hourglass...

I've never watched a full episode of Days of Our Lives in my life, but I always liked that narrator with his booming, authoritative tone telling me that these are, indeed, the days of our lives.

With that melodramatic start, I now present an unfussy, plain ol' stockinette FO.

Mossy Hourglass Sweater
Pattern: Hourglass Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Yarn: Karabella Aurora Melange, 12 balls
Needles: US 7 bamboo circs
Mods: Seed stitch at wrists and hems; contrast color at inside neck lining; row gauge recalculation; extra decrease/increase on body

Verdict: Love. It. To. Death. At first, the yarn seemed clingy and didn't drape very well. But after a good wet-block, it really blossomed into a beautifully bloom-y, softly draping fabric that feels luscious and falls flatteringly. And I have used up my adverb quota for the day.

I admit, the photo is a bit lazy. I realized I wanted to blog about this sweater before moving onward to exciting things, but by the time I remembered and found someone lying around the apartment to take the picture, the sun was already setting and I knew I'd lost out on prime sunlight. Whatevs. It fits, it's soft, it's purdy.

The length worked out to perfection and I really can't ask for more considering it'll be a casual sweater for me to slip on over t-shirts and tank tops as the weather grows chillier (which it's choosing to do at a maddeningly slow pace). I lengthened the top half (the increase half) of the body in order to accommodate my, um, assets and I'm starting to see the really wonderful aspect of knitting something specifically for one's body type. The yarn...I cannot say enough about the yarn. I know 12 balls of Karabella Aurora ain't cheap, but it's highly worth it and I got a great deal on it. It feels wonderful to knit and looks wonderful to wear.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

FO: Purple Overload Socks

Purple is supposed to symbolize mystery and royalty. It's also apparently connected to the spiritual seventh chakra in feng shui applications. I think I'm needing something spiritual lately, because I'm obsessed with purple.

Diagonal Cross-Rib Socks
Pattern: Favorite Socks
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy in Virtual Purple
Needles: US 1 circs

I definitely f'ed up the toe on the second sock so that they're not even. Whatevs. I was working on them at my parents' place last weekend and my mom wanted them for herself. I may actually cave this time. She grabbed the finished one out of my bag and tried it on while I worked a few rows on the second. Then she dropped hints like, "You know I like purple a lot" and "My feet are very cold." Sometimes I think she's the silly kid and I'm the serious mom. And then I remember I'm really not very serious so maybe we're both just silly.

I definitely will be making these socks again at some point. They're really easy and the yarn goes so well with them. I have another skein of the Smooshy but I think I'd like to try making this pattern again with a slightly more variegated yarn.

When the sock is left alone and unstretched, I really appreciate the spirals that appear. Btw, this yarn lasts forever. I did ten pattern repeats on the leg and nine on the foot and I still have enough yarn left over to make another short sock.

Now, here's some more purple. Basically, the purple loveliness of the Kid Classic is annoying me right now because I continue to try and get gauge and it will not happen. I am just going to have rewrite the pattern for my gauge and I am mad. So, lovely and fluffy Kid Classic is sitting on my bookshelf while I painstakingly go over the pattern. In the meantime, I started the Woven Trellis Scarf for my best friend. She wants a scarf. I thought I was through with scarves, but at least this one is not a lot of work for a very impressive result. Although I might kill someone when I reach the end of the fifth cord and still have to knit another one.

I also decided Mr. Smoke Shawl is going to have to deal with a partner. Part of the reason I'm finding him so fiddly is that I do not like the feel of cobweb-weight yarn while knitting. I like the end product, but it's not something I like working with. I'm terrified of snapping it, it feels more like thread as it runs through my fingers, etc. This is sad for a part of me, but the other part of me likes the fact that I know this about myself now and won't make the same mistake again. I'm going to buy another lace or fingering weight yarn in a navy or midnight blue and pair Mr. Smoke with it.

I am also sooooo close to finishing the Hourglass:

Yes, this looks like a lump of moss. It's really a finished sweater that needs a wet block and a sewing-in-ends marathon. Badness of superwash wool is that you can't spit-splice the ends, durnit.

I did the neckline hemming in a contrast color. It looks wonky but it lies flat when I put it on. The first time I knitted the sleeves to the yoke, I got two inches in before I realized I had sewn in one sleeve facing the wrong way. Dammit, I can't live with a mistake like that. A slightly wonky neckline only when folded or flat? I can live with that. Those ends are just the tip of the iceberg, man. You should see the inside of the sweater. Yikes.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Bad Case of the Blahs

I am running around frantic half the time trying to get things in order for MFA sundries such as letters of rec, requesting BA grade reports, narrowing down the list of schools to apply to, streamlining my creative submission, writing a personal statement, etc. That last one is pretty amusing since half of my work involves editing other people's personal statements and I can be a pretty harsh critic.

On top of all this, I started working two/three days a week at an LYS, Annie & Co. Needlepoint and Knitting. The needlepoint store has been there for ages, but the knitting part is new and has only been open for about six weeks. I took the job because I work from home and hardly ever see anyone unless I'm going "out." Also, I am no longer in denial and admit that I am absolutely obsessed with knitting. While I love working there, I'm going to have to be more productive non-knitting-wise during the other days of the week.

Also, I've swatched a bazillion times with the Kid Classic and I cannot get gauge to save my life. Boo. Gauge is suggested on US 6 needles. I've tried 4s, 5s and 6s. I sort of fall in between the 5s and 6s, so I'm trying it this time around on US 6 Addi lace needles as opposed to regular Addis.

And for whatever reason, I am just sad this week. You know, when nothing's "wrong" but you just aren't really at peace with the world? It usually passes within two weeks, so I'll just have to bide my time until it lifts.

These make me a teeny bit happier, though:

The pattern is the Diagonal Cross-Rib socks from Favorite Socks. Yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy in Visual Purple. The yarn is, indeed, smooshy. And every time I say it, I think of that part in Finding Nemo when Dory finds a baby jellyfish and says, "I shall call him squishy and he shall be mine and he shall be my squishy." I can only say that I loooooove this yarn. I want to eat it. And make a mattress out of it. It's also a tremendous value. It was $22 for 450 yds. Yowza. I finished one sock and have one repeat done on the second.

Complete non sequitur: Doesn't this look like Bart Simpson wearing a big purple turtleneck???

Maybe it's because I caught an Inside the Actors Studio last night while finishing the first sock. Instead of one guest, they featured the entire regular voice cast of The Simpsons. It was highly amusing. Watching Nancy Cartwright while the voice of Bart Simpson comes out of her mouth is really interesting. Same with Dan Castellaneta and the voice of Homer.

I did make some progress on Hourglass:

What you see here is one finished sleeve and one just-started sleeve which is now actually a one-third finished sleeve. So I just have to finish two-thirds of that sleeve and join everything up for the yoke.