Tuesday, December 23, 2008

FO: Baby, It's Cold Outside

Yeah, it's 29 degrees outside. Yesterday's high was 24. In my brilliance, I chose yesterday to take my first spinning class in a year. My hamstrings are really not happy with me.

I know I've been a "bad" blogger. It's just that life has been getting in the way and this turn of events has brought with it the knowledge that I've been burrowing in my apartment over the past half-year like a recluse. OK, maybe not a real recluse, but a semi-recluse. I'm sorry for not keeping up with the knitting blogs I love to follow. I'm going through my comments and bloglines slowly but surely!

Along with this knowledge, my knitting fever has dampened somewhat. I still enjoy it, but it's not quite as pressing as it once was. I was spending way too much time on Ravelry when I should have been working. No one should be alarmed, though. I'm still knitting. I just won't be knitting with the same dogged determination of "Imustfinishthisrightnow." Turning 29 in the new year is turning out to be a swift kick in my rear end. That and the spinning class last night.

But here's some knitting cheer for the holidays:

Hollyhock Harvest Mittens
Pattern: Yellow Harvest Mittens, Vogue Knitting Fall '08
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Hollyhock, 1 skein
Needles: US 9 DPNs

These were super quick to knit up. My hands were in sore need of some Malabrigo warmth and these mittens were so fun to make that I'm tempted to make more pairs just to have around.

I'm about 3/4 of the way through my brother's Christmas socks...

And I've made some headway into a new cardi...which should be recognizable to anyone paying attention to really, really popular knitting patterns.

Lastly, I bought some shoes over Thanksgiving weekend. They are yellow. They make me very happy.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

More Shooting

Alas, no new knitting content yet...

I have come to an impasse with the freaking cabled coat. The seaming of the thing is a ridiculous endeavor. I messed up three times. Ripped three times. Cried twice. So I'm on to a couple other things right now, but haven't had a chance to photograph them b/c I was working on yet another shoot that involved a lot of high school extras and some freaky art studio in Brooklyn.

The backyard of the studio, however, yielded some very interesting photo results that remind me of strange circus freak movies. I'm sharing them with you so that maybe someone will agree with me and I will feel slightly less silly about how this yard gives me the heebie-jeebies.

An abandoned factory with strange sculptures littering the yard:

Sunlight casting a menacing shadow over both school bus and heavy construction equipment:

Aluminum children at play:

Half a car growing decrepit behind a barn:

Blue clay bowls sitting like serving dishes:

Shells collected from shore and dragged inland:

And a sad Pooh, fading in the sun:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

FO: Selbu!

I finally finished sumthin'.

Selbu Modern
Yarn: Shibui Sock Yarn, 1 skein each burgundy and citrus green

Me like this pattern. Me like this yarn. 'Nuff said, no?

Ok, ok, so I'll embellish since this is the first knitting-related post I've managed to come up with over the last month.

I have a love/hate relationship with fair isle. I love it for the results and the detailed work it takes to bring it all about. I love it for the rhythm it creates when I'm knitting and the way I can see the end result growing row by row. But on the other hand, I hate it for its fiddly nature, I hate it for its time and mind-consuming craziness, and I hate that my tension goes from even to uneven.

But can anyone really argue with the beauty of the finished product?

So prettttttttttttttttty.

This must be why fair isle is the rock upon which I beat my furrowed brow.

I also kind of want to abandon my WIPs temporarily and start a new sweater. Am I bad?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

This morning...

This morning at 7 a.m., sunlight streamed through the changing trees...

My roommate D and I armed ourselves with steaming cups of coffee...

We walked down the street to this location...

We ran into friends as we stood for an hour and forty minutes in this line:

To do this...

Afterwards, we contemplated what this day could mean...

For every child who has ever felt that there were limits on what he or she could accomplish...

Monday, October 27, 2008


So...it's been a long time since I updated this thingamajig.

That's because I've mostly been doing stuff like this:

This is what's known as getting short movies made. I spent most of late September/early October helping two of my friends as they prepped and shot their thesis films for graduate film school. I was running craft services, making round-trip two-hour drives to Pennsylvania, cooking dinners for 20 people, offering massages, and helping with production design to dress fake freezers and scary basements.

My whole body hurts. It was an intense, sleep-deprived, stressful and bonding experience. But it was all worth it. My friends have their footage, our actors are still alive, and all of us learned oodles of good things.

We even had our own mascot:

Oscar, the pitbull/boxer mix who was rescued by our producer only a few months ago and got a bit snappy at being left in a barnyard while the rest of us were at work. But those puppy eyes got a lot of love.

I tried to knit. I did. And this is about all I managed:

I dug into stash (b/c I'm growing a bit embarrassed by it) and pulled out two skeins of Shibui Sock yarn and decided I must have the Selbu Modern. I plan to start a sweater as soon as I finish up that darn cabled coat. With luck, this will happen within the week!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Almost a year, almost a sweater

The Norah Gaughan Cabled Coat, which was featured in Vogue Knitting's 25th Anniversary Issues last year, was an ambitious project. I knew going into it that it would take me a long time. Wowee...it's been almost a whole year and the thing is still not done.

But take heart, fellow knitters. I am on what some refer to as a "home stretch." I don't really know what that means b/c I am not a sports enthusiast, but whatevs. It is very nearly complete.

What you see here is the first eight inches or so of the cabled collar. It says to knit two separate pieces to be seamed later. I try to avoid collar seams as much as humanly possible so I am just knitting one long piece. I'm obsessive-compulsive about certain things, but symmetrically-cabled collar pieces are not among them.

And then, of course, since I need yet another distraction, I went crazy over this:

It's from the Rowan Cocoon Collection. I used Cocoon last year to make the Helsinki Hat Scarf for Annie's. The yarn is scrum-diddly-umptious. So, now that it's available in colors other than earthen, I bought up some in green.

It looks a bit matted here but it's not...I think my po' photography skills are making it look sad and scrunched. But it's a beautiful jewel green and I foresee a winter full of green and blue knits. I'm a bit obsessed with both colors at the moment.

But now...going back to finish that crazy coat. I want to wear it this fall so I'm getting it done if it kills me.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

FO: Tweedy Ene

Ene is one fiiiiiiiiine lady...

Tweedy Ene
Pattern: Ene's Scarf from Scarf Style
Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed in Sigh, 4 or 4.5 balls
Needles: US 8

I only say 4 or 4.5 balls because most of this Felted Tweed was ripped from the back and front of a sweater that I abandoned two years ago. I have no idea how many actual balls I used, but I estimate it at about 4 or 4.5.

Other than using a bigger needle (to account for thicker yarn), I made no mods. This is a wonderfully clear, well-written pattern. It's super. Casting on a gazillion stitches in the beginning it actually not as bad as I'd feared.

It is, however, a ginormous shawl:

I think the wingspan of the shawl is 80+ inches. Didn't actually measure, but I know I could have blocked it bigger if I'd wanted.

It's nice and cozy (especially in air-conditioning) but I think I'll be able to let go of it and give it to my friend to give to her mum. I'm sure I'll make another Ene at some point and how many shawls does a gal need, anyway?

I also finished Clint's Ph.D sweater, but neglected to get a photo of him wearing it. Sigh. I was too busy being sad he was leaving. But he loves the sweater and promised to wear it to death and get a photo of it in blustery Chicago weather. Speaking of blustery, don't I have more sweaters to knit?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hemlock Tam Pattern

OK, this is more of an adaptation of the original Hemlock Ring Doily pattern (made famous as BrooklynTweed's Hemlock Ring Blanket) than an actual pattern.

Again, this is not so much a pattern as an outline of how I made the tam you see in these photos. I checked everything, but as my life is full of errors, these instructions are probably not immune and it's been a while since I knit up this hat. If you find any errors, please let me know at my email address: swayandswish@gmail.com.


1 ball Teva Durham Loop-D-Loop Moss in Pink. (I used less than one ball)
5 DPNs, size US 3


I did not measure my gauge while working b/c I was playing it by ear.
Post-blocking, gauge = 7 stitches x 9 rows in stockinette. The yarn is labeled as a DK weight but I worked tight on small needles.


Start working the Hemlock Ring Doily pattern.

Work until you finish Row 47.

*Rows 48-50: Knit around.

*Row 51: (YO, k1) 2 times, YO, k2, [skp] 3 times, [k2tog] 3 times, k2, (YO, k1) 3 times.

*Rows 52-54: Knit around.

*Row 55: (YO, k1) 2 times, k2 [skp] 3 times, [k2tog] 3 times, k3, (yo, k1) 2 times. (152 sts)

*Rows 56-58: Knit around.

*Row 59: (YO, k1) 2 times, k1, [skp] 3 times, [k2tog] 3 times, k2, (YO, k1) 2 times. (136 sts)

*Rows 60-62: Knit around.

*Row 63: (YO, k1) 2 times, [skp] 3 times, [k2tog] 3 times, (k1, YO) 2 times, k1. (120 sts)

*Rows 64-66: Knit around.

*Rows 67-76: (k1, p1) around.

Bind off all stitches.

Block around a large dinner plate.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Stashbusting Mania!

I may have purchased more stash and pattern booklets. We'll get to that next time, but in the meantime, my guilt has targeted the massive amounts of Ultra Alpaca in my knitting bin:

Months ago, I saw Lolly's Jacquard Pulli and lusted after it, but thought I should wait until more WIPs reached FO status. However, after staring into my Ultra Alpaca basket and trying to figure out what to do it all, I decided fair isle was the perfect medicine. Turns out I was right!

Fair isle is one of those wonderful (or horrible, depending on how you look at it) things that are impossible to put down. I started this two days ago and the ribbing was slow, but as soon as the colorwork started, I was zooming along like Michael Phelps, Olympic-style. Here are some guts:

I'm using five colors of Ultra Alpaca, a red Ultra Alpaca Light, and a beige Louisa Harding Grace Silk & Wool. I redid the color chart on Excel in order to compensate for the similar color values my yarn has as opposed to the colors Rebecca 34 uses. Yes, I know I have just added more WIP to the WIP pile. But I don't feel bad since I'm done with the back and one front of the Snowdrift cardi, I'm done with the back and 90% of the front of Clint's sweater and Ene looks like this:

I have two repeats of the third chart and the final chart left to do.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Snow Falling on Sway

So...thanks to Estela's lovely completion, I had a fever. And the only prescription...no, it was not more cowbell. The only prescription turned out to be some pristine white wool from the mountains of Peru.

This here is Berroco Peruvia, knit on 10s, to make this:

I saw this cardi on the cover of the book, Inspired to Knit, and I knew with a mad, manic flash that I MUST have this cardi. There was simply no walking away from this. I didn't, however, like the idea of spending so much on something that is clearly outerwear. The gorgeous cabley cuffs are too bulky (and pretty) to be buried under a coat and the zipper lends itself to use as a fall cover-up. So instead of splurging on something pricey that would be buttery soft on the skin, I chose a workhorse yarn that's less cloud-like but ultimately more sensible. And what can be more sensible than 100% Peruvian wool? I'm planning on lengthening it a bit to better serve as outerwear.

Speaking of snowy projects, Irish Cream needs a time out. He got all mad that I didn't pay attention to him and decided to oh-so-sneaky-like fall off the dpns and unravel himself nearly a full border repeat. We're talking a 20+ row repeat. Yeah, he is SO in the doghouse right now. Or the froghouse. I honestly don't know what to do. The more I look at Irish Cream, the more I think he behaved this way b/c he wants to be something else. We shall see.

In other news, I'm finishing up the back of Clint's Ph.D. sweater and decided to do a stashbusting exercise.

It's Ene. Pretty, pretty Ene. Instead of lace, I decided to use up this purple Felted Tweed I've had in my stash since almost the beginning of time. About two years ago, I bought it for my second "big" project, which was supposed to be Elise from Rowan Vintage Knits. Unfortunately, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I'm pretty sure I was screwing things up. The final straw came when I pulled it out in the subway to work on and a full ball of this yarn fell onto the track. I assure you, it was tragic. So I was now a full ball short for the project and I loathed going back to the store where I bought it because they made me feel so yucky. I frogged the whole back of the sweater and two inches of one front and stuffed it into the back of my dresser drawer. But that's enough time to pass for me to give the yarn a second chance.

I'm working on size 8s. This thing might be HUGE. Casting on almost 400 stitches sucks, but it makes the shawl a wonderful project because each right side row gets shorter and shorter.

And I finally finished reading that tome, Of Human Bondage. It was a wonderful read. I honestly didn't expect it to be as funny as I found it. There were moments when I laughed aloud on the subway and looked like a perfect idiot. There were moments when I hated Mildred so much that I wanted to reach through the pages and throttle her. There were moments when my heart broke for Philip and then other moments when I wanted to slap him and tell him to have some backbone. It's a long read, but worth it. I haven't been so eager to find out what happens to a character in a while.

Since I'm already gushing about Maugham, here he is with the next couple books in line:

I think I need to start attending British Writers Anonymous.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

FO: Estela, Mi Amor

Here she is...me encanta a Estela.

Estela Dress
Pattern: Estela, from Debbie Bliss Prima
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Prima, 13.5 balls in Emerald
Needles: US 5 and 6 circs
Modifications: Eliminated side vents, shortened torso after sleeve shaping.

Apologies for the overexposed photo, but even after learning how to deal with the timer, I am still at a loss as to how to take a good self-portrait without a lot of luck on my side. I also apologize for the cleavage...I guess I just have to buy a slip that rises a little higher in the front.

First off, I needed more yarn than the pattern called for. I made the 36" bust size, which calls for 13 balls but I needed to go into a 14th. I think this is due to the fact that the yarn had many knots in it, which brought out my anal-retentive side and forced me to abandon long lengths of yarn to the side seams.

Aside from the knotty issues, this is really beautiful yarn. I don't mind knots so much as long as the yarn makes up for it and this stuff sure does. It's got a beautiful sheen (from the 80% bamboo) and great squeezability (from the 20% wool). It snags if you're not careful, so be extra cautious if you wear jewelry on your hands (my ring caught some of the plies a few times). Steam blocking the dress made the stitches bloom and the fabric gain extra drape.

I eliminated the side vents b/c I thought it would be too swingy and I'm glad I did. I think the dress would fly all over the place if I'd made it as written. I also shortened the torso a teeny bit after the horizontal garter stripes. I waited until the armhole shaping was complete and then did a few less "straight" rows than the pattern specified.

All in all, it was a terribly satisfying knit. The fishbone lace panels are super easy and broke up the endless monotony of stockinette. My only complaint is that despite being a mostly bamboo yarn, this is NOT a dress for the heat o' summer. It should serve when the weather only reaches about 75 degrees, but not a single degree hotter. I plan to wear it as a layering piece when the weather transitions in the spring and autumn.

And would you look at that...all this FO'ing got me to start up with Norah Gaughan's cabled coat again. But new knits are still out there, calling to meeeeeee.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Cliffs of WIPsanity

I am stalling. On many things, but knitting in particular. It is NO HELP that Rowan, Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits, and Twist Collective are tempting me to cast on new projects.

In the meantime, I am plugging away (albeit slooooooowly) on Clint's sweater. The goal is to have it finished before Clint leaves for Chicago at the end of August.

Knitting it is yummy. It's a bunch of Rowan Cashsoft Chunky and it's heaven on the hands. The colors aren't so...girly...in real life. Ribbing is in a chestnut brown and the stockinette is a deep maroon.

Estela is coming along, but it feels like it's taking FOREVER right now. I feel guilty for leaving my lovely cabled coat alone for so long. I feel guilty for leaving my lovely Irish Cream stole alone for so long. I feel guilty for leaving yet another sock in single sock mode. Sigh. I don't know if I will continue Oblique after all b/c Mom requested a different kind of sweater recently.

All of which is making this:

...call out to me in the name of procrastination. It's two balls of Jade Sapphire's Lacey Lamb and I might make a present out of it. But I s'pose it'll all have to wait. Booooooo.

However, the knit-stalling is partially due to the fact that I've been working feverishly on my script. So I guess it's all a give and take, no?

I also found some of those wonderful Savannah College of Art and Design notebooks at B&N again:

B&N is very, very tricky. I resisted getting that $25/yr membership card for so long. But it sounds so appealing when you realize you're about to purchase upwards of $100 of reading/writing material and if you pay $25 for the membership, you get at least $10 off right this second and then you only have to get a total of $16 in discounts for the remainder of the year in order to make the membership worth it. Damn you, B&N. You are tricky.

Monday, July 28, 2008

FO: Clapotis o' Human Bondage...and a bit o' crochet

Finally, we have an FO 'round these here parts...

Clapotis o' Human Bondage
Pattern: Clapotis by Kate Gilbert
Yarn: Koigu KPPPM color P117, 5.5 skeins
Needles: US 4
Modifications: More increases and more straight rows for a proper-sized Clapotis.

Although I enjoyed making this, I named it the Clapotis o' Human Bondage because 1) I will forever link this to reading Of Human Bondage and 2) it really does slog on through the last bit of straight rows.

When I bought the Koigu, I battled a terrible guilty conscience due to the 'spensive-ness of the yarn. However, I had coveted this yarn for quite a while and decided that since I couldn't get it out of my head, I should buy it and make something that I could keep for a looooooong time. Clapotis it was.

Despite giving up on my last Clapotis, this one was not difficult to stay faithful to. Koigu is like buttah. These colors are subtle but rich and will make a perfect scarf (see above pic) for many winters to come. It can also serve as a wrap:

And as ninja headgear:

The Clapotis, I have discovered, is lovely as a thin, lightweight fabric. The fingering weight is perfect on US 4s for a warm but feathery wrap. The dropped stitches and the wrong side look--appropriately--like waves and pebbles.

I also dug out this oooold project:

This crochet bag is the Caban pattern from Rowan 35. It's made of Reynolds Saucy and it was my first crochet project, ever. I loved the bag so much that I bit the bullet and learned to use a hook properly. I'm thinking of making another one now that I am much better at crochet (if you look closely, those bobbles don't quite alternate at even intervals).

Also, this project taught me that my sewing/finishing skills were lacking:

Since I didn't know how to do it, I just whipstitched the lining to the bag. That resulted in this:

Note to self: Whipstitching is not a very sturdy way to put together a bag.

But in other crochet news:

I couldn't stop myself anymore. I hate alternating yarns every round because it creates so many ends to weave in, but I found a perfect compromise between crochet motifs, blankets, and Kureyon Sock.

Do you see those little orange flecks? I love the way Kureyon keeps presenting me with little surprises.