Thursday, January 24, 2008

When Knitting Is Painful :-(

Argh. Not too much knitting this week. Had some finishing to do for customers and it cut into my precious hours of knitting time. I did finish one Pomatomus, and I'm experiencing this sad feeling of...well, for lack of more eloquent words, "bleh."

Don't get me wrong. The sock itself is quite pretty. The lace is pretty. All is pretty. But for the first time in my short sock knitting experience, I have no immediate desire to cast on for the second sock. None whatsoever. In general, I'm a little underwhelmed with no understanding as to why I am underwhelmed. I'll try this pattern again in a bit and hope for better rapport with the project.

And then, of course, there's my old nemesis, Mr. Smoke. I tried a few repeats with the Prism lace held alongside Suri Elegance. Again, like the feel of it but underwhelmed by the visual results.

I think the navy alpaca does too good a job muting the handpainted colors of the Prism lace. What to do? Must I rip again? Boo. More tears.

In addition, I started a sock. Veronik's Sock from Interweave Knits' Holiday issue.

It's Artyarns 4 in a brilliant fuchsia color that I love, but...those damn p3togs. Not only are my fingers cramping, but this happened:

My needle is all bent out of shape. Even she objects to p3togs and she doesn't even have nerves.

Aside from knitting, I'm also kind of blown away by the fact that Heath Ledger died this week. I was a huge fan of his work and had spent more time than necessary over the last week watching trailers for The Dark Knight and marveling at his talent. And every time I think of his daughter, I just want to cry.

In Brokeback Mountain, there's a moment when Jack and Ennis have to separate again and Jack says: "There ain't never enough time, never enough..."

For Heath and the brilliance he was starting to exhibit, there certainly wasn't.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Fish & Sheeps

I resisted making Pomatomus for a looooong time, but I couldn't hold off anymore.

I bought this yarn months ago with the express purpose of turning it into a pair of Pomatomi. This pattern is kinda interesting. I thought it would be very difficult, but the pattern's pretty easily memorized. I shouldn't speak too soon, considering I just got to the heel. Also, I'm a little annoyed because the YOs that occur at the beginning of a needle are a little...big. We'll see how they look once they're on actual feet.

The knitting mojo that I thought I'd lost? Came back with a vengeance. Next up, we have one half-hexagon or one front of the Norah Gaughan Cabled Coat.

I made one big boo-boo amidst all the cabling. When I finally noticed it, I figured, eh, what the hey. I'm not ripping out fifteen rows of cable knitting to fix it.

I did, however, rip the next project out to the very beginning twice. It's from the 2001 Kids Issue of Vogue Knitting. One section offers pullover designs for the four seasons and Spring's is an adorable intarsia pullover knit from Tahki Cotton Classic of a meadow with sheep and embroidered daisies. Here are one and a fraction sheep:

I switched out one of the grass colors for Mission Falls 1824 Cotton. I thought it would be a nice textural contrast and I really like the effect. The sheep faces are also 1824 while the sheep bodies are knit out of Sublime Angora Merino. It's my first time with intarsia and I'm a little sad about the uneven stitches, but I hope steaming will fix the problem once I'm done with the knitting. I'm eliminating the sheep from the back of the pullover and the legs are charted for intarsia, but I'm opting to use duplicate stitch later on for simplicity's sake.

I never understood the purpose of bobbins until now:

But I am having fun staring at the absolute mess presented on the wrong side of the piece:

It's like yarn tentacles. Grar.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

FO: Scottish Monkeys and New Year Reflections

I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions. I don’t like putting that much pressure on myself. Besides, I never successfully reach any of them. So this year, instead of going all crazy, I’ve made only one: I will take care of myself this year.

Now, this is why I’m all sneaky. That one l’il resolution is more than enough to cover a wide variety of bad habits I’ve accumulated over the past 27 (gulp! almost 28!) years of my life. That one resolution encompasses the following:

*I will go to the gym more often.

*I will eat more fruits and vegetables. Hell, I’ll just stop ordering so much takeout.

*I will stop drinking Diet Coke. (Again, inner demons laugh maniacally)

*I will read at least two books per month. This might be accomplish-able if I stop listening to Queen on a loop when I’m taking the subway.

*I will focus on my spiritual essence. Whatever that means.

*I will try to remove my UFOs from their sad little shelf. They cry every day and I meanly just shove them to the back and refuse to give them supper.

*I will finish my novel. I will finish my screenplay. I will finish the seven short stories that mope in a little folder in my computer. I will publish something fictional instead of just lots of informative articles regarding your physical health and/or lipstick.

*I will go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. If I can somehow cure my addiction to that little gadget known as “snooze.”

This all sounds crazy. Yes, crazy. But the one secret, magic weapon that makes this all OK is the wording of that one resolution which encompasses all things. I will take care of myself. And taking care of myself means I give myself permission to fail on occasion. It means overall, I commit to living a better life by focusing on areas of improvement but not whipping myself if I mess up. I can slip up and eat French fries and sip my Diet Cokes and not read a blessed word for a whole damn week if I want. But I can do it knowing that I will get back up on the well-behaved horse the next day. I figure as long as I allow myself to act like a complete child once in a while, the adult in me (I know you’re in there!) will, for the most part, emerge to take care of the little brat that likes to take up residency fairly often ‘round these parts.

For example:

Scottish Monkey Socks
Pattern: Monkey Socks from
Yarn: BMFA Socks that Rock Lightweight in Scottish Highlands

I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship between me and some STR. I did notice that I have this problem with socks. The first one is always way tighter than the second one. I have one of two choices: I can either move to smaller needles for the second one or I can make a conscious effort to knit the first one looser. Boo. I know consistency ain't my strong suit, but I had no idea that this translates into my knitting. But look, I finished one of the projects that had been crying on my shelf! I'm already moving in the right direction!

Also, the heels on these socks resemble Scottish meadows. I watched Braveheart the other day with my roommate while knitting these up. I like Scottish accents. They are muy sexy. Maybe I'll add that to my yearly actual Scottish people so I can listen to that accent on a consistent (!) basis.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Prospero Año y Felicidad!

I did not knit a lot over Christmas. Too many cheesecakes to bake, too many cookies to frost, and too many movies to see. I finally saw The Simpsons Movie, which caused me to laugh so hard that I thought my vocal cords would go on strike. I saw The Painted Veil, which was a lovely movie despite the fact that Edward Norton's English accent is only passable at best. I also saw I Am Legend and have conflicting feelings towards it. It was fun and I definitely cowered a lot, but I've read synopses of the book it was based on and the original story seems so much more compelling that I'm surprised the movie says so little about what the title actually means. But that dog was so damn cute. I want German Shepherd puppies. I also saw...(drumroll please)...Sweeney Todd.
IloveditIloveditIloveditIlovedit! Johnny Depp is sexy, even as a mass murderer. Alan Rickman is sexy even as creep. Sacha Baron Cohen is sexy, even in skintight, electric blue pants. Timothy Spall is...not sexy, but he's still wickedly amusing. I did think it was odd that they removed all the ensemble singing, but overall the visual spectacle of everything just reels you in so that you don't notice how weak Helena Bonham Carter's voice actually is until you listen to her on the soundtrack. That's when her singing sounds so obviously lackluster. I have a feeling that Tim Burton was so entranced by her singing lullabies to their baby that he was deluded into thinking she had the voice of an angel. Ah, well, even with the nepotism she's still a good actress.

Here's a sampling of my Christmas booty:

The Sweeney Todd movie soundtrack (and now I have to go get the original cast recording because I lost it and I miss Angela Lansbury), a supercute snowman mug, Pixar's short films, a short story collection by Mavis Gallant, and two Hitchcock movies. There was some other stuff and I finally got myself a pair of Uggs (which I know are as ugly as their name implies, but my desire for them had less to do with fashion and more to do with comfort).

Also, I did knit a little bit. I finished my dad's scarf (which was promptly stolen by my mom because she says her neck is colder than his). So I must knit my father something else. I ended up not finishing the blanket (big surprise!) and bought my mother some cookbooks and mystery books.

But I did do this:

It's the back and godet of Norah Gaughan's Cabled Coat from the 25th Anniversary VK. I am in love. I am in love with the pattern and in love with the yarn. Why can't the world be made out of Berroco Pure Merino? I bought this yarn months ago specifically for this project and can't figure out why it took me so long to get here. I'm trying to knit through some of my stash and this seemed appropriate enough. At first, the pattern seems pretty intimidating, but once you work through some of it, the process is somewhat intuitive. There are definitely errata and the VK website only posts one mistake in the chart so when I finish I'll make a list of the things I noticed.

Fields of moss stitch are so soothing.

And the cable design reminds me of architectural details. I am having lots and lots o' fun.