Tuesday, May 20, 2008


It's been quite a lovely week over here Chez Sway.

I started the Roped Shell in Vintage Cotton:

It's super easy to knit and I'm excited that there will be no sleeves to knit. Maybe tanks are the way to go. The slipped stitches are popping out of the fabric right now, which explains why the gauge instructions demand that you block. I'm not completely sold on the color combo. I think it's a bit too bright still and a bit too...orange. But I decided to knit it up and see how I feel at the end and if I still need different colors, one of my friends will be lucky.

I also have swatched for Flicca (Rav link), Oblique, and Annikki. I've promised myself that as soon as I finish knitting either the Gathered Pullover or the Cabled Coat, I'll be able to cast on at least one of these lovelies.

Also, I got some minor good news. I wrote up a very short treatment for my screenplay, which I really want one of my good friends to direct. She works part-time for an Oscar-nominated director and one of her jobs is to pitch him potential screenplays. She chose to pitch mine to him last week and he gave so many wonderful comments and encouragement! He was excited about it and asked to read it when I finish. I'm flabbergasted. Truly, truly flabbergasted. I've been out of school for almost six years and it's been a long time since I've gotten any kind of academic/professional comments on my fiction work. I'd forgotten how it felt to be proud of my personal creative writing and I am on cloud nine.

To celebrate, we went out to dinner and got quite happily drunk on some fantabulous red wine. The next day, still aglow with excitement, I treated myself to a bouquet of peonies and lilacs.

Alas, the peonies had a very short vase-life. The lilacs, however, are hardy as hell.

There are now real flowers in my window instead of socks and I get to enjoy them despite the dreary weather.

Friday, May 16, 2008

FO: Flowers in the Window Socks

Flowers in the Window Socks
Pattern: Show-Off Stranded Socks by Anne Campbell
Yarn: Koigu KPPPM, Color P530121, 2 skeins
Needles: 1.5 US circs

Have you ever heard the Travis song, "Flowers in the Window"? It's such a great song. I love Travis. I went to see them once in Boston and I have very good memories of that concert.

Anyway, these socks remind me of flowers in a meadow. And all these photos were taken in the window. So it's kind of like having flowers in the window. It's raining a lot here right now and my allergies are acting up, but it's nice to be wearing cushy socks that remind me of flowers.

Koigu is, of course, wonderful. Also, these gussets are charming. Instead of knitting the heel back and forth and then picking up stitches, you're supposed to increase stitches between the heel and instep. When you have enough, you short-row the heel and gusset together and then continue on with the foot. Ingenious! It fits perfectly!

The coolest part is I can add this to Project Spectrum. Yay!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Two Sleeves, Both Green

Le Sleeves of le Cabled Coat are complete:

That's a lot o' moss. Seriously. Don't let sleeves fool you. They take up a lot of yarn. I think the sleeves actually take up more yarn than the half-hexagon fronts. Now I have just one of those half-hexagons and the collar to knit up and then this baby is getting seamed, but good.

One of the things I love about knitting is the creation of what I see as living, breathing fabric. I use those words because this kind of fabric carries a little bit of human movement in each of its hundreds of stitches. The fabric looks and feels alive to me, as if I am Dr. Frankenstein and I have created something sentient out of nothing more than yarn and lightning. It's ALIIIIVE!!!!


I am also on an intense sweater kick. I love socks, I do. I love scarves, I do. I love hats and mittens and every little knit in between. But there is something so satisfying about making something that encircles one's torso. To that end, I realize I now have enough yarn stashed up to knit at least five sweaters. I also have a bunch of Noro Niji (Rav link) that I'm using to make a store sample.

But I could not turn away from this:

This here is four balls each of Karabella Vintage Cotton. Colors 304 Rose (top) and 330 Orange (bottom). They will become this.

The Roped Shell is knit in Filatura di Crosa Luxury, a fingering weight silk. While I like the idea and all, I'm not sure I will get much use out of this shell just yet. If I wear it a lot in cotton, I'll revisit the idea of silk.

And...that might be the end of new stash for a while for me. I am starting to feel burdened by the weight of my amassed yarn. I need to knit through some of it before I will feel comfortable adding to the bunch.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Happy Weekend

Last night, I arrived home at my parents' place to see these two munchkins at play:

These are my cousin's daughters, Elizabeth and Caroline. Elizabeth just celebrated her first birthday and Caroline is turning four in a month. Notice how Caroline is trying to help her mother by separating the lettuce heads while Elizabeth is mimicking Caroline? Not a coincidence. Caroline wants to do everything her mother does and Elizabeth wants to do everything Caroline does. Today, we had a grand feast for Elizabeth and then Caroline serenaded us with a karaoke rendition of children's songs. Elizabeth tried to steal the microphone whilst drooling over her very lovely pink dress.

I brought home flowers for my mom. There were white roses, daisies, black-eyed Susans, gerber daisies, and hyacinths. Stupid me forgot to take my camera home.

Plus, I gave my mother this:

I finally finished the durn thing. I love how needlepoint looks, but I don't know if I can become a huge fan. It just takes too long. I gave her the Veronik socks as well. The actual name of the socks is "Socks for Veronik." Well, now they're "Socks for Mom." They fit her perfectly, but she says no more socks for a while since summer is upon us. She wants a cardi.

I have to pause here and say a bit about my mother on this lovely Mother's Day. She was the middle of five children and a pastor's daughter to boot. But when push comes to shove, she can be pretty fierce. I once had a mean boss who was abusive and said horrible things to me. When I called my mother and cried, she released a torrent of curses against that boss. It would have made a sailor proud. That was the only time I've ever heard her swear.

My mother really truly believes that I can accomplish anything. It's hard for her to watch her Ivy-educated daughter struggle through freelancing while trying to write stories, but she bites her lip and lets me do my thing. When I get discouraged, she talks me out of it. I can only hope that when the day comes, I will be half as good at mothering as she is.

She keeps wondering how her mother's love of knitting passed right by her and into me. Here are two sleeves, brown and green:

The moss stitch on the cabled coat was getting to be too much for me. So I had abandoned it for a while. Then, voila! I learned how to knit and purl continental-style and am now breezing my way through the second sleeve. In the meantime, I have to find a cardi pattern for my mother now that she has specifically requested (nay, demanded) one.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

FO: Fuchsia Veroniks

Fuchsia Veronik Socks
Pattern: Socks for Veronik by Mona Schmidt - IK Holiday 2007
Yarn: Artyarns Ultramerino 4
Needles: US 1 circs

I only made one mod: Using a standard go-to toe with matching ssk/k2tog on each side. I got impatient with the idea of the pattern-mimicking toe. If I made these again, I'd go with the patterned toe because I did something weird and the toes are kinda pointy. I'm pretty sure I should have stopped decreasing sooner.

The lovely lace pattern is gorgeous when the sock gets blocked.

These are my first pair of socks in Artyarns Ultramerino 4 and I must say that this is beautiful yarn. It's kind of springy and very soft. We'll see how it holds up. The bottoms of my STR socks have felted a fair bit and I'm a bit worried.

I also purchased this:
Let me start by confessing that I don't particularly enjoy watching Keira Knightley. She is beautiful, to be sure, but there is something very mannered and self-conscious about her performances. Also, I think many people cast her in inappropriate roles because a) she is a movie star and b) she is beautiful and c) she is actually British. There are so few beautiful British movie stars her age (at least ones that are well-known on this side of the Atlantic) that she seems to have cornered the market.

With that said, I went to see this movie in the theater in February. The first third of it completely got to me and all I was thinking was that the pacing was just s'wonderful...

...until the war scenes. Some of my friends have waxed rhapsodic about the war scenes, saying they were truly moved and were brought to tears. I personally am not convinced. The war scenes seemed so abrupt and so out of place. Yes, war is horrible. But the strong points of this story aren't so much about war but about three people who are locked in this miserable struggle for things that they will never obtain. There's one tracking shot in the middle of the movie that really annoyed me when Robbie is on the beach and the camera begins to show us his point of view but then abandons it to whirl around a chorus of soldiers singing. Grar.

But there's a reason I purchased this movie and it's because of its overall effect on me. love Romola Garai and I love the basic ideas of the story. The music is marvelous. I find Keira Knightley perfectly palatable here. And in the end, the film does move me. Now I'm going to have to go ahead and read the book.

Speaking of books, I started a bit of a project.

I can speak Korean thanks to my mother's best efforts, but my reading comprehension and ability are somewhat...slooooooow. Not to mention the blatant atrocity of my spelling. Instead of slogging through workbooks, I decided to read Harry Potter in Korean. I estimate that I read Korean like a first-grader. I'm trying to up it to at least a fifth-grade level. I estimate it will take me at least two months to finish this book, which is only the first half of The Prisoner of Azkaban.

Friday, May 2, 2008

FO: Violent Violet Beret

Violent Violet Beret
Pattern: Rose Red by Ysolda
Yarn: Frog Tree Alpaca Sportweight, 2 skeins
Needles: US 6 DPNs and 16" circ

I basically spent the better part of knitting this beret thinking of that line in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, when Violet Beauregarde's father screams, "You're turning violet, Violet!" Because this is one intensely violet yarn. I also caught part of the Alec Baldwin SNL retrospective on television the other night and the word "scrumptrulescent" kept repeating in my head. Because this is one intensely scrumptrulescent pattern. There's nothing more to be said. It took me a while because knitting in the round on 16" circs is fiddly. But each stitch was lovely and the pattern is so clear it threatens to turn transparent. Yes, I make bad jokes.

This one is going to my friend, but I reallyreallyreallyreally want one for ME. I am going to have to scour for some pretty angora-blend yarn so I can have one of these pretties for my very own. Alpaca worked great, but it's not quite as fluffy as I had expected.

Scrumptrulescent. Yep, this is indeed a scrumptrulescent hat. I love it so much that I went ahead and purchased Ysolda's Gretel pattern, too. Argh, what the hey am I going to do with 10,000 berets???