Friday, February 26, 2010

The Triumphant Return of Wisteria

Somewhere in the midst of the all the American Olympians falling down on Wednesday night (so sad about Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso! Though it was sort of fun to watch all the speed skaters wiping out...) I bound off the bottom of Wisteria again, and immediately threw it on.

The smaller size fits!  Well enough anyway, somehow it's still a little loose.  This math is going to haunt me too, I guess, because my gauge is right, my stitch counts are right, and I'm pretty sure I haven't randomly lost an inch and a half on my bust measurement lately.  But whatever, I'll take it.

I'm about halfway done with the first sleeve right now, and I have a tape of last night's Olympic coverage waiting to be watched.  Oh, how I adore figure skating!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

This Week in WIPs

Now that the knitting is done for my secret project of doom, I'm finally free to work on other things again!  Or, work on them with a clear conscience, since I was occasionally working on them anyway.

First, my progress on the new and improved (by which I mean, smaller) Wisteria.


I know, I know, it looks the same.  It won't when I put it on, or so I hope!  I'm just about to start the bottom cable chart, I hammered out the whole waist shaping section while watching a huge block of The Big Bang Theory episodes with my husband yesterday afternoon.


A few weeks ago when I couldn't bear not having cast on something with this wonderful yarn, I started a Garden of Alla shawl (Ravelry link).  This is a long-term, in-between-other-projects project.  I should have included something for scale...those are size 0's.  The yarn is so incredibly fine, that still feels loose to me.  And see that orange thing?  That's a lifeline marking the end of the first chart.  Never let it be said that I cannot learn.



In the "I can't believe it took me this long to get around to this" department, here I have a wrap from VK Fall 2005.  I bought the issue specifically for this pattern, and somehow, just never got around to it!  I have friends coming to visit next month, and we're going to be doing a bit of traipsing around Michigan, so I need some car knitting, and this seemed to fit the bill.

This is the Moda Dea Washable Wool I picked up super cheap last month, and what do you know, it's enough, with a hundred or so yards to spare.  I didn't try to get gauge before I started, but it's only two inches wider than the original...close enough for a wrap, no?  Normally that would mean I'd run out of yarn, but I'm not worried.
I'm compensating by altering the construction.  The pattern calls for the body to be knit first and then the borders knit out from either end, but that's a bit silly.  Why would I want two cast off edges in the body of my shawl?  So I knit the first border from a provisional cast on, then started the body on those stitches.  This has the advantage of telling me how much yarn to save for the other border--I have used one full ball of yarn plus a few yards of the next for the border plus one repeat of the body lace pattern.  Thus, when I start my last ball of yarn, I know that I need to finish the lace repeat I'm on, not start a new one, and work the border.  Voila! I won't run out before the border is done.

Finally, that dyeing project I mentioned.  I had yarn leftover from the secret project, enough for a shawlette or large scarf, and I was overcome by the notion of dyeing it Kauni-style (or Effektgarn, if that's your poison of choice) and having it shade from the original deep red all the way down to black.

I divided the remainder into four skeins (still connected, a feat of mastery with my swift that I'm a little proud of) and dyeing three of them over with black.  I'm trying a simple time-based gradiation method, but I think by the time I dropped the third and final skein in, I had left the other two too long and exhausted most of the dye.  We'll see how it turns out.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Sigh of Relief

Possibly premature,'s done.

I'm just on break from work, so it will get washed and blocked this evening when I get home.

And then I can work on other things again!  Wisteria! A new shawl! A new cowl design! A new dye project I have in mind!

Of course things could still go wrong.  I'm concerned about the total length, as I anticipate much growing in the wash, but I can't be too worried, because I'm so happy it's done!

Monday, February 15, 2010


Why is it that when I have a deadline approaching, and I should be at my most focused, that life gets in the way?

Today, I only spent twenty minutes on the project which should be consuming all of my knitting attention.  I spent a good chunk of the afternoon consumed by the need to crochet a certain little something inspired by a certain little something else I saw when browsing Ravelry.  It's an absolute cesspool of brilliance and creativity, and I seem to be in danger of drowning in it.  Woe is me.

Oh, and it's Valentine's Day.  I made a nice dinner and some incredibly sinful dark chocolate mousse, and I'm a little tipsy from half a bottle of pomegranate wine.  Romantic evenings at home are so nice....

No, that's not sarcasm.  We've had a great day.  But it did cut into my knitting time!

And tomorrow...well, I don't talk about work at all here, and there's a reason.  So all I will say is this: Full Operational Review.  Not looking forward to it.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Show of Dominance

It's fixed.  I had to have a little pillow-punching time first, but I sat down with it again and fixed it, for real.  In the end I only lost about six rows of work.

Then I banished it to a corner for two days.  Yesterday I asserted myself to my knitting in general by frogging back Wisteria.  I love that sweater, and I don't want it to be one that I don't wear because it doesn't fit.  Fortunately, due to its construction, I lost all of the body but only about an inch of the yoke--the size I knit and the size I want only had one increase row difference before the end of the first chart, then a few more plain increase rows after it.  Today I've just divided the sleeves from the body again.

Tomorrow I pick up the secret project again, and this time, it's war.  I am going to get this done on time.  It's going to be beautiful.  Or else.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pride Comes Before A Fall

What kind of knitter am I?  Apparently, an arrogant one.

Over three feet of lace is flowing easily from my needles with nary a mistake in sight.  Do I put a lifeline in anywhere?  No! I don't make mistakes!

Until I do.

It was a relatively minor gaffe, but I'm submitting this for publication! Mistakes cannot be tolerated!  So I carefully drop the stitches in the affected area and start reworking them correctly.

Except that I didn't rework them correctly.

When I got to that place on the next row, after I believed I had corrected the problem...I hadn't.  I managed to make it worse.

There are no lifelines anywhere on this piece.  I know I should rip back to the last row I'm sure I have right....but I can't stand, right now, the thought of tinking eight rows of lace, and if I take it off the needles to frog without a lifeline, I may never get it back on without creating even more problems.

When I came to this horrid realization, I started to hyperventilate.  It's been half an hour now, and I still feel a bit queasy.  The throbbing headache I already had definitely didn't help.

Today, I make this solemn vow:  I will use lifelines.  I am not above using lifelines.  I will embrace the lifeline.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Math, It Haunts Me

I'm pleased so far with my mystery knitting project, but I'm worried about the time I have left.

The Knitty submission deadline is March 15.  I have overseas friends coming to stay with me for close to two weeks starting on March 9th.

I want this done and in the (e)mail by the end of February.  That may not be realistic, but it does give me a week of breathing room to do things like, oh, say, clean the apartment in preparation for having guests!

So I weighed my yarn earlier tonight.  I have knit 35g of 100g potential.  I may decide not to use all the yarn, but the original plan is to eat it all up.

This 35g has gotten me through 19 full pattern repeats.

35/19 = 100/x.  Yay! Algebra!

Solving for x, I come up with 54 (rounding down).  54-19 = 35 repeats to go.

Assuming I can manage 3 repeats a day, that sets me at twelve days of knitting to go, starting tomorrow.  Sounds perfect, right?  I'll finish the project on the 20th and have a week to write up the pattern and get photos done.

Well, I did some more math, which I won't belabor, but the number of stitches in a pattern repeat?  Oh, a measly 1556.

1556 x 3 = 4668 stitches a day.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Nooks and Crannies

Today started out with some errands with my mom.  Among other things which were standard, routine, and thus, boring, we hit the post office so I could fling that little scarf I was so excited about into the mail for my partner, and I also managed to score a slushie.

Yes, I drink slushies in the winter.  I am from a land of cold, dark, and snow.  If I let the weather stop me from having my favorite cold treat, I would be a monumental wuss in the eyes of my peers and neighbors.  Bring on the brainfreeze!

Anyway, I mention these things, these mundane little things, because they lead up to something big.  My parents, gotta love 'em, are very big on anniversary presents.  My husband and I have come to view this as a wonderful opportunity to acquire practical-but-nice things that we want for ourselves.  His choice this year was a tea kettle.  This sounds strange to some, I'm sure, but our electric water kettle was in poor shape and not all that great to begin with, and if there's one thing my husband loves that's not me, it's his tea.

My parents readily agreed to this plan--my father, especially, loves to give gifts that aren't necessarily surprises but things that are greatly desired and eminently useful--and so off we went and found ourselves a tea kettle.  On sale!

And so, my father says, well, that was about half of what we had budgeted for this, is there anything else you want?

Such a dangerous question.  He should know better by now.

And I said, "Yarn storage."

His reply was a slightly bewildered look.

I said, "Mom and I will go shopping.  Don't worry."

As of this morning, I am the proud and happy owner of a cheap fiberboard cubicle-style shelving unit.  Sounds lame when I put it that way, no?  But it looks so nice when it's full of yarn....


Let's take a little tour.  The plastic drawer unit is my old yarn storage, which used to be tucked into our coat closet.  It's still got some yarn in there because I haven't finished organizing.  I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to keep it or not..the top is bending down from having too much weight on it in the past.  On top of it (for now) are the empty cereal boxes that I intend to turn into magazine holders, and the blue flowered thing is my sewing box.  Then we have the lovely new yarn cubbies!  Again, not full because I haven't finished organizing.  And I already know it won't hold all my stash--there are bags of stuff I cleared away for the photo, I won't lie, but you don't need to see them!--but it's still such an improvement.  On top of that I have my vase of straight needles, a small drawer box filled with crochet hooks, yarn needles, dpns, and stitch markers.  Next to that is my tape measure and my mp3 player, plus some yarn that couldn't fit into a cubby inside its bags.  The blue thing on the floor is my swift, which I just put back into its holder tonight for the first time in years--I kid you not!--and then there's my now-designated knitting chair, complete with my current (secret) project bag.

I have never, ever had knitting-designated anything.  It's thrilling.  I have a knitting nook!