27 April 2007

One down, one to go... and a little bitta spinning.

Saith the Knitting Goddess: "It's pink!"

Cast on for the second Diagonal Rib Sock... Oh, how I wish that "cast on" were a verb in that sentence, and not a noun. Four times I have done a tubular cast-on over double needles -- the instructions say to cast on over double needles, and I am a huge fan of tubular cast-on edges in the final product -- and four times, when I try to divide over three needles and join for working in the round, I have dropped, twisted, or generally lost/mangled the stitches. At this point, I'm getting a clearer picture of what my personal Hell will be like:

* Upon arrival, the demons give me a brand-new iPod, stick the earbuds in my ears and press play. The control wheel and screen fold up and vanish, leaving only a one-line display. The playlist is called, "All Bob Marley, All The Time."
* My first activity is an endless viewing of "You've Got Mail."
* I will be forced to knit tirelessly, no matter how much my wrists ache -- USING ONLY ACRYLIC YARN.
* The majority of projects will be knit in the round on dpns, beginning with a tubular cast-on over double needles.
* Remaining projects will be king-sized bedspreads using fingering-weight yarn on US2 or smaller needles... and all begin with a tubular cast-on over double needles.
* Occasionally, a demon will change the film reel to substitute another mindless, fully-predictable, schmaltz-laden chick flick.

Okay, that's enough contemplation of eternal horrors for one day. I'm considering doing a basic continental cast-on..

In happier news, here's the completed Sock 1:

and here's one last shot of my pink yarn in progress:

26 April 2007

Inventory... and A Hat for Bryan

In an attempt to prove how nerdy I am, today I made an Excel spreadsheet listing my current knitting WIPs along with projects I intend to start. It has columns where I can mark whether it has been started, whether I have materials, the approximate cost of materials, and any notes associated with that project.

First on the list is the Sophia Babydoll: I have to crochet the straps and sew on the feather trim.

Next are the Diagonal Rib Socks: finish Sock 1, knit Sock 2.

Third is A Hat for Bryan. He requested a UA knit beanie. I'm going to adapt the Elann Esprit Reversible knit cap in appropriate colors. This is partially because Elann Esprit is the only yarn I've found in the right color. Plus, it stretches, so exact sizing isn't crucial. I wanted to make it in something nice and soft, like merino or alpaca, but although I've scoured both my LYS and the internet, I can't find a nice wool that comes in red, white and blue. And I'm not using acrylic. So, cotton it is.
image from the UA website; hopefully they don't mind me reproducing it here.

The next step is to map out my pattern chart with the UA logo... easier said than done. I did this for NC State, which has a straightforward logo that is easily charted. But UA is full of points and diagonals... I've done cross-stitch since I could hold a needle, and I know that trying to x-stitch diagonals is no picnic... same goes for knitting. So I traced the A onto graph paper and took the slope of the blue outline (m=8/3, in case you're interested). I drew a long line of y=mx and then manually pixellated it (read: drew boxes matching the line as closely as possible). Then I started drawing the blue outline, making it two squares thick. After that, I realized that the A I had drawn was about 3 times too large, and if it had to turn a 2x2 corner at that size, when I shrunk it down to the correct size, the pattern would no longer work. So I scrapped it and decided I could always knit the hat and embroider the A. Problem solved!

25 April 2007

Maryland Sheep and Wool

In a little over a week, I plan on arriving at the HoCo Fairgrounds early in an attempt to negotiate the gauntlet of vendors like a friendly neighborhood maniac bent on purchasing roving WHICH CERTAINLY HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH her evil plans for world domination. This raises an important question:

How are my dear readers, who also shall flock to the HoCo fairgrounds to bask in the reflected glow of Knit Goddessness celebrate Sheep and Wool, to recognize me and ask for autographs like I'm Stephanie Pearl-McPhee introduce themselves? Never fear. I shall be the woman who is NOT simultaneously walking and knitting/spinning/crocheting/weaving/shearing sheep. I'll be the women who has her own Sherpa to guide her through the mountains of roving, handspun, and I-just-had-to-have-its, leading a llama loaded to the breaking point with fabulous fibers. Actually, the Sherpa is not so much a guide as a bodyguard. He clears his throats and gives looks of polite disapproval to overeager spinners who get a little too close to the llama. She's not roving yet, you know.

I'll be the one who takes thirty minutes to decide between two blue rovings from the same dyelot. Or the person who has to touch five different skeins to decide which is the absolute softest, most well-spun one... and go back in 15 minutes to buy them all. I'll also be the one asking shepherds/farmers a million questions about raising sheep, even though there's only the slimmest chance I'd actually buy one. Unless they're Wensleydales. I could probably fit a couple of those in the back of my car. I'd even put the windows down a bit so they could stick their noses out on the drive home.

Hmm... then again, maybe I'll just stick to roving and yarn, and try out some different spinning wheels.

19 April 2007

Things Finished, and Things Just-Started

I decided after ripping out Chuck's Cabled Socks that I needed a little confidence-booster: an easy pair of socks that I could (*ahem* attempt to) knit perfectly. At least to-the-eye-not-inspecting-my-knitting-for-a-knitting-certificate perfect. I settled on Ann Budd's "Diagonal Rib Socks," featured in the Winter '04 Interweave Knits. They're pretty and fairly uncomplicated. Cast on, start leg pattern, memorize leg pattern, turn off brain, knit for a long time, turn heel, knit for a medium time, decrease toe, Kitchener, done.

It was while I was attempting to join for working and knit my first round that things tensed up. I flourished my KnitPicks Options dpns... if by flourished you mean dropped, cursed at and occasionally sent flying across the room or rolling under a piece of furniture. They just wouldn't stay put... unless I worked at a ridiculously slow pace. This is the pace at which I had started the first pattern rows of Chuck's Cabled Socks, and the pace for which my godfather made fun of me. After 3 or four rows, the knitting tightens itself up and I can work at a normal pace, provided I'm careful not to let the stitches get precariously close to one of the needle points.

Things are rolling right along now, although I'm starting to wonder why people knit socks. I understand that it's great for when one has to put down and pick up work often (as I do), but to sit there and knit for an hour can get mind-numbing. Things improved when I decided to use it as a sort of Zen experience, and focus on the knitting. That lasted for about 60-80 seconds, which speaks more to the fact that I haven't sat zazen in... um... a couple months. So I just let my thoughts wander, and it was satisfying.

I'll finish up with a note on the yarn: this is the disappointing-color yarn I bought a while back, which I re-dyed with food coloring in the microwave. I'm much happier with it now. The texture is still soft merino, and the pre-felting didn't seem to harm it any.

Since I finished the Hearts and Stars blanket, I'm looking to cast on another large project. This will likely be a baby blanket for my mom. She bought me a bag of Cashmerino in light blue and 14 balls of Baby Ull in white to knit 2 blankets for her grandson. I'm currently experimenting with doubling, and perhaps even tripling the Baby Ull. After knitting a baby blanket with fingering-weight yarn on US6 needles, there is no way on God's green Earth that I am about to start a baby blanket on US2. There just aren't enough prescription drugs available to me to make that worthwhile. Perhaps that's a special punishment assigned to some ancient Greek demigod in classical Hell: knitting king-size afghans with fingering weight yarn on US2. Hey, demons with pointy pitchforks and an ever-present haze and stench of burning brimstone would be a cakewalk compared to that. Sisyphus would think that he got off easy.

12 April 2007

Coming Soon... er... Eventually...


arriving in June. June-ish. Maybe May, or possibly July. When it's totally fabulous and ready for launch. You'll know because I'll post about it, and there will be days of feasting and merriment throughout Knit Goddingdom to commemorate the occasion, and there will be sunshine and rainbows and birds singing "All Creatures of our Goddess and Queen" in chorus. And free charred, roasted and buttered ears of sweet corn followed by peach pie with vanilla ice cream on top eaten by people lounging about the lake commenting on how lovely it is here in the summer, and how much more summery it is now that courtneyknits.net is launched and yes, I do believe I'll have another glass of iced tea or lemonade. And when the sun goes down, the terraces will be lit with candles and torches, and when the last bottle of Champagne has been drained and the smoke from the cigars and fireworks has cleared we will sprawl out on the outdoor furniture and stretch out on the retaining walls and gaze up at the stars and remark on what a good day it has been.

10 April 2007

Stop the theft.

If you think paying taxes sucks, don't feel so bad. I just finished a return for one of my clients. She has to write a check to the United States Treasury for $2.6 million as tax on her 2006 income. That's not including what she has to pay to her state and local governments.

Remember, the top 1% of Americans pay 90% of America's taxes. And they only get to take home 35-50% of what they work for after local, state and federal governments get their cut. And people wonder why I'm a Libertarian.

In knitting news, the alpaca/silk blanket is 8 rows from completion...

But I have to get back to work. People on welfare and social security depend on me.

04 April 2007

Sock Sentenced to Frog Pond

FPAB granted landmark victory

The following is a photo of the last known knitted state of Chuck's Cabled Sock[s]:

This photo was taken at approximately 9:15AM on 3 April 2007. Shortly thereafter, the UFO shed its needles--a sure sign that the UFO has come into its frogging season. Other telltale signs include a row of mis-purled stitches and the fact that the cuff ribbing does not smoothly transition into cables1.

Authorities have declined to comment whether this sock shall be reattempted. A spokesman from the Foundation for the Preservation of Aesthetic Beauty issued the following statement:

"After reviewing the work in progress, it is the Foundation's opinion that work must cease on Chuck's Cabled Socks until such time as the knitter submits a proposal for more pleasing color combination and in a yarn which is also pleasing to the skin. No more of that itchy stuff."

The Sock attempted to bring legal action against the FPAB (slander), but the judge merely laughed and said, "There's no tort here. Go home and frog before I recommend that you be professionally felted."

This was a landmark victory for the FPAB, granting it authority over the production of socks with regards to visual and tactile qualities. Textile and design pundits agree that the FPAB is one of Knit Goddingdom's best allies in the galactic war against ugliness. A small protest was held outside the courthouse, but nobody paid much attention to the protesters because they were so poorly dressed. Opinions of people who wear ghastly color combinations cannot be taken seriously.

Courtney the Knitting Goddess undertook the task of frogging the condemned sock later that evening. Memorial services will not be held, as it is a felony in Knit Goddingdom to mourn deceased crappy projects.

1 N.B. Not only does the cabling not smoothly transition from cuff to leg, but there was some sort of train wreck in the transition. Knitters are well advised not to attempt a new challenge while engaging in lively conversation with family and waiting in the hospital for one's nephew to be born.