28 January 2008

Finishing Spree

I'm great at starting things -- not so great at finishing them. Lately, however, I've been on a finishing streak. Ever since I finished my fair isle/icelandic yoke cardigan sweater (I don't even know what I knit anymore), I've been on a tear getting UFOs wrapped up.

I tore through the Pratchgan letter square and will finish the Automatic Pasta Cooker square tonight or tomorrow (I also thought I could call it The B.S. Johnson Patent Automatic Window for Take-Away Ribs). Photos when I'm finished.

I pulled SotS out of hibernation and am almost finished Hint #7 (of 8). I'm knitting through it now a lot faster than I was before. I'm hoping to have it done within two weeks -- preferably in one week.

I also pulled out the Manly Mitts I'm making for my dad -- a pair of convertible gloves in Misty Mountain Farms Prime Alpaca (yummy!). I think I remember the modifications I'm making to adjust the men's XL to his Hagrid-sized hands.

chug! chug!

Will write more later -- I have to go finish things!

one day I'll have a little program written that knitters can put on their desktop;
when they finish a project, they'll have this lovely little validation screen.

25 January 2008

Third Time's the Charm...

for this sweater neck, I hope. I took Jean's suggestion and included some decreases in the neck ribbing. They worked beautifully. The only problem is that I decreased a little too vigorously, and the tight bind-off I used is--well, tight. This means that the sweater will just barely fit over my big fat head; taking the sweater off again threatens acute loss of ears and/or nose and requires Level 8 Dressing Gymnastics to avoid facial/cranial injury (Level 9 Dressing Gymnastics is getting one's butt and thighs into designer jeans without cutting off circulation to one's lower legs -- my signature trick is a half-speed side kick, followed by a roundhouse, one knee, one back kick and a couple power squats).

The other thing is that the neck comes right up to my throat and I have ├╝bersensitive skin (it turns red at the suggestion that it might have something it thinks it might not like in its vicinity... how I managed to even knit the sweater is one of the world's great psychosomatic mysteries) -- I'd prefer to have the neck not be so cozy and wear a scarf as necessary. So, it looks like tomorrow I'll rip out one or two rows and bind off. The underarms are grafted and, while they may not be a master work of Kitchener, they don't look half bad. Most importantly, it fits.

Next step is to order some soak and block this baby.


Next order of business: the Pratchgan (see Ravelry). I finished my letter E block and am brainstorming for my original block. I'm going to do some swatching and test runs later and will post pics of the progress. I'm sticking with my plan to do a Bloody Stupid Johnson invention -- btw, did you see the Bloody Stupid Johnson hat on knitty?

21 January 2008

I Can Has Fare Ayul Yok?

It's, ah, very warm. And the good news is that it fits well. All is well, in fact, until we consider the collar. I'm not sure what went wrong at the neck, but it went VERY wrong. My solution is to rip out down to the point where I think the neck ought to be (conveniently located on the top row of a pattern), forgo the ribbed collar and simply bind off. Then all I have to do is weave in the underarms and -- voila! A sweater!

with stylish birch underarm sticks by Brittany (US8)

I can't believe how quickly this knitted up. There are some slight issues with puckering, due to the quick and brutal K1 K2tog decrease row. Next sweater I'd like to have a smoother inter-yoke transition. The good news is that all is smooth between sweater body and yoke.

Proposed neck line:

I was going to make a joke about a standing collar,
but I've got nothin'.

Now that you've finished reading about how mad my knitting skillz are, check out:

18 January 2008

Sweaters and Snow

I've started on the fair isle part of the sweater, and guess who didn't do a gauge swatch. The gauge is actually fine, because I'm pretty conscientious about not pulling it too tight -- the problem was the composition. I decided, after I knitting a couple rounds, that I didn't like the blue next to the charcoal... there was change in color, but not much difference in value.

The blue is a bit darker -- this is in direct sunlight

So I pulled out the needles, surgically inserted them a couple rows back, then ripped out the blue. I started re-knitting the formerly-blue section with light grey, which was going to be reserved to replace the white highlights. I'm not sure exactly how this is going to all play out, but the good thing is that if it's terrible, I can always rip it out and re-knit it, and all I will have lost is the time I spent knitting it while watching Project Runway (I have cable TV for the first time in my life -- while most of it is crap, there are a few interesting things on).

It snowed yesterday -- all day there were these HUGE snowflakes falling gently down in the first real snowfall of the winter. Since it's now in the low 40s, most of it is melting away, but I managed to take a couple pictures when I woke up this morning.

view from my bedroom window

view from the kitchen window

view from the back porch,
overlooking part of the pond

The snow turned out to be a good thing -- not just because it's beautiful and I had a wonderful time just sitting on the sofa, drinking my tea and watching it fall; and not just because I had the day off work -- because I was home all day, and around lunchtime the Verizon man came by. That's right -- I have internet at home now! Which means eye candy for you guys! Yay!

16 January 2008

I No Can Has Interwebs at Home?

So I woke up this morning and switched on the wireless router and the little DSL light was all blinky-blinky and teh Intarwebnets lights wasn't lit at all and I was like WTF, mate? So I called Verizon and they were like, "haha, we were just kidding. No home interwebs for you until end of month, maybe." and then I was sad, 'cause I have these awesome pictures to share and I can't. Boo hiss.

And while I'm on the "angry wet cat" theme, here's a brief rant:
In addition to my full-time job, I volunteer part-time as the assistant Director of Development for a nonprofit (basically, it's my job to write letters that will persuade large corporations and philanthropic individuals to make significant cash donations). I'm the Director's right hand/admin, so I also field/screen her phone calls and take messages. The past week has been nutso with board meetings and traveling and meet-and-greets and such, so she's been out of the office a lot.

Today, she went home sick (mostly exhaustion, I think). One of her contacts called, and after I explained that she had gone home for the day, the caller said, "Oh, I'll try her cell phone." On Monday, when I said "She's in a board meeting," another caller said, "Oh, I'll call her cell, then." This is not the first time this has happened.

It annoys me that people assume that when they are told someone is unavailable, they have carte blanche to call them on their cell phone. Just because you have someone's cell phone number doesn't mean you have 24/7 rights to them. It's the same as you saying (to someone you wouldn't want in your bathroom with you), "I'm in the shower," and they respond, "Well, then I'll just stand here on the other side of the curtain and talk to you!" It's on my pet-peeve level with people talking on cell phones in restaurants.

I think there are a lot of people who confuse the accessibility that technology makes possible with accessibility to a person -- thinking that since you can reach someone wherever and whenever, you have an intrinsic right to do so. I was raised with the "10 to 10" rule of phone calls: don't call people before 10AM or after 10PM (of course, a good way to circumvent rudeness on the part of others is to turn your phone off when you go to bed and turn it on when you wake up, hoping that no emergency will happen in the meantime). Certainly there are jobs and situations where a person needs to be in constant contact with others... but for most things in life, constant contact is not necessary.

15 January 2008

Sorry, I'm Allergic to Humble Pie.

Fair Isle/Icelandic Yoke/Variously-Named Sweater coming right along. I was almost finished the second sleeve last night when I tried it on and was puzzled that the upper arm was so baggy. Turns out while I was mindlessly knitting last night, I also neglected to count my stitches and just kept merrily increasing every 5 or 6 rows... so instead of 48 sts from the elbow up, I had 54... which, at 4 sts to the inch, makes a good bit of difference (1 1/2", to be exact). So I had the fun fun task of ripping back a good 7" of sleeve last night and starting to re-knit -- with no increases whatsoever.

As I get closer to finishing sleeve #2 and the point where I join it all together and start the yoke, I'm a bit nervous. I've been perusing the collection of EZ-based Fair Isle/Icelandic Yoke sweaters on ravelry. The examples with pictures break down as follows: a few are excellent, the vast majority are fine and a couple are downright awful in terms of fit. I won't call anyone out on that -- in case they read this and cry all night -- specifically on here.

The good examples are similar to each other in that they have smooth transitions from plain sweater to patterned yoke. The yokes lie flat and beautiful on the shoulders and are worked up in proportion to the wearer. The sweaters are also the proper size and fit for the models.

Similarly, the bad examples have common characteristics: noticeable, distracting puckering at the bottom of the yoke; a yoke that bunches up on the shoulders or leaves a weird puffy-sleeve effect where it joints the sweater (puckering again); and overall neglect to fit the sweater to the body of the wearer. The last bit is negotiable, since people have different preferences on how to wear their clothes, but there are some basic ground rules (i.e. if you don't have a body like Nicolette Sheridan, you probably shouldn't try to dress like Edy Britt. Similarly, wearing gigantic bags does not flatter any body size -- unless that's the only thing that fits).

A few people noted that they went up in needles size when working the Fair Isle section -- my guess is that this is to makes sure they work it loose enough that it does not pucker. As much as I hate to say it, it appears our friends the GAUGE SWATCH is going to make a repeat appearance. That's the only way to know whether I knit differently in this Fair Isle pattern.

There's a reason why people wrap/wear protective gloves with wrist support when training with a punching pad. My skinned knuckles and bitching wrists attest to this.

14 January 2008

U Mayd Me LOL!

I lieu of a real post, here are some things I've posted to the lolravelers group on Ravelry. Pls do not be snorting teh kofee on teh monitrs. kthxbai.

don't block teh dawg



10 January 2008


I now understand why knitters revere Elizabeth Zimmerman.

After reading The Opinionated Knitter and Knitting Without Tears while working on this Icelandic Yoke Sweater, I feel like I have been set free from my knitting, if that makes any sense. A more accurate statement is that I have been set free from some of my former knitting habits that were a bit constraining without me realizing it.

Knitting a sweater body in the round? Oh yeah! I'm already done the body and am ready to start chugging away on the sleeves -- and this is just knitting in the time between dinner and sleep (about 10:00-11:30/12 recently).

I don't know if it's related, but I got a haircut today. A serious haircut. I donated 14" of ponytail to Locks of Love (it was the weirdest feeling to see my stylist standing there, holding my ponytail in her hand). I wish I could show you a picture. It's a reverse bob (aka inverted bob) that in the front comes down to just below my chin, and angles up to a point, like an inverted V, at the back. Suffice to say that I went into the salon with waist-length hair. My hair in back, on the very bottom layer of the cut, at the nape of my neck, is 1/2" long. HALF AN INCH. When my stylist turned on the electric clippers, she said, "DON'T WORRY," which was much-needed. Electric clippers are for men's haircuts; they're what I use to trim my horses. They've never been anywhere near the back of my head.... until today. I feel about 20 pounds lighter. And, let's face it, I look like a model. ::grin::

On a reflective note, this [general nonspecific time period] is a time of intense change for me, and of exciting possibilities. Don't know where all these things are leading, but I'm eager to find out!

Oh, and GOOD NEWS! Internet at home on Tuesday, which means that soon I will be able to upload and share pictures of the Icelandic Yoke Sweater and the haircut and all sorts of things!

07 January 2008

Is There a Problem, Occifer?

I, ah, did a bad thing.

I sort of--while my better judgment wasn't looking--cast on for a... *ahem* sweater.

So far I'm 8" into it and LOVING IT. I'm knitting an Icelandic Yoke Sweater, going by the patterns by Elizabeth Zimmerman in The Opinionated Knitter and Knitting Without Tears. I'm adding subtle waist shaping (achieved by gradual decreases going up from the hip to the waist, followed by gradual increases to underarms), because, after all, my waist is one of my best features and there's no sense in not accentuating the fact (my next-best feature is modesty). I'm following the measurements of one of my favorite sweaters. If all goes well, and provided that I remember how to count, I'm optimistic that it'll work out reasonably well.

Last night, while watching part II of the BBC/Masterpiece Theatre adaptation of Jane Eyre (w00t! for the ending! The priest gets on my nerves) I realized that I had gotten up to 8" above the hem without any decreases. Whoops. So I ripped back and knitted it all again.

I'm working in Cascade 220 Heathers, and I love that I am working on size 8s -- this sweater feels like it is just flying by. Of course, I say that now, before I've knitted the sleeves. I wonder why it is that sleeves seem to take soooooo long to finish. Most likely, there's a ripple in the space-time continuum when someone starts knitting a sleeve -- the further along the sleeve you get, the more that ripple starts ripping at the fabric of time, and, by the time you get past the elbow, you've managed to knit yourself into an alternate time field. Way to go; now you're knitting for an eternity.

Perhaps we should make sleeve-knitting part of the punishment for the incarcerated set -- it would give them plenty of time to think about what they've done. By the time they reach the cuff, roughly 2/3 will be crying about how very, very sorry they are and they promise to be upstanding citizens as long as please, please Ms. Courtney, don't make us knit another set-in sleeve.

knitting it in these colors.
the end-product will not look so
"I'm making a 4th of July Sweater, Hurrah!"-ish.
I don't do that sort of thing.
If I did, I'd say it was for Bastille Day, anyway.

Alas, I have no pictures to show you, because of the whole no-internet-at-home-right-now thing. Content thyself with the color swatch, and hopefully by the time I finish, I will have internet access set up. Or conversely, I will have internet access set up by the time I finish. Either would be okay.

Ah, as an added bonus, here's a scan of my pattern and game plan:Life Principle #4: Always use pretty stationary,
even when scratching out basic calculations
and especially for grocery lists.

04 January 2008

I Said 'Do You Speak-a My Language?'

So I spent a little time last night translating this pattern into English. I have a small obsession with Evilla Artyarn, even though I've never seen any in real life. The colors are magnificent and I want to make something with it.

If you want to test knit the Mettes Kaffetaske pattern, here you go. All I ask is that you leave me some feedback as to whether it worked.

***Begin Pattern***

Bag knitted with ~100g Evilla Artyarn.

Finished measurements: ~22cm wide x 30cm high x ~8cm deep.

CO 48 sts on needles (#5? 5mm? 5 needles?)
Knit 30 ___ st st and [something something -- "slut med en retpind?"]. I think you need to knit a rectangle and bind off.

Pick up now 15 sts along the short side, 48 sts along the long side and again 15 sts along the short side.

Join and place markers. Begin rounds:
1st round: K 1 round st st.
2nd round: K2, Inc next st, K46, Inc2 next st, Inc2 next st, K13, Inc2 next st, Inc 2 next st, K46, Inc 2 next st, Inc 2 next st, K13, Inc2 next st.
3rd round: K 1 round.
4th round: sort of like round 2; I didn't feel like writing all that out again.

You now have 142 sts on the needles. After this, K all rounds until you have the desired height of the bag.

Handle: Something about beginning with markers... K18, BO16, K55, BO16, K37.
K18, CO 30sts over the place where you BO16 last time, K55, again CO30sts at the other BO row, K37.
K about 25 or 30 rounds and BO.

[A couple sentences I don't understand]

Felt it. I assume you know how to felt. And I hope that's what the directions said to do, otherwise you're going to have an evening bag instead of a small tote.

You now have an awesome bag.

***End Pattern***

With skilz as mad as these, you'd think the offers to hire me as a translator would be pouring in...

02 January 2008

May Impair Your Ability to Operate Machinery / Read Knitting Patterns.

Baby Surprise Jacket #1 is finished (grrrr... I wish I had pictures to show you). It doesn't exactly look like the pictures in The Opinionated Knitter. It looks more like the BSJ's cousin--or perhaps its first cousin. It could definitely pass for a regimental coat. I'm not sure exactly where I went wrong, but I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I knitted most of it while enjoying a glass of a bottle of some Louis Roederer.

imagine this very small, worked in garter stitch in a deep coral.
with slightly shorter sleeves.
that's what it looks like.
image from gatling-gun.

Ah well. I figure I can always pick up and add a couple more rows of garter and do a new set of buttonholes. Who knows, maybe I'll be the first to make a double-breasted BSJ.

Also, after searching Google Images for pictures of regimental coats, I'm thinking of doing another Baby Surprise Regimental Jacket in proper colors (powdered wig not included).