Thursday, January 25, 2007

knitting progress, posse

Continuing my "hey, let's accomplish some stuff so we don't feel quite so mauled by our day jobs" sprint:

1- I have finished my Banff:

This was always meant to be sent to Afghans for Afghans, and is intended for a preteen/teenager (on whom it will be baggy and slightly long as the designer planned it, rather than fitted and slightly cropped, as it is on me), but I figured I'd take some pics for posterity. And just look at this yummy yarn:

That's Beaverslide Dry Goods McTaggart Tweed in Cuthroat Trout. Soft, lofty, light-weight, and a great price. I can't effuse enough about this stuff. Plus, I came home from work an hour early the day I took these pics and the apartment hadn't heated up yet, and I was *freezing* until I put this sweater on. Now I think I need one of my own. This took precisely three and a half skeins (vs. the 7 skeins I bought), so I might even have enough left to make my own. I just love this yarn in my hands and on the garment. My only complaint is that it's so springy that it "grabs" my needles and makes my Denise needles prone to unhooking themselves from their cable. Then again, it's a nice frictioney wool, so I don't have to worry about dropping stitches while I get everything back on the needles.

2- I did the applied i-cord (officially my favorite technique of all time) on the front and neck edges of my Snowflakes and Arrows. It is distinctly too big, but it found it a happy home with mother-in-law. She can't adopt it until I adust the shoulder slope to fit her and add the armhole i-cording, however.

3- I made scarf for the red scarf project with my former cronies at the MIT SnB, who collectively made 20 scarves. Mine was actually pretty boring to knit: 60x8ish inches of garter stitch in red heart light & lofty (the oldest yarn in my stash and officially the only acrylic yarn I will ever love, and even then only with the bias of a "first self-designed project" yarn). But I *finished* it (very important to my morale these days) and it was for a good cause, and it was with the MIT SnB, whom I miss very very much since I left the 'Tute.

4- I started some Targe Wave mittens from Knitting Nature. I'm not including the stripes (although I think they're great); I chose the pattern because they're knitted flat, and I didn't have size 9 DPNs (and I don't love the results I get from my Denise kit with the magic loop or 2-circs method). Plus, I really like the look of the big round thumb gusset. I'm knitting those in another Beaverslide yarn (fisherman weight wool in Bison), and will post pics when I have my camera handy (am blogging from RI on a a visit to my mother-in-law). No photos yet, but will post when I have 'em.

5- I have decided to give up on ever wearing my Karen Millen *CASHMERE* sweater. That's the one whose shaping and decorative inset I want to copy:

It's just plain too short for my long torso. If any of you who meet ALL of the following critieria out there who want it, give a holler:
- you have an approximately 36" bust
- you have a short torso (or an average one and don't mind showing a glimpse of midriff when you reach out of your bubble)
- you are willing to patch a teensy tiny hole smack in the front of the sweater (being beautifully made, you could pick out part of a seam, use the yarn to over-stitch the hole, and re-sew the seam with another yarn or thread)
- I know you already (I know you in "real life" or we have *actually interacted* through a blog or knit-along)

Otherwise, I think I will unravel the sweater and harvest the not-unsubstatial amount of laceweight cashmere I'm sure to get from it. Sigh. I love this sweater. It's so soft, such a beautiful color, and so well-made.

6- In random news, here is a pic of Una snuggling with Zig Zag:

Is it me, or do cats have a particularly well-honed taste for handknits, and for fine wool handknits in particular? She is absolutely nuts about an aran sweater my grandmother brought me from Ireland 10+ years ago...

In still other news, my sister the rapper and my husband have informed me that I need to form a knitting posse. We are to have nicknames like Eye-cord (MINE MINE MINE), 8-gauge, and Needles. If you want in, give a holler and claim your name. And, of course, our official theme song has to be Mike Bryant's Knitta Please. I do not, of course, want to step on the toes of the Knitta Please Posse knitting for trees, antennae, etc. in Texas.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Revelation, plus some photos

I have been remarkably grumpy for the last few months. I've chalked up most of that to job-related stress (and if I didn't feel bad about complaining in a public forum, you would be falling out of your desk chairs with the story I could tell you about Monday). However, I have been getting grumpier and grumpier at my knitting. It's not unusual for a project and me to have a little spat, but we usually give each other some space for a week or two, and then I pick it up and it's like nothing ever happened. Lately, however, I have been holding grudges. I knew something was wrong, but I couldn't fix it. Knitting wasn't making me happy, and frogging (which I usually do with gleeful abandon) was making me feel downright defeated.

It didn't dawn on me until I blogged about Odessa: that was the first project I've completed since September. In fact, I only completed four projects in 2006. Compare that to:
- 17 projects completed in 2005
- five projects I am at least semi-actively working on
- five projects needing finishing or adjustment
- three projects that I intend to go back to someday
- uncounted projects I tried and scrapped entirely (I can think of at least three, so there were probably six or seven)
- a lot of swatching

So while I've done a fair bit of knitting, I don't have a whole lot to show for it, and I think that's what's making me so grumpy. This didn't occur to me at first, since I consider myself a process knitter, and it even made me a little uncomfortable at first. But then I realized: I'm not grumpy because I don't have more FOs to wear; I'm grumpy because part of the experience is the feeling of making something and making progress, and that has been missing from my knitting. I felt a whole lot better when Odessa was done.

In other news:

1- Odessa found a new home with a dance friend of mine who has (as she puts it) "a pea head". Cute, dainty, round head + Odessa = a very nice look. Kind of 30's moviestar-esque. If I ever get pictures, I'll post 'em.

2- I've been working on Serrano. I added about an inch an a half (which is a lot at this gauge), but I am getting some random YOs in the area of the decreases:

I'm going to frog back and be more consistent about those.

2- I finally took some pictures of Banff

I made this (completely resized and regauged) for Afghans for Afghans' fall sweater drive, but didn't finish in time, and it needed to be lengthened by a couple of inches anyway. I'm going to snip & graft (on the stockinette area, after my Odessa debacle), and then send it along in the next batch. I might make one for myself someday, although certainly with far less ease than the pattern calls for.

I've also got a couple of design ideas that I may or may not do anything with right now. However, I did finally get around to investigating some decorative shaping and details that I hope to copy from a commercial sweater I own:

decorative raglan decreases:

(stretched for detail on the left, relaxed on the right)
I need to take a closer look (not to mention a better photo), but it appears to be a combination of decreases, cables, and yarn-overs.

decorative detail:

I thought these was waist shaping, but it turned out to be purely decorative; the number of stitches doesn't change. Still, I might steal this one. They're just k2togs and ssks with staggered YOs. Once I've had the chance to confirm it, I'll chart it up and post it.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Odessa, Serrano, Snowflakes & Arrows

This weekend + today (alas, I didn't get the holiday off), I knitted up an Odessa. I used my sample skein of Knitpicks Merino Style in Tidepool (later I bought 10 balls from which I will knit a sweater eventually, but it's a different dyelot). I followed the instructions precisely (except for using size 5s for the ribbing), and on Saturday afternoon I had a fetching hat that fit exactly as shown in the picture. That is to say, a hat that doesn't cover my earlobes. So I tried to get all secret-ninja on it and snip out one row, work up from the ribbing and graft it back on.

First official note to self of 2007: don't try to graft on a lacework pattern.
With the corrolary: just because it looks like nice, easy ribbing doesn't mean those ssks and yos can't mess up your grafting.

24 hours and several swear words later, I decided to work from the bottom edge of the hat part (as opposed to the ribbed brim I snipped off) and work the ribbing back down. After incorporating every inch of that ball of yarn (minus the foot or two I wasted rejoining the parts I snipped off), I have a fetching hat that has a wider ribbed edge than I'd like and covers 2/3 of my earlobes. But I have to say, I think it was pretty successful:

I don't know if I'm going to keep it, however. It's a great pattern, but I think it's better suited for Grumperina's cute round head:

than my more eggy head:

(Heh. I'm an egg head!) Or maybe it would have been more flattering if it were looser; I have only worn loose hats in the past, such as:

I think I'll mull it over for a couple of days and send it to Afghans for Afghans if I decide it's not for me. Still, I love the pattern: fun construction, rhythmic "readable" knitting, BEADS, and one-skein-erific.

Also, here is a photo of the Serrano I have been only occasionally working on:

I haven't even gotten to the shaping yet, but my stitch count is somehow horribly wrong, and I've been too lazy to deal with it.

I finally got around to hemming the steeks and blocking my snowflakes and arrows vest, which smoothed out the ripplies very nicely. It also, however, relaxed it. The thing is HUGE: both too long and too wide at the shoulder (although a nice fit in the bust and waist. I can deal with the shoulders by undoing the hem and turning more under, but I'm worried about the length. I re-wetted it with some Eucalan, and blocked it agressively (as Danielle would say):

I appear to have shortened it by THREE INCHES. I haven't taken it off the board yet, though, so I don't know if I've horribly ruined the fit. This was very much an instance of process knitting, though, (and only cost something like $12) so if it doesn't work for me, it's not the end of the world. I'm sure it would fit someone out there and look fabulous. I'd even consider making it again.

Monday, January 01, 2007

2006 in Review

Like 2005, 2006 was a big year, although not a huge knitting (and especially not a big finishing) year. Highlights include:
- starting a new job in March
- performing more often (I'm a belly dancer)
- launching a video podcast on dance composition for belly dancers
It wasn't the easiest or happiest year I've had, but I have come to a better understanding of what I want from my life, and that's a very useful thing.

NOTE: this post is going to replace the 2006 items in my Finished Objects sidebar. Click on the pictures to link to the appropriate posts, which often have more pics.


- Zig Zag

My first long-sleeved pullover, and a staple in my winter wardrobe. This was my Knitting Olympics project, which I didn't finish in time.

- Clapotis #3

A gift for my mother-in-law's 60th birthday

- Suri Dream Swatch Stole

This started out as a really big swatch (stockinette with garter stitch edges and inset rectangles of reverse stockinette, which you can't really see), but it was so nice to work with, I kept going. Two balls later, my mom decided it made a wonderful mini-stole when clipped in place with a pin or hairclip, so I gave it to her as an extra birthday present. Apparently she's gotten all kinds of compliments on it.

- Droplet Hat

This was the final gift for my one-skein SP


- Tubey #1

- Retro Throw

- Rising Flames Socks

- Serrano

- Tubey #2


- Snowflakes and Arrows Vest

- Blissful Jacket

- 2 hats for Afghans for Afghans

- Banff for Afghans for Afghans for Afghans
re-sized for an older kid and re-gauged for McTaggart Tweed

- Lelah top for my sister

- Hopeful

- Wrap with Sleeves

I don't know that I worked on this at all this year...

- Paris Loop

What was I thinking?


- Green Gables

- a mini version of Print o' the Wave


- hand dyeing with kool-aid

- spinning with a drop spindle

- my first buttonhole

- fair isle and steeks


- posted my first pattern

- participated in the Knitting Olympics (not medaling on my solo project, but leading what I believe to be the KO's only relay team to the gold)

- bought (and then promptly ignored) my domain, Yarngineering

- color awareness (tip: housewares magazines are a great source of inspiration for color combos. I find especially good combos in Crate and Barrel catalogues. I've even started keeping a scrapbook of ideas.)

- participating in my first Secret Pal exchanges (SP7 and the one-skein SP)

- represented Afghans for Afghans at the Boston Knit Out and Crochet Too

- posted two instructional mini-videos online

- tweaked a fair isle pattern to include shaping


- Paula, my SP7 spoilee (check out her nature photography)

- Rainey, my SP7 spoiler, and fellow bellydancer

- Shannon, my one-skein SP spoilee, and famous author

- Alison, my one-skein SP spoiler, who lives on a houseboat in the UK

Well, there are lots of these, but here are the ones that are highest on my list at the moment.

- Sweet Mary Jane from Knitpicks (shop there; they're great).

Have yarn, will knit. This will be my first laceweight project.

- Odessa

- Apricot Cardigan

- Whisper

- Eiffel


- blog more often

- um, knit more

- (from my 2006 list) design my own sweater. I've actually done this once, and it fit really well, but a fitted raglan sweater in bulky boucle is just not flattering, so I frogged it, bought more, and made a blanket instead.