Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Turkey Day

I am thankful for knitting. I am thankful for being home, and two days off work. I am thankful for pecan pie and dressing.

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I'm moving again, tonight I'm in Stevens Point Wisconsin, and soon I'm off to parts unknown. But, weary travelers and blog-readers, don't think that this means I have given up on knitting.

Picture-time has been sparse, there are few daylight hours left (the sun sets at 4:30, which strikes me as awfully early even for November) and I'm away from the knitting and the camera for most of that time.

However, I've finally managed to capture a few frames to let you know what I've gotten into in the past week or so.

First up is this rather plain and wonky looking black sock:

It's kind of funnily shaped when there's no foot in it, but don't be decieved. I've used EZ's shaped arch, and extended it all the way around the foot, so it meets in the front. See here:
It has a kind of interesting look, which reminds me of tabi boots, without the toe-split. This is the first of a pair of traveling socks, which actually ended up being my sitting-in-a-meeting-all-day socks. Great meeting, I got a lot done. They're not too much to look at, but they're quite comfy.
This here is what you're probably more interested in looking at. The adapted print 'o the waves scarf, grafted, finished, blocked. Isn't it lovely? I want to wear it, but it's a Yule present.

The camera is in a different location than me for the next two days, but hopefully this weekend you'll see the (limited) progress that's been made on a hat to match the scarf. I haven't clearly or cleverly thought through the lace decreases. Suggestions welcome.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Votes are in...

Elections were crazy. There was a lot of good , there was bad, there was free Miller Light at the end (apparently that's what happens when you party with dems.) There are no pictures of knitting. I'm sorry. There will be some tomorrow. Probably.

In the meantime, imagine that the scarf I showed you is longer, and now there are two pieces which I will graft together so that the ends match. Also imagine that I have the song "Roxanne" stuck in my head and I have no earthly idea why. Oh, and that I had a lot of caffeine today and I'm a little random. Now you're updated.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Long Week

It has, indeed, been a long week since the last post. There is a lot of work to be done in the days before the polls open, and I'm right in the middle of it. I've had one of my directors, Leigh-anne, stay with me the past two days, and though I like having her around, it did put me in a bit of a flurry when she called me as I was leaving for work this Tuesday to tell me she was getting on a plane to come see me. My house is messy, it is not suitable for guests.

So, long weeks both ahead of and behind me, I was pleased when I arrived home from work today and found these on my doorstep:
A fittingly dorky assortment just ahead of the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. It includes America's Constitution: A Biography by Akhil Reed Amar. Robert's Rules of Order, and The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America a pocket edition from the Cato institute. Also, not quite as fittingly, but just as highly desired is In the Beginning: A New Interpretation of Genesis by Karen Armstrong.

I love reading everything that Karen Armstrong writes.

Conspicuously absent from my recent round of purchases are any books on the subject of knitting. I think I've mentioned before how little I care for the conventions of knitting from a pattern. Thus, I own fewer than normal knitting books (or, you know, more than normal, since most people I know haven't any. But less than usual for a knitter.) Despite a dearth of bibliographic resources, I have still managed to accomplishe a suitable amount of knitting for the week:

Fairly stubborn sock #1 finished. I always force myself to cast on the new sock in the same sitting as when I graft shut the toe of the first. Its a rather superstitious effort to avoid the evils of second-sock syndrome, whereby one must eternally wear mismatched socks, for not having the sticktoitiveness to have made a matching pair. Sadly, the strength of second-sock syndrome is an evil beyond my puny powers of resistance. Though this photograph was taken on Monday, there has been no discernable progress in what we can barely call stubborn sock #2.

I have, instead, abandoned it for this slip of a lacey scarf:

The pattern is culled from Eunny's print o' the waves stole. This photograph, also taken earlier in the week, does not reflect the current state of the scarf. I have approximately two feet of scarf thus far, but I am not pinning it out again to take another picture. You'll just have to imagine that there's more than there is, and I'll take another picture for you on Saturday when the light in my apartment is nicer.

There will likely be little knitting progress this week. I've reserved a portion of Saturday for sitting quietly with my knitting, and I have a work sock in my bag to get me through the truly rough times.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


The fairly stubborn socks are progressing--rather predictably--at a slow pace. This is due to their stubborn nature, and my sincere and reasonable preference for, well, anything other than colorwork (I've never been able to hold two strands of yarn in a way that doesn't make my hands cramp)

Despite all of this I have, indeed made some progress. Here they are, sitting with lappy:

between sock and computer, I am sure there is a plot against me. Despite that, the fairly stubborn sock agreed to be modeled:

in a fairly bad picture of my own foot. (you try taking pictures of your own foot. Not simple.) I will admit that my usual modus operandi is to make things up as I go. Fairly stubborn sock is no different. I am worried about how far I will have to rip back if the decisions I have made about the pattern in the foot do not work out. I can rip back the foot part as many times as I want. I have a high aversion to ripping back completed heels. There's something psychological about it when I have to undo a turning point I thought was behind me.

In the meantime, though, I'll plug along, and perhaps give into the temptation for lace this weekend.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Hi there. Hmm? What's that? Oh...this?
This old thing?

Yeah, I finished it. It's lovely. It's soft. It's going in a box until December.

The finished swallowtail shawl has left a hole in my life which I wanted to fill with lace. Or with tiny, tiny cables for socks. Alas:

These are not cabled socks. They are the fairly-stubborn fair-isle socks. I tried to coax the lovely teal yarn into being cabled (inspired by, but not the same cables as Eunny's bayerische socks)

It did not want to be cables. Every time I tried to cast on, several different versions, and several different attempts, it would not consent to be something it was not.

I could almost year the yarn protest as I knit it. On and on about its life's destiny and plans for greatness that could never be fulfilled in cables (even beautiful, intricate, tiny cables I had planned) no matter how I pulled and prodded, and no matter how many times I ripped back.

Fine. Fine, fine, fine. Fine. Colorwork. The teal is alternated with the variegated purple-blue-black bit that you see above. I am not terribly good at doing colorwork, so this is quite an experiment. I haven't decided if these are socks for me, or if they're gift socks. I should imagine that they'll tell me when the time comes.

I should, however remind the fairly-stubborn socks that I have other, more genial sock yarn. Sock yarn in a wool-silk blend that I'm sure would be happy to be cables. The socks should not expect much more indulgence. I am a fickle knitter.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Interpretation on a theme

Today is Friday, and I'm going to admit, it's been a bit of a tough week. Late nights, early morninngs and all that. But Fridays are different. On Fridays I get to go home early, and sleep late.

In celebration of this fact, I spent the afternoon finishing the swallowtail shawl:
I did not order more yarn, and I did not have enough at all. So this is...a modified swallowtail shawl. An interpretation, if you will. I still find it beautiful, and I actually enjoy the simplicity of it, without the last two charts of lace.

And because one good turn deserves another, I made myself some brownies with peanut butter swirl.
As pleased as I am with the shawl, it was cast aside in my mind immediately when I saw this. I now desire nothing but miles upon miles of fine, white, laceweight wool.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


I threaded a length of yarn through thw swallowtail shawl and pinned it out.

Current measurements: 23" deep and 49" across the center back. I'm considering adding only the first repeat of edging, and then using a loose crochet-loop cast off instead of the (admittedly beautiful) peaked edging. That one lonely ball of yarn is not going to make it through three more charts of lace edging.
But, it still is quite beautiful. I adore the color. I cannot wait to really block it out and see what it can do.

Last night while the shawl was in the corner I knit a swatch for Jamesy. Here the swatch says hello to the hallowe'en pumpkin.
Jamesy: 19 stitches to the inch on 3.5mm needles
Woolsy: 16.5 stiches to the inch on 3.5mm needles

I think if I knock down to a 3.0mm needle I'll be fine. Trouble is, I don't often knit on circulars, and I certainly haven't knit anything on 3.0mm circulars. Now I've got to go get the damn needles before I can re-swatch. In the meantime I'm going to slip the shawl back onto its needles and hope for the best.

Tomorrow: WIP confession, and possible knitterly disaster.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


The green sweater is finally done, dried and ready for wearing. The arms are pretty long. Longer than my arms, anyway. I wore it to work today, and nobody said anything about it. I'm torn between being disappointed that no one admired my sweater, and being pleased that it's good enough that nobody thought to ask me if I actually made it.

Whatever. I like it. It keeps me warm and I think the cable looks like dna. Also, it is green and I love green.
Sweater seen here, omitting the top part of the picture. My face in all of the pictures looked like I was practicing being unphotogenic. I hope you'll forgive me the vanity of thinking I don't make stupid faces all the time. Now that I am properly sweatered, I had hoped to devote my time more fully to the Swallowtail shawl, seen here looking just about the same as last time I took a photograph of it:

I finished the budding lace portion and moved on to the next piece. The handy, dandy shawl calculator (sidebar) says I am 53.5% finished. However, I have made a grave error. Worried about completing the shawl with the ONE ball of yarn I had left, I used the shawl caculator, and somehow read from the "if you start at the top" percentages. Now, I did technically start at the top, but it's knit from the center back outwards. Therefore, for the purposes of these calculations, I started at the tip. Had I started at the top, I would have been 89.2% done when I started the last ball of yarn. I read the chart, saw "89.2% done" and thought to myself, "no problem! I'll have plenty left over." No. Lies. I will not have any leftover. I will run out. I will run out and be in need of one entire ball of yarn, and a bit of yarn from another ball.

I don't know whether to rip back and try for a shorter shawl (it was knit with bigger yarn to begin with, so it's bigger than the published version at this point) or try to order another 2 balls of the same dye lot online. Either way, I think the shawl has to go in the corner for a while and think about what it's done with all that yarn I put into it. It's got to be the shawl's fault

Monday, October 16, 2006

It's not that easy

Yesterday there was no post because I was walking about my apartment, triumphantly holding aloft the green sweater.

That's a lie. There was no post because for the majority of the day I was knitting the sweater, and then sewing it up, and then there was the triumphantly holding aloft. Then blocking. Now here's where our story gets more interesting:

This picture does nothing to convey this. But the sweater appears huge. Enormous. I am afraid. I am hyperventilating that I have made this sweater specifically to wear myself and I will not be able to. It is a thick, necessary, wintertime sweater (we've talked about winter here. I'm trying to let it go.) Which I intend to wear outside, in public.

I pace back and forth in front of the sweater. I ignore the sweater hoping it will magically shrink. I dare not pick it up and try it on, for fear of stretching it out further.

So I decide to go get another sweater. This is a store-bought sweater that fits something like I want this sweater to fit.
Longer arms (I have long arms), slightly longer torso (I want this sweater to be a bit long). Little extra in the way of width. I think I'm okay. Let us gloss over the fact that I have shown here two green cable-knit sweaters. The second one is the only one that really counts. The other one is store-bought. In fact, to distract you, here are some socks which have been nearly done for some time, they just needed the top cast-off to be fixed so they actually went over my feet.

Oh, these are green too. Nevermind.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday Night Update

There is a drum circle (no, really) going on downstairs. Also, I think they may be playing a didgeridoo. The people downstairs run a shop called the Mystick Gypsy. They sell...tea. And hold drum circles on Friday nights.

This has distracted me quite a bit, and I have not made the desired level of progress on this

The picture is horrible, blame the drums. But the sweater, the sweater isn't horrible at all. This is the final sleeve of a cabled bit of business that I'm looking foward to completing and wearing out of doors in defiance of the weather. With any luck (read: if, as I'm expecting, I ignore all the things I am planning to do this weekend like paying bills and doing work) I'll be done with the sleeve tomorrow, and will be ready for the sewing up.

Meanwhile, sitting forlornly in a corner near my bed is the Swallowtail Shawl

Which, as a Yule present, does not yet benefit from the sense of urgency that has pushed its woollier WIP brethren to the front of the stash. Never fear, Swallowtail Shawl, I still love you and your cashmere/alpaca softness.

You might wonder, but even if not, I'm going to tell you that the Swallowtail Shawl is being knit larger than the published version. I am using a sport-weight yarn instead of the finer yarn suggested by the pattern. It is my first knitting cashmere(blend) and I am loathe to part with it.

But let us be honest: I have little use for shawls. I need sweaters.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Hi, blog. Hi, winter.

I haven't lived in Wisconsin for very long, and before I did, I lived in Indiana. As such, I am fast approaching my first "Wisconsin winter." This has been the source of much grave warning and serious tones of voices about the temperatures and depth of snow which I will be forced to endure. I am taking these warnings quite seriously, and I am working on a significant increase in the amount of good, warm wool in the stash.

However, the thing that people haven't told me about Wisconsin (and maybe this is just me) is that it isn't really the cold that gets you so much as the wind. The temperature right now is not what is making by bike to work miserable. It is the soul-penetrating icy wind that is doing that. The kind of wind that you can hear outside your house and say to yourself "I'm awfully glad not to be out in that."

As such, I am making grand plans for this weekend that involve mugs of warm beverages (coffee, hot chocolate) and a great deal of knitting of hats and gloves and scarves for myself. I have decided, in the face of wind and Wisconsin weather, I do not have nearly enough to survive the oncoming winter.

First order of business:

finish the partner to this glove...

...and use it for myself, instead of the intended recipient. only until I make myself another pair, with all the fingertips. no, really. promise.

Why no fingertips on the thumb and forefinger? Because the intended recipient is a photographer, and these are the fingers I need uncovered to properly maneuver a camera. thus these are the "photographer's gloves" (pattern exists in my head, but is inspired from Cigar in Knitty.)

And since I will be holding these gloves ransom for another week or two (or three...) I have included a photograph that I took (of not knitting) to appease the aforementioned photographer.

Tommorow's adventures: the (hopefully) completed photographer gloves, and the knittivist version of interweave's swallowtail shawl.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Knittivist. Part I

Hi. I'm the knittivist. I knit, and I organize young people so that they can save the world. The rest of it gets pretty boring. But I hope you'll join me for the knitting. Pictures start tomorrow.