Saturday, June 21, 2008

Option #3 it is

A new pattern. In spite of my deep emotional attachment to Trellis and all those cute cables, I just couldn't afford more yarn and didn't want to knit a sweater that would stand up on its own, so a new pattern. This one could not be more different from Trellis and its cables; I'm making an incredibly simple top-down raglan cardigan from here, and maybe a hat to match if I have enough yarn.

And I just found out, when I was at home, that the baby is a girl! So I think I'll embroider some sweet little flowers to jazz it up a little.

Look at those nice paired increases! This should be a pretty easy knit (note to knitting gods: now that I have said that, please do not light my needles on fire. Thank you).

And my other projects are coming along, too! It's amazing what a few weeks with a 9-5 job and no homework will do for your knitting. The sleeves on my Gathered Pullover are finished (for the second time, after the first attempt ended in crap), and the body (not pictured) is just up to the cabling at the bust. I might even have an actual sweater, for an actual grown-up person, to show off one of these days! But don't get too excited.

Oh, that reminds me, though--there's an FO I never showed off! It's not a knitting project, actually, but I'm still quite proud. It's a lovely linen skirt, in pattern "I don't remember" from "Simplicity? I think? Or maybe Vogue?"

I must confess that while I did all the cutting and the lion's share of the sewing, I did not QUITE finish it before I had to go back to school after last Christmas break, so I had a little help.

See that nice piping? That would be Mommy.

But I am quite pleased and proud, though, and I wear it a lot. There was one screw-up; I had intended it to be a nice high-waisted skirt, sort of fifties-style. When I tried it on, though, it ended up falling significantly below my belly button. This means one of two things:
a) I magically lost fifteen pounds between the cutting and the trying on, or
b) I am a doofus who measured wrong.

You decide.

But still, though, I really, really like it--the linen has a nice weight and drape to it, and it's perfect for summer.

Plus, I get to do this!

Monday, June 16, 2008


Hey, what does a fish say when it runs into a brick wall?

And what does Rita say when she blatantly ignores the very concept of gauge and thus throws her carefully planned project into chaos?

Indeed. OK, so remember, how I was making Trellis? And remember how I had that nice yarn? And I was all "Screw it, I'm not going to check my gauge, the yarn's kind of the right weight, I'll just cast on blithely and see what happens? Because hey, it's a baby sweater, it'll fit the kid eventually, right?"

Yeah. This is what happens when you laugh at gauge:

Looks normal, right? What you can't see is that the back, or at least what I've started of it, measures 14 inches across. Which is fine, except that the schematic says that the smallest size (6 months) should be 10.5 inches. Siiiigh. And I would almost be tempted to just keep on knitting, but the biggest size (for an eighteen-month-old) is supposed to be 12.5 inches across the back, which means this thing might fit a two-year-old. Yeah, not so much with the toddler clothes at a baby shower, right? And I would STILL almost be tempted to just keep knitting (because evidently I am both that stubborn and that dumb) except I would probably need more yarn, right, if I were sizing up from a six month size to a two-year old, right? And this yarn, as you may recall, is DISCONTINUED.

Damn. Damn, damn, damn.

Last night, after I'd finished grumbling and sulking about the fact that the precious little sweater I'd envisioned just wasn't going to happen, I made a list of my options:

1) Get new needles. Probably not. Not because I'm cheap, but because I really liked the fabric I was getting on size 6s. Even if I did manage to get gauge on smaller needles, it would probably be way too stiff. Useful if the kid ever got caught in gang warfare crossfare and needed to be protected from bullets, but probably not the look I'm going for.

2) Get new yarn. A possibility. Advantage: I would still get to knit Trellis, which I SO want to make! Disadvantage: I PROMISED myself I wouldn't buy any more yarn this summer, with the intention of being able to buy, you know, food and stuff.

3) Get a new pattern. Also a possibility. In an ideal world, this pattern would be written for the gauge I'm actually getting (18 st over 4 inches). I've looked around a bit and not found anything, but I'll keep looking. Advantage: cheaper than buying new yarn, plus I already have the Adrienne Vittadini and it'd be nice to use it. Disadvantage: I want to knit TRELLIS, damn it.

Hmmph. In the meantime, here's the dinner I made the other night; I appear to be falling into my father's school of cooking, which can basically summed up as the following:
1) get some stuff from the garden (or farmer's market)
2) cook it up with olive oil and garlic (some's good, more's better)
3) put cheese on top (not pictured)

Yum yum.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

She returns!

I return, with an FO and some WIPs! I'm finally settled into my apartment, which comes complete with tilted windows, rickety furniture, wheezy air-conditioning, and a steep old staircase. I love it. Pictures soon.

Last weekend, I went home for the weekend to witness the high school graduation of my only sibling. Despite spending almost as much time in transit as I did at home, (Washington, DC, to small town, rural Washington state, is not an easy or convenient trip), it was totally, absolutely worth it. I saw my family:

And I finished some knitting! As you may recall from this post, my aunt was in an accident early this spring (see crutches, above). She's fine, but will take some time to recover fully, so I thought a cheer-up present was in order. I FINALLY finished the knitting, literally just as the second of my two flights to get home was touching down--I had planned on finishing all three balls of yarn, but I figured it was long enough (and OK, yeah, I was so bored that the thought of knitting one more repeat was enough to make me want to vomit up alpaca and silk).

Here it is pre-blocking:

Soft, velvetly, luxurious alpaca/silk blend. Looks like crap right now. Hooray for blocking!

I pinned it out to dry, and then when it was nearly there, lay it out in the sun (time was a-ticking--I wanted to present it to my aunt later that night--and plus I have the attention span of a gnat and I wanted it to be done NOW).

Look at that nice lace!

The rocks are to protect it from a) wind, and b) curious dogs.

And here it is! I'm really very, very pleased with myself (she says oh-so-modestly). The drape is so lovely when it's blocked; it's substantial, but not heavy. It grew both in width and length when I blocked it--good, because it was little short before on account of I am, as we all know, incredibly lazy. And I made lace!! I really did! Not just feather and fan--real, honest-to-goodness, following a chart lace!!

Project: Alpaca Silk Scarf (I know, I know, I'm so creative with the titles I can hardly stand it. Let's move on).
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk DK, about 2 3/4 balls of "Bright Red." (Although slightly deeper than "bright," if you ask me, but no one does). Lovely, lovely stuff. I would knit a giant blanket with it and carry it around everywhere I went, if I wouldn't have to sell a kidney or two to do so. Purchased on sale at the very excellent Yarn Barn.
Needles: Clover bamboo, size 7 circs. My mother found them for me at a yard sale, and it wasn't until I started knitting that I realized that one end was sort of...well, chewed up. Honestly, it looked someone's cat (or kid...dunno...) had been chomping on it. Not enough to make a huge difference, but it did catch on the yarn once in awhile. Weird. I would probably be debating buying new needles right now, and probably with cheapness winning out, except I can't find the needles anymore (I probably left them at home) so moot point.
Pattern: my own. Lace pattern from here, three repeats across with three selvedge stitches on each side. Pretty easy!

All in all, a success. I'm glad I did my first real lace project with DK weight yarn, too--now I'm much more confident with my chart-reading abilities, and I feel like I'm ready to move onto the real thing.

Next time: almost a sock, almost a sweater, and why I'm once again disregarding gauge completely. Woohoo!

Monday, June 2, 2008

surprise suprise

Still in DC. Still chugging away on my (formerly) beloved, (now) accursed Gathered Pullover, all 8000 miles of unending stockinette in the round. Camera battery charger thingamabob still buried in the bottom of some suitcase. I move into my apartment on Thursday (right now I'm still couch-surfing) and then I will NEVER have to move all of my enormous and ill-advised suitcases ever again.

Except in two months when I have to go home. However. Moving on.

I may still be cameraless, but since a knitting blog without pictures is like a trashy romance novel without the smutty bits, not that I would know, look what I found!

Awhile ago, my friend Derek asked me if I was planning on making him a graduation present. No, I said, I hadn't planned on it. Do you want one?
Derek: "Yes please. I would like a pair of purple cabled fingerless arm warmers."

So that is what he got! Here I am, giving Derek his "surprise" (not really a surprise, of course, since I made him exactly what he asked for):

I still made him close his eyes so I could make a pretense having surprised him.

In spite of the fact that Derek, after graduation, is moving back to HAWAII, where these will be only slightly less useless than Uggs or maybe polar bear repellent, he appears quite pleased.

Derek is satisfied! I am too busy talking to look at the camera. Big surprise.

Project specs:
Pattern: My own. Loosely based on Dashing, from Knitty. Loosely in the sense that I totally scrapped the pattern and made up my own.
Yarn: KnitPicks Cadena, in "Heath," 70% wool and 30% superfine alpaca. Lovely, lovely, lovely. Soft, sproingy, all kinds of warm. I would use it again in a heartbeat. I might even think about going up a needle size or two for more drape, depending on the garment.
Needles: Clover bamboo DPNs, size 8.

All in all, a success! Now if only that stupid sweater were as fast. What, you mean bulky-weight accessories knit up faster than fine-gauge stockinette sweaters? Shocking!