Saturday, February 26, 2011

Clapotis & More!

I have been working on my knitting a lot more than I anticipated and my hands have given up their reign of terror lately so this update is coming much sooner than I imagined... First, the mail man came today attempting to deliver Phillip's olive heather yarn, only he knocked on the wrong door and ended up leaving one of those dreaded pink slips in the mailbox. Phillip is fully measured and though his sizing is a little odd in comparison to the pattern I think it will work out well. I am looking forward to coming home on Monday and starting the project. As always, I will be sure to update my progress though I think I will be in for the long haul. It pains me to think of my nice big package waiting all alone in that dark post office... the worst part? I saw the offending post man driving away with a package right next to him... just in view through the window. We locked eyes... I knew it was them. sigh.

In other news, my Clapotis with the Madelinetosh Pashmina is coming along really well. I tried to take some photos earlier but some where in the process I realized it is virtually impossible to show off how impressive it is looking. The entire piece will need a hard blocking to open up the ladders but the dropped stitch pattern is really coming along well. I am not sure if I will use all 700 yards that I purchased. I will likely end at somewhere around the 350 range once I am nearing the end of my first ball.

Last weekend I finished the long and very boring task of the bamboo blanket from hell. I have been working on this blanket on and off for months now and I have no clue what I was thinking... 1000+ yards of doubled stockinette stitch on size 13 needles... Obviously all Knitters have bad ideas, and this was one of mine. Either way, it is finally finished and now one of us will have a nice cozy lap blanket.

In other-other news, I came across an enemy this week. Knitters beware... Let me start this by saying that I had my admissions test this past week. I have been on level 10+ anxiety for over a week now and I could barely contain myself. The day was insanely rainy and gross and I struggled for a long time about whether or not I should bring my Clap. I had it in a bag (duh) but would it be enough? How could I know that my main bag, the bag the other bag was housed in, would be water proof? Would this yarn stand the test of water? First I was boiling with test anxiety, then I started in with the knitting anxiety and it was almost too much for me to take. Anywho, I go in and take the test which takes me a whole lot less time than I first imagined. I think "Great! Some quiet knitting time would really help--glad I brought it along--phew!" I had about two hours before I was to have a casual interview/tour thing, so after wandering I settle in a small little eating area where the hum of the soda machine was mimicking my stitches. I was in some sort of orgasmic knitting zone. I am feeling on top of the world--great, wonderful, fantastic and then I see it. I look over and see a man (spoiler alert: the offender), sitting down outside of the testing area. I wish I could draw a map but I will spare you... The area I was in was part of the administration building and held admissions, financial aid, and the dreaded testing area. Okay, so here I am, working on my Clap, in a very official knitterly rhythm that is to die for, and this slkdjflsjldjflasjdfksjf (only "word" I can think to use at the moment...) sits down and begins a very long phone conversation at full volume.
He is not even close to me, but I swear I can hear everything coming out of his mouth, including his breathing. I start sweating, losing my speed, forgetting my pattern, when it gets worse. This MAN (%^&!!!^&*) then decides he is going to grab a seat closer to me and begin what I can only describe as the most dreadfully painful conversation I have ever had to endure. He begins and I start to panic (I almost never knit in public because it is my own sort of meditation time, I certainly don't want to deal with people like this and I find outside stimuli to be a little too much usually.). He then proceeds to conduct some sort of oil related interview and to my dismay (and serious disapproval) he puts a woman on speaker phone! At this point I am livid. Workers at the school have come trotting past and I can't help but make faces at them... "Can you believe this jackass?!?!", I find myself saying to a poor financial aid director who has no words of advice for me. Not only is a testing center nearby full of nervous and sweaty prospective students but a KNITTER is in your midst and you are seriously going to have 30+ minute conversation with a woman on speaker phone and somehow throw in that you are trying not to "bother people"? AHHHHHH. (Poor Phillip, when he arrived home this story lasted even longer than this...) Eventually, I put my knitting down because I knew the asshat was not going to end the call nor go outside and converse with this woman about what I can only call personal information about something related to her oil well. By the time I stood up to leave my perfect little knitting corner, I had learned the offender lived in a home in Catoosa, Oklahoma with his wife and four daughters. I learned he generally didn't do "these things" on the phone but in person, but the caller was obviously too far away. I learned many things, including this man was a total tool. I stood up, biting my lip, wondering if I could grab his files which he had set up as some sort of mock desk area and throw them everywhere in some sort of movie version of life. I wondered if I could grab the phone and stomp on it and proclaim that this was from knitters everywhere. My blood was boiling. I ended up approaching the door away from this evil, evil man, before I started in for the door on the opposite end of the building, nearest him. I walked by and told him my piece... For the record, you are incredibly rude and bothering ME. In case you haven't noticed you are in a school, where people are trying to test. Not your damn office where you're free to put people on speaker phone! People like you make me wish cell phones were never invented!!!!!
The offender was confused as "Mary" was still talking about the testing of her oil well... he looked at me, looked at his papers, looked at the phone and before he could say anything I walked out the door feeling like a serious victory had been won on my way toward a more public knitting lifestyle. I suppose this should be a lesson?
Again, poor husband for having to listen to me rant, and now poor you for having read all this. Just remember when you are sitting in for a wait---at the doctors office, at the hair salon, anywhere-- survey the place. If you notice a knitter in the corner, basking in a sort of knitting hurricane of pleasure then please, please, please, put down the cell phone and at the very least, no speaker phone!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fall 2011 Planning

The other day I had a conversation with a LYS worker about how my knitting often drops off in the spring/summer months. I have a hard time wanting to pick up wool or variations of it when the weather gets warmer and even though she went through the trouble to show me plenty of springy patterns (lots I loved from a Rowan book---big surprise), I just couldn't get into it. I usually will work on a project or two, but other than that, I am generally needle free for many months.

I knit for my husband often, but I don't Knit for him. He wants a scarf? Sure, no problem. He wants a hat or two? Again, no problem (though I am curious where the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino hat I have not seen for a year disappeared to...). Gloves? Okay, I can do that. For the most part my work for Phillip has been knitting, not Knitting. There is a distinct difference as when I am Knitting for myself I tend to not have issue with trying new patterns and being a little adventurous. So the seam is a little off, or the some stitches were never really recovered... Meh. It reminds me of the "don't knit a sweater for a guy" sentiment... I think Knitters never see this folklore as an issue. If he doesn't like it, oh well. There will be plenty more where that came from. knitters think "If he doesn't like it, I will never make another again!" That is not to say that proper gratitude for the hundreds of thousands of stitches a sweater takes should be blown off as if no issue. Lots of hard work and sweat go into the planning, the yarn choosing, the pattern selecting, the actual knitting and that is not even discussing the problems ("Hmm, I guess I made this second sleeve 20 inches longer than the first...? Wait, I attached the front on the wrong side...") but we never have those. Last night I started wondering whether I was having the wrong idea about this mid-year knitting curse. What if I extensively planned the next few months and crammed them with projects just waiting to be worn once the weather changes? Maybe then I will have more time to finish and I won't activate the evil powers that are causing my recent hand pain issues. And as an added bonus so many of the fall/winter yarns tend to go on sale around this time, which means making a project that would have cost me $120 can be made for as little as $40 or $50. (Or so I tell Phillip....I am joking!)

I couldn't sleep last night once I had settled on a sweater pattern for my dear. I chose the Cobblestone Pullover by Jared Flood and have looked at just about every one of the 3,000 projects I can find. Cascade 220, Malabrigo, Ecological Wool, Rowan Tweed Aran...surprisingly the list of used yarns was quite small. I decided picking a color first would be best but I knew it wouldn't be difficult as Phillip is pretty set on his color palette. I ended up choosing a heathered olive green color, which if you know my husband, makes perfect sense. I ordered the yarn and am really looking forward to casting on. I have already begun changing the pattern some--I will add 2x2 ribbing to the neck, sleeves and bottom to clean up the lines a little. I doubt I will do any major changes to the construction as it is seamless and is well written. I think once I am finished I can finally add men's Knitter to my growing list of Knitterly occupations.

In other news, I have cast on a Clapotis with the Madelinetosh Pashmina I recently purchased (see last post). The Damson is still high on my list but I am a little burned on triangular construction (though Clap is very similar with increase rows galore) and thought it would be nice to finally finish one up. I assume there has to be a reason it is likely the most popular pattern on Ravelry with something like 20,000 project pages. So far so good and the MadTosh is looking pretty wonderful. I am usually not a fan of kettle dyed, or hand dyed yarn, I like something very constant so this is a bit of a stretch for me. I am happy with how it is coming; I am somewhere near the 3rd increase section and after that I imagine a lot of mindless knitting to come to achieve my desired length. Either way, I am happy for the distraction, as I wait for the post man...

Is he here yet? I think I heard something...Wait, I just ordered that 20 minutes ago.

Other projected projects for Fall 2011:

(for my wearing)

Happy Knitting!

Saturday, February 19, 2011


I have officially beaten my Entrelac problem and completed my Lady Eleanor Stole. I ended up using only 8 balls of Noro Silk Garden (which means I will have a few left over for my stash...). If someone were to ask, I would have to say that once you can sort of grasp the idea, the Scarf Style pattern is by far the best I have come across. It can be a little annoying trying to distinguish between tier 1 and tier 2 once it becomes mindless but I had little to no problems. I thought the Noro was a great choice and as I expected once washed became terribly soft though I will suggest going down a needle size or two to compensate for the thin pieces throughout the yarn. The thicker parts filled in beautifully but some of the thinner yarn is noticeable to the trained eye. The only complaint I would really have to tell someone is that I HATE the way the end tier came out. I am sure there is a better set of instructions somewhere but the K2together, kx, ssk method seemed to leave very uneven edges on mine. It would be worth looking on Ravelry or another site for a better tutorial, I think. After blocking it grew about 1/4-1/3 the size in length so that is something to keep in mind as you begin losing your mind to boredom. I am still debating with myself about whether I will put the fringe on since I am generally not a fan of anything that can snag and destroy itself in an instant. (Bad memories, don't ask...)

(You can see more photos by clicking this link or using the Project Bar on the side of my page. )

In equally fab news, I recently received a gift card to my LYS . I went by this past week to see what I could find after thinking long and embarrassingly hard. I ended up coming across a hidden stash of Madelinetosh Pashmina that I had to scoop up- HAD, HAD, HAD to! The colorway is Thyme and it is gorgeous. Of course the selection was very limited but for a last-minute, didnt-think-you-had-this decision, I am insanely happy. I also picked up the last ball of Madelinetosh Vintage in the Dahlia colorway, which I only now realize will clash with my new, seriously-red hair. I will be working on figuring that one out, though I am leaning toward a hat, maybe another Spring Beret--I gifted my Blue Sky Cotton one to a dear friend in Texas some time ago. I will keep the updates coming, as I am planning on starting my Damson (by Ysolda Teague... who is quickly becoming one of my knitting crushes) with the Madtosh Thyme. I think the end result is going to be fantastic!

More very soon!
And please, please, please cast on your vote for my next project! (Yes, I did just make a knitting joke...)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Poll Time!

I have been having trouble updating since I am a one project kind of gal. One project at a time has always been my operating system but usually my brain begins to wander about half way through on what my next project will be. I am certainly having an issue with making the decision as once the weather starts to clear and sunny up, I start wanting to leave my needles in the bag.

So, here I am asking your opinion! I'd love to know what you think I should knit next! I have narrowed down the choices to my current swoon-worthy picks and all you have to do is make a few clicks and in a few weeks I'll post the finished project!

The choices are:
Guernesey Wrap

Cedar Leaf Shawlette

Houndstooth Bandana

Baby Back Ribs Skirt

Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New look, new ways.

I have been waiting to update this for many reasons. First, I wanted to gather my thoughts and express myself in the right way. Second, we were pounced with 18 inches of snow last week and instead of working my hands to bloody pulps, I rested them and worked on nothing... I know, crazy.

In the last few weeks my thoughts on knitting have really come to change. When I first started this blog, I wrote about how intensely amazing some of the knitting resources have become like Ravelry. Once I began using it regularly, I found that I couldn't stop! I wanted to look at every version of every project I was anticipating working on. I wanted to read reviews of books, looms, talk about yarn sales, listen to thoughts on pesky techniques. The list was honestly endless. One day around that time I logged on to notice that Remants, one of the main boards had been removed. I had previously taken the board off my list for viewing because Remants was about almost everything but knitting (though sometimes the two collided--as in a nasty post about a family member who had a "thing against" yarn and ripped up family heirlooms) and yet took up half the time I spent on the site. The board was used for "I currently hate my husband" (not from me, but others!), "I currently have cramps and feel like hell!", "I hate my boss!", "I have a bear in my front yard!" (yes, srsly.) things like that. It quickly became my version of Facebook. I mulled it over for a few days and decided to close my Ravelry account. At last glance I had many favorites (up to 50 on my Yellow Summer project!), many friends, many comments, and belonged to many groups. My thinking for closing my Ravelry account wasnt about saying the site doesn't have a tremendous part in helping knitters of all levels, it mainly has to do with my ever changing studying schedule, my incessant need to check my project page, and my nagging want to say something. ("I would have killed her!!!!" as in the case of the afghan shredder.) I just came to realize that at some point a site like that makes your knitting not be about you as much as about wanting to show it off, wondering what people think, and along with that comes a certain form of self esteem on wondering whether it looks perfect, whether you should have done something different, etc etc (And I say all of this as my experience, not anyone elses). I could really go on about how much fun and information I have gained from the site but I will spare the gory love fest and just say that I will tremendously miss losing time reading all the posts and looking at the projects but unfortunately, I feel like it is probably time for me to focus on other things. I remember a while back I was watching an episode of Letsknit2gether and Cat asked a certain designer about Rav... to which the designer replied that she/he had to stop because they just couldn't stop! I can't remember who it was, somewhere between Louisa Harding and Ysolda Teague but it is there somewhere. And it is a fair representation of how I feel.

Ok, now that I am off my soap box, I wanted to update on my finished Daybreak Shawl! I worked the shawl in Rowan Felted Tweed and size 6 needles and couldn't be happier! I used Stephen West's notes for a "mini" version and the end result is killer! RFT washes into such a soft and warm product, I was really surprised. I highly recommend the pattern and it could be considered good tv knitting for an intermediate as only a few rows require much memory or thought. I took a risk using two neutrals that don't generally go together (a gray and brown) but the two really look good together. I will make another in the coming weeks... Thinking about matching the left over gray with some purple or red... we'll see!

After a week of not getting any postal service, I finally received my Noro Silk Garden for my Lady Eleanor Entrelac Shawl. My Lady El. is looking fabulous! And I am really grasping Entrelac now! I am somewhere into my 600th yard or so, and should be looking at finishing up in the next few days pending getting a few more balls I ordered late Sunday. I will posting photos of it as I work through it but so far so good...

I will be working on the look of the site and putting up new project pages without Ravelry in the coming days so please keep coming back!

Happy Knitting!
(And Happy Birthday to me!)