Wednesday, December 12, 2007

When I started Goddess,

it was with no concrete ideas in terms of the rules I mentioned - mostly because I thought the project itself would slowly present itself with clear segments. Like after a set of short rows, or shaping, or a change in needles. Well, it seems this was a mistake, in its way: with no stopping points, I knit right up to the bottom of the front section.

Goddess - The Front, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

That's about two balls of yarn knit on size US 4 straights (about thirteen inches long!) that any granny would be proud to own.

Well, after all that knitting on Goddess, I could no longer ignore my job application, so I finished it. A few ends still need to be woven in, but it's finished.

And then I started on the back. This is up to the bottom of the shoulder shaping.

Goddess - The Back, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

This picture is closest to the actual color.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Time has the uncanny ability

of escaping from me - I wake each morning (to me, the morning begins at around noon) intending to take those pictures I mentioned, and the next time I think of it, the sun has set. But I managed to get it done today, and I'm throwing in a few extras as a bonus.

An appallingly bad picture of the Bayerische sock:

First Bayerische Sock, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

And new buttons on The Sweater:

New Buttons, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

And the new buttons on me:

New Buttons - on me, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

The knitted job application:

Stunt Stitching Test, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

And the new project, knit with most of my first ball of yarn:

Goddess-in-Progress, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

And a detail shot of that border:

Pattern stitch detail, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

My camera seems to be unequal to the task of capturing that color - it's a darker, deeper, cool green. And I should go wind another ball.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A few things

have been going on chez Rubychan, but it seems my attentiveness as a blogger has severely tapered off, and for that, apologies, dear reader. Firstly, I finished the first Bayerische sock (although that was not until the middle of November), and I will take a picture of it tomorrow, in natural light. I don't like the effect of lamps - they add too many shadows and make everything look too yellow. And in case you were wondering, I have started the mate, but I managed to make a mistake right after the ribbing at the cuff and I have not had the patience to go back and fix it. (Admittedly, it could be the work of a short fifteen minutes to sort out the problem; a fifteen minutes I cannot seem to make myself spare.)

Meanwhile, I bought new buttons, mostly inspired by a new pair of pants I bought (in which I loved everything but the buttons and the length - somewhat novel - the buttons have been swapped and I'm in the process of hemming). And while I was at the store, I bought new buttons for The Sweater. The original buttons were always intended to be temporary - the Hudson Valley, I felt, lacked interesting little sewing and knitting shops (at least, based on my limited reach when I was in the area), so I had bought some simple buttons I felt I could live with at JoAnn's, thinking I would replace them when I found a suitable substitute and had the time and energy to do it. It's embarassing to say that it happened over a year later, but I found some lovely shell buttons in that same excursion and swapped them. The added benefit is that the new buttons are larger and stay in the buttonholes much better (the old ones had the habit of popping out), and they hold the garment together better when I wear it, which makes me want to wear it more (and that's a little startling, because it is, after all, The Sweater). Granted, I also lacked the foresight to take pictures of it during daylight, so a picture of The Sweater and the new buttons is forthcoming. I promise.

In other news, I have begun work on a sample for a knitting website to become a stunt stitcher. And by begun work, I mean I have the sample eighty percent finished. The prospect of being paid to knit is just too attractive for me to take this sample too lightly, and my resulting meticulousness has made progress pathetically slow and halting. To be fair, the sample uses techniques I have never used before (the tubular cast-on and cast-off), but I have also screeched to a halt out of my own impatience and frustration.

And in the hope of motivating myself to finish my knitted job application, I bought more yarn today. Not that I need more yarn, or that I don't have enough unfinished projects that need to be resolved, but out of general knitting ennui and impatience. Those unfinished projects will get finished eventually, right? Anyway, I told myself that I could begin a new project (with the new yarn, naturally) only if I finished one row of the sample for every (say, five?) rows of the new. I haven't worked out the details yet, but that's the basic idea. It's like giving a child a reward system - a piece of candy for a good deed - but with knitting, and much more pathetic.

Quote of the Day: "Normally, I would feel uncomfortable taking unmarked drugs from a guy in a sailor suit singing to pudding, but hey, I'm desperate."

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I have had the inexpicable itch

to knit socks lately. I don't have anyone to knit socks for, and I don't even want hand-knit socks. I lose my store-bought socks (usually Costco and Target - I really splurge on my socks too) all the time. I've come to think of my dryer as a black hole for clothing, but especially socks. One difficult winter break, I came home with about two weeks worth of socks in my bag, and I went back to school with one pair. (The irony in this, I think, is that while I'm at school, and I, the irresponsible, feckless college student, am the one doing my laundry, I don't lose a single pair.) And I never wear the socks I knit last February (1 and 2). (On a related note, I recently gave one of those pairs of socks to my mother - the ones pictured in 1 - I didn't like the way the toe was done, and I literally never wore them. And she likes them. Score.)

All the same, however, I bought two balls of sock yarn this afternoon (Patons Grace in Azure), swatched this evening, and cast on for Eunny's Bayerische Socks. From the first moment I saw them, it was love, and I have itched to find the right combination of yarn and needles to find the right gauge to knit them. (I recently invested in a pair of size US0 circulars and got gauge with no sweat. It was meant to be.)

I am in something of a twilight zone in my life right now, being that most of the big things haven't been sorted out yet (I don't know where I'll be in six months, for example), and the date is something I only have a vague grasp of. So it was only this evening that I realized that I'm starting these socks right in the middle of Socktoberfest!

I recently heard (from two separate sources, actually) that there was a study where a group of people did a crossword no one had ever done before in a certain amount of time. They didn't do particularly well, as might be expected. But, when they did a crossword that had been in a newspaper a week before (that none of them had done) in the same amount of time, they finished most of it.

Sock knitting is in the air, and it seems I have caught the bug.


Bayerische In Progress, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Did I say strapless, lacy and fitted? Lelah, that difficult little minx, does not fit. Well, did not. I got caught up in a sudden desire to rip and re-knit her, so now she's a lot of lace and a mess of Top Ramen-looking yarn. The lace blocked beautifully, and my math with the bust darts actually worked out quite well. But the back of the stockinette portion sagged and bagged away from my body. I did no shaping in the back, thinking that it was really my boobs that would require shaping (and I did a lot at the boobs) and I suspect my mistake was not blocking my gauge swatch (I know, I know).

I mentioned a new birthday present to myself, and the knitting went without a hitch, really. It was a lot like a flash in the pan, and the only thing that's kept me from posting about it is that I doubled the amount of waist shaping because I felt the first version fits too loosely in that area. But now, the sweater tap dances that line between too tight and well-fitted, and I thought a good blocking would answer the question to my liking. And, surprise of surprises, I have not had the patience (or, let's face it, the time) to block it.

Quote of the Day: (It's a poem today.)
and I have become
like two giant fat people living
in a tiny
keep bumping into
each other
laughing." -Hafiz

Friday, June 08, 2007

See that soggy mess of wool? (Otherwise entitled: Why My Room Smells Of Wet Dog)

Soggy Wool, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Believe it or not, it will soon be something strapless, something lacy, and something fitted. My godsister came to visit last week, and, to distract myself from the edging of the Dead Elmo Vest, we went to the yarn store, where I found some Cascade 220 in a colorway I liked. I had seen Lelah on Craftster back when it was new, but I can't say it made much of an impression on me. It was really the work of recent Craftsters (1 and 2) that caught my eye and made me consider making it. The knitting was pretty straightforward: the lace was knit on US 5 needles, until the row of eyelets, where I changed to US 2 needles (and increased to accommodate the new gauge). The change of needles was mostly because I didn't want to use small needles for the lace as well, (because it would take forever) and I wanted the stockinette to be dense enough not to be transparent. The pattern was more a set of guidelines than a real pattern, so my choice of smaller needles required no extra thinking.

And the wet dog part: wet wool has the tendency to smell of wet dog. It was definitely disorienting to discover, the first time I blocked wool (I was cheap before, and mostly just used acrylic) and now it's mostly just an annoyance.

I had a little trouble with the bust area. The pattern says to knit the entire section to be the size of the above-bust measurement. Well, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that that measurement would be too small for most of the section, but the pattern uses the fact that knit fabric stretches: the top and bottom of the section would fit exactly, with varying amounts of negative ease in between. Well that's all fine and good, but it seemed like stretching the knitting to fit my boobs would sacrifice the opacity I was looking for. So I added increases and decreases in two darts in the front panel - you can see one set of increases and decreases in that picture (it's just below the needles, and looks like an eye in a tree trunk).

Blocking Lelah, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Here we have Lelah, all pinned out on my bed. Unfortunately, because we could not share the bed, she exiled me to the futon for the night. I was quite comfortable there, but I have begun to wonder whether it is best for me to accommodate my knitting like that. I soaked and pinned her yesterday afternoon; now, the lace is dry, but the denser knitting - the stockinette - is still a little damp, and the hem, which is four layers of fabric, is still wet. If I may hazard a guess, I would say she will be dry later this afternoon or evening, and she will probably be wearable tomorrow.

In terms of time frame, Lelah went roughly as could be expected: I cast on Wednesday a week ago, and knit with varying levels of intensity through the week. I would definitely say the last two days were the most intense: I knit all but an inch or so of the bust portion, and the lion's share of my time was spent with knitting needles in my hands.

And here's a (albeit a bit blurry) close-up of the lace pattern.

Those size 5 needles almost immediately went to back to work: this time, on my birthday present to myself. The white Sahara was considered a birthday present to myself, but I like the pattern, and I couldn't really think of another use for that recycled yarn I had originally been using, so I am knitting another Sahara using that yarn. I haven't gotten very far yet: it's only a small strip of stockinette (which is why you won't be seeing it right now), but I'm getting gauge, so I'm happy.

Quote of the Day: "Oh, it's wonderful to be a woman musician, especially when you're a man! And the only thing that holds our strapless dresses up is nerve!"

Sunday, May 13, 2007

As you may have guessed,

I did not finish my birthday present to myself before the deadline. However (knowing me), though you may think that it was for lack of effort, my birthday present failed for a different reason.

Any knitter will tell you the importance of gauge. It is, essentially, the key to making sure a pattern will fit, the linchpin or the keystone, if you will, of patternmaking. And few knitted items can be made without correct gauge - shawls, scarves, potholders, and the like - though even they require some sense of gauge to be made to the correct size, or to accomodate various stitch patterns.

The first sweater I ever made,
before I knew what gauge was, was ridiculously too big. Because length was something I could control without counting rows, it was the right length in the body, but it was probably twice as big as it should have been in width, the sleeves were too long and hung heavily over my hands, and the neckline, rather than sitting around my neck in a mock-turtleneck, was something closer to a boatneck. When I first put it on, my mother and sister tried to say nice things about it, until I burst into laughter, at which point they followed suit. It lived in drawers for a long time until I threw it away two years ago - it was made of cheap (and itchy!) acrylic yarn, not worth the effort of unraveling to turn into something else. And since then, with this great big failure in the back of my mind, I have paid close attention to gauge, and had few problems.

So you can just imagine my surprise, nay, my dismay, to discover that my gauge was off on my birthday present, and that I was knitting it twenty percent larger than it should have been.

I bought several very expensive balls of Debbie Bliss cotton/silk blend five years ago. The intent was to make a shawl, which I began and quickly got tired of, and so it sat in a drawer for a very long time. Finally, I came back to it - it was high-quality, soft, and expensive yarn, after all - and I turned it into a scarf in a mock-fisherman's rib. I wore it a few times, but winters in LA being what they are, and given how rarely I wear scarves, it spent a lot more time in drawers. I had more yarn left over from the scarf, which I knit into a camisole, but I had to unravel the scarf to finish it. Which I did happily and without remorse: I would wear the camisole, I rationalized, more often than I would the scarf (I pared down the pattern to a simple stockinette with the paired keyhole cables on either side). I could not block it properly when I finished knitting it, because I had forgotten my tin of blocking pins at home, though I gave it a wash and laid it out on my floor to get some kind of blocking done. And when finished, it sat in a drawer for a few months. The fit wasn't quite what I had hoped for, and I wanted to re-knit parts of it to get it perfect, which I just did not have the patience for at the time.

But the saga is not yet over. I have long been of the opinion that if I am going to spend all the time knitting something, it should be something I really like. I can always buy frumpy things, things in colors that don't pop against my skin tone, things that hang off my body like a sack. Knitting should not only be a celebration of the fiber, the color and the yarn, but a celebration of my body, my curves, and to hell with my insecurities about them. And when I really thought about it, the camisole just wasn't right on a fundamental level. So I unraveled again, and I knit the pattern from my birthday sweater using the expensive yarn. I got gauge with little worry, and spent a few late nights knitting away at it. I began knitting it on a Saturday, and was working on the sleeve and neckline details a week later. I brought it to Spring Fling, where I knit, sitting in the sun with friends, and got a nice little sunburn (which later became a tan) to go with my new sweater. And on Monday, I wove in the last end, put it on, and sewed the neckline seam. It was an intensive week: I thought often about my sweater-in-progress during idle moments, and, it being the same week that Tomasz and I were working on our tango, I don't doubt that it contributed to the sorry state of my academic affairs that week. The body is knit with that expensive (and discontinued!) Debbie Bliss cotton/silk blend, but, not having enough to finish it, I knit the collar in Lily's Sugar 'n Cream in White double stranded with Patons Grace in White. The Paton's Grace was hand-strung with white pony beads, and the Sugar 'n Cream was added to it so that the thin Paton's Grace would not be too lacy. I do have some sense of modesty. Stringing the beads and knitting them into the fabric was by far, the most tedious and time-consuming aspect of the project, and though I like the effect, I'm not sure it was worth it enough that I will knit with beads any time soon.

And now, for the photos.

This was taken Monday night, as I finished the neckline seam. I sewed it with the sweater on to be sure it was the way I wanted it.

Sahara Neckline, mid-seaming, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

And now, a picture of it in daylight:

Sahara!, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Finally, another look at the neckline:

Sahara - the neckline, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Remember the journey of the Dead Elmo Vest (and 1, 2, 3)? I brought it home for Spring Break, and when my mother tried it on, we discovered that it was too big (can you say "I told you so?"). She had mismeasured and apologized profusely, but there was no getting around it: the whole thing would have to be ripped and re-knit. Of course, this was upsetting news, but knowing that the new measurements would make it two-thirds its original size, and that, presumably, the knitting would then take two-thirds as much time and effort, made the situation easier to swallow. And the knitting went quickly - I finished the new vest in something like a week or two, and it barely made a blip on my radar. I am now where I was before Spring Break - unsure of the neckline, I am waiting to consult with my mother when I come home for summer vacation (but a week and a half away!).

I suggest you use the squares on my blanket, or the silver ruler at the right, for scale.

The Dead Elmo Vest, Take 2, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Quote of the Day: "Remember: they aren't love handles if nobody loves you."

Monday, April 16, 2007

I stayed up late last night.

Knitting. I feel like this should be some source of shame, but right now, I only wish I had gotten more done last night, and I wish I were knitting right now. Which is not to say that I am not aware of the fact that my hands (more specifically, my fingers, wrists and forearms) are sore, and they were sore last night. But that does not matter to me (okay, I suppose that was obvious). I mean, were I a rational being, I would have stopped last night, when my hands started hurting. Carpal tunnel (yes, I have done the research) is mostly based on genetics, but prolonged work with one's hands (like, say, knitting) can exacerbate or encourage its development. Knowing this, my behavior over the last thirty-six hours is either incredibly stupid or based on the hope that carpal tunnel is not in my genes. Then again, I am still at risk for arthritis, and, based on the way I use my hands, I would be incredibly surprised if I did not develop arthritis at some point down the line. At least, I argue, I cannot be faulted for not having lived my life, even if I was a bit reckless (yes, knitting is reckless) along the way.

I have unofficially given myself a deadline with this project, and that is a big factor in my impatience to knit it. Last year, around this time, I knit a sweater. It was finished two(?) days before my birthday, and I called it my birthday present to myself. I like the idea of knitting a birthday present to myself, and, since the sweater I made is one of my favorites (really, I live in it when I'm too tired to go digging through my drawers), I thought I would repeat the tradition. Besides, I am unlikely to get a similar present from anyone else - a handknit garment (and all the time and effort that implies), made exactly to fit my body. And I could hardly expect such a birthday present from anybody but myself. I started this project significantly later: the last sweater was knit in ten days, and I began this one on Saturday (though I did so little work on it then that, effectively, I started knitting it Sunday). Still, I am optimistic about finishing it by Thursday (my birthday), based on my progress so far.

Remember that sweater I showed you so long ago? I had not gotten any farther than that last picture, mostly because I had other things on my knitterly plate (and I still do). But the main reason I did not knit more of it was, I believe, that I was not thrilled with the pattern. I like the pattern, and I think that I would still like to knit it someday, but right now, it is simply not what I am looking for. So I ripped out the part I had knit, and I am using the yarn for my new project. I am excited about this pattern, which I have thought about ever since I first saw it. I mostly did not use it earlier because I am cheap, but then I realized I was holding out for seven (seven!) dollars, and I took the plunge.

Like I said, I have other things on my (formidable) to-knit list (the Dead Elmo Vest comes to mind), but the whole point of having a birthday is to spoil myself. And, this being my twenty-first, it is, essentially, the last birthday I am likely to ever look forward to, so I want to make it a good one.

Sahara In Progress, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Remember that white lace shrug I mentioned so long ago? The first blocking, as seems to be a trend with me, was mostly ineffectual - unpinned, it remains ripply and a little odd-looking. I would say this is mostly because I feel uncomfortable giving my hand-knits a decent soak, given that I am sharing a bathroom with half my floor and there is no plug to stop up the sink. All the same, when it was finished blocking, I had a little photo shoot, and I did not like most of the resulting pictures, and could never take a picture of the back (taking a picture of myself is hard enough). But here is the one (and relatively blurry) picture I deemed "sort-of okay" from that day.

I Do shrug, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

Quote of the Day: "
You know you are getting old when the candles cost more than the cake." -Bob Hope

Friday, March 23, 2007

Guster is not okay!

Finished Guster tee!, originally uploaded by rubychan4.

I had never stencilled, so I bought an extra shirt to practice for a project I have on my back burner. I found an image of a Guster bumper sticker online that I liked, so I created a stencil of it with a few modifications: the bumper sticker is in shades of blue, and it says "is OK!" underneath the name. I got rid of "is OK!" because I think Guster is better than okay, I prefer simplicity, and because it's difficult to stencil. I am already hatching plans for a Blue Sun shirt, modeled here by the talented Adam Baldwin.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Name the nudist! A contest of sorts!

I have recently been referring to the little man doll in progress as my "knitted nudist" or as my "little nude man." However, I would say any man (and especially one who will have so much work put into his creation as this fellow) deserves to be called something other than a collection of adjectives. And a little knitted man perhaps more so, because he has less control over his myriad appellations, being unable to protest, so it is important that we, in his society, respect him for who he is, and not judge him for being made out of cotton, clay and wire as opposed to flesh, bone and blood.

I am afraid I am guilty of the crime of calling him by a series of adjectives, partially because he is incomplete, and partially because I originally felt that his name would come to me, in the way that a name just fits a person, once I had finished creating him. And then there is the fact that it is easier to name the little fellow with adjectives, since, for me, choosing names requires a great deal of research (or creative effort, if I invent the name). But I will stand for it no longer.

And here is where you come in: I am opening up the naming process to anyone who reads this. Suggestions should be given in the most serious of spirits - names like Guy, Fitzwilliam or Woody, while they once had their time, simply sound ridiculous on the modern tongue - and a baby naming book (or website) might be a good place to begin. (Names like "Nudie Man," "Captain Nekkid" and "Mister No-Pants" will also be rejected flat-out.) I should add that I can give no guarantee of accepting any name you suggest, although every submission will be considered carefully, and if I do choose the name you pick, there will be a prize. (I haven't decided on what the prize will be yet, but the winner and I can be in dialogue on the subject.) For the particularly enthusiastic, you can submit up to three names. Foreign names or names of your own invention are also welcome, and they will not be weighted as better or worse than others. All names should be put in the comments to this post.

The contest will last as long as the little man remains unfinished. In other words, once I declare the little gentleman complete, I will choose a name, either from your suggestions or from my own resources. And so, let the game begin!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Work has begun in earnest

on the little nude man. His body is completely knit, though I made his arms and legs half the length indicated in the pattern (and I plan to ignore instructions for hands and feet) and I stopped knitting somewhere around his shoulders. This is because I am making his arms from the elbow down, his legs from the knee down, and his neck and head out of clay. Wire will run through his clay parts and into his stuffed, knitted body, as a skeleton of sorts. And because of the way in which I am making him, he will probably spend the better part of his existence clothed. I will explain all this at some point, but I just don't feel right detailing the neuroses of a being that, as yet, has no head.

Meanwhile, I have begun re-knitting the sweater I mentioned from July. The story behind this sweater is that I unraveled a Gap duster that I never wear and knit as far as the collar, where I ran out of yarn. Because I am unlikely to find another duster to unravel and because I had knit it too big to begin with, the plan is to re-knit it in a smaller size, not only so that it fits me properly, but so that I have enough yarn to finish it. So far, I have the hem and an inch or so of the body. I had admired the pattern from when first I saw it, and I am knitting it (both times) with few modifications - mainly, I'm knitting the body and sleeves in the round rather than seam it, though the collar and sleeve caps will be knit flat, and the sleeves will be seamed to the body. I have tried knitting set-in sleeves in the round, but I was never entirely comfortable with how it was coming together. The main reason I rescued the yarn is because I love the color, which, I'm afraid, I didn't capture incredibly well in either picture. In person, there's less white. It's more like a light maroon, or a dusky, dark pink.

Switching between DK-weight yarn and US0 needles and worsted-weight yarn and US7 needles is certainly odd (imagine working with toothpicks, and then switching them for pencils). Size seven needles feel giant, unwieldy, clumsy, and then going back to size zero makes them feel tiny, fragile, like I could break them with every stitch I knit. I suggest you use the squares on my blanket, seen in the pictures, for scale. And the Dead Elmo vest? The body is finished, seamed, and all the ends are woven in. All that remains is the collar, and stitches have been left live, a circular needle already threaded through them, ready to be knit. However, it will take a little consultation with its intended wearer before I can finish it. I'm not thrilled with the project, mostly out of boredom, so I'm perfectly happy to let it sit in a drawer for a couple weeks.

Quote of the Day: Another comic instead: Out in the world.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Dead Elmo vest,

despite all predictions to the contrary, is really zooming along. As you may have surmised, I am not the most patient of people, so knowing that I was going to knit something that's a whopping sixty inches around (two hundred and forty stitches, to be exact, and, might I add, nearly twice the size of my tiny Asian mother) was greeted with something more like resignation than excitement. 'She is my mother,' I told myself. And I reminded myself that, with the insanity of finals, I never had the time to come up with a Christmas (or birthday) present for her. Which is pathetic. As it stands now, the back is finished, and the right front is growing. My mother wasn't incredibly clear about design, so I will have to stop soon in confusion about what she wants at the collar. Knowing the way she likes her garments, it is knit in the straightest of straight rectangles. And I mean, there is not one bit of shaping of any kind. And it actually does not curl and twist like that at the top: I'm using circular needles to knit and hold the stitches, and circular needles have their own funny little twists in them. It drives me crazy.

Here we have an earlier incarnation, before the back was finished. There is also a ruler (that silver thing at the bottom) for scale.

Quote of the Day: "I don't have sex for money!"..."No, for furs, for jewels, for favors, like a lady..."

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Dead Elmo Vest

is coming along faster than I had thought it would. I am knitting it in one piece from the hem to the underarm, where it splits into front left, front right, and back pieces. I just split it at the underarm, and I have knit an inch or so on the back piece above the split for the armhole. And, yes, I already have several things lined up in my mind: I'm curious to try my hand at dollmaking, mostly inspired by the little nudist and by Howl (besides having a new little person to clothe in hand knits), there's a sweater I started in July (July!) and have been meaning to rip and re-knit, I've wanted to knit a shrug to wear over short-sleeved shirts in cold weather (the lace is pretty but impractical. The obvious stipulation here is that I finish it while the weather is still cold, though I suppose it would still be nice on a cool summer's evening), and there's this gorgeous cashmere blend from a failed attempt at a shawl (unfortunately, the only problem was that I ran out of yarn and it's discontinued) that's been waiting to be reborn as a shell. Whew! And, oh yes, there are classes, papers, reading, and tests to consider. There just aren't enough hours in the day...

Quote of the day: "Let your mind go and your heart will follow."

Monday, February 26, 2007

Despite trying a new sleep schedule

and I am, accordingly, exhausted, I have been more productive today than I was all the rest of the weekend. I read most of two articles, finally figured out the pattern problem with the lace shrug I was making, finished knitting it, grafted the seam and blocked it. I gave The Sweater a long-overdue wash and re-blocking, changed my sheets, did a load of laundry, had a Peer Counselor interview and bought groceries. I also watched an episode of Battlestar Galactica, made a swatch, cast on and knit half the hem for my mother's Dead Elmo Vest. (A few of these things will be detailed at length below.)

Here we have a picture of the lace shrug, hot off the needles and ripply and ugly and too small:

And here is a cuff, unblocked:

Blocking: the lace shrug and The Sweater; the silver thing is a ruler, for scale.

The same cuff, blocking:

I might add that the lace is considerably larger now that it's blocking (and will be once it's finished), due to lace's tendency to streeeeeeetch. I re-blocked The Sweater, not because I felt it had been too long since the last time my room smelled of wet dog, but because, despite the fact that it hadn't done this immediately after its first blocking, the edges had begun to roll and the first blocking, it seems, stretched the neckline enough that the sleeves like to slide off my shoulders. I've often seen knitted items blocked to make them larger, but I've never seen a blocking that made something smaller, so here's hoping this works.

Meanwhile, I'm knitting a new vest for my mother. This is a belated birthday/Christmas present. I got the yarn in the mail a week or so ago, but, due to my firm resolve to finish what I had started first, I made myself wait until the lace shrug was finished. The yarn is soft and furry, and it's primarily red, with some black thrown in. The red furriness inspired the likeness to Elmo, though I suppose the black means it's Elmo, but he fell in a tar pit.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Because idle hands

are the devil's playground.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Due to my inability to sit still,

the better part of my knitting is either done in front of the tv (or my computer, lately) or with a book propped open in my lap. This, coupled with my preference for the classic and understated, has led me away from complicated stitch patterns, away from lace and colorwork, cables and textured knitting, and has drawn me to long, (long!) stretches of plain, boring stockinette. (And, I should add, if I do pick up a project with a modicum of interest, usually some lace, my interest in the book or movie or whatever usually means I make some stupid mistakes.)

But besides its lending itself so well to patterns that would make even the most patient knitter yawn, my love of diversion during diversion creates associations between the project and whatever it was I was watching (or reading, or whatever) while I knit it. There's a light green, short-sleeved sweater in a 1 x 1 rib that makes me think of Rurouni Kenshin and Trigun, a raspberry-colored three-quarter-sleeved sweater that reminds me of the weekend I finally saw the Star Wars trilogy (the original, of course), a pair of lace socks (my first socks ever, actually) that brings to mind Battlestar Galactica and Freaks and Geeks. A blue, bell-sleeved sweater of my own design reminds me of White-Jacket and Moby Dick, a white, cabled camisole evokes Slayers and Haibane Renmei, and a pair of white, ballet slippers for my sister is inextricably bound, in my mind, with Picture Perfect.

When I think of knitting and memory, I usually think of pattern concerns (*knit four, knit three together, knit one, yo...). But I suppose that's an oversimplification. I wonder, sometimes, what I might see, looking at a finished garment, if I hadn't watched something while I knit it. Perhaps I wouldn't think of the weekend my (then-) boyfriend was out of town and I had a little Miyazaki marathon (Grave of the Fireflies, Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away) but I might remember the music I was listening to, or the way I had rearranged my furniture that week (I get restless). In a way, knitting is my mnemonic device. The ironic part is that, because of its propensity to making one's brain work in patterns, knitting has been denounced as bad for staving off Alzheimer's.

There is a storm brewing tonight. According to the best experts in weather technology, as reported to me by a guy in my Biostatistics class, we should be getting anywhere between eight and twenty inches of snow. I suppose ambiguity is the best defense against being wrong. In light of the storm and to spare the gray-haired contingent of my chorus a potentially-dangerous drive to campus, chorus has been cancelled tonight. While I appreciate having regained my evening, I can't say I'm not a little disappointed. Perhaps I'll build a snowman instead.

* Actually part of a lace pattern, the leaf motif as seen in Knitty's Baudelaire socks, which I have on the needles right now.

Quote of the day: "Why is it that our memory is good enough to retain the least triviality that happens to us, and yet not good enough to recollect how often we have told it to the same person?" -La Rochefoucauld

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I created a new blog,

not because the world needs yet another voice in blogland, but because my memory is not the best and it's nice to have something to look back on.

I finally started working on the border of my mom's vest last night. I started this vest in June and if the main knitting and seaming wasn't done in the same month, it was done by July. I designed it myself, with an existing vest of my mom's as a guideline, but I, stupidly, did not include a way to keep the plain stockinette from curling, so the thing curls in on itself at the top of the collar and the opening in the front. I started knitting a border for it a few months ago and started seaming it on at the same time, since I won't know if it's long enough until it's on, so this saves guesswork. The seaming part is always where I lose interest. I knit because I like the feeling of yarn and needles in my hands and being able to look at a piece of fabric and know: I made that. To me, everything that comes after is just time that could be better spent knitting something else. I get restless. Perhaps this is a trend.

Quote of the day: "Love wasn't just in the heart back then - it was in the intestines."