Saturday, September 30, 2006
Six scallops bound off, ten more to go. It's driving me batshit. I hate crochet.
The thing at the top is an ivory handled crochet hook (REAL ivory) that I found in my grandmother's things after she died. It's the only thing making the project bearable. If I had to hang on to a little bit of wire, my hand would never make it.
When I can't stand the binding off any more I work on the neck of That Other Thing.
Progress reports as things develop.
Friday, September 29, 2006
Garish, ain't it?
Lunch today turned into lunch-and-shopping and I was gone for three hours, but I think the break did me good. The baby was adorable at the restaurant, plowing through two huge pieces of french toast and telling everyone who went by "mmmm". After that it was off to Target for baby shoes. I suppose we're horrible parents, but for about three months now the baby has had no shoes that fit. I didn't really see the purpose of it; it was hotter than seven hells out, and she isn't walking yet so I didn't have to worry about protecting her feet. Why spend the money? But now the weather's getting cooler and toddlerhood is around the corner... so...
The baby doesn't like shoes, as a rule, but I think she digs the flowers on these. (The pudgy knees just kill me. I'm known to pinch them yelling 'pudge pudge pudge!' while the baby looks at me as if I've landed from another planet.)
Now I'm off to try to get the damn doily bound off. Never a dull moment here. Never.
I started binding off the Damn Doily, though that's not done yet... knitting that tiny thread stuff was hard, but crocheting with it is nearly impossible. Dr. Who is on Sci-Fi for two hours tonight; I'm hoping I can vegetate on the couch and finish it up, maybe even darn in the ends and get it ready for blocking tomorrow.
All but the bottom edge of That Sweater should be done by the end of the weekend. Hopefully by Sunday, I'll be able to put it on and see how short it really is; that colored yoke is misleading and I think it's longer than it looks. I HOPE it's longer than it looks. If not, I'll have to put it back on the needle and knit like the wind for 48 hours to get the length. However, it's just stockinette so it's slightly lower stress. Slightly.
I almost feel like I can breathe, sorta.
Unfortunately it's payday and the husbeast is going to want to go out and run around and have lunch and shop and who knows what... I have a hard time saying no, because it's good for the baby (and me, truth be told) to get out of the house. But I will be strong and say no to the festivities. Well, okay, I might go out to lunch.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
This means I can write an article I want to, which bodes well for the humor therin. (And my humor, thereout.)
Shoot, I've got more than 48 hours to write this. No problem.
Oh, and I forgot to mention on the last whining post: the baby has learned to throw temper tantrums. Mostly she just stands and screams with rage. A good time is had by all.
The size zero circular from Halcyon Yarn got here today. All is well. They sent it second-day air, just like they said they would, and everything is straightened out. They were very nice about solving the problem too. If anything, I like them more than I did.
I have been working on my Knitty article and it's as dry as week-old toast. I keep thinking I'll go back through and make it funny later, but there's not much later left. And how do you make being a cheapskate funny?
The baby has been demonically posessed, AGAIN, and is not sleeping through the night. This may be related to my un-funniness mentioned above.
On the other hand, there's nothing like avoidance; while not wanting to write the Knitty article, suddenly everything else looks like more fun and I've finished the doily except for the crochet cast-off (which I hope to do tonight) and even worked on That Other Thing some more. Voluntarily. Without crying.
The baby and I both have colds.
I want world peace.
And no world hunger.
And an end to pollution.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
The "Bad Liver" mug. Drink all your booze out of a mug designed to look like a rotten liver. Utterly hilarious. $60. Can't afford it and diapers for the baby this month, guess which I'm buying?
If YOU have a spare sixty bucks, details are available here.
While knitting lately, I have been reading this:
"Color" by Victoria Finlay. (I include this bad photo so that you can know you have the right book if you find it - there are about fifty books in print right now titled "Color".) It's not color theory, it's 'the natural history of color' as she puts it. In other words, it's where colors come from. Before the invention of chemical dyes and paints, we used some weirdass stuff to color our things with.
I gave up reading the whole book in order, start to finish, somewhere in the yellow chapter during a discussion of cyanide in yellow pigment and why all the 'good' yellows are toxic. (As a rule, chemistry bores me.) Instead, I've begun hopping around in the book, reading about whatever color appeals to me at the moment. This week I've read about indigo's history and how it works; where murex purple dye comes from (very cool, and I never liked shellfish anyway); and am now in the green chapter, chasing down why celadon green is such a big deal in Chinese porcelain (it's due to iron in the glaze, but it doesn't explain why, culturally, everyone thought it was the end-all, be-all). If you like history, or sociology/anthropology, paint, or dye your own yarn, you might get a kick out of this book. It's a little bit on the dry side (written by a scholar in a rather research-paper style), but the information itself is so interesting you find yourself not caring.
The baby is just on the edge of walking; this morning she was caught standing, unsupported. She's also been 'walking' on her knees for quite a while; once she puts together exactly how it goes, we're gonna have a toddler on our hands. We're doomed. Here she is, modeling the neck ribbing from The Sweater That Won't Be Named:
Lovely scratches on her forehead, huh? I think that's from an encounter with the coffee table. Or maybe her toy basket.
I'm trying to motivate myself to take a shower, dress the baby in something other than a diaper and tee shirt, and go out in search of tapestry needles, but I'm thinking it sounds better to spend the day in my pajamas, trying to write that Knitty article due in FIVE FREAKING DAYS.
I'm such a good example for my child.
Pass the chocolate. A balanced diet is important.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Two sleeves. About damn time. I finished it just about fifteen minutes ago, took photos, downloaded them, and here I am. There is much rejoicing. I hope I never again have to knit a small tubular anything with two circular needles. (Don't know how some of you sock knitters do that.) But it's done.
Now I just have to fix THIS slight problem:
I did short rows to 'raise' the back of the neck and make the yoke fit more comfortably, back before I started the color knitting. Then I lost my mind or was drugged or an alien took over my body, and I put the sleeves in the wrong place, in relation to the neck. The 'long' part of the neck now hovers over the left shoulder (look at the photo, you can see the wedge of extra light-blue stockinette between the ribbing and the start of the colors). VERY flattering. I've knit a sweater for the hunchback of Notre Dame. So I'll cut off the ribbing, pick up the stitches, re-do the short rows, and the ribbing again. Unfortunately to center the damn thing properly I've got to figure out where the center of the front is, which involves counting a hundred-odd stitches.
It's what I have come to expect from this stupid sweater. Next I'll have to re-wire it or put in a new radiator or change the oil or something. Or it will blow a tire.
I just got a reminder e-mail from the State Fair people, telling me I have to turn this thing in a week from tomorrow. Remember when I said deadlines made me crazy? Remember??
Now I'm gonna go chop up my knitting. Isn't that what everyone does when they finish a sweater? Cut it right back up again?
Anyway. I dug in yesterday afternoon around three PM and started knitting like a fiend. Around five PM I felt like I had worms crawling under the skin of my wrist (nerve damage talking) and took a tranquilizer. By eight PM, five hours' almost straight knitting had caught up with me and I took a narcotic to get the rabid squirrels in my wrist to quit chewing. Apparently, I have never taken those drugs together before, because I've never been so nauseated in all my life. I kept knitting doggedly on until about eleven PM, at which point I started gagging, gave up, and went to bed.
I got up this morning late (as late as the baby would go for), and started knitting again. Right now I've got about ten rows of sleeve left, plus the purl 'fold' line for the hem, and the fifteen rows of the hem itself. It WILL get done today. WILL WILL WILL.
Then I'll celebrate by cutting the neck off and re-knitting it. Oy.
During the knitting yesterday there was an interesting development; the baby figured out how to take off her diaper. No accidents yet, but figure the odds on how long that will last. So I've got a bare-assed baby crawling around. (It would be quite amusing, really, except for the potential accident problem.)
I also ordered some yarn. The husbeast has graciously agreed to accept a green sweater for Christmas instead of blue, because I'm so sick of looking at blue. And I had money left over (from my last Knitty honorarium) so I ordered a horde of yarn for a project that's been lurking in the back of my mind since seeing Kay crank out all those mitered squares at Mason Dixon Knitting. (How does she knit that fast? Whole freaking blankets in the time it takes me to cast on a pot holder.) At the least, there will be something new for me to complain about, soon.
I should probably knit another square for that afghan square jacket I am half-assedly making, too. Or maybe more than one.
Still no size 0 needle in the mail. Halcyon Yarns is overnighting me another one. I will say, the screwup was annoying, but they're doing their best to make it right and being nice about it. It's not their fault they're dealing with a crazy woman on a deadline.
I am now going to go finish this bloody sleeve. I am as sick of knitting it as you are of reading about it. I promise.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Properly inspired, I can crank out an article (the TEXT of an article) in a day or two. Even less, with a gun to my head and my sense of humor at full blast. The problem comes when I try to find something to illustrate the damn things. This often means custom-knit swatches, drawings (I haven't been much good with a pencil since I busted my hand... drawings are bad), and graphics found on the internet or scanned out of books. THAT can take a hell of a lot of time.
I wanted to do 'how lace works', and explain how yarnovers push columns of knitting around, and how decreases kind of eat them up. Problem is, there's no fricking way I can knit the swatches needed in six days AND finish up this freaking Blue Shimmer. Someday I will write this article, but it won't be this month.
Ditto for an idea I had on color theory and Fair Isle sweaters and how to use a black and white copier to cheat at it. (It's a very slick method, involving making a gray scale copy of your yarn or a sample card, and figuring color intensity, etc.) Unfortunately that would ALSO mean knitting two-color swatches and copying them and scanning the copies, and taking photos... No time.
So, boys and girls, we're going to do "Knitting on the Cheap" suggested to my by Trish, who has to deal with me constantly harping about cost per yard. I still have no idea what I'm going to illustrate it with... Bad feeling I'm going to wind up rummaging through the Dead Zone for this one. Someone shoot me for not taking photos of all the Christmas presents I gave out last year. Damn it.
I have informed the husbeast that I will be pulling an all-nighter, if neccessary, to finish the second sleeve of the Blue Shimmer. It is 2/3 done and I can PROBABLY finish it before midnight, but either way, this thing is getting DONE today. Because I still have to re-knit the neck, darn in ten thousand ends, hem everything, and block it. The next week is going to suck. The husbeast said if I get too bad, I'm sleeping on the back porch. Isn't he sweet?
AMY LANE! Whose winning entry is reproduced here in it's entirety:
The knitting Goddess got drunk one night from the dye they use to make that bunny-fur yarn, and started to giggle... "0 size needles? This wench wants to make a sweater out of 0 sized needles? When the whole world is knitting engorged dead dinosaur yarn on sized whoopty-twelve needles, she's knitting mutant sheep fur on sized 0 needles? This wench thinks she can outcrazy the most whacked out Goddess to ever loft a loop? I'll show her crazy...by pattern, needle, and holy wool, I'll show her f-ing crazy...SHAZAM. How's that Christmas stocking coming, sweetheart?" And then she laughed like an insane Goddess drunk on bunny-fur dye. Buuuhhaaahaaahaaahaaa. The End.
Honorable mentions go to Bells for stating the obvious - it's a bitch of a patern, and to MrsFife for coming up with an explanation I never thought of - I'm supposed to knit the stocking and the size 0 needle will appear inside.
Thank you all for the desperately needed laughs. Amy, e-mail me your address and I'll toss this baby in the mail to you.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Then again, I could use a galley slave and gopher... one who can knit would be a bonus. So, April, bring it on.
So, we went to Charles Towne Landing, which is the place where the original settlers to SC landed from England in, um, 1670. (Considering my preferred area of historical study is the Neolithic in C Europe, this is a little out of my realm. And way too fooking recent. But alas, I was the victim of several good American history teachers over the years.) It's a state historical site, with an archeological dig, living history, reconstructions, etc. The 'zoo' isn't really a zoo, exactly, it's a bunch of critters that were native to the area when the settlers would have arrived. Which is great to teach the kids. (We were standing in front of the bear, I said "Can you imagine hunting one of those puppies with a bow and arrow?" and a bunch of adults scowled at me for suggesting we eat meat, but one of the kids got it immediately and agreed "That would SUCK!" My teaching for the day.)
Those of you in Australia or Europe or who-knows-where, you probably don't know (or just never thought of it), but the early settlers would go inland on a river as far as possible and then settle nearby for ease of transportaion. Jiffy idea, but they wound up in places just like Charlestown:
If you can't see the scum floating on the water, I assure you it's there. And the composition of the scum? Mosquito eggs. Mother nature arranged a revenge of sorts for the slaves who were transported here; they brought African diseases with them, the mosquitos would bite them and carry the diseases to the Europeans, who had no resistance to them. Yellow Fever, Malaria, and Dengue Fever were the three biggest problems, though I'm sure there were more. The white settlers died in droves. (I have heard as high as 95% fatality rates, and I believe it.) So usually I stand at these historic sites, like here and Jamestown and Williamsburg, and instead of thinking of Brave White Men I think of idiot haoles building houses in swamps and dying in hordes.
Anyway. We got to Charlestown today and agreed immediately there was no way we'd cover the whole area in one afternoon, particularly with the baby. So we headed straight for the critters. The baby likes critters.
Among other things (turtles, turkeys, bison, elk), they had bears, previously mentioned. It was a nice habitat and they looked very clean and well-fed and content, which is good. I HATE seeing badly treated animals. No enjoyment whatsoever. The baby spotted the bear (we wheeled her up in her stroller, right on the other side of the fence, and she said "OOOOO!" Best moment of the day.)
There were also otters. (I have one bad photo of them, but they were really cute.) I love otters. I could watch them all day. Unfortunately the baby gets bored fast, so I didn't get to. But they were cute. I want a river otter as a pet. (I understand they'd trash the house, so not really, but it would be SO cool.) These guys are like undersized sea otters, but they still have that smart look on their face, like they know just what the score is.
We also saw a fricking huge puma (click here for a photo of one mauling a toy deer), which I did not get a picture of (it was shaded and well camouflaged - I could post the picture but you won't see the cat). It paced along the habitat, looking through the fence at the humans like we were selections in a deli case. It made me have a lot more respect for my cat, at least until we got home and found her stoned on catnip and banging her head on the wall in the hallway.
I leave you with a photo across the Ashley River delta. In the center of the photo is the superstructure of the Ravenel Bridge, all the way on the other side of downtown Charleston. You can barely see it; looks like a white pyramid.
Yesterday the husbeast asked me, "Do you have any plans for the weekend, other than knitting your ass off?" I said, "no". But what are we doing today? The zoo.
It's the husbeast's birthday and he wants to 'do something'. Normally when he gets stir crazy I tell him to go do something and have a lovely time and take the baby, then stay home and knit (or nap, or dance on the couch). His birthday, though, I'm not getting away with it. So off we go to Charles Towne Landing, home of the local zoo, ancient settlement being dug up by archeologists, parks, and a bunch of other stuff. (If it's cool, I hope to get a season ticket so that the baby and I can go there on week days and hang out. She needs to get out of the house more.)
And I'm not knitting. If I became a hermit I'd get a hell of a lot more done around here.
Oh, and the baby decided to get stuck in a bar stool this morning. I was laughing so hard I could barely take photos. (After the last one, we rescued her, I swear she's not still stuck.)
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Anyway, here it is:
I'm about 1/3 down the second sleeve, and would like to finish it this weekend. Since I knit that 1/3 since yesterday afternoon, it's possible I'll manage it, but you just never know around here. I half expect a hurricane to hit. It's about the only thing that hasn't happened yet, in terms of interefering with getting this sweater done.
Eight rows left on the doily. I estimate it will be done Wednesday, probably blocked by Friday. At least something's going to be done on time. (I hope, I hope.)
Otherwise there's not a lot going on. The baby is teething: (Am I an utterly horrible mother for posting this picture on the internet? 'Cause I swear I'm keepign it and showing it to her prom date in 17 years.)
And the cat is trying to look innocent after sleeping on my chest last night and giving me an asthma attack.
Oh, and while on painkillers Wednesday I ate all the chocolate in my house. And now the husbeast is having a birthday and declared we will eat red meat all weekend because that's what he wants; hamburgers for dinner tonight and steaks tomorrow. My ass is going to be the size of Alaska. Pass the cookies.
Friday, September 22, 2006
So here's the deal. The person to come up with the FUNNIEST reason why this Blue Shimmer project is such a disaster, will recieve the Santa Claus stocking pattern that Halcyon Yarns accidentally mailed me, instead of the size zero circular I desperately need.
Just leave your reason in the comments. I'll pick the one that makes me snort my Monday morning tea out my nose, and mail it out.
It contained a pattern for a Santa Claus Christmas stocking.
Halcyon says they're re-sending my order today. Fifty bucks says it gets here on October 5 after I have no use for it, and I wind up knitting this hem on ten double points.
The first sleeve is finished just now, and I am going to go start the second one. If you hear faint screaming from the direction of South Carolina, it's just me.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
...like I don't have enough going on. But the Blue Shimmer is actually based on EZ's percentage system, and the next sweater I'm knitting, for the husbeast, is, too. If you've never used the method, you should try it. Works like a charm and frees you from written patterns forever.
And I've got a link over in the sidebar. If you care.
I'm gonna hum the theme from "Animaniacs" the rest of the damn night.
Okay, I lived in Hawaii, and there were a good number of Aussies living there. I went to school with them, worked with them, etc (which is where I picked up the slang, thanks). Every Australian I ever met was fit and active and loved the outdoors and did a lot of surfing and hiking and stuff.
I'd just like to know, how do y'all stay thin, with stuff like this to eat? It's A HUNDRED BLOODY CALORIES PER COOKIE!
I've eaten half a package of these things today. Can't you keep your OWN junk food? We've got enough!
International junk food. Like I didn't have enough problems.
When I saw the doctor yesterday, there was a lot of pulling and poking and prodding and twisting of my hand to see how it worked. Today I feel like I've got rabid squirrels in the joint, gnawing their way out. (Or possibly like someone's trying to amputate my hand with a tack hammer. It varies.) This means drugs, which means BEING drugged, which means getting on the internet and posting rude and profane and rambling things on my blog.
Regardless of this lovely development, I am hellbent on finishing sleeve one of the Blue Shimmer today. I've got about 38 rounds, plus the hem, to go. Double point needles don't exist in the proper size, thanks to Addi's weirdness when they sized these circulars, so I'm stuck doing the two-circular-needle deal, like people knit socks. I've never done this before. It's a pain in the ass. Why do people knit socks like this? Why not just use the bloody double-points? They're easier than having ten thousand needle ends flopping around like a demented octopus. It's reminding me of the end of Pirates of the Caribbean 2 around here. And I feel like Jack.
And just think, when this is done, I've got the neck to fix and another sleeve to do.
The baby has begun pulling things out of the trash to play with and is, at this moment, gnawing on an empty water bottle. This is the last of a long string of strange behaviors she has learned from the cat. (The baby likes to crawl over to me when I'm standing, and rub her face on my leg. It's creeping me out.) It's not enough I'm drugged and knitting on and endless project, no, my baby has to go off the deep end, too.
Oh, and tomorrow is her one year checkup, with vaccines. So tomorrow night will be cranky fever night. The fun never ends.
I am now going to go knit more bloody damned stockinette, grinding my teeth and snarling. Y'all have a lovely evening.
And Blogger won't upload any damn pictures. This must be the scheduled outrage.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Anyway. Hand specialist. He's awesome. Had to leave in the middle of my appointment to talk to a mad scientist prosthetics builder about a custom elbow for some lady so that he could save her arm and avoid amputating it. My kind of doctor. (Yes, I eavesdropped shamelessly. It's a new doctor. I gotta find out if he's worth keeping.) He's impressed as hell with my range of motion and ability to do things, because, bluntly, my hand really shouldn't work as well as it does. My circulation is okay - the cold hand is due to chronic pain nervous system weirdness, not missing veins and arteries. And my only high risk activity at the moment is carrying the baby around. (Okay, I might have left out the part about the knitting marathon on deadline. I may have left out the knitting altogether. I may be a big old chicken.) So I've got a list of symptoms to watch out for and not ignore, and he kept me on as an open-ended patient so that if something weird happens I can just call him instead of having to do referalls and insurance company forms and other stupidity.
I like him. Good guy. Dr. Muirhead in Charleston, if you're in the area and need a hand specialist.
Yesterday, I went on a quest for a size 0/2mm circular to finish this sweater with. No luck. At one point I was so desperate I was ready to buy another Susan Bates, but the craft store didn't have them anyway, and sanity prevailed. (So, Annie, there's no reason for you to fly down here and beat me half to death with a size 15 single point. Really.) I ordered another Addi Turbo last night, and shall be lighting candles to the Post Office Gods in the hope it arrives in time. Otherwise I will be left knitting a 44 inch hem on eight double point needles. I hope to hell it doesn't come to that. It may be the final screw-up on this damn project that drives me over the edge. (Further over the edge?)
While at the craft store, I, um, sort of slipped and fell on my credit card and bought three more spools of crochet cotton. It was an accident. Really. The husbeast sighed heavily at me when he saw it, and didn't say anything else.
In other news, I want to point out that I am not the only lunatic knitting on 0000 needles. Alwen's doing it too. I've been trying to leave a message on her blog, but Blogger is not allowing it, so I'll say it here. YEAH, YOU GO GIRL!! CRAZY KNITTERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE! (As I logged on to Blogger today, they had a notice up about taking down the system to fix it, and I read it as "Scheduled OUTRAGE, 4 PM", which says it all, right there.)
Crow Calling Woman wanted to know why Lion Brand is banned in my house. It's because in the long run, it costs me money and time. I've bought Lion Brand products several times, and after knitting with them a while, would throw away the project and the yarn and buy new and re-knit. Their yarns split and snag and are not worth the money charged for them. (Considering they charge natural fiber prices for acrylic.)
I think that clears up questions in the comments... If not, give me a shout, either in comments or e-mail me privately.
This may be a sick commentary on my personality, but I desperately want a spare two thousand dollars, so I can buy one of these. I want to hang an Andoluvian Grackler over my fireplace. Utterly hilarious. Being broke is a bitch. Who knew silliness could be so expensive?
Now, I must go knit. Light blue. Stockinette. I will try to muffle my screams of boredom.
Monday, September 18, 2006
For starters, you measure row gauge the same way you measure stitch gauge: Push in a pin between two rows, measure up or down a couple inches, then put in another pin. Count the rows between, divide by the inches (or cm) you measured over, and voila. Your rows per inch/cm.
Only problem is, the information's pretty much useless.
The problem? The same thing that drives physics students crazy: gravity. The world's largest swatch, pinned to a board and measured flat, is not going to give you the same row gauge as a sweater when it's worn, because gravity will pull it down. Obviously heavy fibers with no 'spring' (like cotton or silk) would be more affected than fluffy fibers with some springiness (wool or angora). Same goes for bulky vs. fingering weight; the heavier it is, the more it's going to hang lower and the further off the row gauge will be from your happy little swatch.
Sure, there are complex methods of tweaking the row gauge for measurement, like weighting the swatch and hanging it in the closet for a week, but those are inaccurate too, because the weight hanging on the yarn depends on where it is in the sweater. Down by the hem with no weight on it, the row gauge is fairly accurate, but up by the shoulder with the whole weight of the sweater hanging off it, it's pretty darn stretched out. THEN you get into stitch patterns; stranded color stretches less than stockinette because the two colors make it firmer, lace stretches like CRAZY, cables stretch more horizontally than vertically, stockinette stretches in all directions...
This is why I mostly ignore it.
HOWEVER. One of the reasons I can ignore it is because of the types of knitting I do; wraps and scarves and the like in which exact length is not an issue, or doilies in which there really is no length, or traditionally knit casual sweaters, where exact length is also not an issue. If you're knitting a sweater sideways, or diagonally (which is becoming popular with these new self-striping yarns), row gauge does come into play and it DOES matter.
Unfortunately you're still screwed, because the designer measures the stitch and row gauge on the finished sweater, after it's been blocked and the 'hang' is affecting it. Which means it doesn't even match the designer's little gauge swatch, let alone your own. Several people I've known have tried knitting these types of sweaters and run into major problems, even with their row gauge matching the pattern requirements. I suspect this is the major cause of it. What really needs to happen is, the designer needs to give swatch gauge and finished sweater gauge and let the knitter take it from there, but that would mean that gauge varies from swatch to sweater, something the publishing places will never admit. (Because then these screwed-up sweaters we sometimes knit might be THEIR FAULT. Horrors.)
So, how do I deal with row gauge? When I knit a sweater, I measure the length as I knit it. The way I measure it is a little different, though. I hang on to the needle, give the sweater a couple good shakes, and then HOLD THE SWEATER UP THE WAY IT WILL BE WORN and hold a ruler or tape measure against it. Even using this half-assed method, a sweater will lengthen by half an inch or more between what it was laying in my lap, and the shaken and held up version.
For anyone wanting to knit a sideways or diagonal project, I suggest getting a slightly smaller gauge than suggested on both stitch and row gauge, and then keep your fingers crossed. It's a lot more hit-and-miss than anyone will admit.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
See this? It's a SLEEVE.
It's a sleeve that's almost a third done. (!!!) The smaller amount of stitches makes all the difference, and it's going fast enough that I feel like I'm accomplishing something. I wanted to finish fifty rows a day and have it done in three days, but I blew that. (The thought process yesterday went something like "I want to do fifty rows... okay, forty... screw this, I'm going to bed.") Even slacking off, I may have both sleeves done by the end of the coming week, which would give me actual time for finishing before I have to turn it in. Wouldn't that be nice?
I'm also on the last pattern ring of the doily, and it's finally big enough to move to the circular needle. (At this gauge, I doubt the thing will be as big as a dinner plate - right now it's barely ten inches/20cm across.) You can see the leaf pattern in the center, now that it's spread out a little.
There have been accusations by Certain People (yeah, you, Trish) that I'm not knitting on it, but am just taking repeated photos of the same thing. Hah. It's amzing how slowly something grows on 0000's, though. After a while knitting on the doily, the size 1/2.5mm needles for the sweater look big. Once this idiotic marathon is over and I go back to knitting scarves, those size ten/6mm needles are going to seem like telephone poles.
Otherwise, I'm still screwing around with my medication and am spending a lot of time asleep, again. Big excitement. Tomorrow's scheduled outing is a trip to the grocery store. My life is a whirlwind of neverending fascination.
And now, another gratuitiously cute photo of my kid. Being a girl, she really likes shoes. Especially for teething purposes. Not so much to wear.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
We have the start of a sleeve.
I spent most of Tuesday drawing diagrams on graph paper and punching numbers into my little purple flowered calculator (might as well do math with style) and wound up with the page shown at left. I'm decreasing from 134 stitches down to 68, over 15 inches. Sounds insane, but compared to five hundred whatever stitches I was doing on those yoke rounds, the top of the sleeve seems to go lightning fast, even if it is on an awkwardly short needle, having to turn the entire sweater as I go. I also attempted to get a shot of the three-way meet where the armpit runs into the body. On bottom-up seamless sweaters (like the brown and red jacket), the arm pit is grafted, but on top-down seamless sweaters, the arm pit is cast on, and then picked up in the other direction, and I've gotta say the join is way better looking this way:
And the doily continues apace. I've got 24 rows to go; at two rows per day, that's 12 days, and I've got way more time than that to get this done. (It'll go even faster if I lose my head and do more than two rows in a day, of course.) I still think it's sad that this is my low-stress project at the moment. Anyway, I've almost killed off the first 150 yard spool of thread:
Yesterday I had to take a break from knitting because I'd overdone it and was having muscle spasms in my right thumb and the uncontrollable twitching was REALLY annoying. I sat on my hand most of the evening. Like most problems with my hand, it's about half funny and half annoying. I'm about to start calling it "Thing", after the hand in the Addams Family that did whatever it wanted, all by itself.
And now, back to the sock mines.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Lion Brand has a new yarn, "Ruffles". It's a tape, about two inches/3cm wide, and you stick your needle through the tape and just knit up the edge of it. (Photos of the process here; it's a clever idea.) This leaves the rest of the tape flopping around and, well, ruffly. I'm intrigued and thinking of breaking the Lion Brand ban in my house to go buy some of this and knit it up and see how it works. (In the back of my mind I'm wondering if I can then go buy some loosely woven ribbon that's nicer, and do the same thing with it.)
Anyway. So. Lion Brand has a new 'yarn' that produces ruffles when knit.
When, I ask you, does ANYONE use ruffles? Little girls' clothes, right? What else are you gonna put ruffles on? The husbeast's fisherman's gansey? No. It's all about the little girl frocks with ruffles on the bottom. I even did an informal poll, asking what types of clothing a person would put ruffles on, if they were designing. Everyone immediately answered 'girl's clothes'. So what colors is 'Ruffles' available in? White and black. No pink. NO. PINK. What's the fucking point of knitting ruffles unless they're pink??!!?? Yet another big duuuuh for the folks at Lion Brand. (And what in hell am I gonna put black ruffles on? An evening gown??)
I also got the new Patternworks catalogue, and they're continuing to do what I've watched for the last five years: carry more and more expensive specialty stuff and less and less classic 'plain old yarn'. Who can afford to knit every project with yarn that costs $30 for 150 yards? Other retailers (Webs, Halcyon Yarns) are trying to find value-priced yarns, and Patternworks is off, seeking out the latest cashmere and space-dyed linen. Ugh. (Yeah, the space-dyed linen is cool, but I can't afford it.)
Sometimes I really wonder what people are thinking. (Often they aren't thinking. That's the real problem.)
Sooooo. Anyone know where I can buy some Brown Sheep Nature Spun sport weight, on line? Other than Patternworks? Anyone?
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Today I'm putting the waist hem on a holder and starting the sleeves. (I could drive all over Charleston searching for a size 0/2mm circular needle, but I just don't have it in me. Medication woes again.) Since the gauge is all screwed up, I have to re-figure all the arm shaping math to get it to come out to the same size wrist. I don't even know how many stitches I'll be starting with at the top of the sleeve. Which means instead of spending most of the day knitting, it will be spent hunched over a pad of graph paper and a calculator. I may have a rep as a math geek, but darn it, I wanna KNIT, not do algebra.
Never in my life have I knit anything this messed up. Stockinette or not, it's turning into the project from hell. (Christmas sweaters for my mother-in-law always turn out this way; it's very bizarre. Last year was an Elspeth Lavold cable-knit that should have been easy, but it turned out the pattern was written wrong and had errors in it, plus the sleeves were knit for an orangutan in the original. I took off three inches while knitting the sleeves, and then after giving her the sweater, picked out the seams, cut off another two inches, grafted the cuffs back on, and the sleeves are STILL a little too long. The year before that was a lopi jacket with color matching problems.)
In the 'good news' column, though, I've got one more sweater and three or four lace scarves to go (eeeeee!) and I'm done with the Christmas knitting and on to ME KNITTING. 2007 has been declared the Year of Me. I'm not knitting for anyone else unless it's something I want to knit, anyway. If they don't like it, I'm keeping it, and too bad for them.
Anyway, I hope everyone's enjoyed this stream-of-consciousness post (I doubled up on my medication and I'm all screwed up again, but at least I'm not pathologically happy). Since there's no visible knitting progress to report, I leave you with a gratuitous photo of my kid. Because she's cute, and I can.
Monday, September 11, 2006
If you're trying to figure out what the heck's going on around here, here's the cheat sheet:
The state fair turn-in day is October 4, and I'm trying to finish a copy of the Blue Shimmer and a doily (knit on 0000 needles with size 70 tatting cotton) by then. It's about all I do.
I've got a year-old baby I spend a lot of time feeding, diapering, chasing, and playing with. Ditto for my six year old cat. (I also break up a lot of baby-cat situations where the baby wants to hug the cat to death.)
For those who've been following along with the drama, I've now got the knitting needles to do the sleeves on the Blue Shimmer (they came in the mail today), but now I can't find the size zero/2mm needle I need to knit the hem of the body. I don't think I've ever in my life knit a project this disorganized. Of course it's on a deadline.
I may have to go to the local yarn shop. It's run by a troll. Urg.
Now, not only am I short the needles I need to knit the sleeves, I also seem to not have a size 0/2mm needle to knit the hem with. I think the Susan Bates needle that got slashed to ribbons was the only size 0 circular in the house, so today it's off to the craft stores for a new needle, and then a quick stop at the fabric store to get sewing thread to sew the hems with. (Normally I use embroidery floss or a split-in-half bit of yarn to sew down hems, but this fabric is so thin, I really think sewing thread is the way to go.)
Can't believe the body's done. (And now that I've said that, I'm going to spill a pot of spaghetti sauce over it, or something equally horrendous.)
I guess I'll knit like the wind on the doily until I get the needles.
I really, really, really hate deadlines. And I have only myself to blame. I'm such a dumbass.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
That's the Blue Shimmer, off the needles and four rows unraveled. Putting the stitches back ON the needle sure was fun.
Last night after I went to bed early (heavily drugged, with a migraine), the husbeast tripped over the yarn and pulled about two inches' worth of stitches off the needles. He carefully put it back on the couch for me to deal with in the morning. In the morning, the baby got ahold of it and created a big run about eight stitches by four rows. I picked up the stitches several times and it looked like shit no matter what I did, so I gave up, ripped back, and started over. I've already caught back up to where I was and it looks fine, so this doesn't annoy me, much. (Plus the husbeast has apologized repeatedly and thanked me for not screaming. Hahaha.)
No, what annoys the hell out of me is, while I had the sweater off the needles, I measured it, and thanks to the weird needle sizing, THE BODY IS FOUR INCHES TOO BIG. Four goddamn inches. That's a LOT. I am telling myself that because the fabric is thin, and it has a lot of drape, it will still look fine when it is worn, and it probably will, but damn it, I hate when the gauge is off that bad. (Why, yes, I am a perfectionist. Don't tell me you're just noticing it now.) If the fit is REALLY bad, once I get the sweater on my victim for fitting, I'm going to steek the body sides, cut out a hunk at each arm pit, and seam them back together. All that extra knitting for nothing. Grrr.
The good news is, I've got another week to finish the body (on my two weeks for the body and one week per sleeve plan), and it looks like I'll make it. Barring any more baby/husbeast assistance.
Thanks to everyone who sympathized or offered suggestions for the baby. We figured out what the problem was - we've been tinkering around with her diet, and she was, um, clogged up. Yesterday we filled her full of red grapes (she loves those) and the, shall we say, demon was exorcised. She slept all night and is much happier today. (Ten years from now my kid is going to realize I discussed the details of her intestines on this blog, get embarassed, have a hissy fit, and not speak to me for a week. Won't that be fun?)
Babies are weird.
I did score a Lindt hazelnut and milk chocolate bar out of the whole knitting disaster (the husbeast knows how to suck up). Time for a snack, then back to the sock mines.
Oh. And I still don't have the knitting needles I need to knit the arms. I ordered them Tuesday. Gulp.
Friday, September 08, 2006
The baby is teething, or not feeling well, or demonically posessed, or something. She hasn't slept more than four hours at a time since Tuesday and every night is awake almost hourly, with a rousing fit of screaming around two AM, lasting for about 45 minutes. The husbeast and I look like zombies (and feel like it, too) and of course the baby's perky as heck in daylight. Maybe we should hang some garlic around her neck tonight.
There was no hand specialist visit yesterday (though I really liked the suggestion that I tell the doc that my knuckles are red due to allgergies - I'm gonna try that). The baby-sitter fell through and I called to reschedule with her howling in the background... I apologized for rescheduling on short notice, but I'm sure the receptionist hung up the phone and thought "Thank goodness she didn't bring that screaming kid here today."
Anyway. I went out and run errands, and while in the Jeep the baby magically shut up, so we went for a drive.
Patriot's Point Park is where the Cooper River meets the Atlantic, on the northern side. They've got an old WW2 aircraft carrier parked there and overhauled as a museum, the USS Yorktown. (The Yorktown web site makes noise, so if you're at work, click with caution.)
There is no real way to communicate how big an aircraft carrier is, without standing a person on the deck of one. But you see the little white dot at the end of the howitzer? That's a full-sized van, parked on the pier, next to the ship.
We also drove across the new Arthur Ravenel Bridge to get there:
This is a lousy photo; there are better ones on the web site. It's a really nice bridge, four lanes in either direction. At night they uplight it from the roadway and it looks like it's floating in the air. Very cool.
I also caught a riverboat going upstream, but it was far away and teeny tiny.
Other than that, knitting continues on the lace and sweater.
There is a small black something floating in the bottom of my tea cup. I'm telling myself it's a tea leaf, and not an ant.
...I just finished uploading all the photos and now there are two specks in the bottom of my tea cup. Hmmm.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
So far, so good. (I've gotten about five inches of body done so far. If my hands didn't hurt like hell I'd be optimistic about finishing this in time.) The only drawback to this is, the cone is really heavy and awkward and pulling yarn off it was adding or subtracting twist to the yarn and making the stockinette uneven (and isn't that going to be fun to fix in blocking?)
I asked the husbeast to rig something up for me.
This is what I got.
The husbeast is nothing if not creative. From the bottom, we have the lid to an air cleaner from a V8 engine, a lightbulb fixture, the spool of yarn, and a wing nut. It's all attatched to a hunk of threaded bar stock from the hardware store. Total cost, less than $10 USD. And it works, well. The spool sits on the light fixture and turns while the wide base holds everything still. (The baby likes to breathe on the chrome air cleaner lid and watch her breath film it and then disappear, very amusing.) I bet I'm the first girl on my block (probably the first girl on my continent) to have her very own Edelbrock yarn spool holder.
You should see what this guy does with cars.
The doily also progresses. I swear this is a new photo and not the old one, over again. The excitement around here is... underwhelming.
I have an appointment with a hand specialist this afternoon, and in my usual paranoid fashion I am afraid he's going to ban knitting altogether when he gets a load of my kuckles. (They're a lovely, inflamed red - from too much heavy lifting, not knitting.) Or he's going to tell me to quit using my hand for a week. Or something else equally impossible. (It's more likely he'll tell me I'm doing better than average, because I am, but allow me my paranoia, huh?)
Oh, and I also found out that if you pile enough disorganized crap on your desk, the ants can't find a way across it to your tea cup. Especially if you leave a half-dozen other tea cups out as decoys. Best reason I ever heard for being a pig.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
I do have some comments on the comments, though.
Bells says I've reassured her that it's possible to have a baby and still knit. Well, sorta. At the moment I'm doing the stay-at-home-Mom thing, so I am capable of a lot more knitting than I would be if I were working. With a full-time job and a baby, I'd only manage maybe an hour of knitting a night, after the baby went to bed - assuming I could stay up that long. And even now, if you pull a non-stop knit session like I'm doing with the Blue Shimmer, something's got to give. I don't neglect my kid, though, I neglect the housework. Someone once asked J.K. Rowling how she managed to write a book and raise a baby. She said "Easy. I didn't do any housework for a year." It's going to take a shovel to clean this house out in October once the Blue Shimmer is turned in.
Carol commented on how well-behaved my cat is, in proximity to yarn. She is, mostly. (There were some yarn-chewing incidents right after we brought the baby home from the hospital, but that was to express annoyance - she knew it was wrong.) The thing is, I've got a weird cat. She's trainable. She's got all her claws because it was possible to teach her not to scratch the furniture. She does 'sit', 'stay', 'lay down', and will come when you call her. (This weirds people out immensely.) I was raised with dogs and had never had a cat before - no one told me you can't train them, so I did. So, yes, after a few nasty incidents when I first got her, and some rebellion when we brought the baby home, she is good with yarn. Weird cat. (Well, she still snuffles yarn like crazy, and will rub her face all over it, and happily sleeps on top of projects in progress - or inside them. But she doesn't chew it.)
Otherwise, I sit here and knit and knit and knit and knit and dream of projects I want to knit when I'm done with all this stuff. (I may make a list for 2007; the list for 2006 was so amusing.)
Monday, September 04, 2006
THE BLOODY DAMNED KNITTING NEEDLES ARE THE WRONG GODDAMN SIZE.
That's right. Addi Turbo size one knitting needles are 2.5 mm. Everything else - double points and all other circulars - are 2.25 mm. That means by knitting the swatch on 2.25 double points, and then knitting the sweater on 2.5 mm circulars, I am guranteeing that the size of the sweater will be off.
They are, technically, both size ones. I am telling myself this is not my fault, but the fault of the the jackasses in the government who refuse to switch to metric and leave us with this idiotic, outdated imperial measurement system. BUT THEY AREN'T THE ONES KNITTING THE SWEATER, ARE THEY??!
I am now going to pound my head on a wall.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
The bad news? With the join on the yoke (where the rounds start and end) positioned correctly to fall at the back of one shoulder, the short rows at the neck are in the wrong spot. I'm going to have to pull off the neck and re-knit it.
Yeah. I've got time for that.
Still haven't ordered the needle I need to knit the sleeves, either. Monday is a holiday here and it won't get shipped out until Tuesday, and knowing that is making me lazy. I need to get off my butt. However, I did check the rules at the state fair and I CAN enter "Innsvinget" if I want to. It has to be knit in the last three years, and it has been. So I do have a fallback. (I'm refusing to think about what the inside of that sweater looks like, particularly the armholes where I cut the steeks; I never knit facings for steeks, I just let them hang there.) If you were judging sweaters, you'd turn them all inside out and look at them that way, wouldn't you? I would.
Otherwise, I'm keeping up with my plan to knit two rounds of lace per day, so all is on target with THAT project. My couch looks like the yarn closet threw up on it, though.
Saturday, September 02, 2006
That's the (blurry) result of two days' fiendish knitting; barely two inches of fabric. Yesterday I knit every minute I reasonably could without permanently screwing up my hand, and that's where I'm at. 15 rounds at 532 stitches per round. That's almost eight thousand stitches, and looking at it that way it's not bad for two days' work, but IT'S NOT FAST ENOUGH. As I used to say in high school, 'shitdamnhellfuckscrew'. Unless something major happens when I split the sweater for body and sleeves and the knitting picks up (and I don't forsee it happening, the body stitch count is over four hundred stitches per round), there's no way this is gonna be done by October fourth.
If, in the middle of September, it's looking like a lost cause, I'm thinking I can finish "Innsvinget" (the blue and black sweater for me that's missing an arm) in a week or two and turn that in, instead. I'm pretty sure the rules say it's got to be knit in the last three years, and it has been. (Need to go check that.) There's no cheating, even if I want to, because the damn sweater has "JLT 04" knit into the bloody hem. Although my finishing work on that sweater's not what I'd call up to state fair level, it's better than not turning in ANYTHING. The yarn police still aren't arresting sloppy kniters, right?
It's gonna be a boring month of fiendish stockinette knitting around here. Sigh.
The baby-cat world domination plan is back on. There had been a falling out after an international incident involving tail and ear pulling and hand whapping, but both sides have patched it up and are taking a break from peace talks to play. Here they are, both trying to look innocent after flinging blocks all over the living room (the baby throws, the cat chases and pounces).
(Actually, the cat got left at home with automatic food and water while we went to Ohio, and she's so happy to see us all that she's been stuck to us like a big fuzzy hair ball since Wednesday.)
Back to the stockinette salt mines. (I almost typed 'sock mines'. What a mental image that brings.)
Friday, September 01, 2006
Yes, that's right. Actual knitting content. With photos, if I can get Blogger to cooperate.
The Blue Shimmer is chugging along. I got the yoke finished and that much of the light blue done yesterday. All the rest of the sweater is light blue, so it's gonna be damn boring from here on out; I need three and a half inches of blue before I can separate it into arms and body and the knitting picks up speed a little bit. (It's being knit from the top down.) Right now there are 532 stitches on the needle and even with an Addi Turbo and working continental, each round takes a while. Snore.
This is the project I'm really worrying over, in terms of getting it done on time. I figure two weeks for the body and a week each for the sleeves, and I can do finishing (like the ten million ends waiting to be darned in on the yoke) the first four days of October. I'm having visions of this thing drying in the Jeep as I drive to Columbia to turn it in at the fair.
I wanted to knit the sleeves first but realized last night, I don't have the needles to knit them with. Whoops. Ordering those today. If they get here in time, I'll do the sleeves first. If they aren't here by the time I separate for body and sleeves, though, I'll start the body first. I don't have time to wait around.
The other project is a lace doily. (Holy crap, the photo's in focus.) I didn't think that alone was impressive enough at the state fair level and decided to knit it on small needles (0000) with a really thin 'yarn' (size 70 tatting cotton). This has slowed the knitting down quite a lot, and made me wonder if I have truly lost my mind. If I haven't, the knitting of this may well do it. At any rate, there are fifty rounds to go, and I figure if I knit two a day (entirely do-able), that will finish it with almost ten days to spare. (Ten days in which to spaz out and obsess on the Blue Shimmer.) So it's not a big worry, just a pain in the butt. The center's a provisional cast-on (yes, ANOTHER provisional cast-on) that will get taken out, and finished off much like the top of a stocking cap; I've found that's the least difficult way to get a doily with no gaping hole in the center of it.
In other news, the little black goddamn ants are still wandering around my desk. That's after a WEEK with no one in the house, and no tea cups or soda cans on the desk, and an empty waste-basket in the office. Time to get the gasoline and soap flakes and napalm the house.
You know how when children get quiet, it's time to go find them and discover what evilness they're up to? My kid got quiet yesterday. When I went looking, I found her with this:
That used to be the tail end of a ball of yarn from the brown and red jacket. It's toast now.
Lucky for her, she's cute.
The tropical storm yesterday dropped three inches of rain and moved on up the coast; the power didn't even go out. (This is in no way a complaint.) The husbeast's office is in a barge that was towed into the middle of the river for safety, the barge isn't back yet, and he's having to do his job with paper and pencil. It's a high-tech job. Not a pretty picture. I'm assuming he'll either get his office back or they'll send him home early, but it's the Navy. They don't have to make sense. (The Navy AND Air Force bases were totally shut down yesterday. Even medical. They can invade other countries, but they can't keep the freaking Commisary open in the rain??)
Now I'm going to go two rounds of a lace doily I've knit five times before (snore) and then spend the rest of the day knitting like the wind on endless rounds of light blue stockinette (total snore).