Tuesday, October 31, 2006
I finished the Blue Shimmer, which in retrospect still amazes me. It took two months, but I turned out an entire sweater on size 1/2.5mm needles, and it looks good into the bargain. Good enough that I'm considering doing another one next year, though this time color-stranded on size two/3mms. No need to get carried away with that size one thing. The yarn was absolutely glorious and I want a sweater for myself out of it.
I started the Husbeast Gansey, and have half a sleeve and the body up to the arm pits. I'd REALLY like to finish it in November, but we'll see. I'm trying to quit setting myself idiotic goals.
Ditto the scarves; I'd like to have all three done by the end of November, and thus an end to the Christmas knitting. At which point I can dig into the Year of Me and get self-indulgent about picking projects.
For a change of pace I'll probably start the design process on the miter sweater, take measurements for that and my Steeked Jacket (remember the knit-along?) and attempt to nail down some details about that. There will be yarn ordering. Whee! Maybe there will be swatch knitting.
Otherwise, my only goal is to get the house cleaned up for Thanksgiving, cook the meal, and enjoy the holiday. If you saw my house, you'd wonder how I planned to get that done in a single month.
It'd be nice to get the baby to walk, but she's going to do what she wants, when she wants, and how she wants (it's like looking in a mirror).
Blessed Samhain, everyone.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Ten years ago, the response would have been 'lace knitting? weird'. I'm not sure if that's because I'm older now, or if it's because knitting has become popular. I'm sure I don't want to know.
As soon as these Christmas projects are done, I can begin on the Year of Me. MEMEMEMEME. There's that yarn, sitting in my closet, waiting for me to start mitering. There's also a whole bag of cotton close to the lavender in this photo, for a casual lace pullover for me. I could knit them both at once, if I wanted - I usually do two projects at once. All I have to do is finish this sweater and three scarves first. When I look at it that way, it doesn't sound too bad and suddenly I want to knit like the wind so I can dig into all that cotton and feel like I'm doing something interesting. (I fear that often, once the design phase is over, the romance is gone for me and the knitting up is kind of a snore - like with the Husbeast Gansey.)
Besides my sudden motivation, there's nothing exciting. The baby and I both have colds and are huddled down in front of the TV together, sipping water and cuddling when she's in the mood to hold still. (That's often how we tell she's not feeling well. She sits still.) I'm trying to figure out how to get chicken noodle soup into her. The idea of liquid off a spoon is something she still doesn't quite get, though the results are pretty funny.
Must. Go. Knit.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
There is a fantastic graphics tool called Gimp that is available for FREEFREEFREE on line at www.gimp.org (Note to the techno-challenged like me; you have to download the 'environment', the program, and the help text separately. It took me way too long to figure that out.)
Anyway, since downloading this thing (works just like Photoshop, but less confusing, and did I mention it's FREE?) I've been playing around, trying to get the hang of how it works. Maybe my next Knitty article won't look like the graphics were done by a seventh grader using Paintbrush. (I insult seventh graders; I'm sure they're better at graphics programs than I am.)
So if you need an imaging program, hie on over to Gimp and get one and spend the thousand bucks you've been saving up for Photoshop to buy yourself some yarn.
I tore out all the knitting on the mohair scarf and re-cast-on for three pattern repeats instead of five. (This is what I get for not doing anything like a gauge swatch, after writing an article on gauge swatches.) Not only have I wasted all that time, but the yarn now looks like a wet rat. VERY attractive for gift giving.
I made waffles and put too much batter in the waffle iron and it oozed out and pooled on the countertop and cooked itself to the outside of the waffle iron. THREE TIMES IN A ROW.
The baby was up all night last night, howling at the moon. Dadad has yet to figure out when she's seriously upset and when she's milking it for attention and I had to go into the nursery around three AM and send everyone to bed. (Including the cat.) How is it that I ended up in charge around here?
When SHE didn't have me up, the asshole neighbor's car alarm woke me up. Twice.
This morning, I realized there's a difference between all the clocks in the house and the computer and suddenly realized we were doing Daylight Savings or Winter Freeze Your Ass or Ben Franklin's Fucked Up Idea Time and had to re-set all the clocks. (Hawaii doesn't do the time change thing, so we tend to forget, now that we're back on the mainland. I know we've been back on the mainland two years, but our brains are still on Hawaiian Standard.) Which means I put the baby down for a nap at the wrong time and she's going to be even MORE screwed up.
The cat is stoned on catnip. I envy her.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Disregarding everything I've ever learned, all the advice ever given me, and even the advice I've GIVEN OUT, I bought four balls of the damn stuff without ever having knit with it. And at $11 a ball, I'm now pretty much committed to knitting scarves with it (around here $44 is a lot to toss away, or rather, toss in the pit of the Yarn Closet). And then to prove I was stupid, I bought another ball about a month ago for another scarf. Add in, I'm not doing gauge swatches for these, either, so I have no idea how the stitch pattern will look until I knit a couple pattern repeats of the scarf itself. (Pick a lace pattern, do enough repeats to land you somewhere between fifty and sixty stitches wide, and knit. It'll come out the right width. One cool thing about scarf 'fitting'.)
These scarves pretty much break every rule I set myself when I knit, so I deserve to hate them and suffer through them. Unfortuately for youse guys, you've gotta listen to me.
The husbeast is giggling over something he found on the internet today:
I'm letting him get away with it because he does 90% of the laundry around here. (He refuses to touch hand-knits, and doesn't like doing baby clothes, so I do those.)
Otherwise it's a typical Saturday at home; the husbeast alternates between watching TV, cruising the 'net, and working on the vehicles. I play Civilization or read or knit. The baby mainly torments the cat and chews on window sills. Sometimes we both get bored, and I play streaming video of kid's songs, and she sits in my office chair and watches.
Friday, October 27, 2006
I've been blearily knitting away on the scarf. I'm using a 'falling leaves' pattern from "Charted Knitting Designs" by Barbara Walker (are we worshiping her yet? Shouldn't we be by now?) Unfortunately any but the most obvious stitch definition is lost in all that damn mohair fuzz, so instead of diagonal leaves I've got a buncha friggin' squares. All you can see are yarnovers and anonymous knit fabric. You can't even tell if it's knit or purl unless you hold it under the Ott Lite and practically press your nose to it. I'm seriously tempted to do the next scarf with random yarnovers and call it a pattern and see how it looks.
The gansey sleeve is languishing again. My excuse is, the cat's sleeping in my knitting spot.
Maybe I'll go knit something.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
I'm sure everyone's noticed a distinct lack of motivation toward the knitting going on around here lately. I think it's been a combination of a lot of stuff; health crap (medication is still kicking my ass), the state fair annoyance and plain old driving time, knitting gifts I don't like, etc. Last night I got disciplined (for me) and sat down to work on the Gansey sleeve, and it all clicked again.
There I sat, knitting on the gansey (okay, it's not historically accurate in construction, pattern, color, or material, but I SAY it's a gansey, by golly) and it hit me: How many women in the last, oh, four hundred years, have sat in their little room after dinner, with the baby snoozing in the crib and the cat next to them, knitting away on a sweater for their husband? Thousands? I'm sure. Maybe hundreds of thousands. And I had one of Those Moments where I felt that connection to the history and every-day usefulness of it all.
Then I started counting blessings. I can't quite help it when I think about history - things were damn rough for most people, most of the time. First, ironically, was being thankful for my Ott Lite, phrased something like "Man, I'm glad I don't have to knit this by candle light, that would suck." Then I remembered I had heat in my nice, comfy, well-constructed house. And the yarn was brought to my door by the beloved post-man; no carding, no spinning, no sheep chasing involved. From there I got a little more basic: I wasn't knitting this for a husband who was a fisherman, so I didn't have to worry if the next storm would kill him. Everyone had eaten well that night, even the cat, and we'd eat well again tomorrow.
Life was, well, pretty good. And so was the damn gansey.
Funny how it all just clicks once in a while. Usually it's while I'm lace-knitting in old jeans with the TV on, and I think "Boy, if those Victorian Ladies got a load of this, they'd faint." Occasionally while doing something else I wonder what knitters of old would think. While working on the Blue Shimmer I hoped that Emma Jacobson wouldn't kick my ass for bad workmanship (she was the lady who ran Bohus Stickning, the design house in Sweden that produced the Blue Shimmer originally). I also wonder what our forbears would think of some of these new yarns, like the railroad and eyelash and the silk.
Anyway. One of the thousand reasons why knitting is cool.
In blog-related info, I've started answering comments IN the comments, so you might wanna go back and look at 'em once in a while, if you're into that sort of thing. I'm using the in-comments comment when it's something specific to a single person, and I can't find an e-mail address for them. Darn good questions, comment themes, and other group-type stuff will still be answered here in the blog proper. Is there some specific way we're supposed to handle comments that I'm missing? Some etiquette? Or are we all making this up as we go?
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Let's have some cheese with this whine.
ANYway, while slugging back hot tea and pills all night, I've been brooding over the history of knitting and why I hate knitting historians. Is anyone interested in hearing it, or would I just bore everyone?
Comments? Threats? Return complaints about your own weather?
In the same vein, I'm going to have to dip a toe into politics here, and I'd like to get it out of the way first that I take people as INDIVIDUALS, so there's no need to flame me and inform me that most Arabs or Europeans or Christians or whatever are nice people. I KNOW that. (Believe me, I would not have survived ten years in Hawaii, let alone enjoyed it, if I had a chip on my shoulder about any specific group of people. It's one hell of a diverse culture they've got going out there. I loved it.) Unfortunately the current political climate in most of the world does not reflect it. In fact, much of my annoyance with modern historians in general is, they sing the current cultural song and ignore facts sitting under their noses if they conflict with whatever people want to hear. (One reason I so enjoy archeology is because it's constantly disproving what's in the history books, and drives historians insane.)
All right, then.
A while back I wrote an article for Knitty on the history of knitting. (Yes, that was me.) I did my best to avoid any of my more unusual conclusions, becauce I was expecting to be attacked anyway, for saying Arabs invented knitting (due to our lovely political climate). While I was not attacked, I did recieve a lot of very lameass e-mails with lameass reasons why the Arabs could not have invented knitting, most of it boiling down to 'I don't like it that way' or 'some other historian said so'. Unfortunately for the readers AND the historians, the archeology is almost like X marks the spot - a really amazing amount of knitting found in Egypt that pre-dates knitting found anywhere else in the world, and as obvious a trail as you're going to get (eight, ten hundred years after the fact) leading from the Arab world at the time - including Spain - up into Europe. Not to mention Europe was burning people at the stake for thinking while the Arab world was encouraging thought, learning, and experimentation. Ditto, the Arab world had enough excess to support scholars and other specialists like textile makers, while most of Europe was living hand-to-mouth doing subsistence farming. Given all these things, which culture was more likely to turn out a revolutionary idea?
Here, then, are facts as we know them:
- There are a bunch of "Coptic" socks from Egypt, dating from about 1000 to 1200 CE. All are knit with cotton dyed with indigo, and all have Islamic motifs in them, up to and including things in Arabic spelled out.
- The first chunk of knitting found in Europe is from Spain (then an Arab-held territory) dating to the 1200s. It has a combination of Arab and European motifs on it. (Arabic blessing, European heraldry.)
- The next bits of knitting in Europe are from France and Italy (adjoining Spain, see a trend here?) dating to the 1300s.
- Fancy knitted trade items (stockings and undershirts and gloves) thought to have been produced in Spain (they are usually made of silk or cotton, not common fibers in most of Europe at that time) are found all over Europe starting in the 1300s.
Do knitting historians face these facts? Why, no. They ignore them. Or make up outlandish, unlikely stories to explain them.
Richard Rutt (growl, snarl) is an ANGLICAN BISHOP for his day job, and will never, in a million years, admit that Arabs/Muslims invented knitting. This does not mean Europeans invented it, it means that Rutt is a Eurocentric, racist dipshit. His history book is one of the worst examples of ignoring facts that I have ever witnessed. He lays out all those facts stated above, and then claims there is no reason to believe Arabs invented knitting. ??!
James Norbury, I think, just made shit up. His 'Traditional Knitting Patterns' is full of unfounded rumor and other things that make me go "Wha??!!??" when I read it. According to him, Copts in Egypt invented knitting (all those first socks found in Egypt have "Allah" knit on them in Arabic - knit by Christians? Yeah. And I'm Hatshepsut) and then took knitting to England when they Christianized it. (Er... every history book I've ever read, the Catholics Christianized the British Isles, and the Copts never did any missionary work I ever heard of.)
Somebody competent needs to re-examine all the artifacts found, and write a real history of knitting. I'd love to do it, but I don't have the credentials or the rep to get into museums and lay hands on all the pieces. So I will continue brooding and snarling and ranting.
This concludes today's history rant, er, lesson.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
And since y'all love baby photos, here's a shot of the goober waking up from her nap Sunday:
In case you can't tell, the scarf is dark green. How do I wind up with everything I'm knitting, the same color? It was like this with the Blue Shimmer. Blue lace, blue scarves, blue sweater. Now it's green. I've got another green scarf AFTER this one, and the damn Husbeast Gansey. (Remember how I was going to do the Husbeast Gansey in navy blue, but asked him if he'd go for green 'cause I was sick of blue? UGH.) I really don't know how I do this.
Anyway, I started the scarf at 2:00 today, more or less. I'm going to track how long it takes to do this. Even if it's a week, though, I've still got time to finish the other two.
Remember how I wanted all the Christmas knitting done by the end of summer? Aahahahahah. I must have been smoking crack.
Monday, October 23, 2006
That to-knit list from yesterday? I forgot to add the denim yarn cable-knit I was just talking about last week.
And the link to the SC tatting guild is here. Meant to put it in my last post. If you're in their area and tatting sounds fun, give them a try. They seem like a great bunch. (And if any of you Palmetto Tatters are wandering through Charleston, ever, give me a yell and we can meet somewhere and we can trade tatting and lace-knitting lessons, if you like.)
My office re-arrangement over the weekend has been great for everyone but me. The idea was to give the baby an open, empty space to play, so that once I re-baby-proof, I can shut her in here with me on days I want to write or whatever (design, play Civilization for ten hours...) It worked, in that we've got the open space.
Now everybody wanders in my office all the time. Last night the baby, the husbeast, AND the cat were all jammed in here with me. It's the smallest room in the house (other than the bathrooms) and made smaller by three book shelves. I hate people. WHAT ARE THEY ALL DOING IN HERE?
But here are the new features everyone else likes:
The cat loves the new arrangement with the futon, because she can sleep on the back of it and swat people (me) as they come in the door. (Like the switch plate on the lights? That was hand-painted by none other than TrishJ of the comments. She's a kickass painter.)
The baby loves the new arrangement with my office chair, because now it's in the center of the room and can be spun completely around, unlike before when there was a wall in the way. She has now discovered a new game called 'spin the cat'. (Much like spin the bottle, except instead of getting kissed, you get smacked in the head by a cat.)
I mostly like it 'cause it's easier to get to my books. (Life is books. Books are life.)
And the baby says, "Tired? Who's tired? Naps? Never heard of them. Give me a cookie. My eyes are WIDE OPEN. No tired here."
Last night the little shit had me and the husbeast up every hour. First it was hunger, then it was a nightmare, and after that it was just for the hell of it. (That is when we quit going and getting her, and when she began yelling for ten minutes at a time before going back to sleep.) This left me with roughly the mental capacity of a trout this morning, just in time to drive up to Columbia and rescue my knitting from the wankers at the state fair. (Well. Let me specify; the judges weren't anywhere to be found, and were wankers. The ladies and gentlemen volunteering today were perfectly pleasant.)
Here, for those who asked, is a final shot of the Blue Shimmer, finished.
Even after hanging up for a month, I'm STILL not sure about that length. I'm going to take the rest of the spool of yarn to Ohio with me for Christmas, and if it's too short, I'll do the old cut-the-hem-off, knit-in-more, graft-hem-back-on trick.
And here's a closeup of the yoke, because I still lovelovelove it and I finally figured out how to do closeups with the camera and odds are halfway decent it's in focus:
Picking up my knitting was very enlightening.
First thing when I got there, I took the baby to the rest room and realized there were no diapers in the diaper bag. So I blew it, but I still say it's the baby's fault for keeping me up all night. She wants diapers regularly, she needs to let me sleep.
There was a line, and I stood there with the baby, and people came up to chat. (Babies bring out everyone's Inner Grandparent, for good or ill.) One thing turned to another, and people started talking about the knitting divisions. Rumor has it that the knitting judges at the fair are so bad, people have all but quit entering. There were only three knitted lace entries, but at the time I figured, shit, it was lace, you know? There had been ten zillion tatting entries, but I thought that was probably because there's a very active tatting guild that pushed everyone to enter. That was only partly true. The major reason there's not much entered in the knitting category is because the judging is ridiculous.
So while I was mulling over THAT information, I went inside to pick up my stuff (claim checks required) and was met by a nice lady from the tatting guild. I gave her my claim checks and said "Oh, the blue lace over there's mine." to make it easy on her and not make her pick through a pile of stuff comparing numbers. The lady looked at the lace, looked at the ticket, and looked at me, and said, "YOU'RE THE ONE." (I was at my non-lace-knitter-stereotype best in Birkenstocks, jeans, and a Chicago Blackhawks hockey jersey.)
One what, you ask?
Turns out the entire tatting guild wanted to know who I was, what I knit that lace with, where the pattern came from, how long it took me, who I learned from... We had a nice chat. I was invited to join the tatting guild with the reassurance that they'd be thrilled to teach me, but I'm in Charleston and they're two hours away. We agreed that it sucked. She then expressed her outrage at my second place ribbon and muttered about firsts. Heh heh heh.
Damned red ribbon, shown here.
So, anyway, we're back home with the hand-knits, and I'm plotting next year's lace project. A Beloved Reader tells me that this year's winning lace entry can be found (the pattern, not the lace itself) in "A Gathering of Lace" so I'm going to hunt up a copy and see about knitting it. That way if I get another red ribbon next year, I can file a formal complaint. Or something. (Speaking of, someone else picking up projects when I was, was royally pissed and demanding to talk to the knitting judge about why her cable-knit didn't place, and why NO ribbons were given out in the ladies' sweater division.)
Now I have to try to get motivated to knit one of these damn scarves.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Photos included where possible.
Something mitered in a sweater shape, with yarn I bought last month. I've got a photo here in "Patchwork Knitting" by Horst Shultz that I'm gonna try to copy half-assedly. It's the beige-and-colors sweater on pages 40 and 41, if you have the book and care to look it up. I would be using the variegated aqua cotton in place of the beige.
An Egyptian-motif sweater that's been rattling around my head for at least three years. I wanna send the design to Knitty and call it "Tut tut". Since they found that new tomb, seems appropriate to knit it now. One idea source here.
The lopi jacket for our Steek-along.
"Innsvinget jakke med broderi" from "Norsk Strikkedesign". I've got half the yarn for it already. (I'm gonna knit it with Brown Sheep sport. No importing yarn from Norway for me, thanks. I can't afford it.) This one would definitely be for ME. I have wanted this jacket since I bought the book back in, what, 2003? Photo of this one available on my 2006 goals list.
A wave sweater. Another design I wanna sell, so I'm not getting into details. But it'd be pretty and flattering to nearly everyone and an easy knit, so... I just gotta do it.
The hexagons-and-stars jacket in shades of blue and green, from "Glorious Knitting". I have wanted to knit this sweater since the book first came out, and I finally have the skills and the yarn access to do it. Now I have to find the time. I've got just oodles of that, what with a toddler and all.
A casual lace pullover for over tank tops, with lavender cotton I have sitting in the yarn closet. The yarn's been sitting there at least a year. Urgh.
The Toddler Alert sweater, another design idea in my head, for the baby. If I did it soon, she could wear it this winter. If I get off my ass and do it, it'd be a freebie pattern over with the scarves.
The linen bathrobe/kimono thingie from Mason*Dixon knitting. Photo here, scroll down just a little. The purple one.
A custom-designed Fair-Isle using the 2/8 merino I used for the Blue Shimmer, to enter in the state fair next year. (I am a glutton for punishment.) Blue interlocking triskeles on a peach/pink/maybe light yellow background. This would also be for me. I freaking love that yarn.
The husbeast wants a blankie for watching TV in winter, and I want to do a modular deal that looks like a patchwork quilt, in beige, brown, and slate blue, to match the living room.
The "Leaf Kimono" from "America Knits", book by Melanie Flalick, design by Donna Brunton. Page 67 in the soft cover version of the book. This, I just want to knit, not neccessarily KEEP. It'd make a nice Christmas gift for my mother-in-law next year.
"Sandcastles and Starfish" design from "America Knits", page 145, for the baby next summer.
A twisted-stitch sweater, based on sweaters in "Two-End Knitting" by Anne-Maj Ling. Cool, trippy designs, especially in flashing colors that make your eyes cross. I'm thinking light yellow and peach, or turquoise and purple. The book can be seen here, but you can't really see what the sweaters on the cover look like.
...Yeah. I could go on. But you see my problem. This doesn't include next year's lace entry for the fair, or the skull and crossbones sweater the husbeast wants next year (yes, he's already plotting next year's gift, he's as bad as I am), or something for my father-in-law (though I'm thinking one of Kaffe's earthy jackets would work for him). That's fourteen sweaters in the list, plus the two gifts mentioned and a doily. Sixteen sweaters and a doily next year. That's, what, a sweater every three weeks? Suuuuure. Especially when many of them are over fifty inches/110cm around.
And I wanna knit a blankie for my office. And this list doesn't even contain all the goals from this year that I didn't meet. And I want to work out a barter with a spinner I know, to spin a roving I dye so that I can knit a sweater with the yarn. And I want to experiment with dyeing my own stuff. And I wanna knit myself some socks that fit. Preferably more than one pair.
I am out of my fucking mind.
And blogger's not uploading photos. I'll put in links if I can.
Cat: "I'm still jumping on her head all night."
Baby: "Soon she'll pass out from exhaustion and then we'll rule the house."
Cat: "I'm pretty sure I can open the cupboards where the cookies and the cat food are."
Cat: "High five."
That's the Husbeast Gansey up to the arm pits. I need to knit the sleeves, join together, etc. in the classic Percentage System knitting method. Unfortunately, all I've got of the sleeves is this:
I've got a serious case of knitting ennui going on around here. I'm sick of looking at everything. Friday night Me Knitting was ditched in favor of going to bed early with a murder mystery. Yesterday I didn't knit a stitch. I spent the day flipping through my Kaffe Fassett books, plotting a way to knit them myself with some kind of affordable yarn. (WHO is the fucker at Rowan Yarns who either numbers colors or names them things like 'gorse' and 'matador' and 'storm' and 'biffo'?? What the fuck color is a matador?) I'm thinking of knitting at least one Fassett adaptation during the Year of Me, but I've got about ten years' worth of sweaters planned for next year, so we'll have to see if I actually get to it.
While I wasn't knitting yesterday, we re-arranged my office. Or rather, the husbeast rearranged my office while I kept the baby out from underfoot and told him where I wanted stuff. With all the shuffling around, the office is now un-baby-proofed again. This morning the little shit has gotten ahold of scissors, my Chibi needle case, and assorted knitting needles. All eye-pokers. Mother of the year, right here.
I also realized today that it's nine weeks to Christmas and I've still got three more damn scarves to knit. Instead of putting them off longer I'm going to try to knit them now and get them out of the way. Me knitting bites the dust for another little while. (Bet you're shocked.) I wonder just how long it takes to knit up 225 yards of yarn on size ten needles. Even with a lace pattern I ought to be able to crank out one a week and get it over with, fast.
Next year, everybody gets cookies.
Friday, October 20, 2006
I shall resist posting the secrets of the universe in case this gets lost. That way I won't care. Much. (Because we all know I have the secrets of the universe right here.)
Still more interminable knitting on the Husbeast Gansey. I've started a sleeve and crunched some numbers and it doesn't get any more exciting. Well, okay, there's a twisted-stitch cabley looking thingie running up the outside of the arm and across the shoulder strap. That's more interesting than ten square feet of k3 p1 rib like the body. But either way, snore.
I remember now why I do so much color knitting. Because any single color bores me.
The socks haven't been touched since I ripped them back to the heel flaps. I'm rather disgusted and tired of looking at them, so they're living on the couch under my pad of graph paper at the moment. The baby seems intrigued by the balls of yarn but I keep yelling "NO!" at her, and so now she just prods them with a fingertip instead of digging in. At least while I'm watching.
Speaking of the baby... she was napping (I thought) this afternoon, and I was sitting at my desk, and I heard this slapping noise. slap, slap, slap... I searched the house, looked around outside, nothing. I came back in. slap, slap, slap. I crept into the baby's room to check on her, and she was sitting up in bed, clapping.
What do you DO with happiness on that level??!!? (I laughed and hugged her. What else is a mumum to do?)
It has just occurred to me that it is Me Knitting Friday. Yay! No more boring green sweater, I'll work the rest of the day on the sleeve of the blue and black sweater. (And how come I always wind up knitting three hundred sleeves all at once?)
I've looked at this post, and the topic-hopping. It's just possible I'm over-caffeineated.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
I was going to finish these socks as-is and give them to someone with small feet, but I've been brooding the last couple days, and damn it, I WANT THOSE SOCKS. So I dug out the books I have about sock knitting (the advantage to buying any knitting book that strikes my fancy - I have refrence material on things I've never knit before, at odd hours of the day and night). After some measuring and sock examination and more brooding, I think the problem is two-fold. The heel flaps are a little too shallow (maybe a half inch, or a centimeter), and the BIG problem, I didn't pick up enough stitches around the edge of the heel flap for the gusset. I did the usual and picked up in every slipped stitch, which comes out to one stitch every other row. Because this is stranded color, it sucks in (the row-to-stich ratio is off; fewer stitches per row) and I think I need to be picking up EVERY stitch of the heel flap. So...
Back to square one. Or rather, square two. I've got this one ripped back to the heel flap. Time to go rip out the other one. (The one drawback to knitting both socks at once. They both get screwed up the same way.)
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
The socks are almost finished and probably won't fit me unless a miracle happens when I wash them. I've got really high arches and apparently the heel flap/gusset deal isn't big enough. Urg.
Still plugging away on the husbeast's gansey. It's about a foot deep now. It's a nice mindless knit of k3 p1 ribbing, so I can do it while playing baby warden. Or watching TV, or reading books, or staring into space.
It seems that my medication has finally kicked in, again. After sleeping all day yesterday, I feel positively human today. Very exciting.
For all of you out there who think my house is clean, I submit for you this photo:
The baby climbed up there all by herself, that's why she looks so pleased with herself. That's right; she can climb but she won't walk. Little shit.
Thank you, everyone, for all the birthday wishes. It was a nice day, on the quiet side, with no major catastrophes. I got several yarny gift certificates and I'm now trying to plot the Year of Me in knitting so that I can get the yarn I need to knit a couple of the projects. (First I need to finish up the one-armed sweater, I'd say.) I'm wavering between a denim cotton cableknit and a blanket with the color wheel knit into it. Decisions, decisions. Maybe both?
Monday, October 16, 2006
Sunday, October 15, 2006
I'm thinking perhaps we should wait until closer to the time I move out of South Carolina to send the knitting judges at the fair hate mail. We'll be here at least two more years, which gives me two more shots at getting a blue ribbon out of the fascists, if we don't blow it by making them hate me. I'm VERY tempted to find the pattern this year's winner used, and knit it up for next year using tatting cotton and the trusty 0000 needles and see what they do with THAT. Anyone recognize the pattern? It looks vaguely familiar to me... internet searching to commence, may the knitting gods help me.
As for the baby and the kitty and the horses... our cat is pretty big. For a cat. I mean, she's not horse-sized or anything, but she is the size of a small dog. (One afternoon a month or so ago, I didn't have my glasses on and saw a guy walking what I would have SWORN was a cat, and wondered how he got it so well leash trained. I put my glasses on and realized, no, it was a dog.) She weighs about fifteen pounds and comes up almost to my knee. Yesterday, we think the baby mistook the horses for cats because they were a good distance away and probably looked about the same size - at a year old I doubt she's really good at gauging size over distance. Last night I caught her trying to crawl on top of the cat and I wonder if the baby's got this bright idea that she can ride. Poor fucking cat.
I got four inches of Husbeast Sweater knit on the drive yesterday, and am to the toe shaping on one sock and working down the foot on the other; still hoping to have them done within a day or two. With this new perscription I'm back to drug-related problems which is both a good and a bad thing; I may feel like crap, but I hope to get the husbeast and the baby out of the house this afternoon and have a few hours' peace. I can knit a lot in three hours.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Wait. Start at the beginning.
We drove to Columbia, rented a stroller, and checked out the state fair. This is the baby meeting some cows:
We also wheeled her up to the equestrian ring while they were doing dressage competition and she yelled "KITTY!" and waved her arms. Everyone within hearing distance burst out laughing.
We found the fiber arts building. My lace was nicely displayed, wrong-side out:
And someone hung up the Blue Shimmer. They flunk textile conservation for this year. Hanging up for a month will probably cure any questions we had about length, huh?
If you can see to the right, that's the top of a REALLY nice medieval-style dress that won a first in the sewing competition. I wish I'd gotten a better photo of it.
After much grousing and muttering (while the husbeast announced to everyone that I had knit the small-gauge blue doily, and no, it was NOT crochet, and the little old ladies looked at me in my old tee shirt, ball cap, and super-dark sunglasses suspiciously) I found the winning lace entry, in the case with all the other 'best of show' stuff.
And a closeup:
Now. I am not saying the knitter of this is not worthy of a first place (although it looks like acrylic from the way it blocked - which is to say, not terribly well - and was knit on pretty big needles, like fives/3.75mm) but if SHE won first place, I want to know why I didn't also.
I think this was what put her over the top:
A knitted-on border. They want a knitted-on border? Fine. Next year I'll do a bloody freakin' knitted-on border. On 0000's. With tatting cotton.
I am now a woman posessed. I have two more years living here to win a bloody first.
Second place, my ass.
Friday, October 13, 2006
The husbeast, always happy to be helpful, has listened to state fair related grousing for about twenty hours now, and pointed out that if I'd competed in the Ohio fairs (where we grew up) "They would have handed you your ass at the county level and you'd have never made it to state." Much though I hate to admit it, he's right. We grew up in Amish country, and those women know how to KNIT. They'd have been like "Oh, look, pink-haired haole girl wants to play. Isn't that sweet?" (Okay, so most Amish women don't use Hawaiian slang, but that'd be the gist of it. I don't speak their language to know what their slang is.)
In a roundup of replies to comments: No, there weren't any placers at all in ladies' sweaters. I assume this means that no one was good enough to warrant a ribbon, because I find it hard to believe that I was the only person to enter a woman's sweater in the entire state. And much thanks for the support on the Blue Shimmer, but really, other than the idiotic gauge, it really is an average sweater. Nice, but not terriblly unusual. (Plus it's cursed. We can't forget that part.)
We DO get money for winning, and I wonder if their budget has anything to do with how few ribbons they awarded, but since I win $10 for my second place finish, I doubt giving out a few more was going to break the bank. $50 went to the 'best in show' person, everyone else won $15 or less, depending on placement and category.
Anyway. Enough about the state fair. (At least until I get up to Columbia tomorrow and see what the competition was. I swear I'm taking photos, even if they say not to.)
The socks and the husbeast's sweater continue apace; much like the photos from yesterday, only bigger. And I still think those size seven needles are huge and the knitting is going lightning fast, even though it's over 240 stitches for the chest. (54"/118cm chest. Oy. One time when we were bored and I was skinnier - though not THAT much skinnier - we started comparing body measurements and my thigh was only three or four inches larger than his bicep. And I'm 5'9"/152cm tall, not a shrimp.) I'm already worrying over whether I'll have enough yarn. You can never start too soon.
The husbeast DID get the perscription out of the doctor's office yesterday. The problem: My doctor is on leave (I wondered about that because she's usually VERY good about this kind of thing) and all the nurses are idiots. The great husbeast quote of the day: "She's trying to get medication out of you to deal with STRESS so you guys give her the run-around for two weeks? DO YOU THINK AT ALL?" Heh heh heh.
And I have agreed to host a family Thanksgiving (third Thursday in November, for those of you outside the US), which means I need to start cleaning NOW. I'm so not kidding.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
The lace got a second place. The Blue Shimmer didn't place at all.
We go up Saturday to 'do the fair', and I will check out the other entries then. Ranting, if appropriate, to commence Saturday night. I did see that the person who won 'best of show' for knitting is the person who beat me in the lace division. So it better be something fantastical, is all I've got to say.
Many of these contests are 'thrown' by the judges, who are the sisters/aunts/cousins/husbands to the people entering. I'm also wondering if that has any bearing on this.
But never fear; I shall check all this out Saturday and take photos.
If needed I will give you guys the e-mail address to the judging coordinator. Heh heh heh.
EDITED TO ADD: One of the reasons I'm so cranky about that second in the lace division is, they award more than one first, if they think it's warranted. They COULD have given me and the other chick firsts, by their rules. So if that doily was second-place work, I REALLY want to see what first-place work is. The husbeast's comment, "Hers was probably bigger" is likely true, unless someone knit a freakin' Shetland wedding ring shawl. In which case, I will shut the hell up.
I've been fighting with my (military) doctor's office for three weeks trying to get a perscription refill out of them, and have gotten to the point that the fight with them is causing me more stress and aggravation than not taking the pills was causing (the drug is for the pain/stress deal). So I refused to deal with it any longer. In true beast fashion, the husbeast has gone down there to hunt down my doctor and squeeze a perscription out of her. He says he's refusing to leave until he gets the medication for me. (This probably sounds really strange to non-military people. Dependents like me often get ignored while active duty people get action - even if it's an active duty person screaming about their dependent. When I had orthopedic surgery, they wouldn't give me painkillers until HE threw a conniption and threatened to call the CO. It's very stupid an ineficcient... like much of the rest of the military.)
Anyway, he's a beast. Ain't it cute? Awww.
The baby has returned to whatever we consider normal:
I've decided that all babies are weird, and there's really no such thing as normal with them. Just not-sick and not-screaming. Which we've got. Whew.
I'm about halfway down the sock feet:
It's looking good for them to fit. I finally smarted up and instead of just measuring my foot, I STOOD on the tape measure. I've got what in Hawaii they jokingly call 'foot spread' (among other things) from going barefoot all year round; my foot size varies by an INCH, width and length, between sitting and standing. So I've got an inch more to knit than I thought, but they might fit this way. I tugged them on this morning and they seem to fit all right otherwise; they're a bit tight, but the wool should relax when I wash it. The swatch did.
And I started the husbeast's Christmas sweater: (Blogger is still fucking up with this picture loading deal, isn't it?)
It's going to be a half-assed fisherman's gansey, with the ribbed bottom and sleeves and a purl/knit pattern over the chest. I'm not getting obsessive with historical accuracy; if he likes this one, I'll knit him a real one, with the real wool, next year. The husbeast is rather cute over the whole thing. I've never knit him a sweater before, because all the ones he's known in the past are commercially made twenty-pound cotton sweaters and he hates the weight of them. I got him to try on one of my oversized sport-weight wool cardigans I wore when we lived in Hawaii (wool keeps heat OUT as well as in). He loved them. Or rather, he did the usual knitter deal - "It's lovely, but a pullover instead of a cardigan, and change the neck, and a darker color, and..." So this is our great experiment. But he's excited. I'm hoping he likes it so I can knit him more. Only the best for my beast.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
She got put in the slammer after a round of book mangling. Including my copy of "Knitting Rules!" the little shit.
As predicted, I ran out of steam on the socks (still hope to finish them by Monday - we're going to the state fair this weekend and I have the car ride up and back to knit on them) and decided to do some large gauge knitting and started the husbeast's sweater. Listen to me. "Large Gauge". It's four or five stitches to the inch on size 7/4.5mm needles. Large. (Of course I spent the last two months knitting a sweater on size one needles.)
The cat got one last finger in her ear, lost her temper, smacked the baby on the hand (no claws used) and stalked off to the office to hide:
The cat's favorite 'stressed behavior' is to jump all over me in the middle of the night. I can't wait.
The husbeast DID get home from work early, at least, earlier than midnight like we'd expcted (there are great machinations going on in his shop; they've only three people qualified to do the inspections needed, and one of them feels that since he is the ranking enlisted person, he shouldn't have to do any work; today he was informed otherwise) and played with the baby. I'm pretty sure the horridness of the last two days was because she wanted Dadad, not the teething like I thought. Soon as he came home, it was happy baby time. All giggles and smiles and clapping.
Fun times abound at the House O' Samurai. Over at the Navy base they have shut down some doohicky for repairs and it has to be re-started within 48 hours or we all glow in the dark or there's a big boom or something. So the husbeast has been working 'round the clock, inspecting stuff.
Which means I have had the baby 24 hours straight, two days in a row.
And she's teething.
Fun, fun times.
My method of dealing with this is to hunker down on the couch, trying to ignore everything, and knit. (I'm a stress knitter. Anyone else do that? Knit to keep their hands busy so they don't throw dishes or kill anyone?) So now my hands are killing me and the knitting isn't de-stressing me any more. Though I did get both heels turned and am halfway down the foot of one sock and about that far on the other. If I don't run out of steam, these may be done by the weekend. If my hands don't fall off.
It only took me 36 hours to figure out the baby was teething (I so flunk motherhood for the week) and now that I've dosed her with Motrin she's out cold in her crib, sleeping off a two day rampage of toy-throwing, screaming fits, and cat tormenting. (Do you have any idea how far a little baby finger can go down into a cat's ear? I half expected to see her finger come out the other side of the cat's head.)
Next week, I want to be the one who gets to do screaming fits.
Anyway, the cat's the only one dealing properly with the whole situation: she's hiding under the blankets on my office couch.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
There was a hiccup in the stripe pattern and the socks will REALLY not match. (My only real nod toward making them match in the first place was starting them on the same color in the sequence.) Since I regularly wear socks that don't match, I don't think I care.
Heel turning to commence. Gulp.
Eleventy-hundred dollars spent on toys (Grandma and Grandpa in particular get carried away), and what does the baby play with?
That's right. An empty water bottle. (And please notice the cat ignoring the baby as ostentatiously as possible. She's putting a lot of work into it. See? See her ignoring the baby??)
Monday, October 09, 2006
See that TWO INCH/five cm growth? That's entirely from the yarn relaxing in the wash. And it's over about forty stitches; not that much. So wash yer swatches, already. You have any kind of idea what a disaster that would be in a SWEATER? Try a foot or two too big. Geez.
...I have decided since my birthday is coming up next week, I'm ditching all the for-other-people knitting I'm doing and knitting myself that pair of socks:
You see from that hand in the photo, the baby's been a big help. (Oy.) It's the arch-shaped sock pattern from Vogue Knitting/Meg Swansen's Knitting. I'm making it into crew socks, though, and cobbling it together from both those sources AND the Yarn Harlot's generic sock pattern from "Knitting Rules!" Considering my entire sock output to date has been one experimental heel, it should be quite an adventure. And yes, I'm doing both at once. I hope to avoid the dreaded second sock syndrome that way. And maybe get the decreasing madness to match.
And can someone get the cat out of my office chair?
- knitting in the round with two colors, stranded
- purling - there will be two-color purling, but not until the very end of the sweater and you'll be invincible by then (the shoulder straps are worked back and forth on less than 20 stitches)
- steeking - doesn't take skill, just nerve
- provisional cast-on - you can do just about any cast-on and pick it back out again
- grafted hems
- picking up stitches
- button holes (mine are pretty lameass, so don't feel intimidated)
- two color knitting on double-points (or two circulars, or magic loop) for the cuffs; IMHO this is the most difficult part, and it's not that hard
One of the reasons we're doing this knit-along is because people wanted the pattern for the brown-and-red jacket and I couldn't figure out how to do it in less than ten thousand words and sixty photos. There are some interesting techniques involved and I'll lead you by the hand through them - that's why I suggested this in the first place. Personally, I think if you can learn to do stranded color by January, you should go for it. You'll learn a lot and probably never be afraid of a new pattern or new technique again.
If cost is an issue (nobody wants to trash $500 of cashmere on an experiment, I understand completely), scoot on over to Elann.com and buy the Highland wool. I'm knitting a swatch with it right now (for the husbeast's Christmas sweater) and it's yummy. And really low priced. (And with this loooong lead-in, you can order it in three weeks and have it shipped and still have it in time!)
And now I must go murder my child, who has figured out the fastest way to get attention is to mess up Mumum's stuff. Grrrrr.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
That is so, so not the case.
I have the attention span of a gnat. To prove it, here's what I've worked on in the past two days:
The wrap. This is a major project and is about 1/3 done. (I pray that it does the usual deal and lengthens dramatically when it hits water, or I am doomed.) The vertical lines are actually columns of eyelets I plan to thread silk ribbon through. It's a wool-alpaca blend; should be nice and warm. I really, really, really don't want to have to buy more yarn for it.
I lost my head last night and did a swatch with the new cotton yarn I bought. You know, the stuff I'm not going to get to until mid-January at the earliest, possibly later. Of course I needed a swatch of it. Yes, that's a meiter. Let's not talk about that. I've lost my mind.
I'm also working on the swatch for the husbeast's Christmas sweater. I half-assedly designed a cable pattern for the sleeve/shoulder strap, but it's so simple I'm sure someone else in the history of knitting has come up with it before now.
And then there's the gauge swatch for the arch-shaped socks I want to knit for MEMEME:
...okay, I haven't gotten to that one yet. Probably tonight.
And I saved Sekhmet from the baby a couple dozen times, until the cat figured out that the safest place in the house is inside the Pack-and-Play, so long as the baby is OUTSIDE it.
I'm also trying to cook a pot roast. It's been going for about five hours now and it's still like a football. I hope to hell I haven't murdered an $11 chunk of cow. But how could I screw it up? You just cook the damn thing 'til it falls apart.
Still no word from the State Fair about how I did. Judging was Friday.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Trish asked if I would post some photos of the red-and-brown jacket to help her visualize for choosing colors. And maybe would I offer some guesses as to yardage needed. (Worst thing about making up your own patterns - you gotta guess how much yarn you need.)
This is a man's jacket (though really men's/women's in this situation is only a matter of where you put the buttonholes) with a 50 inch/110cm chest measurement. It used about 550 yards each of the beige and the red Lopi, knit up at about three stitches per inch/12 stitches per 4cm (ABOUT. I did not use the stitches-per-inch gauge measurement.) on size ten/6mm needles. This jacket is on the short side 'cause that's how my father-in-law wanted it; if you want longer, obviously, buy more yarn.
Also, this sweater was knit to be an outdoor jacket/coat for much of the year in Ohio, so it's heavy. I plan to knit mine using a lighter yarn that will be more like 4 or 5 stitches to the inch. You will each custom-fit your sweater pattern to your gauge, so it doesn't matter how heavy your yarn is; if you want a coat, get heavy yarn. HOWEVER, lighter yarn means you need more yardage for the same amount of fabric. And it will take longer to knit.
Here's a closeup of the pattern for more color visualization:
I will even show you guys how to sign your work, if that kind of thing amuses you:
Sienna has suggested we call it the Jacket Steek-Along and it works for me, so that's what it's gonna be. I'm not getting my yarn for this until the end of October, so take your time - that was the idea with this long lead-in.
TATTING AND HOARDING NEWS:
Alwen came through for us. I knew she would, 'cause she's the tatting goddess. She suggests the video available here. Click on 'demo' and learn to tat!! Obviously streaming video takes some bandwidth, so don't even attempt this on dialup.
I'm so excited. Because I need a use for this:
Yes. This is the bulk of my oft-referred to crochet cotton stash. There's a ruler on top of the box for scale. Approximately forty balls of the stuff, coming out to a guessed-at 16,000 yards. (That's nine miles, or about 14.5 kilometers.) Oh, but wait! That's not all. I've also got a smaller box of threads, perle cotton, and tatting thread like the #70 stuff I knit the damn doily with:
Although I think I have a plan for some of this stuff. Involving custom dyeing and something like this:
Because I don't have enough going on around here, or any idea what to knit next.
STATE FAIR NEWS:
Still no word on the judging, which was yesterday. When they have their minds made up, they're supposed to post the results to the web site.
There is no final shot of the Blue Shimmer, finished. I was so sick of looking at it I just took it to Columbia and turned it in. Heeheehee.