Monday, January 30, 2006

What I've been doing Part II: What is that fuzzy blue thing?

So once I pronounced Evil to be an unmitigated disaster I turned my attention to my true blue love: my Shetland Shawl.

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Oh how I love this project. The yarn is more fingering weight than lace weight. You can blame the woman at the LYS for that. The Greatest asked for lace weight and she gave him this. It's not his fault he didn't know the difference, he's not a knitter, he's only in there by association. But for goodness sakes, what's her excuse? She owns the LYS. Other than being slightly heavy, the yarn is soft and smooth with excellent stitch definition.

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After finishing the center "square" I stalled out for a bit. I didn't like the first border on the original pattern. I thought it was quite ugly. So in my knitting basket the shawl sat. Then as an extension of the nefarious scarves, which I swear I'll explain tomorrow, I bought a stitch dictionary, and a book of lace stitches and I borrowed different stitch dictionary from the library, and I realized I own a general craft book with a section on knitting stitches. And after pouring through those books for hours and hours for the nefarious scarves I realized one of the stitches would be rather lovely for the border of my shawl. I wanted something that was a bit solid, like the original border, but lacier, and curvy like the center. This particular stitch pattern just screamed "try me". Work on the scarves was immediately abandoned and I returned once again to my true love.

I'm only 14 rows into the first twenty row repeat of the stitch, but I think it's going to be lovely. Here it is on the side of the center(my favorite view)

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And on the bottom

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So there is where the progress on my Shetland Shawl remains. I have six rows and three more repeats of the pattern before I have to choose a final border. I think I have one in mind from my lace stitch book. But we shall see.

Concerning Evil, after much intense debate and negotiation (which included the bribe of a cone of Zephyr yarn from e-bay) The Greatest and I have reached a consensus. I shall merely rip the neck and continue on. I've been reading a book on sweater design and I'm starting to have some concerns about all that ribbing. The sweater is already very long. And we all know the effects of gravity on knitwear. The sweater design book specifically stated that ribbed sweaters will grow longer with wear. It that happens, this sweater could become a dress for me.

So we've decided to make this sweater a prototype. I'll persevere on and he has promised to wear this sweater in public if it is fine, if not he'll wear it hunting, fishing, and working on his car. I'm happy with that. Everyone must start out knitting a sweater for their Husband that is five times too large anyways, right? And the Husband must wear this monstrosity of a sweater to prove his love for his Wife, right? I can live that.

In a completely unrelated event, my good friend and fellow knitter has started a blog: Big Booty Knits. I hope you'll all stop by and say "Hi". She's funny and clever, and I'm so happy to have someone I knit with in real life blog too. Now you can all be jealous that I get together almost weekly to knit with Big Booty Knits.

Finally, here is the obligatory cuteness (I made you work for it didn't I Mom)

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Someday, when they're teenagers, I'll wish it were this easy to keep them quiet.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

What I've been doing Part 1: The nature of Evil

Let's get back to knitting. I'll start where I left off: Evil.

No, wait. Before we can talk knitting I must first post an obligatory picture of my children for the Grandparents who visit this site solely for said pictures.

fun with balloons part 1

fun with balloons part 2

Now that I've got that out of the way we can turn our attention to Evil.

I tried, I really tried to knit this stupid sweater. I knit ribbing, and knit ribbing, and knit ribbing until I wanted to throw The Greatest off a tall building for making me knit so much ribbing. Seventeen inches of ribbing with 310 stitches per row.

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Then It was time to split for the front and the back. I wasn't concerned. I'd drawn a schematic. And I'd done the math. I felt fairly confident that I knew what I was doing. So I knit the armscye decreases. No biggie. Feeling more confident I knit the front chest. Then it was time to split the front for the neck. Again I've got a schematic. No biggie. Feeling almost cocky I knit the left side of the neck and even made some shoulder shaping. Didn't I do a nice job?

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Now take another look. What's that they say about pride coming before a fall?

Doesn't the neck look kinda deep for a mock turtleneck placement. Yeah, you think so too?

But wait. I had a schematic. A SCHEMATIC for the love of Pete. This should be perfect. I did the math based on my gauge. FREAKIN MATH BASED ON MY GAUGE, MY GAUGE.

Oh, that's right, the math was based on my gauge.

When you put a sweater down for, oh, I don't know, let's say nine months. And then in that nine months you knit, oh, I don't know, 4 adult sweaters, 2 tank top, 1 camisole, 2 baby sweaters, 1 afghan, 1 baby blanket, 1 handbag, 2 shawls, and four pairs of socks (just thinking off the top of my head) your gauge might, just might, oh, I don't know, change a little bit.

Or in this case a lot.

So I've set the dreaded Evil aside once more. Until I figure out what to do. I suggested frogging the entire sweater and beginning once again with a new schematic and math based on the new gauge. The Greatest wouldn't hear of it.

His stance, and I understand this school of thought, is that it has taken me a year to get this far, if I start ripping now he may never get his sweater. And let's face it I don't really want to re-knit 17 inches of 3x2 ribbing.

My stance, and I really understand this school of thought, is that I want him to actually wear this sweater, so maybe I should rip and do it right. Why on earth did I knit 17 inches of 3x2 ribbing if he's not going to wear it?

Does anyone know how a sweater will turn out that has been knit with one gauge on the bottom and an entirely different gauge on the top?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Living the Dream

I've joined the Knitty Secret Pal 6. I usually have bad experiences with on-line secret exchanges, for some reason my Secret Pal always looses my address half-way through, but hey, I'll try anything fifteen times. Plus Knitty outs you if you're a bad secret exchanger.

In the process of signing up I had to answer a million and three questions about myself including my natural hair color, cholesterol count, and if I were a fruit what would I be? (starfruit of course, isn't it obvious?) Alright only the last question was on the list, but really fruit? One question that did give me pause concerning dream jobs. What is my dream job?

As a child I wanted to be a singer, or an actress. That was in the dark ages before you could do both, and Madonna was just crazy for trying (she's a singer, what is she thinking trying to act? Desperately Seeking Susan was held up as proof that you shouls not attempt both). Now everyone is both. Whether they should be or not. But at the time, back in the dark ages, I thought I had to pick one or the other. I just couldn't decide between the two. I couldn't focus my energy on one path or the other due to indecision. Which is just as well, because I lack star talent as either.

At twelve I decided I wanted to be a psychologist. Not a psychiatrist, a psychologist. I didn't want to go to med school to be a psychiatrist. Psychologist was good enough for me. But I didn't want to work with "bored housewives". I wanted to work with really crazy people, preferably cannibals or serial killers, you know, people with real problems. What a shame I didn't realize you can't get near cannibals without a med degree and a certificate that proves your own sanity as well (two thing I lack). I would have studied harder in college so I could go to med school.

When I actually entered the work force I ended up as a regional manager for a white collar company. I enjoyed it. I was pretty good at it. Despite being a social outcast for my entire school career I had a flair for handling the challenging clients that the previous manager lacked. Even if they didn't get their way they went away feeling vindicated for their perceived injustice. Most of their complaints were pretty petty and easily rectified if the previous manager had simply got off her butt to fix them. I was adored by Owner and Clients alike. It wasn't a bad gig. But somewhere in the middle of my step-stool climbing (it wasn't' really a ladder) I had Pork Chop. And things changed.

As I was listening to people complain about the temperature in their office, or the fact that someone had once again drained the last of the decaff without starting a new pot at four in the afternoon, I was suddenly bored. I no longer cared if Fed Ex lost their package, and I was frustrated that they expected me to find it instead of phoning Fed Ex themselves (which is how I found their packages) I suddenly found these people tedious and boring. I wanted something else for my life than coordinating building repairs and billing for phone time. I wanted Pork Chop. I wanted to be home playing with her, cuddling her, loving her.

I realized *gasp* that I wanted to be a housewife. I actually wanted to be a bored housewife, the epitome of everything I despised at age twelve. I wanted to learn to cook more than ramen noodles and macaroni. I wanted to stay home and raise my children. I did quit my job and stayed with Pork Chop for a few months. Then we moved and I went back to work for a different company, but still in the same field, just on a smaller scale. It wasn't a bad gig, but it wasn't where I wanted to be. I think my employers could tell my heart wasn't in it.

Then I had Meaty, and during my maternity leave I was downsized. Position eliminate. Poof, job gone. Despite the financial challenges this presented I was ecstatic. I went crazy cleaning house, having dinner on the table when The Greatest came home. I ironed shirts, and made homemade decorations for Valentine's Day out of construction paper. I wanted The Greatest to see how wonderful it was having me home so he would let me stay. And he did.

In short. I've got my dream job.

This was a bit of a revelation to me as I filled out the Secret Pal 6 exchange forms. I HAVE my dream job.

So when Pork Chop spills blue nail polish all over the carpet, and Meaty dumps out all the doll toys so he can put a train in the bin and push it around the house, and Bird covers herself from head to toe incherry/vanilla yogurt chanting "Bubble, Bubble, Bubble" I've decided to make my mantra "Living the dream, I'm living the dream."

Even if when the dog pees on the floor again my dream feel more like a nightmare to me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Coming out of hiding

I must apologize for my self-imposed exile from the blog world. I've been suffering from insomnia for a few months and lately I've just been too tired to string word together into a coherent sentence. And even if my brain was still functioning on such a high level by the end of the day, I was too tired to actually type that sentence. And let's not even mention the fact that the aforementioned sentence must be clever and witty. I just wasn't up to the task.

I love bloggers. I've received polite inquiries via e-mail, knitty, and a phone call from my Mom saying she's sick of looking at the ugly brown sweater and could I post some pictures of her Grandchildren for goodness sakes. So here Mom, these are for you.

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Thanks for all the love.

Yet despite these efforts still I remained silent. I didn't post progress of Evil, for there was progress. Or the issues of Evil, for there are issues. Nor did I post on my Shetland Shawl, or my new job, or the nefarious quintet of scarves. Silent I remained. The longer I remained silent the harder it seemed to commence blogging again. I didn't know where to start. Do I begin where I left off with Evil, or the scarves or *gasp* my son's third birthday? Do I mention my silence, or act like nothing happened. I couldn't find the words to start.

Then Kim pulled me out of my silence with the only thing I can not resist. She tagged me for a meme. I just love being tagged. So here I go.

4 jobs you've had:
Regional Manager for a company that provide Shared Office Space (my only impressive title)
Filling waffle cones at TCBY
a Maid
1st drive-thru window at McDonald (they always let me work the drive-thru, otherwise I was rude to the customers. I loved the first window because I took orders, handled money, but never had to touch the food)

4 movies you can (and have) watched over and over:
An American President
13 going on 30
The Incredibles
(what can I say, I like fluff movies)

4 TV shows you love to watch:
Boston Legal
Days of our Lives/Passions
(what can I say, I like fluff tv)

4 places you've lived:
Columbus, OH
Chicago, IL
Jacksonville, NC
Moreno Valley, CA

4 places you've been on vacation:
Niagara Falls (1994)
New York (1997)
That's basically it. I really need a vacation

4 websites you visit daily:
Every Knitting blog known to man
Knitty Coffeeshop
Go Fug Yourself
My playgroup's website

4 of your favorite foods:
The Greatest's mashed potatoes
Ice cream, really any kind
Milk shakes (again almost any kind)
Chicken cooked in lemon juice with fresh steamed broccoli on the side

4 places you'd rather be right now:
In bed asleep
On vacation either
~Disney World if it's the entire family
~The Mediterranean if it's just me and The Greatest
~a fancy hotel with cable and room service with a yarn shop around the corner if I'm *gasp* all by myself and left to my own devices
(that counts as four different places right?)

So there you go. The meme of fours. I don't know who's been tagged by this already, so hey if you're here and you wanna take it out for a spin go for it.

And now that I've broken the ice and entered the murky underworld of knitting blogs once again I promise to return soon. Maybe even with knitting progress. Imagine that. Knitting on a knitting blog.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Something Wicked This Way Comes

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What is this boring piece of brown endless ribbing?

Why it's Evil of course.

For the new year I was cleaning, cleaning my house, cleaning my closets, cleaning up my sidebar: taking finished projects off the status bars, making sure they all had links, things like that. And I realized that I've had Evil in my sidebar for almost a year. Projects have come and gone,yet Evil remained. I've made four sweaters, two tank tops, a slew of socks, even an afghan, yet Evil remained banished to the bottom of the knitting basket.

Poor Evil. It really isn't his fault that when The Greatest asked me to knit him a sweater he was so specific that there isn't a pattern in existence that would meet his criteria. I had no choice but to create one. Have I mentioned what a disaster it is whenever I try to design? I took heart from this article, but he doesn't want raglan sleeves. It was enough information to get me started, but as I approached the arms I put the sweater away. I wasn't sure what to do. This is why I've ignored this sweater for so long.

But let's face it. I'm a guilt knitter. Guilt is my motivating factor for finishing almost everything I knit. I would never have finished that red sweater if I hadn't felt guilty about the money and time I'd already invested in that stupid magic red yarn. That beautiful blue afghan? I finished knitting it in September, my Mom guilted me into actually seaming and putting the fringe on it. So I feel guilty for not finishing this sweater for The Greatest. Sure I made him a pair of socks in February, but that's it. This is the man who supports my yarn habit and all I made him was a lousy pair of socks almost a year ago (did I mention he asked me to knit him more, and I order yarn for two more pairs of socks for him, but look at the side bar and you'll see how far I've gotten with that. What's that saying about good intentions and the road to hell?)

So my guilt has caused me to return to Evil. I've read a few more things about creating set-in sleeves, and I'm feeling semi-confident that I can fake it. I've got a store bought sweater that he loves to use as a general guide, so I'm not completely flying blind. I've already split for the front and back, and bound off for the armscye.

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So everyone cross their fingers for my sanity and my marriage as I spend a little time with Evil.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

How I spent my Winter Vacation

Or don't hate me because I finished it.

I finished knitting this sweater on New Year's Day. I seamed it and blocked it that same day. I've heard that what you do on New Year's Day is what you'll do all year. Hopefully that means I'll spend the year knitting, and finishing, beautiful things.

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Pattern: Woman's Knit Sweater a.k.a. my Holiday Sweater

Yarn: Knitpicks Merino Style, Hollyberry, 9 skeins

Needles: Circular Needles size 7 & 9

Modifications: My gauge was off, so I knit a size larger. In hindsight this may not have been necessary. I also changed the ribbed pattern at the bottom of the sleeves but shhh this was more of an accident than a modification, shhhhh don't tell. I haven't put the elastic stitching in yet, but I can see where that is necessary to help keep the sweater up.

Review: I am in love with this yarn. I must have frogged it seven times and it held up beautifully. I originally knit this yarn as Hopeful, but as we all know that didn't work out, so I turned to this pattern. About the third time I started this sweater I didn't really want to knit it anymore. I didn't want to own this sweater, I just wanted to get rid of the yarn so I never had to look at this shade of dark red again. It was sheer determination that kept me knitting. For some unknown reason I just felt I had to finish this sweater. Come hell or high water, regardless of how many times I had to frog and re-knit I was going to finish this sweater. My plan was to pawn the finished product off on someone else. Pre-blocking I wasn't sure I could even do that. It looked lumpy. It drooped all weird in the back, with is especially strange since the back is the same as the front and there was no strange droop in the front. I blocked it just so I could say I did it.

I can't explain it, but blocking is magic. What happened to my sweater is freakin' magic. It is smooth and even and beautiful. The sleeves hit me at just the right spot. It is just lovely, and I love it. Pre-blocking it was so awful I didn't hate anyone enough to gift them with this red monstrosity. Post-blocking? Let's just say I don't like anyone enough to part with it. I will definitely make more things with Merino Style.

Here's a back shot.

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Isn't it sad that I'm so flat chested that if I hadn't labeled the pictures you wouldn't have been able to tell them apart.

2005 Finished Objects

  • Cardigan in Alpaca with Glitter

  • Silk Corset

  • Cabled Cardigan for Bird

  • Adamas Shawl

  • Blue Afghan

  • Socktober Straight Laced Socks

  • Pork Chop's Socks

  • Baby Hat

  • Baby Booties

  • Pinwheel Baby Blanket

  • Mariposa

  • Clapotis Wrap

  • Pork Chop's Dress

  • Bumblebee Sweater

  • Sueete Suede

  • Vogue Wrap Cardigan

  • Nicole Camisole

  • Belle Epoque

  • Socks For The Greatest

  • Shapely Tank

  • Pumpkin Hat for Bird

  • Pumpkin Hat for Meaty