November 15, 2005

Am I still invited?

I'm always late to the party. In ninth grade, I was the last person to find out that Allison Whittier and Bryan Kranz had broken up at the senior prom after-party. This was news that rocked the world, people - and I had no idea, until I saw Bryan necking with Shannon Hines.

Then, I heard only that Bruce Willis had a new movie that was kind of interesting, didn't bother to see it, and thus was embarassingly confused whenever anyone brought up the fact that he'd been "dead the whole time." He was staring at me from the checkout line magazine display every week - how could he be dead?

The list goes on and on. You mean those people were high?! Why is everyone so down on Ray Lewis? There's this site, it's pretty funny, called The Onion...oh, you mean you've heard of it already? I don't know, I thought those were pretty nice boots Condoleeza had on.

I think the crowning glory of my shining career in cluelessness came when I realized that the "Every Kiss Begins With Kay" jewelry-store jingle is a pun - you'll receive a kiss when you bring home a gift from Kay Jewelers, but also, the first letter of "kiss" is "k," har har har.

I realized this TWO WEEKS AGO.

So I don't feel so bad that I've just now discovered the wonder and glory that is the nostepinne, or more properly, the wonder and glory that is the nostepinne technique. Sure, people have been doing it for centuries; sure, it's a common-sense kind of thing; sure, I'm an idiot for drawing complex diagrams of a handcranked ballwinder's movements and thinking I'd build one someday. I don't care - I'm too pleased with myself.

Those are the scraps I'm collecting for my Someday Fair Isle Vest, wrapped into neat, stackable cakes with an elegantly low-tech and seamlessly appropriate method. Ahhh, tradition.

Executive Summary of WIPS - the Peacock, she grows. I'm going to limit chatter and pictures, I think, because 1) I know lace-in-progress is deadly monotonous, and 2) everyone saw a thousand Peacocks being worked this summer. Next time you see it, it'll be blocked and draped around the nearest available elephant.

The convertible gloves - I finally got around to asking Jeff about them, and miracle of miracles, he likes them. They fit perfectly, without ripple or wrinkle; he likes the color, the yarn, even the cable. Huzzah! I'll finish those, too, this week, start test-knitting the pattern for smaller hands (crossing my fingers - I think it just might downscale perfectly with smaller needles and fingering weight yarn), and then offer a nice little free pattern. Whoop!

November 09, 2005

The 1,002nd night's story

Thank you so much for all the positive feedback on the cable how-to. I'm glad you guys found it helpful!

One glove:

The problem is, I'm about 98% positive he's going to hate them. So do I ask him to try it on now and spare myself the work of finishing when he says he hates them, or do I wait until later and feel bitter and angry when he says he hates them? Would I knit another pair of gloves when he says he hates them? Would I throw the yarn down a well in disgust when he says he hates them? Am I working myself up into a frenzy of knitting angst, because I think he's going to say he hates them? Am I being totally unfair here by assuming he's going to say he hates them?

Probably should, probably shouldn't, probably would, probably wouldn't, wouldn't doubt it, and yes.

And now, a charming bedtime story to tell your children:

The Improvident Girl

Once upon a time, there was a rather insufferable girl who lived in a faraway land of decadence and bloat. She ordinarily sniffed self-rightously at the careless, frivolous consumption she saw all around her, rolling her eyes and speaking in sneering tones of the Walmart society of bigger, now, easier, faster, more, More, MORE!

She was smugly making some peacock-patterned lace out of leftover yarn, blinded by her self-satisfied resourcefulness to the irony of arrogance about thriftiness at all, much less thriftiness about a symbol for vanity. Then she started worrying about yardages,

which made her worry about needle sizes

which made her worry about finished dimensions

which made her wonder about finishing techniques

which made her think about blocking wires

which made her wish for no-rinse wool wash

until she was scribbing a list that included new yarn, new needles, a new pattern, a book on finishing, wires and soap. She stopped on her way out the door, realized she was completely insane and a hypocrite to boot, forgot to eat from shame, starved to death, and was buried in a potter's field in a deliciously gruesome demonstration of Nature's wit.

The End.

November 07, 2005

Oxymoron of the day: listed stream-of-conciousness

1. Thank you very much indeed for the lovely comments about the shawl - I really appreciate them. Some more shots of the Fir Cone have been added to the project entry below - the fact that Jeff is eight feet taller than I am makes his photographs of me come out looking like they're of a foreshortened elephant man.

2. I've realized that personally, I feel pretty "meh" about this one. I was joking, of course, when I ranted and raved about how miserable the experience was, but I really am very underwhelmed by the finished object. It might be just because I'm not really big on frilly lace, personally, or it might be this particular arrangement of patterns - I think the border patterns are way too simple and geometric for the organic tessellation of the center square, and the edging needs to be much wider to put the thing in proportion. At any rate, I'm starting to understand shawl constructions fairly well - the Peacock Feathers shawl is the next one I'll do (to get a taste of triangular shawls) and then I'll buy a dictionary of Shetland lace stitches and bid good riddance to $10 patterns and $40 books.

3. The Christmas gift pile grows.

Unfortunately, so does the list of gifts not yet knitted. Among them:

  • Peacock Feathers shawl for my grandmother
  • One more shawl (maybe) for J's mom
  • Incomplete sweater for my dad
  • 2 pairs Knitty's "Cigar" gloves for my cousins
  • Incomplete Felted Floral Bag for The Most Totally Awesome Swapping Of Seasonally Appropriate Gifts Ever
  • 32904829038409 pairs Fiber Trends felted slippers for everybody I've ever met in my life. It's a very well-written, clever, useful pattern indeed...too bad I'm starting to think just poking myself in the eye with a needle might be more fun than making another pair. People love these slippers. I loved them, too - that is, the first four sets, or so.

4. Dale Hauk is...weird. I can't say it's a pleasure to work with, as it's rough and oddly dry-feeling and slightly oily at the same time. The finished fabric doesn't exactly repel water, but it does dry much more quickly than untreated wool of the same weight.

5. I guess Jeff's convertible mittens are next up.

Here's the cable I'm planning to use for the back of the hand. I apologize for choosing such a dark grey for this project - not very blog-friendly, but I was going for subtlety, here. A manly cable, if there is such a thing.

6. For everyone to whom I promised cardigan mods by today...we had some fire engine-requiring excitement yesterday (everyone's fine!), and I didn't get around to it. This week, though, I swear!

November 05, 2005

Stay tuned.

Ashley and Laura - brilliant idea about the adding of side panels to the felted vest. I'm kind of ashamed I didn't think of it myself - thanks, you guys! It remains to be seen how successful the operation can be; the patient is young and otherwise healthy, but a rigorous and exhausting round of soaking, stretching and blocking will have to be undergone before surgery can even be attempted. Then, we have to worry about cutting straight and then creating holes to knit up with the trim yarn. In any event, I don't believe we'll be able to save the armhole trim; it'll have to be sacrificed for the greater good.

Homestretch on the shroud for wrapping the spawn of unholy unions Fir Cone Shawl. The next image will be an FO...that is, if the finished piece doesn't suck the breath out of my chest or smother me in my sleep, once it's free of the needles.

New acquisitions:

That's Dale Hauk, a sportweight 4-ply wool treated with Teflon to make it water resistant. I've never worked with it before, but thought it would be mighty keen for making a pair of convertible gloves for Jeff.

I have yet to swatch it or start playing with it, but in the ball, it feels only a bit strange. It's not plastic-y or crunchy; rather, it feels almost a little oily, like raw wool full of lanolin. Odd; we'll have to see.

And that's the pattern for the Heartstrings Flared Lace Smoke Ring, which I bought because the lace rib was so interesting-looking. Maybe I'll actually knit it some day...I think I have a slot opening up right after the next ice age.

Will the felted vest survive the operation and make a full recovery? How will the shawl block out? Is the Teflon yarn high tech, or highly unpleasant? When in the next millenium is the smoke ring going to be knit, and what in blazes prompted the purchase of the pattern?

Find out all this, and more - same bat time, same bat channel.

September 20, 2005

Odds and ends

That wasn't me, complaining a scant two weeks ago that I didn't have enough projects on the needles, oh nooo. I'd never have a problem like that, no siree...move along; there's nothing to see here.

The Kimono Shawl's eight repeats in. I'm not sure yet if I'll do the called-for 25 - this is going to grow a lot when blocked.

I like this lace pattern (and the speed with which it works up) very much; I think I might end up making three of these in different colors for gifts for my mom, grandmother and aunt. I might choose a slightly thicker yarn next time - maybe some more Zephyr - it seems to me like this shawl wants to be a solid fabric patterned with openwork more than it does some light and ethereal cobweb-type piece destined to be tugged through a wedding ring.

Dad's sweater is progressing, too. I'm finally out of the finger-numbing stockinette portion, and have split the front and back and am working on them seperately. I'm not following any particular gansey construction to a tee here, but am adjusting a vague plan I started with bit by bit as I go along. This approach usually works well for me - and then there are times, like tonight, when I'm merrily working away on something, and fail to realize until halfway through that I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. Shawl collar? Sure, I've knitted dozens of shawl collars. Or a couple, at least. Well, yeah, that last one really was more of a turtleneck, now that you mention it. Have I ever knitted a shawl collar before?

Rip, rip rip.

Off to the library tomorrow, to peruse that Vogue knitting bible and that book about finishing techniques.

On a more cheerful note, I wish I could marry this ohso simple but ohso effective stitch pattern and have ten thousand of its babies.

And, not that I have (numerous and priority-taking) other projects on the needles or anything, but I'm starting to have the beginnings of an idea

for convertible mittens for Jeff, made in charcoal Dale Tiur (or maybe that Gore-Tex treated yarn they make), adorned with a single intricate cable panel on the back of the hand (subtle, see, because they'll be dark), and finished on the palms and finger pads with suede. I'm drooling a little just thinking about them.

Not knitting related (and you might want to skip this if you're a bit squeamish about bugs), but we've been working on the yard in anticipation of this pig roast we're planning to throw. Yes, the house sits on a bunch of wooded acres, but really, it lies within five miles of a Starbucks, movie theater, McDonalds, Chipotle...not exactly rustic.