Friday, March 27, 2009

Final (?) FO for March

It's the ubiquitous February Sweater!  It was Miss E's turn and this knit was fast and rewarding.  Taking just about 2.5 balls of Moda Dea Wool-Silk blend, I followed some mods suggested on Ravelry for upsizing it to about a size 2T-3T, totally jettisoned EZ's sleeve directions in favor of my own top-down mojo, and left the garter stitch off the hem.  I'll update the ravelry link with the specific modifications this weekend.

This yarn was fun to work with and softened up considerably after steam-blocking--the flecks of lighter color are the silk, I think, and it lends the garment a really beautiful charm.  I would definitely use this yarn to make a grown-up version, maybe in black.  (Although didn't I just vow not to knit black lace?)

Happy Friday--

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Grape Ape? What was that?

We bought a new computer!  A 24" iMac!  It is so...big!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Computer woes

R. I. P. Grape Jelly
Gone but not forgotten
Our Mac--a purple iMac we bought in 1999--may have finally gone to the great Apple Store in the sky. It's been hanging along on life support for weeks, starting up only sporadically, whining in anguish, giving out in the middle of a browser session. But we fooled ourselves--you always do, don't you?--that we had more time, that the party wasn't quite over, that our little Grape Ape would always be there, its tiny little screen smiling at us when we booted it up.
We clearly have mastered the Denial stage.
What comes next? Anger--anger at the bad economy, at the society that tells us we have to have a computer, at the choice between new flooring (which we'd been shopping for, dammit!) and a lifeline to the world of the Interwebs, a place we really like to spend time. (And pay our bills, and research for work, and keep in touch with family and friends...)
The OK news is that we can live without ol' Purple Haze, for a while, anyway, because we do have another computer, albeit a cobbled-together PC (blugh) that was purchased by my dad for my husband so they could play Guild Wars together. As such, it has very little software, a crap monitor, and a keyboard so clickety-clackity that I sound like a 1950's variety show while I'm typing this.
It's decision time. Do we stimulate the economy and take the plunge for a new Mac? or do we do the uber-responsible thing and limp along with our ClicketyClacker until the flooring is installed and paid for???????

Oh--and in knitting news, I finished my daughter's February Sweater and picked the perfect buttons, but I have no photos because problems. Urgh! But it's really cute! I promise!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

March madness

Happy March!

I'm caught up. On my own self-imposed deadline. As of last Monday afternoon, 3/9--my NaKniSweMoDo mojo is back in business. I made the mistake of trying to finish two at once...and, guess what, I was late with both. At any rate--I'm counting the vest for February and Mr. D's sweater for March.

The first finisher: The Lacy Top.
I'm actually a bit meh about this vest, which is disappointing.

The pros:

  1. soft and silky fabric with very nice drape
  2. affordable yarn (Paton's Silk Bamboo)
  3. quick knit (only two pieces, easily-memorized lace pattern)
  4. excuse to buy two more KA circulars
The cons:
  1. fit is boxy/blousy, which I should have realized earlier--I thought the 2x2 rib would be more waist-height, and it ended up being more hip-height.
  2. Not much attention to styling or shaping in the pattern--the two pieces are exactly the same so either the front or the back droops when you wear it.
  3. I won't knit dark lace again for a long time. I realized after I finished it that I gave myself a pretty good case of eyestrain for the final weekend I was working on it.
  4. I should have made a size small for a more fitted look. The M is too large, even for my broad shoulders. I don't know if this was a gauge issue (I haven't measured it to see if I ended up in the ballpark) or a design issue.
But--it's done & looks cute with my bright pink scoop-neck tee underneath. Moving onward!

February's garment was the finally-finished top-down raglan for my son. His unfortunate case of stomach flu allowed me some good knitting time and it's all finished up! (His crossed eyes in the photo were his idea of a "goofy picture".

The specifics for this pattern are on my Ravelry page. I used two cable panels from Melissa Leapman's Continuous Cables, one for the front and one for the sleeves. I reversed the sleeve cable on the left sleeve, because that's how anal I am. (Side note: both this book and Melissa's Cables Untangled are FABULOUS.)

Mr. D has worn it to school already--it has some room to grow, which is great, and he likes it a lot! It took almost exactly 6 balls of Wool of the Andes Kettle-dyed in Jay, plus about .75 WoTA in Black for the cuffs and neckband.

My official March project is a February sweater for my daughter...and then it's back to me.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Entitled to what?

I was scrolling through my google reader this evening and saw the following disclaimer on a blog to which I subscribe:

NOTE: In honor of No Cussing Week, I thought I’d take a minute to discuss my own swears. I know I’ve dropped some F-bombs in the last few posts. I do it on purpose, for a couple of reasons: (1) I swear quite a lot in real life. I enjoy it. And (2) I want to chase away as quickly as possible any uptight know-it-alls with overdeveloped senses of entitlement who might later be caught off guard by a random swear and then be inclined to send me cranky condescending emails about my language. Those emails are stupid, and I’m tired of getting them.

So what I want to know is:

  1. I (me, myself) try not to swear, both in real life and on my blog. It's just not part of my personal vibe. Does that make me an "uptight know-it-all"? I'm not saying I DON'T swear, I just tend not to.
  2. Does my NOT swearing offend my readers who enjoy the salty Anglo-Saxon-ness of it all?
  3. Or is it the act of sending the cranky e-mail that qualifies one as an u-k-i-a?
  4. And does writing an ultra-defensive blog post put one on the same category?
  5. And what kind of person finds a blog on the OPEN INTERNET and presumes that she, because she reads it, gets to dictate the content?
There are a few blogs I've stopped reading because I didn't like their tone, or their focus, or their language. Interestingly, my issues with language are usually not because of swearing, which really doesn't offend me to read as long as I feel it's honest and not just an adolescent bid for attention--I love "The Sopranos" and Stephen King books--but I get enough gratuitous vulgarity hanging around in a high school all day, I don't need it in my blog reading.

What makes you stop reading a blog? Would you tell the writer, or just delete the blog from your subscriptions or list of links?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Two months later...

So some (crazy) (overachiever) knitbloggers decided to raise the ante on NaKniSweMo this year, and create NaKniSweMoDo. Apparently it's no longer enough to knit a whole sweater in one month (which I did with one day to spare last November, thankyouverymuch), this group had to knit one per month all year, thereby raising the bar for all of us to feel like knitting slackers. That's what the Do stands for, dodecathlon or some such made up mathy word.

(Anyone else think of The Phantom Tollbooth when they hear dodecahedron? Anyone?)

I am going to roughly, roughly jump onto this bandwagon--they are specifying adult-sized garments, and that's just not feasible for me for either my knitting speed or my budget. And I have two children for whom I love to knit and it wouldn't be fair to deprive them for a whole year. And, really, a person's challenge should be their own challenge. I knit because I love it, not to fulfill arbitrary quotas. Unless I decide to, which is TOTALLY different. Fuggedaboutit.

So here is my own personal set of SweVeKiMoDo goals:

  1. 12 human-sized garments
  2. kid garments count
  3. grown-up vests count (I’m craving a vest or two, they’re great up here in the PNW)
  4. I will alternate a garment for me with a garment for daughter, son, or hubby--so, six for me, two for each of them? Hmm.
  5. at least one will be in pieces (all my sweaters have been 1-piece top-down or bottom-up so far!)
  6. at least one will be colorwork, probably fair isle.
  7. at least one will be cabled
  8. at least one will be lace
  9. queue can change at any moment (ooh, shiny!)
I finished my Ingenue sweater for January, ahead of schedule, even, but for February I made the mistake of starting two garments at once, both my Lacy Top (for Vestuary):
and Mr. D's top-down raglan. (I don't have any current photos because I've been sorely neglecting it. Really. It'd be done in a day or two if I'd just buckle down--I need only to finish the sleeve ribbing and pick up for neck ribbing.) So I'm fudging that if I finish both in early March, then they count for my February and March garments. (We shall not speak of the two Gretel hats I knit in February as well. Fuggedaboutit, ya hear?)

The Lacy Top has been fun, if kind of a grind--I wish I had chosen a cabled vest instead. It's two pieces, and is a free pattern from Patons. I bought the yarn at JoAnn, because I'm a sucker for that 15% teacher discount, and the only color they had in stock with enough balls of yarn for this pattern

Now, I love wearing black. I own four or five pairs of black pants and let's not get started on the shoes. Black is eminently practical, stylish, and chic. (Me personally, I am eminently...practical. One out of three ain't bad.)

But I hate knitting black. My excuse is that it was Vestuary, and I was caught up in the excitement, and the other colors weren't worth waiting for, it was. The top'll be very practical when it's finished, it's just doing a number on my eyes. The lace pattern is only four rows and was easily memorized, so that's good...and, contrary to the photo above, I've actually finished the front (back) and am about halfway up the back (front). I just keep forgetting to take progress photos in daylight...if there's anything worse than knitting black lace, it's photographing it in artificial light. fuggedaboutit.

Anyway, I plan to tag the projects as I do them, so my Ravelry page should show my progress, and I will also put a list in the sidebar here.

As I type this, I wonder: why am I jumping on this bandwagon? Why stress myself out with artificial and imposed deadlines on what is supposed to be my escape from a life of artificial and imposed deadlines? (I do advise publications and work in a bureaucracy par excellence, don't forget. Deadlines are my life.)

Well--all I can think of is that it's fun to set some goals. As I enter year 3 of my serious knitting phase I have realized that I have tried most techniques and experimented with many (if not most) types of garments/projects, and that conquering techniques and trying new types of projects were what kept me interested. I've done socks, sweaters, shawls, scarves, vests, and hats; knit for men, women, and children; done lace, stranded knitting, cables, and textured stitches. I'm definitely not an expert knitter, but I am certainly a confident upper-intermediate knitter. It was time to set some different goals and figure out another way to keep learning now that there are few "first times" left in the technique arena.