Friday, February 24, 2006

Farewell ruffle, a lot of hard work, all for nothing. Like a lot of the relationships I've had, come to think of it. And, like relationships that were meant to end, the ripping wasn't so painful. Boys are like buses, there's always a next one. And, knitting can always be fixed. I turned my t.v. off, this required silence, fortitude, and a clear mind. I lit a candle, and I methodically began to pull out the stitches from the bottom of the ruffle. This surgery, much like removing a splinter, caused me to wince occasionally, but like dumping that bad boyfriend, it was the right thing to do. I will not miss you ruffle, I'm already glad you are gone.

And, in honor of the Ladies Free Skate last night

I now dub thee, Bobble Top Down:
I started playing around with Nicky Epstein's Knitted Embelishments. First, I thought I would do some kind of twisted I-Cord, but that was a bit bulky, and all that I-Cord would have just added to the madness of the ruffle. I needed something a bit more sane, more serene. I tried a cabled I-Cord. Almost, but the Debbie Bliss didn't really read the twist. And then, I was inspired, as I watched the slipping, the sliding, "uh oh, she two-footed that landing. That bobble is going to cost her . . ." Bobbles, yes. So, using the instructions from Folk Bags about how to knit an I-Cord onto a garment, and combining 2 different bobble patterns from Knitted Embelishments, I bobbled happily around my neckline, and was pleased with the result.

For the sleeve, I decided to stick with the bobble, and I used a pattern from Rowan's It's a Tape Thing. It's an 8 row pattern repeat, and I'll probably do one more repeat of the pattern. That is, when I reup on yarn (there's that public defender stash talking again!) - I ran out of the Debbie Bliss mid bobble. The sleeve, by the way, has also gone through several incarnations. First, I knit to the cuff, in stockinette, creating somewhat of a bell. Boring. Then, I ripped back, and did a drop stitch pattern. I was ok with the result, but it wasn't perfect. I did a K2, yarn over, and I thought it looked too ribbed. I had intended to rip it out, and reknit it with a K1, yarnover, to try to get a lacier feel. But then, the bobble inspiration. This inspiration process is very new for me. I've never designed anything, and I've been very content to follow someone else's pattern. Luckily, I did not pick this project for my Olympic feat, because I think if I had been working on a time-line, I certainly wouldn't have attempted the first ruffle, which, honestly, I don't regret. It was a nice experiment. And, if I had, I never would have pulled it out. I would have been too pressed for time. Maybe the next time I have what I think is a bad boyfriend, maybe I'll actually use a little patience, like I've had with this project, and take the time to make it just right.

Or, I'll dump the loser, like the ruffle, before it's way out of control, spiraling down the sleeves, to the hemline, leaving me, once again, looking foolish, and ready for clown college.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Separated At Birth?

I think, sigh, the ruffle must go.

Monday, February 20, 2006

More Netflix Knitting

I've only been knitting for about four years, but I've been a public defender for almost ten. So, still, when I hear questions like, what's in your stash? and where do you keep it? my first instinct isn't to guess Koigu, Noro, Manos. No, the first answers that pop into my head are - crack, heroin, wet . . . and not closet, cedar chest, knitting bag, but alley, flower pot, tailpipe. I don't think of stash in terms of fiber, but usually in terms of weight - is it a mandatory amount - is this going to get you 1-2, 3-6 or 5-10? So, maybe that's why I don't have a traditional stash -- no need to keep unnecessary weight around the house. I don't tend to buy yarn unless I know what it's going to be. So, my stash is really a queue - see, it's all coming around to Grace's Netflix of Knitting -

And, as promised, I spent time with my stash/queue yesterday. I bought a sweater bag, and organized each tier by project - some started, some in half finished states, in no particular order. As you can see, Lacy Cardigan is not in there, nor is Project Top Down - they're in the knitting bag - the projects up in the queue!

So, on to project Top Down. I went to see Grace last week (because I had to miss class on Saturday for my niece's 3rd birthday party - I'm still recovering - 20 toddlers in a barn, a different activity every 20 minutes - singing, hoola hoop, making Dora backpacks, pizza, cake, parachute, scooters, AAAAHHHHHH!!! And, back at the house, when the dust had settled, and I cracked a beer (another stash possibility), my niece started screaming - no don't drink that!!!!! She's going through a bratty screaming phase. Needless to say, I'm still recovering) to start the arms - she said, hmmmm . . . there's no reason not to put the collar on now -- so, I started swatching my vision of the ruffle.

So, I started with this, Debbie Bliss's cashmerino aran in a deep purple. And, then, the marathon swatch began:
I swatched this:

And, this . . .
And this . . .

I was very frustrated, almost ready to throw in the towel and just pick up a boring purple collar. But, then, after throwing several more skeins at the garmet (take that!), and a little suggestion from Melissa Leapman, we ended up picking a fuzzy mohair ruffle - and I say we, because I picked up the first attempt at the ruffle, and then Grace picked up the 2d, because as she also turned my first attempt at joining the top in the round into a moebius, she also instructed me to pick up the stitches from the wrong side, so that all had to come out - so Grace did the deed, and I started knitting, not really considering how many stitches were on the needle, only knowing that I was going to increase into each and every tiny itty bitty stitch every other row until I was satisfied.

Every wonder what 2,453 stitches looks like? Wonder no more:

And take a closer look:

And, here it is after I BOUND OFF 2,453 STITCHES!!!!!!

And, yes, that's also a sleeve growing down my arm. And, at the end of the sleeve - you guessed it - another ruffle.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Happy Belated Valentine's Day to Everyone! I tried to post yesterday with a photo, but my computer at work wasn't cooperating, and still isn't.

So, I spent sometime last night with the only thing in my life that I apparently have a meaningful relationship with worthy of Valentine's Day - my stash. Yes, I climbed into my closet, and cuddled up to my unfinished projects. We bonded. I apologized for all of the cheating I've done, and promised to pay more attention to them once the Olympics came to a close. I offered up a box of chocolates, but that didn't seem to appease them. They want arms - they want to be sewn together - they want to be comlete. You complete me, they told me. Once Olympic season is over . . . excuses excuses, they screamed. I'm trying . . . NOT GOOD ENOUGH, LIKELY STORY.

I can't win. I want to spend time with them, but . . . those damn baby projects. I was at Rosie's yesterday buying yarn to finish the baby dress. Lisa correctly pointed out that I hadn't quite challenged myself with the baby blanket -- did you really think that would be 2 weeks worth of knitting? Well, of course not, but my deadline was also one week (baby shower), and to me, it's not just the physicality of the sport, but the mental component. Call me evil, call me whatever, BUT I HATE KNITTING BABY CRAP. It fits for all of one day - because the parent is inevitably constantly breastfeeding in public, fattening the kid up. And, that's if the parent will actually let the baby wear the darn thing instead of wrapping it in tissue paper and putting it away for - - for what?? To look at in 20 years when I'm so arthritic I can't knit anymore, and I won't even have a stash to curl up with? Last night, when I hit a bump in the pattern, I was not so secretly happy that I could put it down for the night and work on something I really care about - and I'm teling you, the momentum is gone. I could have cast on the back with the leftovers from the first skein, I could have hand wound the other skein - but I just don't want to.

But, I will perservere, once the pattern is deciphered - and that's the Olympic spirit, right? That mental hurdle is huge, and this really is like a pole vault competition in the end. I've put my stash family on hold, all for the sake of a baby shower I'm not going to, for a baby that's not yet born, for a gift that may be scoffed at since its not on their registry - adversity every where!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Ene in the Snow!

Ene didn't really appreciate being woken up this morning to be thrown in a snowbank, but I wanted to get a better shot of her:
Don't worry, I put her back to bed as soon as the shoot was over!

Hope everyone dug their way out of the snow!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Ene all the time!

Ene by day!

And, Ene by night!

She's done! And why no blocking pictures, you ask? Because they would have been accomanied by a blaring warning - Danger Danger! Don't try this at home! Blocking was a disaster.

First, I spent all day in court waiting around to do a sentencing for a kid who grabbed some girl's butt. Could the court system find a program for this kid? No. Let's just take the mentally ill, and make a movie like Twelve Monkeys, and pretend they don't exist. Whatever, I don't make the jails, I just fill 'em, apparently.

Then, the temperature dropped, and I had to cross town in the freezing wind to purchase blocking pins. I came in from the cold, picked up Nicky Epstein's book as a little treat to myself, and went to pay for my purchase - 30 pins and a juicy book. I handed the person my items, and while I waited, a child started chanting, I played all day, all day I played. I sighed, and said, "Gosh, I wish I could play all day." The clerk handed me my purchase and said, "you were her age once, and you did get to play all day. That's over, you're a grown-up, and it's time to pay the piper."

Pay the f-ing piper! I marched home. Pay the f-ing piper!?!? I wet Ene down, and threw her on the futon. Started stabbing her with pins - here's one for the f-ing piper! And then . . . mid block, I ran out of pins. I called Grace in a panic - Loop is only 3 blocks from my house, and they're open late on Thursdays . . . nope, we just sold our last box. DRAT!!!!!!! But, you can borrow mine . . . GRACE YOU ARE A LIFE SAVER!!!!!

By the way, Grace has a new plan to avoid the temptation of buying more and more yarn, and watching your stash grow and grow and grow. Take all of your projects, and box them up in individual boxes. Take the boxes to the post office. Each month, have the post office mail you a box. You open it up -- look, a new project! new yarn! Yummy! The netflix of the overknitter.

Anyway, I rewet, and reblocked, and I forgot about the damn piper. But, I'm sure next time I'm in court, and I'm standing next to some poor guy who can't afford an attorney, and I'm thinking about all of the money I put into my degree, and the ten years I've put in as a public servant, and my measly $50,000 pay check, and how I apparently don't deserve a day where I get to play all day, and I'll really be thinking that I owe some damn piper.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

New Button!

Thanks to Cara, who is a much better button designer than I - here is the new Philly Button. If you have a chance, hop on over to her blog, and give her a big Philly Yo!

In other news, Ene is finished, however, unblocked. I had some problems near the top, when I discovered that I had more stitches on one side of the center stitch (making it no longer the center). I fudged around a bit, and I think it looks fine. The proof is in the blocking, I guess, and that mystery will be revealed this weekend, while I'm resting between the short program and long program of my pinwheel baby blanket. But, I can tell you this . . . when I discovered the mistake, the word that came out of my mouth wasn't fudge . . .

After knitting circle, I went to my friend's for dinner. My friend has two small children, one of whom, a boy, is six, and apparently is trying out his new colorful vocabulary. My friend asked me to explain to the boy why it's not good to use dirty words. I stuttered . . . me? I drop the "f" bomb on an hourly basis (less than an hour ago - at knitting circle when I discovered my stitches were off), and you're asking me? I talk about blow jobs in front of juries, and you're asking me??? The girl, who in college, wrote a whole column on the beauty of the f word, and what a different world we would live in if Rhett had said to Scarlett, frankly my dear, I don't give a f-!, and you're asking me??? So, I told the child it was unattractive, girls didn't like it. I told him that it showed a lack of creativity, the inability to find the right, correct word. I told him to think about what he wanted people to think of him - smart little boy, not dirty little boy. He looked at me curiously, and I knew it went in one ear and out the other. After he had disappeared from the table, my friend told how the first time she said a dirty word, her mother had grabbed the back of her head, dragged her into the bathroom, and washed her mouth out with soap.

Now, maybe I'm being unmodern - but that worked for me, too (well, until I went to college, and there was no soap weilding mom around). And, I still won't say dirty words in front of my parents (no, they don't come to see me in court, unless it's a good clean shooting). And, when I was five, and I took all of the plastic red price tags off all of the shelves at the grocery store, my mother looked right at me and said, if you do that again, you'll go to jail, and they'll lock you up, and you'll never get out. I never took another thing in my life that didn't belong to me. What really gets a kid to stop doing something - the truth, or crazy consequences?

Is it more attractive to say, Oh Fudge, or Oh Sugar? I don't think so. When I say bad words, do people really think I'm stupid? uneducated? Maybe. If you saw Andy Reid mouth on the sidelines, Oh Darn, when McNabb threw another interception, what would you think? Maybe that he's taking too many antidepressants? The world needs color, and sometimes colorful language, and . . . you know, it's probably a really good thing I'm not a parent . . .

And, sorry, it's a good thing to have an aresenal of expletives when you drop a stitch.
Here it is - the official unofficial Team Philly Button.

Yippee skip! To join Team Philly, email me with your name, email address, and URL address. You have to have a Blogger account, but you can open one up without actually ever maintaining a blog - you'd just become a contributing member of Team Philly. If that's too much work for you, you can always email me pictures of your Olympian progress, and I'll post the pictures for you.

Yo Philly, let's get knitting!

Monday, February 06, 2006

The response to Team Philly has been overwhelming! (Ok, one - but hey, two will make a team), and I think that if I build it, they will come. So, tomorrow, look for a button on the sidebar that will link to Team Philly, and let's show those Jamaican bobsledders from Wales what we can do! Come on Knitser Chelle! Knitty D - I know you're in, and I know you must want a button!

As the Olympics approaches, I'm quickly packing in my in progress projects - have to clear the brain to go for the gold. Here is Ene (which could also be pronounced Een as in mean, but I'm still voting for my pasta pick):

I have one more repeat to go on Chart 3, and then Chart 4, and I will see the finish line. I was working on it a bit last night, and made a fairly glaring mistake towards the center of the work. I fixed it this morning, but it's still noticeable. But, doing a cost benefit analysis, I think I'm going to have to live with the mistake, because my unknitting skills need a little work . . .

And, speaking of cost benefit - if you ever have a heating/cooling guy in your basement fixing your furnace, and he looks at your water heater and says, that's going to blow, you really need to replace it - maybe you should listen to him instead of thinking he's just trying to milk another job out of you. Yep, big ol' flood in my basement this weekend. Uch. So, the theme of this weekend was ripping. Ripped out the water heater, ripped out the carpet, and 8 bags of garbage that followed the water induced carnage. Sat. morning I found myself on the way to Home Depot with my crackhead contractor (and who else would I employ but a crackhead contractor considering who I let do my cleaning), who wasn't looking so good, listening to him explain how he was throwing his life in the toilet. And, I thought I left my client's at the office, sheesh! Then, when I left him in my house to fix the water heater (it's ok, calm down - his nephew is a cop, I know where to find him), I went to Grace's top down class, where I am building a top down V-neck raglan dress with bell sleeves and a braided bottom. Can you picture it? Of course not, but it's in my head (the last time I heard that one was from a client who thought his sister was out to get him, and we said, well, move, and he said, "she's in my head!!!!!"" anyway . . .). I'll put a skematic up soon - and that's really what the pattern should be called, because it's much more of a construction project, and Grace is like my contractor.

Did I ever tell you my mom calls me "fast and wrong" (well, that's when she's not calling me, "take me bring me buy me get me.") Well, that again proved true at Top Down class. Once my neck yoke was done, did I accept Merrill's offer of a longer needle to see if the thing fit. Oh no, I shoved it right over my head, pulling out half the front stitches. Grace to the rescue - or so I thought. Grace picked up the stitches, but as she was so distracted by our wit and cheery conversation, she turned my circular work into a moebius, which I didn't discovery until four rows later. Uch! Thanks for unknitting and reknitting Grace - we both thought I was back on track, didn't we!

But, oh no, my remedial math skills came blaring to the forefront. When we figured out the rate of increase for the V neck, we did so based on the number of stitches originally cast on to the back (44), and half of what was needed on each side of the V in the front (22). For whatever reason, when I got to 22 stitches on each side, I stopped reducing, and joined the work. Ummm . . . that didn't take into consideration the increasing going on in the back. What I was supposed to do was knit 35 rows, increasing 3x per 5 row repeat, so that when I got to row 35, the stitches would be the same in the front and back. Instead, I was down like 20 stitches. Uch! Out the whole thing came. But, Rome wasn't built in a day, and this dress won't be either.

But, the Team Philly group blog will be - construction will begin tonight!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Team Brotherly Love?

Anyone interested in forming Team Philly? If so, leave a comment, or email me, and I'll attempt to make a button, a page, and contactthe Olympic Historian to add our team to the list.
Let the games begin! Light that torch, and let's get casting! I've picked my project - yep, the darn baby project. However, I have switched up from the Koigu cardigan that I've knit 4x, to the Pin Wheel Baby Blanket. Inspired by a blanket in Last Minute Knitted Gifts (although I don't know how you can knit an entire adult blanket at the last minute. Does 16 days before a baby shower constitute the "last minute?"), and its ascending gradations of color, I have chosen three shades of Blue Sky Alpaca (yes, as Grace reminded me, this yarn is not machine washable, and of course my response was, oh well, it's not my baby, I don't have to clean up after it. Huh, that doesn't seem to be in the Olympic spirit - but on the other hand, for the Olympics, only the best equipment will do - I don't want to end up like Tanya Harding, crying on the sidelines when the lace on my boot snaps, begging for a second chance at my short program!) to twirl round and round.

I haven't decided on an edging yet - I'm sure by the time I get there, I will be so over this project. It will be like completing the cross-country skiing event, and then someone telling me "put your skis back on, you have to do the downhill!"

Uch. I'm already wiping the sweat off my brow.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Mulva Progress

So here's ol' what's-her-name:

Possible pronounciations - En-a, that rhymes with penne, N.A.; EE-nah, that rhymes with Mina; and EE-ni, that rhymes with meanie, as in eenie meanie minie mo. I'm partial to the first one, because anything that rhymes with food is good in my book.

I have to say, I'm extremely proud of myself (probably premature pride, I still have a ways to go) - this is really my first charted work (uncharted territory - heh heh, ok, bad pun), and while there's a mistake here and there, for the most part, I think it looks good. And this yarn really is fantastic, incredibly soft, and surprisingly, considering its weight, warm. I'm kind of regretting that I didn't save it for the Knitting Olympics, because I think with stamina, endurance, a few tears, and a bit of pain, it could have been completed in 16 days, and it certainly would have been a gold medal performance. Now, if I do the big O, and it's going to have to be that darn baby project - which, while not difficult knitting, would still be a challenge because I would have to disrupt my regularly scheduled programming (Ene and lacy cardigan), to do it. I still have a few days to ponder.