Monday, November 27, 2006

Four days in the 'burbs, much retail therapy, and 2 lbs later, I'm back in the city, and once again, hooked up with high speed internet. My father insists on clinging to his dial-up - why do I need it to be any faster? he says. And, I guess if you're retired, and you have all day to wait for one measly page to load up, I guess you're right - why do you need it to go any faster? But, old fast and wrong over here can't bear it, so no broken heart this time to account for the gap between posts - just technical difficulties.

So, here is my latest fast and wrong - my niece's cardigan. I started a cardigan for my niece over the summer. I'm one sleeve away from finishing it. But, it's cotton - blech. And, then the seams have to be sewn - blech. And then, a ruffle needs to be picked up around the whole thing - blech. So, I decided to do a simple top down cardigan with my gifted Debbie Bliss bubble gum pink yarn. I pulled Barbara Walker off the shelf, and my eyes glazed over as I thought about the math. There must be a pattern - someone must have already done this work for me - so off I went, and I found an Ann Nordling top down cardigan, sized for gauges running the gammut of 3.5/inch to 5.5/inch. But, the cardigans were a bit blah - no pizazz. So, instead of putting a floppy collar, I put a ruffle (hmmmm - sounds suspiciously like the cardigan I'm one sleeve away from finishing).
Then, I decided to do an edging from Nicky Epsteins' On the Edge Book. Hmmm. . . looks like that has to be sewn on . . . sounds like that cardigan that is one sleeve away from completion.

So, I still have 2 sleeves to knit (hmmmm . . . 2 sleeves, one sleeve - you do the math) (not to mention the fact that those armholes look a tad bit big . . .), an edging to finish and sew, and a button band to pick up. What was I thinking???? And, I don't really like the edging for this cardigan - it's not really childlike - and, uch, I think I might ruffle all around - JUST LIKE THE CARDIGAN THAT'S 90% DONE ALREADY.

Sigh. Needless to say, I've put it dowm for a bit (hmmm . . . just like the other cardigan), and I've been working on Geyl. Geyl is growing like baby elephant. You can't tell from the picture (which looks much like the picture I already posted), but there's a gazillion stitches on the needle, and from the caston edge to wear I am now is about 18 inches. The pattern calls for 9 skeins of Koigu. I'm only through the third ball. I feel like I'm knitting a bedspread. But, its Koigu, and its pretty, and we'll see how it goes.

So, I'm off to Key West on Wednesday. I'm going to a Continuing Legal Education conference sponsored by NORML, the group that advocates the legalization of marijuana (no, our office doesn't pay for this -- they send us a grant). I heard there are interesting party favors on the table. Too bad I don't smoke. On one hand, it will be nice to get out of Dodge, but on the other hand, I'm not sure if I'm in the right place to be alone in party town. I've really been ok. I did turn my phone off for the majority of the break - it's not that I'm avoiding a phone call, because that's not happening - but I'm so used to the phone ringing like clockwork at certain times - in the morning on his way to work, lunch, mid afternoon, the end of his shift, even if it was at 2:00 a.m. - I'm like Pavlov's dog - it's not that I want it to ring, I'm just trained to hear it.

I reactivated my jdate account, and I got this IM from some 30 year old kid last night. He asked me why it's hard to meet men. Instead of replying, it's not hard to meet men, it's hard to meet men who aren't jackasses, I said, well, I work at a jail, yadda yadda. I meet cops and robbers and it's sometimes hard to tell the difference, yadda yadda . . . and then this kid had the nerve to start asking "have you given up hope?" I said, I don't know what what you're talking about - "well, you can't give up hope of meeting someone . . ." and he went on, and I stopped him, "look little buddy, did I say I was unhappy or hopeless? and I don't need a pep talk, capice?" "Um ok," he said, and quickly closed his window. Maybe I do need to go to Key West and take up a new hobby . . .

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Wallabee Wonders

Thanks to everyone who had kind thoughts for me yesterday - and unkind thoughts about jackass. But, A.K. is off to a good start - a finished Walllabee!

For those of you who are not familiar with the pattern, the Wallabee is a Cottage Creations original - Cottage Creations is kind of the Nora Ephron of knitting patterns. Simple instructions, laced with personal anecdotes, helpful tips, and the occasional tee hee. And, like the Rambling Rows blanket, it's all about no sewing. The entire sweater is knit in the round, until you have to separate the fronts at the neck opening.

If you follow the instructions, there is absolutely no sewing. When you attach the sleeves, there are ten stitches under the arm that are supposed to be grafted. I say supposed to be because I just couldn't bring myself to do Kitchener last night (there's actually helpful hints in the pattern about pysching yourself up to do the Kitchener, but in the spirit of my grandmother, I said, feh), and I turned the thing inside out, and did a three needle bind off. Can't tell, can you? - it's the armpit, dammit, why do I need to Kitchener?

On the other hand, you can tell I did a three needle bind off on the hood - but I'm ok with that. The seam, to me, is perfectly reasonable for a hood, and the only real difference is that it comes to a bit of a point in the back.
I'm happy with it. And I would have been so unhappy Kitchenering 36 stitches together.

I don't know why I got it in my head that I had to knit the Wallabee in Brooks Farm Fourplay. It's like I had a pyschic connection with the yarn (although, not like Matt Lauer - Matt, what is up with you and the medium? No, you cannot see dead people!) - and I was so right. This is this comfyest, most delicious sweater I have ever worn. And, while the one skein did have to be hand wound, the yarn, once it was pulled apart, really wasn't so damaged - there's a stitch here and there that's a bit fuzzy, but no biggie. I did take everyone's advice, and emailed Brooks Farm. The woman who runs the online store was quick to get back to me, and told me that she was relieved to hear from me after Christine gave them the heads up at Kid and Ewe. She assured me that either Randall or Sherrie would get back to me soon - that was last Wednesday, and I haven't heard from them again. I'm sure they're busy. This one skein issue should not turn anyone away from Brooks Farm. I love this yarn, and will buy it again at Maryland Sheep and Wool - I think for a top down turtleneck. Yum! A.K. is all about comfort after all!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Wallabee Woe

So, here is the long promised tale of Wallabee woe. Let's go back to Maryland Sheep and Wool. I wasn't all about a Wallabee, I was all about the Clapotis. So, I purchased this pretty Brooks Farm Four Play for a Clappy - 3 skeins, at 270 yds a skein. A few hours after I bought this, I found what would eventually become the Clappy, a merino/silk blend resembling Josephs' coat of many colors. And, I don't know how I got it in my head, but I just felt the Brooks Farm needed to be a Wallabee.

Ummm . . . but I only had 810 yards -- the pattern calls for somewhere around 1400 for the medium. I spoke to a few people who had already made the Wonderful Wallabee, and they assured me they didn't use nearly as much yarn as what the pattern called for, and that it might work out if I did the pocket and the hood in a solid. I mulled it over. I thought about doing a provisional cast-on, and doing the 3 inch rib in another color if I ran out of yarn. I thought about stripes. In the end, I thought, I'm going to buy more Four Play.

And so I did - at Rhinebeck - 1300 yards - of this pretty green:
Problem 1 - Looks a little small, doesn't it? But, Courtney checked my gauge, I'm on gauge - and the pocket is allegedly the center of the front - so hopefully, everything is just bunched up on the needle. This problem is easily rectified - in an inch or so, I'll fuse the pocket to the body of the sweater, and then I'll take it off the needles and try it on. Of course, if it's too small, I don't have enough yarn for a large, and it'll be back to the provisional cast-on drawing board.

Problem 2 - if you look at the picture again, you'll notice that the body of the sweater is much darker than the pocket - the skeins, while marked that they were from the same dyelot are clearly different - of course, I didn't notice this on the darkened trainride from hell. The solution would probably have been to work with a two balls of yarn at a time, and mixed in the darker skein -- way too much work for a Wallabee, and even if I had noticed in time, I probably wouldn't have done it. I think the pocket is making it ok, but we'll see as I go along -

But, the true potential disaster is this skein -
No, that's not a blurry shot - the yarn is all f-d up. I went to wind it, and it got stuck. It turns out that the skein was wrapped up before the dye dried, and while it's not quite felted, it's all stuck together, and the areas that are fused, are a bit rough. This skein will have to be wound by hand, uch, and disaster will really only strike if I have to use this yarn for anything other than the hood. I mean, who's going to inspect the hood anyway.

Ah the suspense - will it be too small? will it look like two different sweaters sewed together once the color differentiation between the 2 skeins becomes more distinct? will the f-d up skein sort itself out and become usable? Will I buy a solid green of something worsted, and cast on the large? Will I ditch putting the hood on if I can't get the f-d up skein to work out? It's almost as good as a Friday cliffhanger, and it's only Wednesday.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Another weekend, another yarn fest! Christina and I roadtripped to Maryland this weekend for Stitches East. I'm going to reserve my comments about Stitches for a later date, if at all, and rather than rant and rail, which may or may not happen on the podcast, I'll just show you what I bought.

First up is roving from Lisa Souza. I figured I should apply the same philosophy to spinning as I do to knitting - don't learn on crap, because you won't love it, and you won't want to finish it - so I bought some Blue Faced Leiscester and some Merino. Unforunately, my makeshift braking system on my wheel is just not working out, so I'm going to have to wait for the part to come in. At this point, my wheel seems to be giving me two choices - I'll twist, but I won't wind on, or I'll wind on, and I won't twist - and that's because my makeshift brake either holds the bobbin in a locked position, or it doesn't hold it at all. Ah well, I've waited this long - I can wait a little longer, especially when there is knitting to be done.

In the knitting arena - remember those 17 skeins of Koigu that were snatched from my hot little hands - well, feel bad for me no more - because here is the new and improved version - and it's only mine! It was a onetime only dyelot - there's no number, no lot - just "NR" for "no repeat." This skein is not exactly like the one that I lost - that skein also had blues in it - but the wine/berry color is the same, and I love love love it! This is going to be Lucie, from this month's Knitty. And, where did I buy it - Rosie's - a 2 hour trip to buy yarn at my LYS, go figure.
But, here's something I wouldn't treat myself to in Philadelphia - cashmere. Stitches is a mecca for cashmere - Hunt Valley Cashmere, School House products, and this, Just Your Yarn. I went with Just Your Yarn because of the yarddage, and the color - each skein is 500 yards for $35 and it's going to be a shawl from the book I bought at Stitches, which is part of the rant, and which I'm not quite ready to talk about yet in a the manner it should be discussed - the book is beautiful, the patterns are lovely, but I have a bad taste in my mouth about it - a little mouthwash, and I'll get over it. I'm sure a post will be forthcoming in the next week or so.

And finally, Courtney has all of her Smith Island Pattern Factory patterns in order - the new pictures are beautiful, and I have four skeins of Anne lined up to knit Geyl -

Christina and I have been talking about turning the Maude A Long into a Smith Island Get-A-Way - since we both have big plans for Geyl.

And, speaking of big plans - my fall knitting plans are totally spinning out of control. Right now in the active rotation are - a test knit for a friend that I can't blog about but is inches from completion, the Wonderful Wallabee - that may or may not be headed for disaster because of my Brooks Farm dilemna (which could have easily been solved at Stitches if I weren't so ticked off and distracted) - more about potential trauma from the Wallabee later in the week, and a baby cable sock in my Socks that Rock, Bleeding Hearts. In the backup line-up - I have a sweater started from last year in Karabella Marble, and the Bird's Nest Shawl in Helen's Laces. And, in the dying to cast on - I have the above Koigu, Geyl, the Skaska Orenburg triangle, the new cashmere project, and the merino/tencel red red red Frost Flowers and Leaves. I'm in such a tizzy, I don't even know where to start.

And I want to fix my wheel because . . .?

And, speaking of Socks that Rock, Christina had a nice chat with Kaci from Blue Moon Fibers, who wanted us to spread the word about the Rockin Sock Club 2007. You can now preregister for the club, and pay in January. For $210 you get 6 sock kits, patterns created just for STR, and a bunch of other goodies. Both Christina and I signed up, and you'll definitely be hearing about it on the podcast, so if you're into it - sign up now. Kaci said they were going to keep sign ups open I think for the month of November.