Monday, November 19, 2007


Isn't this the most amazing thing ever?

Not my knitting--obliterated by blocking are nearly a dozen fudges. I mean the fact that this shawl is off the needles and blocked.

I am thrilled to death. Right now, I expected to be glancing balefully at my corner piled high with UFOS and shuffling along on the Fiery Bolero. But the yarn gods are benevolent. The Malabrigo came in early, and in my elation, I whipped out the last few rows, the edgy bit, and bound off in three days. Staying up until midnight watching Arcade Fire on Austin City Limits helped. Arcade Fire is one of those bands that you can't really appreciate fully until you have seen them perform, and they really kicked it out that night. I was hugely impressed.

But anyways. As part of the FO ritual, here are the specs:
Pattern: Icarus Shawl from the Interweave Knits Summer 2006 issue
Yarn: THREE skeins Malabrigo Laceweight in Bergamota. I do not recommend using anything dark. This yarn is a little slippery, and most of my fudges were the result of losing a yarnover and not discovering the fact until 2 rows after it happened.
Needles: There's always lots of discussion on what sort of needles to use, metal vs. bamboo, ultra-pointy tips or not. I did ok with plain bamboo Addis. The tips were not inordinately pointy, but they worked for me. I do not recommend using metal needles with this particular yarn, as per my above note on fudges, but a longer wire would be good. After the first few repeats of Chart 1, the whole thing started bunching up on the needle and it was impossible to see how my gauge was holding up.
Blocking: threading string through the eyelets while wet, tugging the ends tight, and setting it aside to dry works just fine.

My favorite part of this pattern is that it impresses the heck out of people. My Linguistics classmates had been monitoring my in-class progress, and asked me to bring "the red thing" in when I was done with it. I did (shamelessly), and they oohed and aahed in amazement. I take no credit in such success. The pattern is elegant and elegantly written. If you 1. can read a chart, 2. buy good yarn, and 3. have boatloads of patience/are a glutton for punishment, you can make this.
Of course, there's no need to tell everyone else that.

After I got it off the needles, I agonized over the pronounced bimp at the base:

But blocking evened that out.

Here's a detail before blocking:

And one from after:

And a closeup:

(This last picture best approximates the actual color of the yarn.)

Yes, I am totally enamored. But I was so totally in a rut, and after that bit of instant gratification from the Acorn hat, this was just the boost I needed to get me going on the Fiery Bolero.

AND I just got off on Thanksgiving break. The best way to see the effect this had on my mood would be to look at what I was playing on iTunes: yesterday I had Yellow, Despair in the Departure Lounge, and Sailed On in the lineup. Today? The Colour the Colour the Colour with All for You, Sofia and Seven Nation Army thrown in for good measure. This is the teaser--that little taste of freedom (and pie) to keep us going.

The end of the semester IS incredibly close. Beginning Tuesday, we hit the short, steep slide to finals. After that: winter break. Not quite the Holy Grail that is summer break, but at 65 degrees, I'll take it. Repeat: 20 days, I can make it another 20 days. Just 3 more weeks, and I get my brain back.

Happy knitting with cranberry sauce.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It's a Hat!

But not just any hat: it's a hat that looks like an acorn.

And just in the nick of time, too, as our daytime lows have plummeted to the 80's! *peals of maniacal laughter*

La Monita has been my model during the design process. Unfortunately, she wasn't handy, so I crammed the hat on my own head and took a stab at the venerable art of mirror photography. I'd never had occasion to try it before. I think it very ironic that the camera focused in on itself, but overall, this is something I do believe I could do again. Note to self: put on a long sleeved t-shirt or a sweater next time to give the picture veracity.

Here are the specs:
A small amount of worsted-ish wool yarn, handspun and dyed with marigolds by someone named Candy (body color)
5 sts/inch for the body in stockinette on size 5 needles
An even smaller amount of Classic Elite's Inca Alpaca in "Cowhide Helmut" (Isn't that an awful name for a color?)
6 sts/inch for the brim in blackberry (aka bramble) stitch on the same size 5 needles
The pattern is my own, but based on the Wizard Hat from Kids Knitting . I think this particular hat has a lot of potential for experimentation, for big people as well as kids. Just be prepared to fiddle endlessly to get it to fit the way the pattern says it should, and if you are ambitious/crazy enough to combine two yarns with different gauges using different stitch patterns, be forewarned: I frogged the brim so many times, I was afraid my yarn was going to frizzle away to nothing.
But that aside, it was quite enjoyable.

At this time of year, when teachers and students alike are counting class periods, not weeks, I find that I have a strange urge to obsess on random things. Analyzing this behavior, I have decided that it is a strange sort of coping mechanism. None of these are illegal or will cause bodily harm to myself or others (unless someone makes the mistake of getting between me and a sale rack), and they keep me from going further off the deep end. As such, these obsessions are things I believe I should indulge.

Recent obsessions include:

Jumpers of the sale variety

"We Looked Like Giants" --I think this is as angsty as Ben Gibbard gets.

The "Aleatorio Canciones" feature on my iPod. Most people know this as shuffle, but I have been listening to artistas and albumes ever since a certain little monkey got a hold of my iPod. She says it's a great way to learn a language. The sad thing is, she's right.

Here's to all our little fixations. May they keep the world functional.

Sunday, November 4, 2007


After the spectacular stall of the Firebird, I have not been sitting quietly in the corner, weeping (although that would be a perfectly reasonable reaction).


At 46 days until Christmas, I am still without finished gifts, and two out of my three main recipients always seem to be about when I want to work on their gifts. (Honestly--you'd think they lived in the same house) So here's the plan:

While Mum is not about, I'm working on squares for her patchwork blanket.

Mona Pequeña has requested a Firey Bolero, from the Summer 2005 Interweave Knits. The idea is that while Mona is out, I'll work on this.

Note the yarn is not yet on the needles. As a result of the Firebird fiasco, I am feeling a little pattern-shy. But if nothing else, I will be working with slightly chunkier yarn, on slightly larger needles, than I was with the Firebird. In theory, this translates to the project working up faster.

For those instances where both Mum and Mona Pequeña are about, I have pulled out the Acorn Hat. This will not become a gift, so I can knit away without any worries about who is watching.

That's the plan. Think it will work? Stay tuned...