Monday, July 21, 2008

Highly Unlikely

Which of the following is the most unlikely?

1. Worldwide peace starting tomorrow

2. My university will complete all of its construction projects

3. I will drop my nascent sock obsession like a lead balloon to begin a sweater

Had you asked me that last Monday, I would've been hard pressed to tell you which answer was the least likely. As I've discovered in the intervening week, the answer is definitely not 3.

Gigi, the flowy, trendy little sweater off the latest Knitty has become my newest obsession, and I've tossed aside all thoughts of socks. Maybe the fact that the pattern is knit in sock yarn can help explain the rapid transition. Whatever the cause, I'm speeding through the back.

I really like the color--Vine Green. As discussed by Sarah of Blue Garter, some sock yarns come in the most distressing color combos. Several shades of Panda Wool fall into the distressing category (I share EZ's distaste for pastels), but luckily, they also have some colors for those of us who want a sweater knit in sock-weight yarn and also insist that 90% of our wardrobe be able to blend into a forest (I am getting past that phase a little bit, but not totally).

The texture of the yarn is also very nice: soft and bamboo-y with just enough wool to keep it from looking like a loofa, as shown in the picture below.

So was this excellent yarn just hiding about the house? Ah. No. I bought it, all seven skeins. This wasn't just a it-came-over-me-of-a-sudden purchase, either. I special-ordered it.

This flies in the face of all rules of destashing. Blatantly. But so far, I have no reason for remorse. I was way burnt out on knitting with tidbits. I wanted a Gigi. And in spite of the fact that it's knit at 25 sts over 4 inches, sleeves worked in with the body, I'm enjoying myself immensely.

What more can I say?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Zen of the Scantron

This morning I had a novel test-taking experience. For one thing, all the stuff I studied for was on the exam. No we-downplayed-this-in-class-because-we-planned-on-devoting-an-entire-test-section-to-it questions. All the answers were on the paper, to be matched, chosen, or true-falsed. The answers did not have to be hand-written; we bubbled our answers in on a scantron.

I think the scantron was what really made the test. I haven't had one for ages--always those too-involved questions followed by too-small blanks--so there was the novelty factor. But even more, there was something reassuring about the tangibility of the little darkened oval. The answer is here, and it fits inside this one little bubble. A, B, C, D, or E, not some abstruse concept with a dozen possible interpretations. No shades of gray, unless you brought the wrong hardness of pencil.

Following in the vein of the unexpected is my mystery picture from last week's non-post.

Inside that box are all the umpteen squares I have been knitting for what seems like eons (roughly three years). I had a square-knitting frenzy right before Mum's birthday, and am now four squares short of a lap blanket (interpret that statement as you will). In short, I am ready to begin the finishing process. Normally, I avoid that part of a project like the plague, but after knitting away so long on a seemingly endless portion of my stash, I am quite thrilled. I did a program last summer where participants knitted (hypothetically) 6-inch squares out of horrible scratchy machine washable Red Heart and its ilk for a twin-bed sized blanket, and after sewing that behemoth together, this will be a piece of cake.

My modus operandi:
Mattress-stitch squares together using embroidery floss (the yarn is too softly spun to sew with)
Knit remaining squares as needed
Put some sort of border on (I was thinking i-cord in black because muted goldish-green is possibly the world's most difficult color to match)
Present it to Mum and keep a good distance from patchwork for a few years

I'd say that sounds like a good plan, wouldn't you?

Monday, July 14, 2008

I Think Uncharitable Thoughts

I am blogging now, fifteen minutes before I'm supposed to get myself together for class, as an alternative to throwing myself on the floor and tearing off my epidermis.

Exegesis: I am very allergic to perfume. Nasty allergic. Last semester, someone used a Guess perfume sample--one of those little cards the women at the perfume counters at department stores spray with the latest scent (after dousing you with said scent) and insist you take along--as a bookmark in a library book about archaeology. I don't know how long it was there, but by the time I got to the book, every page in the two inch thick tome reeked, and I sustained an attack getting my class readings done. Until I discovered the offending sample card, I would've sworn that someone had soaked the whole thing in some sort of laundry detergent.

Well, apparently the culprit is a serial perfumer. I bought my textbook for this class used, and what do you know--I open the thing, and a distinctive laundry detergent scent wafts up in my face. Martha offers a remedy for odiferous books, but it takes a month--not to mention two lidded garbage cans and kitty litter--to take effect. My class will be over and done with in another three weeks, so my better option is to suck it up. Mark my words, though, if I catch the culprit, retribution will be exacted.

In knitty news, I'm making this with this.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Two Mittens

A week to the day after I completed my mittens, I've finally got my blog back on.

Here are the stats:
Pattern: Norwegian Snail Mittens out of Book of Yarn, designed by Adrian Bizilia
Yarn: Dalegarn's Baby Ull, just under one skein each 3718 (maraschino) and 0007 (grey), plus a small amount of 0090 (black). The latter two came out of my stash.
Needles: I ended up using the called-for 0's for the grey section in the second mitten, but did all the rest on 1's. Definitely use five, even if you normally use four--it helps keep track of the pattern.
Modifications: I moved the thumb up from row 26 to row 35, as noted previously, and in spite of my many anxieties, it worked perfectly.

In short, I am glad I decided to go with a German chocolate cake knit rather than a candy bar knit. I crossed the Fair Isle frontier with project and sanity intact. The only real fault I could find with the finished product is that the left mitten is slightly larger than the right. That's sort of a non-mistake, though, because, as a lefty, my left hand is actually more robust than my right anyways.

Having tried all these new techniques--tuck stitch, Fair Isle (done properly), afterthought thumbs, and duplicate stitching--I feel like I've broadened my horizons, but I'm pretty sure that none of these techniques will enter my regular repertoire. My norm is a little closer to the "simple knits" end of the spectrum: solid colors, basic patterns, clean lines. German chocolate cake is good for special occasions, but candy bars are definitely better for everyday.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ultimate Recycling

Newest in our line of Miss Marple chic accessories is...

The Sampler Bag

Displayed here on a filing cabinet, this entirely unstructured bag is recycled from a pillowcase knitted from Lion Kitchen Cotton (circa 2000)

as an experiment in the newly-learned techniques of cabling and entrelac.

Cable mis-crossings add to the wonky charm of this never-to-be-duplicated piece,

as does the irregular whipstitching that holds the lining--recycled from a t-shirt--in place.

Please do not place orders, as the knitter has since learned from (most of ) the errors in her experiment, and has additionally vowed not to go near a sewing needle for a very, very long time to come.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Switching Gears

Knittyness is on hold momentarily while I switch from summer to summer school. Bear with me here...

For all shall be revealed in due time.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

It's the Heat

The other night, just as it was beginning to get dusky, Monita came in from taking out the garbage and remarked that it was pretty nice out. Our thermometer, parked deep in the shade of the back patio, read 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

That might explain why I chose now to do that scarf I wanted in February.

Yarn: Mysterious, gray, from Quito. Light worsted, two ply, fiber content unknown (suspected synthetic)
Needles: Size 7
Pattern: Large Eyelet Diamond (#110) from the Vogue Stitchionary, slightly modified

Paired with a black tank, the diamonds take on an edgy, snakeskin vibe. I was going for classic, and am hoping the snakiness goes away when the scarf is paired with a nice, conservative pea coat. We'll have to wait to find out, though; I'm not so far gone that I'm actually going to put on a lined wool coat and a scarf just to see how they look together.