Monday, August 25, 2008

Amoeba on a Stick!

Not really. It's a February Baby Sweater, my first foray into the designs of Elizabeth Zimmerman. I'm hoping to create something unique but classic, along the lines of this or this rendition.

Once again, we have the White Stripes-esque color scheme of my Baby Ull stash. Maybe something little Scarlett White would wear. And, once again, I don't have a baby handy, which is why I'm going for classic. Even if they will cover every article of clothing (theirs and their mothers') with unspeakable liquids, babies do deserve to be dressed in style.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Positively Mahvelous, Dahling

Project Specs--

Pattern: Gigi, from the Summer '08 Knitty
Yarn: Crystal Palace Panda Wool in color 4108 (Vine Green), not quite 5 skeins
Needles: Size 2 and 4, as called for in the pattern
Modifications: none intentionally. If you'll notice, there are five buttons on mine. If you have proper row gauge on the ribbing, you'll be able to fit six.
Note: The sizes are weird. I wear a 34" sweater and knitted the extra small on this. Measure the top of your hips (above the bone, not quite to your waist) to figure out which size to make.

I love this sweater. It is the sort of thing I would never plan to make myself (or anybody else for that matter). Had I not been in a yarn buying mood when I saw it, or had I stopped to consider it for any length of time, it wouldn't have gotten made. Gigi is a total product sweater: I simply adore how the yarn feels and the shape, and I know I'll get a lot of use out of it once school starts (Monday).

Like an old-time movie queen, however, there is more to this little sweater than meets the eye. Putting it nicely, I'd call it a skill-builder. In a less complimentary mood, I'd call it a total pain. In the course of knitting and finishing, you
1. Shape sides
2. Shape neck, at same time as sides
3. Make fancy two-row buttonholes
4. Cast on big clumps of stitches (do not use backwards loop method!)
5. Shape shoulders with short rows
6. Make casings
7. Sew side seams that in all likelihood will come out wonky under the arms because of the excessive amount of increases down there (thanks to the drape of the sleeves, nobody will notice unless you walk around with your arms stretched out to the sides)
8. Sew more seams
9. Make a twisted cord
10. Sew on 5 buttons (or 6, if you got row gauge)
11. Knit neck edging
12. Sew neck edging to back edge
13. Graft back neck edging stitches to front edging stitches held aside for the purpose

An extra step that you may feel compelled to add is throwing the heap of unfinished sweater on your bed because you cannot stand fiddly finishing procedures, sewing in particular.

But then you put it on and feel positively mahvelous, like you should be posed in a house on Sunset Boulevard, wearing outrageously high heels and holding a martini in one red-taloned hand, which sort of makes up for spending two whole days sewing.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Whew. Olympic viewing has resulted in sleep deprivation of Olympic proportions. But for knitting time, it can't be beat.

Gigi is finished, not just the knitting but the neverending finishing too. More on that after I corner my photographer.

My next focus is Christmas knitting (it feels too early, but I'm trying to avoid daylong knitting sessions come Dec.), but I can't very well do any of that while mi familia looks on, so I dug back into the stash.

A scarf, just long enough to be worn cravat-style about one's neck. I used the ripple pattern (#116 in the Vogue Stitchionary--beware, the second set of k2tog's are supposed to be ssk's), some black fuzzy acrylic bought many and many a year ago, and (you guessed it) some more of the neverending Homespun. I cast on enough stitches for one pattern repeat and knit until the black ran out. Did I use up all the Homespun?

Of course not.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Day and a Half

This has been one of those days in which you just go go go... and it never gets any later. After getting out at the crack of dawn to trim back the poor sad tree in our backyard that got blown over in Thursday's storm so we can actually lift the thing back up,

Las hermanitas y yo baked cupcakes,

and I was inspired to back up all my files, and after a major clearing out, I got them all of two discs (!!!).

And let's not forget watching the Olympics! It would be so easy to get disgusted with the commercialization, the politicalization, etc., etc and say forget it. The Olympics are definitely not purely about sportsmanship. But seriously. How could they be? Two hundred-some national identities and egos colliding head-on in the competitive and money soaked field of sports, presented by one culture, interpreted by another--! My inner anthropologist thrills to the cultural messages flying fast and furious, my inner knitter thrills to the amount of possible knitting time, and seriously, who doesn't thrill to the prospect of watching Michael Phelps cut through the water all weekend?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Missing: Two Weeks

My goodness--has it really been two weeks since I've blogged--or indeed, made any real presence on the blogosphere? I'm going to fall back on a classic and say there are quite simply not enough hours in the day. This isn't the fault of school or work (for once). I'm trying to keep this summer as summer-like as possible, and that means forcing myself not to cram in that one more project, one more book, one more post. There will be plenty of time for running around like a chicken with my head cut off once fall semester starts.

We all know I haven't found time for blogging, but I have found time to knit. The back of Gigi is complete, as is the front left, and the back is well underway.

I would've dearly loved to knit a sweater in the round (I have my eye on a steeked cardigan a la EZ), but doing a sweater in pieces does give one interesting perspectives, not to mention the opportunity to try out a different suite of techniques.

The back piece was an exercise in symmetry. Once I got past the sleeve set up (fraught with stitch counts), it was 9 inches of seriously meditative knitting.

At the top, I got to practice my short-row shaping skills (or lack thereof). I've got the wrapping action down, but when I go to knit the wraps with their stitches, one side comes out with these big loops on the wrong side. Yes, I'm the only person who will ever see them. No, it shouldn't matter. But they irk me all the same.

The front (which I don't have pictures of) was neither meditative nor symmetrical. One one side, I had the familiarity of that wide sleeve, but the other was uncharted territory. The neckline edging didn't make any sense until I had a few rows done, and in the meantime I had to keep the decrease/increase rates right.

Now for the right front, with its buttonholes and a third shot at practicing my short rows. Wish me luck!