Friday, March 30, 2007

The sweaters I don't wear (Or, what a knitter will produce in a vacuum)

While I was working on my cabled pull-over (front and back now complete!):

VK cabled sweater front and back

I had a thought. Or a few thoughts. One, this will be the first sweater I've made for myself since I started blogging (although there was also the itchy Somewhat Cowl that I started for myself and finished for Sienna). And two, it may well be (knock on wood) the first sweater I've made for myself that I actually like. Then I thought, since I don't have a whole lot to blog about in terms of WIPs (sweater, see above, socks, boring stockinette), maybe I'll show you some of the sweaters I made before I started this blog.

Besides the four you're about to see, there are 2 others waiting in the frog pile - one horribly felted (OK, obviously this one isn't going to be frogged, but maybe cut up and sewn into something else), and the other one just horrible. And then there was a 7th, my first sweater, that I made in high school, that was a giant potato sack and I gave it to Goodwill and now really regret it. But I did not know the concept of frogging at that point.

And that brings me to my other thought, of how much I think I've learned in the time that I've been aware of all the knitting goodness out there on the internet. For which I have Marie to thank (but she has me to thank for badgering her into learning how to knit, so we're even). I learned how to knit when I was 14 from a friend, who showed me how to make a hat, and from there on out I just sort of winged it. Which, as it turned out, did not work so well. I did eventually find some patterns and tried to follow them, but I never looked at a knitting instruction book or website, and almost never asked anyone for help with parts of a pattern I didn't get, I just fudged them. I don't think this is really due to pride on my part, but rather ignorance of knitting resources and laziness in looking for them (that friend who taught me how to make a hat only knew how to make a hat, so there were about ten girls in my high school who had learned how to knit a hat from her, but I didn't know anyone else who knitted). Anyway, not to brag, but I think I've come about ten times further in the last year than I did in the 13 years before it. I also was a much more sporadic knitter until the last year or two. Now I constantly have something on the needles.

Oh, and I just realized that this is my 50th post, so maybe this little exercise on reflection is in order.

Anyway enough gabbing. Here are the sweaters I don't wear (in reverse chronological order).

I don't know why I'm sticking my stomach out in this picture. Not like it needs to be emphasized.

VK cowlneck

Some cowlneck pattern from vogue knitting, in some chenille yarn. This one I made in high school. It's very comfy, but if I wear it for more than a few hours it stretches out like crazy and then I have to throw it in the wash to shrink it up again. Plus it is riddled with errors, the seams look horrible.

VK giant jacket

This I made while I was living in Italy, in 2002. It's also some pattern from VK. (Can you tell that VK was the only pattern source I knew about? Imagine my delight when I found out about Knitty and interweave and the ilk.) I made it because I had left my winter jacket in the US and it turns out, Rome is really cold in the winter. This one I actually wore a lot that year, but I don't wear it anymore unless it's really cold in the house, and I never wear it out. It was knit on some ginormous size needles with 1 strand of a superbulky red wool and 1 strand of a tweedy orange wool held together and then it turned out as big as a fat man's bathrobe, so I felted it a little bit. It miraculously came out to be just the right size, which made me cocky about felting as a means to get something to fit you, which resulted in the aforementioned felted sweater that is now sitting in the to-be-cut-up pile. I've learned my lesson.

VK tank front

VK tank back

This one is also from VK. I hope it's not bothering anyone that I'm not looking up which issues, but I'm lazy. And I don't think any of these are really examples anyone will want to duplicate. I started it in college and finished it in grad school, so it sort of pre-dates the red jacket. This one I actually think is the most aesthetically pleasing (love that keyhole) but I've never worn it. For one, I don't know that I will ever wear a knitted tank top. For two, there's a lot of side-boob action when I move, and I can't wear a bra under it. For three, it's a little short. (And for four, shhh, it's made of an acrylic yarn I got at a thrift store. But that actually doesn't bother me so much.)

hot lava cardigan
(Jeez, there goes my stomach again. Apparently I really need to work on my posture.)

And this one I made just a few months before starting this blog. It's the Hot Lava Cardigan, in Knitpicks Sierra in Tide. So you can see at this point I had sort of discovered some internet knitting resources, but hadn't yet discovered that there were so many knitting blogs out there or Knitty or Magknits etc. This one I do wear sometimes. It's comfy. But the sleeves are awfully long. And it has some icky gaping ladders in the armpits.

Whew! That was a long post.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


That's better.

baltic sea stole longer

I added 3 more repeats, bringing it to a grand total of 14. I think it's just right now. I blocked it this time with the blocking wires, I bought some U-shaped pins so that the wires couldn't just pop over the pins. I think the blocking looks a lot better, although the edges still aren't 100% straight - there are all these loops where the wires went through. How do people get such perfectly straight edges when blocking lace, especially with pins? I don't get it.

Anyway, onwards and upwards to something else. I'm sick of working on this stole.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

River of Malabrigo

Mmmm, I'd like to go swimming please:

My so-called scarf

Pattern - My So-called Scarf
Yarn - 2 skeins Malabrigo worsted, I forget what the colorway is called.
Needles - 11s? I think? I just cast off the other day but damned if I can remember.
Changes - cast on 36 stitches instead of 30.

I just kept knitting until all the yarn was gone, it's definitely a double wrapper. Of course now it's in the 70s here. Oh well.

Conveniently hides the zits on my chin (all from my thesis talk, baby):

My so-called scarf on so-called me

Flickr is doing this annoying thing all of a sudden where it is turning the small sizes of some of my pictures sideways, and I can't figure out how to make it stop. I usually don't like posting the medium size ones because they seem huge, but I guess it's better than sideways.

This is how much yarn there was leftover:

so-called leftovers

I don't think of myself as a very anal person, but I love when a project uses the amount of yarn I have exactly. Because anything more than like 10 yds I can't bring myself to throw out. Maybe it's my pack rat nature more than an anal nature.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Suddenly plagued with doubts

Is the stole too short? IS IT???? I think it might be.

more baltic sea

Look, it hardly goes past my arms! Also, I think the edges look really horrible! HELP!!!

I have NEVER spent so much preparation ahead of time for my appearance for one day, and I'm starting to have the sneaking suspicion that I'm not really going to look that different from how I normally look, except that I don't normally wear a dress, or white things.

Fret fret fret.

Less blob, more stole

Someone wants to meet you.

Baltic Sea Stole folded

Come out, little stole!

Baltic Sea Stole

It's shy.

Baltic Sea Stole full

There we go.

I was feeling the model vibe, here are some more shots:

Baltic Sea Stole back

Baltic Sea Stole sitting

Hee hee, my feet look funny in that one.

Pattern - Baltic Sea Stole
Yarn - Jaggerspun Zephyr Wool-Silk blend in Sage, approx. 900-1000 yards
Needles - Addi turbos size 5 (started on size 4s and couldn't see what the hell I was doing, going up a size made a huge difference).
Changes - In laceweight instead of sportweight, so I added a few pattern repeats and used smaller needles.
Reason for being - to wear in my wedding! Finished a whole 5 weeks ahead of time even!

Between the waiting for blocking wires to show up and a surprise trip to Vegas from little sis, there was a long time between knitting the last stitch and getting to take these pictures today. As it turns out, blocking wires suck. They make it sound like, or I thought that, it would be so much faster than pinning, but it's not. For one thing the ends of the wires are flat, not tapered, how retarded is that? It seemed to take just as long if not longer to thread the wires through the edge stitches as it would have to just pin every edge stitch. It was much more awkward than pinning, and I had to lift parts of the stole up while it was still wet which seemed like a bad idea. And then once I got the damn things threaded through, I couldn't figure out how to actually stretch it out, the instructions say to put a few pins to hold the wires in place, but the wires kept popping right over the pins as soon as I stretched it even a little. So I ended up just yanking them out and pinning the thing instead. It took me so long that the stole was dry before I'd even gotten most of the pins in so I spritzed it before continuing. I don't know if that was necessary or not.

I realized once I was close to the end of this that it was my first real lace project - I've made lacey patterned things before, like Ella and Branching Out, but this was my first with real laceweight yarn, and where every row had funky stuff to do on it instead of getting a purl row for resting. I think it's good I didn't realize that earlier, I might have chickened out and picked an easier pattern. But this one wasn't too difficult at all and I'm glad I picked it. I think it turned out quite well, if I do say so myself. The only part that bugs me is the edges, they aren't very even and I'm not sure if this is because I was too fed up to do a good job pinning or if I stretched it too hard. I definitely had a much harder time getting straight edges while pinning this than with other things I've blocked in the past. I don't know why that is exactly.

Now it is wrapped in tissue and sitting in my closet where it will stay until the wedding. I will not take it out to wear before then as much as I am tempted to, knowing me I would spill ketchup on it.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Oooo.... sparkly

Picked up my wedding ring today.
Here it is with my engagement ring:


Holy crap, I'm getting married in 6 weeks!!!