Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The summer of Rachel

Remember that Seinfeld episode, with the summer of George?

I am officially unemployed. Wait, maybe I should frame that more positively. I am officially a doctor! And I'm also unemployed, as of about ten days ago. (To be clear, I have been in a PhD program for the last almost 5 years, and they paid me.) It's looking more and more like I'm going to be unemployed until September, when I'm heading down here. This is more due to laziness on my part than lack of hireability. I had something vaguely lined up and it fell through, and I haven't been inspired to apply for anything else. But I'm feeling really, really good about having this time off. It feels especially freeing to be out of school and unemployed in the summer months. I've had summer jobs (or real jobs, or school) since I was 16, so I'm kind of feeling like a kid again! J. and I just made s'mores over the burner.

What other cool summery things could I do? Besides knitting, obviously. I've been doing lots of baking. And some writing. And more knitting. Maybe when it gets hot enough again I'll run through a sprinkler.

I leave you with some hot girl on yarn action. I bought myself a little graduation prezzie:
Handmaiden seasilk in Bronze

I've been remiss in showing pictures of my yarn recently. Everyone needs to see a little yarn action now and then. This stuff is so amazing that I couldn't not show pictures of it. It's like the Elle Macpherson of yarns.

Seasilk close

Seasilk closeupHandmaiden seasilk in Bronze


Saturday, June 23, 2007

When is an FO not an FO?

When it's ajar! Ha ha! Wait, that makes no sense.

Anyway, remember this guy?

Cabled turtleneck from Vogue Holiday 2006

Of course you do, I've been taunting you with pictures of it for months. Well, it's seamed, blocked, and dry, but it's too damn short.

Let me tell you a little something I figured out about negative ease. This is probably incredibly obvious, although it didn't occur to me until after I had already made the mistake. This sweater measures 36" around and 22" long when it's on the ground. 22" long seems just fine, I have plenty of sweaters that length and they fit great. I have a 38" bust. I like the 2" of negative ease, I think a worsted weight cabled sweater should fit a little snug on someone with my body type, so I don't look like a giant wooly ball. But here's the kicker. That 2" stretch has to come from somewhere. Hence the sweater being too short once I put it on. Doh. So now I will be attempting to rip out the ribbing from the bottom and reknitting the ribbed part longer. Eek! Scary.

You know how with some projects, you're so excited about knitting it that mistakes come along and you just rip right back and keep on going? Because you chalk it all up to part of the general knitting process? And you know that no project will ever come out right the first time through? And knitting puts you in such a zen mindset that little errors just roll right off your back? Yeah, me neither. I always think that every project will be perfect the first time, and every mistake or setback just pisses me off and I have to hide the project in the closet for a while until I'm calmer. Hence the fact that this sweater has been hiding in my closet for a few weeks. I'm almost ready to take it back out and fix it.

Socks seem to be the exception to this rule. They don't piss me off nearly as much as bigger projects. I don't know why that is.

I finished the first Koigu Monkey sock (toe-up) all on size 2.5mm needles, and the leg was way too tight. Somehow the sock managed to charm its way out of being chucked in the closet and I just ripped the leg out, reknit the ankle on size 2.75mm, and the rest of the leg on 3.0mm. Perfect!

Monkey v2.0 part 1

I am totally converted to this whole toe-up thing. The miser in me loves using up every last yard of yarn. Now if I can only make myself cast on for the second sock.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Finally dry!

Take one monkey*

Turn it upside down
upside-down monkey

Add one pair of bare tootsies
(Excuse the bandaid, I ripped up my toe in yoga somehow. Sticky mats my bum, they should call them shreddy mats.)

What do you get?

One pair of toe-up monkey socks!
monkeys on table

Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug in Copperbeech, almost 1 skein
Needles: Knitpicks size 1 DPNs (2.5 mm)
I never have revealed the time it took me to finish a project, mainly because I usually find it embarassing how long it takes. But it occurs to me that it might be useful to keep track of this kind of thing, so I'll swallow my pride and start telling ya. But please keep in mind that I am very fickle and never work on one project exclusively.
Started: May 9, 2007
Finished: May 28, 2007 (I think?)
Pattern: Monkey socks from Knitty, of course!
Mods: Knit toe-up. They're upside down! I basically just took the toe-up pattern from the IK Summer 2007 issue and applied the Monkey chart to it.

Toes! Magic cast-on
monkey toes

Heels! Short row heel
monkey heel

I'm unsure of the short-row heel. These socks are kind of hard to get on over my foot, but once they're on they do feel like they're staying in place better than my other handknit socks.

Verdict: I love this pattern! I love these socks! With one giant, glaring exception. I hate this yarn. I was lured into buying it on impulse at my LYS because of all those pretty pretty colorways peering out at me. I didn't even realize the horrible yardage (less than 300 yds! For $21!) until I got home. But that's not the worst part. Here's the worst part.

Sock #1
monkey sock #1

Sock #2
monkey sock #2

Notice anything? Like how the colors on the leg of sock #2 are totally different? There was a knot about 3/4 of the way through the skein, and the colors were completely different on either side of the knot. For $21, such crappy yardage, and THE BASTARDS TIED TWO DIFFERENT COLOR LOTS TOGETHER. I'm not the only one this has happened to either. I've heard alot of stories about people getting skeins with tons of knots in them too. You better believe I will not be purchasing this yarn again. Y'all consider yourself forewarned. Needless to say, my messages to the US distributors have gone ignored. Luckily my LYS is awesome and the owner gave me the entire price of the skein back in store credit, without even asking for the defective skein back.

Anyway, pissiness about the yarn aside, I'm still pretty happy with these socks. Especially because I wear jeans almost every day, so the legs aren't even going to be visible.

Happy feets!
monkey socks

So happy that I started another pair immediately:
koigu monkey #2

I'm being a copycat and am knitting all the stitches that are normally purled. I think it gives it a more subtle, smooth look, plus it's much faster. Yarn is Koigu KPPPM that I got with my aforementioned store credit from my awesome LYS.

*These monkeys are Capuchin monkeys we saw on a boat ride in Costa Rica. So cute! We got to feed them bananas. Probably breaking all kinds of eco-regulations about not feeding the wildlife, but so so cute! With their little human-like fingers! And their funny little faces!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I wish I lived in Arizona

If I lived in Arizona, I would have had FOs to show you several days ago. As it is, I wet-blocked some things AT LEAST a week ago and they are still not dry. San Francisco is unbelievable. It's a constant losing battle trying to find somewhere or some way to hang your towel so that it will be dry by the next day. You don't even want to know about the crazy prolific molds and mildews. Maybe I should stick to lace until I move somewhere drier. Anyway here are some previews. I promise I'll show you the real things as soon as they are dry enough to model (any week now...)

Cabled T-neck drying

Monkey sock drying