Five Weeks

Okay, so it’s been over five weeks since I last made a blog post, and almost three weeks since I’ve knit a stitch. This sort of behavior is not acceptable! Of course, it’s not like I came without a large amount of excuses regarding my lax blogging and even more lax knitting. 

For starters, there was packing. I didn’t really start doing that till a few days before I left, mostly because that idea of dragging out suitcases and finding boxes proved to be far to much for me to handle in my ragged mental state. I did forget a great many things, like my sanity and hangers. (I forgot hangers last year too. I sense a theme.) So I just piled my clothes in the bottom of the closet. Live with it. 

Then I’ve got the big one, Classes. Boy, there really is a big difference between Freshman year and Sophmore year. Namely, you loose that two week grace period. Last year they sort of didn’t really make you do anything when you first came back. You had time to order pizza and have great sex and then stay up till three in the morning talking with some people you just met who seem like they’re really awesome. It was the time of long lunches, even longer dinners, and classes were really just your justification for this. Now that’s all gone. I have written two papers already. Learned more German that I thought I could (only those nutty Germans would find a way to have three genders).I’ve read three books. Pretty much everything. I’ve done it all. 

Except knit. Do you remember that coat? That coat. The one that only needs about a dozen ends to be wove in before it’s finished. The same coat that will finish off the 28 month Zimmerman project? (Lets put that 28 month into perspective, there are walking and talking children who are younger than this.) Part of me is waiting for the right time to finish it. Not in a rush between classes, but quietly, with a cup of tea, the way that I started this project. 

But part of me just wants to grow a pair and do it already. So what if I don’t finish this the way that I finish it? I’m not that same person (thankfully, I think). I’ve grown, changed since then. In some ways good, in some ways bad. I’ve realized the degree of which I’m not well. I also have lost a lot of my compulsive tics. (Not all though.) I’ve relaxed in some ways, sped up in others. Developed a love for Jack Kerouac. Developed love in general. I’ve seen some scary parts of the underbelly of humanity, but I’ve seen the best that it has to offer. I’ve needed crutches, been the crutch, stood up for myself, learned when to shut my mouth. I’ve learned that you have to put on your own life jacket before anyone else’s. I’ve become someone that I like at times, and that’s really good. 

And maybe the new me would just grow a pair and finish it off already. Well, it has to happen soon. I didn’t bring another coat, that was my plan. So I have to do it before it gets really cold out. 

Okay, so you know, I’m supposed to be working part-time. Really though, it’s a very large part of time. Like really just a few hours short of being full-time. (I wonder why . . . . ) (Did you get that sarcasm. I hope you did.) While I really don’t like this, I really enjoy the fact that I get closer and closer to being able to return to college each week. (I have got 25 days before I move back into the dorms, 26 till classes start.) And as I sit here and write this, attempting to ignore my sister who never ceases conversation and her two crying kids. (The one keeps asking for a bath and the other keeps trying to grab my computer cord.) 

And oh boy, am I ever looking forward to going back. Mostly because it means that I no longer have to be live-in childcare, and that I either get to quit or take a long leave of abscence from my job, which is slowly draining the life out of me. I don’t like people, I don’t like gas, and I don’t like hot dogs. I don’t like the uniform. I don’t like counting the ciggerettes at the end of the day, or the lottery tickets, or cleaning the grill, or stocking the grill. But I mostly don’t like the new manager — no one does and we call her Godzilla behind her back. (This is mostly because I work with catty old women and young catty girls. I am the only male, and I am really bad to perpetuate work spats. Because I get bored there, and really, talking about your co-workers behind their back is a fascinating enterprise.) She expects me to do my job, which I really don’t like, and she never helps me with my register, not to mention she does everything by the book, which means that I can’t ring up my own sales. But then how can I buy anything if she’s never on her register? All so frustrating. (25 days.) 

I’ve been knitting a little bit though, not to bad considering that I’m also trying to do all my reading for college before I start back, so that way if I miss a reading assignment it’s not the end of the world. (Considering that I’m taking three writing intensive courses means that I’ve got my work cut out for me, or means I have to write two papers a week for fifteen weeks. You’d start working early too.)

I still have yet to take pictures of that shawl and that sweater that I finished about a month and a half ago. I don’t know why. Leave me alone, I have issues. I should get to work on that; it’s not every day that you finish sweaters, and I should at least document it. But I’m so close to being done with knitting workshop that facing the idea of knitting or blogging, I typically, (as my publishing record this past year has gone), chose knitting. I’ve gotten a little bit done, though, take a look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What you can see up there is the first sleeve, with sheepfold running up the front of it. (I’m going to make that be the part that I saddle back and forth on later.) then there are two fish-bone cables running up the side of that, with a chain cable at the back, with increases on either side of it. (Do you see how the increases are turning into ribs, I did that, all that. I’m pretty proud of it.) 

You also can see up in the first picture, the snow cuff. This a technique that was published in Knitting Around, (which while it was written by EZ, the video for this book clearly paints this as Meg’s idea, like a lot of the things that EZ came up with late in her life. The more I look into this the more I see of Meg being the real genius.) No matter who unvented it though, it still is a very smart idea. The problem with coat cuffs is that, while you want them to be snug to keep out the bad weather, you also want them to roomy enough to fascillitate the wearing of other garments. So Meg came up with the idea of the snow cuff. You knit the beginning of  a sleeve like you would for a yoke sweater, only increasing a bit more, work till its about four or five inches. Then you start the sleeve for the coat on another needle (which is a bit more roomy than a standard cuff) and work for about two inches. Then you do this thing where you stick the cuff into the sleeve and then knit (or purl) according to the patterns on the upper piece. (I try and time it when I only have a few stitches on the front piece to cable on.) I like the way that it fits, really snug, and it means that the upper piece, (the thinking piece) doesn’t have to be as long as it usually would have to be. 

The second sleeve hasn’t been quite as lucky. 

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My favorite part about all these pictures though, is my T-shirt. I went last weekend with my parents to see James Taylor while he played as Blossom. (And to local people, I had NO IDEA how very far out into the middle of nowhere Blossom is. I was waiting for those guys with the banjos from Deliverance to show up.) It also sprinkled a little bit during the concert (and we were on the lawn) so I heard Fire and Rain, in the rain. James said that we were getting in touch with nature. Easy for him to say as he sits under his nice little pavilion. I smelled someone smoking weed at one point, which made me really happy, as I felt the experience would have been lacking without that. 

It’s been a while

Forgive me, it’s been a little while. I signed onto this job, thinking that it would be a part-time (you know, considering that that was what they told me it would be). And it is technically part-time, just a pretty big part of my time. So I thought that I’d have a nice leisurely break, work a little, and loaf about and just have some fun. Well, I’m fine with the not-full time, full time, but it does not leave me with a whole lot of time for fun internet things.

I’m way behind on my blogging, but not really my knitting. (Not that knitting is something that you can really be behind on. It’s kind of one of those things.) I’ve got a sweater, long finished that I need to talk about, as well as a finished shawl, as well as a major part of a coat. If you’ve been keeping track, you’ll note that that I am almost out of things to knit out of KW. As a matter of fact, I really only have about half an inch of body to knit, two sleeves, a hood, and buttonband, in addition to the fiddly finishing stuff, so yeah. (We’ll talk about that more when the time comes. I’ve got  a big two-part blog event. It’ll be great. I’ll talk about all my problems. Well not all. I don’t have that kind of time.)

Today though, we will talk about my Aran coat — which is really only because it’s downstairs and I don’t feel like going upstairs to get something. And these coats don’t appear often, which means that they should be well-documented, instead of the poor showing I’ve made here. But better late then never. (Seriously, this thing is almost done. )

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That place where I’m pointing is the center front (to be cut later of course), and you can see the four cables that I am using, fishbone, plaited cable, sheepfold, and the chain cable. The back is a mirror image of the front. I’m almost done with it for now, it being at the stage where I’m about ready to cut the steeks and sew in the sleeves. I would do that now, but I need to get the needles for the sleeves, and then, well, knit them. I’m planning on doing the snow cuff, which is sort of an inner cuff that is knitted on. I was going to do a lining, but I don’t feel like it. Maybe I’ll add it on in later.

I’ve done a good bit on the body, and I think that I’m going to give it saddle-shoulders, instead of the drop-shoulder like I’d planned. This is mostly because I forgot to add a spot where it would be convenient to skeek for the armholes. I could finagle something, but really, when you’re cutting up your knitting, you really don’t want to finagle anything. And I like the idea of giving it saddle shoulders. Of course, this could lead to running out of yarn, and having to rip it out, but I guess that is just going  to be a risk that I am going to have to take. s

I’ve still got a lot to talk about, but I feel I must space out my content. Amazing, what a few weeks without a blog post will do.

 

 

The Pereline

Oy Vey!! Almost two weeks have passed since my last post, and a great deal has happened then. I’ve been working long hours in the Petrol Station. (I heard a Brit refer to it as such and I started using it, considering that it does sound better than a gas station. I’ve been working away on my books, writing letters and reading a great deal. I’m really all about books these days. I am in the middle of three (four?) and spend a lot of time doing it. I’ve also been knitting a great deal, finishing things left and right. I’ve got a backlog of things that I need to talk about. The Pereline is done, (more on that later) a shawl that I just need to weave the ends on (and find, ahem). I have a sweater that is almost done, and a coat that I’ve started and have got maybe five inches on.

If you’ve been paying close attention (really too close), you will notice something very interesting. I have cast-on every project from Knitting Workshop. You read that right. I have nothing left to start —  a lot left to finish, but nothing else to start. I am feeling oddly calm about this. We will see how I feel when I finish them. I’ve still got a lot left to do before I get to that though.

For now though lets focus on the Pereline. I knit mine out of un-spun fiber that I drafted as I went along. That was an experience in and of itself, but I’m really pleased with the finished product.

Well, sort of. What I’ve got now started out as the Pereline, but ended up being well, something else. Here’s a picture of the Pereline before I finished the I’cord.

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That should give you an idea of the shape that it is supposed to be in. Sort of like a shawl and a poncho. Nice, but I didn’t like it. It puckered, it flared, it hit me in all the wrong places and I didn’t like it. Then I was playing with the shape of it and holding the two sides to the back. I liked that, so I sewed then up, leaving room for the armholes. That was nice, but I still wasn’t crazy about it. So I pinned up the front of fake a seam and I really liked the shape of it. I sewed it up and loved it! Here’s what I ended up with.

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I really like the way that the stripe snakes around the body and the way that all the increases come right to the center of the back. I see myself wearing this with long sleeves this winter. All in all I’m very pleased with the way that it turned out.

Considering The State of the Pereline

Having been out of the working world for a little while I forgot how much I love days off. I feel free, and more than that, I don’t have to work. There also is that little niggling thought at the back of my mind about work tomorrow. (10 hours. Yikes!) But after that I’ve got a lovely few days off. The best part though, I thought I had to work Wednesday evening — and then couldn’t go to knitting, but it turns out that was Wednesday morning, so I can go to knitting. I never thought that I would be happy about having to be at work at 7 in the morning. (With no ride either, which means I have to be up well before 5). But I am really happy that I’m 19 years old and not still getting money from my parents. I’m going to splurge on some yarn when I get my first check. (There was this really cool rainbow, barber pole, coned yarn that I was eyeing).

Besides all that I’ve been knitting a great deal. And reading a great deal, and writing, well, not a great deal, but a little bit. I’m getting a lot of great ideas about my latest book while working in the cold, dark, beer cooler. It’s a great place for ideas that really take your mind off the face that your ears are blue and you haven’t been able to feel your fingers for a few hours. It’s going to be great. It’s got class struggle, HIV, dealing with old issues and a non-sexual person that everyone wants to sleep with.

My knitting though has been going well. Typically by the time I get home from work and finish the housework, all I really feel like doing is knitting, whatever the time of day. So that’s been getting done. I’ve got a shawl that’s all blocked and just needs to have three or four ends woven in. (I really feel like it will take much longer than necessary to darn those suckers in.) I’m also getting close to done with the Pereline, working now on the miles of I-cord that need to be applied to the edges, and making the decision on how I want to seam it. I was originally going to sew it up the front, but now I’m thinking of doing something with the back, making it sort of like an open-front vest, but I’m not sure that that would work, and I’m not sure if I want to seem it at all. We’ll see what I want to do when I’m done with it. However, that is a long time in coming. Here’s  a picture of what I’ve got so far, and this will probably give you a better picture of how this thing is supposed to go on the body. picture117

It really is just a shoulder covering. But Pereline sounds a lot better, don’t you think. (If you know how to pronounce Pereline, which I’m not really sure of.)

What I’ve Been Up To . . . .

 

Well things have been hopping here recently! I’m enjoying it though – it is much better than having nothing to do. I like to keep myself busy, and I’ve been doing just that. Here’s what I’ve been up to in list format:

1. I got a job! Yeah, I’m pretty proud of it. It’s at Speedway (a gas station that is not particularly widespread), as a clerk. I had my first day today – and I think that it will go pretty well. (Unlike the last two jobs where I worked for micromanaging idiots who didn’t understand that there could be an easier way to do things and didn’t like it when I dared to point that out to them.) The manager seemed pretty easy going, and the job isn’t terribly taxing. I also only work three or four days a week, which I like. So, back I go, tomorrow, at seven in the morning. (I really hope this isn’t going to be a trend.) But I am happy just to have a job. I called Tammy at the Yarn Shop and told her expect an increase in sales.

2. My next book is well underway. I think that I’ve got about 100 handwritten pages. When I got back from college, I didn’t have anything underway that I was really serious about. So I dug around in some of my old notebooks and found some notes a bit of a novel fragment that I’ve been working on ever since. I don’t know why I stopped writing this book — I found even myself to be charmed by some of the things that I wrote. The main character is an introspective one, and it gives me more chance to dwell in his thoughts and not his actions.

3. Knitting! I’ve got a lot on the go right now, (including an Aran Coat as soon as I clear the decks as I feel that the Aran Coat will take a lot out of me). But what I’ve really been working on a lot recently is the unspun Pereline. A pereline is sort of a poncho/cape/shawl thing, that I really don’t think will get used, but I’m making anyway because of KW. (I’ve only got four left, almost three, which is pratically two, which means I’m kind of done. )

I’m knitting this out of unspun yarn for a few reasons. I didn’t think that any of the yarn I had would work well for it, and I didn’t want to “waste” them on something that I didn’t think I would wear.  I wanted to use up some of my fiber in a way that didn’t require me to spin it, because I didn’t feel like it, and because I have a lot of fiber. A lot.  I also wanted to try this and play with it — something I will probably do more of in the future. (I’m picturing a garment made from this.)

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I put in a blue stripe in with the brown. It was funny, you could tell while knitting with it, that the blue was processed so much better than the brown.  Of course the blue was a little four ounce bit that I bought, and the brown was given to me in a garbage bag. I aim to have about as much of the brown as I do with the blue, and that means that I’ve only got about 15 more rows till it is I-cord city. I’m also going to sew it up the front for a bit, not the whole way, just so if I put it on, It’ll stay on. That’s always the problem with shawls isn’t it? You arrange them, get them looking nice, then drop something, bend over to it, and when you come up your shawl looks like something a little old woman would wear.

 

I Hate Titles

Good news to start off with. (It is not that big of a deal.) The local yarn shop came under new ownership a while back, and even though I haven’t been able to get there for  a little while (I never had the time and the inclination at the same time), I was finally able to make it today. I had to plan it in advance, but I’m glad I went. I chatted with the new owner for a bit, who was lovely, and the shop, it actually looked like a shop — instead of the random balls of yarn stuck anywhere there was a free shelf spot or bin. The half finished projects that littered the shop were mostly gone.  She bought new stock, and put all the old, (we are talking over twenty years old here) stock on sale. (I plan to buy a little once I start working, which is getting closer and closer, more on that later). The back room was cleaned out, and the register was in a place where it would be logical to put one. The hours are limited, but regular, and I’ll be going to their knit night tomorrow night.

And I’ve been making some progress with my knitting too — despite the never-ending round of scholarship essays, cover letters and applications. (I swear, sit me down in front of a sheet of paper, and I automatically begin to write down my address and work history.) It’s actually going somewhat well, considering that I’ve got a lot on the go, with more to be started. Since there are only four things in KW that I haven’t finished, I thought that it would be in my best interest (I don’t know why I thought this) to simply cast them all on, put them all around the house (as best I can, living with a two-year old who thinks that its fun to pull DPNs out of sleeve, and then lose on of the needles). I’ve got three things on the go, and I bought the needles today that I need to start my last project, an aran sweater/coat/ we’ll see how it goes. I’ve moving so fast that I my hands are blurry these days. (Did I also tell you that I’ve started working on another book in earnest too?)

Here’s what I’ve got on my Shirt-Yoke Sweater.

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This picture thankfully shows off the wonderful colors of the sweater. I’ve got the body done, plus what you see here. This project lives in my bag and sees work in the odd moments. A relaxing round done between emails, a bit done while reading a book or watching the children. I’m just past the elbow, with a few more inches to go. I’ve been thinking about this sweater for a while, and I’m pretty happy about it finally being underway. I’m thinking that this will be one of those workhorse cardigans — the ones that look great with jeans, and you throw on in the winter for warmth. I have a few of this (I think that the naglar is one), but I’m always looking for more. In knitting there is art and there is wearable. The two don’t often mix, because think about it, you don’t really wear that aran that you spent months of your life knitting — but you do wear that chunky cardigan that you banged out in three weeks when your life was crazy and you needed something relaxing. At least that’s true in my experience, you might wear your arans all the time — I don’t really.

This next project is one that falls more into the art category, even though it doesn’t look like it. Let me show you what it is, then I’ll explain.

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What you see here is EZ’s Pelerine, a very basic garment. You simply cast it on at the neck, work three double increases every second row till it is long enough. Then you cast off, maybe in I-cord, and then you’re done. It looks nice. EZ said it was very warm and comforting on cold winter evenings, which I’m sure it is, but I’m also sure that I won’t be using it too much — it will be one of those sweaters that don’t go with me to college.

Anyway though, I’m taking this to a new level. I figured since it is essentially a blank canvas, that I might as well have some fun with it. I thought about putting in a few cables, but nixed that idea. I thought about a few stripes, which I toyed with, but I swapped it out for what you see here. Look at the lower edge of that picture. You don’t see yarn, but you can see a tuft of fiber. I’m knitting this with un-spun fiber that I have in my stash. It’s a large batt that a friend gave me a while ago and that I haven’t gotten around to spinning yet. (I really don’t spin much at all any more though. My fiber stash reflects this. I haven’t added anything, but I haven’t really taken anything out either. It doesn’t help that I’ve broken both of my spindles.)

It’s really a pain to knit with — considering that I keep breaking the yarn. (It might be due to the way that I knit, or the fact that it’s not spun.) Note: this is not the Icelandic Wool that is sold by Schoolhouse Press. This is a hunk of fiber that was supposed to be spun. But then I decided not to spin it. I read about this technique a while ago in an old issue of Spun-out magazine, and have kept the idea in the back of my head for a few years now. I’m glad it’s finally coming into being. It is tough knitting, but I’ll keep going. More on this later.