Good Friday

I woke up this morning in a warm patch of golden sunlight. I opened my eyes and rolled over. Then I thought “damn, it’s just me.”

Le sigh.

. . . .

I went running this morning — the first time I’d done such for . . . a while. I usually do it a lot less during the cold winter months, me being the anti-treadmill sort. (I’ve never used one, but I think that I’d feel like a hamster.) But really after the second flu, combined with morning baby-watching (which, praise god, ended a while ago) I just sort of got out of the habit. Thankfully I didn’t gain any weight.

I also confronted the question of “Why do I run?” Some runners say the feeling of freedom. Some say they like good exercise and being outdoors. I like both of those two, but really, my very vain answer to the question of “Why do I run?” Is, simply, to keep the “ex” on the “ex-husky kid.” I go through phases with running, sometimes I really do love the feeling of flying through the woods like a deer, but more often than not, it is simply because I do not want to be fat again. There. I said it. My big secret is out.

. . . . .

All I have to do to my Shaded Aspen Leaf Sweater are knit my sleeve hems, and weave in my ends. Oh, and block it. That’s it. Of course, now that this sweater is done, I just heard the man on the radio say that tomorrow will be 54 degrees. That’s warm. That’s sort sleeves. That’s sandals if I didn’t live in such close proximity with my mother. (She does have a day job.) I might be able to crack a window for some fresh air and NOT feel like Sadamn Hussien’s rebellious cousin. That, is not weather for a thick winter pullover, with an almost turtleneck. (I can’t wear a real turtle neck, I look like an asshole.)

Well, next winter I’ll be living in Kent, which is a little bit farther north of here — i.e. closer to the snow belt. (Oy Vey.) (As an aside, I was reading this book on choosing the right college with student comments and stuff. One of the students said about Kent State, “There are two seasons in Kent, hot and cold.” You’re telling me.)

It is warm. This doesn’t bode well for me, because well, I’m often warm. Oh well.

Still moving away on the swatch cap. Hoping to get something done on it soon, but the SALS is at that point where I WANT TO BE DONE WITH IT. (Did you hear that? I WANT TO BE DONE WITH IT!!!) I didn’t have a chance to work on it Wednesday night, because my ride to knitting had a cold, so I went to the coffeehouse, but wasn’t able to get a seat. Had a great time anyway though. (It was open mike and my little group of friends had to be told to stop shouting “Free Bird!”)

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Man purse woes leading to Hats

I know that not a lot of men will admit this, but I love me a man-purse. (No, not a murse, I don’t like two words being pushed together like that.) I don’t call it a messenger bag, because it isn’t always a messenger bag. I don’t call it a back-pack because it usually isn’t that. It is a man-purse, be a man and own up to it. Man. Purse.

Anyway, the man-purse that I usually favor is a little half-backpack one strap dealie that I picked up from a thrift store. I found out, once I got home, pleased with its shape and single strap, that it was made by Similac. I wasn’t really bothered by that, even though I’m not a big fan of them and their stuff. (What can I say, when I was a baby I seem to remember that I got my milk elsewhere. Anyway.) It always made for a funny story. (And by the way, the man-purse is so handy for knitting, a little sleeve or a sock in progress, throw in a book, a sandwich, water bottle, and the usual amount junk I carry, and it is still pretty roomy, without being a huge bag.)

Well, I apparently forgot to screw the cap on aforementioned water bottle. (In the summer I don’t put it in the bag, because, while walking around, I take a swig a few minutes. I don’t do this during the winter.) I forgot to screw it on all the way, I should say. It was still on it enough so it wouldn’t fall off, but not enough to be water tight. Well, as I rushed about for a few days, moving the bag from a different spot in the house several times, some of it may, MAY, have sloshed out.

Oh, lord. And of course, this had to happen as I was rushing to get ready for work. I had my sock-in-progress in it (now drying), my book(ditto), a bunch of papers I threw out, five ruined pages of notes on the latest book, written with a fountain pen, so the ink ran to the point I couldn’t see them and these had to be at the bottom. And then the bag was soaked too.

So I grabbed one of those little cotton drawstring bags that I’ve got a thousand of, but can never find when I need one. I tossed in a book, a pack of crackers, then boggled at what knitting to bring. I go through phases with my knitting — sometimes I can’t get enough and seize every chance I get to knit, sometimes I’m content to let the knitting happen at home. (Guess what phase I am in now.) Well, the problem is, I don’t really have a lot that is, well, portable, besides the sock. The Shaded Aspen Leaf Sweater is certainly out, it needing a hem and seems. (And I was pushing it with that one, even at the best of times.) The TSLS is well, big, really big. It comes up to my waist at this point, and well, it’s pretty and light, but it is, well, big.

Well, I do need a hat. I thought that to myself as I looked about my cramped and wool-filled bedroom. I thoughtfully had laid out the yarn I wished to use for the for my Icelandic/Raglan sweater, and thought, “Swatch cap!”

So I pulled out a size three, sixteen inch needle, jammed that with my yarn into my bag, tossed in David Copperfield and took off.

I was working at the bookshop that day, so I had to take knitting. It could get a little dull without it. (I could read if need be.) I’m glad I did — it was a pretty slow day. And amazingly enough, there wasn’t a single customer while I was trying to count for the cast on and stuff. I don’t know what I did to deserve that, but I hope I do it again. I got all the ribbing done, and added a little color pattern too. (I’d thoughtfully grabbed a ball of wool for that too.) Like I said, slow day.

This shall be my travel knitting for a while. Till it’s done really. I can’t always be counted on for that amount of forethought, but I think I might be able to manage. I’m not sure about what I want to do for the color patterns on my sweater. (I know I want to have one at the hem that is the second pattern in the yoke, I like my sweaters to have unity even if no one notices but me, but I’m not certain what pattern to use, or what color it should be.) So I plan to grab another ball of wool or two and play with patterns on the hat till I find one that I like, only when I’m out and about though, I’m fighting the urge to work on it now. And I’ll get a hat. (I hope that by knitting a hat, I shall trigger spring. This sort of thing has worked in the past (i.e. I learned to knit sweaters that fit, then I lost 40 pounds) but never on such big scale. I’ll knit fast.)

 

Then I did . . .

At least it is kind of pretty.

Moving on.

This weekend was sort of a lost weekend. In a good way, not in that bad way where you’re sick all weekend. I sewed and cut the Shaded Aspen Leaf Sweater this weekend, but most of the work that I did was on the Gansey from Saturday. I sewed the steeks, (a lot easier than I thought — I don’t know why, but I always thought that sewing for a cardigan would be difficult) and cut them. Then I picked up stitches for the button band, and then, well, I don’t know what happened. I must have forgotten the THOUSAND times EZ has told me how to miter the corners on a cardigan. The outer ones are increased, the inner ones are decreased, after two or three ridges, do some decreases on the back of neck, so you don’t have a flower pot neck. (Technical term.) Well, I decreased where I should have increased, and I increased when I should have decreased, and I forgot about the back of neck all together. I wished I would have taken a picture of that, it was so funny. Well. Time to rip I guess. I pulled it all out, re-picked up stitches, and finished it off, just like you are supposed to. I used that buttonhole formula thing, and it worked out well. I actually made the button holes the right size! Usually they end up so big that they don’t stay buttoned. Then I even sewed on buttons! That rarely happens to me with cardigans. What’s more, they went on perfect. You know how you sometimes don’t get them on quite right and you have all sorts of odd jogs and jumps at the front of your sweater.  I neatened the inside edges with herringbone. I then put in an after thought pocket.

I remembered to get a picture of it too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I swear, non-knitters just don’t get us knitters. While I was doing this they kept asking me thing, and trying to hold a conversation with me. Good Lord people, can’t you see that I’ve got a great big gaping maw in my knitting? Knitting should not have holes, and unraveling in either direction is not exactly an easy thing to do. Fun, but not easy. (I also would like to point out to you that this gives such a knitter high that it is not even funny. I now have the urge to put afterthought pockets on my comforter, the family couch and the family cat.) That pocket was so much fun that I looking at all my other sweaters thinking “okay, now which one of these can I put a pocket in.” I finished that off in a short amount of time taking care to increase so I would have a roomy pocket, and then finished it off. I actually was able to do this during an episode of Downton Abbey, which is such a sublime show that I really wish I’d started watching earlier. (By the way, don’t start watching it till you’ve got a few days free. You’ll see what I mean.) Then I wove in my million billion ends and pranced about the house in glee.

That glee has faded as you can tell.

I don’t know why we knitters don’t do more of these after the fact fixes more often. They are fiddly, and a pain to do, but they always take a sweater you hate, and often make a sweater that you love. Seriously, I wore this thing, maybe a dozen times before it was a cardigan. Now, I, well, I’m sure I’ll wear it more than a dozen times. I love this one. It’ll be one of those fall back sweaters. You know the kind that I mean. The ones you put on with a T-shirt and jeans to class up an outfit, or the ones that you put on when you wake up to a frosty landscape. (Like today.) I have two of these, (Fishtrap Aran and Rorschach sweater) and I suppose that I could always use one more.

Up next, Shaded Aspen Leaf Sweater, and why you want one.

Show and Tell

Better?

Here we have the finished sleeves and the finished body on my SALS. I think that it is better — though I didn’t think that there was anything wrong at all in the first place. I suppose that it is nice and patchwork-y now, which should be nice. Here’s a list of what I’ve got left to do: Sew and cut steeks, sew up shoulders, sew in sleeves, do some kind of a collar which I haven’t made up my mind about yet, and weave in the ends. Oh and my hems, I forgot about my hems. Any suggestions for what I should write in them? I’m going to wait till Wednesday to cut the steeks, to show some of the knitters there that the heavens don’t open up and strike you with lightening for daring to cut your knitting, or something like that.

Now I’ve come to that best part of knitting, that point where you are almost finished with something and you can start to think about how you want to spend your time when you’re finished with it.

Okay, you have to do a little bit of addition to get to where I am.

Add together the following: The fact that I should do something from either Yoke Shapings, or Garter Stitch next. The fact that I am currently slogging through the garter stitch on my TSLS, which means that I really don’t want any more of that for the sake of my sanity. Then add the fact that I still have to do a Raglan, Shirt-yoke, Set-in-sleeve, and Cousin Naglar. Then you have to add in my current obsession with Icelandic yokes.

This comes from a variety of sources. First, you have the fact that I am hopelessly trendy, and Icelandic sweaters are very popular right about now. That really appeals to my inner-hipster. Second, and this is the biggest one, I recently saw Adam Levine wearing one in some Men’s Magazine, Men’s Health maybe, I don’t really remember, and I’ve gone back and looked for it, unable to find it, maybe I was dreaming. Anyway, I saw Adam Levine wearing one, and I had to have one. (This may be related to my unhealthy obsession with either being Adam Levine, or being very, very close to him so I can follow him around and worship him all day.) (I don’t see anything wrong with that, probably doesn’t bode well.) (I also feel this way about James Taylor.) (Maybe I’m prone to obsession.) (I have a signed Stephanie Pearl-McPhee book that I bought used, in which she wrote, “obsession is normal” I get this — though I know from reading her blog that she isn’t really the best judge of normal, which is really an overrated concept.) What the hell was I talking about?

Oh, right, my current obsession with Icelandic sweaters ah la Adam Levine, even though mine won’t look anything like his, me not looking good in primary colors and not being able to wear white and have it stay white.(And also, um, me not looking like Adam Levine. I’m going to try and over look this.)  So this really is a “take an idea and run with it” thing. I’ll be doing something with this really soon. (By the way, I plan to make it with Raglan Sleeves, just to knock the raglan out of the running. Is this a possibly bad idea?)

BUT, I have other plans for this weekend. I have this sweater. A Gansey, Gaffer’s Gansey from KW. I don’t really care for it, and I think that I will be able to improve upon it. When I first finished it there were dozens of things wrong with it. Namely, it was too big, the collar had been grossly miscalculated so it stretched from shoulder to shoulder, and it was too wide because I didn’t think when I made it.

Well, I made it shorter by taking off about six inches from the bottom and adding a little ribbing. I fixed the collar with come VERY tight I-cord. But I still don’t wear it often as I should. It’s beautiful and I want to get more use out of it.

Well, I like cardigans a lot more than pullovers. I feel that they are more elegant, more versitle, they don’t fuck my hair when I put them on and they certainly are more cozy. Also, they are a bigger pain in the ass to knit. Well, here is the sweater before all of the improvements.

Blurry. I look like I'm a person in a reality show who didn't sign the waver that says they can be on camera.

Blurry. I look like I’m a person in a reality show who didn’t sign the waver that says they can be on camera.

See what I mean. I look horrible, like some deranged fasion model.

Here it is after all of the improvements. (Not being worn, my photographer is on strike.)

Better, but still not all that I would like it to be.

Stay tuned people, stay tuned. Big stuff going on around here.

I have a Question

Do these match?

Well do they?

The Knitters at Knitting last night didn’t think so. They thought it was “An assault to the eyes.” “You can wear it, just not on Wednesday.” That sort of thing. And these people are my friends? It was kind of funny, I would ask everybody who showed up, before they were able to get themselves settled, “Do these match.” The only yeses I got were from children under ten, and a person who is colorblind.

Le sigh.

Anyway, I was despairing over what to do, and just starting the other sleeve with the same color because that was the only knitting I had with me, and by good I was not missing out on an evenings knitting. (Especially because Wednesdays are always super busy for me and I don’t get so much as a stitch knit before 6:30.) We (being myself and the knitter,) decided that I might be able to make this sleeve work with some kind of a patchwork thing — you know, make the other sleeve of yet another color, and then do some kind of a shawl collar that would tie them all together. But I didn’t have any other yarn with me, and BY GOD I WAS NOT MISSING AN EVENINGS KNITTING. I may have stressed that point.

Then one of the knitters said to me, “You know, there is a JoAnn’s right over there.”

And there is too. You walk out of the Barnes and Noble, then walk past the smokers huddling in front of a pub, then walk past a grocery store and then you are there.

Now, I know that a lot of you, *ahem* tend to look down on good ole’ JoAnn. I tend to do it too, it’s understandable. The yarn selection there is poor, and the amount of wool is even worse. But I was able to find about a quarter of an isle that was mostly wool and/or wool blends. I bought a lovely purple yarn, made by Caron, (rolls his eyes) that was mostly wool. I’ll take it, at 3.99 a skein. (Before coupon.)

It’s working out pretty well. We’re very happy together. I’ll show you a picture later, once there is a little bit more of the purple in it.

In other news, the second day of spring, and the ground is covered with snow. I woke up this morning, in a pool of sunlight for the first time in days, and I looked out my window and saw the neighbor’s roof bar of snow, and thought, “Oh, good the snow’s all gone.” Then I sat up and saw all the snow, covering the ground, and I had to fight the urge to burst into tears. Is it just me, or do I feel that spring is getting further and further away? Maybe I will actually be able to wear this sweater soon. (I picture it as being a winter-to-spring transitional thing, what with it being very warm, but remarkably thin.)

And that’s the news from the past few days. (Well there’s more, but I must stretch out the blog fodder, you know the drill.)

 

Sleeves to you

Yesterday afternoon, after spending all day running around getting this that and the other form ready for college, (And taking my math placement, good lord am I stupid. At least there is no suspicion that I cheated. )  I came home and hunkered down and knit for a bit. Yesterday was a wet and cold and rainy day, a miserable one if I ever saw one. I felt very English, all wet and cold. I was thoroughly chilled, so I came home and pulled out My Shaded Aspen Leaf Sweater, and finished casting off the body. I did a little bit of shaping on the shoulders. And just as I predicted, I ran out of the green, not enough for the sleeves. I didn’t even have enough for the rest of the body, I sort of had to stop where I was. That was halfway through the last repeat. I knew I wouldn’t have enough for the sleeves, but come on, knitting fates, not even enough for the body? Is this punishment for that time I yelled Helen McKinney? (She deserved it.)

Anyway, I ended it mid-repeat, and moved on with my life. It was long enough, but I simply was going to finish that repeat of the pattern for continuities sake. Well, that plan was blown to hell, so I just did a few short rows and called it a day. I started the sleeves yesterday with a few odd skeins of Lamb’s Pride that I had lying around. (Like you’ve never bought a few to take the edge off a particularly bad day.) And I kind of like it. Let’s just pretend all along that this was my plan. I made decent progress on this last night — it’s nice that a row of the chart doesn’t take me fifteen to do. I can knit a motif in an evening.

If you look in the back round of this picture you can see relics of knits gone past, some of which were in the (gasp) pre-blog days. (I don’t really remember what’s it’s like to knit without an audience. I don’t know how I feel about that, but I kind of like it. And even though it doesn’t look like it, this is on a knitting needle.

I blocked the body of this same sweater last night, and am happy to report that it smoothed out beautifully. It wasn’t too lumpy to begin with, but it still had a few tight spots, and a few lose ones. That has all been absolved at this point, and it looks wonderful, and fits me perfectly. (At least I think so. I haven’t cut the armholes yet, so I’ll know more then, At the moment I’ve got a perfectly fitting woolen tube top.)

State of The Blog

Today is Saint Patrick’s Day. You probably know this. I’m celebrating today by knitting a ton on my SALS, which is the best, and by wearing a green shirt, not day-glow green, but sort of a dusty green. I went out last night to celebrate at the Coffee house, which I would have done anyway, no matter what holiday weekend it is. I was actually stopped by the police on the way home. Silly me, I always thought that sobriety check points were for people driving, not for people walking past them. Who knew?

Officer: Do you have a minute?

Me: Sure.

Officer: So, where are you coming from?

Me: Sonnets Coffeehouse, over there.

Officer: Have you been drinking tonight?

Me: I wish.

Officer: So that’s a no?

Me: No, I haven’t been drinking. I’m just like this.

Officer: Okay, thank you, have a good night.

Me: I won’t but thanks anyway. You too.

I actually didn’t have that bad of a night. I was home by ten.

Today was a quite day, spent puttering around the house. I fixed a crockpot dinner, listened to Wait Wait don’t tell me again. (Have I subjected you all to my rant on crock pot food. You cook it all day, in the same pot, in the same juices, and thus, it all tastes exactly the same, which is usually a food I’m not crazy about even if it doesn’t taste like salty mush. I get it that those who work outside the home love it, because having food ready when you get home from work is like a gift from Santa Claus. Me, I sit at my desk writing a lot, so that smell rises to my nostrils all day, and by the time that I get ready to eat I want to run fleeing from the house because of the smell. I feel like I’ve eaten so much of it without having taken a bite.) (Also, I’m doing Swiss Steak and I started with four of them five hours ago. I just went and stirred it, and I now have three. Where the hell did the other one go. Did it walk out. Did the cat figure out how to open the lid and at the other one. Where the hell is it? The gravy doesn’t look that meaty. I can’t explain this. Aliens? Ghosts? Was Tom over?)

Still putting along on the TSLS. I don’t think that I’ll ever be done. I’m not sure that I want to be. That was a lie, for interests sake. I am really ready for this thing to be over.)