Two Sweaters

Okay, I’ve pretty much got a schedule of classes put together for the next semester. This is good, because I meet with my adviser tomorrow and she really would like to know what my plans are. Good points — I should be done with college math this semester (I am killing myself to finish it, and will probably go downstairs and spend the next four or so hours working on it.) And I’ll probably be done with all my science requirements by the end of this year too — and my lab. (This is provided that I get the schedule that I’m hoping for.) Bad points — no Italian for me. I could be taking it this semester, but it conflicted with one of my really important classes, so I didn’t take it. I planned on doing it this spring, but the only Elementary course they offer is for students going abroad. I’m planning on staying put right here in the states (I love Kent so much, I can’t ever imagine wanting to leave) so that’s out for me. Well, French was a close second, and I can even remember a little bit of middle school French. But that’s out too, because Elementary French is only offered in the fall. So I thought about Hebrew. (I like the Jews, so sue me.) But they had the same deal as French. But, the only class that I can take is German.

So, I’m going to learn to speak German. It could be worse, and since I realized this, I did a little looking into it, and found out that, second to English, there are more books published in German than there are in any other language, which is probably good for an English major. And it widely spoken through Europe. It’s supposed to be similar to English, which will make it easier to learn. And I just thought of this, but Elizabeth could speak German. She went to a German art school. She was married to a German. See, making it sound more interesting.

It’s night now, and I can actually take a decent picture of the sweaters that I’m working on, that and the fact that the roommate isn’t home, and I have the room to myself.

First of all, we have the Gansey — Mrs. Laidlaw’s Gansey. (And Gladys Thompson’s Patterns for Guernseys  Jerseys and Arans came last week, and I’m glad that I didn’t order the book just too knit this sweater, because Meg’s Chart really only resembles Mrs. Thompson’s a little bit.

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The yarn is a recycled cotton. It’s right around the armpit area, about two inches shy of it. I’m going to steek the armholes, and hopefully knit the sleeves. (That really will make the sweater not portable, which means it really won’t see that much progress.

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This swath of garter stitch is going to be Lloie’s Jerkin from Knitting Workshop. It’s also from a recycled cotton — but this one comes from an old sweater of mine that I grew to slim to really fit into, and I’m happy that it’s being given a new life. I am also almost to the armholes, but this one doesn’t have sleeves and it is super mindless, so it’ll be done long before the Gansey. However, I don’t really have the cotton with me to do an edging. That’ll have to wait till the next time that I go to my parent’s house and can pick it out. I want to do some kind of a yellow, or maybe a natural color. (The part that’s killing me is that I’ve got the exact same thing in a wool here. Oh, it burns. Oh, I may have a brown that would do. I would have to double it though. Anyway . . . .

That’s all for now. See you all later.

Better Pi, less fattening

You know knitters, how you work hours and hours on a project, and then, just when you get so close to being done, you suddenly get an urge to procrastinate, and send a previously loved project back to the seas of rejection. Such was the case with the pi shawl. It was even more beautiful once it was blocked. It was light, it was airy, it was soft. I wanted to wrap my entire naked body in it, and it isn’t often that I feel that way about knit wear. (I said often.) I remember that when I started knitting this, a long time ago, that knitting with Cashmere was like sex but better. I still haven’t changed my mind. (I could say something about my sex life not being anything resembling a bed of roses or a cashmere shawl, but I think that’s crossing a line for a knitting blog, and while I haven’t ever let that stop me, my grandmother does read this.)

Anyway, such is what I did with the weaving in of the ends on this thing. I hate weaving in ends on a good day, and in lace it is especially painful. It’s so hard to make sure that it is done right, because you can see the wrong side, when you are looking at the right side. I never know how much I need to weave in, because the fabric is so open, I feel like it will come undone easier. I can’t stand it. So I stuffed it in my closet, and just waited till I got the urge to finish something.

And that’s the way that it happened too. I was so careful that the ends took me two evenings to weave in. And the yarn was really thin too, so that made for even more ends. And the thing is, I have no problem knitting in public, but I really don’t want to be carrying around a large cashmere shawl and going at it with a threaded needle. (It might look like I was sewing.) Most of my knitting occurs while waiting, so that’s another reason why this thing stalled. But these are all excuses, and I’m done with those.

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I love it, I can’t help it. I love it.

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It is the softest thing that I’ve ever knit. I worked so hard on it, there are thousands of stitches. Okay, I haven’t counted them, but really, there has to be thousands.

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I think that this might be my favorite out of all the Zimmerman project things. It wasn’t the most fun to knit, it will not be the most worn, but I can’t help but call it my favorite. It’s soft, blue, and pretty. It appeals to my crazy love of all things girly and dainty. I know I’ve said this before, but really, I love it.

I still haven’t experience that thing that Elizabeth talks about. Where she says that you get so attached to a shawl that by the end of it you don’t want it to end. Yeah, I didn’t have that. I’ve never really had that. The end of the Traditional Shetland Lace Shawl was bittersweet, mostly because that shawl lasted much longer than any of my romantic relationships, and this one still leaves me warm in the middle of the night. (Sad, but true.) This was close though, mostly because of the cashmere, but due to the nature that the border was knit under (stress of moving, adjusting to dorm life, etc. ) I was kind of glad to see it go, and it’s stupid little rows that were only twenty stitches long.

And now, there are . . . . 10 left in the Zimmerman project. Can you believe that? It seems like just yesterday that I was so happy to be below 20. And now, here in a little bit, we will be in the single digits!! This just settled in on me.  I am really down the home stretch now. I mean, at 20 I could still back out of this thing (only you all wouldn’t have let me) but at 10. I really am close to being done. And really, we are close to nine as well. the Jerkin is halfway up to the armholes, and the gansey is 2/3 of the way to the armholes. And the Jerkin is a vest too, so that will be done soon.

Blocking Pi

Considering that I moved in a month ago from yesterday, I’ve reached the point where I’ve realized that this is how this is going to go down. I’m pretty happy with it. A life with very little cleaning and no cooking is really my sort of thing. And I get to pretty much say what I think — which is very freeing. My Intro. to Literary Studies professor said I ruined a poem for him. You see, we all have to do a class presentation on a poem, and that day’s topic was reader response. The presenter was doing this poem about icebergs and danger, and then it mentioned warmer waters at the end. The whole class was all talking about the safety of the ship compared to the danger of the iceberg. I said it was about old people moving to Florida. I call them as I see them.

My father and sister came into visit last Wednesday. That was nice, but I left my messenger bag in my father’s car. My messenger bag had some kind of important things in it. Namely my wallet. Thankfully I carry my room key and KSU i.d. around on a lanyard, so I still have those, (which means I can still eat and get into my room) but in my wallet was my state i.d., most of my cash, my banking number, my mail box combination, and a few gift cards. I’ll get it back in a week or so, but it still poses some kind of an inconvenience to me, and really just makes me feel like an idiot. And it had my knitting in it, as well as a library book (I can borrow books for about six months at a time so no worries. )

The reason that I’m telling you this is simply to say that I haven’t really been working on the Gansey. Mostly because it’s 45 minutes away. Thankfully I’ve started something else new now.  Lloie’s Jerkin — in a green cotton tweed. It actually was an old favorite sweater of mine, but that I was too thin for. (I love that. I love that I was too thin for something. This shan’t be the case for long I fear) So I chopped it up, and am giving it a new life in a vest that I probably won’t wear. (Being brutally honest here.) But who knows — it does get cold here, and I have a grey sweatshirt that it would go well with. And, with the whole no having sleeves, and being garter stitch and portable, it should be done pretty soon. (I love this too.)

Here’s the favorite old sweater — I actually had the forethought to take a picture of it.

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I would show you a picture of the current jacket, but I really don’t want to take a picture here in my friend’s dorm, and really, there’s not that much to look at.

And I’m also still making hats. I’ve done two, I still have four to do. I’m going to try, try to get my friends to let me do a group picture, but we’ll see. I actually should start working on one tonight — but I probably won’t.

I blocked the pi shawl too. You know how I said “No Dorm room blocking.” I lied. I was lying all along. I was lying through my teeth. We all know that I can’t resist blocking. That magical transformation of the puddle of crap knitting to the awesome lace-y creation. I can’t resist it. I picked up my pins last time I was at my parent’s house, and just did it. I was worried about it drying in time. It was fine, it was done by six o’clock. I was worried about looking like an idiot. I bolted myself in the bathroom and washed it in there, and did the towel thing to get out the extra water. (I wasn’t about to pay the 2.50 just to use the spin cycle.) No one saw me carrying anything more than a damp rolled up towel. I pinned it. It looked great. Here’s an awful picture. (I hope to get a camera soon. But the thing is, I could have bought a cheap one a long time ago, but I thought that it would be better to wait till I can afford a decent one — even if it is only there for knitting.)

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There it is, in all it’s glory. I love this thing so much. I even wore it a bit before blocking. It’s so soft. So very soft. I can’t come up with words to describe it’s softness, and I’m an English major.

Granted, (which is funny to me because I’m in Grant’s room) I did tear it during blocking. On the edge, you have to lift nine stitches over one stitch, and that means that there is a lot of stress on that one stitch, which is even worse when done in laceweight. I just kind of threaded the needle and sewed it all together, and the best part, it doesn’t look half bad either. I’m still working on weaving the ends, but that is taking a while for two reasons. 1. I hate weaving in ends, especially because it’s laceweight, and 2. Because there are a lot more ends than I thought there were.

And that’s all for now. A finished object soon!! the sad part is, I can’t even remember how many projects I’ve left to go.

Gansey Questions

It’s cold here.

It would appear that fall has come.

This has not caused my roommate to cease with his incessant turning down of the air conditioning. (That really is the only thing that we actively fight over, the temperature of the room. I like it about 70. He likes it to be about 68 — which is cold.)

I wore a sweater today, the first time this fall I’ve slipped into a handknit. Oddly enough it was a Gansey — the only other Gansey I’ve made. (The green one that I made too big and too long with a weird neck, then fixed about one thing on it over the next six months — taking out some of the bottom, steeking it, etc.) Oddly enough, I’m knitting the other Gansey in KW now. And you also have no freaking idea how happy I am that there are only two ganseys in KW, and also that I’m almost done with ANYTHING in that book. It was warm and soft and comforting, like warm tea, and sunshine and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It made me think of my really nice friend who gave  me that yarn. It makes me think of the store I used to work at, where I got the buttons. It makes me think of how dumb I can be, because of the collar and things. It also has an afterthought pocket, which is really, really awesome. (Though this was my first one, and is a touch too small.)

I’m working on the Gansey yes, but not that much, a little, but not that much. I’m devoting most of my knitting time to a little hat that I’m knitting for a friend down the hall. Yes, I’m knitting for a friend, and no, I wasn’t terribly crazy about the idea at first. (Go ahead, say what you will, coughsilviacough.) And yes, I’m now making hats for our entire group of friends here, but they are people I like, and that I really care about, so really it’s not to much to ask for a little bit of knitterly love. (It’s not like they’re getting sweaters or little stuffed toys, but there is a touch of colorwork, just a touch though.)

I’m a little bit indecisive about the Gansey. Namely the gussets. I don’t know if I really should but them in there. I’ve got a lot of reasons for not putting them in there, but I’ve also got a lot of reasons for putting them in there too. Let me just hash out everything that I’ve been thinking about here. (Tell me what you think. I want to know. And I really want someone to tell me what to do.) Okay, on the last Gansey, I put them in, but I really don’t think that they did anything. They are essentially triangle hunks of knitting that are increased from about two stitches to twenty at the armpits, for ease of movement. But I really don’t feel like they make it any easier to move. However I’m not sure that I did them right , which means that they may make it a little easier to use, if you do them right.  (I think you were supposed to increase every third row, and I did every fifth for some reason, which also means that I stopped them early because I felt that they were making the sweater too long, and I was right by the way.) But, I also feel that they are a necessary part of the Gansey tradition and should be knit in the sweaters, however, I’m already blowing off tradition due to the cotton and it being knit at five stitches to the inch, whereas the originals were done at seven or eight to the inch, so what does it really matter? You can see why I’m not sure.

Also, one more thing I’m not sure on. To steek, or not to steek. Again, steeking was how they were historically knit, but I’ve already blown off history. And this is a cotton which makes it harder to steek — I would need a sewing machine for sure. But that’s not that big of a deal, my friend downstairs has a machine that I could borrow — even though it would be a bit of a hassle. (I did bring thread, just saying.) This is a knit and purl pattern though, so you’re really not saving that much purling by knitting it flat, again however, it really would be easier to knit if it were in the round, and I’m sure it would be finished a little bit faster, due to it’s increased portability. Again, I just want someone to make these hard choices for me. (It’s odd that I say that, because one of my biggest frustrations with patterns is that they tell you what to do. I’m a living paradox, what can I say.)

Mrs. Laidlaws Gansey

Well, the events of the past few days will lead me to two conclusions.

1. Last week, I was evidently just being overly dramatic about no knitting enough. Five inches of Gansey is nothing to sneeze at. This Gansey has patterning all over it, not just at the top, and in my infinite wisdom I chose to knit the edging in twisted ribbing. Don’t ask why I do this to myself. So one could say that this is some pretty complex knitting. (5 stitches to the inch, but it still counts.) What this means is that if I had something really simple, like garter stitch — which I’m cooking up now, I could really get a lot done. I guess this comes with essentially removing cooking and cleaning from my schedule, and the garden too.  (You would have never known to look at the house that I spent that much time cleaning.)

2. I cannot remember anything — this is the official time. No, I haven’t locked myself out again. When I went to visit my parents last weekend, I really had three ulterior motives. I wanted clothes. I brought with me enough clothes, but really I got tired of wearing the same thing over and over, and it is really cold in the mornings here, I had forgotten how cold it is in the mornings, even when the day is hot. So I needed a few sweaters and some jeans. I wanted to bring in some movies that a friend and I had been talking about, and I wanted to bring in my pins. I know that I said no dorm room blocking, but damn it, I’m impatient. I wanted to see what this shawl looked like blocked. I could do it on the bed. It’s really no different size then my one at my parent’s house. And I could do it on the space of floor by my desk, that too isn’t really that inconvenient. The hardest part would be the wetting of it, but I suppose I could lock myself in a shower stall, plug  up the drain with a dish rag and see what would come of it. Believe me, I’ve no problem with looking like an idiot in public. Now, the only problem here is the roommate will think I’m nuts. Ah, he already knows it, and is pretty calm about that sort of thing. But, no pins. Anyone know of a good place to buy pins, cheap pins, in the Kent area, preferably within one mile of the university.

picture054 I know that this really makes me look like I’ve gone nuts, but this is the best picture of the Mrs. Laidlaw’s Gansey that I could get. You know, taking a picture of a blurry, knit purl pattern, in a dark yarn, with a computer camera really is hard to do. I had to turn off the over head light and turn on my desk lamp to get a good picture of this one. And this is the good picture.

Not to shabby huh? It helps that I knit fast and really knit during a lot of things. On this sweater I haven’t had more than a 30 minute period of time to work on it. See, those little moments do add up.

Well, in other news, I caught a football last Saturday! It was a noon game, against Bowling Green (I will point out here that yes, we did lose, 42 to 21, and yes I now understand what my father goes through every Sunday when he sits down to watch the Browns play. They throw the ball when there is no one to catch it.) Bowling Green tossed a field goal, I was sitting in-between the goal posts, three rows off the field and they kicked a low one. It kind of bounced off my friend, but I caught it! I had to throw it back, but I caught it. And I actually was able to throw it back too. I’m proud of that one.

And that’s all for now. Time to go do math.

Two weeks

Well, I’ve just finished wrestling with today’s installment of Algebra, and the Algebra won, sorry to say. Granted, I’m like 6 weeks ahead in my math, so I’ve got a little wiggle room, however, considering that I’m technically about a year and a half behind, I really shouldn’t be slacking off.

Things are starting to get underway here at school. Everyone asks you, when you are a new college student, “How was the first week of classes.” That is a valid question, however, I think the real test is how you do in the second and third. Those are the weeks when getting out of bed at six a.m. just makes you want to cry and die (Remember you are up till at least one a. m. the night before because you blew off homework to hang with friends, and then when you got back to the dorm you realize just how much you fucked yourself — not that this has happened to me). When the stagnant water on the floor of the bathroom really starts to bother you, when the laundry is starting to look like it is about to sieze a hostile takeover, and what’s more, you think it will when. The first week is a gimmie, all you have to do is show up, almost on time, and stay almost awake, and you’re fine.

Today during Sociology I kept nodding off. I was trying desperately to stay awake. Then the professor woke me up. In front of the class. And this isn’t a small class, this is a class of about 150 in a big auditorium. You can imagine the color of my face.

But I was all caught up due to the last weekend. I plan to do the same with this weekend, only, you know, faster. I must say I do enjoy this whole three day weekend thing.

I am still knitting the Pi shawl — are you shocked? I sort of am too. When I started it on that fateful summer day on a whim, I never imagined that I would still be working on it. I’ve got about 18 rows left on it though, so I should be done at some point in the near  future. This future will not be as soon as you think it will be, because remember, lace isn’t done until after it’s blocked, and I really, really, don’t know why or how I would go about blocking a shawl in a dorm room. I don’t have a tub, a large bowl, or a sink with a stopper, so what am I doing to do — give the thing a shower, stick it in a drinking fountain? People on this floor already look at me funny because half of them have seen me lunge at the closing door because I realized that I just left my room key in there. (I did that today and face planted.) However, I am contemplating this, so that must mean that I am giving this some consideration — and it also means that my sanity chip has probably been tampered with. (I blame the lack of sleep.)

I’m proud of myself, I just washed out my water glass, instead of just filling it up with water, which I must say is what I’ve been doing here for a while.

As of tomorrow I’ve been here for two weeks. The feeling of being away at camp is starting to fade a bit, which I guess comes with settling in.

I didn’t really intend for this post to go that way, but I guess that’s the way that it went. Let’s see, back to knitting. (This whole mixing life with knitting really reminds me of Elizabeth.) The pi shawl is out of the loop because it is almost done, and the thought of running out of knitting scares the shit out of me. To replace it, I started the Gansey — I think I showed you that in an earlier post. Well, it got put in my bag, and became my walking around knitting. Due to the lack of time, I’m getting bolder and bolder about knitting in public. Who cares right? I haven’t really knit in any classes yet, but I’ve come close in FYE while the professor was messing around during class, hadn’t properly prepared what she was going to do. I kept it discrete. I knit while I’m waiting for classes to start though, I’m working on doing it with friends, though that often fill odd for some reason to me. I do it in the mornings while waiting to leave, and well any other time I can grab a minute.

The biggest problem with the Gansey is that it has a chart to it — once you get past the ribbing. (BTW, the ribbing is a bit longer than I usually would like because I kept forgetting the chart at home, and didn’t want to not knit — ribbing is generally too short anyway.) The chart is logical and has a progression, but it is still a chart, which I’m now carrying it with me. I knit five rounds today during a Learning Community guest speaker, which made the event almost bearable. Yes, I knit a chart while trying to hide the fact that I was knitting — like you wouldn’t do it? No one said a word though.

And I think that these 1000+ words will do for today. I would give you a picture of the Gansey. Trust me, these hard won five inches on a sweater are a beautiful sight (have I mentioned the K1B,P1 ribbing). However, the roommate is here, and he probably would look a little odd at me, not that I really care, but I do live with him, and I need to fool him into thinking that I am sane as long as I can. (I don’t know how much more time I have.)

Show and Tell

Well, I’ve made it through the first week of classes alive people. I love the fact that I’ve got classes for four days, and then a four day weekend. (No classes on Friday!) It wasn’t really that much work, though I know that they will be getting more and more intensive. I think I can handle it pretty well.

I went to the first football game last week, against Liberty. I wouldn’t say that we creamed them, but we certainly 2%-ed them. I’m glad my first game could be a winner. And I’m also glad that the concession stand takes meal-plan. Still it’s over priced stadium food, but good nonetheless. I am nominally not a sports fan, and see no need to create more violence in the world. Underneath it all though, I am really a very competitive person who doesn’t like to lose, at anything, a football gives me a chance to indulge in this less than desirable aspect of my personality. I am also nuts. And the fireworks show after the game was the best that I’d ever seen — there was a point where I really didn’t think that it would end. However, it sort of lost something for me because I couldn’t help but think as I watched it (from the astro-turf) “Is this what my tuition is paying for?” It was still nice though.

I’m starting to get a little bit better at fitting in knitting here with my new life. I suppose it helps that I have few fears about knitting in front of random strangers, and I’m getting better about whipping it out during conversations and things. I still haven’t knit in a lecture yet. (I only have two large classes where I would be comfortable doing it, and one is kind of dim, and the other I have a feeling that the professor would say something to me, in front of the whole class. So, that’s pretty much out. But I’m doing another tactic. You know how when knitters have periods of waiting, they pull out their knitting and really don’t mind those periods of waiting? Well, that’s sort of what I’m doing. I leave earlier than I need too, so that way, when I get to class, I have about ten minutes with nothing to do, and those little found moments of time add up. I think I got about an hour of knitting time this week just by doing that. I know how crazy that sounds, but it works.

I’m doing laundry down the hall now. $2.50 a load, and free to dry. Not that bad really.

I’m still waiting for the books I ordered to arrive. I ordered them five days ago, and paid for the two day shipping, because, you know, I kind of need them. They still aren’t here yet, and I am checking my email like a crazy person because I am going crazy wondering what is taking them so long.

picture053 What you can see here is the start of the Gansey. I haven’t made a lot of progress, but there is more today than there was a few days ago, and that’s saying something. The pattern is Mrs. Laidlaw’s Gansey, which is a pattern she talks about in Knitting Workshop, but doesn’t actually tell you how to knit. (Like a lot of her stuff really.) But there is a copy of the chart in Knit one Knit all, so that’s where I got it from, and that will be good enough for me. I’m not even up to the patterned part yet, but still at the ribbing. I’m doing a K1B, P1 ribbing, simply because that seemed like it would be a good ribbing to hold the floppy cotton that I’m using together.

Also in that picture, you can see the awful haircut that my father gave me. I look like a member of the Aryan brotherhood. (That is even made more funny because there is this blonde hair/ blue eyed kid down the hall who I refer to as “The Nazi.” It makes him laugh.

I got my head sunburnt walking around this mountainous campus the other day, and it’s peeling now.

And now to go to Algebra. I’ve been working like a dog on it all week, and I’m almost ready to move on to Algebra 2 — I should be there in a about 2-3 weeks, which is about 6 weeks ahead of schedule. Happy Friday.