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.

 

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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.

Knitting a Fishnet

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It does look rather like a net doesn’t it? But I can assure you that this shawl will hopeful never see contact with lake or river water, and will be properly washed and stretched afterwards.

Now that I’m beyond the slipperyness of the double-pointed needles, and the snaggy joins of the 16 inch needle, I can say that I am starting to enjoy the knitting of this shawl. It certainly won’t be the easiest thing that I’ve ever knit, but I will say that it is somewhat interesting. And I’m really glad to be using up this thin and slippery rayon yarn that doesn’t have much practical use, but that I bought just the same. I know that I will have enough yarn — I’ve got a whole cone of it, and what you see here is the result of about half an ounce. So yarn won’t be an issue, it’s merely an issue of how long can I keep working with it before I get tired and quit. (This won’t take terribly long.) I worked on it for a few hours tonight though, and I feel a bit more endeared to it now than I did before.

The construction of this circular shawl is unusual for me  — and is not often used in Elizabeth’s knitting either. It’s a round shawl, but when it’s finished, its really more of a heptagon, than it is a circle. You block it into a perfect circle, and it’s fine, but when you’re knitting it, it still is technically a heptagon. (A heptagon is a seven-sided polygon for the record) The “spokes” are created by doing a double increase at seven places, every fourth round, which makes it hard to keep track of. I’ve mostly fixed this problem by making the middle round an eyelet round, so it goes: increase round, plain round, eyelet round, plain round, and the start back at the beginning. It’s got a nice rhythm, and that bodes well with the fact that I was challenging myself tonight to see how many more rounds I could knit. I am highly competitive, and this just proves it — I was competing with myself.

I won’t make this one quite as big as my other shawls — or I will at least attempt not to. For some reason, I’m never in control of how big my shawls end up — though I do try. It might be beyond me to predict how large they end up. I know that this shawl wont’ ever be particularly warm, so I might as well make it small and lace-y thereby making it a “summer shawl”. Not that I would ever use anything so pretentious as a “summer shawl,” (hence the quotes), but I am making one nonetheless. Really, I intend for this thing to sort of a neck doily. It doesn’t really do anything, just makes something look pretty. I’ll keep knitting though, it is starting to be interesting.

Re-entry

Well, I am now back in the land of the living. Back in the land of real people. (College Students don’t count as real people; I don’t know why.) I’ve actually been back since Thursday, but this is the first chance that I’ve had to write anything since being back. (Its been . . . a lot.) I’ve spent the whole day applying for jobs, and figured that while I was getting things done, I should probably write here.

Finals week went off, well, I’m alive. I think I slept maybe eighteen hours in five or six days. But I really don’t remember. History was rough, I had to write three essays for it, in addition to a couple of other things. But I made it through. And now that grades are out I can see that I did fairly well, considering that I was taking a lot of really hard classes.

Being home now, I think I knit more, though I haven’t seen any positive results from it yet. I’ve got a few things in the works now though, so lets take a look at them.

We’ll start with the thing that is the closest to being finished. Cousin Naglar

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This is a sweater that is going to appear sort of like my sister’s latest pregnancy. It starts with a big hubbub, but by the time it arrives we’ve pretty much gotten over it. Due to it’s being done at four stitches to the inch it has flown by, despite the long amount of time that it was on the needles. (I left it at my parent’s house. This was on purpose, because I didn’t feel like carting it back to Kent for a few weeks. It needed very little work.)

I still need to sew buttons on it too. I may put pockets on it too, but I am not sure about that. I love pockets, I think they are great and clever as can be. However, I feel like this sweater is complete without them, and, this being a bit short for a sweater that they might look odd, or not be long enough. Any thoughts on this?

Up next is a little number that I started in Kent. The last thing that I started in Kent.

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This photo fails to do justice to the wonderful “Garnet” colored yarn in the picture.  This is the Hybrid Sweater, from KW (as is everything in this post), and it is knit out of a coned yarn that I picked up a while ago because it was pretty and on sale. (That is a dangerous combination by the way.) I’m enjoying the knitting of it; perfect to pick up and put down as needed. It has been sitting next to me all day while I was applying for jobs, and saw a bit of action while I was waiting for a page to load. It helped me keep what little sanity I posessed during finals week and to keep me from killing my former roommate. (Something funny happened to day with him that I got wind of (facebook does have its advantages). My friend Jackson is transfering to OSU next year and he met my former roommate at the orientation. Jackson asked him if he was the same guy who used to be Garret’s roommate. What did Brad say, “don’t remind me.”  The fact that Brad thinks he can keep talking about me behind my back, this is just the latest, to my friends and have it not get back to me just shows how little he thought of me.  I so happy that he is gone — even though I am not relishing the thought of spending the summer in Wadsworth.)

Up next is a little something that is new on the needles, but hasn’t seen a lot of action. I bring you the seven-pointed shawl.

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This has only been on the needles for a few days, but it still hasn’t seen more than an evening’s knitting done on it. It’s the spoke shawl from KW, and I’m not really loving it. I mean, it’ll be beautiful once it’s done, but the knitting is a pain. You have to increase every fourth row at seven points, which makes it cumbersome to remember where you are. I’ve solved this mostly by making the second row an eyelet row, so you have an increase round, a plain round, an eyelet round, a plain round, and then start from the beginning. Still though, it is a tad annoying, and this isn’t helped by the needles I’m using  — an old set with snaggy joins, and the yarn, a slippery rayon. But when it is finally finished it’ll really be something. I’ll probably use it more like a window drape than a shawl. (I actually have two of those now and I love it. It makes my bedroom look all mysterious. Oh, it’s a mystery alright.)

That about covers it all for now. I’ve got a few letters to write tonight, and I hope to finish all of them.