Heart Hat

Okay, if all goes as it should for the next few weeks, I’ll be starting classes in one month.

Oh, And I finished a hat!

And I would just like to say that, this hat has not, nor has ever been intended for me to wear. You’ll see what  mean in a minute.

picture038

picture039Yes, there it is, the Heart Hat from the ever present KW. It’s supposed to look like a heart, but to me it’ll always be either the boob hat, or the chest hair pattern hat. Especially because, due to the nature of the pattern, it sort of humps up right in the wrong places. However, this isn’t noticeable when it’s on, so I guess we’re fine.

The heart was probably one of the hardest things that I’ve come across in this book, and that’s saying something. I didn’t think that it would really be that hard. The thing is, the directions are very stitch for stitch-y, so you’ve got to watch yourself like a hawk. There comes one point where she changes one number in the pattern and if you don’t catch it you end up with a mess. The main thing with this pattern is that you can’t assume that you know what’s going on.  It’s made from leftovers and took about two days to finish, and that’s with having to rip the heart back about four or five times.

This leaves me with twelve projects left to do. Two of them are pretty close to being done, which means I’ll be at less than ten in no time.

This ‘n’ That

Progress is a funny concept. People want it in social trend, economic trend. Some what it in their love lives, and other’s want it in their education. Some people prefer it to be in their friendships, others want it in their careers. Some want their family to have some of it, and other’s would rather have some in the wonderful world of politics.

Me? I just would like to have some in my knitting.

Since my last post on Friday, I have made maybe a few hours worth of progress on my Rib warmer. Not really enough to merit a photograph. And those few hours have not been very productive ones at that. I feel like I’ve been working on it enough, but I know that I’m not. This is due to several things in my life.

1. My job. Who knew being a receptionist was such a complicated job? And then I had to sit through all that training bullshit, which I’m fine with, they did pay me for that time, but it was a little dull listening to him drone on about the fact that I can’t wear jeans.

2. Last week I ordered books from Amazon. So this week they’re all coming and I of course feel the urge to read them. This is good because I love reading, but bad because it’s not a good thing to do, read until two am, when you have to be up for work at seven. Suffice to say that I am reveling in books these days. I’m on one of my book sprees, where I’m simply reading night and day. I would say that I was on one of my literary sprees, but I really believe anything tied to Kathy Griffin cannot be deemed with the title of literary. (Still love you Kathy! Call me, we can lunch!)

3. The nice weather. I know it won’t last, so I’m trying to make the most of it. Making the most of it doesn’t include watching hours of TV with my needles. It’s things like going for walks, puttering around outside, and taking random breaks from my desk to just sort of wonder out to the porch. Suffice to say that I do that last one very often.

4. A little project I’m working on for a local non-profit. I’ll share in the fullness of time. This isn’t really taking more than a few hours, but it’s really a just another thing.

5. The current baking epidemic. In all reality this thing is worse than the flu, only the side effects, like sweet smells and trying to invent a perfect glaze or a recipe for muffins that doesn’t call for eggs. (That last one didn’t work out. The eggs were the last thing you added. I’d already been to the store once, and I wasn’t doing it again. What was the worst that could happen? Runny insides, crisp outsides. I need to invest in more Vegan cook books.)

See, I’ve got excuses. But none of them are really good enough. (Tonight, rice pudding!) I’ll work on getting something done tonight. I’m about one third of the way done with the actual rib warmer, then I’ve got the edging. (I’m hoping the bright scarlet edging will go well with the natural Icelandic wool.)

 

Minnesota HouseFrau

Not much of anything to report. I always say or think that, but then in some devilishly curious way I manage to write five hundred words about, well, nothing. Funny isn’t it.  (I almost wrote ironic, but it wasn’t ironic. That’s one of my many New Year’s resolutions, to not say ironic when it isn’t ironic. The ironic part is I keep discovering all these resolutions that I don’t remember making. I wonder if I’ll still keep making these things up in April.)

I’ve finished one of the side saddles on the Hybrid sweater. This sweater is like a hybrid (hence the name) between a raglan and a saddle shoulder. It’s a saddle on top of a raglan. You decrease at the raglan rate till you have a number of stitches then you make saddles on top of them. The saddles are a little broader than on the regular saddle shoulder. And it’s got a much larger back saddle. Let me tell you, I will think long and hard about knitting anything at six stitches to the inch. Maybe five and a half, maybe. I enjoy the process, but still, this is just ridiculous. It just takes forever to do anything. I started this sweater on November second, and here I am, still plodding away on it. Granted I knit tons of other stuff in the process (Fishtrap Aran, Inner-directed shawl, countless Christmas presents). Still though, it is taking a while. I mean it’s fun to work on, and I am getting a great sense of accomplishment because I deserve every single row on it. It’s satisfying the way that baking bread is (and I’m a no-mixer-roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-kneading person) you feel the tactile feel of it, which is highly underrated . You lower yourself to the common denominator by kneading the bread, and I’m sort of doing that with this sweater. And the bread always tastes better without a mixer, I can’t explain this but it does, it really does.

While I’m on the subject of baking, take a look at this

.

Sorry for the bad picture, it was kind of dark out and I assure you that it had less powdered sugar on it than this picture would suggest.

This is a Linzer Torte. I didn’t know what that was until yesterday either. I thought, “It’s mostly sugar, butter and Almonds, what could go wrong.” A torte is like a cross between a cake and a pie. I think that they are really popular in Vienna. I am not sure what a Linzer is, and I’m still not 100% sure what a torte is.

I didn’t make it quite as written, which is probably not a good idea when you have no idea what you are making. It said to cut the butter in, and I melted it. It also called for grated almonds, but all I had were sliced almonds, and there is no way in hell that I am going to stand there and grate almonds. I chopped them up finely and figured that it would be good enough. I bake the same way I knit, (I’ll do whatever I want) it usually ends well, and often interesting, not unlike my knitting. I also think that in the end it’ll all work out. Of course if in knitting I can pull out bad knitting, and I can’t pull out a runny cake, conversely though, I can bake a cake a lot faster than I can knit a sweater.

I didn’t really care for it. It was too rich. Maybe less butter, more flour, less sugar. Or maybe I’m just bitter than it’s all already gone. I guess it went over well, though I don’t think that I’ll be making it again any time soon. It was more trouble than it was worth, like a lot of things in life.

But I learned stuff and I sort of had fun along the road. ( I love being up to my elbows in flour and shouting curse words because something went wrong. I realize how wrong this is.)

It was in The New York Times Cookbook in case you were wondering.

I’m thinking about gingerbread now. Yes, I am a Minnesota Housewife trapped in the body of a young man. I’ve got to go to the Lutheran Church now and make Lutefisk. And then throw up. Then make dinner.

And finish my sweater.

A sewn steek and my ramblings

Sorry for the lack of blog yesterday — I just know that you all were utterly devastated for not having me. I’ll try to do better. It was spent pounding the pavement, looking for work.  Literally pounding the pavement — I must have walked five of six miles. My options were rather limited too, I can’t work in clothing, to dangerous and I probably wouldn’t make much money. Food I could do, I just loathe how crazy people get around their food. Coffee shops I could do, but there goes any chance that I will blink at all in the next three years.

But I’m not terribly hung up on this whole working thing. I’ve made it this far without a “real job” I can probably make it a little while more. (Oh, just let me sell one of those books!)

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is in just a few days. It seems like it should be much farther away than that. I’m not really in the mood for being thankful, which is a shame, but I’ll just have to learn to live with it. (I’m doing a good job, just feeling guilty because I’m not blubbering over like some emotional opera singer about what I have to be thankful for.)

I’m wearing a pair of jeans that fit me perfectly, I suppose that will do.

In regards to my knitting, which is in a paltry state. (Not really, now that I think about it.) I’ve got the Tams started, more on that later, but for now I have to show you what I did on Sunday, in between studying Social Security benefits and watching three episodes of Dawson’s Creek.

 

Sewn, on a machine, and cut. Oh, that was so fun, and so easy too. I didn’t feel like changing the bobbin, so it’s part black and part grey. I did it once with straight, and once with a moderate zig-zag, following my mother’s advice. It’s holding very well, better than any crochet steek. Chopping took a moment of courage, but the snip snip was thrilling. I love it.

There were a few moments where I was a little unsure. Like when you sew fabric, it wants to go through the machine — knitting doesn’t, and you kind of have to pull it along. So some parts of it aren’t exactly sturdy, and I now get why it is that you should do two seams. And I was always forgetting to backstitch. But who cares, it worked, right.

And I’m also very proud of the fact that I even remembered how one uses a sewing machine.

I’m still just not sure how one goes about doing it on a circular piece of knitting.

Regular Knitting Content Returns

Inasmuch as my knitting can be anything that resembles regular.

Last May I started a shawl. You may or may not remember this, but you probably don’t, this was a while ago, and it’s not like this thing has been a prominent feature of this blog. As a matter of fact, I think that this was the second Zimmermann Project project. I took maybe one picture of it. It’s the one with the lace edging that makes me want to poke out my eye on a sharp DPN.

Anyway, I started this shawl, the Traditional Shetland Shawl last May. It was worked on some, actually a fair amount, but was put to the side when Baby knitting sort of started to take over my life — as with book 4. (When I get close to finishing a book it really helps for me to have something in my life that’s slightly simple.) Any way, the center square was done, but the edgings for all the other sides were still to be knit — one was started when I put it on the back burner.

Maybe a couple of days ago, I was looking for a break from the Fishtrap Aran. It’s a wonderful knit, but it’s sort of the kind of knitting that can easily take over your life with its mysteriously twisting traveling stitches. I was looking for something that was a little bit more forgiving. A little bit more, well, I’m not sure what I was looking for. I wanted to knit something else, but I didn’t really have the energy to start something else. (I’m starting to look at the Hybrid shaping.) This really was the only thing that was on the needles at the time.

I know, that’s the shocking part.

Anyway, I am working on it pretty regularly, and am almost done with a few parts of it. I’ve got two sides left to knit, which shouldn’t really take that long. (I know, famous last words.)

Not the best picture, but it could be worse, it could always be worse. What you do here, and I’m sure I’ve explained this about a thousand times, is start with an edging pick up along the plain side of that edging, knit a trapazoid, then knit a central square with those stitches. Then, for all the other sides, start with an edging, pick up, knit a trapazoid, then graft the whole mess together. I’m still a little shakey about that last part. It does not bode well.

If I can manage to find a few hours tonight, which, believe me, may very well not happen, I may be able to steek this weekend! Oy! Chopping up your knitting! Weekend fun!

This and That

1. I started the edits for my fourth book today. Use your imagination to tell how well this is going. I must say that I make a lot of very funny typos, and there are a lot more sexual undertones than I’d thought. And the plot sometimes moves so quickly. Sometimes I can’t tell if I’m laughing or crying. It feels good to return to this story after some time off, like putting on a favorite pair of shoes. (I oddly enough used that same comparison in the book. Weird.)

2. I recently received a comment telling me that she loved the way that the Fishtrap Aran sweater looked. I thought first, “Oh, she likes my sweater.” Then I thought, “No, you idiot, she likes that sweater, not necessarily the one you’re knitting, because you’re too lazy to get off your ass and take pictures.” Let’s fix that.

A little hazy, but you get the point. I do so hope you get the point. That’s all traveling stitches, every last one. I’m doing them without a cable needle, because with a cable needle, well, I’d be more likely to plunge the needle into my eye than to actually finish the sweater.

3. I always lose cable needles and wind up using toothpicks instead.

4. Despite how much I bitch and moan about knitting this sweater — how hard it is (not really that hard, just not a first Aran) and how long it’s taking, (again, not really that long) I really do like knitting it. It’s so satisfying, and is making me feel oh so clever. It’s good looking to boot too. I’m a about a foot, with about fifteen inches needed for length. (I’m starting to get tired of sweaters that are too big.) So we’re starting to move along with this. It’s starting to actually feel like I’m knitting a sweater, not some mysterious thing in the round with tons of stitch markers.

5. I am also already starting to plot it’s successor. Another Aran, if you must know. There are two left in KW after this one. I should be polishing this category off soon.

6. This weekend I ran into a bunch of non-romances past. (They were almost a thing.) There was one on Saturday, and that shocked me so much that I couldn’t speak. I just started at them with my jaw on the floor. Sunday I ran into one that I actually talked to for several minutes, and hope to do more of. Ah, and I wonder why I’m not leaving the house today. If I run into any tomorrow, I’ll just start banging my head into the wall till I forget about who they are. Good strategy.

7. I’ve been working on the Rorschach Sweater a lot here of late, mostly due to my doing a lot of things with my eyes and head, but not really with my hands. So the mindlessness of Garter Stitch is soothing me as I cry over how funny some of my typo’s are. (Some of them are true Freudian Slips.) It is slipping along, and I’m counting the days till I can finish is off. (I still haven’t come up with an exact number.)

8. I’m also feeling Rhinebeck Envy. I feel like Cinderella while all the other’s are off at the ball. I would petition a Fairy Godmother, but it’s already over this year.

Freed from Gansey

There above you can see the collar on what I’m calling the second draft of Gaffer’s Gansey. It still has most of the first draft, even the wonderfully snug sleeves, but I’ve changed the parts of it I hate. (Or at least for the most part, I still think it’s a bit too wide, but that seems to bother me less.)

(By the way, I usually don’t look that hairy, it’s the angle, I swear)

What I’ve done to this Sweater:

1. Throw it into a dark corner for a few weeks.

2. Feel very guilty, thanks to Elizabeth (thanks a lot Elizabeth), about the way I was treating it, when it would be pretty easy to fix, at least for the most part.

3. I pulled it out, put it on, and took a look in the mirror. This really lowered my self-esteem, which I struggle with on most days. Too big, too long, and THE COLLAR.

4. I went with the one that I knew how to fix first. The length. To do that, the not-crazy way, what you do is snip one stitch at about the length you want it. Then you use that one stitch start to unpick EVERY SINGLE STITCH all the way around the sweater. (225 to be exact.) You put them on the needle you go, and then you knit K2, P2 ribbing all the way around till you want to throw up, then do two more rows, and then do something that resembles the sewn bindoff, but not really because you were too lazy to look it up. (It is stretchy and looks decent, I can live with it.)

5. I liked it much better, but there still was the neck hole, which went from shoulder to shoulder. It reminded me of those flash-dance sweaters, long and meant to be worn off the shoulders. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do about this. I knew it needed to be tighter, but I wasn’t sure how I should go about doing it. I threaded a thread through the collar and pulled it tight. It held in nicely and I liked it, but it wasn’t a very permanent fix, and it was a little tricky to get it off, without breaking the thread. (I never broke it, but I felt like I would.) So what I did was knit some applied I-cord around the edge at a very firm gauge. It’s holding it in nicely, and I am very pleased with it. That’s what that picture up there is supposed to be about. (Instead it became facial hair.)

6. I’m so very glad that I did the fixes on this. (I may even take it in with some elastic thread.) This was my least-favorite to knit, and when I first finished it, I loathed the sight of it. But now, with maybe two days knitting time, I have made this one of my favorite sweaters. I am not embarrassed to be seen in public wearing this thing.

But it is a hot one. I won’t be wearing this anytime but the dead of winter.