28 February 2008

Mid-Term Review

Lovely hand made schematic card by Sharon.

It's been a while since University and (I think) we're kind of in Reading Week right? That seems like it could be true. Thanks for all the Yarn/Birth Day wishes! It's going to be a great year. I can already tell. 25 is SO 2007. Anyways. Knitting. That's what I write about here.

When last we left off, I was test knitting some items for Mona. That's all done (and before the deadline too). And really it was a pleasant experience. No sarcasm needed. Honestly, I enjoyed it! Well believe me or not, it was good times. Working on a couple of not-so complicated projects with good patterns (though I did spot an error in one, yay me) with none of that pesky angst de sweater that I've been experiencing lately. It does continue to plague. The test knitting was like a like holiday from my troublesome projects and I got to knit without consequence.

Yes, I did manage to get gauge on the first try which I totally take to be a total fluke. To be honest, I never really pay attention to the gauge in patterns except as a guide for yarn substitutions. This is obviously where I get into trouble with the making of sweaters. It's nice to know that I got gauge. Plus I got to knit with some nice yarns. One of which I have been wanting to use and had no possible way of justifying the purchase of (ie. a pattern in mind).

The only downside was all the 'You're knitting with Acrylic?!?!??!??' I had to deal with. Yes. Acrylic. It's like for money. People still buy it. Deal already. The worst offender was of course Mr. Peabody. He's such a yarn snob. Sylvain and him (he and Sylvain?) kept going EEEIGH EEEIGH EEEIGH when I was working with it.

In conclusion: test knitting = all the fun of knitting - any possible angst trying to customise for the 'perfect fit' + time for mental review of current projects (yes, I'm weird. Can only think about knitting while I'm knitting. Hence the knit, angst, rip, repeat that you hear so much about)
ergo I would be quite happy to test knit again.

Did someone mention sweater angst? Why yes, there is in fact a Pink Lopi Raglan kicking around that hasn't been dealt with for a whiles. It's 'done' again. But there's some funny business with the neck going on. Not too sure if short row magic will fix that or if some actual waist shaping is needed. Yes, that would mean reknitting the body for like the 4th time. But we like to get these things right here chez crazé. At the moment I'm working up the mental energy to steam block and see if indeed a reworking of the entire body is needed (at which point I will probably require beer).

22 February 2008

We're going Skatin'

The birthday fun continues this weekend. As some of you may know from the Book of Face, I want to go skating. So Saturday night, we are going ice skating in Old Montreal at the Quays of the Old Port. Mr. Peabody, Sylvain and I are planning to be there around 7ish. We may be earlier or a little later but we've been looking forward to this all month.

Alison very nicely gave me a pair of her old skates and Mr. Peabody is scrounging all the Village de Valeurs in Montreal for skates. So we mean business! Come on down and make the best of a snowy, gross, never ending winter that we're having. Although originally associated with my birthday, now it's just a thing, so feel free to come along. Skating is fun! I'm not an amazing skater, can barely skate backwards, but I enjoy skating fast and can most of the time stop myself, usually by using a nearby snowbank or the boards of the rink. I'm classy like that.

I lied and thought it was free. Skating costs $4 for adults with various other price breakdowns and of course there's skate rentals and sharpening and toe pick removal and such. Parking Info for those with cars. Oh and there's lockers but it's bring your own lock (or rent one). For those so inclined, I believe there's a bar in the warm toasty building as well.

Hope to see you there!

18 February 2008

Happy Yarn Day to Me

"It's my yarn day and I'll buy what I want to, buy what I want to, BUY what I want to.
It's my yarn day and I'll buy what I want to, buy what I want to, BUY what I want to.
You would buy too if it happened to you. [do di do dooooooo do]"

First let's start with this. Robyn tagged me with that 7 Random Things thing).

List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself. Tag seven random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs. Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog and also so they can look at your blog and not tag the same people all over again!

My 7 Random Things:

1. I'm quite afraid of heights (I like to say that's the reason I'm short) but LOVE to climb to the tops of things (trees, zip lines, tall buildings in a touristy context: Il Duomo—Florence, St Peter's Basilica—Rome, Eiffel Tower, Empire State, St Paul's—London which was quite nerve racking with the wrought iron stairs and sweaty flip flops, etc.) and have NO issues with flying in airplanes.

2. Despite having been on many a flight since grade 8, I ALWAYS insist upon a window seat and WILL make you move if you try and sit in it. It's mine. I asked for it first. And if there's good visibility I will get a crink in my neck from starring out too much, if there's not, I'll still get a crink from take off and landing.

3. I'm a sweets person, not a chocolate person. My favourite thing about being a grown up is being able to eat candy whenever I want. I have been known to have a bag of wine gums or swedish berries for dinner (not because I'm poor, just because I want to and no one's around to tell me different). Oh and wine gums are best when properly aged, the very best being the no-name ones you get out of those HUGE bins at Safeway that have been there for 20 years.

4. I never had a baby blankie. Instead I had a velour housecoat of my great-grandmother's that I would have over my pillow and I'd scratch the surface to feel the texture under my nails as I fell asleep. The housecoat was replaced over the years (always velour and always as a top pillow case, some were sculpted and made the texture more interesting) and I kept it up into High School.

5. a) I hate Hate HATE the sound of vacuum cleaners. SO loud! This is likely why I have no carpet in my apartment and only sweep (vacuuming hardwood is the WORST).

5. b) My favourite cupboard in my kitchen is where I keep the cleaning supplies. I heart the little submarine-like door with the little latch and how the cupboard itself is perfectly suited to storing and organising all the cleaners inside. Plus it smells like cleaners which is strangely comforting.

5. c) Despite my odd love of the cupboard and its contents, my place is not kept obsessively clean. I think this is a peculiarity of living alone.

6. I like working with my hands (again with the very tactile person that I am). I'm a geeky gardener and wood worker in addition to the craftyness you see here. This comes from spending summers at my parents' lake cabin. I've also taken sailing lessons and love Luv LURVE to swim. Ocean, lake, pool: anytime anywhere.

7. I used to take gymnastics as a kid (Mr. Peabody too). Saturday mornings at the University of Alberta's Gym. I did the same level for 3 years because I couldn't do a backwards roll. I was at the point of being able to do a cartwheel on the balance beam (not so scary) and starting to do mid-air changes on the uneven bars (SUPER scary. See no. 1). Finally Mr. Peabody and I ended our careers by protesting the inability to watch Saturday morning cartoons (that or our parents didn't like having to wake up and drag our bodies out of bed and around town every week). But my parents bought us a trampoline so the best of gymnastics was still to be had.

8. I have sweaty, hot palms and feet. It's not really a nervous thing (but they are of course moist in such situations as well) and is especially bad when I wear synthetic shoes. This meant I never had (and can never wear) those jelly sandals they had when I was a kid. Even Havainas are rather iffy but somehow the super cheap ones from Longs Drugs are A-ok.

Oh and 7 people to tag.....uh consider yourself officially tagged. Yes. I'm going to be lazy and cop out like that.

My birthday was on Saturday (26) and the present I got from my parents was a day of sponsored yarn shopping and a renewal of my Interweave subscription. Mr. Peabody tried to be sneaky and steal my list of future projects and yarn that each requires (made during a slow day a few months ago) but didn't know it was in the notebook I take with me to work everyday. Hrm. But I didn't mind making a day of it. Half the fun is going and fondling the fibres.

I woke up to find a Happy Birthday email from Mr. Peabody and many a festive Facebook wall post. Mr. Peabody came over and made me breakfast. Yummy maple bacon and eggs, fabulous sold by the inch bread toast and maple butter croissants. After he had washed down the inside of my fridge, we set out on the town with totes in tow.

First stop, Effiloché. Wandering around and squishing the pretty yarn, I ended up finding some lovely sock yarns. In fact, some of the things from my previous list of tasty fibres. And some others that are just tasty.

Some lovely Colinette Jitterbug in Velvet Plum (I think that's the name, the stamp doesn't read so well) for like some socks of some kind.

Self-striping Regia in some tealy greys (5542). Uh. I think there's probably some city or something related to this colour, but I just think it's pretty. It may become some Jaywalkers. I was looking for this other color that I saw last time I was at Effiloché with like burgundys and reds and teals (self-striping) but there was none to be had.

But my favourite is really the wild card Trekking pro natura. I'm LOVING these as my future Entrelac socks. The pattern is great, but I wasn't crazy about the colour choice in the pattern. The subtleties of the yarn are lost to the contrast in colours. But I do enjoy the teal. I think these colours that are closer in value will play off each other nicely. The blue has some variations in tone which will be set of nicely by the charcoal. I'm actually racing through my test knitting because I want to immediately cast on for this project.

I had wanted to get some Felted Tweed for that Tangled Yoke number but they didn't have the colour I wanted. Plus ordering online isn't nearly as fun as squishing in person.

Our next stop in our journey was Ariadne where there was food, fibre and fun to be had. I showed Mr. Peabody my choice for Juliet and he poo-pooed my choice as being much too bright. He suggested some subtler purpley colours. I considered it but in the end decided to go with my original choice.

I want this sweater to be the focus of whatever I wear it with and the duller purples would make for a frumpier piece. They are nice colours, but darker duller purple + my wardrobe of grey shirts = frumpy boring Jane. And I don't need any more help to be frumpy. The photo really doesn't do justice to the colour. It's really quite fabulous.

After hanging out and partaking of some bagels and tea, we headed out again. Our next part of the quest was 'Chercher des patin pour faire patiner sur la patinoire' (to find skates for skating on the skating rink, it works better if you imagine me speaking the Bad French. Though I assure you that I can speak the Good French, it's just not as fun). Both of us left our ice skates in Alberta because, well, it's like not a thing that people really go do. Yes there are community rinks all around, but you've got to pay for the community membership to be 'allowed' to skate on them. And winter's pretty cold and miserable most of the time to just get up out of the lovely centerally heated house, to go skating. Plus I want a pair of real live leather skates. No more of this vinyl exterior shiz. I want me some grown up skates for keeps as I'm now in the new age box and everything.

We went to a few outdoorsy equipment places in the Plateau and found all sorts of fancy ski-boots-with-blades-attached, but not what I know as skates. What I call skates are white, leather that you have to buy a size smaller. Cram in extra socks and tie until you barely have any blood circulation so that there's enough ankle support. There's no concern about feet hurting as you can't feel them anyways. THAT'S a pair of skates. Not these silly Reebok numbers that I've seen. Just because they stick some picks on the front and tie them with pink laces doesn't make them girl skates either. There shall be further investigation.

Next was shopping for dinner. Mr. Peabody very kindly offered to make a dinner of my choice. I went with roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and all the fixings. How Anglo can you get? It's something my mom makes pretty regularly and I really haven't had a proper Sunday roast since leaving London (I've only been home in the summer, and it's really not a summer meal). Dinner was fabulous. We didn't eat until 8 pm and then keep eating and eating and eating until midnight.

Oh and I didn't have a cake. It was a lemon meringue tarte. That's 9. I heart all things lemon (dessert wise). If there's a lemon choice, I'll take it. Lime will serve as runner up.

Other birthday treats? A great book from Sharon. After I finished reading Marie Antoinette, we had an impromtu book club about it, especially in relation to the movie. I'm kind of addicted to biographies these days and Antonia Fraser writes a great, interesting, informative, compelling biography. So Sharon gave me a copy of Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King and I look forward to see what shenanigans Louis gets up to.

I leave you with a couple of extra cheerful sock yarns I treated myself to last week:

15 February 2008

sox Sox SOX!

By popular demand I bring you a schematic of the Squid Sucks Cuttlefish Socks' progress (pre Pro Knitter status). Apparently schematics are going to be my thing. I can dig that. They're fun to make and don't require good lighting. Though a decent memory and some mad Bezier skillz are required.

Right. So here the sock kind of looks like some sort of biker tatooish sort of thing. I think that the black outlines don't help. But you get a general idea. Squid on the leg that wraps around the entire sock. Depths of ocean background with 'brackish' water changes every 3.5 inches or so. I'm kind of fudging so that there isn't a huge medium blue section from foot to leg over the heel. And the colour changes are a nice way to break up the monotony of knitting 9.5 inches of straight stockinette foot. Much more digestible in 3.5 in increments.

Generally I'm reconsidering my lukewarm sentiments towards socks. Mostly I blame the Knitting Philistine for knitting such fabulous socks out of the yummiest of yarns. I'm planning to expand my knowledge of such schmancy artisan yarns and try out all those patterns that the internets keep going crazy for.

I have no monkeys, no jaywalkers, no pomatomus, no giottos, no charades, etc. I haven't Jitterbugged, Trekking XXLed, Noro Sock yarned, Socks that Rocked, Cherry Tree Hilled, Lorna's Laced, Hello Yarned. I have treated myself to some Cherry Tree and Lorna's, they remain uncaked waiting for me to progress on other projects as well as a bunch of fab patterns provided during SP11 that demand to be knitted. I have however picoted and Fleece Artist Sea Wooled which was quite nice.

I generally feel like I am behind with my following of the knitterly trends, what with the not being 'out' and online with my knitting until quite recently. I'm generally not one to follow, but I feel that in knitland, where there's a trend, there's a fabu project to be had.

I have to add the challenge that I have yet to knit myself a pair of socks that actually fit. That's right. I've made myself 3 pairs and all three end up on the slouchy side. Two have been passed up to my mom and her slightly larger feets. The funniest part is that I am able to knit socks for others without issue. Maybe it's a gauge thing. Maybe it's a stitch count thing. But it definitely warrants further experimentation and study. Could be that the Continental skillz may make things better. Hard to say at this point. Socks might become my lunch time knitting thing in future.

Any other sock yarns I should add to the menu?

But back to the Professional Knitterly tasks at hand. Yes Mona, I'm making progress. I'm just about on gauge with the one (like a stitch off) and on gauge with the other. I'm going to finish the second gauge swatch today and make my evaluations this evening. Because I'm a smarty pantz knitter, the gauge is the same size as the project, so depending on gauge, I'll rip out some garter rows and keep chugging until I run out of the yarn.

14 February 2008

No Longer Eligible for Knitting Olympics

I have left the ranks of amateur and there's no turning back. Yup, I'm now officially a Knitter (emphasis on the capital K). I've gone Pro.

I'm test knitting a couple of patterns for Mona soooooo progress on the Squid Sux Cuttlfish Sox will be postponed for a while as my Professional Needles are occupied. She sent me an email out of the blue to ask for my help. She answered my secret desire to be a test knitter, but was too shy to actually ask (I'm weird like that).

So other people in need of test knitters, let it be known: I've gone Pro and am now a Knitting Mercenary (I'm at your disposal).

I appreciate the compliments and suggestions that I should make the Squid Sox into a pattern for Knitty (or something). I'm taking it under advisement for the moment. While it would (of course) be awesome to have a published pattern, I'm not sure about turning my hobby into something more than just a hobby.

Yes I'm now Professional Knitter, but it's like a big deal to write patterns. It's a lot more work than just coming up with something on my own. I have to explain all my crazy made upness in a way that other people understand. I'm not always so good at that. Then there's coming up with proper yarns to use. I don't think it would be swell to suggest that people buy a 7 skiens from 3 different companies to reproduce what I came up with.

I have written a couple of felted purse patterns once upon a time for Miss Virginia van Santen to sell with her fabulous hand painted Carstairs Lopi that she sold and it was a lot more work than coming up with the knitting of the thing. One ended up really not how I wanted and the other was kind of ok.

So I very much appreciate and respect Knitwear Designers and the amount of effort they put in to come up with something that we can follow, is interesting, works well with the yarns and looks fabulous. That's why I don't feel bad about spending money on a pattern and let myself buy more magazines than I probably should.

So not a definite 'No' to designing at the moment, but a hesitant 'Uh, maybe?' for the moment. And besides, I've got my Professional Knitting Career to consider here!

As a quickie update on the sox: Sylvain has tried on the socks thus far and they fit perfectly (and look awesome thus far I must add).

12 February 2008

Already onto the next thing

Yes yes yes. The Pink Lopi's barely blocked and I've already cast on for something new. Don't look so shocked. Some of us have to account for lunchtime knitting hour. I can hardly block the sweater in the food court after chowing down some of that fine Thai Express. Wouldn't want to dip it in the peanut sauce.

So I've begun the Cuttlefish Socks for Sylvain. He drew me a sketch of what he wanted in the summer. But then on the weekend, realising that I was actually going to make him socks AND use his original sketch, he insisted on redrawing the cuttlefish. You can see his handiwork above. Now I know that's more of a squid than a proper Cuttlefish but we're playing fast and loose with the definitions here. And really, Cuttlefish Socks just sounds so much better than Squid Socks (or Squid Sucks if you have ze French accent).

Now I hear you wondering why Cuttlefish? Well. They're Sylvain's favourite animal (and probably also favourite English word). What else would you want on a pair of socks than your favourite animal? Yeah, I don't have an answer for that either.

And as a cure for the common Pink Lopi Raglan, there's going to be some mad colour going on with these socks. Not only are the Squid/Cuttlefish going to be some sort of strand-tarsia, the background is going to be varying depths of ocean blue. Starting with navy and working up to the light blue.

Oh yeah. It's Briggs & Little Sport of course with some Schleppjies and others thrown in for good measure. They're already a lot of fun and we're only 3 inches in.

11 February 2008

The Suspense Will Kill us All

Sorry about giving you all heart attacks. I've got one of those photographic memories where the film has to go into the lab for processing. If I can't picture myself doing something, chances are most excellent that I didn't do it. Thing was that I wasn't paying terribly close attention when leaving Ariadne (conversations + tired ÷ Thursday = distracted + forgetful Jane) and the last thing I remember with the tote was putting it down to put on my boots/coat/blue messenger bag. That's exactly where the tote (with sweater) were left.

I was convinced that I had it with me during conversations at Lionel-Groulx and figured I put the tote down at some point on the Metro and it just got left. If it doesn't stay attached to me in some way, there's a very good chance things will be left behind. I'll be one of those horrible parents with the kids on leashes but it would be more for me than them.

I kept walking around my apartment saying to myself, maybe it's in the kitchen next to the front door. Maybe it's under the desk. Maybe I left it on the ground outside while searching the messenger for my keys. Etc.

I did actually get to the point of looking up where the lost & found is for the Metro (customer services at Berri-UQAM) and just about posted an ad to Craigslist about it. Then decided that as my last memory of the tote was at Ariadne, that I'd check with them first. Friday after work I'd either stop off at the store if they did have it, or stop off at Berri-UQAM and root through the lost & found if they didn't.

But all was well. I was smart in my forgetfulness and left it at Ariadne. I thought you guys deserved the whole story to make up for freaking you all out.

Yes, it's not quiiiiiite done just yet. The epic sweater aka Guðrún aka Itchy Pink Raglan formerly known as the Pink Burlap Potato Sack or the Perfect Sweater is still going.

I'm working on the neck at the moment so the end is quite near. Hopefully this neck will be in the right spot and I won't have to do it again. But there is a real need for blocking with this baby. There's some, uh, interesting tension changes right at the point that I joined the body and sleeves in the round and, uh, there's kind of this line in a kind of unfortunate place....yeah.

If this draft of the neck goes well and it dries in time, I may be wearing this lovely handknit item aka my second ever completed sweater to the next knit event (or next several).

And the Cuttlefish Socks are already on the go. I have to have something to look forward to during the work day.

8 February 2008

Have you seen this sweater?

Last seen the evening of February 7th at Ariadne Knits, this almost completed Pink Lopi Raglan is itchy to the touch and goes by the name Guðrún. She is being housed from the cold of a Montreal winter in a black canvas tote acquired on a trip to LA's fine establishment Amoeba Hollywood. Guðrún is sharing accommodations with long time friend Nixon, the digital watch and was last seen wearing 4 state of the art stitch markers and a 4.0 mm hairband.

If you have seen the wearabouts of our beloved Guðrún, please contact us immediately. She's only 5 years old, has a horrible sense of direction and doesn't speak French.

(Yes, I'm a spaz who has worked on this sweater for an entire month and may have been flighty enough to have left it on the Metro. This wouldn't be the first time. There's probably still a roll of Junior High drawings riding around the streets of Edmonton in a bus. If it's not attached, it's not guaranteed to make it home).

UPDATE: Call off the German Sheppards and Bloodhounds, no need to alert the FBI or STM officials. The sweater has been located. I was smart enough to forget the tote bag with said sweater at Ariadne. Note to self: maybe should leave at an early hour or make sure to pack projects in something that attaches itself like another limb. It's a good thing I'm only responsible for my own well being.

7 February 2008

Update on our Sweater's Progress

Back due to popular demand (or my lack of being able to explain things clearly verbally), a schematic of our hero's progress on the Pink Sweater of Doooooooom!

So not quite back to where I was before ripping out the last time, but definitely passed the sleeve join.

Knitting progress was slightly sporadic last night due to good conversation, great hot chocolate, a busy scientific baby with table to entertain him and a door that wouldn't quite shut on its own. And I wouldn't have it any other way. That's right, it was Knit Nite on Monkland with guest star Sean of Knit & Purl Mama fame! It was fun to catch up with the gals of NDG and see what everyone is working on.

Tonight I shall continue to hamper my progress on the Pink Lopi Raglan to go hang with the Ariadne chicks and who knows, Mr. Peabody may even get his act together and finally cast on for something. That boy is too concerned with working on something impressive. Dude, SOCKS are impressive. Actually SWATCHing is impressive. Not needing to reknit a sweater 5 times is impressive.

6 February 2008

Something's changed

Do not adjust your television set. The blog colours have in fact changed. Do not be alarmed.

Truth be told I got a little carried away with things after making the sweater schematics yesterday and started messing with the blog colours and felt that I should probably finally put together a header graphic too. I'm not sold on the current state of affairs and still fully intend to knit up a proper craftyblog header. But in the meantime this is what we're going with.

No substantial knitting to report. I've joined the sweater with the sleeves and am to the point where I start doing the raglan decreases. Not terribly interesting.

So I'll distract you with a question. What's the deal with Cut throat Bitch on House? Wearing a McGill sweatshirt and the comment 'legs that go all the way up to Canada'...did I pass out on my couch and miss something in a previous episode (no, I don't just sleep through CSI)? And when will they finally just get rid of her character? I don't want depth and change from her. She's served her purpose and now is fired. Not to mean that the actress is no good. She is. She does a great Cut throat Bitch. I just don't think the character works as a recurring. Or am I taking the crazy pills? Am I the only one who's tired of that whole thing?

5 February 2008

Jane and the Straight Jacket Sleeve

Since last we left off, our villain, the Itchy Pink Potato Sack, had been ripped out entirely and begun once more this time with fewer stitches (202 cast on, increase to 225 and switch to 4.0 mm circular immediately after ribbing instead of 250 even over ribbing & body). The needles of fury were operating at top speed to ensure that as little time as possible would be lost to this sudden return to the beginning. By Sunday night, the sleeves and body were joined in the round. Our knitting hero Jane was a little skeptical in regards to the body length, but decided to press on with the raglan shaping and try on when possible to avoid wasted efforts.

Last night, our knitting hero was able to get far enough (see schematic above) in the raglan shaping to try on the sweater. While the evil villain Itchy Pink Potato Sack seems to have been banished for good, a new miscreant has made himself known. That's right. It's the slightly mischievous Straight Jacket Sleeve! Fear not dear reader, the Crazy of Jane will save the day!

Let us recall that our knitting hero likes to use multiple strands of yarn to mark her various sleeve increases as she manages the magical feat of two sleeves at once! This crazy obsessive method for tracking the sleeves progress means that our hero was quickly able to re-establish order in our sweater knitting world.

Yes, there was some backtracking (see above schematic), but never fear! This sweater is nearing completion and it's future is quite bright! Will that pesky miscreant Straight Jacket Sleeve be vanquished for good? Will Jane have to face another ill-meaning design feature? Tune in next time for the next installment of The Sweater Chronicles: Pink Lopi Raglan.

Uh, how about that in regular speak?
Right. So I reknit the whole body of the sweater according to the New Gauge (I'm getting fast at that continental shiz) and on Sunday joined with the sleeves and started the Raglan shaping. I thought the body was going to be too short but continued knitting anyways. At a point where I could try on the entire sweater, I did, and realised that the body was good. It was the sleeves that were WAY too long. So I ripped back to where I joined sleeves to the body in the round, went back a couple of increases (easily done thanks to my crazy row counting yarn scraps) and am now ready to join in the round (again) and redo the raglan shaping.

4 February 2008

Honesty is clearly the best policy

Yes I lied. I am not yet fit to call myself a Monogamist Knitter just yet. The Pink Lopi Raglan is not my only project on the go. I know, I know, I know barely a week since declaring my monogamy I'm already having the wandering fingers. But it's not what you think! This other project, it's crochet and it can't get around much anymore. I don't want to leave it lingering on the couch feeling unwanted watching as newer pinker things get all the attention.

So in the evenings, I've been working on the Mini Blanket when on the sofa watching tv. I am, of course, crazy-perfectionist even when it comes to the crochet and have begun this blanket entirely over again. But for why? Because it was already a millionty feet long, I had like 4 more skeins to put into it and it was just too darned narrow for my tastes. Yes. Could have finished it and then crocheted along one side, but then I'd always know that it wasn't perfect and I had to compromise.

This blanket's purpose has changed since the initial chain row. Originally it was going to be a back seat/cargo blanket for my Mini Cooper. I never finished it in time to use in the car before I sold it. I loved that car. Now, my Mom loves that car, so I still get to visit it when I'm in town. So the original width was based on the width of the Mini's back seat. I even left a big button hole for the seat belts to go through.

My first bout of crazy when I first dug this blanket out to re-start was to rip back to the button hole for seat belts and then keep going. Crazy, but only a half restart. This time: complete do over. Yes. I'm THAT crazy a perfectionist (not that this is the first time I've completely restarted a project and likely not the last).

But I think I'm being a little bit smarter about it this time. Instead of ripping it all out and starting from the beginning again, I have started with the unused skeins and am going to work through those before ripping back the other blanket. That way I can use the other one in the mean time. It's more like I'm starting another one, rather than redoing the previous one.

Newer, Smarter, Faster?
Perhaps. For the colour changes, I'm working the ends in as I go instead of just leaving them until the whole things done. I'm folding in the ends over the top of the previous row of the same colour and crocheting around the yarn AND top of the previous row. Does that explanation make sense? Oh and because of all the ripping & cutting that this yarn is been through, I'm using my now favourite Spit/Felted joining to avoid EVEN MORE ends to work in (thank goodness for the Briggs & Little Heritage and it's 100% wooly goodness).

I'm four full stripe repeats through and I'm loving the new width and I think it will manage to eat up all the yarn quite nicely. The scarlet will be the limiting factor.

1 February 2008

Revenge of the Sweater Angst

It feels rather undeserved at the moment but Robyn gave me that 'Made my Day Award.' Now before Norway chimes in to argue with me, let me clarify. It feels undeserved because there's sweater angst. But I suppose even if I can't knit the Perfect sweater, I don't seem to have any problems writing about it. And this isn't a knitting award, so I'll graciously accept. Thanks so much Robyn! You've made MY day that little bit better. Now onto the post:

I'm cursed. I jinxed it. I should be sent back to remedial knitting. Elizabeth Zimmermann should revoke my right to knit & purl. The sweater angst is still going strong. Not even a day since boasting that the sweater was perfect, I discovered that I was horribly wrong. Sigh.

Yes, you read correctly. The perfect sweater is not perfect. The body? It's now too big. I'm the Goldilocks of knitting. First too small, then too big, hopefully this next time will be juuuuuuuust right.

So what happened between Wednesday and today? Weeeeeeeeeell. See, the Universe hates me. Whenever I think I'm a grown up and have things figured out, like being able to walk and chew gum, the Universe likes to remind me that I am in fact myself: uncoordinated, drop things and make big noises, rip things in embarrassing places, slip and fall hilariously on the ice, spill lunch on my boob, shoot fluids out of my nose or just generally miss my mouth. It's usually very Buster Keaton and hilarious for everyone else. Then I go back to concentrating when going down/up stairs and ALWAYS looking before crossing the street. Let's just say I generally stay away from pantyhose...yeah...tights work better with my temperment.

I tempted the gods with my hubris of declaring that I had achieved the perfect sweater and they decided to throw me some gauge fun. And I, thinking still with the hubrisness, didn't think I needed to really check the gauge. With most of the knitting being in social situations/at the food court at work, I didn't really measure. Instead I just kept knitting.

The sleeves were easy to check. At any time I could (and did) stick my arms in to see how they were fitting. But I was unable to do that with the sweater body. Maybe I should have listened to Mr. Peabody and his recommendation to use two circulars (one on each half of the sweater) so that I could easily lay it out to measure. Instead I knit and knit and knit until I had 2 more inches in length than I actually needed. THEN I put it on some spare yarn and tried it on. Too big. I've knit myself a pink potato sack out a good replacement for burlap.

So we sat down and analysed my potato sack and figured out the New Gauge with the new needles. This time I decided to measure over 10 inches and then average down to get a per inch number. It's what I learned from science. The larger the sample size, the more accurate the average, the more accurate the resulting calculations. From this we figured out that I had 25 too many stitches.

And because the itchy pink potato sack was right there, we also did a more pragmatic approach. I put it on and then Mr. Peabody pinned off the extra fabric and then counted how many extra stitches were at the boobs and waist. The median of the two was 25 stitches. So the math is good.

This time is going to be different. This time I'm going to measure more (or at all). This time I'm going to be Smart Knitter. This time I'm not knitting the perfect sweater, I'm knitting a regular sweater. It's not a race. I have to remember that.

Now I've got to give out some awards of my own. It's so hard for me to pick just 10 as I subscribe to 50 odd blogs (yes, Boring Job Inc. is really THAT boring) and this award has made the rounds. But award I must do, so award I shall. Oh and I think there's a probably a no-tag-backs clause in there too eh? 'Cause Robyn would likely be in there for making SP11 so fabulous.

In no particular order, here's my awardees in the category of 'Made My Day':

Brainylady— for fun theoretical conversations of the viability of knitted wrestling masks and wigs as potential winter attire.
Whistlepea— for making sweaters look so quick, easy & painless.
Jenna of Knits & Pieces— Random friending on Ravelry always makes my day (and is always followed by internet stalking).
Pinneguri— for always insisting I take a compliment dammit! and knitting amazing mittens.
Gretch0r— for hanging with the Pie and having mad interior design skillz (come redesign my apartment!).
Katie of Dyeing to Knit— for translating my vague personal preferences into a fabulous pair of thrummed mittens that rock my socks off every time I even look at them.
Cosmicpluto— for living my dream of knitting/designing/working in a yarn store. She also makes sweaters look so quick and easy.
The Ariadne Girls— for letting me use their microwave, hang out on the couch and talk loudly about various silliness, posting hilarious old school knitwear (and poking fun at times gone by) and general awesomeness.
Nicole Gastonguay— for creating the cutest creatures imaginable.
Missmalice— for living the dream life in Londinium and appreciating a bag of Swedish Berries.

Now I'm going to go see if Starbucks has finally got in some Earl Grey tea. Finger's crossed.