Saturday, December 1, 2007

IV. In Which Our Hero Actually Finishes Something

I have been knitting up a storm!
Pattern: Belle Cardigan in Interweave Knits Fall 2007
Designer: Wenlan Chia
Yarn: Twinkle Soft Chunky
Colorway: Sea Green
Yardage: Five 83-yard, 100-gram skeins
Needles: Size 17 & 19 24-in. circulars
Notes & Modifications: I opted to leave off both the pockets and the buttons. This yarn is very bulky, and I only look small under very particular circumstances, which is to say, not under four layers of Twinkle Soft Chunky.
I took out the buttonholes after two different placements still left something to be desired. I like the drape and line of the fabric much more since I took the buttons off, although it's not as fitted as the designer intended. I close it using a vintage pin I found at a tent sale at the student union, but I might try to find a clasp. Overall, I'm very happy with the modifications I made and yeah, still very much in love with the color, even two months later.

Pattern: Interlocking Balloons, from Scarf Style
Designer: Shirley Paden
Yarn: Joseph Galler Superfine Prime Alpaca Yarn 3-ply
Yardage: One 665-yard skein
Needles: Size 6
Notes & Modifications: I knitted this scarf for my lab partner. I'm hoping that it's not too scratchy for him, because it seems like there's some long, coarse hairs still left in this yarn, even though knitting with it is positively buttery and thus I wouldn't care if it was a little scratchy, but I'm a freak of nature. I wet-blocked this and pulled it into shape. I love this pattern and I might have to make one for myself. Although it will probably be pink, knowing me.

This week has been interesting. Next week, I have two exams, two weeks later, my final exams, and then I get to go home and see my mom and my rats. Tonight, I saw the campus jazz ensemble, which was amazing. I was sitting in the audience with a huge grin on my face. The brass was huge, the pianist was incredible, and the conductor was cracking jokes all over the place. I want to get involved in the music on campus, because the conservatory here is world-class, and, well, why not?

In the meantime, I have integrals and interlocking balloons.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

III. In Which Our Hero Flips Out a Little

The lab-partner scarf is finished, and I have to admit that it's pretty great. It's currently blocking on my friend Emily's extra bed.

I've been on a rabid knitting perfectionism streak lately. In the last two days, I have ripped out cast-ons, made gauge swatches and ripped those, started projects in the right gauge and ripped because I didn't like the yarnovers, ripped the scarf's too-tight cast-off, ripped my Twinkle cardigan's cast-off and misplaced buttonholes, decided that I'm going to do away with the buttonholes altogether (goddammit!) and picked up a project from over the summer - a case of second sock syndrome, except this time I've decided that I like the second sock better, and will be ripping out the first sock. (And heartily. It's very satisfying to undo those hours of work, really. About as satisfying as gnawing my hand off.) I did something funky with the gauge - I think I remember using size 1 dpns, but now I'm using 1s on the cuff and it's decidedly longer than the first cuff even though the number of pattern repeats is the same. Oh well. I knit them during my EMT class to refrain from the aforementioned gnawing of limbs, and even though they are ridiculously pretty, the instep is too tight for my feet, probably because I used size 0s because I was distracted by the curmudgeonly old Australian doctor accidentally making dirty jokes about airway devices.

Ok, and now it's two in the morning and I'm all crazied out. More time for ripping tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

II. In Which Our Hero Goes to Applebee's

The other day, I went to dinner with a bunch of my friends. We went to Applebee's, which is about a 20 minute drive from town, because the Olive Garden had a wait time of an hour and a half and we were on a time-crunch. Still, it was a Saturday night, so we ended up waiting for our table for almost an hour. My friend Ondrea and I both brought our knitting, and we sat on a metal bench outside the restaurant with our friend Will sandwiched between us, both muttering and knitting. (Ondrea is working on a teal baby sweater; I'm working on the Interlocking Balloons scarf for my lab partner, who is from California and has no scarves to speak of.) While we were sitting there, a woman walked out with her family, stepped off the curb, saw us both knitting, stopped and looked dumbfounded. She said something like, "Wow. It's not every day that you see two women knitting outside an Applebee's." Then she laughed awkwardly, got into her car, and drove away.

It's funny that knitting has become so much a part of my life that I get confused when people tell me that they have never seen anyone knit before. I'm perfectly willing to answer questions, and I have no problems with knitting in public, but it is interesting that the first two things that come out of a person's mouth in response to my cabled scarf are, "WOW. What are you doing?" and, upon learning what I am doing, "WOW. Will you knit me a scarf?"

And I do occasionally knit people scarves - the projects that rekindled my addiction when I was sixteen were four basketweave scarves that I knitted for my ex, two old friends, and one of my (still) closest friends. And then there's the interlocking balloons scarf, which I am knitting for my Californian lab partner, a little because he asked for a scarf, but mostly because I've been eyeing the DK-weight charcoal alpaca yarn at Smith's for over a month.

(Seriously, I'm going to marry this yarn someday and we will make lots of cabled scarf babies and a couple of fingerless mittens and a sweater, and we'll sit around drinking hot chocolate that has peppermint teabags thrown in for some broke-ass-college-student flavor.)

Sometimes I wonder if I actually do like to knit, or if I just like to think about knitting - but then I rediscover a beautiful yarn in my stash and realize that - oh, my gosh, I can turn it into that little surplice camisole from Knitting Lingerie Style! - and then, from cast-on to endless, mindless rows of stockinette, I am addicted, planning every exam and homework session and dinner around When I Will Get To Knit Next. Sometimes it goes in cycles, but after a long day of studying and class and frustration, a couple of rows is exactly what I want and need before I go to bed.

Speaking of which, I have been putting off calculus homework for over an hour.

It's a shame how classes cut into my knitting time.

Friday, November 2, 2007

I. Introduction

I've been thinking a lot lately about how my style has changed in the last year or so.

When I was younger, I favored the very girly, the elaborate, and the unique, in terms of both clothes and yarn. Lately, though, I've noticed that my taste in clothes is much simpler: I favor solid-color shirts with very few details; well-fitted jeans, pants, and blouses; straight skirts without fussy prints. I do, however, still like the occasional bright color and okay, maybe I have a weakness for lacy things, but I enjoy them as an accent, not a focal point.

My taste in yarn has changed in a similar way. I love color and texture, but I prefer solids over variegated yarns. I like the complexities to come from the pattern instead of the yarn itself. Lately, I love jewel tones: emerald green Twinkle for a cardigan, dark red kettle-dyed sock yarn, eggplant Cascade 220. I have too many things that I want to make and too much yarn, but I'm actually making progress on many of my projects, and learning a lot about the way I knit in the process.

This blog's primary purpose is to act as a record for my winter term project, which will be to knit a Fair-Isle sweater and research the history of stranded colorwork knitting, however, I will probably use it for my other projects in the meantime.

So hello, blog-world!