Thursday, July 30, 2015

Sweater is still not done; Pictures of FOs


As another month is about to tick over, my sweater is not yet complete.

I've been telling you for weeks that it's just "almost done", and that it's "so close"--I am practically checking it off as finished in my brain.

Of course, nothing happens if you don't actually knit on the thing. Knitting time has been sparse in the past 7 days, and for the bulk of what little I had, I have been working on a cowl that I've ripped out three times. after the third ripout, I realized I should just let it sit even if it is shaped wrong so I can still count it for stash dash, but yeah, that didn't occur to me until after I'd destroyed it. again.

So I picked up the sweater and did a few rows on it last night--really only like 100 stitches; I was quite tired so I ended up falling asleep with it in my lap. But tonight! tonight I have free time and an inclination to use it--and some video podcasts to watch (I think I'll add the Fat Squirrel Speaks to the sidebar once I catch up with her back episodes--she is very, very funny and great fun to watch). So, tonight will be sweater knitting. I would like to finish both sleeves--and I do think it's do-able, they're not that big and the first is only like a thousand stitches left (that sounds ominous, but think of a big shawl with 500 sts per row--that's only two rows, you know, and it may take a couple of hours but it isn't taking all week). That'll put me in a good mood for the end of July.

Meanwhile, a rarity: pictures. I got my sister to take some good shots for me when I was visiting the family, and I have a few crappy computer shots as well to share.

Stash Dash 2015 in pictures:

spinning has been very productive!

Sortedam So, 128 yards of 2 ply from a fat gorgeous batt













Dried Flowers, 220 yards of navajo-plied 3ply 100% BFL

Spring Flowers, 225 yards 2ply from Chilean (mystery) wool














I also finished off 375 yards of a beautiful skinny 50/50 merino/tencel 2ply from 4oz of Highland Handmades in gorgeous shades of purple.

As for knitting, I wanted to focus on finishing WIPs. This was pretty good motivation. I've finished:

a pair of socks for my twin; quite long

a hat and a matching pair of fingerless mitts for myself, out of some awesome Chilean yarn

A Clapotis in Handmaiden Casbah, one of my all time favorite yarns. Guess I should review this stuff at some point
and a little dress for a baby as one of my coworkers is sprogging; no pics yet though of that.

I still have in progress:

the eternal blue cowl. Beautiful MCN hand-dyed by a friend; a linen stitch border, but then I want to do some shaping and every time I do it, it's not quite right. *sigh*

This colorwork blanket that was inspired by Mason Dixon Knitting and by Rothko; I'm adding a border to it with the last two balls of yarn, so good progress on this sucker, but still not done.


The Sweater. unf, the color is much nicer in real life. Dragonfly Fibers is also one of my favorites so I suppose I should review them too!


So, it's been a productive summer, one way or another. But you see why I want to keep knitting? both the sweater and the blanket are so close to the end! and the cowl is so small, and I've got a hat and mittens and socks sitting around that are pretty small too that maybe I could finish if I could just focus on them...

Monday, July 20, 2015

The end is nigh!

After some diligent knitting over my break, discussion with my yarn and fashion inclined sisters, and a bit of "sucking it up" about actually starting the sleeves, I begin to see that I might yet finish this sweater by the end of the month!

I have knitted the bulk of the first sleeve. What remains is a knitted-on garter stitch edging that I want to do instead of the recommended garter stitch edging which is sideways. or. the normal way. I cast on about 15 stitches and knitted almost the whole way around before I realized 1) that my k2tog and k3tog at the joining point were kind of ugly; 2) that I'd started in the wrong place so if I do end up using buttons they'd be, oddly, on the underside of my arm; and 3) I definitely have enough yarn but I really should try the sweater on when it's not bunched up to make sure the length of the sleeve is correct.

When I finish this technical/tricky bit, I will do the other sleeve. Since they're half sleeves, and they started as raglan so they're half done, these are only about 5% each of the total sweater. And then when I am done I will use the rest of the yarn to make it longer, which is about another 5%. so right now I'm less than 15% from the end of my sweater and I've got more than a week left off the month.

Of course I need to do research first and foremost. but uhhh... when my brain reaches a breaking point then I take a little knitting time to give it a chance to heal.

No great pics of the sweater yet but if/when I finish it, I will be doing a photo shoot (if I can).

I can't believe I've knitted most of a sweater! I can't wait to have knitted a whole sweater!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Sweater progress

So, I was solidly monogamous on my sweater for about half a month--16 or 17 days. This includes me sitting through two movies without a knitting project. I only broke the monogamy for a three day conference where it wasn't sufficiently professional to have a giant sweater mass on my lap, and I worked on some socks instead. Then I went back to sweater knitting only--until I left on my road trip on the 25th of the month, and the sweater was not in-the-car knitting so my Clapotis got picked up.

Not-strictly-but-still-monogamous of a June, then. And it was pretty successful! I am almost done with the body of the sweater, which is worked as a whole back and forth of a large circ. I'm about three to four inches from the end. When I'm done I'll pick up the sleeves with some carefully matched colors and knit as much of those as I can.

The Stash Dash is going pretty well. If I polish off all this yarn with the sweater (which I suspect I will), I'll have knocked out another 1400 yards, on top of some 700 odd yards from spinning and the hat and mittens I finished before the month of monogamy began.

Almost typed monotony there. the sweater was.... hard. a bit of a drag, some times, when all I wanted to do was bust out something new and small. I am glad I tried it though, not in the least because I can look back at those times and recognize them as momentary distractions, little butterflies of thought in my brain of new shiny things. Staying committed to the project was a bit tough but I felt really good the week after I'd not-cheated on the sweater, a week after the urge to knit-soemthing-new-finish-it-rightrightnow had passed. I still love the sweater and want it, and with constant knitting and a dk/worsted yarn it's very satisfying to see how far I progress in a given span of time.

Separating for the sleeves was the most exciting so far, followed closely by switching to garter stitch here at the botttom.

Now it's July, and I'm on a week's vacation. I brought the sweater and am continuing my work on it, happily and with the long-term picture in mind--but the clapotis is here, just in case I finish it, or get bored, or run out of things to do.

couldn't stop myself from bringing a skein of sock yarn too, though, just in case.

Happy knitting to you :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Really, I signed up for this

June. The sixth month of the year, the halfway point of 2015 knitting, the point-of-no-return for holidays-are-coming knitting (if that's what you do). The first true month of Stash Dash, too. For me, it's always been full of tons of planning, new projects, old wips, and fresh FOs for the stash dash yardage. using up bulky yarn fast for fun. all sorts of things.

Except this June, I'm going to try to be a monogamous knitter.

I don't think I've ever practiced knitting monogamy. Maybe my first two projects, a scarf and another scarf--but those were before I had really taken up the craft, back when I was just fiddling around. Before there was stash; when I would just go into the store, see yarn, decide I wanted to knit a scarf, and buy what I thought I needed for that project.

Now I don't have any qualms about my normal knitting polyamory. Some projects are better suited to certain situations than others, and once I started knitting in class to keep myself awake, I'd always have something supersimple and another more engaging project going on at the same time. This spread, especially as my stash grew and I got on ravelry, where I was inspired by 400 things every minute.

So, nowadays, as you well know, 10 projects on the needles that are active, plus five or so hibernating things, plus some spinning and other crafts keeps me happy and busy.

Still, I've never knitted a sweater. Well, I did knit that one in Denmark, but I improvised the pattern, it didn't fit right, it was too short, and I ended up felting it. Soooo that was more of a disaster than a project. I've never actually measured myself, followed a pattern, and then adjusted it to make it fit me. I mean, I can (and have) knit a sack that goes over my head, but that's not a sweater.

I started two sweaters since the time in Denmark. One required colorwork,and changing a pattern to be knit in the round rather than flat--rather easy (as it was colorwork, and I wanted to steek) except for doing increases and decreases in pattern, which I spectacularly flubbed on the sleeve I started as a swatch. That was three years ago and the six inches of sleeve is all I have of it, still.

The other was a fitted sweater knit in pieces and seamed that I started two and a half years agol. I decided to mod it. I wanted it to be seamless (not hard). I had to change the numbers of stitches for the yarn, needle, and my own size--so I swatched, and measured, and blocked the swatch, and measured again. But I also wanted to change the shape of the neckline and the sleeves, and I had the wrong amount of yarn, and after knitting three inches at the interminable stockinette bottom and having it be a weird size and shape despite my efforts, I abandoned that one too.

About a year ago, I finally worked up my nerve and ripped the second one out, then bravely cast on a completely new pattern. This is Harvest, by Tin Can Knits. It's well written, and it's part of their (free!) Simple Collection that's designed to help people learn how to knit. Yes, I know how to knit. but I do not, apparently, know how to knit sweaters. Also I like the construction of this, and it seems to look good on fat people as well as skinny ones. And, finally, as a top-down raglan, I could try it on to make sure it fit as I worked it. Plus, with my shortage of yardage I am hoping that I can mod the sleeves just in length.

So, I worked on it last Sept (2014) and then put it in a bag and ignored it for six months, pretty much only because of gift knitting. I finally scraped it back out of the bag, figured out where I was at in the pattern, and started working on it again at the end of this past April. But since then, and despite the ease of the pattern, the loveliness of the yarn, and my desire for the FO, I have knitted like a fiend on socks, cowls, hats, and other things.

I want this sweater. I want it to work, to fit me, to have enough yarn, to look good and be wearable, and I want to finish it. actually finish it, and be able to wear it to work for the freezing AC and to like it. Also it's gonna be like 1300 yards for Stash Dash, which I rather desperately need. How to make myself actually work on it? this monogamous thing.

So, I'm trying it. And I don't even want to tear my hair out yet! I had about an hour's worth of knitting time yesterday and today and I've put it into the sweater with nary a qualm (I did glance briefly at a pair of socks that are more than 75% done, but they meant nothing, I swear). I am enjoying how the yarn knits up, the feel of the fabric, and keeping track of how much further I have to go before I can separate for sleeves (maybe 14 rows? not too bad!). I think this monogamy thing might be working out!

In fact, I'd be really optimistic if not for one thing: It's only June 2nd.

Keep your fingers crossed that I don't crack.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Happiness is Strawberry Jam

and food from the grill and the garden, handmade pie and buns for the burgers, bright colors and good music and melted cats asleep on the couch or in a puddle of sunlight Yesterday was a really good day, and today's turning out pretty nice as well, with iced coffee and making people laugh and tending my plants, just waiting for the strawberries to peak (they look SO good). I think this weekend I'll go to the farmer's market--I want some fresh eggs and more berries and breads.

Now if I can just beat this program into shape and make some science happen, then I can go home and knit all evening with a light heart.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Still feeling lost

Transitions are hard, and the end of this semester was a tough one. I'm not taking classes, so at least I didn't have exams to worry about. But I was teaching three night-labs a week and pretty much went full-on nocturnal by the time April rolled around, sleeping from 4am to 10am. This led to a lot of grading and teaching getting done but not so much on the research front, and my attempts to eat reasonable food went right out the window (sleep deprivation does not make it easy to plan ahead and take care of yourself).

After the labs were over, I had grading for a week straight. Then I immediately went to visit some friends. Then it was graduation. then I went to see my girlfriend. Now I am at the tail end of a week of quick-hang-out-with-friends-who-graduated-before-they-leave-forever, and I love them all to bits but I am burned out pretty bad. I've spent two or three days in the house trying to get my brain to turn on again and the high-level anxiety of "OMG ALL THE THINGS MUST GET DONE NOW" to turn off. Today was a decent work day, and I pushed past the anxiety enough to end it with a productive meeting with my boss (although as I entered his office I had to fight the urge to just stand with my back to the door and burst into tears).

What all needs doing? ugh. I can't even articulate it here, there's a steaming pile of to-do lists and single items all up in my brain, and I thought I paid off all the bills but a couple more cropped up and one of them I missed so I'm getting urgent notices about it.

And I fell down at the post office two weeks ago and a bone in my wrist still hurts, so that's probably... pretty bad.

Let's think about knitting, shall we? something shiny and distracting as a reward for a hard day's work. Stash Dash 2015 has begun, one of my most favorite events of the year because it requires planning and checking off boxes, my favorite (you know how much I enjoy making lists). Today is the first day of the event, in fact. This year you can choose which goal you are working towards (3k, 5k, or 10km of weaving, spinning, knitting, or crocheting). I'm going for 5k. I hit 5k last year but only because of a laceweight-held-double shawl and held-double doesn't count this year, so I'm going to try again.

I have good odds: I've a slew of things in progress. if I finish them all, I'll be at 4460 meters, and I've got some spinning that isn't yet counted that should be able to put me over the top. In fact that's what I've finished so far today.

My 2015 Stash Dash list:
1) **done** spin dried flowers yarn from Spinnerettas
2) **needs plying** spin purple-and-green chilean wool
3) knit myself my first sweater
4) finish the Rothko blanket
5) finish a pair of socks for my twin
6) finish a hat for L
7) finish mittens for L
8) finish sky-blue cowl for me
9) finish my Clapotis out of Handmaiden Casbah Sock in the Masala colorway
10) **done** finish a hat for me out of my chilean yarn
11) knit a pair of fingerless mitts out of the rest of the chilean yarn
12) finish some gift knitting for L2

if I have time, I'll also add in:
13) knit 3 pairs of best-yarn-ever mittens (twin, sister, me)
14) start xmas present for twin
15) start next pair of socks for twin
16) work on spindle spinning for spin-the-bin

of course, Stash Dash is only 12 weeks or so, so 12-16 FOs is a lot to ask. Yes, many of these are in progress, and some of them (the hats) are almost done. But the sweater is going to take a lot of time, and I'm not sure if I'll have the patience to finish it. Still, we will see.

Do you have summer goals?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

hats hats hats

Hats are fun! I didn't know!

I've knitted a few, but they were not that fun.

but these two I am currently working on--FUN. FUN!

The first one is a Sockhead Hat: 4 inches of ribbing and then 9 inches of stockinette. Easier than pie. I have decided to double the ribbing so it can be folded over the ears, and I'm just about done with it (but I'm adding length because I always always seem to want more ribbing in my hats). Soon it will be stockinette in the round forever, which is by the way very soothing but also quite fast!

The second is my own design, but it's basically a dk/worsted version of the above Sockhead Hat. I cast on somewhere between 80 and 100 stitches, did ribbing for about 3 or 4 inches, and now I'm in the stockinette part. I actually had finished the top of it and I tried it on its intended recipient but he wants more slouch and I have plenty of yarn left (I used less than 3/4 of a skein of malabrigo arroyo or rios, I am not sure which). so I ripped out the crown and am back to stockinette in the round forever.

This is the one I've got pictures of:

see? not slouchy enough.


This is the type of knitting that's getting done lately, mostly because I can only squeak some knitting in before I fall asleep, while I am at stoplights, or during meetings.

other things I am working on:

-a linen-stitch-framed cowl of some sort in gorgeous hand-dyed sky blue cashmere bulky yarn that a friend gave me for my birthday ^.^

-a skinny Clapotis--I have less than half the required yarn so I've done fewer increase sections and will do fewer repeats. I always said I would never get into this trend, but the pattern shows off this gorgeous Handmaiden Casbah Sock in the Masala colorway very well, and I would definitely wear this as a scarf, so it is happening

-a new pair of socks for my twin

those are the active things. I'm also fixing stuff up:
-a pair of mittens for a friend that needs finishing. and probably another mitten, the first one was from a different ball and there's a noticeable difference in color between the two.

-a blanket that I've decided needs an edging--but the calculations are not perfect so it's in the *thinking* stage. wee ^.^

-a fiddly lace shawl that I really need to finish the edging on (meep. the beginning edge)

things I am avoiding:
-other socks for my twin
-socks for me
-another garter stitch blanket
-fixing the cat mittens
-figuring out the purple lace
-working on the unpleasant silk hankie mitts
-doing anything for two sweaters in progress

BUT. I am spinning. I borrowed the wheel from my friend for another week and I've knocked out 4.5 oz since Sunday night (so, you know, 32 hours). I am determined to spin some very lovely things but I need more hours in the week :D