Wednesday, November 26, 2008

FO: Sweet Pea Coat

Pattern: Sweet Pea Coat by Kate Gilbert
Yarn: Cascade Lana Grande, 9 balls and change from Creative Hands in Belmont, CA
Buttons: Vintage glass from General Bead in San Francisco, CA
Blocking: Wet block with spray bottle

This project has several "firsts" for me: moss stitch, pockets and collar. All went well and I had a great time. The moss stitch was fun; I love the texture it created in this yarn.

This is definitely my best finishing effort to date. I took a class with Nancie Wiseman last year at the Knit & Crochet Show, which helped a great deal when it came to completing this sweater. Her book is an excellent resource, too. I did everything right this time: checked gauge and didn't fake it, joined new yarn at the selvages instead of in the middle, took my time seaming, ripped out mistakes, followed the pattern to the letter, and actually measured and checked the schematic when I blocked. I definitely feel that all of the effort paid off in this knit.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Anyone else think it is just a wee bit nuts* to try to knit a sweater in the month of November when, in all likelihood, we are frantically trying to complete holiday gifts?

*Full disclosure: like everyone else, I am participating in NaKniSweMo.

However, my sweater-knitting month has taken an odd turn. I vowed, initially, to finish Juno entirely and complete the back of Malt (scroll down; which would make it NaCroSweMo as it's crochet, but whatever). Failing that, I would knit myself another ribwarmer (scroll down).

No sooner had I made the above-mentioned vow that it occurred to me that Juno really ought to be frogged. The knitting is uneven since I pick it up for a row or two, and then put it back. I dislike my cast-on (idiotically decided to use backward loop!? WTF, woman?). Most critically, however, I don't think Scottish Tweed is quite fluffy enough. The sweater looks holey, even though I do have gauge and everyone else in the world has done it in Scottish Tweed and come up with a perfectly good sweater.

So, I cast on a new ribwarmer in two shades of Not-Really-That-Big Kuryeon sometime last week and got a few ridges into it (switching the colors every other row, or something) and put it in one of my numerous knitting bags.

On Friday afternoon, I found myself poking around Twist Collective and swiftly fell in love with Gytha (to knit sometime), Vivian (to knit fairly soon) and Sweetpea (knit me now, knit me now, knit me now). I had no bulky weight yarn in the stash, so I subtly persuaded my husband to take me to Creative Hands on Saturday ("I'll go with you to the car wash if we can pop into Creative Hands after").

With 10 balls (all they had) of Cascade Lana Grande in a beautiful foresty green (and two hanks of Kraemer Yarns' Fountain Hill -- how'd they get in there?), I was out of the shop in about 10 minutes and spent less than $100 (a personal record). I couldn't wait to get home to cast on Sweetpea and see how far I could get before we left for our play (Ionesco's Victims of Duty at the Exit) later that evening.

I was nearly done with the waist shaping when it was time to go. The play was short and we were keyed up when we got back, so I knit some more before going to bed. After breakfast and dog-walking on Sunday, I knit and knit and knit and reached the start of the armhole shaping. I held the sweater up to myself and felt a hot creeping sensation start up my neck and ripple across my scalp. The thing was. Humongous.

It wasn't gauge. It was knitter's dysmorphic disorder. I had a crazy moment of deciding to knit an extra large (despite the fact that I am a medium, and only bought yarn enough for a large -- I like to have an extra ball, just in case). I had gone through the whole pattern and highlighted all the info for a size extra large without anything striking me as odd.

Even when I realized my beloved Sweetpea would be too big, I nearly just picked up the needles and kept on knitting. After all, I was really far along the back and all that work would be for nothing. But then, the creeping sensation came back. If I went on knitting the too-big sweater I would love but could never wear, I would surely run out of yarn.

It was 1:30. The Niners game had started. I paused and watched that new quarterback whose name escapes me for a second. Whyever did they get rid of Jeff Garcia? He was no Steve Young or Joe Montana, but he was decent. In this fleeting moment of zen, I decided to frog. My husband looked at me out of the corner of his eye and said, "uhm, do you want the tv on? 'Cause I am going to go read...." I muttered something that sounded like "no" and he took off for the bedroom and his book.

Whereupon I cast on all over again for the right size, and sat there on the couch for the remainder of the day. I paused for dogwalking and dinner and then returned to my knitting. In about 8 hours, I knit the entire back of Sweetpea, made both pocket linings, and got through the bottom moss-stitch border on the right front.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes, We Did.

I belatedly join the chorus of joy proclaiming Barack Obama the 44th President of the United States of America. I love this photo:

And belatedly crawl out of my cone of silence to write again. Too much has happened to catch you all up, so let's just start fresh. I have returned to work in my beloved San Francisco. MUNI still sucks, of course, but what can you do.

And now, from the "No you di-int!" files, my joy at Obama's victory is dampened indeed by the passing of Proposition 8 in California. I urge everyone who believes that marriage is for all who desire to be committed to the person of their choice (not just for some) to speak out against its passing and continue the fight.

There are sound legal reasons to invalidate Proposition 8, which are better articulated by others. To that end, I urge you to read the Writ for Petition of Mandate Challenging Proposition 8, available here.

When rights are taken away from one group, they can be taken away from any, or all of us.

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

--Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemoller

Friday, April 25, 2008


Still here people. Busy with the new job, lacking internet access at home, until now, etc., etc. As dialup goes, it ain't bad -- I can knit while waiting for my favorite blogs or Ravelry to load. Being a canny knitter, I realized that I could knit while waiting for pages to load. Being a bit of a distracted klutz, I realized that I should probably stick to straight stockinette or garter for such interstitial knitting

But podcasts are an issue.

When itunes told me that it would take 5 hours to download, I realized I would have to schlep the laptop to the library to Bogart their DSL connection once in a while.

Been quilting more than anything else these days. It has been an interesting experience. You get so used to knitting and crocheting and being passably, or even better than passably, good at them, and then you try something new. The swearing starts, the dog hides on the other side of the bed....

My first quilt is full of mistakes. But I am looking forward to the second, and doing it better. And looking forward to the third, and doing it even better. Which is good.

Also, friends, adding quilting to your repertoire adds a whole other category to your stashing!

Next up: a report from the San Jose Museum of Quilting and Textiles. I know. I can't wait either!

Friday, March 07, 2008

I left my snaaaaaaark in San...

Okay, well not all of it.

I got a new job starting March 17, and will no longer be commuting to San Francisco. And therefore, will no longer be taking MUNI from the Caltrain depot to downtown. Consequently, I will no longer have to utter the following on a regular basis:

1. Oh no, you aren't taking up the entire escalator or anything. By all means, stay right where you are.

2. You do remember that some dude got shot at the Metreon for standing on the "walking" side of the escalator, right?

3. Sure, we all stop and sort out the meaning of life before getting on the escalator.

4. My God. What is that unholy stench?

5. Why the fuck are we still sitting here? (At one time, I considered having t-shirts made)

6. Look, just punch the guy already.

7. Yeah, next train in two minutes my ass. Those signs lie you know.

8. Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, this is ridiculous!

9. But I did get to listen to ALL of Mahler's 6th Symphony this morning.

10. Yes, it is perfectly acceptable to body check me as I am trying to get off the train. This will surely help YOU get on the train even faster.

11. I don't mind if you invade my personal space (ok, I do), but if you could possibly refrain from poking me in the ass with your umbrella, that would be greeeaaaaat.

In sum, MUNI, thank you for the ride that should only be 12 minutes, which usually takes 20, for which you should plan 30, and which took a whole hour (that was Mahler's 6th day) on Monday morning.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My Fuzzy Valentine, and Other Stories

Knowing of my yarn-fast, DH gave me a gift certificate to Creative Hands for Valentine's Day! It was in an amount that would render any knitter speechless as she contemplated all of the woolly fantasies that she might be able to realize.

What you see before you are:

RYC CashSoft Aran for a couple of Fetchings
Tahki Donegal Tweed Homespun for a Sunrise Circle Jacket (Pattern available at Knitting Daily website; need to sign in or register).
Cascade Sierra for the Wedgewood Blouse (scroll down)
JaggerSpun Zephyr for Scheherazade

These yarny delights are sitting atop my first quilting project (now basted together and awaiting marking and quilting), all fabrics from Anna Griffin's "Dorothy" collection. I am still debating whether to quilt by hand or machine. Probably machine, assuming I can wait until my special presser feet arrive. Impatient as I am, it seems unlikely that I will give up the vigil and quilt by hand.

Since I put in some time on Juno, and finished Whimsey (pic below) on Sunday, I allowed myself to go ahead and cast on a Fetching. It's a great pattern, though cables on DPNs are a bit fiddly. Perhaps because I am knitting on US2 needles in order to get gauge. Yes, US2. Even so -- quick knit and I hope to finish them this week.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Knitting in the Rainforest

We are back from Costa Rica! We had a great time, and yes, I did knit. I had sorta hoped for an action shot of one of our cute resident lizards hopping over my scarf-in-progress, but it was not to be.

Knitting was, understandably, reserved for airport-sitting, boat-awaiting, airplane riding (except for the little planes -- not enough room, and too nervous!).

And knitting does not mix well with hiking:

Or boat rides through mangrove swamps:

Or monkeys. Definitely not monkeys:

Probably not sloths:

And certainly not waterfalls:

But it appears to work well with plants:

And it is, of course, perfect for coming home.

Thursday, January 03, 2008