Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Everything is Just Plummy

I'm all the way up to row 49 on the Damson, and it's looking good thus far. I've stopped counting after every single row, and instead am just doing a count before I place a lifeline. Even though I haven't used the lifelines since the very beginning of the project, I still feel like I need to put them in, as I don't trust myself.

After each row I'm doing an idiot check, just making sure that I have the correct number of yarn-overs and that they're in the correct places. So far so good.

Here's a shot of the current progress:

(taken from my cell phone. Sorry for the craptacular quality.)

So I'm quite pleased. I don't have any other projects on the needles other than Ella's shrug (Veronique). I still need to teach myself how to do the invisible provisional cast-on to move forward on this project, and I just haven't had the time to sit down and teach myself yet.

Although, on the plus side, I may be using my newfound love of lifelines as a place holder before I continue, as I think it will make the whole process smoother. I would say 'less intimidating' but to both my credit and detriment, I tend to be one of those "DAMN THE TORPEDOES, FULL SPEED AHEAD" types of peoples, and just charge through something I don't know just for the hell of it.

So knitting life is good.

I think I'll cast on for the Monkeys next.

Monday, September 28, 2009

My evening

PJs + Book.

(Zen Shorts by John J. Muth)
Effing Damson

Either the Damson is evil or I am just plain hopeless (no, opinions are NOT needed on this subject, I have already made up my mind). I gleefully cast on for this thing on Friday. It took me three or four tries to get the cast on and first few stitches right, but I wasn't judging myself, because it was a new technique and it took me a bit to understand the instructions. I sat on the couch reading out loud to myself, annoying the cat (who was stealing my sunshine at the time), knitting and ripping. And listening to Broken Social Scene, which is, by the way, awesome.

After finally perfecting the cast-on, I then merrily jumped right into the pattern. Lots of plain garter stitch with a few yarn overs thrown in for good measure. Nothing terribly complicated. I churned up to row 16, and discovered that I'd blown it at about row 4, and ripped.

So I re-cast on, knitted up to row 20, discovered that I'd screwed up somewhere and my stitch count was off, and ripped.

And re-cast on, knitted up to row 20, blah blah blah, I screwed up, blah blah blah, ripped.

Over the course of the last three days, I believe that I repeated this set of actions at least, I dunno, 30 or 40 times.

Thank GOD the malabrigo (yes, I know, but it's a DIFFERENT yarn this time, I swear) sock yarn has a little bit of nylon in it and withstands the knitting and ripping.

Last night I got real flippin smart and started putting in life-lines so that when I ripped back, I could just rip to the life line and not have to go all the way back to the beginning.

Except that I screwed up with the placement of my stitch markers (ah nipple rings... how I love the way I re-purposed you) and screwed up the knitting. It took me three or four more tries to get the stupid place markers in the right place after ripping back to the life line.

The GOOD news is, I've made it all the way up to row 28 (WOOT!) and yes, I've been putting in more life-lines and moving them up as I get to five pefect rows, and everything is working out beautifully, if slowly.

I will at some point, post a picture of what I have thus far to prove, if to nobody but myself, that I did actually make it all the way to row 28 without any major imperfections at least once.

And yeah, I read on Ravelry "Oh, Damson is such a quick knit, I had such a blast doing it, and it was so easy" all the time. And to those of you that have had no problems with the Damson, I fart in your general direction.

Or at least the cat does.

Friday, September 25, 2009


The cat is stealing all of my sunshine.

Putting the ass back in class...

I started my Damson today, and it's an awesome pattern. After I got over my initial fear of the beginning part (which read weird, but knitted perfectly), it breezed along until I got to the stitch marker part.

I ran across the street to the hardware store and picked up some washers to use as markers, but that didn't work, so I ran to my jewelry drawer and found my old nipple rings, which work perfectly. Classy, no? I can't think of a better use.

Here's a shot of the yarn I'm using for the damson, and the rings are towards the bottom of the picture. Woo!

Law of Simplicity

A simple lunch:

Very simple. Sandwich = Whole grain bread (very few ingredients), smoked ham, brie, mixed spicy baby greens (pea, radish, etc).

Book = "The Laws of Simplicity" by John Maeda

Awesome book. Excellent lunchtime reading. Very inspiring for the knitting. Also, has a great deal of the shiny on the cover. I like the shiny.

Mr. Maeda's website is shiny also. You should look at it. Really.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Knitting Disasters 101

This has been a very productive week and a half at work. However, this has been an absolutely disastrous week and a half for knitting.

Knitting Disaster No. 1:

My poor Liesl #2. Sigh. I'm not sure I can even bring myself to talk about this one. But here goes. I finished the body. It is beautiful. It would have fit me perfectly. It probably does fit me perfectly. It is some of the best knitting I have done thus far. Absolutely perfect, even, gauged, gorgeous.


After I finished the body, I went to work on the first sleeve. And discovered that my stitch holder had come undone and the sleeve had unraveled up into the yoke area. I am not a skilled enough knitter to pull dropped stitches through a lace pattern.

Knitting Disaster No. 2:

I started on a relatively simple project (garter stitch) for somebody for Christmas. I cast on, worked about six inches of the project, and discovered that I'd completely screwed up the pattern. Ugh.

So I tore it all out. Cast on again. Got about six inches in, and discovered that at about the two inch mark, I had dropped a stitch. In garter stitch. Which at this point, I could pretty much do in my sleep.

I tore back to the two inch mark and started again.

This time I got to about eight inches, and was at the very end of a row when I discovered that there was a knot in my yarn. So I tinked a row back, screwed up the tinking, and ended up ripping a few rows back to cover up where the tinking was. Then I cut out the stupid knot and reknitted.

And that's where I am today. Trying not to 1. Screw up again, or 2. Tear out my hair.

Monday, September 21, 2009

This blog is temporarily on hiatus

Due to impending doom. MWAHAHAHAHA...

I mean, impending work deadlines.

Hopefully I won't be buried for too long. UGH.

And hopefully I won't be abandoning my poor husband and child for too long in the evenings.


It's currently cloudy with a potential for work not sucking all my time away by Wednesday or Thursday.

Stupid work getting in the way of knitting. Stupid work getting in the way of writing about knitting. Grr.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Five more lessons learned from the Liesl

This time, non-yarn related. That's a plus, right?

I was happily knitting along yesterday in Bowling Green, (nice cloudy day, awesome diffuse light for knitting. Was just bright enough, but no directional glare. Perfect) and just happened to screw up an entire row.

So I tinked (which means unknitted for my dear non-knitting friends) about halfway back on the row, massively screwed up the tinking, and ended up ripping out about six rows back, so as to skip one of the lace rows. (I have actually ripped back to a lace row, and had to deal with picking up all the yarn overs, and let's just say that although I was successful, it was one of the most nail-biting experiences of my life) At 187 stitches per row, and ripping out about seven rows (six full rows and the row I partially tinked) this comes to a whopping 1,309 stitches. (I know the knitting peeps aren't going to be impressed, because I've heard some horror stories, but I'm just trying to put the pain-in-the-ass factor in perspective for the non-knitters).

Ok, so,

Lesson 1:

Don't try to pick up stitches in a hurry.

Lesson 2:

Don't try to pick up stitches while standing up.

Lesson 3:

Don't try to pick up stitches in a high-wind.

Lesson 4:

Don't try to pick up stitches in a hurry while standing up on a subway platform (which is very windy) while a train is coming into the station, and have to rescue your yarn from rapidly closing subway doors so that your entire project doesn't get ripped out and you lose all your hard work.

Lesson 5:

Doing all of the above tends to raise the heart rate a wee bit.

I can only be thankful that my baby zen master (that would be my almost-four-year-old, Georgia) wasn't involved in the situation. There's nothing like attempting to concentrate on knitting while having somebody attempt to kill themselves by jumping off the back of your couch on to you lap while you're holding something sharp (like, say, knitting needles).

Or attempting to do yoga, and bending myself into the still-painful downward facing dog pose, while she beats me about the head with an umbrella.

I can hear the universe while these things are going on: "You focused now, Virginia? Oh yeah? How about now? You focused yet? Hee hee hee"


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dearest Malabrigo,

I love you ever so. It's not that I'm mad at you, it's that I'm mad at myself for not understanding that you have a higher learning curve than I had initially expected. You are not just yarn, you are a queen amongst yarns.

Til our next project together.

Things I have learned from being outsmarted by malabrigo:

1. Wash and block a swatch knitted in the pattern stitch. Discovered after I washed and blocked a swatch in stockinette. This told me a whole whopping lot of nothing. I would have saved myself two stupid sweaters worth of trouble had I actually done this. Will do it for my next malabrigo project.

2. Yes, Virginia, different stitches do stretch differently.

3. Fit for sweaters is considerably different than fit for clothing.

4. Making a sweater is considerably different than, say, making a shirt.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Outsmarted by Malabrigo AGAIN!

My dear husband begged me this weekend, after I finished my Liesl, to give up on Malabrigo for "the sake of our marriage."

But it's so fricken beautiful, and such a dream to knit with. It's the finished products that are the issue.

I finished my Liesl yesterday morning, and washed and blocked it. After what had happened with the last sweater I made from Mal growing so much, I decided to knit this one two sizes too small and let it grow, and hopefully that would solve the issue. No such luck. It only grew one size, thus making it too small for me. Ella now has a really nice sweater. I'll post a picture of her in it sometime soon.

In the meantime, here's the cursed thing blocking:

And I am making another Liesl, which I started this morning, out of Berrocco Vintage Wool in this color:

I just found out it is named Sloe Berry (I only have the color number on my tag. AWESOME name!), and I bought it at Webs, which I went to for the first time this past weekend.

In order to stay in the knitting game and not get totally bummed by my second Mal failure in a row, I decided just to jump straight back into knitting another Liesl, just because it's such a quick, easy, awesome pattern. And then I'll move on to more secret Christmas projects, socks, and Bruce's sweater. I just feel like I need something comforting, familiar and totally satisfying for this project so that I don't get completely dispirited.

Webs, OMG!

As for the weekend, I didn't get much knitting done, as I was busy driving all over God's creation, including to Northhampton, MA, to Webs! I had heard a ton about this store, and I was incredibly excited to be going there, as lots of folks have organized entire bus trips from NYC just to go.

It was worth it. This yarn store has EVERYTHING. Every brand, every color. It was pretty phenomenal. Ok, well, not every brand, as they didn't have a lot of Garn Studio stuff (and I love their yarns), but I don't think very many actual stores in the US sell their yarns. Maybe just Seaport Yarns near my work place.

I was completely overwhelmed, but not to the point where I couldn't buy anything. I picked up the Vintage Wool for my new Liesl, and some Malabrigo (I KNOW! It's a problem) Sock yarn to make the Damson shawl by Ysolda. At least I won't be having any fit issues with the Damson.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sewing Orgy!

It's nice that my urge to create is coming back, and so strongly too. I took a little break from knitting this weekend (I think knitting and I needed the time apart to reaffirm our love for each other) and sewed like a maniac.

I think that the reason why I haven't sewed in so long is that I haven't had access to fabric stores and decent fabric. I loved sewing so much, and then there was nothing. I couldn't afford the nicer stuff, and everything at the local stores that I could afford was shite.

ANYWAY, I hadn't even thought about this, but here in the fashion capital of the world, DUH, good fabrics might actually be somewhat easier to come by, and at decent prices. I did a little research online, and found a couple of really awesome places. Mood Fabrics, which is apparently where the Project Runway peeps shop for their stuff, and a couple of quilting stores. I'm in heaven...

I've been really wanting to get back into quilting for a while, and have been trying to figure out how to get my mother to send me her fabric stash. Not that I have ANY room to store it in our apartment, but where there's a will, there's a way.

So I bought fabric for three sewing projects. Some cute cotton for some aprons, some silk shantung for a dress for Georgia and some heavy weight linen and cotton lining for a bag for myself. I'm excited about the bag. I've never made anything along those lines before.

I made the two aprons on Sunday. It took me most of the day to get everything completed from start to finish, but I got it all, and I'm pretty happy with the results:

I'm going to give at least one of them to my friend Jorie for a housewarming gift, as she just bought her first house. At some point I'll get a picture of her in one.

Super Secret Christmas Project #1

Is done. I'd really like to talk about it. Le sigh.


Is almost done. I picked up the needles I needed to finish it yesterday. It will probably only take a couple more days on the subway to finish off.

And Next...

I have socks to start knitting. Here's a photo of the pattern:

I also have Rhapsody in Cables, Bruce's sweater to complete. But first I need to figure out my cabling problem.

And I need to finish up Veronique.

Oh, and make a bunch more Christmas presents.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ok, so this has nothing to do with knitting...

And everything to do with the city. I was sitting (well, ok, it does have something to do with knitting) and knitting on my lunch break in Bowling Green today. Here's a little visual for you:
So I was sitting here, with a bunch of tourists and some of my fellow New Yorkers on their lunch breaks, and a bunch of nuns started walking around the circle asking for money for St. Joseph's Orphanage.

Right behind them were a bunch of strippers handing out fliers for their club.

All of the ladies involved in this little episode were in black. Some of them were more covered than others.

I gave the nuns a buck. Nothing for the strippers.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New Knitting

I was getting a leeeeeeeeeetle bored with the 1x1 rib I'm doing for my super secret Christmas gift, and the straight stockinette that I'm doing for the Veronique. Plus, I'm not feeling all that well, and I have to learn something new to complete the next step of the Veronique, so that's on hold until I'm feeling better. Learning something new when attempting to think through a head cold doesn't sound like the best idea.

Anyway, I decided that I didn't want to knit yet another yoked cardigan out of the malabrigo worsted (see The Case of the Expanding Sweater below), so I've started to make a Liesl.

Here's a pic of the sweater from the designer's website. This is, as best as I can tell, a shot of the very young and very cute (and very skinny) designer. Oh, and she's Scottish. And her name is Ysolda Teague. Does it get any better than that, really? For a knitter, I mean?

I've been in love with her designs for a while, and I'm very very excited to make the Liesl.

Also, Liesl is a lace pattern, and I can't tell you how much I absofruitly adore knitting lace. All this boring knitting produces really cool garments, but holy hell, I'm boring myself to death with them. So I HAD to start something that was a least a little intellectually challenging. And the Liesl does it.

This weekend when I get a moment, I'll have Bruce take some photos of me in the Whisper Cardigan to post on the blog. Maybe at the Botanical Gardens. That would be nice.
Just for Janey

Janey wants sexy knits... Janey gets em!

It's a chapstick holder. Now that I think of it, I should probably make one for Janey.