Sunday, January 28, 2007

Almost no knitting developments

I ought to apologize now. For the next month or so, there probably won't be much interesting knitting content around here.

First, there are the sock swap socks for Jr. Mints over at the knittyboard. These are gorgeous and fun, but as Jr Mints and I have agreed to make the socks a surprise, I won't be able to show you any pictures until she's received hers. Get excited around the end of February.

Second, there's Venezia. Venezia is beautiful. Venezia is fun to work on.

Venezia is freaking slow.

I cast on for the body on January 11. In two and a half weeks, I have knit almost four inches of this sweater. I know Eunny did the whole sweater in five days, but I am not Eunny, and I must devote the majority of my energies to school right now. Sadly.

I started a third project, but I haven't been working on it much. I got Victorian Lace Today which is an absolutely fabulous book (lovelovelovelove) and started making a little scarf based on one of their patterns.

I got this yarn from Etsy last year and have wanted to do something lacy with it for a long time. This will someday be the "easy lace scarf," one of the first patterns in the book. Until then (and probably long after) it will look like I have a purple and silver cat who is particularly fond of shedding all over my lap.

If somebody could direct me to the origin of this meme I'd appreciate it. A knitter who might be named Kat started it, but I closed the window before I could link to it. They want to see your desktop background. Here's mine:

Florence from San Miniato

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Legend of the patient boyfriend

(my brother is trying to weasel his way into this picture)
Once upon a time (last December or so) our knitter was preparing to go on a wintry excursion with her handsome and patient boyfriend. As she donned several layers, her boyfriend noticed a small blue scarf with a slit in it.

The knitter explained that the slit was for her to slip the other end of the scarf in, and it would lay flat around her neck. This boyfriend, who never before had expressed any interest in having something knit by the knitter, was entranced by the scarf and, seemingly surprised by his own reaction, asked for one just like it.

"But longer. And twice--no, three times as wide. And purple."

Delighted, the knitter set out to create something worthy of the handsome boyfriend. She selected several balls of Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk in a deep maroon color and learned how to do cables so the scarf wouldn't bore her out of her mind.

(It's so much darker and manlier than in these pictures)

She added the slit and was tremendously pleased:

She finished the scarf in early February and gave it to her boyfriend for Valentine's Day. He loved it and actually wore it! Both knitter and boyfriend were tremendously pleased.

Until tragedy struck. The bajillion tails of the slippery smooth yarn began to work their way out. What had once been a beautiful scarf quickly transformed into a nice-ish scarf with little caterpillars hanging off all over the place.

The boyfriend, worried that the whole scarf would dissolve into pieces, returned the scarf to the knitter to repair. Months went by, and it was 90 degrees outside, and the knitter forgot about the project.

In the fall, when the first hint of cold weather arrived, the boyfriend ventured to ask about the scarf. The knitter eventually bought some sewing thread, which she had heard could be used to tack down the little ends. But she had other, more exciting things to knit, and the scarf was tucked away in her UFO drawer, and she kept forgetting.

Many months later (yesterday), the boyfriend kindly reminded the knitter of his scarf. And she suddenly became motivated! She got out the scarf, a sharp needle, and the sewing thread, and finished the scarf during two episodes of Futurama.

At long last, the knitter will be able to give the scarf to the wonderful and patient boyfriend, who first received this scarf 11 months ago.

And they all lived happily ever after.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Hey Monkey!

Well, here it is. My first FO of 2007!

Pattern: Monkey from Knitty.
Yarn: Yarn Pirate in Punkin Head.

Omg omg omg. I love these socks. I love this yarn. I love this pattern. My toes are warm and pretty! And if y'all are thinking about Yarn Pirate yarn, you should go for it because it's great to work with. I need to weigh my leftover yarn and the socks to find out exactly how much I used, but I think these socks took only half the skein. I'm trying to decide if I want arm warmers or some other lovely matching accessory. Of course, by the time I finish the arm warmers it will surely be too hot for them. Yesterday morning it was in the 80s, but a front came through and dropped it to the high 30s. It's supposed to stay cold and wet for the rest of the week.

Here's a blurry closeup. Sorry, I suck at these kinds of pictures.

Now I know you all want more pictures of Venezia, but I really have nothing of interest to show you. I finished the second sleeve Wednesday night, and it looks just the same as the first sleeve (but slightly better).

On Thursday and Friday I spent some time playing yarn shop employee while my LYSO was out of town. (lots of fun!) I was in the shop for six hours on Thursday. I cast on 252 stitches and knit the first row and about 40 stitches of the second. There are few things more time consuming and tedious than knitting into a backwards loop cast on with blunt size 1 needles for 252 stitches (especially when you keep having to get up to "work"). I was afraid it would never end.

For anybody wondering, no the pattern does not say to use backwards loop. It says to use the invisible provisional cast on, which I hate and have never mastered. But this cast on gets folded up inside the hem and no one but me (and you guys, now that I've let it slip) will ever know that I cheated.

I've knit almost half of the hem now--later rows go much, much faster. I can't wait to switch to the size 2s and get crackin on the body. Maybe we'll have one of these crazy cold fronts in April or May and I'll actually get to wear it before next January.

Oh! In other exciting news, I signed up for a knittyboard sock exchange. My partner Jr. Mints and I will knit socks for each other and include a skein of sock yarn to swap. I'm so excited! But our socks are going to be kept secret from each other, so until the socks are safely in her hands I can't show you any pictures or reveal any details. Sorry!

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Page 123 meme

I saw this over at Kitten Knits Yarn and thought it sounded like fun.

1. Grab the book closest to you.
2. Open to page 123, look down to the 5th sentence.
3. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog.
4. Include the title and the author's name.
5. Tag 3 People.

When i first read it this morning I couldn't post, partly because I was running late and (as it turned out) my bagels were burning in my brand new toaster oven because I *totally* misinterpreted the little toast icon by the timer. (Second bagel turned out perfect. Thanks Mom and Dad!). Plus, there are 10 books on my desk right now and I couldn't figure out which one was closest. But when I went back to it one of the books had moved a little closer.

"Later even Portugal and San Marino entered the war; by 1917, with exception of the Scandinavian countries, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Spain, all the European Nations were engaged on one side or the other. With the entry of the United States in April 1917, the war finally took on a global character. Then a number of Latin American states, among them Brazil, declared war on Germany, and others, such as Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador, severed relations with Germany."

Gilbert and Large, Eds., The End of the European Era: 1890 to the Present, 5th ed. (New York: W.W. Norton, 2002), 123.

(I hope the folks over at the Red Marker Project like my use of Chicago style here)

In case you were wondering, the other books on my desk are:
Francois Furet, Revolutionary France 1770-1880
Hannah Arendt, On Revolution
Francois Furet, Interpreting the French Revolution
Jonathan Sperber, Revolutionary Europe 1780-1850
Benjamin Constant, Political Writings
Abbé Sieyès, Political Writings: Including the Debate between Sieyès and Tom Paine in 1791
Reinhard Rürup, ed., The Problem of Revolution in Germany
Langenscheidt German-English English-German Dictionary
Langenscheidt Grossworterbuch Deutsch als Fremdsprache

Plus, thanks to the way I've got my office set up, I could reach at least 100 books without moving from my chair. Pretty sweet, huh?

I'm gonna tag... umm...
1) All the grad students reading this.
2) Anybody else who wants to do it. Try it, it's fun!
3) Everybody who doesn't want to do it. (kidding.)


Friday, January 05, 2007

Christmas Gifts, part II

Alas, I don't have pictures of my family modeling their gifts, but maybe I'll get those eventually.

I made this clapo-scarf using a modified version of the famous Clapotis. It's made with Colinette Prism in the Toscana colorway, which has a thin ply of cotton and a thick ply of loosely spun wool, dyed in very pretty colors.

I must say that Prism was not an ideal yarn for Clapotis, but Clapotis was an ideal pattern for Prism. How the heck does that work, you ask? Well, the loose wool kept grabbing itself, making the unraveling very deliberate and tedious. A smoother yarn would have unraveled much more easily. But the yarn is so *busy* that anything beyond stockinette is just too much for it--believe me, I tried.

(bottom to top: garter, stockinette, garter eyelet, modified stockinette eyelet; it looked like somebody had chewed on it)

The clap's wide bands of stockinette show off the knitted fabric, and the drop-stitch bits show off the yarn on its own. I am tremendously pleased with the way this turned out, and so was Mom.

Now on to my dad's Socks with Clocks. I plan to make this pattern available someday, because I think it's a great pattern for men--not so boring that the knitter falls into a dark yarn-stockinette coma, but simple and classic enough to pass for nice dress socks. (I was informed later that Dad couldn't wear these as dress socks because the cuff was too short. His dress socks must come all the way to the widest part of the calf. I told him to buy longer pants.)

My dad is the kind of guy who is really, really hard to shop for, especially if you want the gift to be somewhat of a surprise. He drops a lot of hints, but never for anything I could actually afford to buy him. If you ask him directly what he wants (and give him a price range) it loses all elements of surprise. (Hey Dad! Get an Amazon wishlist, PLEASE!) But when you get it right, he's one of the more grateful recipients you'll ever meet. These socks are for him to sleep in, and apparently he sleeps much better with them on. Especially when Mom "admires the yarn" by rubbing his feet. I'm really proud of the way they turned out and he's apparently pretty happy with the result, too.

When I can rip myself away from the beauty that is Venezia, I make pretty decent progress on the Monkey socks:

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Christmas Gifts, part I

It will take two posts to properly show off the knitting-related Christmas gifts I gave and received, and I'm gonna be greedy and show off the stuff I got first. Fear not, you will *eventually* see pictures of Dad's socks and Mom's scarf-sized Clapotis.

Several awesome family members helped me instantly double the size of my stash:

Four skeins of the pretty brown and light blue stuff, that fun bright boucle which just screams "Baby blanket!" (must find a baby) and two skeins of a boucle yarn. Two 300-gram skeins of boucle. OMG. Each one is bigger than my head! I measured, and it's 13 inches across and over 18 inches around. My home church is going to be starting a Prayer Shawl ministry soon and I think each of these will make a pretty generous shawl. Yay!

Mom gave me a couple of awesome treats:

Two skeins of DK weight Alpaca in a natural alpaca color. Really, really gorgeous stuff and buttery soft. It's actually a lot of yarn and I'm thinking hat and scarf or mittens.

The real prize:

All the yarn a girl needs to make the Venezia pullover in Winter 06 Interweave Knits her own. Squee! This sweater is SO much fun. Early into the knitting Dave decided it looked like a snout with wooly tongue:

I decided to do the sleeve-as-gauge-swatch thing, which allowed me to get right to the good stuff. As you can see, I certainly have:

Don't worry, I will post *plenty* more pictures of this as work continues. I'm in love.

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