Belting out Sunlight

March 30, 2010 § 4 Comments

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I have a new orchid. It’s gorgeous. I originally wanted a white one, but this one was just too huge and pretty to turn down. And when the sun was out in full force today, I took a couple of pictures.

Speaking of being out in full force… Ricky Martin came out via his blog yesterday. Which, huh. I guess the only ones truly surprised are a couple of grandmas in Iceland, but still, I wouldn’t exactly have expected it. Especially not so beautifully worded, in English too but in Spanish even more so: “Hoy ACEPTO MI HOMOSEXUALIDAD como un regalo que me da la vida. ¡Me siento bendecido de ser quien soy!” (Today I accept my homosexuality as a gift that life gives me. I am blessed to be who I am!)

Now. Less pop culture, more knitting. The Swallowtail Stole, aka Python: Norwegian Blue. Yesterday I tried my hand at the set-up round again, finished that one and the plain round after that, and then realized… I hadn’t started or ended the second long side with the edge stitches, but jumped straight into the pattern. So I decided, screw it, and did this:

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And when I cast on again, I’d learned from my previous mistakes. I left a long tail to sew the middle together in the end. I put down markers every 30 sts on the long sides, and between the sections where I needed them. Which, believe it or not, helped a lot. So now, just about 28 hours later, I have this:

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Which doesn’t look like much, but here’s a secret: I actually have twice that width. Cause I’m just that awesome.

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I just pinned the middle together, and I really really hope it doesn’t look like that when I sew it… I might have to try it on a swatch before. For reference, I got the idea (and technique)  from The Second Book of Modern Lace Knitting by Marianne Kinzel. She has truly gorgeous designs in there, which were the reason for buying the book in the first place, and one day I’ll knit myself half a Balmoral thistle as a shawl. Since right now I’m gathering experience with having a gazillion stitches on my needles. Well, right now it’s ‘only’ around 400 (and I can’t believe I wrote ‘only, either), but it’s still enough to look like a lovely lacy ruffle on the cable of my circ.

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One day I’ll have to make those lacy ruffle cuff thingies. I have a thing for pretty, lacy, delicate, girly, useless things, which is… basically the opposite of everything else I wear. But who says butch-ish girls can’t enjoy pretty things?

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Even if I enjoy a good breakfast even more. (Seriously, best breakfast ever.)

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Mach das Radio an und dreh richtig laut auf

March 28, 2010 § 2 Comments

Holy crap, I haven’t blogged in a while! I guess it’s mostly because I felt like I didn’t knit that much, but now that I look around on Ravrav and in my apartment, a couple of things have accumulated. Plus, recipe recommendations!

I still haven’t duplicate stitched a huge letter on my Weasley sweater. I still haven’t finished Haruni. I haven’t knit a pair of socks in a long time. And I haven’t been out and about so much in quite some time.

I have, however, learned to double knit, and it’s a TON of fun. So much fun, in fact, that I kind of never want to do anything else. (I’m sure that effect will wear of sooner than later, but I’ll bask in the glow as long as I can.) I love the HOLY CRAP! effect you get when you first show people the one side…

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and then you say SURPRISE! and turn it around.

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So, yeah. What I got there is really a glorified swatch that is kind of like a really oversized potholder but in reality is too big and unwieldy to be a proper potholder. It still hangs in the kitchen, on the potholder hook, cause I’m that proud.

Knit with Rico Creative Cotton (1 ball yellow, the other four colors left over from washcloths) on 3.5mm.  It’s a colored version of a washcloth design, cut by 10 stitches because in my head, 20+17 is apparently 47, not 37. It turned out to be a blessing that I cast on too few stitches, because the yarn was just barely enough. As in, there was barely enough yellow left to weave the end in after crocheting around the edge. The next DK project I’ve planned: Winchester Potholders. Oh yeah.

Speaking of Rico Creative Cotton, I finished my kitchen towel the day after my birthday, and it’s okay. We mostly use it for drying off hands and pans, cause it kinda lints. Which is weird, for cotton. But it does, and because it’s bright red, the lint looks really unappealing on white plates and glassware. Good thing that’s not an issue for the two washcloths I churned out, one red Knit Apple Cloth for the kitchen and one blue Stargate Earth for Saskia. Man, those two aren’t even on Rav yet.

On a less successful note, I cast on for the Swallowtail Stole a couple of days ago, and… holy crap, it’s kicking my ass. A puny little 6-stitch repeat is kicking my ass so hard I can feel it in my throat. Meaning: I still haven’t gotten beyond the set-up row. In fact, I haven’t gotten beyond half of the set-up row. Granted, it’s like 350 sts or something, but man. Six-stitch repeat. Of a pattern I’ve knit two shawls in. And I keep tinking back and fixing things and realizing forty stitches later that I shouldn’t have fixed that. It’s terrible. I don’t know what it is, either. I know it’ll get better once I’m past the set-up round, cause then I can read the pattern in the knitting, but shit, I am so close to giving up on this. Or I was, until my stubbornness kicked in and I realized I refuse to be beaten by, you know. A six-stitch repeat.

Which is just plain pathetic.

Speaking of plain, I’m thinking about ripping back the Ghostproof sweater to the salt line, add a couple rows of plain brown, and then… possibly just go on with the ribbing, and just do salt lines around the arms. Maybe the neck. Maybe just duplicate stitch fornicating moose on one shoulder. I thought the salt line placement wouldn’t bother me, cause, you know, it’s so damn smart and I was so damn proud, but honestly, I don’t think I could’ve found a less flattering place for it. So yeah, there’s that. And it was such a perfect fit, too.

***

Now, one of the reasons I haven’t been knitting a whole lot is that I’ve been baking and cooking like crazy. It’s kind of ridiculous, really, the amount of flour and butter we go through here. Especially flour. Which is in everything, from homemade pasta to brownies. And baking is just so satisfying, especially when you’re like me and getting your ass kicked by a six-stitch repeat and *trails off, grumbling*

So, here my go-to baked goodies:

Biscuits. Good, old-fashioned biscuits. Or the ones with parmesan and thyme. I loved them when I was in the US, and when I wanted to do biscuits and gravy here in Germany, I dug up this recipe site, and let me tell you: you won’t need any gravy with this amount of delicious.

Focaccia. Italian flatbread with herbs and garlic. It takes its time, being a yeast dough and everything, but pounding the dough is just about the most satisfying thing ever, plus your hands are butter-soft and smell like herbs and olive oil afterward. Alternatively, leave out the herbs & garlic and replace with ‘a goodly amount’ of sugar and cinnamon, and make 12 delicious cinnamon balls with it.

Caramel Apple Sticky Buns. Speaking of cinnamon. Oh, my.

Quintuple Chocolate Brownies. I know I’ve linked the recipe before, but man, these would probably be on my short list for a last meal. Along with the Sticky Buns and a steak with green beans.

Running circles in my head

March 14, 2010 § 8 Comments

I slept five hours tonight due to bad planning, and on top of that I slept badly. Now that I’m back from my grandma’s, I wanted to catch up on sleep, but of course my brain is too wired from the caffeine intake needed to not crash the car, so, yeah. My thoughts have been skipping from dogs to cars to forests to gossip to knitting to interior design to dogs, and back to knitting, and I just had a really good idea.

Saskia and I are going to see Max Raabe again this summer, and I need a new shawl. I’d say I could totally wear the green monster if it wasn’t so freakishly big, but truth is, I’d want to knit a new one either way. Cause I still have 200g of yellow laceweight merino, and what else am I gonna do with it?

What I’m trying to say is that I’ve been researching shawl patterns, and I just don’t know what I want. I like wide borders, and I really like Estonian lace patterns, and there’s just so many patterns on Ravelry, but somehow I can’t find the perfect one.

The only one that comes to mind, that has a wide, entertaining border combined with a relatively simple center motif, is the Swallowtail Shawl. It’s not a secret that’s my favoritest shawl pattern ever, I’ve made two of them in different weights, it’s lovely, it’s entertaining, it’s just amazing, and more than 6000 other people seem to think so, too.

But I’ve made two of those, and the problem is also that with laceweight, you need more center repeats to make it a decent size, and that kind of negates the wide border aspect, ratio-wise. And truth to be told, I didn’t really want a triangular shawl for the occasion, anyway.

So I’m thinking… a Swallowtail Stole. A rectangular version of the Swallowtail Shawl. Cast on the center repeat provisionally across 30 cm or so (ish, I’d have to measure the border width of the laceweight version to make sure I don’t end up with another stole of impractically monstrous dimensions) plus two or three garter stitches on each side, knit that for a bit (like, 150 or 180 cm), then pick up stitches all around and go for the border. The border corner of the triangular shawl is a 90° angle so I wouldn’t have to worry about that, it’d be all charted out already in the original pattern. The edging would be knit in the round, so the plain rows (well, and the ones featuring the p5togs for the nupps) would be knit instead of purl, which would make the whole show go much faster. Apart from the fact that I’d have a ridiculous amount of stitches, but, oh well.

Alternatively I could do the thing with the center provisional grafted-together cast-on they have in Modern Lace Knitting (like so), which would save me the pain of having to pick up a gazillion stitches AND there would be no purling involved whatsoever. Plus I think it would be the more elegant solution, but I’ll have to see how stretchy that center-cast-on-thing is. I could mirror the lily-of-the-valley in the middle of the sides, so they would point to the corners as in the shawl.

It would be amazing. Largely because it would pretty much be all border.

Or I could do something completely different and do a half a Daffodil, which would go nicely with the color of the yarn, and I could name the project ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’.

I still have a little time to think. Maybe inspiration will strike while I’m winding the mile or so of yarn. But if I may say so, that right there was pretty inspired.

Like she’s born in black and white

March 5, 2010 § 11 Comments

I just realized I haven’t blogged in a while… but honestly, I was sure there hasn’t been a whole lot to blog about. I bake more than I knit, I spend a surprising amount of time outside enjoying the crisp, dramatic weather, and I read more gossip than anything else. But somehow, stuff has accumulated, I guess. So, here goes.

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I finished the body of my sweater last weekend – I still haven’t picked up stitches for the first arm, mostly because I’m suffering from an acute case of Startitis and Spring Fever. But, on the positive side, I finally figured out what kind of color pattern I wanted to put on the sweater – I’d debated whether to put the Fornicating Deer on the shoulder, but in the end, I decided on something far more awesome, and subtly geeky.

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A ‘salt line’ just over the ribbing. To keep out the ghosts, Winchester-style. Thirteen repeats of the word SALT around my torso, and I’ll put some around the arms, too. (It turned out to be 13 by accident. Sometimes it’s great to be a fatty. Another lucky accident was that I started charting at random, got a 16-st repeat, and apart from one single stitch, it worked out perfectly.)

The placement isn’t the most flattering, cause it’s right where my jeans pinch in, but I’m too excited by the concept to care. Plus it’s kind of negative space, so you don’t immediately see the geekery, but it’s still there.

My I’ll-just-fudge-it Shetland Triangle (shamelessly ripping off Evelyn A. Clark’s version, proof that my ingenuity and wit is worth at least $9) is also done, and already blocked while I visited two museums with Saskia the other day. Good times.

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I had to rip back one repeat at some point, because I realized I was running out of yarn, fast. Even with one repeat less, the amount I have left over is scary small.

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Apart from that, I knit myself a new washcloth today out of boredom, and when it was finished after watching ‘She’s the man’ (one of my favorite feel-good movies, even if it’s kinda girly), conveniently took a bath. I should stop knitting new washclothes whenever I need to change them. It’s not like I don’t have a bazillion in my closet and hamper already. But it’s cute. And apple-y.

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I also started a hat in some lovely fingering weight grass-green alpaca, but it turned out I cast on about 30 stitches too much. So it got ripped back before I could even think to get a picture. The plan is to make a slouchy beret with the fir cone stitch pattern, and maybe some clever in-pattern crown decreases if I can figure them out.

So, anyway. The new Grey’s Anatomy ep just finished downloading, and after I’m done watching that, I think I’ll go outside and take a walk.

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