Hey Ashurbanipal, I’m a Mesopotamian!

February 13, 2011 § 6 Comments

Entirely expectedly, I got a lot of knitting done in the crunch phase of my finals, with the whole refusing more than an absolute minimum for Spanish (I passed the oral! Abysmally, but I passed! Yesss.) and general procrastination.

(The day before my oral, Saskia and I went down to the canal and sat in the sun for an hour. What a perfect day.)

Incredibly, I’m down to one project. Well, three. Well, technically four, but the Dalek vest has been hibernating for so long and it looks like that’s not gonna change anytime soon, so. (well, four things and a lizard.)

Anyway: the Thermal sweater is finished! Done! All sewn up pretty and with buttons and a little ‘handmade’ tag in the back of the neck. I’ve already worn it to choir, literally fifteen minutes after cutting the last thread, and I’m pretty enchanted by the whole thing.


(Thermal by Laura Chau, 3mm needles, just shy of 600 g of Zitron Trekking XXL)

I’m proud to report that the sleeves are NOT too long, for once. It seems I’ve finally learned my lesson? Or maybe it was just a fluke. Who knows.

Re: the sleeves though, I don’t know if it was the fact that I had to fudge the sleeve cap a little (I increased to 106 instead of 112), or that my sweater is generally a tad less fitted than the one on the model, but the tops of the sleeve caps were VERY boxy. Very angular. To the point where they stuck out and just looked stupid. I fixed that by sewing the seam in a diagonal line over the last 16 rows or so. The downside of that is that now there’s four little triangles inside the sweater, but they’re not noticeable from the outside, and they haven’t been a problem yet.

More photos (and close-ups of the uber-cute little buttons) when I come back from Berlin next weekend or so, in the hope that I’ll catch some good natural light at some point. It’s been overcast, and that always screws with red colors.

Also, guess what became of the handspun?


A Hitchhiker! It knit up really quickly on 4 mm needles, and I’m still very charmed by the construction. Alas, I did not get 42 spikes, but the fact that they’re much more pronounced and dramatic than in the sock-weight version more than makes up for it.


The best thing is that it worked out perfectly. I finished on the last row of a spike without a single yard left over; there were two 2-inch pieces that I cut after weaving in the ends, but that was it. A very, very gratifying knit. Calmed me down immensely in the last couple of minutes before my Spanish oral.

Also, I’ve figured out what’s wrong with my Spanish Armada – I’m missing three stitches on each side. Very, very strange. Rather worrying, actually, but I think I’ll just fudge it with another row and a sneaky increase somewhere in the middle. I’m so confused though why 3 and not 2 or 4. Those I could have explained, but three is indeed very bemusing.

Book rec for this week: Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”! I’d never read it before, but I’d resolved to include as many classics I’ve always wanted to read but never got around to buying in my 52 in 52 project as I could. And in the case of Jekyll and Hyde, it was definitely worth the, oh, €2.50 I splurged on the Dover Thrift Edition. And, uh, it’s much better than that just sounded. It reminded me a lot of Dorian Gray, actually, which isn’t all that surprising, considering they’re both Victorian novels dealing with the strange rift in their society, between virtue and vice, between public and private. It was terribly captivating, a gripping read that had some places where I literally recoiled in horror – perfect, really, for a nice rainy afternoon. It’s under 50 pages too, but it’s packed with mystery and thrill. I loved it.

It’s also narrated from an outside perspective, which surprised me: I’d always assumed it was going to be following Jekyll rather closely, but it didn’t at all until the very last chapter, which of course elevates the mystery a good deal more. You literally don’t know what the hell is going on until the last couple of pages. It must have been so endlessly shocking to Victorians reading it as a fresh story, a fresh idea, without any kind of foreknowledge. All in all, a book definitely worth reading. I might tackle Treasure Island too this year, I really liked Stevenson’s style.

Next week I’ll spend four days in Berlin with Saskia. We’ll be visiting at least two yarn shops, one button shop and four museums, and I hope we’ll not be too tired to see a silent movie on Wednesday evening. I’ve already cast on a sock to drag everywhere and photograph; also I’ve been saving the new Thursday Next novel for the train ride. I can’t wait!


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§ 6 Responses to Hey Ashurbanipal, I’m a Mesopotamian!

  • Shannon says:

    3 things: 1. do you have a filter on that camera? WOW, Holy Blue Sky Batman!!! 2. Sweater is GORGEOUS! and 3. Great idea for your handspun! The hitchhiker is beautiful! Is it difficult? I believe I have it as a favourite on Rav but I remember something about short rows…which I’ve never had much luck with in heels of socks. Hmmm. Will have to look at it again because yours is lovely! Congrats on passing your Spanish final. Now you can breathe again!

  • wollphilie says:

    1. nope, the sky really was THAT blue. It was amazing.

    2. thank you! I just realized there were about 2500 m in that thing, which kind of blew me out of the water and makes me appreciate the FO even more.

    3. thanks again! and no, it’s actually ridiculously easy. no short rows, just mostly rows that are rather short, and lots of kfbs and occasional binding off. it’s really quite relaxing, actually, but still interesting enough to keep you entertained.

  • Toile says:

    I love the Thermal, that red is fanatastically rich! The Hitchhiker looks sooo yummy, and warm. Good job on the spinning!

    Also, choir? What’s your voice range?

  • wollphilie says:

    alto all the way, baby!

    the red actually looks different in real life – this photo shows the color much more accurately. it’s still a gorgeous red though. I’ll be wearing it tomorrow, so I hope I’ll remember opening my jacket while posing for uber-touristy photos to show off the sweater!

  • Rhonda says:

    I knit Thermal a few years back, and remember the sleeve caps being very square and difficult to work with. I also knit it out of wool/silk, which has stretched out terribly over the years and now hangs sloppily (though comfortably) on me. Perhaps I will reknit it in some nice sproingy wool, and change the sleeve caps — I recently used Elizabeth Zimmermann’s set-in sleeve formula from Knitter’s Almanac (knit in the round in one piece) which worked brilliantly.

    Your Thermal looks great, and I love the handspun Hitchhiker!

    p.s. I started reading the first Lucifer Box novel on your recommendation and I’m really enjoying it. Thanks for the tip!

  • wollphilie says:

    I’m so glad it wasn’t me that was the problem with the sleeve caps; if I ever knit Thermal again I’ll definitely change them. other than that it’s a pretty good pattern though, I really like the neckline shaping and the little placket.

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