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.

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(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.

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(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?

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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.

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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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Not many men can pull of a decorative vegetable!

August 12, 2009 § 2 Comments

So! I’m finally back in Leipzig, thank god, and that means I’m reunited with my camera. Whatever possessed me to leave it behind? – Anyway, being here means I’ve already taken a ton of pictures, not only of the Who Scarf but also of the yummy yarn I bought during my weekend trip up to the coast, and here I am to give you a little picspam.

Also, in case you were wondering, the Muir is also kind of coming along. Kind of.

But first things first!

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Eep! I’m immensely proud of it. Of course, it’s all garter stitch, but I finished that monster in five days, and that is NOT BAD AT ALL for 12 feet of sport weight yarn on 4mm needles.

Some more impressions:

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As you see, it neatly fits around my head a couple of times – namely, six, without having to stretch much. I haven’t blocked or steamed or stretched it (or even gotten it wet) in any way, because if I do, I have the feeling I’d stumble over it instantaneously. The tassels already drag over the floor when I don’t wrap it very loosely around my neck, so I’m just gonna let gravity take her course and stretch the beast out for me over time.

With it being garter stitch, I needed some background entertainment to go along with it. I tried to keep it on topic – Doctor Who and the Confidentials when I was inside, Torchwood audiobooks when I was lounging about in the back garden, and… the Miss Marple movie 4.50 from Paddington with my parents, though I guess that’s still proper, seeing how Donna’s responsible for her creation. I’d never watched a Miss Marple before, and I was delighted at that old lady who also tends to leave her knitting lying around everywhere.

I’m really quite enchanted by the tassels, though. (That sounds a bit like the insect girl from Utopia. Chan, I’m really quite enchanted by the tassels, tho!) They’re made out of all seven colors, except where I cheated. You see, casting on only 46 stitches (still mad at myself I didn’t think to cast on 42 until I was halfway done) meant I got by with one ball of each color, with the notable exception of tan. But some colors, like grey, baaarely made it, so I only had yarn left of that for 24 instead of 28 tassel strands. So in a couple of tassels, I used purple twice instead of one grey, one purple, but you can’t really tell. I don’t even know myself, since I placed them randomly throughout.

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So. Yes. It is done. I’m hella glad it is, I’m super proud, and it also gave me the motivation to work on Muir some more. If I bought another ball of tan, I could do another one… but I don’t think I will. That’s sport weight merino, you could do anything with that. Gloves, hats… we’ll see. I already queued a bunch of new glove/fingerless mitten patterns on Ravelry.

So. Away from the solid blocks of color to something quite beautiful, quite extraordinary, definitely expensive but also gorgeous and handspun.

Not by me though.

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Just look at that numminess!

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It’s fairly thick yarn I bought at a charming little shop in Wremen – Wurster Webstube. Lovely alliteration. They had, true to their name, a lot of handwoven stuff, souvenirs, gorgeous silk pashminas… and a whole wall with skeins of yarn hanging from hooks.

At a price of €11.50/100g, that’s still… okay, I guess. Pretty good for handspun, too. I ultimately chose two colorways that kind of go together – Atlantic and Wild Rose.

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They’re both gorgeous in their own right, and I’m thinking they might work together in a scarf. Not that I don’t have enough scarves. Maybe a hat and mittens. Though, the problem is that it’s kind of uneven, so I’m not sure how it would work out with stranded patterns.

If that’s not love, what is?

June 10, 2009 § 3 Comments

Today’s post is brought to you by The Fiddler on the Roof, because the songs have been stuck in my head all day today. It’s been over three years and I still know most of the songs by heart.

With my severe bout of knitting ADD, I’ve given up on trying to put all my current sock projects up on Rav. I mean, sure, it’s only three, four pairs of socks and two shawls and a hat, ignoring what languishes in my wardrobe, but like… I’ve barely been knitting these days. I think. But then… I started a sock at the Wollefest, finished that the day after. Then I wound some yarn and started my Kirk socks. My plan to avoid SSS seems to work, because I’m almost finished with the second sock there – though it was mostly stress knitting. I have a people hangover – too much time spent with people, too little privacy, and now my ex-roomie is there again, which is nice but exhausting, plus Christian’s bf will be here over the weekend which means lots of doing-stuff-together and… I want to throw myself out of the window.

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And I started the Muir shawl, from Knitty, Fall 07. I’m making it wider, with four repeats instead of three, and I’m only a couple of rows along – but it’s so straightforward and soothing and logical and there’s only one chart I’ve almost forgotten about the anguish the Miralda Shawl has been causing me. Stupid thing.

At least my hair is red. And I got some handspun plied. It’s only a little bit – 38g I think, just over an ounce, but my, it’s pretty. And I have no idea where the rest of the stuff went. I bought 100g, I think, and I just cannot find the rest. Oh well. At least it’s relatively even, especially compared to my first tries.

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… except now I kind of want a wheel.

It’s a good thing I just got another batch of quintuple chocolate brownies out of the oven.

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