It’s time I was king and not just one more pawn

October 17, 2010 § 3 Comments

Guess what’s done?

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It only took a year and a half.

Most of which was spent languishing in a teeny tiny leather satchel I bought on vacation in Portugal when I was about 13, the poor thing. Without needles, too – I’d pulled them out at one point because I needed a 4.5mm circ, most likely for the Dalek vest.

Good things definitely came out of not knitting for a weekend. (Even so, it’s not likely I’ll repeat that particular experiment any time soon, if I can help it.)

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It’s ‘Miralda’s Triangular Shawl’ from Nancy Bush’s Knitted Lace of Estonia. Zitron Maxima, started on 4.5 mm metal needles, switched to 4 mm bamboo needles after the edge chart. 164 g total, ca. 1.60 m wingspan.

There’s things I could write about, like the never-ending Watson, or my sister’s cardi, or the Christmas Stocking that’s actually coming along quite well – but you know what?

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I think I’m gonna bask in the glory of my finished shawl blocking next to me, and not think of those things at all.

(By the way, this is the first time I’m blocking a triangular shawl in the corner of my bed instead of in the middle of it. I don’t know why I didn’t try this earlier, because having straight lines for orientation makes it so much easier to pin the points down in a straight line!)

Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride

September 18, 2010 § 4 Comments

So, it looks like my right wrist is kind of busted.

Well, not busted busted but there is definitely something wrong with it, some kind of repetitive-strain thing. It started last Friday after five solid hours of knitting, but I thought it was just soreness (since I usually don’t do non-stop knitting) and that it would go away after a couple of days of very light knitting.

Well, it didn’t. In fact, it’s creeping up to my elbow, which makes me think it’s something with my tendons, which is Bad with a capital B. And I’m mostly mad at myself, because beating eggs for crème brûlée with a whisk instead of a mixer, even if it was mostly with my left hand, certainly didn’t do any good, and constantly sneaking in ten minutes of knitting here and there didn’t either.

So I’ve decided to take a three-day break from knitting to see if that would help any, and I’m trying to keep general wrist movement to a minimum… and needless to say, it’s severely cramping my style.

Today is day 1 of the self-imposed knitting break and I’m already going bonkers. On the plus side, I’m getting all my hanks of yarn wound into balls, since that’s basically the only activity that I can do to keep my hands busy while not moving my right wrist.

It’s not that I haven’t gone some time without knitting. There’s been times when I was just too damn pissed off with knitting or too busy that I didn’t get my hands on some needles for a day or two. But I’m just not busy, plus all the stuff I’d planned is totally falling through: I wanted to go to the knitting café today, and I was looking forward to listening to Stravinsky’s Firebird while knitting on my red sweater. Plus I was thinking of making beignets this weekend, but I need both my wrists to knead that yeast dough properly.

The only good thing that’s come of this is that I ripped back about half of what I had of the Miralda Shawl I started in May 2009. I made some major mistakes, and I wasn’t the kind of person who’d rip back a couple of rows of 300+ stitches just for the hell of it and tried to fudge it instead, which obviously didn’t work. And required some serious self-medication. Ah, it was so frustrating. So I eventually balled it up and stuck it in a bag and stuffed that into the deep dark recesses of my wardrobe, and only got it out to pull out the needle because I needed it for the Dalek vest.

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But today, after untangling a tangled skein of yarn for a solid hour and a half, I decided to get it out, rip back to (hopefully) before the mistakes, and continue with it… once I can. It was kind of a weird experience though, because it made me realize how much I’ve changed in just a year and a half: I’ve become much more anal-retentive about mistakes, I’m more willing to rip back, and I don’t think 300-stitch rows are all that terrible.

If there’s one thing the Big Green Monster, the Swallowtail Stole, the Garter Stitch Bitch and the current sock-yarn sweater have taught me, it’s patience with long rows. And if there’s anything Girl Friday and Balmoral have taught me is that it’s usually worth ripping back to fix even minor mistakes.

Miralda was only the fifth shawl I cast on, and the other four were two Swallowtail Shawls, a stockinette sock yarn shawl, and an Aerang – none of which were particularly difficult or had a lot of charts. Maybe Miralda, with its bazillion charts, was a bit of an overly ambitious project at that point. But in the 17 months since, I’ve done a lot of chart-work, and a lot of patience-work, and I’ve learned to pay more attention. And, even more than that, I’ve learned not to be afraid of ripping back.

And now my sister has asked for a Girl Friday for Christmas, and I wanna work on Miralda, and get to the short rows on Thermal, and when I know how that works continue with the Dalek vest, and… I just wanna knit. And I know that if I don’t rest up now, it’s only gonna take longer till I can go again, but… help, I’m going insane.

I hope Saskia comes back soon, so we can do some more fencing with our new swords or toss a softball. Maybe I’ll clean up the kitchen. Or photograph… something.

***

Speaking of photography. I’m so proud of this photo. Maybe because it’s just a snapshot of one of these moments, the one where you usually can’t whip out your camera in time.

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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.

Muss i denn, muss i denn…

May 26, 2009 § 2 Comments

… zum Städtele hinaus, zum Städtele hinaus, nur du mein Schatz bleibst hier!

So last night, I got to bed way too late, and when I’d almost fallen asleep, THE idea buzzed through me and I sat up bold upright, bumped my head on the open window in the process, and dragged out yarn. Fortunately for me, my rather small (and additionally shrunken due to yarn diet) stash is located directly next to my bed, so I didn’t have to get up.

The good news is, I finally figured out what to do with at least one of the pretty 50g Brown Sheep sock yarn balls I brought from Ithaca.

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Mad Cow Socks by Jennifer Young, in Zitron Trekking HandArt (Brazil) and Brown Sheep Wildefoote (Vinca Minor)

The bad thing is that it’s so gorgeous I just wanna show it off to everybody. This is a bad thing because I can’t decide whether to make this into socks or mitts. Since this is part of my vague Leftover Reduction Plan, socks would be perfect as they’d reduce the leftovers to a minimum, but they’re just so… shiny!

I guess I’ll have to ponder this some more.

No news on the Miralda front, I knit about two more rows before finding another mistake that appeared out of nowhere and it has driven me to the only sane reaction:

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Friggin’ booze.

Grab your dick and double click for porn, porn, porn!

May 11, 2009 § 2 Comments

… is NOT the actual topic of this post, but damn, I’ve had that song stuck in my head all day.

News of the day: Mozilla orders link suggestions after frequency, and the Yarn Harlot blog has surpassed YouTube when I enter Y.

Slept over at Christian’s, watched ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’ and – get this – finished the first chart on the Miralda Shawl! Very exciting. No photos yet, since it still looks like a brown mess of… something, but I’m very enchanted. Choosing the 4.5mm needles seems to be working out, after all. Why 4.5es? Because I could not, for the life of me, find a 4mm circular needle longer than the shortest they come, which is barely enough for a hat, nevermind the 331 stitches Miralda required me to cast on. (Down to 305 though. Yay.)

Though honestly, I have to say one thing: I thought it would be a good idea to cast on this crapload of stitches, so you do the bulk of the work while you’re still motivated and as your motivation lessens, so does the number of stitches in a row. Which, in theory, should motivate you more, because I know there’s nothing as unmotivation and life-force-sucking as the prospect of casting off those 400 stitches. So far, so good. The only problem I’ve discovered: the stitches don’t decrease nearly fast enough. This whole 300-stitches, needing-20-minutes-per-row thing, right in the beginning? Turns out it’s not as fun as it sounds, either.

But on the other hand, it is pretty.

What else? I discovered I can knit as well as purl in the almost-complete dark – we watched some super weird, dimly-lit flick called ‘Sex Movie’, which was exactly as pointless as the title suggest. It was only rated R, so it wasn’t like tere were dicks popping up all over the place like… like daisies or something, like in Shortbus, but for some reason it was also a lot more about sex than Shortbus was. I think this is mostly because Shortbus was essentially a movie about people who just happened to have lots of sex, while this movie was about four people in a room being unable to find a better topic of conversation than teasing each other about their various hang-ups. Plus, while Shortbus is very playful about everything and half the time there’s a penis on screen somebody uses it as a microphone, in this one you don’t even see anything – but it definitely made me recoil and knit VERY FAST to keep from screaming due to absolute grossed-out-ness. (Kudos for grossing Christian out, too. With other parts of the movie, but it was about equal. Except he had nothing to knit and instead hid under his t-shirt.)

So. Ahem. The sock is coming along. ‘The sock’ being the second of the Café Caramel socks; I’m about halfway through the gusset decreases. I’m excited to finish this one, because the notes for my next project will not go into my paper journal,  but instead into the pretty little Moleskine I just bought for exactly that purpose. The most awesome thing about this one is, though, that it’s a special Anniversary Edition for my university (which was founded in 1409) and has all kinds of useful city maps and uni history and god knows what. I’m very excited about it, and it will make a nice memento of (for? about?) this year.

Annnnd… my deeply adored Sand Shawl did little to nothing to protect me from the rain as I walked through half the city center and from one tram stop to the other because there was a problem with the power line or whatever; but I guess that’s what you get for packing a lace scarf instead of a jacket. (For the record, I still like shawls more than jackets. But jackets are better suited for rainy weather.)

So I’m gonna cuddle up under another couple of blankets with a cup of something hot and my Miralda, and watch something sappy. Adieu.

Silence is everywhere…

May 9, 2009 § 2 Comments

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Knit-tastic times over here at la casa da Patti.

Since my last entry, I started two pairs of socks and finished one and a half of them. Actually, I knit one sock of the Café Caramel, then I did both of the Walpurgis for Beltaine, and then I started back up on the CC socks the other night when I couldn’t keep my fingers still.

Walpurgis is pretty straightforward, with cables and straight lines in 3×2 rib. Very pretty color, if you ask me, and simple enough to knit even drunk. Zitron HandArt.
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Café Caramel is yet ANOTHER variation of the Wave pattern, adjusted to fit over 15 stitches. In a pretty, coffee and caramel-y color. Due to my yarn diet I’ve been actually knitting from my stash instead of buying new sock yarn, so. Yay.
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There’s actually another FO that stupid me forgot to take pictures of: Celina’s fingerless gaming mitts. They were a RIDICULOUSLY quick knit – maybe two, two and a half hours per mitt? Instant gratification, and took pretty much exactly 50g of yarn. So I immediately started another pair for myself. I’ve finished one mitt. Almost, that is. I have yet to put it together – I’m actually considering learning the three-needle bind-off for this. I crocheted Celina’s, and while it worked out ok, it wasn’t quite what I wanted. Christian says she loves them, and that she keeps teasing her boyfriend about her having awesome mitts with the Swiss flag on them while he doesn’t.

The SYS is also amazingly, blissfully done. It’s actually been done since the 4th or so, but it took me forever to find the time to block it, nevermind weaving in the ends. The weaving in took me 45 minutes of pure boredom, which is about half of “Keeping the Faith”, a cute romantic comedy with Edward Norton as a Catholic priest and Ben Stiller as a rabbi.

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And, you know, because I seem to be addicted to shawls, I started the Miralda Shawl from Knitted Lace of Estonia. I was prepared for the worst, after reading the Yarn Harlot’s account of casting on in a fashion that closely resembled the work of Sisyphos. I’m not gonna get cocky and tempt the Knitting Fates, but… at least I cast on the right number of stitches, with the yarn held double. Possibly because I placed markers every 20 stitches, plus different colored markers every 100, and I obsessively recounted. To be honest, I’m not sure if the yarn I chose will work out the way I want it to. It’s Zitron, and a lovely brown with one thread changing between yellow, turquoise, burgundy and brown, and up till now, it looks promising. But you never know. That’s one of the advantages of starting a shawl in the middle of the back – less stitches to rip back if it goes wrong after all. But we’ll see. I’m hopeful.

Speaking of hopeful: I taught my one Roomie (the one with the Argyle socks) to knit, and she already shows great promise by having said the magical words after just a couple of centimeters: ‘Yeah, just a moment, I’m just gonna finish this one row!’

It always makes my heart glad to hear stuff like that.

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