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.
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!
November 24, 2010 § 9 Comments
I haven’t been posting; I think it’s mostly due to the fact that I got a new paper journal that I love writing in – yet another Moleskine. The third over a relatively short time. Used to be that I thought they were pretentious, now I appreciate their simplistic design and rounded corners.
Speaking of rounded corners. Last night, my old laptop broke, which was a kind of a shame and kind of a relief. I liked Graham, I really did, but I’d had nothing but trouble with him in the last months – freezing, especially, and overheating, and freezing some more, and more random shit that was just annoying. Then last night, he wouldn’t recognize the fact that he was plugged in. I tried the usual – pull the plug out, stick it back in, thump it on the back – nothing.
So I rather hysterically backed everything important up onto my external harddrive, transferred some money, and bought a Macbook today. The Macbook I’ve been planning on for… a while. Ever since summer, I guess, since Graham started acting up more and more.
I was a bit afraid of the Big Bad Apple, but so far I’m loving it. It’s friendly, it’s streamlined, it’s simplistic. I’m sure I’ll encounter some problems at some point, but right now, I’m very much charmed. Oscar (i.e. the Macbook) isn’t quite as big as Graham, which might put a damper on watching movies, but seriously… if that’s all I have to complain about, I’ll take that any day.
Status updates on the Frantic Christmas Knitting: 30 days to go, Girl Friday halfway done, Henry around 60 %. I’d post pictures but it’s at a point where it just looks… more of the same, basically. Which isn’t very exciting as photos go. (Also I don’t have anything on this computer yet.)
Cute knitting-related anecdote: One of my classmates was wearing this stylish beret, so I asked here where she got it. Her answer? Ravelry! So Saskia and I squeed a bit, and started chatting about knitting, and the pattern (Meret/Mystery Beret by Wooly Wormhead, by the way), and yarn, and the whole shebang. It was nice, having a little outpost of normality in the ‘real world’. The Bunter November yarn market (the little brother of the Wollefest each May) was, of course, right on the mainland of the Wondrous Land of Knitting, and I spent a couple of hours deliriously petting yarn, knitting and chatting with people I knew from Ravelry or the Strickcafé or didn’t know at all, at least not their faces (hallo, Jana!).
Why I never posted about this? Well, of course I’d forgotten my camera (figures), and I just haven’t felt like posting yarn porn. Shocking, I know. I’ll post ’em one of these days, when I’ve figured out whether Oscar is compatible with Bobby the External Harddrive. But first, Glee.
November 13, 2010 § 1 Comment
Today, with all of last post’s issues still brewing under the surface, we return to the scheduled program with A Word on Henry.
Oh my god. This is seriously one of the coolest things I’ve ever knit. So. Cool. It’s subtle, it’s easy, it’s clever… my, is it clever. Clever to a point where it doesn’t even look knit, and how amazing is that? It works well with the slightly heathered Alpaca sock yarn I’m using, and did I mention how clever it is?
The clear lines, the simple yet striking design, I’m in love with all it. Seriously, I’m kind of sad I’m giving it away. Even if I do, deep down in my heart, know that this isn’t the type of scarf I wear. Lucky recipient.
Though the body pattern consists of only four different rows, there’s a bit of a challenge in the construction: for one, it starts with a tubular cast-on and ends with a matching cast-off. That’s a first for me, at least this way, with waste yarn. I think there was a tubular CO without waste yarn on the Endpaper mitts I made way back when, but I hated that one, and I think I chickened out on the BO. No chickening out this time!
The other obvious disadvantage of this scarf is that you have 452-stitch rows. However, there’s ‘only’ 150 rows, so in terms of total stitch count, it’s still around what you’d have to contend with in a fingering-weight scarf anyway. Or what you would have to if you slipped half the freaking stitches every row. So, yeah.
Progress is going ok, though not quite as well as it did in that first, over-enthusiastic week, but that’s mostly due to lighting issues. And the fact that the Girl Friday front I’m working on? Has 43 stitches a row.
November 9, 2010 § 4 Comments
As always, I can count on my desk to be a pretty accurate snapshot of my life. Mostly because I just pile stuff on there, pull things that I need from the bottom to the top, until everything’s arranged in a kind of organized chaos.
My life seems to be a pretty even split between knitting and Spanish right now. Which… is kind of what it’s been for the last year, to be honest. Except now it’s more fun and less fun at the same time – more fun because I read books in Spanish now, even if my dictionary is never particularly far – less fun because my Spanish course kind of sucks, for several reasons I won’t go into.
But those rather vague lumps in the picture, that’s top to bottom: Henry scarf (for Adam), Vespergyle Mitts (for me), Watson sweater (tan-colored lump, for me), Girl Friday (grey, for my sister). Featured in the background: Thermal sweater, for me, which I haven’t touched in a while due to, well, the big pile in the middle.
I’ve tried rotating working on them by day, which was a veritable shipwreck due to my project ADD, so I mostly work on each of them every day. Which sounds like I’m getting a lot more done than is actually the case.
Which is weird, because I’m actually more lazy recently than in a while. I love knitting, but with Christmas at the door it’s mostly a low-level stress factor, along with something that kind of feels like a chore. Plus I have Smallville and Psych to supplement my usual shows, so more knitting time there. Plus I ordered a webcam the other day and it should get here this week, which means I can knit while webcamming with Adam.
And gosh, doesn’t that sound naughty.
November 1, 2010 § 2 Comments
It’s not like I’m not stressed, with Christmas only 53 days away – especially since I kind of randomly decided to knit a Henry for Adam. On the plus side, I’m almost done with the backside of the Girl Friday for my sister, despite my incredible slackerdom when it comes to that thing.
I’d much rather work on Watson (also only about 15cm to go on that back), or the Thermal (started a sleeve, back done, half the front also), or my Vespergyle mittens (halfway up the thumb on the second mitt), or Saskia’s Super Secret Christmas Present (finished, booyeah! but I’m considering making matching mittens). I’m also done with the Brambles beret and scarf, even if I haven’t gotten around to wearing them. I have a feeling I’ll have to run some kind of elastic through the brim of the beret, since it’s pretty loose, but I’ll wait till after I’ve actually worn it.
In conclusion: I feel like I’m getting somewhere. Making progress. Which is important for my sanity, since uni doesn’t exactly evoke the same feeling at the moment.
Also, it’s kind of hard to get really stressed out if the foot of my bed looks like this most evenings.
Yes, I also got my other roomie to join us on the dark side. She’s making a hat. Which she was half done with, then discovered a mistake two rows down from where she was, and subsequently… frogged the whole thing. And started over. I’m still kind of flabbergasted.
Speaking of flabbergasted. I’m making good on my resolution to go to the knitting café more, and lo and behold. I was just hanging out there on Saturday, very content indeed about just having bought truly luscious yarn for Henry,
(Bremont Camino Alpaca, fingering weight, 60% merino, 20% alpaca, 20% nylon)
… and then Christine plunked an armful of yarn on the table in front of me. Not just any yarn. Wollmeise.
I tried, for about three hours, to discourage myself from buying one. I failed. Mostly because I didn’t really have any good arguments except for how it was kind of expensive (€17.50 for 150g, which… isn’t that bad, but not that cheap either), but then I had that exact amount in my wallet and that must’ve been a sign.
It was kind of hard to decide, because all the colors were gorgeous. No kidding. Even the ones I usually can’t stand. ALL. GORGEOUS. But I settled on this beautiful green, Grashüpfer, and my photo doesn’t do it justice.
Also, it’s so tightly twisted that the 150g look like 100g, and you could probably bludgeon someone to death with the skein. Death by Wollmeise. There’s worse ways to go.
October 21, 2010 § 2 Comments
This week isn’t particularly better than the last one. Some things have improved from last week; however, other things have emerged that make me want to bang my head against the nearest available surface.
At least Andi has the early shift at Starbucks this week, so there’s a friendly face and a free extra espresso shot in the morning. I love Andi. He is my coffee god.
Also, after last week and my embarrassing whiny outburst, I’ve decided to channel my whininess into creative processes. I bet you all have a fairly good idea of what that might be. A hint: It’s not cleaning my desk, although that is long overdue, but that would mean untangling at least three skeins of sock yarn from each other. Do not want.
Instead, because today was a crappy day, I made focaccia. I always try to make some kind of yeast dough when I’m impatient and easily irritated, because it doesn’t work without letting it rest. It’s a valuable lesson. Also, I love that warm, yeasty, herb-y smell that reminds me of summer and the beach.
And then I knit a hat. A whole hat. In a day. I’m three quarters done with my Brambles scarf, so I figured I’d make the hat before finishing it. It’s not that I have project ADD, (alright, I do have project ADD. In fact I’m two seconds away from starting an experimental Norwegian-inspired, merino-lined Alpaca hat for my father. Or… something.) – point being, I wanted to see how much yarn I’d have left over from the hat, so I could see whether or not I could make tassels for the scarf. The yarn I have is from two different lots, since I bought them almost a year apart, but the lots are reasonably close.
Which, it turns out, was a blessing, because my tassel plan kind of backfired: I actually had to use some of the scarf yarn for the last five rows or so of the hat. Oops.
Still, a cute, warm, orange hat in a day. And no tassels for the scarf.
It’s funny, the color is incredibly hard to photograph. I played around with the settings and the lighting just now, and out of ten different photos, there’s not two that capture the shade of the yarn alike. The closest I’ve come to reality is this photo of the scarf from last week or so:
I have no idea why I never got around to posting this before. Incidentally, it was taken the same day I took the new header photo. (Opinions on that, by the way? Good? Bad? Meh?)
Speaking of things I haven’t gotten around to showing off – the new hair! (Recognize the cardi? I knit that!)
So, yeah. Seeing as there isn’t a demo this week to unhinge the entire public transportation system, there’s a pretty good chance I’m gonna pay the Strickcafé an overdue visit. Then Supernatural and cooking with Christian. Even if this week sucked, there’s still the weekend to look forward to. Nice job I did there on putting together my week.