I knit so I don’t kill people

April 2, 2009 § 2 Comments

Oh. My. God.

So, my university, while being 600 years old, apparently has never figured out a way to not make their students crazy with rage.

I didn’t get any of the modules I wanted, except for the required one. In fact, I didn’t even get the ones I only semi-wanted. Or the ones I needed. Or… any at all, really.

So I try to breathe deeply, sit on Christian’s porch, enjoy the sun, and knit until I find someone to stab with a pointy bamboo stick. In the eye.

On the positive side, Christian wants to go yarn shopping once he has money. Oh, yesssss.

AND, I almost forgot – Tyler got his socks! They fit! He loves them! They fit! He loves them! This is the bright lining at the end of my cloudy horizon! They fit! This excites me more than it probably should, but… they fit!

Postcard letter: What makes these special

March 29, 2009 § Leave a comment

Dear Tyler!

Have you ever owned 17300 of one thing? No? I didn’t think so.

Well, now you do! Because 17300 is the approximate number of stitches that make up your brand new socks. Congratulations!

Now, before you jump up, tear the socks off your feet, lovingly wrap them in tissue paper and hide them in the far corner of your closet before any dirt gets onto them, or the cats see them, or you walk holes into  them – stop. Relax. It’s hammer time.

And after all, that’s what they’re made for.

I really hope they fit. They’re far-traveled socks, you know. I had the original idea in Philadelphia, I drafted the first chart on the plane between two continents. I bought the yarn while I was at my parents’, and took them everywhere: my friends’, the doctor’s office, the sauna. (There was no actual knitting IN a sauna though – ouch, ouch, metal needles!) Most of the second sock was made between my parents’ and Leipzig, which is pretty much halfway across Germany, and I embroidered the words and arrows on at my own apartment here in Leipzig. That’s a lot of places to go for a pair of socks!

I tried to work some good mojo into them: the excitement of traveling, the relaxation of sauna, the wackiness of Rocky Horror, (of course. I watched it multiple times as side-entertainment, and listened to the soundtrack even more often) the lightheartedness of 1990s college movies, the adventure of 18th century Scotland – and last but not least, my love and affection.

Bottom line – they might look like socks and feel like socks, but they’re not. They’re more. They’re my time and my good wishes, all captured in 17300 stitches of fingering weight yarn wrapped around 2mm needles. (In case this means nothing to you, that’s a whole lot of stitches and really tiny needles!)

So now go, walk some big honkin’ holes into them, and don’t forget to pack them when you come visit me! (Even if it is in July. You never know!)

– Patti

PS: If you desire some sort of underwear with ‘Thrust’ on them – I advise against wool.

Public knitting

March 28, 2009 § Leave a comment

Things I learned today: Don’t drop a DPN on the tram if there’s somebody sitting right in front of you, because it will take all your power to keep from flying headfirst into his crotch when you try and pick it up.

I’m almost done with the Grasshoppers. Cast on the second one last night before Jule, knit for two and a half, maybe three hours there, and a tiny bit at Christian’s afterwards (VERY little. I was kinda drunk, but my stitches were surprisingly even.)  and then again this morning/afternoon. I’m completely done with the lace pattern – there were 16 more rounds of it after the gusset decrease, with a gradual decrease of lace every 8 rounds, and now there’s just a tiny bit of stockinette and the toe left. The pattern is crack, I swear. Not a spot of SSS, though it took me forever to motivate myself to rip back the toe on the first one – there was a decrease mistake somewhere, which put it right on the bottom of my list until I finished the Time Warps.

Speaking of the Time Warps. I sent them out yesterday, with a letter squeezed onto two postcards. I can’t wait until he gets them, I’m guessing/hoping sometime next week. (Also, Deutsche Post. €6 to send a C5 envelope? Seriously? That’s five cents more than I paid for the yarn!!!)

Aaaand… somebody nominated them for the Bobby Award for Best Obscure Pattern. Holy shit. Not that I stand a chance of winning, but… holy shit. I’m slightly overwhelmed, and my ego is ready to burst.

Crank up the sonic oscillator…

March 26, 2009 § Leave a comment

ah, the Time Warps. (As an aside note, I’ve typed that so often now that it looks to me. This is a bad sign. Good thing they’re done.)

Anyway, in the wake of my excitement at finishing them, I spent the morning turning my messy, multicolor paper chart into a nice, tidy spreadsheet and writing out some instructions, like how to find a basic sock pattern. (I’m not crazy. There’s tons of basic sock patterns out there a million times better than anything I could cook up.)

So now this

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has turned into a perfect, pretty PDF that even has its own Ravelry project page. This excites me greatly.

What the socks ended up looking like? Well, personally, I think they’re awesome.

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Honestly, I wish they fit me. But, fortunately for Tyler, they’re not only too wide but also too long, and  I’m gonna go to the city… tomorrow or so… buy a large envelope, stick them in there, and groan about the outrageous price of shipping stuff overseas. At least they weigh less than 100g.

I’m still confused as to the fact that my gauge on 2mm metal needles is looser than on 2.25 wood ones. Maybe it has something to do with the whole… warp in the space-time-continuum or something.

PS: OMG, somebody already queued them!!! (I know this means next to nothing, considering how I queue half the new patterns, but SOMEBODY QUEUED MY NEW PATTERN! Somebody besides me likes them!!! Yay!!!)

It’s astounding…

March 26, 2009 § Leave a comment

I did the Time Warp again! *dances*

Yes, indeed, Tyler’s Time Warp socks are done, done, DONE!

With the 2×2 ribbing, followed by 20 rows of stockinette shaft, my standard heel and toe and lots of stockinette in  between, I admit they were a pretty easy, mindless knit. Except for the duplicate stitch embroidery just above the heel flaps. It turned out pretty awesome, but it drove me absolutely fucking bonkers. I hate duplicate stitch. Plus the E in STEP just didn’t want the same thing I wanted and ended up one row too small – which I noticed when I’d just woven in the end. Great.

Good thing I bought that random ball of red Meilenweit the other week just before I left, because for some reason, it seems I didn’t have any other kind of truly red sock weight yarn. Granted, this one has one quarter dark in it, but with the muted colors of the grey… it all goes together quite well, and gay or not, we’re talking about a man having to wear these. Man? Guy. Tyler’s only a year older than me. But he does work in a freaking bank… I’m getting old, if suddenly and unexpectedly people I graduated with are… grown up!

Anyways.  I tried to put a lot of good mojo into these. I watched RHPS twice, I believe, since after all they’re Time Warp socks. And I listened to the soundtrack… a lot. Let’s say a lot. If I hadn’t known the words before, now I probably would. I knit them in the car ride to and from the Sauna, I even knit one needle (16 stitches) in the changing room. Naked. (Heh. Talk about mojo.) Continuing with the naughty theme, I also watched ‘Threesome’, that 94 college movie, which is possibly a rather unfortunate choice, but I was so bored today, and it IS a good movie, except kinda creepy with the whole mojo thing. (But at least there’s a Music Man reference in the movie)

These socks are traveling socks, too… I decided I wanted to knit Tyler a pair of socks in the plane on the way from the US to Germany, I mapped out the first ideas in my head on the train ride from Frankfurt to my parents’. I bought the yarn and started them there, carried them with me everywhere (including the sauna), knit most of the second sock between my parents’ and Leipzig, finished up here, in my own apartment… they’ve been all over the place!

I’m kind of more enchanted by them than I’d like to admit, since I probably won’t be making a pair for myself. They’re awesome, but that duplicate stitch…

(Maybe ON the heel flap. Intarsia. Go shoot me now.)

Also, in a fit of exuberance and altruism, I offered to knit both of my roomies a pair of handknit socks, and had them pick yarn from my endless purchases. More socks, just what I need, but at least they have smallish feet. Yay!

I would have finished the Grasshoppers, but somehow I screwed up the toe decrease last night, and I just didn’t want to deal with them today. Same goes for… other unmentionable projects. I justify this to myself by saying that I didn’t really have that much time today, after all, I unpacked, put everything away, did laundry, put new sheets on my bed plus changed from the thick down blanket to the lighter summer one, spent time with both the dog and my two-legged roomies, made food, and… didn’t set a foot outside of this apartment.

Amazingly enough, I still had couscous, canned champignons, and some kind of sauce in a bag that made up a pretty amazing dinner. This was an especially nice surprise after discovering I had no pasta left, and I had just resigned to having couscous with tomato sauce.

At least the Tempest has its own project bag now.

And I’ve started to collect the hair Wave sheds, formulating a vague plan to spin it up when/if I have enough.

This last note is included because hell, this post now fits into ALL my categories!

Spring fever

March 24, 2009 § Leave a comment

The good news is: I managed to squeeze all my yarn into my suitcase. This means I have to find a spot for shower gel and shampoo in my backpack, which is weird, but at least I won’t have to leave any yarn behind.

The not-so-good news is: it seems like I’ve developed a case of startitis. I was helpless in the face of all the new yarn in the house, so I pulled out a green ball of Trekking XXL and new 2.5ers and cast on a pretty, lacy green spring sock I tentatively titled ‘Grasshopper’. Because, you know, it’s all springy.

No, really though. It’s several shades of green, a shade of teal and some white (or is it very very light green?) mixed in.

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It doesn’t really show the brightness and vividness of the colors, but it was a rainy day yesterday, and I already packed my camera. Not that today is any better cloudwise, but at least it stopped raining.

But, you know. Until I get a photo, just picture that yarn with 20 rows of 1×1 ribbing, and  [k2tog, k1, yo, k1, yo, k1, ssk] every other row thirteen times, a heel flap in plain stockinette, and the first seven rows of the heel gusset split between a patterned top and a stockinette bottom.

And only after Dead Poets Society and a teeny tiny little bit of Sky High, too. Oh, and some listening to Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Outlander’ audiobook. Ok, I’m not as awesome as I thought.

However, this means right now I have on the needles: three pairs of socks (Time Warp, Grasshopper, elf socks for my mother that only need some smallish triangles added at the top), a lace shawl, a cardigan, and a random pair of almost finished mitts on my broken Harmonies that I can’t finish because, well, my Harmonies are broken.

Oh, and there’s a pair of randomly striped stashbuster socks, them kneesocks, a pair of gloves… and I think that might be it. But we’ll just ignore those last few for now.

Admitting your problem…

March 23, 2009 § Leave a comment

So, I’ll admit it: I might have a small yarn problem.

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I went to Zitron in Wickede (Ruhr) today, which is just a half-hour drive from my house and TOTALLY worth it. They’re open to the general public on Mondays, they have all Zitron yarns there (obviously) plus quite a few ones that aren’t even in normal circulation yet. I love it. I went in there with the best of intentions, and left 20 minutes later with 1.2 kg of yarn and two sets of DPNs.

I don’t think I’ve ever spent €85 quite as fast as today.

I mean, the thing is, I can’t get Zitron yarns in Leipzig, so I have to stock up while I’m here. Zitron makes amazing quality for relatively cheap (even cheaper like this, right from the source), it’s 100% made in Germany, the colors are gorgeous, it’s a family business, and they’re generally my favorite yarn brand ever. I won’t be buying sock yarn for the next couple of months, or at least I’m going to pretend I won’t. Chances are pretty good. And €85 isn’t even that bad for that much yarn, plus needles!

Still, the haul, especially combined with the yarn I bought in the US, is what commonly could be referred to as ‘a crapload’, and I’m not sure how I’m gonna get it all back to Leipzig.

I’m such a yarnwhore.

This is today’s yarn:
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And this is my total vacation yarn (minus two 1/2 balls of Berroco, which are downstairs in the shape of half a sleeve and the left side of the cardi front, and minus a rather unexciting grey ball of Meilenweit that’s turning into socks for Tyler):
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To put it in the words of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee: ‘My… you sure have a lot of yarn!’

I’m slowly beginning to realize that getting all that crap to Leipzig is going to be the smallest problem. I might have to clear some shelf-space in my closet. And thus begins the spread from the stash chest of drawers into the rest of my living space. No longer will it be cooped up in a measly three drawers, no, it shall regain freedom and make their fortune in the endless realms of Patti’s room! I have a dream, that one day, one will have given up dividing sock yarns and other yarns; I have a dream that one day, a little hank of sock weight and a little hank of laceweight will be able to be friends, no matter their fiber content! I have a dream!

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A few words. The top row is today, starting with Trekking XXL in various colors, including a couple of new ones, and two balls of something called Trekking Maxima. (It looks like XXL, feels like XXL, it just has a different label). Then my beloved HandArt (five skeins) – they have lamé yarns in that line now, too! Plus another one of the gorgeous dark blue I’ve missed since I had to give Adam’s socks away. Last in line, 100g of Nimbus, 100% merino, in the colorway I saw hanging around Mr Zitron’s neck last time I was there and immediately fell in love with. Now I have it. Heh. I’ll probably have it sitting around for a while, since I don’t want to cock it up and fall is still some time away.

And no, they do, in fact, not have anything resembling sock yarn in Leipzig. Why do you ask?

Aaaand, my US haul! Starting out with the Misti Alpaca 2-ply (with the half-finished Python in the back), then the Wildefoote sock yarn, Malabrigo Lace, Schaefer Finger Lakes, and last but not least, the Berroco. I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough yarn, but with only one sleeve to go… I have enough. Way enough. Enough for a hat-and-mitts-ensemble to go with it, probably. Yay alpaca mitts!

My… I have a lot of yarn.

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