Monday, April 28, 2014

The Last Day

Well, the time is coming for me to return to the real world.  It was so nice to have a few days away from things, and I'm ready to get back to work, but I also finally appreciate how important it is to take time off.  (I am notorious for not taking vacations.  Since I started working after graduation, I have taken a total of 3 non-sick days off until this past week.)  There was a list of things that I planned to get done the past few days, but it didn't all happen.

I picked out fabric for some upcoming sewing projects, but I haven't sewn anything yet (I swear I'm not procrastinating, it's a tactical delay).  I didn't get as caught up on tv shows and movies as I wanted, and I didn't get as much reading done as I'd hoped.  But I feel so rested.

It's been so nice to not have any sort of plan for the day.  Beyond feeding the dogs, I have no real obligations.  I also got some awesome finds at a couple of my favorite thrift stores:


And knitting!  Lots of knitting:

 

Some real good progress made on my blanket, and Anemone's sweater vest, and my mum's socks.  All in all, it's been a very satisfying vacation.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

WIP: Mother's Day Socks

MUM IF YOU'RE READING THIS, GO AWAY RIGHT NOW.

Am I safe now?  Good.






Mum's getting socks for Mother's Day.  Really nice socks.  I am the best daughter ever.


The first one is half done, which puts me in a really good position to have these done with time to spare, even with all the other knitting I need to do in the next month.  I know for a fact that she likes these colors, and she's going to love this yarn blend. 





Hopefully these will go smoothly.  Right now I feel like I'm in a bit of a rut and don't feel like knitting socks (I feel like a lot of this is Mottled Daydream's fault).  But I trust I can overcome it enough for my momma.  Goodness knows she's put up with enough from me to deserve a kickass pair of socks once in a while.

FO: Firmaments


Wow.  This thing really is gorgeous.  There are a couple of weak spots, but overall I am thrilled with it.  It is a soft squishy alpaca cloud.  I was a bit worried about the shape, and how difficult it might be to wear, but it turns out that I like circle shawls a lot.  


It's deceptively warm too, thanks to the alpaca.  I'm pleasantly surprised with how quickly the last part of this went.  The Starlight Lace chart took me over a month last summer, but I did the whole Elongated Fountain Lace and Diamond Edging in just about the same amount of time.  So that was nice. 



I usually do my blocking on a futon in the basement, but it was covered in stuff, so this time I pulled out the sleeper sofa.  It took about an hour to pin it out all the way, and I actually ran out of pins!  I started by pinning each of the diamonds in the center, then I put a pin in the center opening, tied a string to it, and worked my way around the final border, pinning at each diamond. 


I could have pinned it more aggressively, but the alpaca doesn't hold it's shape as well as wool would have, so I'm pleased with it.  It's still got a generous stretch, which is perfect for wrapping around my shoulders.


Now onto the imperfections.  There are only two things I'm less than pleased with, but they're not too bad and they reflect my abilities.  Above you'll see some laddering that didn't block out as much as I'd hoped.  I had to do that whole first section on DPNs, way back when I was still in college and a relatively new knitter.  It's a reflection of how I knit at that time, and you can see my progress as a knitter as you move out from the center.  I think that's really cool.


I honestly don't know why I'm drawing attention to this one, since even I can't find it most of the time.  But you can see where I grafted the ends of the lace border together.  This was my first time grafting lace, and I had a pretty terrible provisional cast-on that I didn't take the time to fix up.  I like seeing how I progress as a knitter, so these two rough spots join such classics in my knitting history as the inside-out kitchener stitch in my first few pairs of socks.






Invisible Knitting

It's a blight that visits each of us, in our turn.  We spend hours, days, weeks, or even months on a project, only to reach a point where we discover that it's all for naught.  There's a catastrophic mistake, only two rows in from the cast on, or the sizing's off, of we decide that the way the yarn is pooling isn't actually that charming after all.

Or we realize that we're out of yarn.






This is Mottled Daydream at about its halfway point.  I have really enjoyed knitting it, but I ran out of yarn with 14 rows and the picot bind-off left to go, and this was after cutting out several pattern rows. 

I started tinking.  I thought that maybe I'd have enough if I tinked back through the entire fourth texture section, but I ran some quick numbers in my head and realized that wouldn't cut it.  Not even close.  So I put it on my desk to think. 

After a couple of days, I feel like the best course of action is to very slowly and very carefully frog the whole thing.  As written, the pattern calls for 36 rows after the first texture section.  I plan to cut that way down, to only 16 rows.  Then I plan to cut out the fourth texture section entirely.  That should leave me with enough yarn to do the entire lace border and picot bind-off, which are the two sections I absolutely didn't want to compromise. 

I feel really bad that I've spent two weeks on this and have nothing to show for it.  Plus I have actual deadline knitting to do now, that I've been putting off to knit this.  But now I have to knit those things and wait on this.  And soon it will be too warm to wear cashmere, whereas if I'd finished it this weekend like I'd planned, I could have gotten a week or two of wear out of it before the weather got too hot.

Ultimately, I'll be happier for redoing this.  I want to feel proud of the things I knit, and I hate feeling like I've rushed something or done less than my best.  So once I've calmed down a little bit, I'll sit down with this and make it into something I'll be happy with.

All Quiet on the Wayward Front

1.  Yes, numbers again.  It's been that kind of week.

    1a.  I would like to apologize for my continued absence. I have scolded myself, and I will work harder to post here more regularly.

2.  I have no pictures for you today.  But there has been knitting done this week.  (Disappointingly, most of it is invisible knitting.  More about that later.  It's a sore subject.)

3.  I have given up hope on getting really good FO pictures of Firmaments anytime soon.  So you'll have to make do with blocking pictures and one photo that would be really nice except for an obstructive shadow.  (I promise that in some hazy distant future when this wind stops I will get beautiful pictures of this shawl and spread them far and wide.  But right now it's spring on the Great Plains.)

4.   I picked out fabric from my stash to make a sock project bag!  I plan to follow this tutorial, except I'll most likely hand sew it.  (Just before Xmas I bent the needle on my sewing machine and managed to royally screw up my bobbin tension.  So now it's sitting in its case, under my bed, thinking about all the terrible things it's done while I try to get myself emotionally stable enough to fix it.  But I'm still angry about being left in the lurch halfway through a sewing project two days before Xmas.)

5.  I spent all day yesterday reading, which I haven't done in ages.  I finished Winter's Tale, which has been one of my favorites since high school, and I read a couple hundred pages in A Clash of Kings, and finished out the evening with the first half of Free-Range Knitter

6.  I absolutely have to start Anemone's sweater vest this week.  (Mostly I'm just putting this here so I have some real level of accountability.  Thanks for understanding.)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Numbers on a Sunday

1. Yes, there is still no FO post for Firmaments yet.  I still don't have good pictures of it.  But I have worn it several times and it is a dream.  Easy to wear, easy to style, as soft as a cloud and as warm as a cuddly dog.  Fingers crossed for a day without wind soon.

2. Mottled Daydream is, as its name suggests, a dream.  I'm a bit worried about running out of yarn, especially given the picot bind-off.  I have 800 yards exactly, so if I make it, I will be cutting it much closer than I'm usually comfortable with.  I took it to the bar on Friday and we managed to avoid getting spilled on.  (Side note, I am way more surprised at how soft the cashmere is than I should be.  Wow.  I can't stop burying my face in it.)

3. Went to Captain America 2 yesterday.  It was brilliant.  My mum's sock enjoyed the movie too, and we only ran into two tiny dark-theatre-knitting speed bumps.  Nothing very noticeable or difficult to fix. 

4. Did some Spring Cleaning today.  Did a little bit of yarn storage organization, put all my books back on shelved or in piles, and condensed my fabric stash. 

5. Maybe two weeks ago I'd gone through some of my old boxes from high school in the garage and I found a bunch of coins that I'd stashed in various places.  I finally condensed all my old coin jars and hiding places into an old applesauce jar.  (There's probably not even $10 in there, but it makes me feel rich looking at it.)

6. Also cleaned my fishbowls today.  (I have three bettas: Sebastian, Cosmo, and Ada Lovelace.)  I felt so bad about how dirty the bowls had gotten, but all my babies are much happier now. 

7. Took the plastic down off the windows and put the screens back in (we take the screens out for winter so the view isn't obstructed at all).  I've had the windows open for the past two days straight to air out my room and it's glorious.  I only get a short period of time in between seasons that I can have my windows open before it gets too cold or too hot again, so I am prepared to enjoy every minute of this that I can.

Hope you're all having a good and productive weekend as well!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Quick & Dirty

Quick update in La Vida Gata:

I finished Firmaments last night.*  I went to my knitting group from 11am-1pm, stopped in the thrift stores downtown on my way home, then set up with a Leverage marathon at 3pm.  I finished the knitting around 10:30pm, and finished pinning it by 1:00am.  I'm in love.  I'm giddy.  The church ladies loved it.  Hopefully the weather will be nice and I can get good pictures taken tomorrow and a real FO post up. 

Anemone's sweater vest is technically next in queue, but I have a couple more measurements I need and a touch more math to do.  And I need to draw up charts.  So that's not quite on yet.  But remember this yarn?





I cast on for Mottled Daydream and it is glorious.  I cannot believe how soft this yarn is.  I'm in love all over again. Yes, I know there's a List, and yes, I'm aware that this isn't technically on The List, but sweet baby Neptune I can't stop.


*So when I go to see Beauty & the Beast this week with my mum, I get to wear a shawl that matched Belle's dress.  Because I'm a Disney Princess.