Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Robin Melanson's Corset Pullover

This is pretty old, actually-- I did it in September last year, for my sister's birthday, and she just now got around to sending me pictures, so I still need bragging rights. But more than that, I need to teach her a thing or two about modelling knitwear, I think... . My goodness. Could those shadows be any less flattering? The way those sleeves have been tugged out of shape? That slouch in the collar? Regrettable. That colorway anomaly, the result of bad lighting? It looks periwinkle.

I no longer remember the yarn offhand, although I'm certain the label is somewhere in my knitting scrapbook-- it was a mercerized cotton from elann.com, a great steal. This picture loses some of the nice detail on the collar, which I was rather proud of. I had to extensively modify the waist sizing to fit her, since she's the size-opposite of me, and actually tinier than the extra-small was, and I left off the straps since I didn't like the contrast of silver d-rings with that pale blue yarn.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Oh, yeah. I should show this off.

<-- This cluster of yarn bits is the sleeve, both fronts, and the backside of Mariah. The second sleeve is in progress and the yoke and hood will come soon after. I need a zipper.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Stitch 'n' Bitch Samplings, Part the Second

So, the Weaving Works group wasn’t a group and wasn’t interesting. In a broader artsy vein, I attended the First Ever General Meeting of a friend’s planned crafting event.

It was good. There was a debacle involving dead car batteries (not mine) which caused me to hole up there longer than planned, but there was also glass-etching, metal-etching (by electrolysis, which has the exciting ability to kill you), some knitting, and:

Yes, perler beads. Sadly, the peg boards were too small and the colors too limited for the pacman ghosts to be historically accurate (they should have more… ectoplasmic skirt ripples, and the green one is pink, honest), but my personal streak of geek still reigned at an all-time high amongst the contact paper and exacto knives of other crafts.

By all qualifications, it was a good time, although it didn’t really fit my desired stitch 'n' bitch standards. I was the most developed knitter there by a high margin, which definitely shapes the group dynamic . . . an ego-boost, not that I need one, and it followed that I ended up doing a fair share of teaching. I don't mind teaching, as such: the long-tail cast-on truly ought to be spread to the masses, after all. The problem is this:

In case the image is too small: my normal knitting technique has me reaching in with the left needle, looping the yarn around with the left index finger, and dragging the new stitch onto the left needle. It's a weird and probably ill-advised method that's forever making me reverse and recalculate patterns. I developed it because I'm so dominantly left-handed that I could almost forget about having a right hand for a week or two. So, every time I teach someone, I revert to Continental, which makes my head hurt and my right hand cramp up after only half an hour or so... but saves my hapless pupils from similar headaches (their hands presumably won't cramp up) when they first pick up a written pattern. This makes teaching literally physically painful, alas. Not sure how much of it I can tolerate, although I am baited by the promise of a future full of crazy crafts.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Wherein I have problems with a basic scarf

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I’m sick of garter, but my mother commissioned me to work up a scarf for her, “just like that one you made when you were first learning to knit!”

So I did that. It took a fair amount of my diminishing supply of port and five episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist, watched off my friend’s external hard drive off one of his laptops using the viper orgy of miscellaneous cords he left in my apartment (there is a one-way technology exchange here, not that I’m not grateful or anything), but I got it done.

Then I looked at it.

At almost precisely the halfway point, that very charcoal-streaked-with-pearl grey skein of lionbrand homespun gave up the ghost and went heather grey. Heather grey! Forget dyelot-- that’s an entirely different @#$%& color.

I’m not doing it over. But I am fuming to myself as I knot the last fluffy bit of fringe.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Stitch 'n' Bitch Samplings, Part the First

Over the next few months, I’m going to try to get to some of the knitting circles around Seattle. I’ve been socially restless lately and, well, how better to meet new people than over some yarn and needles?

There is a knitting circle at my place of student employment, but it started just shortly before I left, and now it’s on a day when I’m at my other job. I knit where I work now, but it’s not the same even though I have the enthusiastic approval of my boss.

So, my first visit was last week, to the knitting group held at Weaving Works. By far, it’s the most convenient place for me: the store’s in walking distance, the meeting’s on a day when I have plenty of free time, and I don’t feel obligated to invest in a cup of coffee I don’t want in order to justify my presence. There is the hazard of stray purchases (I love that store), but I managed to avoid the bargain bins, the sock yarn, only briefly finger the roving (ah, the merino top roving), and completely forget to look for possible DK weights for an argyle sweater that’s been impinging on my mind.

My love for the Weaving Works did not translate into enchantment with the group. It was, as I suspected, more of a set time for people to show up: this would have been fine had anyone actually been there. There were plenty of people in the store, mind, but only one woman actually knitting. She seemed congenial but had a good forty years on me, and the only conversation we had was when she asked to borrow my pocketknife.

After an hour and change of knitting up the stockinette on the right side of “Mariah,” my eyes roving around the sexy walls of yarn, my brain announced in a bored, brassy voice as it is wont: you know, bitch, you could be doing this in your slippers, in front of your computer, with a hot cup of rooibos and a pine nut chicken sausage grilling for dinner. They won’t let you do that in the shop, will they?

I couldn't deny that logic, so I went home and did that. There's other groups, though, and I'll impart my adventures as I have them.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

2007 Ambitions

I’m a casual adherent of the “knit your stash 2007” movement. It’s not so much a goal for me as a fact: I’m a)broke and b)swimming in old yarn. I have a lot of what I call “problem” yarn—half-skeins leftover from family commissions and numerous bunches of 1-3 skeins in the same dyelot, picked up when I was young and daft, or had a small gift certificate in hand, or it was so dreadfully on sale that I could pretend I would find something to do with it. I’m itching to do larger projects, these days. I know there are yarn exchanges online, but that would defeat the challenge of finding something to do with the scraps and the spare skeins and the unraveled thriftshop sweaters. So, I have tons of stuff I could potentially be knitting up, and I certainly have enough on the needles right now. “Mariah” is coming along quicker than I expected, although I’ve done neither of the arms yet and the cables will slow me down.

Yet I keep checking out the four drop spindles that came into my possession awhile ago, due to the largesse of an acquaintance downsizing her hobbies. I know the basics of spinning, but have never done much with it. And that makes me think . . . I need roving.

I don’t need roving right now. Nor do I need to buy yarn for the “We Call Them Pirates” hat. And I really don’t need to prototype a pac-man scarf. Just to lay it all out for myself, these are the reasons why:

  • felted green lunch tote with strap (hopefully with shibori embellishments)
  • red-and-black wide winter scarf
  • wrap with leftover burgundy yarn (my design)
  • a möbius-style cowl with color #204 mohair (my design)
  • Mrs. Beatons with scrap purple mohair and sexy brown sheep company prairie silk
  • Trellis prototypes in Peruvian alpaca (my design)
  • socks with blue variegated sock yarn (falling leaves? crusoe?)
  • socks with red variegated sock yarn (pomatomus?)
  • more cat toys with leftover Bernat Disco (they love it-- you’d think there’s coke catnip in that hideous tinsel)
  • finish Samus with thriftstore angora blend
  • drop-stitch cardigan in blue variegated thrift-shop sweater—finish unravelling
  • wide-shouldered cowl with black mohair and lime Ritratto? (my design)
  • Lionbrand homespun scrap sack for cat toys
  • Something not boring in the Jo-Ann simplicity mega-skein (not boring being optional; that yarn doesn’t show stitch patterns well at all)
  • ScarfStyle “interlocking balloons”

Those are my plans thus far. Look out, 2007. You will be knit.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

The tutti-fruiti bobble sweater of doom

I keep ogling patterns that will never be useful to me. Patterns I will never personally wear for any of a number of reasons (too flashy, too multi-hued too impractical, too expensive, not suited to my body shape), patterns I will never gift (for any of the above reasons, but also including: too involved, too likely to be taken the wrong way, too likely to never be worn)… even patterns I find hideously tacky.

I want to knit them. I don’t want to deal with them after that… I want them to disappear into a nether void, leaving only yarn scats. Heck, I don’t even want to buy the yarn for them—if only I had an anonymous tacky yarn donor. I’m just hankering to sit in a corner somewhere, knitting up an Andean folk hat (categories: too multi-hued, too flashy) with size 2 needles while thirty bobbins of different colors dangle around me.

I’m trying to look at this positively: I want to widen my horizons, don’t I? I want to work on something challenging, don’t I? But the next time I spend ten minutes in Craft Warehouse petting a skein of Voodoo on steep discount, I’m going to need a minder on hand to keep me from buying it just because “I want to knit that texture!”

(I compromised—two skeins of black mohair and some St. Charles collazione Ritratto instead. In lime.)

Monday, January 1, 2007

Works in Progress

Currently on the needles, I’m working up a prototype for another pair of fingerless gloves (sort of hobo garden chic); a monotony-inducing garter stitch lionbrand scarf (there’s a story behind this); the very clone of the scarf I made my father (for me), only done in remainder wool-ease worsted and Sirdar “Country Style,” and the left front of Jodi Green’s “Mariah” from knitty.

The scarf . . . I’m not a fan of garter stitch. It has its place in the knitting world, to be sure, but I find it mind-numbing. But the day before I left for home, my mother pressed a skein into my hands and asked me to knit a scarf “just like” the one I’d done for my sister three years ago. Apparently, I’m a sucker for sentimental reasoning.

The Mariah sweater is a tardy gift for a friend. It makes me nervous, working on it, even though I’ve justified the effort due to the extra time on my hands, the fact that my friend specified the pattern, and the cheapness of the yarn (as much as I’d spend on a smaller knit project, if not less); my knitting for friends was initially greeted with varying degrees of un-appreciation, so I’m afraid I won’t be satisfied with the “wear” given it by the recipient. The only person who fulfils my wear requirements is a guy who mocks me whenever he spots me with sticks in hand . . . go figure. Well, we’ll see.