Time Out

Well. Last you saw me I had Wallace and Grommit on and I was going to finish it. And I did. And it is in time out. I have knit the top of that dumb thing 3 times. Then I finished it into a short sleeve sweater. And the top is still wrong. STILL WRONG. Still wrong. As in not at all right. Not even close. And this is so sad for so many reasons. I loved that yarn and it’s the kind of yarn that is sticky and you can really only pull it out and reknit it so many times before it is no longer the type of yarn you can knit so much as a fuzzy felted fuzz. And even if I did, I cannot bear to do that again right now. I had this panicked thought that I should just cut it up and sew it into potholders or something. Before I got the scissors out and got chopping I had the sense to back away slowly… So sadly it sits in time out until I can get up my sense and do something. I’m thinking I can keep the bottom, rip out the top – AGAIN – and try one last time. I think the problem is it was top down. I can knit bottom up without incident, apparently, but have had little to no success starting at the top and going down. Which makes no sense because it is just the same thing backwards, but such is life.

So since I refuse to show photos of exactly how bad it fits because after all it turns out I have a ** little ** self respect, I will instead show you last weekend. Last weekend, in Boston, we got snowed in. Like honest to goodness can’t leave the house snowed in.

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I cannot remember the last time I’ve been actually snowed in. There have been time I’ve used it as an excuse to stay in, or to eat crackers and peanut butter and ice cream for dinner because I was too lazy to go out in the snow to get proper food. But last weekend for real, there was an honest to goodness driving ban, 2 feet of snow, and based on how the driving was the next day, I think it was good and warranted. I did, of course, make sure we had cookies, because in emergencies, cookies are just about required. And made for a fantastic breakfast of shoveling champions the next day. YUM!

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So I spent the majority of the storm sitting with some tea and some cookies and finishing my scrap blanket, which I’m pleased to say is finished and has eaten an ENTIRE bag of scraps! Woot!

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And then the shoveling began, which was actually kind of fun. Good times. So with the scrap blanket and the delinquent Wallace and Grommit finished for now, I’m on to bigger and better things. From the bottom up this time.

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Success!!

When I last left, I was holding a rather daunting pile of wound yarn. Well, I knit and I knit and I hoped and I hoped, and now the Mr. has a new sweater. I was lucky that the gauge was exactly the same as what I was trying to copy, so I just got out my crayons and graph paper, copied the patten from the photo onto the graph paper, and followed directions.

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It’s a simple raglan, and I took measurements from a sweater that he has that fits to get the chest measurement, arm length, etc.

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The original didn’t worry about making a coherent pattern around the raglan decreases, so neither did I, and it worked out just fine.

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Overall, I’m very happy with it. It fits, it is the right color, it is the right pattern, and most importantly, the Mr. loves it. So yeah me!!

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And so now I’m back to my Wallace and Grommet. Which is to say, still in my jammies with a sweater that has no sleeves and comes down to my belly button and strings hanging off the side. But no matter. But with any luck in a week or so, it will be more presentable. It won’t be getting sleeves, so really it’s just sleeve cuffs and another few inches of pattern. So I have that going for me.

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There’s an App for that

Someday, I swear, I will learn. Recipes are there for a reason. Denial is not just a river in Egypt. yada yada. From this you can infer (and if you can’t, don’t worry, I’ll just tell you) that all that progress? Yes. It is no more. I spent Halloween handing out candy alternately with ripping back that sweater upon admitting that the neck hole is way big and it is all wrong. And I discovered, if I’d just spent 15 minutes googling for such a thing, that for a top down raglan sweater pattern? Yeah, there’s an app for that. Duh. So $0.99 later and 10 minutes of measuring and plugging in numbers and neckline preferences, yeah. A recipe to follow. I swear, I’m not as dumb as I look.

I am now just about back to where I was when I admitted finally that I was being dumb, and so instead of showing you photos that look exactly like the last ones, although this time of a properly proportioned sweater top, I will instead show you photo of YARN!!

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Ohh, pretty colors. Shiny silk. Handspun yarn. Lots of it.

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All available at the shop – go get them before they go home and make someone else happy!

Wallace and Gromit

So a few posts back, I talked about this hat I made that turned out to be a watermelon cozy, right? And I talked about how I was actually not sad to rip it out because I was not going to use all the yarn, and I was a little bit obsessed with it and never wanted it to end? And perhaps I’d make it into a sweater? Well, I did start that sweater.

Voila.

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Now, I looked for a pattern, couldn’t find exactly what I wanted, got impatient, and decided WTF, I’ll just start it. I had a vague idea of a sweater, with the pattern I’d started with the hat, and… well that was the plan. I was slightly paralyzed because I wasn’t sure how far the yarn would go. The white is leftover from Simpleton, and the colored yarn is my own handspun. The wool is Wensleydale, and I’m madly in love with it. I have 350 yds of the Wensleydale, ~300 yds of the white, and some Rhinebeck yarn that uncannily similar to the white and I’m hoping that when I switch, no one will be the wiser.

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Now since I wasn’t sure how far the yarn would go, what I wanted the neckline to be, or what I wanted the bottom to be, the only rational option left was to start smack in the middle. Surely I could handle that. So I cast on provisionally around the bottom of the yoke, and proceeded up with raglan sleeves. Eventually, I decided to do a neckline, and decided that I liked Acers neckline, so I pulled out that pattern, figured out what that meant for the current sweater, and I think it worked. The ribbing went well, and I cast off in my normal bind off (knit one, knit another one, slip 1st over 2nd, repeat) which is not elegant and which flares a bit. This didn’t work at all, because it’s kind of a wider neckline and the flaring made it look ridiculous. So I ripped back and am doing a tubular cast off (I think that’s what it’s called) and it seems to be working well. When it’s done, I’ll double check it but then it’d onward and downward on the body.

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I can’t tell if it’s hideous or fabulous, but I like it so far, and it is making me smile, so I’ll just keep going. I’m calling it Wallace and Gromit because I cannot think of Wensleydale without thinking of Wallace and Gromit eating Wensleydale cheeeeesseeee and drinking tea. These are the things that get linked in my head.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a new wooly toy, which I’m going to go play with!!

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(The suspense is killing you, I know it.)

Fits and Starts

Where I’ve been:

A Polish wedding. Holy Wodka. Seriously, the most fun I’ve had in a long time. Got to see and party with family I haven’t seen in a while, family I’ve never seen, had fantastic food I haven’t had in forever, and be more hungover than I’ve ever been. Fantastic. Highly recommended.

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Na zdrowie to Alicja and Aaron.

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Also, been spinning up a storm. Here’s the latest, to enter the shop sometime this weekend. Seriously excited about this update, the purple/red is so deep and complex, I really want to steal that one. And the softer blue/green/purple is the new Polworth/Silk – I am madly in love with this one.

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And, I’m playing the “pick a color – any color” game, hopefully transforming the bedroom this weekend from bright dark blue to soothing, clean crisp white. How there are so many “whites” blows my mind.

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And, in knitting, the yarn-bag emptying scrap yarn blanket is working out beautifully. Seriously boring knitting, but the yarn has to go somewhere, and it’s actually turning out pretty cool, so that’s something. Once this is done, I’ll have to get rid of a few other skeins I don’t know what to do with. I don’t know how this escaped my notice, but I am a dyer, so some of the un-inspiring skeins, I can change their color. Seriously don’t know how I didn’t think of this before now, but there you go. I’ll keep you posted on any exciting transformations.

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Ahem…

**tap tap** “This Thing On?”

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Umm, so yeah. A little radio silence to keep us all guessing. But… I’m baaaa-aacckk!

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In my defense, I have a fairly good reason for the silence. A while ago, I alluded to the Very Expensive Thing that we were trying to do. Well, we did it. Mr. Wound Up Tight (also known as Mr. Laid Back) and I did the very expensive thing and are now the proud owners of a 1860 farm house, walking distance to the center of town. This involved packing up all our belongings and making the epic trip 3 miles from our old humble abode in a very luxurious U-haul and unpacking it. This, I should not have been so surprised as I was, turned out to be a very time consuming thing.

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We went ahead and planted a very sophisticated garden, in blue buckets, due to the aforementioned time contraints. We have peppers and cucumbers and eggplants coming out our ears. There are lots of tomatoes, which are slowly turning red (they had an incident involving not enough water on a hot day, but they seem to be recovering).

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And so it’s been an unending stream of “unpack this! Go to the beach! Unpack this! Buy this! Go on vacation and hike all over the Tetons again! Dye some wool! Knit something!” etc. But I am finally getting to a point where we are starting to get some paint on the walls, furniture of a non-free-college type, and I can take a little breath. I’ve still been biking to work (50th day for the year today) and dying up wool and spinning, and a little knitting. Knitting has been slow because I’m procrastinating and fighting with the splitty laddery alpaca, but I’m sure it’ll be lovely when it’s done.

So sorry for the silence, hopefully I’ll be back on a more regular basis soon, and you can watch me run around like a chicken without a head doing project after project before falling into bed at the end of the day. However, tonight, I’m parking myself here, on my back porch (ahem, I’ll just say it again, since it may have escaped your notice… MY BACK PORCH!! THE ONE THAT IS ALL MINE!!) and work on the splitty sleeve and drink some yummy stuff.

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Inertia

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My knitting bag didn’t open once since last Monday, which is knit night. The reason for this is that I finished the sweater, and don’t have anything else started. I tend to knit one thing at a time, for a few reasons, mostly having to do with being neurotic. This is fine when you have a bag of patterns and yarns that go with them. I have a pretty easy time casting on a pre-determined number of stitches and just following directions. Somewhere along the way, I got bored, or cocky, or something, and decided, to heck with directions, I know how to measure and multiply, I can make that. And I’ve found that to be true. I can design something that fits. Sometimes I’m re-inventing the wheel, which I totally get, but in my head, it somehow makes sense. However, measuring, gauge swatch, multiply? It can take me weeks to do this simple task. So in the general tally, buying patterns, 1; Kate, 0.

I’ve been wanting to cast on for a while. The problem of taking measurements and multiply has been increased exponentially by the choice of both pattern and colors. It’s paralyzed me for months. It’s totally the fault of my arch-enemy inertia. A body at rest remains at rest, a body in motion remains at rest… A body in bed stays there, a body on the couch stays there, a body trolling for patterns and ideas continues to troll, a body who waits too long to decide what’s for dinner orders out… The activation energy to get the pattern books out, chart out the patterns, pick colors, and THEN measure and do math? Very high. Plus, as exibited above, it makes an enormous mess.

As the Jam Experiment clearly predicts, the plethora of books, patterns, and choice of over 20 Jaimeson and Smith Shetland has only made it harder. I don’t really think I have a procrastination problem, but an inertia problem. This is probably the same semantics dance as the difference between a reason and an excuse*. Nevertheless. So I decided the right order of operations was to pick the pattern (as in the fair isle pattern charted out on graph paper) then play with colors and figure those out, then measure, multiply or find the shape I want in another pattern and adjust the gauge. I’m 100% through finding the patterns charted out on graph paper, and about 80% through finding the colors. I have an idea of what shape I want, namely something very similar to this gem found by the great Kate Davies. A cardigan (I think the next few will be cardigans…) with grey ribbing and edges, and some mashup of the below for the colors.

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With any luck I’ll have something a little neater to show for myself soon.

*I think a reason and an excuse are exactly the same thing. The difference is your intention. If you’re explaining why you were late, and not expecting to be let off the hook for it, it’s your reason. Otherwise it’s an excuse.