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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Obsessed

I don’t think I’ve ever knit the same pattern twice. There are too many things out there that I want to make to do that. Or at least that was the case until last weekend. You guys. I’m obsessed. My best friend of 20 (OMG we’re old!) years had her second baby. When she had her first, she had her in September, and I distinctly remember knitting the gift while watching Pride and Prejudice (the good version) on New Years Eve… so that’s pretty bad. That’s like 4 months late.

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So I was determined to be just a smidge better this time. I ordered washable wool from Fat Cat Knits, who has great colors and selection and best of all meant I didn’t have to dye anything or buy a hunk of superwash. I spun it up. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the colors. I mean, I liked them a lot, but wasn’t sure about a baby traipsing around in them. But whatever, I just kept going.

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I had been wanting to knit up these overalls since I saw Adrien knit some up in handspun. OMG. Too cute. Must have. The only mods I made from the pattern (aside from a gauge change, DK from worsted) was to make the legs open along that bottom seam and not bell at the bottom. The bell might work fine in older sizes, but 0-6 month was 12″ around for a leg that is like 4″ around. The pattern, and as far as I can tell everyone who has made them on ravelry, calls for two tubes for legs. Now, if someone gave me some item of clothing for a 0-6 month old who is getting changed constantly that required taking them all the way off every time, I would just never put them on them. And since my main goal is for these to get ON the child, I knit the legs back and forth, and added snap tape along that inseam. It worked pretty well. I would recommend it. It means sewing in snap tape, which might make you want to kill yourself, but I promise if you make it through alive it will make them so much more useful as clothes. And I did snaps for the shoulder straps instead of buttons. No matter how well you sew buttons, the idea of them near a kids mouth makes me nervous. Babies are fascinated with the most boring of things, like circles with holes and string, and resourceful, and like to swallow things.

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And once all the snaps and sewing was over, OMG. I love them. I am obsessed with them. I could knit only these until I die and be quite happy. I was so deliriously pleased with myself that I brought them into work and showed them to normal non-knitters probably making squealy sounds the whole time in my delusion. I just love them. There is discussion of adult sized ones for every day of he week. (I’m kidding there… only sort of.) I think I’m done with baby sweaters. Who needs sweaters when you can have THESE!!!!

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This baby was born in October, and I’m done a whole 2 WEEKS before New Years. That’s like 2 months! I’m practically early!!

The pattern is free on Ravelry. Get going.

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.

What do you look like?

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Once upon a time, about 5.5 years ago, I was catless. I was going to get some kittens, but my uncle had two cats that they couldn’t house due to moving into a small apartment with 2 dogs, 2 kids and themselves. 2 cats would be pushing it. So I said we’d take them for a bit, until they found a house. When we first saw them, Ollie and Scooter were about 8 or 9 years old. They, at first glance, were, well, this sounds bad, but they weren’t cute. Ollie had a distinctive face, I’m not sure what it was about him, but he just looked… not cute. And Scooter, well she’s neurotic and her stress was showing. And so we decided that once they found a house, Uncle would take back his cats and we’d get cute baby kittens who would be cute. And just like you see that beautiful woman with the not so beautiful man (or vice versa) and wonder what does she see in them, we fell in love with the ugly cats. And they weren’t ugly anymore. They were perfect, adorable, beautiful cats. We’d call each other in to look at how cute Ollie was looking, just sleeping. And like any other people with cats they love and no kids, we took pictures and movies of our cats. (Shut up. You would too.) And every time, I’d look at the photos and think “that just doesn’t look like Ollie” or “Scooter didn’t look like that?!” In the pictures, they’re just the ugly cats we picked up from the my uncle and were planning on handing back. There was something about Ollie’s personality that was not possible to capture, or was at least very difficult to capture, on camera. I always found this somewhat profound and took it as evidence that there is such a thing as a soul and it is not a visible thing, it is a presence thing. There is something about someone that you ‘see’ that has nothing to do with the actual physical shape of the being, which is what a camera captures (at least if you’re an amateur photographer like myself).

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This is coming to mind as I take my photo a day. I look in the mirror and think, yep, you look fine, where is that clicker. And somehow, when I take the picture, I don’t look like what I saw in the mirror. I’m paler, my eyes look more tired, my face isn’t even the same shape. I look in the mirror again and I don’t see the same person I just took a photo of. And it’s not ‘the camera ads 10 pounds’ type of thing, I am often surprised at what I look like in photos. I recognize it as me only because I know I was there and posing at the time, but it doesn’t look like what I think I see when I look in a mirror.

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Is this a common thing? I can’t be the only one who has come across this. I said I thought I’d learn some things while doing this self portrait project. I guess this is the first thing that’s made me think, aside from the fact that I’ve re-learned not to take a photo with the camera below eye-level lest your middle be… accentuated. So what do I look like to other people? Do they see the person in the mirror? Do they see what the photo shows? Do they see something entirely different? It’ like when you meet a set of twins, you can’t tell them apart for your life. After you know them both, you can’t understand why they are mistaken for each other. Are you really learning where each freckle is on each face, or are you seeing the person instead of the body?

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Just a thought.

Valiant Effort

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It’s not feeling very Christmas-y around here. Not for lack of trying, we have the party lights up, I’ve been trying to jam to Christmas music, we watched Christmas movies last weekend. I think because I’ve gotten so very good at avoiding all the Christmas stuff that starts around here in the beginning of November, I’m having a hard time switching gears. I always loved loved Christmas growing up. It was by far the best holiday, and not because I liked getting presents. There are so many traditions and familiar things and pretty twinkly lights that it’s just a warm and cozy time of year. But it has a time limit and if I start it in November, by the time it actually is Christmas, I’m so over it.

But this weekend we’re getting our tree, which will get all kinds of twinkly lights and ornaments I’ve been collecting, and hopefully it will feel ‘right’ by the end of the weekend. Notice how I’ve made a valiant effort to start it right with the tree-smelling candle, the candy canes and the red and green m&m’s. If that isn’t Christmas then I don’t know what to do!

And see that? That’s a weeks worth of knitting. I started this on Monday and it was addicting. The other side is adorable, I can’t show it to you yet, but trust me, it’s the kind of thing that makes one more row turn into one more row, then just one more… rinse and repeat for hours. Having a great time with that. The simple sweater needs a simple decision of whether to knit the arms then attach and proceed, or provisionally cast on arms and proceed. This simple decision has paralyzed the simple sweater and I’m choosing to go around and around on one more row until there aren’t and I actually have to make some sort of decision.

Happy weekend!

Busy but dripping snot…

Last weekend was spent at the beach where, while it apparently rained everywhere else and the forecast said the same for the beach, it was sunny and not too windy and quite nice! I went for a walk to the lighthouse with my camera, with the intention of getting some exercise and working on my mad photography skilz. Somewhere along the way I switched to black and white and it was so fun I just kept going…

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I always feel very Elizabeth Bennett when I go for these walks. The idea of going for a walk because you like being outside and have nothing better to do pleases me. I just need a long skirt to muddy along the way and it would be perfect.

I also did a ton of knitting, and Acer is well on it’s way. Once again, I’m living on the edge and should have ‘just enough’ yarn, so cross your fingers!! So far it’s entertaining enough to keep going and take some attention.

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Of course Monday night I went and got sick (sadly, my walk appeared to have more of a Jane Bennett effect). I have proceeded from the “wicked headache and totally out of it achey sore throat” part of this cold onto the “dripping snot and not fit for society” part. Hopefully this passes soon.