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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Colors

It’s been quiet on the blog, but I’ve been doing things, namely putting colors together.

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I received the next order of wool, and got to work dying that to begin spinning it up for the shop. Gearing up for the Gore Place Sheep Shearing Festival in April, if you’re in the Boston area, I’d love to meet you!

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And the more challenging, I’ve been swatching for a sweater. It is SO NOT EASY!! So many options, so hard to pick one, so hard to know what is going to go together. The new fair isle book has been very helpful indeed.

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I’m debating between the greens at the top, the red at the bottom, or some combination… Decisions decisions.

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.

November!!!

November is the best month, it’s my most favorite and I am stupidly excited that it is here. Cold nights, my birthday, Thanksgiving (the best holiday of the year) and the beginning of the eating season. Most excellent.

I had hoped to have Acer done in October, but it just wasn’t to be. Almost there though, it’s got a front, back, button bands, and 2/3 of a sleeve.

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The sleeve I’m doing on double pointeds, and I love it. I’ve been doing things in twos with magic loop (two socks, two sleeves, two cardigan fronts) but I am really a dpn girl when it comes down to it. I have a much easier time getting into the rhythm of it I do feel like I’m cheating on my dpns when I magic loop. Anyways, with any luck by next weekend it’ll be done and I can start something NEW!!! Which is good, because I spend most of my waking time trying to decide what comes next. I have a million ideas, but the thing I am coming back to most is color work, so I think that’s what it should be…
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That LL Bean sweater, I don’t love the colors but I do love it generally… bulky fair isle seems so fun…

A Package? For Moi?

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During the snow day last week when I sat around and played Cat, I bought some new yarn. It’s possible I got carried away and bought 15 colors… I rarely buy yarn without a purpose. Even if I don’t know what it will be, I usually buy a sweaters worth, I rarely have yarn sitting around and wonder what to do with it. It stresses me out to have things I don’t know what they’ll be. (It’s incredibly easy to stress me out. Really. You’re probably doing it right now) I will never be a yarn stasher of epic proportions, the kind with a yarn shop in the spare bedroom. Not least because I will unlikely ever have that much extra space. And also because I’d be rocking in a corner of that room.

The one exception is yarn for fair isle. I don’t feel bad about having fair isle yarn. I have about 10 colors of Satakieli for various Latvian mittens and hats, I love that stuff. I now have about 24 colors of Jamieson’s Shetland 2-ply Spindrift. I can never have enough colors of this stuff. It is not super soft, it is fuzzy, warm, the best word for it is cozy. The way you can mix the colors is amazing. I love color to no end. I love naming colors. There is a co-worker who has an unusually large buttondown shirt collection of various colors and I love that one is robbins egg blue, one is eggplant, one is sofa patterned (he insists it’s a loveseat…)… If I had my way, I’d have them all now, but trying to be reasonable, I buy a few new colors every year and am building the collection up. And, in true geek fashion, I’ve got a color card started in case I run out of one and need it. You know, just in case. ‘Cause I’m like that.

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And because I couldn’t wait to try it out, I grabbed the greys and browns, and the awesome new golds and rusts and sunrise (which is a deep red… I think sunrise of being more gold/orange?) and tried out a pattern from my Traditional Fair Isle Knitting book, which I love to death. So much for trendier knitting, hunh?

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I have a great plan though, to use the traditional pattern and take Venezia knitting pattern, with long sleeves of course, I’m too cold blooded for 3/4 sleeves. But with any luck it’ll be a trendier twist on a fair isle sweater.

A New Hat

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Here’s my new hat! I made Greg a hat last year which is totally him. It’s a fair isle hat, muted greens and browns, simple 3 5 and 7 row peerie patterns, and it’s so very him. Simplicity (in the best way possible), calming, relaxed. This one is so very me. Orange, yellow, and red, 12, 13, 15 row patterns. Fussy and busy and a little crazy. (And I didn’t realize it doesn’t go with my Owl sweater, so ignore the bright pink sweater. I was at the beach and fashion is not high down there.) For my whole life, I had this strange characteristic of not wanting to stand out, but loving yellow, orange and red. I didn’t want to be called on in class, god forbid someone I don’t know talk to me, I’d pretty much want to just crawl under a table. I’ve come out of my shell a bit in the past few years, and grown into my colors. It’s much better this way anyways. Talking to yourself gets boring and only makes you crazier.

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New Season!

Yeah! The secret knitting project is done (which shall remain un-disclosed, suffice it to say I’ve discovered linen stitch and I love it) and so is the hat! In record time!

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Just a little matter of weaving in a few ends…

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The pattern is nothing, really. Just cast on some, knit around with charts from this fab book, knit until it’s big enough then decrease. That’s the pattern. I did rip back once since I am chronically underestimating the height of a human head, but other than that it went fine. I have a cashmere sweater with a conspicuous stain in the front, which I’ve been wearing despite the stain, which people keep pointing out to me… so I’ll cut it up and line this hat with it. I have vague plans to make matching mittens and use the sleeves of the sweater for the same purpose of lining them also.

I’ll now spend an hour or so with a glass of wine and my pattern magazines and books and try to formulate a plan for the next step. But the knitting bag is empty and ready for a new project! I’ll be off with some friends at a knitting retreat of our own creation on a lake in New Hampshire. The weather will be cool when we get up and at night, with days in the 70’s, clear and dry, sounds like a perfect weekend to knit a sweater.