Seriously, I’m not crazy

At least not where Grace is concerned. It occurs to me that when I talk about flaws, and then post pictures that hide the flaws, of course people are going to think I'm nuts. While I'm relieved that I can get away with the Grace unbuttoned (thanks for the opinions on that!), I'm really not kidding about the size thing. This pattern is sort of vintage in style in that it starts from ribbing knit on smaller needles and then increases throughout the body. Here's a bit of an idea of just what kind of fabric is under my arms: extra fabric If that's not clear, my hand is where the side of my body is: ease I am did actually measure this time, and the S should have given me exactly 3" of ease. I ended up with 8". Anyway, it appears as though I'm fine if I keep it unbuttoned and don't point at anything, so don't worry, I'll be wearing it. :) I finished the first Waving Lace sock on Tuesday. I left the small amount of yarn I have left on for now - if I end up not making it with the second sock, I'll have to rip back the edging and the last repeat. first sock done It fits well. Almost too well, as it takes a teensy bit of effort to get it on. Once it's on, though, it fits like a dream. I had to go down to a US 1 to get the right width on this sock, and you can tell with the resulting firm fabric (I'm a tight knitter, so my US 2 would be a US 1 for someone who normally hits gauge with the recommended needles). It will definitely wear well, and I absolutely love this sock, but I'm not convinced that holding up longer is a good trade-off for the sacrifice in softness for every Socks That Rock sock. standing up (Lani is cleaning her face in the background, in a very cat-like, prissy fashion.) I'm not as worried about these socks as I am about the Jaywalkers. With the pattern the way it is in the Waving Lace Socks, the needle change was clearly the best choice since I couldn't subtract stitches. The Jaywalkers are another story. I started off with the small size on US1s. The pooling that resulted (in the cuff and into the pattern) was unacceptable, and I did show it around on Sunday to make sure that none of us thought it would start swirling. On Tuesday night I cast-on with four fewer stitches (tubular cast-on again) and knit another cuff. Then, I started the pattern, and almost threw my sock across the room, since to go from 7 stitches between decreases and increases down to 6 stitches, you need to subtract 8, not 4. Duh! I went down 8 stitches and am not through with the cuff yet. I've been thinking about it, though - seems like going down 8 stitches on a sock that has been tight on a lot of people is risky (even though mine seemed a little bit big). Maybe if I decrease those stitches and go up to a US 2, it will fit, be softer, and not pool. Of course, that is further complicated by the fact that an Addi Turbo US 2 is actually a US 2.5. What to do? Addi Turbo US 2? Brittany DPN US 2? Buy different circs that have the right sizing?

Finished Grace

This will be kind of anti-climatic to those of you who saw me on Sunday, but oh well. I could have taken pictures in somewhat sunny LA, but when I thought of it, I was embarrassed about the fact that we were in a public mall, and then I forgot about it when it would have been appropriate, like in front of Knit Cafe. So here are crappy pictures taken Sunday night in fake lighting, making the color much brighter and pinker than it really is. If you look at my Grace category, you'll notice the color is different in almost every single picture - I guess you could just take a visual average. :P It is actually pretty accurate in the picture Lauren took of my arm in this post. Anyway, buttoned: grace Unbuttoned: grace I'm kind of conflicted about this sweater. I still love the cables, I love the yarn, and I love the color that I can't photograph correctly to save my life. The pattern indicated about 3" of ease all around, my first sweater that wasn't really fitted, and I missed the mark. I would say I have more like 5-6" of ease. I blame it on my lack of knowledge in verifying the stitch count measurement when cables are involved - I have no idea what percentage they normally pull in. Anyway, the Miyon verdict is that while she can see where I could have knit the XS instead of the S, she doesn't think it looks frumpy (she might have just been being nice, but I don't care - I don't want to be lied to when I'm thinking about purchasing a sweater, but when I've spent tons of hours knitting one? Please, just a little lie, but not with real disasters!) Pattern: Grace, Rowan's Wool Cotton Concertina Yarn: Rowan Wool Cotton, Lavish, almost 12 skeins (I ordered that extra one for nothing!) Modifications: I probably added a little length in the torso. Needles: US 4 & 7 Addi Turbos Date Started: September 17, 2005 Date Completed: December 17, 2005 Time: 13.5 hours for the back, 6.25 hours for each front, 11.25 hours for sleeve 1 (lots of ripping), 7.5 hours for sleeve 2, 3.5 hours to knit the button bands and collar, and 5.25 hours of finishing (total 53.5)

Duh

You guys are all quicker than I am - obviously, the socks wouldn't be knit at the same gauge as a sweater. :P I only got the book in the mail yesterday, so I immediately checked the gauge - they use US 5s to get a gauge of 6 spi instead of Cork's usual 3.5 spi. I am relieved that there will be no huge, giant DPNs involved in this endeavor. :) Moving on to other "duh" moments... sweaters with more ease require less sleeve length. I ripped back Grace's sleeve last night. It seems too short to me now, but clearly that's how I got into trouble in the first place. Now I just have to reknit the sleeve cap. I want to get that done and sew the sleeve into the sweater by the end of the weekend, so I can take the next sleeve with me on my business trip next week and be confident that I won't have to rip that one. sleeve Miyon and I were good last night for a little while - she worked on seaming, and I knit the cuff for the second mitten. Then I couldn't stand it anymore and we cast on for Jaywalkers. We decided to use a tubular cast on, but I was confused, as every time I've done it, it involves four rows of flat knitting, and how would that work for socks? So the Knitter's Handbook came out, and we found one that involved some weird twisty cast on, but you could go immediately into 1x1 rib. Yeah, that didn't work out so well. So then we went to my tried and true tubular cast on method, the yarn over tubular cast on, but only going 2 rows instead of 4 (I didn't know you could do that, but the book said you can). All is well. :) Of course, with two tubular cast ons, two socks on two circs for the first time (for me), and the annoyance of cuffs flipping around because they're not long enough yet, this is all I have to show for 1.5 hours. jaywalkers I want to get more done on these to make them more stable and fit for travel as well. I also want to finish the second mitten before my trip. Oh, and I have a ton of work to do before then too. And homework. Luckily, Brad's last final is today, so he can pick up some of the slack around the house while I try to do everything in five days.

Grace blocking

I decided to go ahead and block the pieces I had of Grace - I can assemble one side when it's dry. blocking Brad had a wrapping frenzy yesterday, and I realized that I had never gotten the washcloths wet so the chenille would bloom. They're drying now too. I had purchased some nice soap to go with them, and now I can't find the soap! I'm more than a little irritated with myself. The cool thing about knitting everything is that I'm not in charge of wrapping or mailing - that's all Brad. He's really happy he decided not to reprise last year's Christmas card making event - this year we bought our cards like normal people do. Fitzgerald is actually done - we just haven't had a chance to take a picture yet. I only have one more knitted item to complete! My dress is complete except for the bottom hem as well. As I was fiddling with the foundation piece (with the boning) for what seemed like forever, I really wondered why it mattered. Now that it's complete, I'm glad I did that piece, as the boning against my ribs gives the dress the structure to stay up. :) Is anyone else shocked that their four days of vacation are gone already?

Hard at work

I spent most of the day yesterday working on my dress for the Holiday party. Here's a picture early on: dress progress Since then, I've sewn the dress, the lining, and the foundation piece with boning. I just need to install the zipper and sew those three things together. Brad got to go to JoAnns twice yesterday, first to pick up more interfacing (I underbought the first time), then he got a frantic call from me while he was in Costco. I had got extra fabric caught while serging my lining, and with a serger, you can't just pick the stitches out - the blade had sliced up my lining. He found more for me and stood in the incredibly long cut line again. Husband of the Year! I hope to finish everything but the bottom hem today. I figure I can get Marisa to pin it for me when she's here on Tuesday. After I had my fill of sewing, I settled down to whip out a Christmas present. This is an ornament from Handknit Holidays. I made up my own tree and duplicate stitched it in (I have no idea how you would do intarsia in the round). The whole thing only took 1.75 hours, and I used stash yarn leftover from my Harlot poncho. ornament Then I finished up my first Grace sleeve, which I only had 45 minutes left on. sleeve I evaluated my remaining yarn and realized that while I may be able to eek out the second sleeve, there is absolutely no way I have enough yarn for the button bands and collar. I ordered another ball from the ebay seller I got it from in the first place (she says its the same dyelot), and because I couldn't stand the thought of paying $4 shipping and handling for a $4.50 ball of yarn, ordered enough Cork in chilly and gleam so Brad and I can have Log Cabin socks from Handknit Holidays. The idea of socks for Brad's size 13 feet out of sockweight makes me a little ill, but Cork, I can handle. I really suck at this no buying yarn thing - I turned a one skein necessity into eight skeins total.

Lazy Friday

Dinner at Miyon's yesterday was fabulous. The food was great, the company was even better, and Leilani was invited, which is always a plus. :) Most of the guys there were boyfriends of knitters (or husband, in Brad's case), which means that Don, Miyon's boyfriend, took a break from football talk with the guys to ask about my knitting. Bonus points for Don. :) We arrived while the food was still cooking, so there was lots of knitting/football down time. I arrived with my just started sleeve for Grace, then immediately realized I hadn't paid attention to the rate of increases, and had to rip to row 9 after the ribbing from row 32. sleeve before frogging I don't expect too much sympathy, as by the time the night was over, I was back up to row 80. Grace sleeve Leilani had tons of fun with all of the people there, since there was never a shortage of attention. By the time we had eaten and were playing Sequence, she was pretty tired. Soon she was the only one taking advantage of the adult furniture. couch We made it to spin class this morning, and now we're settling down for a leisurely day of homework, knitting, seaming, and the beginning of the sewing for my Holiday party dress. I love days off.

Grace progress

Again, I'm cheating, as I think I finished the right front of Grace on Sunday. Last night, I went to my first spin class in about three weeks. It was my first time ever with Raven's Wednesday replacement, Joe, and lets just say now I know what it must be like to take a class from a hamster in a wheel on some sort of upper. We basically sprinted for an hour, which to me totally negates the definition of "sprint." I went straight to bed after I showered, thus no knitting. Luckily, I have this to show: Grace front Just the sleeves left. Well, and the button bands and collar. And blocking and seaming. That's all. :)

Final recap

First, the reservoir near my sister's house: reservoir Those were the only red leaves in the area. I did get to see beautiful autumn leaves on the way back from Rhinebeck, but was unable to capture anything on camera worth showing. Some things I forgot in my last post: The first place team in the Fleece to Shawl Contest was called "Ladies of the Weavening." Ladies of the Weavening The guy we talked to from the men's team, upon learning that neither of us were from New York, asked us what brought us to the area. We told him we came for the Sheep and Wool Festival, and he seemed genuinely surprised that anyone would fly or drive to come to it. Saturday evening and Sunday morning we ate at Double O, a restaurant right across the street from the festival. I can't recommend them enough - the food was great, and our waiter on Saturday night was fabulous. Also, I got recognized twice on Saturday while out and about at Rhinebeck. The first one was Sarah from Crafty Snargle and the second was Anj from Purlewe. It was pretty cool. :) I can't imagine what it must be like to be someone who has many more readers, though - must be hard to shop! Anyway, yesterday, Michele and I went to her closest LYS, which turned out to be closed. She assured me that I wasn't missing anything, and we headed off to Wild and Woolly. Wild and Woolly I'm kind of torn on this store. The selection of yarn is great, with probably one of the most complete Rowan collections. I saw a knitted baby blanket sample that I loved, and wanted the pattern. We had to ask three separate salespeople before they finally told us that the pattern was a shop pattern and was only available with the purchase of the yarn to make the blanket. While I guess I understand the concept (though it does seem to me that they could have gotten some money out of me selling me their xeroxed pattern with no picture when it was clear that I was not in the market for baby yarn), we shouldn't have had to ask three people and spent 10 minutes ourselves looking for the darned thing. This was the only store I've ever seen that has had enough Manos of many different colorways to make sweaters, so it's likely that they're just used to bigger spenders than me and my sister. Final count: 8 yarn stores, one huge fiber festival. Result: so much yarn that I barely fit it all into my previously half full suitcase. Michele and Ed will be coming to San Diego early in March - I find it's easier to leave when we have plans for the next trip. We have so much fun together! My plane ride home was uneventful - lots of knitting to be done. I'm halfway done with the multi-directional scarf (Christmas present) in Kureyon 51 that I started on Sunday: MD scarf I started on the right front of Grace (I had finished the left front on Saturday night) while watching Bewitched, one of the most boring movies ever: Fronts Then I finished up another three repeats of River, bringing me up to seven. I'm still on my first ball of yarn, but I'm getting close to the end. Pictured with it is the clutch I purchased in Northampton that I plan to use with River: River I'm totally late leaving for work this morning (I'm on flex time, but I'm normally there by now). I'm dragging a little this morning - I came in last night at 8:30 pm. I'm not looking forward to my work email!

MA yarn crawl

The day started at Woolcott. They do have good yarn, but the space is so crowded that it wasn't pleasurable to be there at all. We left empty handed, fairly quickly. Woolcott It was already close to lunch, and we were near Mr. Bartley's Burgers, so we stopped to eat. I got in a couple of rows on the heel flap while we waited. Mr. Bartley's Burgers The burgers were great, though messy. Then it was back on the T to go to Mind's Eye Yarns. It's a really small store in a house, but I was thrilled to find some beautiful sock yarn dyed by the owner or one of her friends. I'm trying to limit my yarn to things that I can't buy online. Anyway, I forgot to take a picture before my sister did my picture resizing, so I'll post that later. I'll be making a stole/scarf with it. Mind's Eye Then it was off to Windsor Button. On the way, Michele took a picture of me knitting on the T. That's the Charles behind me. Subway knitting Windsor Button At Windsor Button, I decided to look for, well, buttons. I needed some for Grace, but I had forgotten to bring Grace with me. I also did not remember how many buttons I needed. Luckily, they had a skein of the yarn I'm using, and Michele helped me pick out buttons. I purchased extras just in case I was guessing the needed number wrong. Grace buttons The picture is a little dark, but you get the idea. Windsor Button was fabulous, with an ever-growing selection of good quality yarns, as well as the craft store varieties. I also picked up some beads to go with my River, my sister's River, and Rowan's Butterfly. Our final yarn stop of the day was A Good Yarn. A Good Yarn We figured out that it was the yarn store that Alison works at, verified by her wonderful Harry Potter display. We enjoyed looking around, and I left with patterns for baby hats and notions. I had to force myself to put down some Mountain Colors Bearfoot sock yarn in Moose Creek - I can get it later if I really want it after Rhinebeck. Here's the fabulous scarf that my sister knit for me, from Kidsilk Haze in Dewberry and Majestic. The pattern is from Exquisite Little Knits. scarf Isn't it absolutely beautiful? This is my progress on River, Kidsilk Haze in Trance: River We leave tomorrow morning for NY (stopping by WEBS on the way), and we won't have internet access again until Sunday evening. I'm not promising a post then, but we'll see. Tomorrow night we'll be going to the room party, and Saturday we'll be at the knitting meetup.

Back in town

I wasn't sure when I left on Thursday that I wanted to talk about the nature of my quick departure. My grandmother passed away on Wednesday after many years with Alzheimers. The wake was Thursday night, and the funeral was Friday. I tried to change the tickets to my MA trip, but ended up with a completely separate trip (which is why I'm home today instead of still in Nebraska). I didn't know her very well, a result of my family being in Hawaii rather than Nebraska. I always knew I had inherited my crafty gene from her, however. My family went through her possessions on Friday evening. The true treasures were the knitting, crochet, and quilting items. My grandmother was most known for her quilts, and she kept her own version of the blog, a binder with all of her quilts that she showed everyone who ever visited her. My aunt is scanning in the quilt book so we can all have a copy of it, and I'm sure when I receive my copy of the CD I'll post parts of it. We also found her version of my excel spreadsheet of cross-stitch inventory, hand-written on a piece of paper. Being the knitter in the family, I inherited all of knitting stuff: Pink leafy sweater knit by my grandmother, complete with crochet buttons. Just like everything she ever did, the quality of her work is impeccable: sweater Her notions complete with her labels: notions There was one set of DPNs, but I left that with my father because he was checking baggage, and I was worried about heavy aluminum DPNs and security (despite the fact that I had no trouble with my Addi Turbos in my carry-on). Doily probably crocheted by my great-grandmother: doily Another doily: doily I was keeping an eye out for the cross-stitch I made for my grandma's 80th birthday in 1993. We didn't find it on Friday night, and I was pretty worried about it. My aunt stayed up late after we all left and found it, and brought it to me Saturday morning. cross-stitch I also got a cross-stitch made by my grandmother, but my dad has it right now. The time spent with family over the last few days was invaluable, as well as the opportunity to say good-bye to a truly remarkable woman. We all know knitting is therapy, and I did a lot of it. I had brought three projects with me, Grace, Branching Out, and the sleeve of Fitzgerald. I ended up knitting exclusively on Grace, as I wanted to remember the weekend when I wear the sweater. The back is finished: back I started on the left front (the color is more accurate in this picture): left front Now I have to get ready to leave again tomorrow!