Book Signing

Yesterday was the start of the West Coast installment of the Yarn Harlot on Tour. Entering a room full of strangers is always a difficult thing for me (I'm definitely on the introverted side), so I can't imagine what it must be like for Stephanie, who claimed to be quite nervous (but was an excellent speaker). Stephanie She amused us with funny stories, some from the book, some not, that we can of course all relate to. Some of us more than others, probably. My dad once picked up the book, randomly opened a page, and was a little weirded out that the page perfectly described me and the way our Midwest road trip was planned around yarn shops just as much as it was planned around relatives. Luckily Brad understands such things - we should all be relieved that I wasn't blogging when I was planning the wedding. If that crafting insanity didn't drive him away, no amount of knitting will (I made pretty much everything but my dress). Anyway, the reading was wonderful, and I shopped while waiting for the line for signatures to die down. I know, shop in a yarn store - shocking. The only thing I bought for me was a row counter, though - I have more projects going on right now than I do row counters. Knitters are just awesome. A whole year could go by with me wearing hand knits to work with no one noticing, and now, I wouldn't care (okay, not much). Just 30 minutes hanging around produced 19 shades of red on my face, I'm sure. Rosita was worth every second of effort to get done in time for the signing. I did finally talk to Inky and Kris - just in time for them to leave San Diego. I kind of suck at meeting people (I swear if everyone weren't so friendly, I would never actually talk to anyone at knitting meetups - I'm generally not a "first hello" kind of gal). Man, all of my social anxieties are coming out in this post. In my defense, I'm a software engineer. A lot of us are like this. Anyway, so it was finally my turn to meet Stephanie, and I hope I didn't make too much of an ass (or "arse") of myself - I might have possibly come off a little stalkerish because I brought her Wasabi rice crackers. Please tell me I'm not the only one that remembered that she liked them from her 100 things list. In my defense, I grew up in Hawaii, where I'm pretty sure one of my first solid foods was rice crackers (or "kakimochi"), so that stuck out in my head. Stephanie commented on yesterday's post last night saying that I was neither stalkerish or crazy, which made me wonder why she chose those words - then I remembered that it was one of my monthly goals, which then made me giddy because that means not only did she look at my blog again (and commented!), she had skimmed at least a month back. (I say "again" because she follows links from her commenters - Inky walked away from the signing table saying "she reads my blog!" in disbelief. :) We all have a little bit of hero worship going on, I think.) Anyway, here we are. The lighting is bad in this picture (I think the photographer's finger might have been partially covering the flash), but when I tried to fix it, I just made it look worse, so here it is untouched. Stephanie and Kris Isn't Birch lovely? I'm pretty sure Stephanie sold a lot of "crack-silk haze" for the Grove. What a great way to spend the afternoon. The evening was spent cramming in quality time with Brad (the only reason I didn't post the second I got home). He had a whole day and a half off from school - he starts his second summer session today. Monthly goals tomorrow (this was way more important to post!)

Lovely Rosita

I can't believe it's done, with days to spare! Whoo hoo! Rosita Pattern: Rosita, Jaeger JB35 Yarn: Schoeller Esslinger Fortissima Cotton, Spring Blue 09, 5.5 skeins for the smallest size (I thought the recommended 4" inches of ease for my normal size was too much for this particular sweater, because it is cotton, lace, and has no waist shaping) Modifications: Added in more shoulder ease, picked up 210 stitches for the collar instead of 154. Needles: US 0 Addi Turbos, US 2 Addi Naturas Date Started: June 26, 2005 Date Completed: July 28, 2005 Time: 77.5 hours of knitting, 7.25 hours of finishing (that breaks down to 27.5 hours for the back, 25 hours for the front, 12.25 hours for the first sleeve, 12.50 hours for the second, 3.75 hours for seaming and weaving in ends, and 3.5 hours for picking up and knitting the collar twice). Tips: 1) Use a chart. This would have been impossible to knit had I been following the line by line instructions. 2) Stitch markers. I didn't use any lifelines in this at all, since I just counted the stitches for each repeat after I knitted it. Most of my mistakes were easy to fix on the return trip (missed YO or PSSO), but on the occasion that a mistake had to be tinked, I was relieved that I had to tink less than 24 stitches rather than an entire row. 3) Another time saver for me - when you have to increase and decrease, keeping "in pattern", I wrote down how many stitches I should have at the edges of the last stitch markers (partial repeats) for those rows. 4) Ignore the instructions for the collar. First, I waited until the end to knit the collar (the instructions have you knit it flat before seaming the second shoulder seam). The collar was the last thing I did, and I knit it in the round. Secondly, when I picked up the correct amount of stitches, I thought they were too spaced out but ignored my gut and went ahead anyway. As a result, I lost the lovely boat neck look, and made the shoulders too tight. I ripped it out and redid it, picking up as many stitches as looked right, and the collar is much better now. Everything fits the way it should. This is actually why I thought I was done Wednesday night, when in fact, I ripped and redid the collar last night (after I looked at FO pictures and realized it looked bad). 5) Give yourself a selvedge stitch for seaming. I forgot about this until I was five hours into the back, and I figured I'd spend less time seaming and cursing during seaming than it would be to rip it out and start over. I was right, but there was in fact cursing (way too many decreases on the edge stitch for easy seaming). 5) One last tip - pin out the lace to measure. The pieces seemed longer than they were until I pinned them out to the right width. I'm really glad I figured that out before I started armhole shaping. Now that the dust has cleared, I'm absolutely delighted with the finished product. I truly did enjoy knitting this for most of those 84.75 hours (which is alarmingly close to our original estimate of 90 hours). I watched many, many episodes of Law and Order (both original and SVU) in that time, let me tell you. Jessica came the closest to my completion time (July 28th at 10:33 pm) with her guess of July 27th, 3:23 pm. :) I'll bring you your prize the next time I see you!

Tired

I went to bed at 7:30 pm last night. The sun wasn't even down yet. I was that tired. I did make it through spin class, though, but it was a struggle. Thanks for all of the birthday wishes! :) You guys are good for my ego. Rosita is seamed. I still have ends upon ends to weave in, and I have to pick up and knit the collar, but the end is definitely in sight. My time on it will be limited on weeknights due to school and maybe dinner with Miyon, but I plan to give it lots of attention on Friday. Stephanie will be here on Sunday. :) Rosita fits beautifully, by the way - my shoulder modifications worked well. seamed

26 today

Check out my fabulous present: Rosita blocking This was taken on Friday, and Rosita has since been unpinned. I've set in one sleeve, and the sleeve and side seam on that side is completed as well. Lani got a summer shave yesterday to help her out with the heat. Before: pre-haircut After: shorn Fox tail: fox tail Here she is nesting among the shoes Brad thoughtfully leaves out for her (I'm guilty of this too). Those are size 13s - she's not quite as small as this picture makes her seem. nesting She's hanging out on the carpet again instead of just the kitchen tile, so she's obviously feeling better. Wish I could say the same for the rest of us. Here's hoping the air conditioning in my office is improved by tomorrow. We're going to hang out with some friends at Moondoggies this afternoon, then dinner for two at Forever Fondue. I might try to sneak in a visit to Needlecraft Cottage in PB on the way to Moondoggies too. :)

Sleeves

I worked really hard on Rosita this weekend. There's a very good chance that I'll have to work overtime in the next two weeks, so I wanted to get as much done as I could. I was actually still having fun with the knitting until yesterday. Yesterday was ridiculously hot and sticky, and generally just felt too hot to knit. I was thinking about going somewhere air conditioned, but ended up trying to make it work at home. Knitting was much better once it cooled down. I finished the first sleeve, and then ripped and re-knit the top of the front and the back. That fix, which I thought would take five hours, actually took closer to eight. I worked diligently on the second sleeve yesterday, and am ready to start the sleeve cap shaping. ripping sleeves I've worked on this for about 75 hours now. I have to finish the second sleeve cap, block everything, seam, and knit the collar. Maybe another 15 hours? I should make it, if work doesn't get too crazy.

More Rosita

I've completed the front and backs, and did a three needle bind-off for the shoulders. Rosita There's a chance that I need to redo the shoulder shaping - it's hard to tell because it's a boat neck, but it still might be too shallow. I should have started my increases sooner. I'm going to leave it alone for now and work on the sleeves - a modification will take four to five hours, and I need to make sure I have time for that. I'll also block the front and the back to the right measurements and see what it looks like then. Here's the first sleeve: Rosita sleeve

Rostia progress

Well, after a four day weekend, I have the back of Rosita up to the armhole shaping, and the front is half a repeat away from the same place. rosita progress I'm almost at the point where I have to commit to the shaping. I want to see if I can figure out a way to make the decreases a little shallower while still ensuring the sleeve cap fits. I think I'll cut out pieces of muslin to match the schematics I'm shooting for, to see if it will work. Anyway, so the scary part of all of this is: you're looking at 30 hours of knitting. Realistically speaking, I think I have another 25 hours to finish the front and the back, and then probably another 25-30 for the sleeves. This is going to be a close one. I'm still thoroughly enjoying the knitting, though - although it's time consuming and tedious, the pattern doesn't get boring very fast!

Mission Impossible

I finally got to meet up with Marisa last night! Miyon was busy, but I think we'll continue to meet with whoever can come, because the three of us are super busy. Anyway, Marisa brought me some Phildar magazines that I had ordered through Erika, and I found a few things I like. Thankfully, I don't like anything enough to do anything about it yet, because my plate is full. I worked on Rosita, which is definitely knitting friend only knitting. A non-knitter wouldn't have understood the breaks from conversation while I counted stitches. Here's the back of Rosita, which I started on Sunday (I got my needles on Saturday): Rosita back start That's one and one third repeat. We're not going to discuss how long that took me. Marisa and I made an estimate to how long we think Rosita is going to take. It's not pretty. When I'm finished with the back I'll disclose the actual hours going into this. It is turning out beautifully, though. :)

Blocking

While doing laundry yesterday, I screwed up the courage to throw Carla in the wash (in a zippered pillow case). It definitely shrunk down a little, which is what I wanted. I laid it out to dry, stretching it out lengthwise (the length was good originally, but it was too loose). We'll see if it fits when it dries! Carla blocking That little swatch is the lace swatch for Rosita, the Jaeger top. Here's the macro shot of it: Rosita swatch macro This picture has truer color (it's a bit too bright in this picture, but close): Rosita swatch I got gauge on Addi Naturas, US 2. I only have a 16" set, so I'll order a 24" long set. I'll also need US 0 for the garter stitch border. I figured that I'd rather knit this on bamboo, despite it being just a little bit too grippy for this yarn, as I'd rather have too much control over my lace than not enough. I'll have to use Addi Turbos for the US 0 (Naturas only run as small as 2s). So - any bets on if I can finish a lace sweater knit on US 2s in 6 weeks when I don't even have the needles yet?