Thursday, January 31, 2008

Back on the Selbu train

The pattern and general instructions to the Selbuvotter mittens and gloves still kind of bugs me. There are tons of errors (as pointed out by the members of the Selbuvotter ravelry group) and the general instructions in the book are so vague. Even though I did receive a rather cryptic message from the author regarding the pattern mistakes on my first Selbu gloves, I just haven't worked on them much since dividing up for the fingers. I even re-charted everything so it made sense, but there was just too much bad knitting ju ju there for me to pick them up again.

Still, stranded knitting is so good for the soul and I enjoyed working on them quite a bit until the fingers. But, alas, there was my poor glove...gathering wooly dust in my WIP basket and me suffering little pangs of guilt when I glanced at it.

So, this weekend, I re-purposed the glove. I ripped it all out and began a Selbu mitten instead. I've heard from fellow Selbu fans that there tends to be less ambiguity and fewer errors with the mitten patterns. I chose the NHM#7 design. Here are the hand and palm (with thumb gusset) sides of the first mitten:

Is it a perfect pattern? No...course not (there is a mistake in the number of stitches for the thumb, but the author now has an errata sheet on the Selbuvotter webpage), but it is definitely better and I'm glad to be knitting away on them.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My Soul Sister

I love Mother Nature.

I love all sorts of weather phenomena and I secretly wish that I would have pursued meteorology and my dream job would be to work at NOAA. While I once watched the Weather Channel like some people just leave on CNN or MTV, I just couldn't take all of the post-Katrina-let's-blow-every-weather-event-completely-out-of-proportion-with-over-hyped-pseudo-journalism. I think the local news outlets are just as bad...if not worse.

So, I find it so totally wonderful when Mother Nature pulls a fast one. It's like She's listening to all of this stupid coverage and says, "You know what, guys? Let me show you who is boss around here." A prime example was a snowstorm last February. It was like the world was going to come to an end! Over a foot of snow predicted, biting winds, etc. Heck, it's's Wisconsin...this stuff isn't that unusual. Well, what was really cool is that Mother Nature dumped more snow on us the night before (all of about 8") than the day The Snowstorm was to happen (I seem to recall we got about 2 or 3" of grainy snow in the wee a.m. hours only). Sweet.

Then there was yesterday. Sure, the temperature was going to fall dramatically from 40 to around zero. Yes, there was to be very high winds during the evening and, even with an inch or two of snow that was originally predicted, that could be nasty driving. But, cripe, schools were closing at 1 p.m. in anticipation, the local media had non-stop coverage...the world is going to end!!!!

You know what happened? Not much. Yes, it got cold...and yes it is windy and the sidewalks are little icy after some mid-afternoon rain and falling temps. No blizzard. To paraphrase a line from Ghostbusters, no catastrophe of biblical proportions, cats and dogs sleeping together...

It's January in Wisconsin, people, get over it and touché, Mother Nature. You've got my mark.
Little Miss Anthrope

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sick Knitting

or, knitting while sick. That's what took place from Thursday until this morning. Ugh!

My crappy coughy cold apparently has a phase two that I only became keenly aware of on Thursday when I awoke to a sore throat. Our house is extremely dry and it hasn't been an uncommon occurrence for me to wake up with a scratchy throat so I wasn't terribly alarmed. My cough was subsiding, I was feeling stronger, and - after a few good swigs of H2O - I was just dandy and did well at the gym.

I thought, anyway...

Friday a.m., same sore throat, but perhaps a bit more intense. By about noon, I could barely take it and could hardly swallow! That's when I learned that the cold I had (which far outlasted its welcome to begin with), had a nice little chaser...a very bad sore throat that, thankfully, was shortlived. I actually left work by 2 pm to speed the recovery. I wasn't in a very good mood to begin with, so I didn't feel too bad about leaving a bit early. I climbed into my beloved pjs, made some yummy tea, and felt ok albeit a bit fatigued and could definitely sense that all wasn't 100% with the throat.

Again: I thought, anyway...

Fast forward to 1 a.m. when my sore throat was so bad it woke me up and shortly thereafter I was nearly in tears. My Beloved - with no hesitation - actually went to a 24 hour Walgreens on Brady around 2 a.m. to get me some medicine. Yet another example of how wonderful and sweet he is. Throughout this entire illness, he's kept me company and calmed me down when it has woken me up in the middle of the night and then packing himself off in the middle of the night amidst bar-hopping Trendies was just so dear.

I feel about 110% better since then having laid pretty low this weekend and even taking my first nap in YEARS yesterday afternoon. I was working off about 3 or 4 hours of sleep and it felt so delicious to close my eyes for about 45 minutes while watching my new absolutely most favorite movie of all time, Stardust.

So, anyway, back to knitting. On Thursday, Beloved and I went to go visit my mom and that meant 4 hours of prime car knitting time and me in need of a transportable project for said car knitting time. Time for a stash buster. Enter the Triple Patterned Watch Cap from the venerable Charlene Schurch's Hats On!

Love Charlene Schurch. Love her Sensational Sock series and I do love the hats book. There's just something so wonderfully satisfying about working her projects. I casted on Thursday morning and blocked it today. It's such fun to knit something in just a few days! It was knit in my leftover Cascade 220 that I bought at Lakeside Fibers in Madison years and years ago that I also recently used for the Gansey Watch Cap, supplemented with Naturespun Worsted for the darker color.

On our way home on Thursday, I treated myself with a visit to Loop's new location. True, a very pretty store but I found it hard to browse in for some reason. Their selection, while limited, is quite lovely, and they do carry several brands that we don't. I'm glad to have gone so if customers are looking for some of this yarn, I can easily and confidently direct them there. I'll go back when I have more time and in a better overall mood to get a better sense of the place. I wish we were right next door to a coffee shop! Stone Creek is just down the street, but of these days I'll open my own shop with coffee served inside, too, with beautiful, natural lighting and fixtures, no yucky fluorescent lights, a computerized inventory system, lovely hardwood floors, wonderful classical or big band music playing in the background, big comfy chairs, a husband and kid zone, dream dream dream dream dream...

Loop does carry Dream in Color yarns! While I am in a multi-year stash busting mode, I did allow myself at the beginning of my yarn diet last year the purchase of their "Smooshy" sock yarn as a treat. I really wanted to order online from The Loopy Ewe, but I definitely wanted to see and feel it first. I'm so glad Loop carries it! I chose the Cocoa Kiss color, which is a lovely blend of dark chocolate brown and greys. I was sorely tempted by the In Vino Veritas (both the color and the name...not enough Latin used in knitting, IMHO) but I have quite a bit of sock yarn in that general color range. Cocoa Kiss was an easy second choice. Now I just have to find the right stitch pattern to show it off!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Tales of a Putzer

Poor High Neck Cable sweater. This recent FO has gone through a lot:

1. There was the mis-crossed cable that was fixed up in early December.

2. After its successful debut just before Christmas, I decided that I just wasn't 100% thrilled with the neck. It was a bit too wide and I thought it would be better just a smidge higher, as well. So, after the holidays, out came the neck and it was re-knit. It still isn't quite as narrow as I'd like, but it is much better. I wore it to work for the second time and decided by 12 pm that:

3. The sleeves were just a smidge too short. Time for a little more surgery.

Today was the perfect day for it: with a forecast high just above 0, the day off, no new football, and a light chores list, I grabbed the High Neck Cable, a pair of scissors, needles, left-over yarn and went to work while watching the season finale Patriots/Giants game I recorded at the end of the December (knowing the outcome, of course, lessens the possibility of distraction and potentially catastrophic errors when I'm armed with scissors and knitting).

Warning! The following contains graphic images that might be disturbing to a timid knitter.

As knitting is directional, one simply cannot snip the cast off edge and rip up (believe me...I tried this once and it decidedly does not work!). One must snip and then rip down to remove the existing knitting, especially when it involves ribbing. The very first step is to find the tails and unweave the sleeve seam.
The scary part comes next! Cut one half of a stitch just a bit above where you want to begin knitting again, a little ways in the row which allows for tails. Poised with a sharp scissors and a spare needle, I'm ready to snip!

Then, one gently and carefully works the yarn in and out of the stitches on both the top and bottom pieces to expose live stitches. It's best, in my experience, to start catching the live stitches right away so one doesn't have to tussle with dropped stitches as well.

Ta da! In no time at all, the ribbing is off the sleeve completely!

Now that the live stitches have been captured, simply add on the necessary length by knitting downwards towards what will be the new cuff. In this instance, I added 8 rows, or about 3/4" of stockinette (see what I mean about just a smidge short...and being an endless putzer?) Then, proceed with the same amount of ribbing, cast off, and re-seam.

You can't tell where the new part begins, can you?

I'll have photos of both re-done sleeves tomorrow.

Now that I've mutated just about everything I can on the finished High Neck Cable, I do believe it's time to let the poor thing alone. I must say, though, that it has definitely provided me with lots of ideas for a future class and made me a little bit more fearless. Unfortunately, these successful modifications have also fed into my pursuit of unachievable knitting perfection. If I can change it and make it better, I will...
On another, unrelated note - my poor Sweetie Pie has had such a disappointing Saturday. With dashed hopes of seeing There Will Be Blood, unsuccessful trips (plural) to grocery stores (again, plural), he went to the library to pick up a book he had reserved. What does he do amid all of this crappy running about? Sees Crazy Aunt Purl's book on the New shelf and grabs it for me just 'cause he thought I'd be interested. Ain't he sweet?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

No good reason

I haven't been quite in the mood to blog lately and there's not really a specific reason. To be honest, there hasn't been a whole heckuva much to blog about! Plus, my new sweater project doesn't really photograph well - it is knit in a lovely charcoal heather color in Rowan's Cocoon and, given the rather long string of overcast days we've had, I haven't had good enough lighting to catch the cables. I'm trying very hard not to fret about the cable pattern showing up so subtley - the sweater in this ancient Rowan Tweed Collection by Kim Hargreaves was knit in a natural (see, it is so ancient that I couldn't find an image of it on the Internets!). And, the whole point of this sweater was to knit something:
1. Using Cocoon in this colorway
2. Cabled
3. Cuddly

It meets all 3 requirements just fine.
This picture still doesn't do it justice, but at least you can get a sense of it.

Please note pretty stitch markers. My latest obsession. Feeling oddly compelled to match stitch markers not only to the season (I had Christmas tree light ones in December) but to the project itself. I purchased these among other holiday gift stitch markers for my co-workers from SeeJayneKnits on Etsy (evil thing that it is).

I did get an answer back from the author re: my Selbuvotter finger snafu via a Ravelry message. The chart was, in fact, off but her instructions - both in the book and in her email - were rather vague. There's a lot of "just go with the flow", "if it is off a stitch or two, don't worry..." I'm sorry, but this just isn't the type of knitter I am. It has to be right. So, this week, I took matters into my own hands and grabbed my trusty pad of knitter's graph paper and charted everything out myself. It'll be just fine, but I'm sad to report that the bubble is off the glove-love wine. Her mitten pattern do look a bit less prone to "interpretation". Perhaps after I complete the gloves, I'll just do a pair of mittens or two. The two-color knitting is still very satisfying, and the patterning on the hand is divine. I'll just revel in that and forget that some knitters are ok with a fudge here and there. It's just not me, that's all.

Well, back to it I go - I'm spending my regular day off this week a little under the weather (trying desperately to fight off an upper respiratory thing). So, the rest of the day will be spent in the pjs, knitting, and watching The Game Show Network's broadcast of '60s and '70s vintage game shows such as Password with Alan Ludden, Match Game '75, etc. Now that's what I call quintessential sick day entertainment.

See, with all of this excitement going on, do you blame me for not blogging for a while ;->