girasole in the morning; or, more boring shawl progress

How can I tell I’ve made progress?  It’s not really a trick question: the row counter keeps moving up and my skein keeps getting smaller.  Also, because Alice says so.

With the semester in full, overwhelming flower, there just isn’t much time for knitting of an evening.  I’m resigning myself to slow and steady progress on chart d (the neverending chart of much repetition).

Continuing my Konstanz nostaglia tour 2009, here’s another of my few photos (why didn’t I take more pictures?  I never learn.):

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I know I took this in December before heading to the Northwest for Christmas, realizing I didn’t have any photos to show anyone back home.  It was dark and cold and the trees didn’t have any leaves.  This is some kind of bandstand down by the lake; I loved the inexplicable pods sprouting out of the pavement.

320

I finally faced facts and ripped.  It was painful: over 20 rounds at 320 (ahem.) stitches per round.  But like so many painful decisions, it was the right one.  My marker placement was just not behaving and though it didn’t seem a problem in this chart, I wasn’t sure what would happen when it was time to move on to the next one.  So here I am with my marker correctly placed and much (re)knitting ahead of me.
It’s been a busy weekend and there hasn’t been much time for other knitting.  The office sock is patiently awaiting Monday and its chance to shine as my “just-X-more-minutes-of-reading/indexing/thinking-and-then-you-can-knit” reward.

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The German yarn helps.  Lately, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve really been missing Germany.  I don’t know why, but I always feel so at home there, even though so much is difficult, strange, and frustrating.  (As in: basic life skills are hard to acquire in a foreign language.)   A facebook friend from high school is visiting the area where I used to live … I wish I were there, in my favorite cafe (well, not on a Sunday) with a trip through some bookstores, a visit to the yarn store, and walk around the lake later in the day.  Or just watching my drunk neighbors throw things.

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Of course, I’m romanticizing a bit … and life could be just as alternately stressful and boring as it is here.  But it always had that exciting zing of being stressful and boring in a foreign country.  And there was always something strange and new to see out of the bus window.

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See, I’m an example every time I wait for the walk signal!  (And because I am afraid of old German women scolding me in a dialect I do not understand, I wait for the walk signal every time.)

thursday is for socks.

Or so I have decreed.
People, it has been a week.  In fact, that seems to be the main characteristic of all of my weeks lately.  Thursday limps to a close and all I can do is sit on the couch and watch A&E “real life” crime dramas.  Today we had the added tired-making bonus of a (very productive) writing workshop.  News flash: I cannot write a book review.  It was all done in the nicest possible manner and with the most uplifting, forward-looking, hey-you’ll-get-it enthusiasm, but, of course, it never feels that way when it’s happening.  Perhaps more so when one is in the paradoxical — and uncomfortable — position of being both an “advanced” student (in terms of years accumulated: this is the start of lucky number 7) and an absolute rank beginner (in terms of intellectual growth and development over said years).  I feel self-consciously experienced, completely overwhelmed, and utterly unprepared.
All I can do is quote Michael K. to myself: Homegirl is tired.
Especially after managing a spectacular trip and scraping my knee for the first time in forever on the way to school this morning.  The day began as it ended: public embarrassment that leaves a nasty sting.  Seriously, I haven’t had one of these since there was someone around to put Bactine on it for me.  I don’t even own any Bactine.  And Alice was not too interested in assisting the patient.
sozialismus socks
But at least there was sunshine in the apartment this morning!  I managed a few photos of some boring sock progress before heading off to meet my doom.  (Also, the humidity: not helping.)  The eagle-eyed among you might notice a modification to the ribbing.  I wasn’t happy with the density of the fabric I was getting on my usual US2/2.75mm needles; in going down a size I was afraid that the sock would be too small, as it’s only worked over 60 stitches.  A little quick math and hey presto!: 70 stitches on size US1/2.50mm needles.  With ribbing to match: k1 * p3, k2 * to last four stitches p3, k1.  So far, so good.
Now, if only reading Tom Paine — or writing a functional book review — were as easy breezy I would be a superstar.

Sozialismus socks

Or, rather, the street thereto.

I had to go to the archives for this photo as my apartment is seriously low on light these days — lots of rain, cloudcover, and humidity. It’s completely gross and grumpy-making.

Though I am going to put on my big girl pants and deal with it.

Just like the girasole is taking a break until I have the brainpower to figure out why, after ripping make many many rows, many many times, my marker placement is still not playing by the rules.

So. I’m making some socks: madder ribbed socks from that trusted tome, Knitting Vintage Socks. In perhaps the most obnoxious yarn on the planet. Which is kind of strange considering that the artist behind the colors (Hundertwasser) went from Friedrich to Friedensreich (= peace-full? land of peace?).

I’ve been missing Germany lately; I’m hoping these socks help just a bit. (German yarn, Austrian artist. It’s cose.)

colonnade: spinnery shawl

Ah, precious souvenir yarn from a happy summer in Vermont.  Will anything ever be good enough for you?
I didn’t get back into knitting until after I’d already spent part of a summer in the very same small Vermont town as the Green Mountain Spinnery.  On my first trip to the store, I didn’t know what I was doing … got embarrased because I didn’t know what kind of yarns would go together and was a little unsure about just how much of anything I would need.  So I left with an odd assortment of very pretty wool I’m still not sure what to do with.  This was the summer, though, that I found my true love: Naturwolle Kunterbunt in Northampton.  I probably wasn’t thinking straight.
The next years, though, I had a much better idea of what I might want to buy and, each of the next three summers, managed to built up quite a collection of wooly souvenirs.  It’s all been a while ago now, but I’m pretty sure that this lovely Mountain Mohair is from my last Spinnery visit in 2007.
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I was going to make a pair of IBH’s toasty toes in three gorgeous shades of loveliness: sky, elderberry, and partridgeberry.  Somehow, I never got around to it.  So when I saw the Colonnade shawl in the new knitty, I got to thinking … perhaps this would be the time to finally use that yarn and revise its sacred cow status.  Because, after all, even if those Vermont summers are gone, I can order some more.
Well, I’m just not sure.

colonnade: spinnery shawl

Like I said, I’m just not sure.  Somehow the lace is, um, much lacier than I’d imagined.  And it’s so hard to part with souvenir yarn when it might not be just the right thing.
That said, I’m going to keep knitting.  It might be a wait-and-see kind of proposition.  Especially as I’ve already gone to the trouble to rip and reknit the lace once: I didn’t like the look of the k2tog, k2tog decreases (which form the columns in between the double yarn overs) and so I substituted a left-leaning decrease (ssk) for the second k2tog.  Much neater columns of knit stitches.  I felt quite smug.

what could it be?

curiosity killed the you-know.
Alice has been spending a lot of time monitoring the neighborhood.  Or, the bit of sidewalk and hedge that passes for the neighborhood around here.  (And totally blocks all of my after-early-morning daylight.)
What could it be?

new kitty friend

yep.  I’m a sucker.

If you guessed stray kitty friend, you’d be right.
He (she?) is small, grey, feral, and hungry.  I’d seen our new kitty friend out by the apartment dumpster and had put food out a couple of times.  In the last few days, he’d not been around and I was trying not to assume the worst.  To be honest, I was also a bit relieved.  Because though I will feed the kitty, do my best to catch him and get him to a no-kill shelter for socialization and care, it’s a responsibility and a worry.  But now at least he has access to food, water, and an old towel to sleep on.
My family has always taken in strays.  It’s just what you do.

suspicious alice

on duty.

In the mean time, Alice is on it.  And she is not amused.

What with kitty friend monitoring — he spent most of the evening outside the window — and, you know, actual work, the knitting has been limited.  Before starting any new (sweater!) ventures, I have clear out my WIPs: all shawls, all at the stage of long-rows-of-doommara, mini, girasole*: I’m looking at you.

Startitis always hits when I’m feeling stressed and anxious: this new project will solve all of my problems!  I’ll be efficient, dedicated, brilliantly insightful, all while needing less sleep, getting up early, and never ever feeling bored as soon as I cast on for x, y, or z.

It hasn’t worked yet.

moonpie swiffer

So obviously, instead of finishing any of these current wooly bugbears, I’m working on a small project for my sister.  She crochets lots of dishrags for me — very nubby, scrubby, and wonderful.  So I thought I’d reciprocate with a swiffer cosy.

moonpie swiffer

It’s just your basic cotton-ease leftovers, worked in the familiar ball-band dishcloth slipped-stitch pattern.

I’m still fiddling with the fold-over closure.  I didn’t like the idea of buttons, as the pattern suggests, but was at a loss for a better solution.  This version performs a kind of knitted origami that seemed promising.

But after folding and mattress stitching the sides, I wasn’t happy.  To put it bluntly, it looked messy.  Last night I improvised: picked up stitches, knit a row of garter stitch, and then used a kind of three-needle bind-off to attach the folded portion to the body.

We’ll see if I can duplicate the process on the other side.

moonpie swiffer

That might be a challenge.  It was late and I didn’t take any notes.

New project magic, where were you?

* Let’s be honest: I’m not expecting to get this one finished.  Geschweige denn lizard ridge.