in praise of modestly priced wool

I would like to take a moment and offer up my praise of modestly priced wool.  I should be offering up a virgin sacrifice to the Gods of Graphomania, but … all in all, I’m going with the wool.
cascade 220 (4010)
Exotic fibers are lovely, rare breeds spectacularly strange; cashmere is divine, silk wonderfully soft and heavy.  But sometimes, a girl just wants some wool.  That she can afford.  In pretty colors.  Enough wool for an elaborately cabled cardigan, no less.
cascade 220 (4010)
That is not such an easy proposition.  Thank goodness for Cascade 220 and the sale over at Webs.
It’s no secret: I’m a grad student and that means I’m always on a pretty tight budget.  Especially considering the few weeks in Switzerland coming up later in May, I was afraid travel would mean no saddle shoulder aran.  This is where the praise comes in: for under $50 I managed to get a whole heap o’ wool in a lovely heather shade of ochre.  Just straightforward wool.
cascade 220 (4010)
It’s pretty much perfect, as far as I can see.  Now if it would only do my writing for me …

boom.

You see that?

That, my friends, is years of knitterly hoarding paying off.

I’m starting up this kicky little top-down raglan — in what I hope will be a completely ridiculous combination of Noro madness. It’s starting life as a pullover but will one day become a cardigan. That’s how I see it at the moment, anyway.

So I’m casting on and well, the 24″ circular isn’t cutting it. Too long. Was it too much to hope that my yarn closet might, somewhere in its depths, contain a US8 16″ circular? Nope.

Boom.

fraternity/tulips

I wanted fraternity : I got fraternity.  Oh, glorious mismatch!
I l-u-v these mitts.  This might just be my favorite Noro ever (they are all my favorite): silk garden sock S258.  It’s crazy colorful and bright and so lovely.  It makes me think of tulips.  No idea why.
The color sequence was long enough that each mitt is unique: and yet … connected to the other.  See how the bottom of one matches the top of the other?  They are their own little infinity loop.
fraternity
The flip-top action makes these extra warm, without losing all manual dexterity.  I’ve worn them at patio dinners on cool evenings, in the library and at cafés to fight aggressive air conditioning, and at home just because they are pretty.
fraternity
Out of laziness (I didn’t want to deal with decreasing) I decided against opera length, but even in this shorter incarnation, they are perfect for shoring up the difference between wrist and cardigan.  (And yes, everything I’m wearing — except the mitts — is from Target.)
In other news, the semester is winding down (terrifying!) and I’m hoping to have a bit more knitting time this summer.  This space, and my knitting, were both somewhat neglected this year: change, transition, unbelievable busy-ness, reading and writing conspired to keep me off the couch and away from my knitting basket.
remember me?
For instance, this is as far as I’ve gotten on the Earth Stripe project: started way back in November.  It makes me a bit sad that knitting often has to be the activity I sacrifice at the end of the day.  Though I try to remember that it is probably better to go slow — or put a project on hold — than to deal with the massive mistakes, and inevitable frustration and frogging, that happen when I don’t have the energy to give my full attention to what I’m doing.
Besides, the relaxation and enjoyment in knitting, at least for me, is precisely that meditative focus of repetitive, rhythmic motions.
der blaue mond
ilene
I’ve got a few easy peasy project to finish up — the perfect accompaniment to writing — but am already hatching plans for a summer filled with slightly more challenging projects.  That’s the thing, knitting has felt like an accompaniment this year; during the summer I’d like to have projects that require my full attention and engagement.
I’m also going to update my Ravelry page.

severe weather

I’ll be honest: I’m not thrilled about today’s tornado warning.  Tornadoes freak me out.  Earthquakes, volcanoes … anything to do with the Ring of Fire?  No problem.  Somehow natural disasters aren’t nearly as scary if you’ve grown up having earthquake drills and watching ridiculous documentaries about May 18, 1980.  Especially the one with the crazy non-president Harry Truman who went down with the mountain.
In any case, today has been the perfect day to stay at home. Alice is snoozing and I’ve been baking. Because, obviously, baked goods were a better decision than, say, writing.
I followed this recipe and then added some frozen peaches and blueberries.
baking!
baking!
baking!

Every once in a while my inner Hausfrau makes an appearance and must be satisfied.  Which is why I’m also working on this bag: so practical!  And I’m using some Lion Brand Cotton Ease that has been moldering in the stash for a bit: frugal, too!

So far, no tornado.  That’s the power of peachy blueberry bread.

Now I really should get to work.

houston, we have thumb gusset!



thumb gusset!, originally uploaded by katie:m.

I went big and decided to put a thumb gusset on the tube. So far, that’s working for me. But won’t lie, I did have to try a number of variations for finishing the thumb: to cast-off or not to cast-off? In the end and a after a few attempts, I went with not casting-off. Made for a cleaner join at the hand.

Also, after an absolutely ridiculous(ly fabulous) amount of Bon Jovi, I have a conference paper. It is not nearly so photogenic.

And I might have hurt myself jumping around the living room to “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

tube

tube
Things I have learned this week:
1. Photobooth can be enough.
2. Sometimes bad weeks start last Thursday.
3. Conference papers: nope, still not fun to write.
4. Knitting tubes over 40 stitches in lovely Silk Garden: a very good thing.
5. I am disappointed in Bones.
6. Things will be better on Friday.  Until then, I’m concentrating on knitting.

Photo 37

Today was a momentous day:
1. I started this noro (silk garden sock S258) tube thing which I’m hoping will turn into a pair of arm warmers.  Kinda stripey almost-opera-length fingerless mitts.  Or something.  Obviously the best choice for summer in Nashville.
2. I watched Ron Swanson dance.
3. I found my first gray hairs.  Yes, plural.

i’m not proud of this …

… but this has been the year I started watching television again.  To be fair, it’s mostly internet television — except for a few stellar weekend Law & Order marathons — and mostly only during off hours.  Still, it worries me.  I’m getting involved in these characters’ lives.  Lulled into the sweet sleep of the televisual coma.
All of which is precisely how I managed to go from this …
der blaue mond
… to this.
der blaue mond
Yeah, that took most of the first season of 30 Rock.  Totally late to that party.

identity/fraternity

der blaue mond
Voilà!  Sock progress.  Boring, I grant you, but progress nonetheless.  And you know what?  I’ll take boring.  It seems like for the past few weeks, the department has been trying to kill us.  That sounds very spy-thriller exciting … unfortunately, that is so not the case: I’m being slowly worn down by enriching academic opportunities.
When, let’s be honest, I’d rather be home knitting.
der blaue mond
Which brings me to my next point: I really wanted fraternal socks.  Instead, just like with the futur II pair from a while back (that Noro wears like iron so far), I ended up with accidental identical twins.  The stripes are slighly staggered, but considering the complete lack of planning on my part, I’d say they’re lining up pretty well.
In an ideal world, I could finish them this weekend.  Fingers crossed.