this would be how this week ends

ugh.

I have 286 stitches on the needles.  Too bad I’m supposed to have 288.  I don’t know when, where, what went wrong.  Personally, I’d like to think that somehow the rules of mathematics or physics or whatever branch of abstract thought would cover this have suddenly changed … and today 144 x 2 = 286.

This has been a grumpy week.  And I didn’t know how right I was when I named the shawl Violet Beauregarde.  As late as this afternoon I’d considered changing it, thinking that I had been too harsh and that such an annoying little girl had actually very little to do with such a lovely piece of lace.

Good thing I already had a Tom Collins poured and ready to go.

when in doubt: knit.

The spectacular explosion of grump that took over yesterday seems to have subsided.  I suspect that a quiet day, stripes, and some sleep was the magic combination for feeling better this morning.  Thanks to everyone for all of your kind comments.

While grumping, I did manage some knitting.  Nothing spectacular, but as predicted, stipes were the answer.

silky ishbel, modified

silky ishbel, modified

silky ishbel, modified

Another modified Ishbel, this time in Sundara Fingering Silky Merino (graphite) and Malabrigo Sock (ochre).  The mods: stripes, (mirrored) M1R/M1L increases down the center every 4th row for an even shallower, wider shawl.  We’ll see how the experiment turns out.

I’ve had the Silky Merino in the stash since the fall … and have, predictably, been hoarding it ever since, waiting for the perfect project for such a fancy, expensive yarn.  Yeah, perfect projects don’t exist.  But bad days do.

The silk content makes this yarn quite slippery and I’m not sure about the gauge yet … it might be a bit loose.  I prefer my shawls drapey, but I do like a bit of backbone to them.  I shall now employ Famous Last Words and declare that this should be okay …

In other news, I figured out chart 1 and have merrily knit my way through over half of it.

Violet Beauregarde

Violet Beauregarde

In honor of the funny little star flower thingamabobs (I know, I know they’re the LoTR element) I’m calling this version Violet Beauregarde.  They kinda look like violets and there’s something over-the-top about this shawl that kinda reminds me of that very obnoxious little girl.

whine.

Monday did not go as planned.

There was a tornado warning.  Tornadoes really freak me out.

The movie was good, but very epic, thus long, and I ended up drinking one too many gins and tonic.  It was so long that there was no chance for post-film fun, it was just street-corner leave taking and hitting the road.

Then I might have bought Doritos.  No night that starts with service-station Doritos at 1 a.m. ends well.  It ends with Criminal Minds and a tummy ache.

My work.  Better not to speak about the dissertation that has me stuck stuck stuckity stuck.  Or the disappearing month of July.

Friends coming to visit.  On the one night other plans would be possible.  The friends are wonderful, caring, funny people whom I want to see very much and would not put off for the world.  I also want to spend the same evening with an unrelated, rather elusive person.  This will not work out.

When it rains, it pours.

I could cry from the frustration of it all.

But I won’t.  And I will stop whining.  Just had to get it all out.

sigh

This is also not going well.  I went up to size US6/4.00mm needles, which with the lace-weight yarn seem to produce a nice, airy fabric.  The first increase rounds were relatively painless, though I do hate working yarn overs at the end or beginning of each needle when using the magic loop method.  Then I started chart 1.  Now I have an extra stitch, though I could swear that I have the correct number of stitches and have followed the pattern to the letter.  Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

I’m not sure I have the strength to figure it out right now.  Instead, I think this is going into time out and I’ll start knitting something with stripes.

Thanks for bearing with the whine.

ETA: I’m going to go eat a burrito and commence to fake it until I make it.  The funk will lift.

bad day made better with stripes

Putting on my stripey shawl has already improved the day.  It is currently overcast with a 60% chance of thunderstorms and 83 degrees F here, so not perfect shawl weather.  But guess what?  Nashville can bite me.

FO : stripey ishbel, modified

My apartment is pretty dark, so whenever the sun manages to sneak through, I’ve got to be ready.  Good thing I can’t seem to get Monday started this morning.

I finished the stripey ishbel late last night, long after I should have been in bed and no longer watching Criminal Minds.  Because that is a show that will freak out a girl living on her own.

stripey ishbel, modified

stripey ishbel, modified

stripey ishbel, modified

As you can see, I went with a garter-stitch border.  The shawl was already pretty large because the goal was to use as much of the single blue skein as possible (mission accomplished!) … and adding a narrow lace border just didn’t seem like the answer to me.  So I knit about a 2″ of garter-stitch, bound off, and blocked the sucker, all while the brave (yet stylish and witty) BAU team caught some more very bad guys.

I love the ishbel shape: wider across the top for better wrapping, shallower down the center for a less overwhelming amount of wool to wrap.  All in all, this is pretty large: it took a little over 200 grams of Cascade 220 (I was working with partial skeins, so I’m guessing a bit) and measures about 70″ inches across the top, 27″ down the center.

At first I was a little worried that the stripes weren’t contrast-y enough, but now I really like the strange subtly of the blue and gold.  I’m definitely going to show this off tonight while watching a Kurosawa epic.  (On a related note, how did I end up living in such a cool place?  Seriously, Nashville, you continue to amaze me with your strange brand of unexpected awesomeness.)

All the details here.

so snoozy

In other news, my favorite Alice (who just might have been renamed “Alice Alpert and the Kitty-juana Brass” last night)  is pooped and happy to be back from her week at the vet’s office while I was away.  Poor little lady, she’s been doing nothing but some serious snoozing since we got home.

back in the saddle

Well, I’m at least back in Nashville.  Where it is very, very hot.  And that’s pretty much my excuse for why I have very little knitting to show you.  I might even have negative amounts of knitting, when all is said and done.

First off, the bag of sadness:

goodbye shetland tea shawl

Goodbye, Shetland Tea Shawl.  There was no way this was going to work out … it would have been a petite lap blanket, not the giant fluffy blanket cloud I was hoping for.  So I ripped last night.  The malabrigo lace is holding up surprisingly well, but I made sure to be extra gentle and avoid any unnecessary tugging.  It looks like all the yarn might make it out intact.

And that’s always a good thing, especially considering that the new shawl I have in mind takes a lot of yarn.  Somehow, I just couldn’t face another start on the Tea Shawl.  Maybe another time.

But on to the good news: a new bag for my birthday!

swift

swift

swift

My sister gives awesome gifts.  This is the Tom Bihn swift bag.  It’s billed as a knitting bag, though it’s so roomy and practical it’s perfect for just about everything (it was my carry-on)  … I can stuff a lot of crap in there.  And the project pouch is super.  I’m one of those people who would like to say I travel light, but I’m not: I’ve become my Grandma Doris, hauling around 10lbs. of goodness knows what, just in case.  So, yeah, this is pretty ideal.

The actual knitting — which could, of course, be put in the above-mentioned bag — is not so very exciting.

stripey

stripey

The ishbel with stripes continues to grow, and I continue to waffle about what kind of border to knit.  Lace?  Garter stitch?  Le sigh.  Still not sure.

So, I’ll leave you with my favorite part of summer: Rainier cherries!

cherries!

If I had any restraint, I might be able to make this.  Alas, I do not have any restraint.

still no knitting

No pictures either.

Because I forgot my camera back in Nashville, which is all well and good when I’m actually in Tennessee.  Since I’m in Washington at the moment, it’s all a bit difficult.

But the real problem: I have a sinking feeling that my Shetland Tea Shawl is going to be too small.  There is just no way that my tight-knitting ways in combination with lace-weight yarn and US4/3.5mm needles aren’t going to spell disaster of a tiny variety.  You know when you avoid working on a project because it’s somehow not right?  Yeah, that’s what’s going on here.  I spent all of last week knitting my way through this stripey wonder, all the while dreading taking a closer look at the tea shawl.

It’s time to face facts.  I’m going to have to start over on larger needles … I just hope the malabrigo lace can recover.

it’s not knitting …

… but, it’s been a busy couple of days.  A friend from college came for a visit and we did the town: giant statues, lots of food, some walking, more food, a very bad midnight movie, and — okay — a bit of knitting.  She learned to knit socks and was very excited.  Probably not as excited as I was, but still pretty thrilled.

athena!

Yep, she’s 42 feet tall.  And gilded.  She will blow your mind.

loveless cafe

Double yep, I ate all of that.  It blew my mind.

So that’s it for now.  Things are good here, people.  Very good.

on the road again

back on track

It was officially no. fun. tinking back 422 stitches, but it also wasn’t the worst.  In fact, I think I would much rather tink back stitches than, say, clean the bathroom or clip the cat’s toe nails.  So that kind of puts it in perspective.

The tinking went surprisingly quickly — tediously, but quickly — and now with the first round of the diamond madeira set up correctly it’s been pretty smooth sailing.  Smooth and very slow.  What you see here is the first six rounds … of a 36-round chart.  Over 574 stitches.  I will not complain, I did this to myself.  But I will also not do the math.

back on track

This is true “knitted lace” — which may or may not actually exist — in that there is patterning every round.  Truth be told, I’m not a huge fan of the every-round YO … mine always end up looking slightly messy and stringy.  Not to mention uneven.  But I’m putting my hope in the corrective power of blocking.

That’ll even everything out, right?

574

574

574 stitches, oh my!  The first increase rounds and the first two charts were a breeze … then the sixth increase round came along and now there are 574 stitches to work with.  Progress has slowed considerably.

Though I do love the hollyhock contrast color.

574

This has been my main coffee shop knitting for the past 3 days or so.  I knit, sip coffee, watch the hipsters (so. many. beards!), and think about reading.  I’ve got to start actually reading soon.  But this place plays good music and these shawls are addictive.

I’m worried that it might be on the small side — I’m a tight knitter and I only went up one needle size — but it seems plenty stretchy, with lots of lace to open up, and I still have one more big chart to knit (twice!).  Yesterday, I thought about ripping it all out and starting over with slightly bigger needles.  Then I came to my senses and decided that a slightly smaller shawl was not necessarily a bad thing.  Besides, that would be just too much work to reknit for no very good reason.  And I knit for fun, not perfection.

Then there’s the yarn to consider: the lace-weight Malabrigo does not hold up well to frogging.  I’m trying to handle the yarn as little as possible, but I hope it can stand actual wear.  Because I want to wear this a lot.

574

Happy Fourth of July to those celebrating!  I hope the day is filled with all kinds of fun and fireworks, pie and barbequed everything.