more knitting!

I caught a moment of sunshine this morning and got busy with the documentation.  Or evidence, if you will, of my very crafty Saturday.

Nothing but knitting, the whole darn day.  It was just what I needed.

twenty eleven

twenty eleven

Twenty eleven is finished, blocked, and awaiting buttons.

I love how very sheepy this yarn is: I swear, it sheds more than Alice … I keep finding bits all over the house or in my books, on my clothes … everywhere.

As you can see, I added some rather dramatic waist shaping.  I wanted it to cinch at the waist, and cinch it does.  Let’s just hope it’s not too much, since I did also want it to close without extensive corsetry or girdles … I did try it on about a million times while knitting, just to make sure, but still … one never knows.  And I eat a lot of pizza.

blue buttons!

It’s that “awaiting buttons” part that are going to be a challenge.  I was set on bright blue or turquoise buttons and, indeed, that was what I found.

14 of them; 14 buttons that were suprisingly expensive when bought in quantities exceeding two or three.  But I was impatient to find buttons and didn’t want to wait … so, very precious buttons it is.  I plan on spending the afternoon stitching … and stitching …

Not that the cardigan is going anywhere.

i got this

Alice has got this.

And I’m already daydreaming about new projects …

starting over, again

two of my favorite things

two of my favorite things

Happy Sunday!  I’m dreading the return to the real world tomorrow, but at least I got some sleep.  And have a pretty new cardigan to wear.

sleeves

So, can we talk about how much I love the short-row set-in sleeve?

twenty eleven

A lot.  That’s how much.  It’s just so darn elegant: knit the arm opening, join the shoulders, pick up stitches and start shaping.  Before you know it, boom!, sleeve cap without any awkward easing-in seaming, impossibly long yoke rounds, or sleeves to finish and join.  It just makes sense, you know?

And now I plan on using it as much as possible.

twenty eleven

For the twenty eleven, I thought about knitting extra-long extra-cozy sleeves … then I remembered that I live in Nashville and, realistically, wool cardigan weather isn’t going to be around much longer.  3/4 sleeves just work so much better here.

And speaking of things working out, as of yesterday afternoon my written exams are over!  It is a glorious feeling, no less glorious than it was 5 years ago … and the prospect of a whole weekend off: oh my, it’s heaven.

My goals: sleep and anything I want to do, including finish this cardigan.

slowly, slowly

… catchy monkey, right?

twenty eleven

It’s slow going, but I’ve made it to the collar!  There were some minor knitting disasters along the way, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed.  Or, at least, I think they’re fixed.  I’ll have a better idea of how it all worked out once I get the sleeves in?  Maybe?

Here’s to hoping.

twenty eleven

Also, my exams start tomorrow.  I have no idea why I’m so freaked out about them.  I’ve studied, I know this stuff pretty well, I’ve already taken (and passed!) similar exams.  I have not gotten significantly less competent in the last 5 years.

And yet.  I still hate exams.

almost there

… well kind of.

twenty eleven

Twenty eleven is growing steadily, though it seems like slow going.  I’m not entirely sure why, maybe knitting all that black wool? going up a size to compensate for a smaller gauge?  In any case, it’s one of those projects where I know I must be making progress — it’s getting bigger — and yet … there still seems to be a long way to go.

Pretty much like the studying.

twenty eleven

Yesterday, I got through both the 19th century *and* the waist shaping, so I shouldn’t complain.  Goodbye naturalism, hello fitted cardigan!

I won’t lie, I spent a lot of time standing at the mirror wondering, is that really the narrowest point of my waist? how exactly does one locate the top of the hip? how long should it be?

Many questions.  In the end, it seems like I came close enough.

twenty eleven

Today, I’m tackling the 20th century, epistolarity, and hopefully (finally) getting to the armholes.  A big day.

Friday’s just the day before the weekend

plaid!

I believe I’ve mentioned how much I enjoy Michael K. for my daily gossip and sass.  Well, homegirl is tired.  I think the plaid was the only thing that got me through Friday … it was mostly successful: lesson plan, study, teach, cafeteria lunch, meeting, collapse.

You got to know when to fold them.  Which is why I’m watching Toddlers & Tiaras and thinking about bed, not wading my way through the rest of the 19th century.  Who needs any more realism than reality television?  I’m even too tired to knit.  These exams have got to get finished soon.

Anyway, the skirt: wool plaid from Joann fabrics, Simplicity 2698; zipper put in by a seamstress because my sewing machine was having none of it.  This is no masterpiece of construction (except for the zipper) and is riddled with all kinds of amatuer mistakes, but it holds together, is cute and swingy and makes me pretty happy to wear.

Also: how did I ever forget just how warm a stranded hat could be?

progress

… it’s slow.

I’m furiously trying to make my way through mountains of books, letters, short stories, poems, notes, summaries, essays, criticism in a (seemingly futile) attempt to get ready for my exams.  In two weeks.

So I’ve put selbu two on hold for the moment in favor of something less demanding: twenty eleven, version two; or, starting over with a tighter gauge.

twenty eleven

So far, it seems to be working.  Switching to US7/4.5mm needles was a wise choice.  Maybe I’m finally learning that if something seems wrong, it probably is?

As for mods, I decided to stick with straight ahead stockinette instead of moss stitch.  Not only do I find moss stitch impossibly tedious, no matter how good it looks, but it would certainly interfere with my ability to knit while reviewing.

Stockinette it is.  And I’m quite excited about the possibility of a not-so-basic black cardigan to add to my handknit collection.

twenty eleven

twenty eleven

Today, we woke up to snow.  That’s how Nashville spells adventure — and everything closed — so plans to walk to the library have been replaced by plans to stay in my pajamas.  Alice is not complaining.  That look of extreme concentration is brought to you by all of the hungry birds at the feeder.

bird friends!

Now for more coffee and Romanticism!

starting over

I don’t like messes.  In fact, I try to avoid them whenever possible … of course, that doesn’t mean that I don’t make them.  I make lots of messes; I just try to tidy them away as quickly as possible.

This often happens with my knitting.  A project doesn’t work out, something goes spectacularly awry … and I attempt to pretend it never happened.  At least, not on the blog.  I don’t share the messes.

But the other day, something happened: I let all the mess out, without really meaning to — all the ragged edges, all the whining and complaining and self-pity, all the sloppy pieces that didn’t fit — and it felt really good.  It’s out now.  And I thought, why not do the same with my knitting.  After all, there is plenty of mess to be had there.

Exhibit one:

selbu two

Oh, selbu two.  It was just not working out: too uneven, too loose, too not right.  It’s a gift after all, and I don’t want to saddle someone with a subpar selbu.  So back to the drawing board, time to be an adult and admit that I need to knit a guage swatch and possibly buy the appropriately sized 16″ circular.

The yarn is so pretty and I do not want to cringe every time my friend decides to wear the hat …

Exhibit two:

twenty eleven

Twenty ten.  This started life as the Golden Wheat cardigan, which was knitting up just dandy … until I decided that I didn’t necessarily want another swinging cardigan; instead, I wanted something that could cinch a bit in the middle.  Because if it doesn’t cinch a bit, well, I then towards the rectangular.

So I thought: twenty ten!  Perfect.  I’ll knit it up with less ease — as seen on Ravelry –, add three-quarter length sleeves, and voilà! cinchy cardigan.  I’m still cautiously optimistic, with reservations about my choice of yarn: ístex létt-lopi.  It’s wonderfully sheepy and has a lovely sheen to it, but I’m concerned that the gauge just might be a bit too loose.  It’s a quandry: continue and see what happens? or start over and hope for the best on smaller needles?

twenty eleven

This is what happens when I start a project on the fly.

selbu two

selbu!

I’ll be honest: I was kind of dreading starting this project.  Last year, my very dear friend here in Nashville requested a selbu modern for her next birthday (in February) after seeing mine out and about in the winter.  Of course, I said yes.

Then the dread started.  Even after I thought up a perfect color combination for her and got it approved … even after we bought the delightful yarn itself … I was dragging my feet.

Now, February is almost here and I realized that I would feel absolutely awful if I didn’t have the hat ready for her birthday.  So I cast on last night.  Turns out, I really do enjoy color work, even if I’m not particularly, um, practiced in the technique.  And I’m hoping a good soak and blocking will even out some of the wonky stitches.

selbu!

I’m a little worried about gauge.  I went up a couple of needle sizes because I was sure that using the recommended sizes would result in a very tiny hat.  But will this version be much too sloppy and loose?

Again, I’m putting my faith in the power of blocking.

selbu!

curses on my dark apartment

red boots!

This is the best I could do with an auto-timer and a dark day in Nashville.  I love the cardigan, though, and have worn it for the past couple of days straight.  It’s a perfect weight for Nashville: the wool makes it warm but the shorter sleeves and open front make it very wearable in relatively mild weather.  Cascade 220 is the best, as far as I’m concerned: no pilling yet (and I’ve been wearing the heck out this cardigan), great stitch definition, minimal stretching.  And it’s affordable.  In a million colors.

I’ll count my ball bands and put the details up on Ravelry soon.

I’m also attempting the Rooster’s strategy today: fake it to make it.  As I understand it, awesome boots are essential.  So since these new red ones (on sale!) arrived yesterday, it seemed a shame to leave them in the box.  And with a head cold that won’t quit, getting out of the house was my only option for getting anything done.

red boots!

What do you think, dear internet?  Do these make me look stumpy?  I love them and will be keeping them (so comfy for walking!), but I nonetheless suspect that they bring out the stump.  Not that it takes much.

red buttons!

red buttons!

Red buttons!

In between taking notes on books I’ve read — or imagined I’ve read — from the 18th century (a good century for German literature, all things considered … you know, what with Goethe and Schiller and then the whole Romanticism thing), I finished up the second sleeve and got to the blocking.

red buttons!

This morning, I tackled the buttons.  I do not like sewing on buttons, but I do like wearing new cardigans … so after a quick pro/ con list, I got busy.  The red made it more enjoyable, of course.

red buttons!

Now, I’ve got to get back to the 18th century.  In my new cardigan, of course.

Details and a modeled shot soon!