on the bandwagon.

After a few days of a cold and an obscene amount of CSI, here’s my progress on the Drops 103-1:

Dsc01666
schnellstrick

Almost there.  And I’ve got lots of CSI to keep me going … not to mention classes starting next week and dissertation reading and writing and … all that.  The weather is getting chilly and I’m anxious to get this finished up.  Those of you with eagle eyes will notice that the left front has slightly fewer rows of the double moss stitch pattern.  Oops.  Pesky counting.  I decided not to worry about it and just kept going instead of frogging. 

I’m kind of amazed — I don’t know why I should be, but there you are — about how much I still have to learn about knitting.  Attempting the copycat cardigan demonstrated all the details I don’t think about while knitting: shaping, size, etc.  The Drops jacket is the first knit I’ve done with actual shaping and it’s good experience, just having to think about direction of decreases, stitch counts, matching sides and backs and arms — stuff which is probably totally obvious to more experienced sweater knitters. 

One thing that I *did* do this time, after the trouble of matching up, picking up, and seaming my mom’s cardigan, was to keep notes.

Dsc01669
so organized.

This small step has been a big improvement on my former method of attempting to correctly count the stitches in finished pieces, which always and inevitably led to confusion and slightly wonky cardigan(s).

Now I think it’s time for a little CSI.  (Why is it that crappy television is always so much more appealing in foreign countries?)

voila!

Instant organization, thanks to Ikea.  (And the very brawny men who carried said Ikea up four flights of stairs.)

yarn storage before:

Dsc01649

yarn storage after:

Dsc01651_2

Much nicer, eh?  And all the woolly goodness is so nice to look at.  The only question remaining for me — aside from: Why does Typepad insist on blurring my photos and what can I do about it? — is: How did I end up with so much yarn?  I really *did* try to keep the stash petite.  And it’s not huge by any means, but still.  Even though "Knit from Your Stash 2007" is over, I’m going to keep the dream alive.  Because not only am I on a budget, I’m also supposed to be, you know, developing and writing a dissertation.  Not knitting.  Tragic.

And speaking of things tragic, my copycat cardigan is a bit of disaster.  As in a 52-inch-bust disaster.  Had I a 52" bust, things would be fine.  Unfortunately, my measurements are more in the 36" department.  Hence the tragic.

Dsc01652

the hugeness might not be apparent, but trust me

Anyway, time to regroup.  I don’t know if I’m just going to frog and start over or if I’ll rip back to a more reasonable stitch count and keep going.  Just glad I did a bit of math before knitting much more.  I was struck down by a positive fit of startitis yesterday, which led to all of the math in the first place, as I tried — and failed — to match gauges with the cheap-o Woolworth yarn and various appealing patterns.  I’ve decided to go ahead with the ubiquitous (another kind of copycat) Drops 103-1, making the small size in the finer gauge (17 sts x 22 r); hopefully, with the Schnellstrickgarn (14 sts x 22 r on #10.5 needles) I can get something that will fit. 

Unfortunately, the startitis didn’t actually lead me to start anything, so for now, it’s all daydreaming.  I’ve got a couple of baby things (e.g., this, this, these, and these <ravelry links>) I’d like to make for various babies of my acquaintance.  As well as some Christmas gifts that need to get started.  Including my yearly bout with the wrap sweater with eyelets and ggh soft kid.  <shudder>

On a happier note: some Socktoberfest progress.

Dsc01658

almost ready to turn the heel

you know what this means.

Dsc01646

Yep.  Furniture!! 

Ikea came through with an apartment full of furniture on Monday.  After the delivery guys schlepped it all up 4 flights of stairs (who needs an elevator?) with surprising speed, it took me quite a while to get everything put together — a couple of days, anyway.  At least all of the hardware and pieces were on hand and undamaged, and I got to bid a not-so-fond farewell to my air mattresses.   Needless to say, Alice and I are very happy with our newly accoutered living space.

In between assembly and enjoyment of the newly assembled pieces, I’ve even managed a bit of knitting. 

A little something for Socktoberfest:

Dsc01647

Lana Grossa Meilenweit Mega Boots Stretch (color 507)

I’m using the universal toe-up formula by Amy Swenson, which in combination with Judy’s magic cast-on for toe-up socks, has become my favorite way to make socks (for the admittedly few socks I have made, or at least started, anyway).  I threw in some K2, P2 ribbing just for a bit of interest, if K2, P2 ribbing counts as interesting.  The Mega Boots Stretch, although it does seem a bit splitty, is otherwise a heavy, solid sock yarn (hence the boots) with really lovely color variegation.  Thanks to iTunes, CSI, and a slight head cold, I’ve been able to make quite a bit of progress on the sock.

My copy-cat cardigan is also coming along:

Dsc01596

The Woolworth yarn continues to please and is living up to its schnellstrick title: I’ve already separated the sleeves and joined the body.  So far, it even seems to fit, although I’m sure it will feature my signature you-don’t-actually-have-a-40"-bust styling. 

why I love Woolworth

There are still Woolworth stores in Germany.  Maybe other places in Europe too.  Go figure.  And they have *amazing* sale bins.  Really, really great, cheap stuff in big ol’ bins right by the doors.  Since I’m putatively on a budget, I do a lot of shopping in these bins.  Like yesterday.  Look what I found, just lingering in a wooly-ish heap in the 3,33 Euro bin:

Dsc01548

Mmmm … cheap yarn.

Huge amounts of yarn for very, very cheap.  Each ball is 200g/280m, 20% wool, 80% acrylic.  Okay, not a great blend, but it’s soft and smooshy and not at all slick and slimy like acrylic yarn tends to be.  And did I mention: cheap! 

I got enough for a sweater.

I’ve been contemplating replacing my favorite cardigan — a cheap-o Old Navy find (it might even have been on sale) of many years ago.  It has been mended numerous times but is beginning to show its age.  This wool (sic) seemed perfect for the job, the cardigan itself being a beguiling mostly-acrylic wool blend.  There were some contenders in the pattern sweepstakes — most notably Sesame (and check out Lolly’s rockin’ version); however, none were quite right. 

What I really wanted was to copy my favorite sweater.  So after some extensive measuring and math, I starting the interminable project of a wide collar in K2, P2 ribbing.  It is, though, my first foray into knitting without a pattern — it’s just a basic top-down raglan, so "designing" seems a bit of an overstatement — and knock-on-wood, cross-your-fingers nothing has gone wrong yet.  Granted, I’m only 6 inches and two button holes in, but it still feels like the tiniest of victories that I’ve only had to frog once.   

Pictures when things are a bit more advanced.

please don’t tell me it could be worse.

Yes.  I could be blind in both eyes, lame in both legs, and be missing all of my teeth.  I know it could be worse.  It can usually always be worse.  And really, for whom in a position with enough disposable income and leisure time to purchase yarn and then knit lovely fripperies can things not become just an eensy bit worse? 

So.  Long story short.  I deleted my yahoo account.  Then I deleted my cookies.  Can anyone see where this is leading?  Yep.  I can’t access my flickr account.  This is obviously not an event of any importance on a global scale.  Not even on a top five worst things that have happened to me in my life kind of scale.  Maybe on the worse things that have happened today (and today was a pretty good day) scale.  But really.  I’m living in an empty apartment in a foreign country with a cat, no boyfriend, two air mattresses, and a camp table and sometimes I feel just a bit close to the edge. 

End. Of. Rant.  I promise.

But isn’t it pretty here?

Dsc01532_2

Rhine River and Lake Constance
blurry because … typepad declares it shall be so

looky …

Nope, no new knitting.  The Clapotis is pretty much where it was last time I took a photo of it.  So nothing to see there.

But look!  New shoes!

Dsc01522

eject (last pair in size 38!!)

Sorry for the exclamation points, but I really like these shoes.  They are red and orange and bit too expensive … and I love them.

And a new bag to go with them (without even meaning to):

Dsc01524

freitag bonanza

I’ve wanted a freitag bag for years — since the first time I lived in Germany in 2000 — but they’re expensive and really, well, a bit too hipster chic for my geeky ways.  And then my housemate and friend from grad school had a couple and I didn’t want to infringe on her freitag territory (it’s a small department, after all).  This time, however, I decided say: fuck everything, I’m doing five blades and got out the credit card.  Perhaps not the most fiscally responsible move, but I’m really happy with the bag.  Although it does smell kind of funny.

Thanks for the nice comments about my Ravelry awkwardness … I haven’t added any friends yet, but I’m working up to it.

a question about etiquette & scintillating yarn portraits

In a surprising move, I was for once slightly ahead of the trend curve and have been on Ravelry for a bit.  Not the first wave by any means, but a while.  And a question has come up for me: what is the etiquette around adding friends?  I read a number of knitting blogs, but I’m an inveterate lurker, usually too shy and tongue-tied to post a comment.  Is it still okay for me add my favorite bloggers to my friends list, even though they have no idea who I am?  I don’t want to presume and freak someone out; on the other had, I do like keeping up with their crafty endeavors. 

Thanks for any input.  One day I’ll get over this social awkwardness.  Or not.

Apropos of what I’m listening to right now, how about Harry Shearer?  Get thee to LeShow.

And apropos of favorite bloggers whose blogs I’m too shy leave comments on, I found Ashley’s discussion of the yarn porn terminology engaging.  I have to admit to my own qualms about using "yarn porn" as a descriptor, but am also stymied as to an alternative.  And I can see using "porn" in good fun, if not exactly as an act of reclamation, but perhaps of redirection. 

So, here are some scintillating yarn portraits:

Dsc01511

Dream in Color Classy in Good Luck Jade

This is knitting up into a lovely new Clapotis:

Dsc01520

And more Noro! 

Dsc01515

color 149

This is my last remaining ball meant for the Lizard Ridge; after this square, only 9 more to go.  Or rather, it would be only 9 more to go, were all of my squares the same size.  I’ll update the Lizard Ridge saga another day.  Let’s just say that size 8 needles do *not* produce the same size square as size 7.  Oh my.

procrastination

Even with the blogging … Apparently my writer’s block has infected the blog posts as well.  Well, that and the moving to Germany.  I’m still quite jet lagged — as is the cat.  We made the trip, though, and Alice is settling in well, even if she does appear a bit puzzled by the lack of furniture.

Dsc01468

mmmm … German breakfast on my new camp table

But what about the knitting?  Most of my yarn (and all of my pattern books) are now in storage … which is both rather liberating and scary — much like the move itself.  I’m not tied down by my dreams of projects that will magically improve and prettify my life; on the other hand, what do I do without all of those dreamy projects?   

The answer right now: listen to Eddie Izzard.  And work on my new Clapotis using Dream in Color Classy in Good Luck Jade.  (No photos yet; surprisingly lack of daylight in the middle of the night.)

Of course, I did pick up a bit of yarn.  In fact, the first yarn I’ve bought in Germany:

Dsc01457

Lana Grossa Meilenweit Mega Boots Stretch

The color is just a number (8835), but the yarn is a lovely deep purpley-brown color with bits of other colors plied in.  Even though I don’t have anything definitely in mind for this yarn yet, I have been mulling over the possibilities in the new Knitty: namely, Back to Basics.  A simple pattern would seem the best way to show off the lovely colors.

I would, however, like to try a bit of project monogamy and see if I can finished up the Clapotis v.2 before getting started on something new.  Perhaps that’s a dream akin to "passive research."   Also a goal of this stay in Germany.  Research, that is. 

socks!

So my Sockapalooza4 socks arrived in NJ … and they’re lovely, don’t you think?

Dsc01388
Regia Silk

Rachael certainly makes a nice sock.  They fit really well, the silk/wool yarn isn’t in the least bit scratchy, the pattern is lovely and simple, the stripes are super-fun, and the colors are bright and cheery.

And look at the snazzy tubular cast-on:

Dsc01390

Thanks so much, Rachael!  Just one more photo:

Dsc01395

action shot with afterthought heel and ribbing

Sockapalooza is pretty much the only excitement around here.  That and my impending move to Germany, which I’m starting to freak out about.  Oh yeah, and work.  What work?  You know, all that academic stuff that I’ve been ignoring since … well, since I started grad school, basically.  I’ve turned into an incredible ostrich when it comes to my academic career (ha).  I just hope it will all go away.  It doesn’t.  It gets worse.   And then I whine.  Sorry about that. 

On a cheerier note … more FOs to come!