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.

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  That’s how Nashville spells adventure — and everything closed — so plans to walk to the library have been replaced by plans to stay in my pajamas.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!

sunshine & sleeves

sunshine & sleeves

Sleeve number two is in progress … and trucking right along.  I’m ignoring the fact that my decreases are off by one stitch, that I somehow managed to switch from a seven-stitch interval to an eight-stitch interval and then back again … and that I might have forgotten what needles I was using and knit the first half of the button band on a smaller size.

It all just adds to that handknit charm.  And no one else will ever notice.

sunshine & sleeves

sunshine & sleeves

I also woke up yesterday with a cold.  Sigh.  It is both completely predictable and totally bad timing: yesterday was spent with Theraflu and Baroque poetry.  Today, I hope to move on to Theraflu and the 18th century.  Exams: I want you finished soon.

At least I’ll be writing in my new cardigan …

happy new year | happy new sleeves

sleeve.

It’s a grey start to the new year here in Nashville, but with just enough light to capture my very boring sleeve progress.  Despite counting incorrectly and placing the decreases not-where-I-thought, total cardigan disaster and utter sleeve catastrophe seem unlikely at this point.  As long as I can duplicate the dumbassery on the other sleeve, of course.

Unfortunately, frantically typing up notes does not leave the hands free for knitting.

sleeve.

I hope you and yours celebrated the New Year in style.  I broke my long-standing tradition of not going out (read: at home with the family) to attend my first New Year’s party since 1989: there was friends, food, and lots of bubbly wine.  Which is my idea of a perfect evening.

Now, to find more knitting time in 2011.

back home | back to work

After a week in the Great Northwest (as we like to call it, or at least as the old Ford commercials used to), it’s back to Nashville for me.  And back to work.  That needs to happen really soon.

hooray!

First off, how happy was I to be flying to Nashville and not Newark?  Really, really happy.  And that’s despite the five hours I spent in Houston, waiting on the flight crew.  Turns out, five hours in an airport means gossip magazines, beer at Chili’s, and plenty of knitting time.  It was a nice surprise: a few more hours of vacation.

Also, I confirmed that I am still absolutely useless at the Harper’s crossword.  Darn cryptic clues.

hooray!

What you see here is actually my second attempt at the button band.  I didn’t have a tape measure handy in the airport and so I just kind of guess where I thought 2 1/4 inches might be … then got tired of knitting 2×2 ribbing over so many stitches, convinced myself that I was close enough, and bound off before we landed in Nashville.

I was close (only off about 1/2 inch), but I really do like a deep button band … so I ripped and reknit the last inch or so.  Much better.  Now to bind off and finish the sleeves: then it’s block and wear time.

hooray!

I tried on the first version when I got home, before the minor frogging and expansion project: it fits! it’s cute! I can’t wait to wear it!  Needless to say, I’m all fired up to try some more cardigans.  This is the next one I’m thinking of tackling: Golden Wheat.  Though I do love the Twenty Ten … perfect for 2011, right?

hooray!

Speaking of which: Happy New Year!  I hope 2011 brings everyone warmth, wool, happiness, silliness, and all manner of good things!  And new boots.  Those are also very important.