See Jane Knit

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A Few Prudent Notes to Myself 

This entry is going to be composed of a few things that I need to remember before I start any new project. Here goes:

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

If it looks awkward in the photo, it will probably look that way in real life.

If it looks awkward on the model, it will probably look akward on me.

If it's not similar to anything I already have in my closet, then I probably won't wear it.

If I have to buy special underwear to wear it, then I probably won't wear it often/won't wear it at all.

If garments of its type usually are reinforced with plenty of elastic and/or boning, then it probably won't stay up.

Phew. I almost feel better.

ALMOST. Behold, the source of my shame.

cabled bandeau 1
Looks OK with a tank top underneath ... but what is that odd bulge in the back?

cabled bandeau 2

cabled bandeau 3

Why am I standing in that odd position with that forlorn look on my face? Because if I wasn't pressing my arms to my sides in that photo, you would all be getting a good look at my bra. That also accounts for the forlorn look.

Yes, it's the Cabled Bandeau, and yes, things are not working out. I deserve 50 lashes for being dumb enough to knit myself a tube top, BUT (and this is a very big but) Veronik Avery deserves 100 lashes for designing a tube top in alpaca, merino, and silk. Alpaca. Silk, for crying out loud. Two of the least elastic fibers out there. Now, my Bandeau is made of 100% merino, and has been knit to a size that allows three inches of negative ease. So if my top won't stay up, then I bet that IK red-head is holding on to her damn top with her very life, because the alpaca and silk sure can't be helping that shit stay put. Now that I think about it, that might account for the look on her face. She looks almost as forlorn as I do in the photos above.

So now I must decide what to with this thing. Like I said in my last entry, I can't really keep it as it is now; it's too obscene for ordinary wear, not kinky enough for any other kind of wear, and I don't think anyone (myself included) needs a kicky tubular throw. I have considered many things. After having eliminated the irrelevant options (such as lighting my hair on fire and stabbing my eyes out with an Addi Turbo like some knit-deranged Oedipus Rex) here are the ones that seem feasible:

1)Add straps. This could mean something like a halter top, i.e. attaching one strap to the left and right front and then tying behind the back of my neck, or possibly two straps on each side that would tie above each shoulder. This would end up being more of a tank top.

2) Adding elastic thread at the top. I already have some, and it would probably take atleast 2 strands in the top ribbing, but it could be done.

3) Some combination of options 1 and 2. This would alleviate the gaping in the back and the general sag.

4) Knit some sleeves. I was thinking of something like Glampyre's One Skein Wonder knit separately and seamed along the top edge of the back of the bandeau. This would give me a shape somewhat like Tubey, but with shorter sleeves.

5) Frog it. I don't want to; those cables look mighty fine, if I do say so myself. But part of me says that this is the best option. Will I ever wear a merino bandeau? A merino halter? A merino tank? A merino short-sleeved sweater? A small voice in the back of my head is saying that the outlook is not good.

Ugh. I hate making decisions. Especially sucky decisions.
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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

There's Something About Clapotis 

I'm not usually much of a joiner. I don't really like to run with the crowd. This is probably due to the fact that I am a) stubborn and b) perverse. If you say, "go right!" then I'm going to go left; it's just the way I am. Neither of these things has ever helped me, but I don't see myself changing any time soon. However, I do occasionally get drawn to the inexorable pull of the majority. This is my relationship to that famous, infamous, beast-of-a-pattern, Clapotis. Everyone and their mother (and for once, that saying isn't actually an exageration, it's a statement of FACT) has knit one. Just for the hell of it, I googled the word "clapotis." Do you all know how many hits I got? Oh, about 400,000. That's beyond popular, that's a damn epidemic. It's true, a few of them are French* sites, but the first ones that you get are all knitting, all the time, baby. And this made me think: perhaps there is something special about Clapotis. I mean, there has to be, if everyone and their mother and their mother's dog and their mother's dogwalker has knit one. All the cool kids are doing it.

So, I jumped on the bandwagon. And it's done. And you know what? I love it. I really do. Picture time! Yay! Pardon the suck-tastic photos: I find that when I ask people to take a picture of me and my handknitted garments for my knitting blog they either point and laugh or just laugh, so I am forced to take them myself.

Traditional wrap:

clapotis 1

SCARFED!

clapotis 2

I think I should make one of these in cotton, because wouldn't it make a fetching sarong?

clapotis 3

I can see why people make more than one of these things. Honestly, there are things that are popular for no discernible reason, and should be mocked as such. Exhibit A: fun fur (anyone of delicate constitution, shield your eyes!). Exhibit B: spelling scarves as "Scarfs." Exhibit C: knitting dishclothes. Sorry, dishcloth-lovers, that's what Bed, Bath, & Beyond is for. Can you tell I never pass up an opportunity to mock something? The point here is that some things are popular because people need someone or something to follow, even if it's only fun-fur "scarfs"/dishclothes (a fun-fur dishcloth -- now doesn't THAT sound hideous). But there's a reason that Clapotis is so popular: it's a great pattern. It's fun to knit, and wearing it doesn't suck either.

Other knitting updates, you ask? The Cabled Bandeau has stalled due to fit issues. I'm currently brainstorming a way to avoid frogging the entire thing again, while still being able to use it as more than a decorative tube-throw. I think I'll have to add sleeves to it (or get used to unexpectedly flashing all my friends, family, acquaintances, the mailman, etc). I have also begun the Lace Leaf sweater. Of course, the State of New York immediately obliged by moving into full-on, balmy Spring mode, so this project may be stalled until winter. Or I may be wearing this sweater in the sweltering heat of July. I also started a pair of socks, and another cotton, short sleeved sweater, because I have to knit SOMETHING that's appropriate to the season. Pictures of all those to come!


*And will someone please tell me what the frak (yes, I am the Dork El Supremo) Clapotis actually means? In French? I'm just saying that I occasionally wonder if it's a word for something odd. Or dirty.

You know, I kind of hope it's something dirty.
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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Assume crisis positions! 

This is not a drill, people, I repeat: this is NOT a drill!

... Ok, maybe this isn't on the level of the Cuban Missile crisis, or even the possible effects of global warming (a la "The Day After Tomorrow") but dammit, it's a crisis to me. I have been happily knitting away on my Clapotis, getting ever closer to finishing. I was hoping to have it done this weekend, since a)it is still cold enough to wear it and b) I received the yarn for my Lace Leaf sweater in the mail this Friday and I knew that I should finish atleast one thing before starting something else. The Cabled Bandeau has been languishing a bit, since it is definitely too cold to wear that without freezing one's nips off, and I am also stuck in that "finished-waist-shaping-continue-in-pattern-til-the-cows-come-home" stage. BUT, here I am knitting along merrily with my last skein of yarn, only TWO MEASLY DROPPED STITCHES FROM THE END, when what should I discover but ... ?

no more yarn?!?

*insert feral scream here*



EDIT: Because I am chronically lazy about posting, here's the end of the story. I frogged the whole thing.

... Gotcha. Heh heh.

Actually, I posted a plea for help on the Knittyboard, and Tigerlillith came to my rescue! She sent me a full ball of the color I needed all the way from the UK (isn't that nice?) so now that it is in my hot little hands, the finishing can begin anew. Wee! No more crisis positions! As you were! And I have begun my Lace Leaf Sweater ... Look!

lace leaf swatch

It's delightfully warm and smooshy. Of course, I will probably finish it in May, when it's too hot to wear it. I think I'm just going to ignore that thought for now.
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Thursday, January 26, 2006

I need help, people. 

I think I may have some kind of knitter's version of ADD. I will say it again: I am sick and I need help. I am constantly seduced by a newer project and the newer yarn that goes with it. This has landed me with a total of 1 large shopping bag, 3.5 drawers and a closet shelf full of yarn in my dorm room, not to mention the sundry unfinished projects littered here and there. One might assume that now that I have admitted that I "have a problem," as they say in AA, I will be able to resist temptation and actually finish what I start. But if you assumed that, you'd be wrong.

Never let it be said that I am not, at the very least, a stubborn knitter. I may like to start new things, but if a project tries to get me down I'll do whatever it takes to beat my knitting at it's own game. Yes, I am attributing human emotions to my inanimate knitting; this is because I am more than a little bit crazy. You've been warned. Anyway, everyone knows how that old saying goes: If at first you don't succeed, try, try again! Now, normally I'm not much for happy-go-lucky words of wisdom, but I'd say that is a pilar of my knitting philosophy. And right now I'm feeling pretty darn optimistic, because the Cabled Bandeau is lookin' good! I don't really think I need to post a picture of it, since it looks pretty much the same as last time, except it's smaller. Like I was saying, it knocked me off its back, but I got right back on and showed it who's the boss around here. And it feels good to be back in the saddle, folks. The figurative, knitting saddle that is. I'm part way through the increases and sailing along just fine. I must say, Veronik Avery writes a good pattern. All her patterns are elegant, complex, and entertaining to knit. She lets form and function go hand in hand, instead of putting one ahead of the other like so many people do. I think I will have to track down more of her patterns. For whoever asked in the comments, I'm using Karabella Aurora 8.

Since persistance is a part of my knitting philosophy, what are the other parts, one might ask? And that brings us back to the whole knitting ADD thing, or "What the heck will Jane start next?" The obvious choice would be to finish one of the one hundred and one things I have started and not touched for weeks...or months. But that would be the responsible thing to do, so clearly I will do the exact opposite. There's nothing quite like the lure of a brand new project to really get you going. And I am a total sucker for the rose-colored thrill of something new. So, I bought some yarn. *blush* Yes, I have enough yarn to bathe in, all of which is poorly concealed in my afforementioned dorm room (most college guys don't find yarn as attractive as I do). No, I don't need more. So I bought some more. Which makes plenty of sense. Yessirreebob.

I'm hoping to use this yarn that I ordered to finally make the Lace Leaf Pullover from Loop-D-Loop. I've liked this sweater for a long time, and I was reminded of my desire to create one when I saw pictures of the YarnHarlot's version. You'll have to color me envious, because she used the yarn that the pattern calls for, which is both hard to find AND expensive. I'm going to attempt to get around purchasing 500+ yards of polar weight yarn (because that stuff tends to be on the pricey side) by doubling a heavy worsted weight yarn from handpaintedyarn.com in lettuce. I swatched with another yarn I have in my stash that ordinarily knits to 4 sts per inch, and got gauge with the yarn doubled without the slightest hitch. Hopefully, the yarn I ordered will be so obliging. Hopefully, doubling this yarn will create a more blended effect to mute the handpainted color changes. Emphasis on the word "hopefully."

And since we're on the topic of shirking one's responsibilities and starting an umpteenth new project, I give you the Noro Silk Garden...

Silk Garden

...which is being turned into a Clapotis by yours truly as we speak!

Silk Garden Clapotis (beginning)

Anyone who actually thought I was going to solve my terminal case of project-itis, go smack yourself. Everyone else, stay tuned.
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Monday, January 09, 2006

'Tis better to have knit and frogged... 

...then never to have knit at all. Or 'tis it? There are times when frogging, even when you know that it has to be done, just hurts like a bee-otch. Anyone who says they don't mind frogging is lying. Anyone who says they really enjoy frogging? Well, they can bite me.

Now that I've got that off my chest, I'll give you three guesses as to what prompted these musing on the nature of The Frog. The first two don't count, of course, because if you're smarter than a rock, you already know that I must have had to frog something. And I did. My Cabled Bandeau by Veronik Avery from the current issue of Interweave Knits is gone. This cable-y goodness here?

cabled bandeau close up

It's turned into this pasta-like, frog-tastic mess:

frogtastic

Yup. 400 yards in, and I had to frog. As the French would say, "Quel domage!" That, folks, is fran-cais (pronunciation guide: frahn-SAY!) and translates loosely to "what a crisis!"

However, I honestly can't really complain too much, because, truth be told, it was my own fault. I made a few very stupid mistakes. Now, there are a few people who frequent the Knittyboard who claim that stupid is a four letter word. They would like to banish the word stupid from our everyday lexicon. These are the kind of people who believe that there are no stupid questions.

Well, I respectfully beg to differ. I will say that many people call themselves stupid unnecessarily. Most questions aren't stupid: you don't know how to k2tog? Well two years back, neither did I! Welcome to the club! Many people should give themselves a little more credit for daring to learn and explore. HOWEVER, there are still some very stupid acts, and I myself have definitely perpetrated a few. For instance, I could have avoided frogging if I had done one of the following things:

1) More carefully measured my gauge.
2) Made a larger swatch.
3) Measured a similar knit top that I own to make sure I was knitting the right size.
4) Not tried to delude myself into thinking the top didn't look too big. (If it looks to big, you know what? It probably IS. *gasp!* Quel realization!)
5) Put it on waste yarn and tried it on earlier, if only to prove that it really wasn't as gargantuan as it looked. (See parenthetical remarks above. )

But I, in my infinite intelligence, did none of these things. Yes, that's right. I went on my merry way, assuming that I could somehow overcome my own shoddy and irresponsible planning. It just goes to show you, stupidity isn't about not knowing something; it's about knowing how to do something the right way, and doing it the wrong way. And how wrong I was! I'm going to go now, make an offering the Knitting Gods, and begin the bandeau anew with hopes for better results. Wish me luck.

Also, on a happier note, a picture from back in December of the first snow day of the year!

First Snow Day!

That's the view out my dorm room window. Unfortunately, the Weather Gods are also against me, as they are not offering up any more of this snowy, class-free goodness. Quel dissapointment.
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Friday, January 06, 2006

Crawling out from under my rock... 

A few words up front: No, I am not dead. Yes, I still knit. Yes, I still have a computer. I am just a big slacker.

That's about all I've got for excuses as to why I haven't updated in such a long, long time. I'm sure no one wants to hear any more grovelling, but suffice it to say, I have been rather busy. This is going to be a pretty perfunctory post, but atleast it's new. Now then, on to the knitting, yes?

I have almost finished my Christmas knitting. Dad's hat, long done, has been given to it's intended recipient, who seems very pleased with it. My sister's Mini-Sweater only need to be seamed and have a button sewn on, and then it will be done. My mom's scarf on the other hand, is taking a while. It is also a pain in the but, because what she wants changes by the moment. But I'm still knitting away on that.

Santa, on the other hand, was very good to me, so I have plenty of other things to knit. I recieved a set of Denise needles from my mom, and let me tell you, they are everything they are cracked up to be. I don't know how I survived without them for so long. After Christmas, I went to Oklahoma to visit my grandmother, and discovered a yarn store having a storewide 25%-off sale. Everything was 25% off, except for things that were marked. Those were 40% off. Yeah, I just about died after walking in the door.

So I bought a whole lotta yarn! And I mean alot. Not only at that store, but also at another store in Oklahoma, and a store in Hollywood. The total ran to: 7 balls Karabella Aurora 8 in deep copper, 3 balls Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in fuschia, 6 balls Noro Silk Garden in green-grey-blue-black, and 2 balls Rowan Spray in grey-blue-cream/yellow-sprayed-with-red. Oh, and a pair of sz 6 40" Addi Turbos. The Rowan has already become a simple seed-st scarf (that was on-the-plane knitting). I plan to use the Silk Garden for a Clapotis, because I might as well just swallow my pride and jump on the damn bandwagon. I think the DB might become some kind of scarf, but I'm not really sure. And the Karabella? Well, that's already becoming Veronik Avery's Cabled Bandeau from the current issue of Interweave Knits. I'll show some pictures of that later, as well as some of the stuff I've finished recently.

But for now I think I'm going to go and caress all my lovely yarn. Ohhh the yarn.... I'm almost all yarn-shopped out.

...ALMOST!
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Monday, November 28, 2005

If I had a nickel... 

...For every time I wished the semester was over, I'd be freakin rich. And I'd be able to pay someone to do all the work I didn't feel like doing, so I could relax, do my performances, and knit some.

Unfortunately, I don't have those nickels. Damn.

So, not much knitting has been going on at Casa di Jane (that's Italiano for my house, people) mostly because it is hitting that special time of the school year when you wish that there was a fast-forward button on the remote of life. I've got three concerts in the coming two weeks, plus an audition, two papers to write in a foreign language, at least two books to read, and a faux-lesson plan to dream up for my anthropology class. Say it with me people: AHHHHHHHHHH.

So, since I am just too damn tired to knit, how do I relieve stress? Why, I BUY YARN! Of course! This bit of delicious yarn pr0n comes to you by way of Flying Fingers, which I had the good fortune to visit the day after Thanksgiving. I took the train up to Irvington; I actually loved the train ride, because I got to gaze at the beautiful Hudson River both ways. Although it was what I (a weakling Californian) like to call "ass cold" outside.* This yarn pr0n is also generously sponsored by my Mom. Thanks Mom. I loves ya.

Moebius in the making

Exhibit A: A 40'' pair of Addi Naturas and some Classic Elite Beatrice (100% Merino wool) to go with it. The needles and yarn are currently creating a Moebius scarf, with a bit of help from yours truly.

Supersock and Alpaca

Exhibit B & C: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in River. Yum. Plus some Blue Sky Alpaca sport weight (I actually have a second skein of this, and the color is actually much brighter and more saturated). Double Yum.

(Not shown: A copy of the First treasury of Magical Knitting. I mean, it's just a book, so it's not really that exciting.)

I was hoping to buy some laceweight yarn while I was there, as I've been craving another shawl, but they didn't have much for lace, atleast not much that I found intriguing. This is not really a problem though, because I can get excellent laceweight for cheap from Knitpicks. Not to mention, I've been thinking about giving some of their heathered laceweight merino a try. Or I could order some Baby Cashmere from Elann.com, or their Baby Silk. Mmm a cashmere and alpaca shawl...See? This is clearly a sign of stress. I need to step away from the computer right now and get working, before I purchase again!



*By the way, the term "ass cold" is not really specific to any kind of weather. Technically, it describes weather that is so cold that your ass actually gets starts to freeze underneath your pants and long coat. This term can be used interchangeably with "freakin cold," "really freaking cold," and "FUCKit'scold!"
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