See Jane Knit

Monday, September 26, 2005

Serious Dirt 

I've got serious dirt (hence the title) to dish to you all about. First order of business: I turned 21! And no one got hurt! Not much happened, actually. Having your birthday on a Wednesday kind of kills the excitement, you know. I mostly celebrated by going to class (woo-hoo.) and calling my parents (double woo-hoo.). I'm having an actual party on Saturday, so I'm saving up the fun for then. In the end it was nice though, because I did get some lovely birthday presents from my DB: a set of Nightmare Before Christmas champagne flutes (yeah, that's how I roll) and the first season of Pete & Pete on DVD (eee!). Excellent swag, but he STILL doesn't believe that I would also have really enjoyed more yarn! From the looks I get when I suggest this to him, I think he sees it as an enabling kind of thing, like giving an alcoholic a big birthday bottle of Jack Daniels. Jeez, non-knitters just don't understand ...

And here's the second bit ... the dirt on the Knitty Anniversary Cruise! Yup, it was this past Sunday, and yup, I did attend. It was so much fun. I wish there was one of these every weekend. Now that would be the best Stitch and Bitch in this world. See how awesome it was?

Knitty Cruise 2

Knitty Cruise 1

How can you not love the idea of a whole bunch of knitters on a cruise ship? Anyway, the day of the cruise I rode the train down to Manhattan, obsessing about whether I would be on time (this is what public transportation does to me, folks) and arrived at Grand Central with time to spare. So much for my obsessing and stressing, eh? After getting a little orange juice and a really horrific scone (which I threw out) for breakfast, I decided to really live in the lap of luxury, and hailed a cab to drive over to the pier. The event was being held on a lovely little boat with two floors; I spent most of the cruise on the top deck, enjoying that fresh river air. There was great food, an open bar (didn't avail myself of that one, but it was there), a silent auction, and loads of knitters! I spent the second half of the cruise in the Knittyboard group of people. Here we are:

Knitty Cruise 3

Knitty Cruise 4

There you can see (in some semblance of a left to right type order) Karen (Cooknknit), Amy (Creator of Knitty! Squee!), Heather (Hbrogan - My SP), Maryann (Marymac), Valerie (Alerievay), Jen (Bluealvarez), and Tamara (LaBean). I'm lucky I posted about wearing my Branching Out the morning of, because otherwise no one would have found me, since we didn't really know each other by face. I also got to see Karen's divine pictures of Bon Jovi! And see Tamara hold a DPN with only her fabulous hair! As you can tell, it was quite exciting. We got little bags of knitting swag on our way out, with free yarn, coupons (for more yarn - they know what we like!) and a copy of Fall Vogue Knitting. I also was gifted with a circular needle case designed by Jen. Apparently it's a prototype, because she's thinking of making them to sell, and she was planning to give it to some knitter to test out. Lucky me! I've already filled it to the brim with my needles, and am wishing I had a second one. I also got a lovely photo of the Statue of Liberty.

Statue of Liberty

As for actual knitting, uh ... really not too much of that going on. School has been cutting into my knitting time in a serious way, plus I missed a really good knitting opportunity by forgetting to bring my shawl to a required music lecture. Knitting is the only thing that keeps me conscious during those things, so as you can imagine I was pretty miserable. And by miserable, I mean so bored I was practically drooling on myself for kicks. The one knitting thing I did recently: I started my first sock:

Sock beginning

The figure-8 cast on is a little wonky, but I'm ok with that. I can see how sock knitting can be addictive. They're just so small and colorful and cute! They play into my bizarre love of matching sets. Some progress has also been made on Kiri, which I am now really getting anxious to finish, so that I can free up those needles to knit Samus, and just to have it out of my hair. Christ alive, can you believe that's ALL the knitting I've done this week? No wonder I feel stressed out. Must ... knit ... must ... knit ...
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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Movin' on up! 

Thanks to all of you who offered your get-well wishes! I'm feeling a whole lot better, although it would have been hard to feel worse, seeing as last Monday morning I could barely roll out of bed and walk two feet to my computer. I went to the doctor, where they tested me for Strep throat. Thankfully, that test came back negative, which means that I just had a nasty cold. Less thankfully, that also meant there was nothing they could do but treat the symptoms, because there are a myriad of viruses and bacteria that can cause the same symptoms as Strep. So I got a bunch of Tylenol and a prescription strength anthistamine and was sent back to bed. Anyway, it helped a bunch and now I'm on the mend. Woo-hoo! Go immune system, go! I've also pretty much stopped leaving a trail of snot everywhere I go, like some kind of giant human slug. Yeah, that wasn't too sexy. I'm glad it's over.

As for the knitting, well, there's good news and bad news. And more bad news. And also some more good news. It's a mixed bag, ladies and gents.

First off, I started something new! I was trying to unify my giant skein of Karabella Lace Mohair with a project, and decided, what the hey! I'll make a shawl. I don't wear shawls, but I also don't own any shawls. Which caused which? I guess I'll find out once I'm done. I'm making Kiri, from All Tangled Up. It looks pretty damn intimidating at first (whatever made this lady think that a nine page pattern is good for beginners ... ) but once I got started I found it to be pretty easy. I'm already 7+ repeats in to it, and I've got the pattern repeat memorized so I can take it around with me (it's great for required concerts and other music department BS occasions). Since I have roughly 100 yds less that the pattern calls for, I think I'll just do one or two repeats less that the designer did, since she mentioned that the last repeat plus the edging took her almost 1 ball of Kidsilk Haze, which clocks in at 250 yds per ball. Speaking of which, I'm going to have to make another one of these using KSH because that stuff is scarily delicious.

Here's the bad news: in my extreme shortsightedness, I was carrying around the pattern and the shawl in a plastic baggy, so that it wouldn't get all tangled in my purse. I also had in there a bright yellow marker to cross off the lines of the first chart. So, one day this past weekend (on the train to Grand Central - just my luck) I opened up the plastic bag to discover three things: 1) yellow ink all over the paper pattern 2) the offending marker, with its cap off, at the bottom of the bag, and 3) two silver dollar sized blobs of flourescent yellow ON MY HALF FINISHED SHAWL (I am still thanking the Knitting Gods that none ended up on the skein of yarn itself). And just so you know, if you ever encounter a knitting disaster in public, it's pretty hard to keep your cool. Now, I had a hunch that these markers were washable, so I put the thing in the sink (and my needles ... oops.) to soak with some shampoo. I also smeared a little extra shampoo on the particularly yellow spots. And ...

Before... Here's the whole thing ...
kiri pre-washing

Here's the upper spot...
upper spot

Here's the lower spot ...
bottom spot
(This pic gives you the best idea of the color of the yarn and the spots)

... And after! Oops, I forgot to take an after picture. Anyway, washing it actually worked! The spot near the bottom of the knitting (actually the top of the shawl), which originally seemed to be the worst, ended up coming out almost completely. The upper spot (actually on the side of the shawl) was a little tougher, but I'm thinking it's not too bad. I'm hoping that the second wash for blocking might help. Anyway, I can deal with it. So go me!

Second chunk of mixed news: I finished the body of Simply Marilyn. After knitting a couple inches on one sleeve, my smarter half sent me a message that said, "Hey Jane! Maybe you should try that thing on, so that you won't make another disaster sweater and prove to everyone that you really ARE as sharp as a marble!" I decided to take this advice, so I put it on and pinned the shoulder bits to about where they should be. And I got this: Front
marilyn front

Side
marilyn side

Blehhhhhh. My smarter half was so right. This sweater is doing me NO favors. Hell, I think it might even be giving me backhanded compliments, saying bitchy things behind my back, and spreading salacious rumors about me. That's a fancy way of saying it makes me look, not fat, but shapeless. Potato-like, as I am fond of saying. And let me tell you, I have definitely got some shape on me! So I frogged it. F*** you Marilyn, i've got better things to do. I'm thinking I'll turn it into a sweater of my own design. But I'm glad I caught it now. It shows I'm learning something about this whole knitting thing. Also because frogging the body of a sweater is not so bad. Frogging a completed, seamed sweater? That is a potent cocktail of rage, despair, and self-loathing. It is hell.

Other knitting things on the agenda: I'm planning to knit my first pair of socks. With the Magic Loop technique. Possibly toe-up, too. Am I crazy? Heh ... heh ... heh ... let's not discuss that.

EDIT: Just so you know, there are now only 5 days until yours truly hits the big 2-1 on September 28th! Yay for birthdays! Just thought I should put that out there, in case you were thinking of sending me flowers ... ;)
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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Blarg. 

This isn't an update. There has been knitting, but I just don't have the energy to share it. It's more of a bulletin, really. The message is as follows:

I bet every knitter has secretly wished to be sick so they could stay home from work/school and knit all day, curled up cozily in bed with a big mug of tea. Who could be blamed for such a wish? It sounds nice, doesn't it?

But I say unto ye: HARK! Be careful what thou doth wish for, for ye may get it! And ye may get it in f'ing spades!

And by it, I mean laryngitis. Laryngitis AND a fever AND sinuses filled to the brim.

So yes, being sick gives you plenty of time to knit. It also gives you plenty of time to wipe snot off your knitting, as you curse the day you were born, along with every deity you can name.

Take it from me, folks. I know what I'm talking about.
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Friday, September 09, 2005

Knitting Personalities 

I've made a significant discovery in the past three days. Not about anything that important (no, I did not discover the cure for cancer) or even anything that unimportant (no, I still don't know how to ride a bicycle) but about myself as a knitter. Let me explain a little further.

I know many knitters who meticulously plan what they're going to knit next. They buy their yarn with something in mind, and they keep a running mental list of what they plan on knitting next. Case in point: many people on the lovely Knittyboard had mentioned that they were holding off starting something new, because they were waiting for the Fall '05 Knitty to come out. They planned on finishing a few FO's so that they could take full advantage of all the brand new patterns in the Fall issue. Now, don't you have to admire these people? That's a lot of planning ahead for a hobby!

So, if you know me, you know that I'm a) a procrastinator, b) lazy, and c) totally indecisive. When these powers combine, instead of getting Captain Planet (tee-hee) you get someone who does just about everything on the spur of the moment, or at the last possible moment, depending on whether there's a deadline. Someone like me. This means I have trouble attempting to plan my knitting. It just doesn't happen. Sure, sure, I make a lot of plans, but I don't necessarily DO anything about them, which is really the most important part. I tend to plan away, and then decide to make something else after I'm swayed in the heat of the moment (usually this part takes place in a yarn store) by something that just calls out to me to be knitted. I've finally figured out that there's really no stopping this; I've just got to go with it. It usually turns out all right.

And on that note, I started something new! ("Thank God," you're all thinking, "this entry DOES have a point!") On Saturday I went in to NYC to buy myself some birthday yarn. My birthday is actually on the 28th of September, but this weekend yarn in New York was tax free, so I decided to strike while the iron was hot (and cheap). I went to Seaport Yarn, which is like a crack den for yarn-a-holics. It's really not even fair to let knitters in there; your wallet practically jumps out of your purse and starts purchasing things for you. I came home with 10 loverly skeins of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky in a charcoal-blue-purple color. It's like that deep black-purple-blue that plums get when they're really, really ripe. I love it. And did I mention it's soft enough to kill for? Normally I'm not a Debbie Bliss fan, because I think a lot of the money you pay for her yarn is just paying for her name on that label, but the Cashmerino line is truly worth it. Here's a pic:

cashmerino chunky

Notice there are only 5 skeins? That's because 5 of them are in use making this.

Knits_spr04_cov_2

That's Simply Marilyn from a back issue of IK. Not a great picture, but it was the only one I could find. The pattern is a free PDF on the Interweave Knits website. Just Google "Interweave Knits"+"Simply Marilyn" and you should find it. I actually get the same gauge, even though the pattern is written for Superchunky, probably because I knit pretty loosely. Which is ok, since it keeps the fabric lighter. I am also just 25 yards short of yarn. Yeah. That makes me a little nervous. I've coerced a certain someone (and by someone, I mean my poor boyfriend) into going back to Seaport and getting 2 more skeins of the stuff for me, pus a pair of smaller needles for the collar. I decided it really wasn't safe for me to go myself, that is if I wanted to have money for groceries this winter. I'm really not sure if I'll need the extra yarn, since I converted the body into the round and subtracted a few inches for a smaller, closer fit. I guess safe is better than sorry. Other than that, the pattern is going swimmingly. I'm almost to the armhole shaping, and I took it off the needles and tried it on last night and the thing seemed to fit fine. Here it is so far:

simply marilyn front (& back, hidden)

As always, if you want to get up close and personal with that cabling, just click on the picture to see bigger sizes. I might want to make it a little longer than the pattern specifies, because I have a long torso, and the sweater seems to be designed to be somewhat cropped. I'm not too much of a fan of belly baring outfits (having a less than washboard-like stomache will do that to you) and I also would like to be able to wear this to concerts and things, so showing some belly is really out of the question. I'll have more pictures when I'm farther along.

And what's next on my knitting agenda? I'm thinking of trying out some socks, and also perhaps knitting Samus from the current Knitty. Because not only is it a very cute and functional sweater, but because it is named after SAMUS. FROM METROID, PEOPLE! I told my friend Charlie (Dork Extraordinaire -he's awesome) that my favorite online knitting magazine had named a sweater after his favorite videogame character, and he said (I quote), "God, PLEASE knit that for me."
"Charlie," I said, "You know it's a woman's sweater."
"And?"
"And what are you going to do about that?"
"I don't know, I'll grow boobs or something."

And that is why I love my friends. They're crazy, just like me.

EDIT: Now that I look at the pictures a second time, I realize that the color of the Cashmerino is a bit off. It really has a bit more purple in it. Just so you know. :)
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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Oooooh new Knitty! 

It's here! It's here! Fall Knitty!

I have to say I am so much more excited about this issue than the last one. I don't begrudge patterns to men who knit, because God knows, they've got it way harder than us gals when it comes to knitting! Unless they're into knitting ladies clothing for themselves (whatever floats your boat, my friend) or for others (spread the knitting love) or for their significant others (a boyfriend who would knit me a sweater?! *swoon*). I also don't begrudge patterns to those ladies who like to knit for men. But I don't have any man to knit for, and I don't want one. I've yet to meet a guy who deserved a hand knit sweater that took months for me to lovingly create. I like to knit for ME. Yeah, that's right, I'm selfish and proud of it, so move the hell over, I need some sweaters! RAWR! KONG NEED SWEATERS!!!

... Ahem.

And sweaters there are! An abundance of sweaters! A hardy crop of sweaters! And did I mention (my dork is really showing here *blush*) that there's a sweater named after an awesome, butt-kicking video game heroine? It's also a very nice sweater. I'm definitely going to have to knit a few things from this issue, even though I just recently started something else ... more on that later! ;)
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Friday, September 02, 2005

Knitting Wheel of Fortune! 

Or "What the heck should Jane knit next?" I'm asking for your help, dear readers, because I am cronically indecisive. Now, I don't have any trouble with big decisions, like where to go to college, or what career to pursue, but if I don't ask someone's advice on what cereal to eat or what socks to put on in the morning I might be there for hours. You know, green or grey? Frosted Mini Wheats or Total? I also might add that I have a highly developed taste for Old People Cereal (what is Old People Cereal? Anything my grandpa eats. ) but that's a topic for another day.

Back on topic, I'm going to throw out a few things to consider. First off is some troubling stash yarn I've got sitting in my closet and on my conscience.

blue yarn

blue yarn in stockinette

blue yarn in seed stitch

This blue stuff is Reynold's Allagash. It's all wool except for the nylon binder, and yes it is THAT blue. It's royal blue, or Yves Klein blue, if you're a pretentious liberal arts college student like me. I have 930 yds of this stuff. I purchased it all in a moment of weakness while perusing the Webs site. It was only 40 bucks for the whole bag, and at the time the color appeared to be a light sky blue. I have since learned that my monitor makes colors appear dangerously lighter than they actually are, and that there are no returns on Garage Sale items at Webs. Consider me schooled. So now I'm stuck with it. I don't think I could ever wear a sweater this blue, although it does look rather nice knitted up (at a gauge of 10 sts and 14 rows for 4''). Any ideas, or even any offers to take it off my hands are much appreciated.

Next up, things I can buy yarn to knit - and isn't that always vastly preferrable? I'm thinking it's time to stop being a sissy and take another stab at knitting a sweater. What sweater you ask? Um ... I'm not sure. I want it to be something warm and cabled, and tweedy! I'm having the strangest craving for tweed and heathered yarns. So right now I've got two basic ideas on the plate.

The first is Rogue, found at the Girl from Auntie. The cables are just lovely, and I think it looks like enough stockinette to keep it simple but enough cabling and whatnot to keep me from just getting bored. I do wonder if the hood will actually fit my head; I have a really REALLY big head. I routinely add atleast an inch to every hat pattern. I was thinking I might use one of the Bartlett Yarns, since I saw a fabulous picture on Knitpixie of a Rogue knitted up with one of these yarns. I'm still waiting for people to respond on the Knittyboard to my plea for info on this yarn, since I've never used it before. We'll see what that turns up. It could be so stunning.

The second is a self-designed sweater. I was inspired to do this by an absolutely divine sweater I saw in Barney's Co-op a week ago. It was out of my price range (200+ dollars, but it was 100% cashmere) so I was hoping to recreat it, maybe even improve on it. Now I tried to find a picture of it on the Barney's NY website, but they seem to be denying that they even sell sweaters, so I'll just have to make do with my powers of description. This sweater was knit out of a bulky/chunky yarn, I'm thinking about 3 to 3.5 stitches to an inch. It was a cardigan with set-in sleeves, but the idea of seaming bulky yarn is making me break out into a cold sweat just sitting here at my computer thinking about it, so that's not happening. I'd probably make it a raglan, bottom up or top down, whichever seems more appropriate. It also had this awesome combination of a figure 8 cable and a bobble - the bobble was sortof tucked away just on one side of the cable where it twisted. It's hard to describe, but it was truly lovely. Plus, it had ginormous plastic buttons that were so Marc-Jacobs-esque I nearly cried (well, not really, but they were really cool). Plus it came in a lovely heathery, tweedy shade of purple and another heathery, tweedy shade of grey. (sigh) Fabulous. I was thinking maybe I could use Knitpicks Sierra for this one, although if I had all the money in the world I'd use that yarn that Teva Durham used for the Lace Leaf Pullover. Yes, the insanely expensive, 100% alpaca one. Man, I need to learn to think inside my budget.

So, any opinions are appreciated. Any and all. Try me. See how appreciative I can be. :)

P.S. The chain-link scarf is going quite well, even though it's been too damn hot to knit anything recently. I'll get some pics of it soon.
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