Archive for August, 2006


Ohhhhh, look! A Finished Object!

(I would have posted yesterday, but Misfit wouldn’t move off the futon. As you can see, he’s fond of comfort. And, sorry about the date stamp.)

Some notes:

1. This was originally a pattern from an afghan book. After several inches of slipping a stitch for five rows (with bulky yarn!) and dealing with wicked pucker and amazingly off row gauge, I chucked the pattern and decided on plain old stockinette stitch.

2. The “pattern” (used loosely) was about 82 st cast on, and six rows with each color.

3. The yarn? Lion Brand Chenille Thick and Quick (and yes, I’m embarrassed to admit that)

4. Start date? Sometime in October ’05

5. If you get a chance (if you haven’t already) listen to the Cast On podcast (#2). In the Knitter’s Manifesto, she talks about how our choice of yarns and patterns reflects our personality and our state of mind. I shudder to think of what a probing mind might think of me in regards to this afghan. (Cheap, white trash knitter?) But don’t think that’s not affecting my choice of future projects.

Now do I get to cast on something fun?


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Total Perimiter: 184 inches

Perimiter Edged thus far: 171 inches

I’ll get back to you.

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Hold on tight…

…there may just be an FO in the future.

Sunday morning, 9 AM: With one cup of coffee in me and another cooling in the mug, I continue Saturday evening’s joyous casting off of the damn afghan.

Sunday, 9:45AM: After forty-five excrutiating minutes (mostly involving preventing the Olive from hopping into my lap) I cast off the last stitch. Much rejoicing ensues, immediately followed by a trip to the bathroom (having refused until I cast off the last stitch).

Sunday, 5:40 PM: Having successfully ignored the afghan all day in favor of a visit to an open-air market at a local Mansion, (I bought wool! And organic taters! In the rain!) I sat down to weave in a few ends.

Sunday, 6:20 PM: Successfully posted pictures of my new baby. Wove in an end or two.

Sunday, 8:40 PM: After diving through a small trash can’s worth of now-used tissues in an attempt to retrieve all the ends I’ve woven in (for a clever picture), I return the afghan to see how many more of the flippin’ things I have left (I washed my hands. Ewww.) Found 1 (one) end left to sew in.

Sunday, 8:45 PM: Still staring at the afghan in shock.

Sunday, 8:47 PM: Resigned myself that Dragon is right, it will look better with a crocheted edging.

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My new best friend

Meeting the free-range yarn:

Getting to know the wheel–very important:

Weaving in ends! How fun!

I think she’ll be a good fit. Don’t you?

(Photos courtesy of Mr. Cygknit)

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On shawls and such

What I would really like to be doing right now is showing you some progress on the UFOs. I failed to realize this week was that Mr. Cygknit’s return to school meant one thing–the laptop went back to school, too. *Sigh* Now, this laptop is the only computer (of 3 in the house, not counting those inhabiting the attic) that’s connected to the Internet. Don’t ask me why. As well, it is the only computer that can handle the digital camera. So, tomorrow, pictures.

What has been driving me nuts today, and off and on since June, is lace. Lace, lace, lace. I really need to make a shawl, for me and/or for my mother. Perhaps its time for a story:

My mother is going to Italy next May, and wants me to knit a shawl for her.

Ok, that’s a short story. Want the long version?

My mother does not like to fly. When my mother flies, she has a tendency to use the airsick bag. And those of the her immediate seatmates. And those of the inhabitants of all the rows in the vicinity (Ask me how I know). So, it is only logical that she fly to Europe.

I say that with some sarcasm, but the truth is that I’m proud of her. While we don’t have the best relationship (or even always a good one) she’s not been free to do whatever she wants for a good many years (and that’s a different story). The only time she’s been out of the country in my lifetime was the time when we went to Toronto–for just as long as it took to see the CN Tower, then back across to NY. So, Italy is a big thing, and me being asked to make something for the trip is an even bigger thing.

So, of course, I want to make the Perfect Shawl. Not only should it be technically perfect, it needs to visually embody the idea of a shawl. It needs to be exactly what my mother wants, even though she has no idea what it is that she wants. No problems there, right?

Here’s the criteria I’ve come up with, based on her recommendations:

  1. It needs to as fuss-free as possible. She’s not a fusser, and will ball it up into the corner of the suitcase if she has to futz with it sliding off her shoulders all the time. I refuse to sweat over something that will annoy her.
  2. It needs to do double duty as a shawl and a sort of hair-cover-y-thing. (I don’t quite get this, but apparently she intends to cover her head when walking into every church-turned-museum. She was raised Episcopalian, and I’m pretty sure that’s where this is coming from.)
  3. It needs to be lightweight enough for late Spring mornings and evenings.
  4. Although I was thinking a neutral color, she would like something bolder. Maybe a turquoise?
  5. Probably a triangle shape?
  6. My requirements: It needs to look like a shawl–no weird (for her) motifs like frolicking sheep. We’ll save that for me.
  7. It needs to be easy enough that I don’t spend months sobbing over my inadequacies.

No sweat, right? (ignore the maniacal laughing from me, right now)

Some ideas:

Knitterbunny made a Triangles Within Triangles shawl back in July that looks, well, like a shawl. Or like I think my mom thinks a shawl looks like. (Blogger isn’t letting me add the pic, sorry.)

I’m not adverse to Faroese shawls, either. (Really wish Blogger would load a pic!)

Any ideas?

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# 3 & # 4

#3 Bumblebee socks

Remember this? From how many months ago?? (May 14. Eek.)

Second sock syndrome is not much of a problem for me, as I’m usually working some sort of self-imposed gift-giving deadline. But this pair for Mr. Cygknit, to match his black and yellow Guinness pajamas (imagine these as pants. With a matching shirt. The man has style.) has been giving me some problems. Since summer is winding down here it is nearly time to drag the flannel out and prepare for winter. And not-so-subtle hints about finishing projects have started to be whispered. So, this has been dragged from the depths of the naughty basket:

Sock 2. The yellow zone was my wait at the Dr.’s office yesterday, the black section above it was done at a Terry knitting lesson/wine tasting. Now, I just have more yellow, more black, and some more soul-crushing yellow before I can declare an FO.

#4 The Olympic Sweater

Don’t worry, I am ashamed that, six months after the Olympics is over, I am still not done with this poor crumpled thing:

The Hourglass sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. Sadly, it only needs a few rows of last raglan shaping and some hemming. You’ll notice that the left sleeve has already been hemmed? I didn’t realize that I could do it as I go until I was on the last one. *sigh* On the positive side, Sensations Dolcetto has been one of the best yarns I’ve worked with–regardless of the fact that it is a Jo-Anne Fabric brand and yarn snobs everywhere would snub me. Next time you slink in there, (checking both ways to make sure no one is looking) pet some of this stuff. Seriously good.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of dragging my UFOs out to the light of day (and the spiders are all getting annoyed, as well). I foolishly thought that 4 was it in unfinished land, until being gently reminded of a few hidden obligations last night (What, you want two mittens, Mr. Cygknit?). Instead, I’d rather be spinning angora:

…which is much like poking your eyeballs with tiny dpns, over and over.

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attack of the UFOs

I am sick of my messy knitting corner:

(note the junk on the table and UFOs in the corner–and I cleaned up)

Combine that with my desire to cast on about a zillion projects, and we’re faced with a bit of a problem, here: Clean up or shut up. So I clean up. Rationally, I know that:

  1. Summer is very nearly over in New England. I will want sweaters soon, despite today’s nasty humidity.
  2. School starts again right after labor day. I have no time for stuff that’s been making faces at from the stash corner for the last 6 months. Or so. I want new stuff to stare at me(Above is not where all the stash is. Just so you know.)
  3. Do I really want to cart around any more unfinished object guilt??
  4. It is a little unreasonable to have my Olympic Sweater still undone.
  5. Did I mention that I want to cast on lots of new stuff??

To properly atone for my UFO sins, I will show them here, and promise to show some advancement on them at some kind of regular interval. For your enjoyment, UFOs 1 &2:

#1 Joey Ramone (pattern here) Here’s what he looked like last I saw him:

Now, add to this: part of another arm! Yay! That was Saturday evening’s work, performed while madly shuffling yarn about in a futile attempt to organize. Sadly, while working on the cream part of Joey’s arm I realized something. If I followed the pattern, Right Arm wouldn’t match Lefty. It seems that on the first one I left out that key line after the increases: “Work even in St st for 13 rows.” Hmmmm. So does Joey get short arms, or does he get some arm surgery? Tune in to see…

2. The albatross that is my father’s afghan:

(an old picture, with other UFOs for fun)

Ok, so last September I went to Florida for 5 days . I knew I’d have to do a LOT of knitting to say sane–the least stressful aspect of that trip was that my dad watches FOX News 24/7. I needed to knit. So, in an effort to improve my skills I decided to make 7 X 9 squares for Warm Up America. Pop (as my dad likes to be called) kept asking if I was making an afghan for him. Picking up on that gentle clue, I picked up 10 skeins of Lion Brand Chenille Thick and Quick. Yes, I am embarrassed, but it really seemed like a good idea at the time. I ended up hating the pattern I picked for it, and ripping it all back. Just so you know, it says right on the label not to rip it out. Or the yarn will fall apart. I kid you not.

I cast on the above plain stockinette monstrosity, instead, and have been forced by various friends and family to continue working on it. Even Olive the Cat hates it, and has shown her rampant dislike by dumping beer on it. I have one color strip (6 rows) left. Amen.

Tomorrow? UFOs 3 & 4

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I was going to wait until I got home from work today (my turn on the weekend rotation) to blog, but just couldn’t hold it in any longer. Remember that class this summer? The one that made me, at best, cranky, and at worst, sobbing under the bed in frustration? Just got my grade: A-. I will take that minus and be darned happy that I never ever have to take another class with this woman again.

Whew. And now, on to the good stuff:


My new boss’ wife is huge into all that paper scrappy kinda stuff. She holds a “stamp camp” every three months or so, and I (finally) decided to go this time. Normally, this sort of thing completely weirds me out, but look! I made these! And they don’t look like crap!

Cards! (Like before, but different):

I think I see a new facet of this fiber obssession on the horizion. It all started with a posting on one of the Yahoo spinning groups I belong to (can’t remember which one or I’d link it) had a woman who posted alpaca fleeces for sale. Although I was sorely tempted (Dragon had to give me a serious talking-to) to pick one up for the, ummmm, educational purposes, I had to settle for buying dog carders. At least until Rhinebeck.

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Text-full Tangent

So, how many more pictures of bobbins can you take? How about a short break from them (for you, not for me. Heavens, no!)

I’ve been reading my Knit the Classics selection this month during my lunch break…instead of knitting. August is Nabakov’s Lolita, and my lunch break is an exactly perfect amount of time to spend with it–just enough to be absorbed into the story, but not so much that I need a shower after. (I read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in a day once, for school. That’s crazy-making stuff. I need breaks, you know?)

At any rate, in July I listened to that month’s selection during my 30 minute drive to work, mostly because of the time constraints with that silly class. This month, though, I couldn’t easily get a CD version of the audiobook. So what was I to do on those long drives? Continue trying to cram the Old White Guy Classics into my head.

(Note: There is much debate about teaching “classics” in college Lit programs. A good definition of classic is here: “A classic, according to the usual definition, is an old author canonised [sic] by admiration, and an authority in his particular style” [bolding mine]. The problem with these Standards of Good Literature is that they are generally white men–the literature of a lot of women and most of the non-European world is barely taught. Most of my undergrad was spent with these “new” authors, especially Latin American authors (I lived in Florida). The only problem is that there is a body of work that a Lit major is expected to know to be considered educated, and I wasn’t taught it. I don’t regret it, just have to fill in some big gaping holes.)

So, yesterday I popped Heart of Darkness into my CD player. If you’ve read this you feel my pain already, don’t you? Listening to it, I was dying. I was trying to keep my tortured mind from wandering as far away as possible when I heard the magical words: knitting. You betcha. My ears perked up, and for several glorious minutes I actually paid attention. Here’s the excerpt:

Two women, one fat and the other slim, sat on straw-bottomed chairs, knitting black wool. The slim one got up and walked straight at me — still knitting with down-cast eyes — and only just as I began to think of getting out of her way, as you would for a somnambulist, stood still, and looked up. Her dress was as plain as an umbrella-cover, and she turned round without a word and preceded me into a waiting-room…

I began to feel slightly uneasy. You know I am not used to such ceremonies, and there was something ominous in the atmosphere. It was just as though I had been let into some conspiracy — I don’t know — something not quite right; and I was glad to get out. In the outer room the two women knitted black wool feverishly. People were arriving, and the younger one was walking back and forth introducing them. The old one sat on her chair. Her flat cloth slippers were propped up on a foot-warmer, and a cat reposed on her lap. She wore a starched white affair on her head, had a wart on one cheek, and silver-rimmed spectacles hung on the tip of her nose. She glanced at me above the glasses. The swift and indifferent placidity of that look troubled me. Two youths with foolish and cheery countenances were being piloted over, and she threw at them the same quick glance of unconcerned wisdom. She seemed to know all about them and about me, too. An eerie feeling came over me. She seemed uncanny and fateful. Often far away there I thought of these two, guarding the door of Darkness, knitting black wool as for a warm pall, one introducing, introducing continuously to the unknown, the other scrutinizing the cheery and foolish faces with unconcerned old eyes. AVE! Old knitter of black wool. MORITURI TE SALUTANT.”

About halfway down the page at this link, I found the translation for MORITURI TE SALUTANT: “those who are about to die salute thee.” The tradition was that gladiators would shout “AVE! Ceasar…[those who are about to die salute thee!]” Personally, I kind of like the knitters in that role. I’ll be reading this one, instead of listening to it.

Final Note: Blogger isn’t notifying me when someone comments, isn’t sending me the comment, and its taking 8-12 hours to deliver said comments to my email. Just so you know: if I don’t reply, its me, not you.

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Navajo what?

Yes, the ones who Navajo ply are the clever ones. Sadly, I didn’t realize–until looking for a link for this here post–that one could Navajo ply on the wheel. (You may smack your foreheads in shame and embarrassment for me, its ok.) I had only remembered this tutorial out there– probably because I only had a spindle, when I went searching last.

Sheeesh, let’s move on, I’m embarassed for myself. What you see here is (a rather fuzzy) final shot of the very first wheel spun yarn of mine (!!!!!) I have fully embraced the “novelty” aspect of it, as thick and thin is truly its hallmark. But isn’t it pretty?? I’m pretty impressed with myself that it looks like yarn at all, since most was spun during a time that I have little memory of. It really really wanted to be Clapotis, but I’ve had to break the news to it gently that there’s simply not enough yardage.

So what’s next? Just moments after moving the wet yarn to the clothesline outside, I had Kelly’s hand-dyed Blue Faced Leicester tucked securely under my arm and was making a bee-line for the wheel. I hear a small voice say: “You’re spinning that?”

I nod my head slowly. What on earth else am I to spin? (Let’s forget the bin of fiber in the corner, ok?) Mr. Cygnet says, “What about what you bought for me?” I wrack my brains (Swiss cheese though they still be) and can’t come up with anything. “You know, that you bought at Cummington!”

Now, I have no recollection of this. The day was winding down, and we had just finished talking to a mill that had not only processed roadkill raccoons that were last year’s S&W festival hit, but they were conveniently located just across the river from us. I was possibly still shaken up about the image of these guys pulling a truck over to the side of Route 9 when Mr. Cygknit asked for some roving for me to spin for him. Unfair, I say. So, sadly, I put down Kelly’s luscious roving and was handed this:

This is half of the 4 oz., the other half is sitting next to the wheel. The colors are not what I’d choose, but it makes the man happy and he has been doing a bang up job of keeping me in good spirits. I pulled a bit out for you to see–this wool is so fine that it practically spins itself. As sad as it was for me to put away Kelly’s gift for today, this isn’t too bad. Here’s it spun a bit:

Of course, the bobbin is much more full since I’ve taken the picture 🙂

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