18 December 2010

In Case You Were Wondering...

...this is what 20 yards of 1" diameter filler cord looks like. Coffee cup for scale.

One step closer to having a finished Labyrinth Rug.

16 December 2010


Hi Beloved Readers,

I'm having some technical difficulties with getting my phone to talk with flickr -- no pictures, so no updates. My actual camera is with my husband, who is working on a cruise ship this fall and therefore has far more interesting things to take pictures of than I do. Things like this:

And this:
And also this:
Okay, these are all pictures taken when I went to visit him in the Caribbean this fall. I didn't take any knitting with me.

I have done a ton of traveling this fall (this has been an amazing and unprecedented year in travel, on the whole), and only some knitting.

  • Minimalist Cardigan: still in limbo. I need to just order another darn skein of the yarn and be done with it. I have tried to find the right dye lot on Ravelry, and it just ain't happening. Did you even remember I was working on this one? It's been a looooong time.
  • Labyrinth Rug: Need to buy the filler cord. I'm pretty close to done, have probably 2 feet of knitting to go. I plan to paint our bedroom soon, and this will be incentive to finish up the darn rug and put it in there!
  • Have attempted the February Lady Sweater (Rav link) three times now, have frogged twice (I swear, I know how to read patterns, but apparently not this one) and gotten discouraged. I'm not sure I've chosen the right yarn -- and I think this particular yarn wants to be something else.
  • Sent off the Owl Vest as-is, with a note saying I wouldn't be insulted if she wanted to get rid of the outlined owl, and instructions on how to do so. No photo of baby-in-vest yet, but I'm assured I can post it when she sends it.
  • Have made fingerless mitts and an improvised headband-thingy to match.
  • Have made baby booties for a Secret Santa gift.
  • Am making mittens for a Christmas gift for my nephew. Yes, Selbu mittens. Sigh.

I swear, one day there will be pictures of these items. For now, just pretend you're on that beach. It's in Antigua. The water was wonderfully warm.

14 September 2010

Labyrinth Rug Update No. eleventy-dozen

I've been working on the Labyrinth Rug. I mean, seriously, I started it three years ago. It's about time I actually haul off and finish it. It's summertime, I'm indecisive about what project I want to start next (there are lots of things I want to have, but nothing I want to start right now), I should really haul off and work on this thing.

The little piece of paper marks 30 feet (the halfway mark). The newer piece of paper marks 47 feet, and I've knit about 5 feet more since then. So close! One of these days I'm going to have to hit the hardware store and purchase 60 feet of that filler cord.

I was thinking about going longer than 60 feet, because I'd like the rug to be bigger than 3-4 feet across, but at this point I'd really have to knit a LOT to impact the diameter of the rug (seeing as how it's the circumference, not the diameter, that I'm actually knitting), so I think it's not worth it. Somebody online bought 1-inch filler cord instead of the 1/2-inch cord called for in the book, and I think I'm going to do the same. That will increase the diameter of the rug far more effectively than making the spiral bigger.

Stay tuned! I think it's going to happen relatively soon -- I've got some travel ahead of me (and this is not a traveling project) but other things are coming together to give me some external incentive to finish the rug. Those other things may or may not involve finally getting around to painting the bedroom.

09 September 2010


Owl vest is done! (Actually, it was done quite a while ago, I just haven't posted until now.)

I'm not entirely sure I love the owlie outlined with duplicate stitch this way. It is starting to grow on me, though. Except that, really, I was thinking it would be kind of like the LaCoste alligator (this is for a Texas baby -- Dallas parents who now live in Austin), and I've now realized that the owls will be marching across his tummy, not his pecs. That kind of makes me love the outlining less in general. So I'm soliciting opinions. What do you think of the outlined owl? Should I take it out altogether? Should I do a different kind of stitching (I also tried chain and blanket, and they both didn't work -- duplicate is the best of what I've tried so far)? What to do?

19 August 2010


My friend Amanda had a baby a couple of weeks ago. I tend to be pretty bad about knitting gifts for friends' babies, and I'd like to be better about it. I used the awesome new Ravelry search tool (Rav link), and found the Owl Baby Vest (and again), grabbed some Superwash 220 and my size 4 and 5 circulars, and knit this baby up in about 3 days.

Well, okay, it's been about 3 days so far. I'm almost done, but as of this writing, still have the ribbing around the arm holes to complete. Soon... I've got to block it and mail it before Baby G. outgrows it! It would be big on him right now -- and should be just right for a Texas winter! -- but knowing how bad I tend to be about getting things in the mail... I've got to seize the moment.

I did make a couple of minor mods in the pattern, nothing big. I put the decreases for the v-neck and armholes in one stitch on each side (so instead of p2tog, p to last 2 sts, p2tog, I did a p1, p2tog, p to last 3 sts, p2tog, p1). I also mirrored the decreases. And I thought the V-neck instructions made the V look a bit sloppy, so fudged that a little bit in order to make the V look better. And instead of 8 sts wide for the top of the shoulders, I went with 9 sts. Just a smiiiiidge more width, and the baby's head will still be able to get through the neck hole just fine.

Look! OWLS! CUTE!!!

I'm toying with the idea of outlining one of the owls in white or light blue -- some kind of contrasting color -- but don't want to buy a whole ball for just one yard. Any Burlington friends have some scraps of Superwash 22o in white or light blue?

16 August 2010

Done with Mittens (for now)

I finished NHM #13. It was fine for travel knitting, but maaaaaan I am done with mittens for a while, and finishing this pair was like pulling teeth. I vaguely intend to knit all -- or almost all -- the Selbuvotter patterns eventually, but... I'm going to take a break for a while. Ugh.

Anyway, they're done. After a serious Mad Men marathon, I finally got enough done on the second mitten that it really wasn't okay for me to put off doing the thumbs any longer. Progress shot:

And Finished Object Photo:

01 August 2010

Iona again

Getting a lot of blog mileage out of this Scotland trip...

My last day on Iona, I took a looooong walk to the southern end of the island, where St. Columba first landed, according to legend. The whole week I was there, whenever I'd go for a walk, I'd end up losing the trail somehow and getting lost (varying degrees of lost) and this day was no exception. After probably 40 minutes of bumbling around in the heather and my shoes and socks getting uncomfortably wet, I finally found A path. And yes, I was at the point where I didn't care where the path went: it was a path, and it must lead somewhere. (After all, it's a 3-mile square island: how lost can one get?)

It led to the island golf course... which also happens to be the "Common Grazing Grounds."

That sand in the foreground? That's a sand trap.

30 July 2010

More fun with sheep

The sheep in Scotland are not comfortable with people. Or, at least, the ones I met weren't. On my next-to-last day in Iona, I went out for a walk with someone I met in my hotel dining room, determined to get a photograph of me touching a sheep. Turns out, this quest was quite a process. (And yes, that's my Shalom cardigan.)

First I sidled up close to the sheep in question -- a mama with two lambies grazing on some rocks by the ocean, on the far-northern tip of the island.

I drew closer and closer...

And then she tried to pee on me. It was hilarious. And quite an effective deterrent! While I was laughing, she went to a different part of the rocks.

I did eventually have success, and got photographic evidence.

Hooray! Victory!

26 July 2010


So, on my trip in June, I went to Iona. It was amazing.

I went because I'm working on a book -- yes, I am! Hence less knitting lately, and less blogging as well -- and I was given a fellowship that would allow me to get away and write for a while. So I went to a remote and holy place (Iona), holed up in a hotel room, and wrote.

I also did other stuff while I was there. Like take long walks every day. And often these walks took me through pastures... with lots of herds of sheep! Like this one, who looked at me like I was an idiot for getting so close:

And this baby, born just a couple of months earlier, who had no idea that it was supposed to be scared of me yet.And a sheep I assume was that lamby's momma, who was pretty mad that I accidentally got between her and her baby. She was NOT happy, and I got out of there quickly.

23 July 2010

Back after a Long Absence

It's been far too long since I've updated. Since you last heard from me, I went to Scotland. Also Chicago. Also... probably other places, too. I've accomplished relatively little in the way of actual knitting in the last couple of months. But I've tried.


That's NHM #13, from Selbuvotter. Random mitten for travel knitting. And that's a Trossach in the background -- part of the mountain range just north of Loch Lomond. Really, really in Scotland. Picture taken out the bus window. Why on a bus? Because the train I was supposed to take from Glasgow to Oban had derailed the day before I got there. Oops. Bus it was!

More on the trip later. For now... mitten in progress!

Yarn: same as usual, MC is Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca&Silk in Lavender, and CC is Frog Tree Alpacas Alpaca sportweight in Forest Green. Lovely combo, but the lavender gets washed out and looks like a slightly off-gray.

05 May 2010


I have been knitting, I just haven't been taking pictures or writing blog updates. But I will soon, I think. Stay tuned.

I made a pretty shawl and a kitty toy. And went to Boston. And my parents visited. And I've got, like, a job and stuff. Lots of real-life going on, very little blog-life as a result. But still a knitting life! (Always a knitting life.)

20 April 2010

The Language of God

In case anyone was wondering what kind of a church I serve... it's a pretty awesome church. Check out the United Church of Christ!

18 April 2010

Good Thing I Like My Shalom Cardigan...

...'cause it's going to be in my passport photo for the next ten years.

I stopped in to the post office to buy some stamps and ask where I could get a passport photo taken... turns out, they take them at my local PO branch. Next thing I knew, I was getting my picture taken: unshowered, un-makeupped, post-Easter, and wearing whatever I threw on that morning.

Ah, well. We must always be ready to accept the consequences of our actions, right? Really, it's not a bad picture at all.

15 April 2010

Doc on a Rug

Okay, I know I said I wasn't going to milk any more blog posts out of Kiki Mariko... but Doc the Cat just looked so contented sitting there on the rug. He really likes this new addition to the floor (a.k.a. "his territory"), and it made me happy to see him curled up there all on his own.

Of course, when I started taking pictures, he shut his eyes firmly and pretended to ignore me. What you can't tell from this picture is that, every time I said his name, he flopped his tail.

Happy kitty on a rug! How could I not post it?!?!

12 April 2010

Easter photo!

Also, I wore Shalom on Easter Sunday. It made me happy to dress in bright colors like an Easter egg!

This is not the most flattering photo of me, but it is the most flattering photo of the sweater. That's the front door of my church, photo taken after two Easter services, a breakfast, an egg hunt, and a coffee hour. I'm not so much "casually leaning" on the pillar, as I am using the pillar as a support so I don't fall over from sheer exhaustion. (Shortly after this photo was taken, I went home and took a four-hour nap. Made a quick hospital visit first, though.)

I totally knit a sweater in Lent. NOT something I had planned to do or set out as an intention. Knitting a sweater was not my Lenten discipline -- it would have been kind of bizarre and maybe even unprofessional of me to have made knitting a whole sweater start-to-finish an actual goal at such a busy time. But it's kind of cool that I did it. Now I guess I know that I can (if it's chunky yarn and size 10.5 needles and top-down-no-seaming, anyway).

A church member/knitting friend and I talked about this for a while. She, too, knits more during stressful/busy periods. It seems a little counterintuitive, because there's less time for knitting during more busy times: but that's exactly when we *need* the act of knitting the most.

For me, the knitting helps me to create balance -- during busy times like Lent, I need something that's NOT work to occupy my energy and my brainspace sometimes, or I'd burn out. I've got all this nervous energy from the stress of having so much to do, but there are plenty of times when I can't actually use that energy for work-work (can't so much make pastoral care phone calls in the middle of the night, for example). There are times when I *must* do something else -- something that forces me to sit down and relax and spend time with my husband (but without spending a lot of money) and just BE for a while. Knitting is my Holy Timewaster.

We all need a Holy Timewaster. That's where we find sabbath.

10 April 2010

Shalom Continued

When last we left the Shalom Cardigan, I was in a tight spot because I didn't quite have enough yarn to finish the second sleeve. But I had also knitted the body too big, so I was hopeful that ripping and reknitting would achieve a less lumpy-bumpy body AND garner me yarn enough to finish Sleeve #2 without having to cannibalize Sleeve #1.

I frogged the body all the way up to the armholes/yoke garter-ridge, which enabled me to remove the extra bust-area stitches I'd added on the front panels. Funny, I found a note-to-self that I'd made on Ravelry, and I totally should have seen it coming: "body stitches (after arms bound off) = 32+12+47+12+32=135 stitches --> should be 41.5” around bust." I don't know what I was thinking. I do not have a 41.5" bust even when I'm wearing thick clothing. And I was wanting some negative ease in there! (I always forget about calculating for ease.) Clearly, I was doing the planning in a not-good-for-planning state of mind.

So I ripped out the body. I recalibrated my understanding of how the sweater would actually fit on my body, and knit accordingly. This meant I had 28+12+47+12+28=127 stitches around -- and after four rows, I decreased by two on each front panel. After four more rows, I decreased by two again on each front panel, plus decreased two more in the back (near the underarms). Down to 117 stitches. Then I did a little more decreasing for waist shaping, and then some increasing for hip shaping...

And came up with a much more flattering fit. And a ball of leftover yarn that gave me hope. Perhaps I would be able to finish that second sleeve without needing to frog the first after all!

(This is me on Good Friday, home after the noon service, still dressed for work.)

Holy Saturday ended up being an absolutely gorgeous day. And I had managed to wrangle my Holy Week so that I could actually have some sabbath on Holy Saturday instead of having to get work done. So I got to go to my CSA farm (this is not a noraml CSA thing -- my knitter-friend Mango happens to live there) and knit on the porch with my friends.

(This is me and Aubrey diligently knitting away. I must be sewing on a button? Aubrey is working on a BSJ. What a gorgeous afternoon! And yes, Mom, I was wearing sunscreen.)(Thanks Jess for the photo!)

My goal was to finish the sleeve and sew on the buttons, and mayyyyybe even weave in the ends.

... I accomplished my goal. And got my first soft-serve ice cream of the year, too.

The buttons may be a smiiiidge small -- I might go back to NEFAC to get new ones, or I might just see if I can fiddle with the buttonholes themselves to ensmallinate them.

All in all, I'm very pleased with the Shalom Cardigan pattern, and with my modifications to it. The sleeves are great, the fit is great, the whole thing is great great great! I've never really thought that mustard yellow was a good color for me, but I think I'm changing my mind. I expect to wear this baby a lot!

I would totally knit this pattern again, and use this Debbie Bliss yarn again (too bad it's discontinued). Five stars, all around!

Look at me being all modelly, swinging my hair in the breeze! I repeat: it was a gorgeous day.

07 April 2010

Shalom Update

The Shalom Cardigan knit up really fast. Like, realllllly fast. Two weeks after I started, I was nearly done. I did not set out to knit a sweater for Lent, but that's kind of what I did.

But then I encountered two problems.

First, I didn't have quite enough yarn to finish the second sleeve. I knew it was going to be down to the wire, but... I really like the length of the first sleeve (seriously, I think this is the first time I've ever been truly happy with sleeve length -- most of my sweaters end up with sleeves that are slightly shorter than my arms, and I always think "It'll get worked out when I block it," and then it never does), so I'm reluctant to rip out the bottom of Sleeve #1 in order to make them even (and uncomfortably short).

The second problem is that I tried to make this sweater fit my "curves" and I overestimated how big my curves actually are. The danger with using chunky yarn, we know, is that it can sometimes make you look like a chunky person. And I'm not a chunky person. Ain't nothing wrong with being chunky, but that's not what I am and I want my sweater to fit ME! Anyway, I overestimated how big my biggest curves are, and the sweater is... not flattering this way. It's a cardigan, not a ballet wrap -- but I can wrap that baby and get about four inches of chunky overlap. Not pretty!

The good news is that the solution to the second problem (ripping and reknitting the body in a smaller size) then provides a solution to the first problem (more yarn for Sleeve #2). The bad news is that I have to rip and reknit half the dang sweater. But since I'd prefer to have a sweater that actually fits me and I want to wear, rather than spending the time and effort to knit a sweater I won't wear because it doesn't fit... yeah.

Stay tuned... I may or may not have achieved Shalom before Easter.

05 April 2010

Shalom Progress

It's a lot easier to knit a sweater named "peace" than it is to make peace happen in the world. That's my deep observation for the day. Still, both are worth attempting. I figure, if I keep knitting peace, the real thing might come a bit closer too.

The only visible mod you can see here is the buttonband: I've added buttons all the way down, rather than only one at the top. They're spaced strategically -- allllmost evenly, but not quite -- so that the sweater doesn't make a gap in, um, certain places. And there are two close to the bottom (you can't really see the bottommost buttonhole, but it's there and you will see it in future photos). Invisible mods include making a bit more room for my bust, and moving the waist shaping to a place where it actually gets smaller where my waist gets smaller and bigger where my hips get bigger.

There's a smidgeon of an in-progress sleeve on the right-hand side of this pic, too.

This is the progress of a week, amazingly enough. For the first three days or so, I really was knitting up a skein a day. I slowed down a bit, though, when the math for the sleeves took a bit more thought and I was in a not-math-thinking-y kind of place. More on the sleeves when I actually, um, have them done.

02 April 2010

The Selbu Project: Part II

So the big secret behind the Selbu project is this: some seminary friends and I get together every year for a clergy women's retreat, and this year it was my turn to host. Since most of these friends live south of the Mason-Dixon line, I had the brilliant idea to knit a pair of mittens for each of them, to welcome them to the cold weather -- different patterns, different color combos, but all with the same cuffs and from the same book. Originally, I thought I'd be making something like 12 pairs of mittens (not hard: one pair per month would be plenty doable), but as the weekend grew closer and closer and things came up (notably a wedding that several of us were IN, but also just other life-stuff), it became clear that there would not be anything close to 12 people at this weekend. Turns out, we were four strong. And it was a great weekend. We really missed our companions who couldn't make it, but we also felt good about "carrying the torch" this year. (It also turns out that the weather was unseasonably warm and we didn't even need coats most of the time, much less mittens. But still. We had them.)

Coincidentally, all the women who came to visit me have names that begin with C. Since I didn't get their permission to use their names when I posted these pictures, we're just numbering them. The photo above (with the NHM#9s) is C1. C2 (with the NHM#1s) and C3 (with the NHM#3s) are below, hugging goodbye at the airport. I found it fascinating who chose which mittens -- they all knew right away which ones they wanted, and no two people wanted the same pair. Conflict-free mittens! Woo!

I actually have two pairs of mittens left over, and I haven't decided yet what to do with them. Stay tuned, but be warned: they may just marinate in my mitten basket for a while.

29 March 2010

Everything Works out for the Best

Sometimes, the knitting gods work to make everything come together for you. Sometimes, you have to help them out a bit.

I picked up six skeins of a lovely mustard-y Debbie Bliss Donegal Tweed Chunky on super-sale at Northeast Fiber Arts Center at the end of February. I would have bought more, but six skeins was all they had -- and the point of the sale was to get rid of the discontinued stuff, so six skeins was all there was.

Poking around on Ravelry, I decided that the Shalom Cardigan was the sweater that this yarn wanted to be. And a-ha! I had a conference coming up and, even though I was bringing my Confirmation class with me and therefore would be attending to them the whole time, I would still need something to knit on while sitting in the plenaries and workshops. I got myself all ready: wound up a couple of skeins, went to the store to buy the needles... and then all kinds of chaos and drama hit at work, and I stalled on the preparation a bit.

Friday, I went to the conference by myself (fortunately, this conference happened to be in Burlington, at a conference center a mile or so from my house), and I ended up arriving late, straight from the office, and didn't have my knitting with me. That was something of a bummer. Friday night, I went home, printed out the pattern, figured out which modifications I wanted to make and did all the math to make the sweater fit my body a bit better (it's made for a tall skinny gal, and... well, I have curves), dug out the needles I'd bought that week... and realized they were too short. I'd bought the 16" length, and there's just no way I was going to fit all 169 chunky stitches on only 16" of circular needle. But it was 11:30 at night. And I had to pick up the girls at church at 7:30 the next morning, and because I had ducklings to lead around all day, there was no chance of slipping out and hitting the yarn store when it was open.

Cell phones to the rescue. I texted Aubrey: "Are you still up? Do you have size 10.5 circular? Mine is too short -- 16" -- do you have longer?" She texted back: "I only have 40", is that too long?" "Perfect! Can I come pick up now?" And I did. 11:30 at night, Aubrey meets me in her driveway. She's wearing a very long coat and probably not much else. I'm wearing pajama pants, sweater, no bra. I'm trying to make some kind of "needle exchange" joke here, but it's not working. But picture it. (Needle exchange: get it?) What an awesome friend. Thank you, Aubrey.

I finally got to bed about 1:30. Got up at 6:45, made coffee, got dressed, and hit the road. Spent the day at the conference with the girls -- we all had an *awesome* time, and they were so inspired and excited. It was a long day (14 hours!) but an excellent one. And I knitted exactly one skein -- about 2/3 of the whole yoke. At the beginning of the day, one of the girls (the one who isn't the daughter of a heavy knitter) looked at the pattern and said "how much of that are you going to make today?" and I told her I thought I could get the yoke done in a day. Turns out, I was about right: if I hadn't had to rip out half my work at lunchtime because I'd knitted a row I should have purled, I would have had the whole yoke done by the end of the day. As it is, I was pretty happy with 2/3 of it. I worked up exactly one skein of yarn: a football field in length. Nothing to be ashamed of, for sure. When's the last time YOU knit a whole football field in a day?

The next day, I knit up a whole 'nother football field after church AND took a long nap in the afternoon. Yoke done, plus a smidge of the body. A third of the sweater completed (I'm adding sleeves) in only two days. Yeah, I'd say that's pretty decent work. The knitting gods and me, we make a good team.

(more about the mods I made in another post.)

26 March 2010

The Selbu Project: Complete!

Many people (not just my Mom) have been asking to see a picture of all the Selbuvotter mittens I've knit. Since I'm probably done with this project for a while, I thought this was a good time to post a pretty picture of them all lined-up. Or circled-up, as the case may be. Anyway, the gray pair at the top of the circle is the pair I actually wear -- the first pair I made. (You can see how much the pointy fingers have softened after even one winter of wearing. The rest of the mittens... well, that's for another post.

23 March 2010

Kiki Mariko in Its Natural Habitat

I cleaned my entire house so I could take this picture. Also because I had a houseguest coming. Turns out, knitting a rug is a really great incentive to get your spring cleaning done. I'm not even convinced that it's spring yet, but now I've done my spring cleaning! Woo!

(Also, can you tell I'm trying to get a lot of blog mileage out of this rug? This is the end, I promise.)

21 March 2010

More Kiki Mariko

Before felting...

(Husband: You're working really hard to hold it up. Try not to look like it's heavy.
Me: But it is heavy!)

(You can't see, but the bottom edge is hitting the floor in this photo)

Cutting the steek!

(I think they call it a steek because it has the word "eek" in there.)

And after felting/steeking/trimming.

17 March 2010

It Really Ties the Room Together

Kiki Mariko is done!

It started small, last May...

And grew...

And grew...

And then it got too warm to knit on such a big heavy wool project for a while, and there was the whole mittens craze anyway...

And then Mango totally lapped me. She started a Kiki a couple of months ago (claiming to be inspired by me... flattery will get you, well, not everywhere, but close) and actually finished it in a timely manner. FINE. I picked up mine again during the Olympics (not as a Ravelympics project, just as a "I really have to get this done and I am watching a lot of TV anyway" project), and finished the first week of March! Woo! I knit a rug, and it didn't take me a year to do it!

And I figured that, if I didn't felt it right away, I'd let it sit there for an annoyingly long time. So I finished it on a Monday morning (unusual for me to knit during the day on Mondays, unless I'm so drained I can't do anything else) and took it to the laundromat the same day (Husband laughed when I said, "I'm going to do one load of laundry... and felt that rug." Why would he laugh, do you think?). Cut the steek and put it outside to dry (Monday happened to be a gorgeous day), did a little scissor-trimming of stray bits... and voila!

It's a rug!

If I had it to do again, I'd do a few things differently. First, I wouldn't have used the black. It doesn't look quite so bad felted, but it was jarring enough during the knitting that I stopped using it toward the end. Second, I would have made a narrower steek -- four or six stitches would have been just fine, ten is excessive. Mango pointed this out to me, and I went down to eight stitches, but the whole rest of the knitting process I kept thinking about how much yarn those ten stitches (or even eight) wasted. It could have made the rug a smidge longer, right? It probably wouldn't have made a significant difference, but still. What a waste. That was a lot of yarn in the trash when all the trimming was done. Otherwise.... I'm totally happy with the pattern, and with the finished project, and I may very well make another one sometime. Fun knit!

Also, I did ~160 stitches (plus the steek) so the finished rug would be wider than the original. Finished measurements, felted: 51" x 42" I probably need to do a smidge more felting, but for now I'm too excited to have a new rug to let uneven felting stop me from putting this baby in the yellow room! Woo! Rug!

12 March 2010

Minimalist Cardigan -- need advice

So I've been working on the Minimalist Cardigan for a shamefully long time now. The truth is, I've gotten stuck: I'm not sure I'm going to have enough yarn for the sleeves to be as long as I want them. I've put up a notice on the ISO/Destash group at Ravelry, but no one's bitten yet (I may get desperate and take a different dye lot -- Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride does tend to be pretty color-reliable from lot to lot). I have been trying to get everything done on the body, including seaming as much as I can, before actually deciding that I need to buy more yarn.

I have another issue with the cardi that is more pressing, though. After steam-blocking the fronts and back -- and kitchenering the two front pieces together* -- it appears that the back is significantly larger than the front. The pieces aren't matching up at the shoulder in any kind of logical way. There's about a three-inch difference, which seems like it's probably too much to fudge where the sleeves are set-in.

What to do? I knit and re-knit the darn back about three times, and would really prefer not to have to frog it -- but if that's what I have to do, I will. Reknitting the back so it's smaller would, after all, mean that I'd have more yarn for the sleeves, and then I wouldn't have to worry about that as much. But I also don't want to have to do any math to figure out how many stitches I should have at the top of the shoulder (um, that's why I used a pattern in the first place: someone has already done the math for me).

I could also undo the kitchener stitch seam and knit a few more inches into the neckband until it's the right size, and then re-kitchener the stitches. But I think the fronts are a good size, and I'm reluctant to do anything that would make the shoulders of the sweater bigger. I like set-in sleeves on me, not drop-shoulder sleeves. I have smallish shoulders, and if my clothes fit too big in the shoulders then you can't tell how slim and cute I really am!

So: help? What should I do?

*Funny story about that kitchener stitch. I went to first-Saturday knitting at Mango's house and spent all afternoon struggling with it. I'm generally not one of those people for whom kitchener stitch is a problem, but I just was NOT GETTING IT that day. And since the only other project I'd brought with me was also a seaming project, it wasn't like just working on something else was really going to be an option. I probably spent three hours hunched over this one seam, and when I left her house I had gotten exactly half of it done. Three hours, for two inches of decent-looking kitchener stitch and two more inches to go. UGH. I went home, finished up some things for Sunday morning, went to bed... got up Sunday, worked all day, grabbed some dinner out, came home to settle in to the Oscars red carpet show... and did the rest of the kitchener seam with no problem. The half-hour red carpet show took longer than the seaming. Sigh. There is a funny shadow in this picture, darnit, so you kind of can see where the seam is, but when you're looking at the piece itself you can't see a thing.

08 March 2010

NHM #7

Or: this post is for my Mom, who calls me and says things like "I've been checking your blog every other day, and you haven't updated!" She also emails me when I misspell things or have poor grammar on Facebook. Thanks, Mom.

NHM #7 is done! Huzzah! This is my sixth pair of Selbuvotter mittens -- and my last for a while, but I will probably pick up more this summer, because there are still a ton of patterns from this book that I want to knit.

I've definitely fallen in to the habit of using Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca and Silk for the Main Color (strength and shine in the silk, fuzzyness and warmth in the alpaca), and Frog Tree Alpaca Sportweight for the Contrast Color (yet more fuzzyness and warmth, plus the soft alpaca is right next to the skin!). I think it's a good combo -- the two yarns aren't exactly the same weight, but close enough. (And I don't like the full-on Alpaca and Silk pair that I wear as much as the pairs that are the combo. And all-alpaca, all-the-time, would be a big fuzzy mess with unsatisfactory stitch definition.) If either of these were publicly-traded companies, I would definitely buy stock.

I finished them a month or so ago (they took me a month, but I worked on other things at the same time and they were really only travel knitting -- one trip to Atlanta/Savannah for meetings, and two jaunts over to Boston to see the nephew), and have been kind of lazy about photographing and posting them. Sorry, Mom. In my defense, it's Lent, and things have been kind of busy.