28 February 2010

The Saturday List

I'm bringing home the gold! The sweater is done. I even made it with about 24 hours to spare.

Now truth be told, if I were giving out the medals, I would only award myself a silver because one side of the collar is a little droopy and may need some corrective surgery later on.

And because this is the list day(ish), I offer you:

Mistakes I made while knitting this sweater
1. Rather than starting with a pattern, I started with an idea, which quickly turned problematic.

2. When I knit my gauge swatch, I used one set of neeldes, then when I went to start the sweater I switched to different needles that I was sure were the same size. Turns out, not so much.

3. When I got to a fairly large slub in the yarn (a thick spot, for non-knitters) I just left it alone rather than cutting it out so that I wouldn't have even more ends to deal with. There's now a spot on my right shoulder blade that both Husband and Son have pointed out to me.

4. When knitting one of the fronts, I knit one side tighter than the other and assumed that "it'll all work out in the blocking."

5. When it came time for blocking, I was unable to find my straight pins, so I couldn't do anything more than spread things out and hope they stayed where they were supposed to.

6. Related to Number 5, I neglected to close the door to the room where the pieces were laid out, so one of the cats played with the pieces, leaving 2 rather serious snags to deal with, and necessitating a second blocking period.

7. When I blocked the sleeves I didn't measure the top of the sleeve, just the bottom. When it came time to sew things together, I ended up with sleeve caps that were too big for the holes they were supposed to be fitting in to.

8. When attaching the second sleeve, I started by attaching the cuff of the sleeve to the shoulder of the body.

9. I started the button band 6 times before I finally got it the way I wanted it, then ended up ripping the whole thing off because is was too wavy and needed to be knit tighter.

10. I picked up too many stitches around the neck, so now one side of the collar droops.

I think there were a couple more that I've blocked from memory, but at least it's done and on time.

27 February 2010

The Finish(ing) Line

The end is almost in sight. In the last two days, this is what has happened:

As you can see, that band on the left has got to be replaced, and there's still a collar of some sort to be put on, but There's every chance that I'll be done in time for Olympic Gold!

22 February 2010

The Saturday... Sunday... ummm Monday List

I'll admit that I missed my Saturday List this past week. I figured that if there was time for working on my blog, I should probably use that time towards working on the sweater instead. This morning, however, I have some time, as I am "at work." My official title is Office Clerk, but what I really do is fill in at the church office when everyone else has to be somewhere, or when they need help with something on the computer, like a mail merge.

The upside of my job is that I get to feel all helpful and whatnot. The downside is that on the days that I'm just here to answer the phones, there's not always much else to keep me busy. I already finished the small pile of things that they left for me, but my time is now my own for the next hour or two. Naturally I planned for this and brought a book and my non-Olympic knitting. Oh, wait, no I didn't. So I now have the time to bring you the Monday list. Because the season of Lent started last Wednesday, this one seems appropriate. I got this from Patrick Madrid's blog.

Patrick Madrid's Top 10 Least Popular Medieval Penances —
10. Standing barefoot in the snow for hours
9. Skunk hair shirts
8. Scrubbing castle walls with toothbrush
7. Memorizing the Summa Theologiae
6. Chewing tinfoil
5. Delivering papal condemnations to Martin Luther
4. Hand copying the entire Bible
3. Wasp licking
2. Anything involving anthills
1. The "thorn paddle"

I'm passing on all of these and doing something that's going to be nearly as difficult, at least for me. This year I'm giving up Tea for lent. Which means that not only will I not be able to enjoy my favorite beverage, I'll be cold from now until Easter.

21 February 2010

Olympic Knitting

The knitters among you know that the Yarn Harlot is holding her second quintanual knitting olympics. For the non-knitters among you, it works like this: You choose a project to complete during the 17 day span of the Winter Olympics. You can't cast on until the opening ceremony, and you need to be finished by the end of the closing ceremony. You can choose whatever project you want, but it should be something that will be a challenge for you. It wouldn't have been fair for me to choose to make a pair of socks, for instance, because I can whip out socks pretty quickly.

I chose to make a cardigan sweater using Bel Canto DK yarn from Yarn Place. It's kind of hard to tell from their picture, but every skein is a different color combination using the same base colors. Here's what it looked like when I wound all 20 balls that I picked up at Stitches last year.

There are no two skeins in there that have the same color progression, which makes it a little hard to plan a sweater. I decided that I would make a patchwork sweater, knitting strips of each ball and putting them together a-la Horst Schulz. I picked out a likely looking ball and started up. I had a strip 4 inches wide and about 10 inches long before I stopped and gave this project a good long think. I decided that between the shaping and the method of construction which involves some maneuvering at one end of each strip, this was not really the way to go. So I called that approach a "false start" and ripped out the whole thing.

I still liked the idea of having the long stripes of this yarn, so I started over with 5 balls for the back. I cast on 5 strips, one with each ball, and started making intarsia stripes. After getting a few inches along I called Daughter in and told her that she was banned from going near the east end of the couch. No one was to touch the balls of yarn or change their position in any way, or there would be dire consequences. She looked at the 5 strands that looked somewhat tangled together and said, "Wow, that looks complicated." That's Olympic knitting, baby.

Yesterday I finished the back, and this afternoon I finished the first front piece and got about halfway through the second.

I'm still not sure if I'm actually going to like the finished product, but at least I'm on track for an on-time finish.

The cat, however is not.

13 February 2010

The Saturday List

In the spirit of the season, I give you:

Cool Winter Olympic Sports

1. Short Track Speed Skating. Not because I really enjoy watching it, or understand it, or really like Apollo Ohno, this one is on the list because the Olympic training center is at Northern Michigan University, which is my alma mater, in my hometown of Marquette, Michigan.

2. Luge. This is a crazy sport. A little sadder this year because of the horrible accident during Nodar Kumaritashvili's training run. This is another sport that's pretty big in the U.P. When I was in high school I was on the cross country team with Wendel Suckow, who was the men's World Champion in 1993, and was on a couple of Olympic teams.

3. Hockey. I'm going to get tired of saying "this is popular where I grew up," because I grew up in an area that enjoyed winter sports 6 months out of the year. But nevertheless, hockey is big in the U.P. My high school had two different hockey teams, the official school team, and the team sponsored by the I.B.E.W., surprisingly called "the Electricians." The big college rivalries aren't football in our part of the country, they're hockey.

4. Biathlon. Although this doesn't really seem like a sport to me. This is just snapping on your skis, grabbing your rifle, and going out to get some food for dinner. It's totally practical. Although I grew up in a swampy area, so hunting was done with snowshoes rather than skis.

5. Ski Jumping. I remember when I was in high school we had a couple of cross country races that were near ski jumping hills. I remember looking at them and thinking, "Only a seriously crazy person would jump off of that thing." I know that there is physics involved, but I still don't see how people can do this without breaking both legs.

10 February 2010

Excitement, After the Fact

Let me set the scene for you. It snowed yesterday. It snowed a lot. I think the guy on the radio said that we got about 12 inches of snow all told. This is what my house and street look like this morning.

As is often the case, when we went to bed last night the plow had not yet put in an appearance on our street. We had shoveled four or five times throughout the course of the day, and I knew that when the plow came it would make a giant mess of the bottom of the driveway. At 4:00 this morning I woke up and thought to myself, "Ahh, there went the plow. And he must have really been moving. He was going so fast it made the whole house shake." I told Husband when he woke up that I had heard the plow and that we were going to have to shovel again before he left to take the dog to the vet this morning.

I went outside at 7:30, and sure enough there was the plow mess at the bottom of the driveway, as well as another 2 inches of snow to be taken care of. So we spent 20 minutes clearing everything out so Husband wouldn't drive over the snow and make it even harder to shovel later. He took off to the vet, and Daughter and I walked down to the bus stop to wait for the bus which was predictably 10 minutes late. (She's always 10 minutes late when it's cold and windy out.)

When Husband came in a minute or two after I got back from the bus stop he said, "You didn't hear the plow this morning. It was a 3.8 earthquake."

Oh. Well that was exciting, in retrospect.

08 February 2010

January RSC - Done

The first pair of socks for this year's Rockin' Sock Club is finished. I got done at around 10:15 Saturday night and wore them to church on Sunday morning.

They're certainly pretty socks, but I did end up having a problem with them. Well, one problem other than the whole "making this many bobbles makes my hands hurt and bends my size 0 needles" problem. I finished the first sock, tried it on, and found that at fit just right. I finished the second sock, tried it on and found that the cuff is a little on the snug side.

It's snug on me, but that's a photo of my foot double, Daughter, who's feet are about the same size as mine, but who's calves are more slender. It turns out that when I started the second sock I knew what I was doing and ended up knitting it more tightly than I did the first one. The thought of ripping back the entire sock to fix the problem makes me nauseous, so I'll just have to remember to put that sock on my left foot, since it's slightly smaller than the right one. If I ever use this pattern again, I'll be making the cuff on larger needles, then going down a couple of sizes for the leg and foot.

06 February 2010

The Saturday List

Today I went to see a play. It was a good play, the Cotton Patch Gospel, but it was in a town about 60 miles away from where I live, so it did eat up quite a bit of my day. Going to see a play brings to mind other things I've done for entertainment, so today's list is:

Movies I've Enjoyed Lately

1. Avatar. This was a family event, and we all sat together in the theater wearing the silly 3D glasses.

2. Eight Legged Freaks. This is not the movie to see if you're looking for a "serious" horror movie. It's silly and it knows it.

3. Inside Man. This is a heist movie, and a really good one. I've recently seen it on TV, so the spicier dialog was edited out. Probably for the best.

4. Gosford Park. This is a British murder mystery, but more of a study of the life of some hoity toitys versus the servants who live "below stairs."

5. The Thirteenth Warrior. This is Michael Crichton's version of Beowulf. Antonio Banderas and a bunch of Norse dudes fighting mysterious bear-men.

6. Citizen X. I saw this one on Showtime when it came out in '95. I have an interest in serial killers, and this is a well done movie about one of the most prolific ones.

7. Aliens. I know I've seen Alien, but it was 20 years ago, and only the one time. I've seen this one several times. I especially enjoy it when Burke gets eaten.

8. Monte Python and the Holy Grail. Daughter had never seen it before, so we watched it together the other day. She enjoyed much of it, though some of the humor went over her head. She understood, "Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelled of elderberries," though.

9. The Men Who Stare at Goats. I did enjoy this movie, although I had already seen all of the funny parts in the trailers.

10. Lake Placid. Another creature movie that doesn't take itself seriously and is extremely funny.

04 February 2010

Bobble, Bobble, Toil and Trobble

I've been working on the Rockin' Sock Club sock from the January kit. There were two patterns, and I chose Flabella. It features a mostly purl base with a couple of lines of knitting with some bobbles thrown in for fun. I chose this pattern because the second pattern was fairly lacey, and lacey socks do me no good in Chicago weather.

You can't really see them very well in the photo, but there are 15 bobbles in the first row of the cuffs. This is the first of 3 repeats of this fan patterns for a sock in size small.

There's two repeats done, and let me tell you my fingers were in some pain at this point. I'm using size 0 needles ( for the non-knitters, that's about the diameter of a round toothpick,) and knitting at firmly as I comfortably can, but I'm still not getting gauge. So I'm making a size small pair of socks to fit my size medium feet.

It's a lovely sock, but I'm going to need to cast on the second sock right away. If I stop now I might not be able to convince myself that it's worth it to pick them back up again in a month or two.

Besides, my fingers are already stained red from the dye that wasn't rinsed out of the yarn.

02 February 2010

That, but First, This

Rockin Sock Club members be aware

If I'm counting correctly, I just finished my seventh knitted object for the year. The pair of socks that I showed on Saturday with the knot in the yarn are done and ready for Daughter's feet. To maintain consistency the yarn mill kindly put a knot in the second ball of yarn as well.

I was tempted to put them on Dart's feet, but he really doesn't like it when you play with his feet. He's been known to rend flesh when his feet are messed with. I haven't yet had a knitting related wound this year, and I'd like to keep it that way, so I just put them near his feet. He was OK with that.

I needed to finish up those socks, because yesterday the mail man brought me this:

The first package from the Rockin' Sock Club. There was a skein of STR lightweight in a color called Happy Go Lucky, a bumper sticker, a button, a mini-skein of "emergency" yarn, two different patterns, several pages of dyer's notes, and some handy reference pages.

I just finished winding the ball and there are NO knots! This will be a welcome change from that last pair of socks.