Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Ask You

What kind of man invites people to dinner when his wife needs to go off on a button quest?

All I can say is, it's a good thing he needs to be around to wear this sweater. Dire things could happen to such a man otherwise.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Not Much

That's all I have to show for days and days of knitting. Remind me next time that I don't want to use cables for a sweater. I don't have pictures of the failures. Sorry. The fact is, I'm not even fully satisfied with the "success." I've knit the neckband four times in four different ways now. I think it was four times. It might be more. In between completely reknitting it, I've dropped stitches down and tried in situ modifications.

I've finally realized that the crux of the matter isn't the neckband it self. It's the way the cables feed into the neckband. I want the left and right fronts to match, allowing for the fact that I mirror imaged the cables.

They don't. Match, that is. It looks to me like the left front has an additional row of knitting. I'm wondering if it has to do with the way you have to bind off on a right-side row for the left front and a wrong side row for the right front. That's the comforting fiction I'm going with. I've run out of ideas and I don't think I can bear to frog the neckband again.

All of the above means that I am drastically behind on my time table. I've got the sleeves blotting in towels now and will pin them out and hide them in the Princess' room this morning. The only reassuring thing is that I checked stitch and row gauge over 8 inches of knitting and came up with 39 stitches and 52 rows, which worked out to a ratio of 3 to 4, which is the ratio the stitches to rows is supposed to come out to for the button-band. Thank the knitting gods, because I have to finish the knitting today.

Now, will someone please explain why I have only 6 buttons?

Not much. My worry is that, like the buttons, it will be not enough.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Impossible Dreams

If, when I first contemplated this madness, you had told me that by 9:30 this morning I would have bound off both front pieces, I would have laughed myself into a stupor. Truly, looking over this past year or so, with the notable exception of the Christmas gifts, knitting here has been more about dwelling in the realm of possibility (sounds so much nicer than slacking) than actual production. (Remind me that at some point I have to blog about the Cedar Leaf Shawlette, finished lo these many months, in the last flush of energy from all that holiday knitting.)

I have one week to block, assemble and (here' s what's got me a little panicky) knit my first button and buttonhole bands.

I can do this. I 'm pretty sure. There's at least a chance. Doing it in secret had me stymied for a bit,(I can hardly use the dining room table or our bed; it's supposed to be a surprise, remember?) but the Princess and I have conspired. I'll do it in stages to accommodate that lack of large flat surface areas. I'll do it with her blocking board, which is twice the size of mine. And I'll do it in her room (their Father having a praiseworthy respect for his children's privacy, i.e. he just about never pokes his head in there).

On the theory that the next steps are the shoulder seams, the neck band and the button and buttonhole bands -- all which require the the back and fronts -- I've got the body pieces prepping now. I've gone for wet-blocking at this stage, rather than spray and pin or hit the steam button on my iron. If I'm going to have to pick up some number plus infinity stitches, I don't want to find that I've used a skewed ratio of rows to stitches. The schedule is pretty tight. Having to do the math is bad enough. Doing it with inaccurate data is not in the cards.

The plan is that tomorrow I can finish the neckband while the sleeves are blocking. In an ideal world I'll get the stitches picked up for the front bands, too. The weekend is not an ideal time for secret knitting, but I'll see what I get through - he will take off for a run at some point. And then there's all that nap time. If he comes down with my cold that could prove extensive. With a combination of chance and careful planning (and depending on how many times I have to redo the button bands), I can finish the seaming by Wednesday and do a final blocking in time to astonish him Thursday night.

Hey. It could happen.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I have a dreadful head cold.

I find misery focuses one's attention wonderfully.

Friday, September 17, 2010

You Know You've Been Missing It

The return of Foolishness on Friday.

I've been an awfully good blogger ltely. I think I've earned some foolery, and this appeals to the failed Psych Major in me.

You are Energetic and Bright

You view people with optimism. You have many meaningful relationships in your life.

You had more conflict with your mother than your father. Your relationship with her was healthy but challenging.

You deal with stress in an effective and competent matter. You are able to remain calm.

You are a natural multitasker. You enjoy being busy, even if the amount of things you need to do is overwhelming.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010, 11:22 A.M.

Guess what I found?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

An Ace Up My Sleeve

The front (s?) of Their Father's sweater is still missing. Looking at the last photo I have of the project, it occurred to me that I may be looking for the wrong thing. I've been searching for yarn. Perhaps I should be searching for the muslin project bag with the yellow birds.

And I will. It's just that the days are slipping by. In that deep dark secret part of my brain where my knitting fantasies live, I keep envisioning giving him the sweater for his birthday, more specifically, this birthday. I know I do, because when little bits of fantasies bubble to the surface of my brain and pop open, in between the ones where I knit like Elizabeth Zimmermann, or the ones where suddenly the Blog is one of the top 200 knitting blogs and has the comments to prove it, I envision him opening a box and being astounded by the reality of his sweater.

Yes, yes, I know it's not going to happen. That's why these are fantasies. Still, my fingers are itching to work on this particular project.

I've been chasing ideas around my brain like a dog chases squirrels. I could marathon knit. People here are old enough to fend for themselves. So what if the Lord Protector will live on Flaming Hot Cheetos and the Pirate subsist entirely on birthday cake? I could double, no, quadruple my knitting speed. Hey, it could happen (and pigs may whistle but they've poor mouths for it). The sweater could knit itself, like the ones Mrs. Weasley knits (I seem to be having a hard time separating fiction from reality here). None of them, however, will work if I don't have enough yarn.

That's the crux of things. Memory is notoriously unreliable (seen Rashomon lately?). Yet my memory insists I have not one (as pictured) but both the sweater fronts started. Not knit very far, but started. It's not the loss of work that has me chewing my fingernails as if they were made out of chocolate, it's the loss of the yarn. Two sweater fronts means two full skeins of yarn. That's a lot. I could knit my fingers to the bone. I could knit so fast my needles smoke and I need to keep a fire extinguisher by my side. It won't matter if I run out of yarn.

I've been staring at my remaining supply. It's about 2.5 skeins, maybe a little more. In between wondering if I really overbought the yarn by that much, or if my doppelganger slipped in, frogged the fronts, reclaimed the yarn and wound it back into skeins, complete with manufacturer's label, I've been trying to gauge how much I've actually used so far, trying to determine if I have enough. I don't think the back took more than two skeins. Will two and a half be sufficient? I have to consider the cables. Cables eat yarn. I know each sleeve took a little more than two skeins. Will the fronts use more than that? There's a button band to consider. How much more will that need?

Well, you get the idea. All dithery I've been, when I'm not tearing apart knitting bags and stash baskets. When not occupying the forefront of my brain, it's been niggling at the back. Neither of which is actually knitting the sweater for me. Conditions were ripe for a brainstorm, and last night as I was winding up one of the remaining skeins, that's what I got.

I have a kitchen scale, well, the Princess does. We picked it up so we could translate some of her trans-Atlantic recipes. If it works on flour and sugar, it will work on yarn.

The back weighs 7.5 ounces. The sleeves weigh 9.4. The remaining yarn?9.6 ounces. That's close. That's really, really close. I could just make it. Or I could just miss.

Know what I just remembered?

I have the Swatch.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Celebrate! Celebrate!

It's the Lord Protector's Birthday.

Are these the best candles or what? (Well, they are if you know his favorite class is Latin.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Clean Version

Darn. Drat. Heck.

You know what the trouble with de-cluttering is? Sometimes things disappear.

Dang it. Shoot. Spit.

Their Father's birthday is the end of the month. Given my recent track record, I don't expect to have his sweater finished by then. Okay, maybe I indulged in a few delusions, which is why I went looking for it in the first place.

Nuts. Goldarn. Odd rot it.

I did, however, expect to be able to lay my hands on all the pieces before I made that determination.

Blast. Dad gum. Cheese and crackers.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Which One, Which One

I've reached the point where I need to make a decision time. Sooner than I expected. The Green Shawl has reached the it-takes-forever-to-knit-a-row-while-at-the-same-time eating-yarn-like cup-cakes stage. That ball of yarn is only 2 or 3 inches across. I'm betting it's only got a couple more rows left in it.

I'm pretty sure I need to know what color to make the border.

And whether to add an inner border in black.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Going In Circles

The good thing about abandoning projects is that you have something to go to when the current ones pall.

The good thing about being forced to bring 26 years worth of storage into your living quarters is that it makes you pathological about de-cluttering anything and everything you can.

The good thing about de-cluttering is that you have someplace to put the stuff you actually want.

The good thing about having someplace to put the stuff you want is that you can find things again.

Like the long lost skein of yarn I needed for the Green Shawl.

Which is why it got abandoned in the first place.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Playing With Color

Way back when, at last year's Stitches, I bought these from Tess Designer Yarns for a gift afghan/housewarming present. When I figured out that the bulky variation wasn't going to work, I switched the yarn from 4 skeins of bulky to 4 skeins of worsted weight. Ever since I knew the worsted yarn wouldn't pan out for the afghan, either, I've been looking for another project for it. Otherwise I have to count it as stash, and I have a lot of it. Trading bulky for worsted resulted in a lot more yardage (570 yards per skein compared to 115). That much yarn kind of sings crochet to me.

I have this book. It has this afghan. I find the color scheme muddy and discordant, but I like the stitch. And the stripes.

Once again proving my firm grasp of the obvious, let me note that stripes mean more than one color. The Tess green is a given, but the pattern calls for four colors altogether. I'm thinking about Dream in Color Classy in China Apple. I'm debating between the Copper Penny Madelintosh DK and the Dream in Color Classy in Gold Experience. I'm wondering if Dream In Color November Muse would bee too dark. Maybe I should use up some of my Madelintosh DK in Turquoise. Maybe I should use five colors.

Further, since I can see no reason to be decisive when I can dither, perhaps I should confess that I also hear the call of the Moorish Mosaic Afghan from the Fall 2009 issue of Interweave Crochet. That calls for a different color strategy. This one I think, needs the colors from the rug in the front room. It wouldn't be quite the stash-buster the stripy afghan would be. While crochet eats yarn, I will need to buy at least two skeins each in two or three more colors; I am sadly lacking in Golds and Neutrals.

Maybe I'll do both.

Maybe I just want to crochet. It has, after all, been a while.