Monday, November 30, 2009

NaKniSweMo: Day 30

So. Here we are at the very end of November. Remember that sweater I was going to knit? Yeah, didn't happen. I haven't even cast on for it. Hell, I haven't even swatched for it.

Yes, I know. I totally fail. Are we really all that surprised? Nope!

I imagine there must be some sort of hell for people like me.

On the plus side, I finished my Dane Shawl for Rina. I'm somewhat less than halfway through an Onerva for Sarah. J-L's hat is mostly finished. I've been dragging my feet on that because Intarsia is the devil and I would almost rather knit with redhot metal rods than knit Intarsia. I'm going to force myself to sit down and finish it once and for all when I get back to Pittsburgh. We'll see.

Let's talk about happy things! Let's talk about Onerva!

Ever since I saw the gorgeous one made by the infamous RandomCyn, I've had a minor obsession with it. She made hers with Malabrigo sock in the colorway Persia. What a coincidence! thought I, I've got some Malabrigo sock in the colorway Solis sitting in my stash right now! Because, hell, if I'm going to be a copycat I might as well go all the way!

I've done somewhere between a third and a half of this sucker, and my obsession has only grown. I want to make more of these things. I want to make one for me, and for my mother, and my cats, and the postman... I want to go to the LYS and buy out all the Malabrigo sock and knit this for the rest of my life! The pattern is just interesting enough to keep it from getting boring, but easy enough that I can knit while watching a movie and not have to rip back. And pairing it with Solis? Best idea I ever had! The deep green with just the barest touches of lighter green and blues makes me think of vines on a trellis. I love how it's coming out.

I'm so much in love that, aside from a few hours' urge to knit fingerless gloves, I've been completely faithful to this project thus far. Of course, it helps that I've been in Tampa for the week and it's the only project I brought with me. I considered doing my usual ordeal of taking extra yarns and extra patterns and extra needles. Then I stopped, and I thought about it for a minute. I knit slow as fuck. If I'm able to knit this whole damn thing in a week? Hell, I deserve to go to the Tampa LYS and buy more yarn and patterns and needles!! Of course, I didn't come anywhere close to that...

So, no pictures in this post, which I know sucks. I'll post again once I get back to Pittsburgh.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

NaKniSweMo: Day 4-7

Fuck intarsia.

I took a break on the shawl because yesterday was my brother's birthday, and I'd like to finish the hat I promised him back in August by the time he comes up here to visit me next Friday. It's a hat, a frigging HAT, knit in a bulky yarn. I'll have that knocked out in a couple of afternoons easy!

Let me tell you something, ladies and gents. The knitting gods do not appreciate cockiness. In fact, they take great pleasure in beating every last shred of smugness out of you, then they bludgeon out all your optimism just for good measure.

Hm, guess I should start at the beginning...

So way back in December, my brother decided that he wanted me to knit him a hat from a book of patterns I got for Christmas. It's a stockinette hat with earflaps and this fauxhawk made from felted yarn along the top. It's knit in the colors and pattern of a union jack. But he doesn't want it in red, white, and blue. Nope, he'd prefer if I knit it in red, yellow, green, and black. For the less mathematically inclined, three and four are different. Very different. Especially when we're talking about an intarsia pattern.

But, this is what he wants. And it's for his birthday. And I feel kind of guilty that I don't spend nearly as much time with him as I'd like to. So I rework the charts to have four colors instead of three. And then I swatch. And guess what! Cascade 128 and Brown Sheep Bulky aren't really the same thing! My gauge swatch came out waaaay too small. So I jump from size 13 needles to size 15. Still too small. In a stroke of genius, I hold my yarn double, and make gauge with the size 13s.

Fantastic! Except now I have to reskein all my yarn. Out comes the ball winder. I follow the pattern instructions, and divide it up into smaller balls. Midway through, I considered just floating the colors not currently being used along the inside of the hat, then realized that the finished hat would be way too thick. Finally got the balls divided up, and started knitting.

I had so many issues casting on for this stupid thing that after the third botched attempt, I gave up and just decided to use a provisional cast on for the whole thing since, hey, I'm going to be attaching earflaps to most of it anyhow, and I'll just bind off the extra live stitches later! I'm sure that'll be a disaster worthy of its own post, but we'll have that bridge collapse on us when we get there...

So, after an afternoon's worth of work, I get this:

But what you don't see is that it's attached to this:

As if this project wasn't already fucked from the get-go, I had a tiny feline helper decide that she needed to step in for some assistance when I got up for TWO FRIGGING MINUTES to use the bathroom.

As if that wasn't fun enough, while I was laying this out to take a picture of it I noticed that I completely botched the chart for the last bit of yellow before the red intersects. Rather than rip it out, I'm now trying to replicate my error on the top and on the left panel as well. (for what it's worth, it's not as bad as it looks in the picture, the stupid thing just won't lay flat because yay! stockinette curls like a motherfucker!)

Also, there are a bajillion ends to weave in, and have I mentioned how much I hate intarsia? Because I do. A lot.

Stay tuned for the further adventures of the hat from hell.

Oh, wait, what's that about a sweater? And something about the month of November and a big fat deadline on the 30th??


I have no idea what you're talking about.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NaKniSweMo: Day 2-3

I didn't do any knitting yesterday. It was glorious.

I haven't done any knitting today either, but I have done some planning! I sketched out a rough idea for my sweater, and I plan on winding the hanks of yarn I've got for it. Then I will swatch (omfg yes i actually plan to swatch!) and come up with a more solid pattern idea.

I've finished the final repeat on my Dane Shawl, and it still seems a bit smaller than I thought it'd turn out. I'm debating whether I should just knit the edging and hope it blooms when I block it, or if I should go for another repeat. I think I've got enough yarn to go for a second repeat. Maybe. It'd be close. So, yeah, not really sure what to do. I'm leaning toward stringing a lifeline in on the last purl row of this repeat (omfg lifeline who are you and what have you done with biteyfish??) that way if I do come up short on yarn I won't want to scream and throw things and yank my hair out when I rip back. Yeah? Yeah?

But tonight will mostly be winding up my beautiful soft oh-so-pettable sweater yarn. Mmmm, yarn. It'll give me something to do while I watch V (which I am super-excited about!) And that counts as doing something for NaKniSweMo, right? Because really, two days without doing a darned thing for it is bad enough.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

NaKniSweMo: Day 1

So, today I didn't start. Big surprise there, yeah, I know. Today I wrote a page and a half. A rather good page and a half. Maybe I should have gone with NaNoWriMo anyhow...

But no, I've committed. I need to commit. I will knit a sweater.

I don't have a pattern for my sweater yet. I do, however, have yarn for it. A while ago I bought enough yarn to make a Thermal. Then I actually bothered to look at the pattern. The waffle pattern on it involves a lot of k2, p2-ing. I hate ribbing. Hate it with a passion. Knit an entire sweater with ribbing, in fingering weight yarn no less! I would go crazy. Absolutely certifiably crazy. So I need a new pattern.

Rather than do the logical thing and hop on over to Ravelry and search for sweaters that would work well with that yarn, I decided to make up my own sweater. I've only knit two sweaters, one of which I probably have to frog because it completely doesn't fit right, and I've never written a pattern for anything before. Really, what can go wrong?

Anyhow, I spent the evening working on my Dane Shawl. I'd really like to get this done well before Christmas because last minute gift knitting sucks. It's gotten a lot bigger, yay!

It's coming out smaller than the pattern suggests it should, so I'm putting in an extra pattern repeat. I'm nearly done with that, then just have to do the edging. It still seems rather small, and I have a surprisingly large amount of yarn left over, so I'm pretty much just crossing my fingers and hoping that it grows a lot when I block the everloving fuck out of it. We'll see.

I also really need to knit up J-L's hat. I've had the yarn for it for quite some time now, and he's coming up to visit the second weekend of November. It's bulky yarn, so it should go fast. Fingers crossed on that.

Then, yes THEN, I will start my sweater. Um. Yes. I suck. I know.

ah, November...

November is an exciting month for me. The weather's just starting to turn, Thanksgiving's fast approaching and we all know that Christmas and New Year's Eve are right behind it. November has always been the Thursday of fall -- you're past the halfway point and it's almost the weekend! I love it.

A couple of very exciting things also take place in November: NaNoWriMo, and NaKniSweMo.

I had all of October to prepare for this, but on the few occasions I actually thought about it in more than just passing, I was sidetracked by a glorious mental picture of me sitting down on November 30th, putting the last touches on my shiny new novel while wearing my pretty new sweater. Hopelessly unrealistic, yes, I know.

Now it's November 1st and I've actually sat down and thought about it in more than just passing, and I've faced the harsh reality that there's no way in hell I'm going to be able to do both. And thus I have a choice. Knit a sweater, or write a novel? Both appeal equally much to me, and I have done an equal lack of planning for both of them. I fretted for a while, then it hit me that no matter which I chose, I'm probably not going to finish it by November 30th. That took some of the pressure off, but didn't make it any easier to choose.

My darling husband actually made the choice easy for me. While I was wibbling and waffling back and forth about it, he said to me, "Whichever one you do, you're not going to finish it in a month." (yes, he knows me so well!) " you should knit the sweater. See, if you do the book, you're going to have a half-finished book that you'll probably never look at again. But if you do the sweater, you're going to have a half-finished sweater that you're going to want to wear, and it may take you until February, but you'll probably end up finishing it."

In the face of such logic, I chose to do NaKniSweMo. Clearly.