Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ho Meets Harlot, and other tales of Rhinebeck

This was definitely the coolest thing about Rhinebeck today:

The Yarn Harlot and I, "making a statement with our shirts", as she put it. I'm not sure what statement she's making, but I think mine screams that I'm a big, geeky knitter and proud of it! Knitting and geekery, in my opinion, go very well together. (Said the woman who knits by the light of her monitor while RPing at 3am.)

This is today's loot:

Just shy of 2,000 yards total of lace weight of various compositions. The blue is kid mohair, red/yellow/orange is merino, grey is superfine alpaca. Basically, I showed little restraint until I came to the end of my limited budget.

Overall, a fun day. I'm incredibly exhausted now, and will probably sleep like a brick for about 12 hours. And next year I want to go both days?


Friday, October 19, 2007

Why is nothing ever my size?

Behold, the start of Mirepoix!

Pictures will improve once I learn how to use the setting for closeups on my new camera.

It has been an age since I've done any mindless knitting. I think the last thing I worked on that required little or not attention was my dad's Father's Day sweater. Everything else I've done lately has had either cables or lace.

I know what you're thinking. "But Sam, Mirepoix has a freakin' huge fair isle section! With steeks!" I'm thinking it, too. But for now, it's lovely k2p2 ribbing for miles and miles. Knitting that can be done in the dark or by the light of a monitor screen is much valued during 2am RPG sessions!

Technical tomfoolery thus far: I'm using size US4 and US5 needles and DK weight yarn rather than the 3 and 4 with sport that the pattern calls for. I know myself; I knit very tightly. I just so happened to have some KnitPicks Merino Style in the stash and, on an impulse, swatched some up on a size 4. Yep, gauge. It's kind of sad how it took me three years to figure this out about my knitting.

Mild pattern gripery: Nothing, I repeat, nothing I knit in my bust size has armholes or sleeves the right size. Since we're all knitters here, I'll spill; I'm a 36". This means medium sizes, right? Right.

Except for armholes and sleeves.

For some reason, almost every single pattern I've ever knit from in a 36" bust size (or the closest size the pattern has) either has 14" or 16" armholes and 18" sleeves. Even with drop shoulders, neither of these is big enough for me. My arms? 21" from underarm to wrist. Hence the necessity to resize everything.

However, I've been thinking on Mirepoix and have decided that going up a bust size was, for once, possibly not the best move. Big, for this sweater, apparently equals bad. So I'm thinking of doing an equivalent of the increase row for the 35" size and knitting the fair isle section in that size. But because 1) I've put a lot of time into it already and 2) I am not itty bitty, never have been itty bitty, and don't have any illusions of being itty bitty, I'm doing the rest in the 38.5" size.

Methinks I'm going to need a highlighter.

Mood: contemplative
Music: Arlo Guthrie - The City of New Orleans

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Revelate, revelate

Thanks to a quick blocking job with the help of a high-powered fan,

it's done! The only thing I changed after taking the picture was to sew an inch or so of the neckline shut so that it draped better.

-- While the aran-weight yarn got gauge well enough, it's a bit light and so the shoulders don't always stay up properly.

-- The sizing on this pattern is a bit convoluted. I made the body at the closest to the correct bust size there was, and it's still a little big. The corresponding sleeves, however, were both too small around and too short. The sleeves for the modified armhole where the right size, but also too short. This is probably more of the fault of my broad shoulders than the pattern.

-- The yarn is really soft. Yet another thing I wish I could afford regularly. (JoSharp Silkroad Aran, in case I forgot to mention it before.)

-- It's warm without being too warm, and nicely light. Also looks good with jeans. I'll probably be wearing it to Rhinebeck this weekend.

I am so excited for Rhinebeck! I really wish I could go Saturday, but I have a gig on Saturday night and walking around all day beforehand would not be conducive to putting on a good performance. So Sunday it is, all day long, in all its fiber-filled glory.

This has, however, turned out to be a good thing, in that I will finally get to meet the Yarn Harlot! I will try not to geek out too much, but it's always exciting to be able to meet people whose work you enjoy. I love reading Stephanie's books and blog, and I admire the way she can make me laugh at a regular, everyday scenario that has never before struck me as funny. I'd say she's well on her way to becoming the Terry Pratchett of the knitting world.

That's all for now. Next time, whatever progress I manage to make on Mirepoix!

Mood: way beyond tired
Music: The Frames - Revelate

Monday, October 8, 2007

Yey and Oy

Yey for

finished Pomatomus!

Oy for

Cherie Amour.

Knitting Pomatomus has put me permanently in love with both Cookie A.'s designs and Koigu KPPPM yarn. When knitting with it, it doesn't seem to feel too different than other sock yarns I've used, but wearing it...merino on feet is delicious.

Cherie Amour...urgh. It's such a beautiful, simple design. The design and I are cool with each other. However, the pattern and I are waging all-out war.

A sample, taken from my Ravelry notebook:

9/23, 12:30am -- Just had to rip out two day's worth of knitting because every single decrease was *backwards*. This was due to my stupid inability to pay attention to charts rather than anything being wrong with the pattern.

9/26 -- After about a billion restarts, I've got this going nicely again! It's not a bad pattern; I'm not really sure what my problem with it has been. Might be suddenly knitting on size 13 needles after doing socks for so long!

9/30 -- My goodness, this thing is a horror show. Right now I'd place the blame about 60/40 on me/the pattern...

I was briefly mollified over the weekend. Lulled, you might say:

10/6 -- Zipping right along! Finally, I feel confident about this thing.

Confident, yes. Still confident, in fact. But today I realized that confident little me got cocky and knit an entire sleeve without thinking of the fact that I resized the armhole. So confident little me got a sleeve measuring 14 inches across the top...for a 17-inch armhole.

Why is it that so many patterns assume that people with a 36" bust have arms that will fit in a 14" armhole? Or are sized for sleeves 18" long? I don't think of myself as big, but I am a broad-shouldered, longish-limbed woman. I nearly always end up having to buy a large in women's shirts and jackets because, even if it fits in all other respects, a medium will inevitably be too short in the sleeves or too tight across the back.

So along come patterns like Cherie Amour, or that ribbon-yarn tank top I knit a while back from a book of "hip" patterns and ended up having to rip out, that have measurements that I'm sure fit someone, but that someone is not me. And so I made adjustments, thinking myself clever and in tune with my knitting...and then I do something dumb like forget to resize the sleeve. The especially dumb thing in this case? 17" is an actual armhole measurement in a larger size of the Cherie Amour pattern. The directions are already there. If someone had been keeping score, I think this pattern would have trounced me a long time ago.

And that's the knitterly drama that's been going on in my life. I'll keep chugging along, but I think I'll give lace a rest after this.

Next up? Mirepoix Bodice from Interweave Knits fall '07. Currently eying a blue/grey/white/black theme. New stuff to tackle: large swatch of colorwork and *gulp* steeking!