Friday, August 12, 2011

More to Say

A woman came to my counter the other day to return a set of steel crochet hooks.  She said they were the wrong size, and assuming that she meant too small, I chuckled and said they were very much doily-making hooks.  She replied that they were indeed, but she needed a hook small enough to use in adding beads to a project.  My spider-sense tingling, I breathlessly contained my excitement and asked what kind of project.  Glory hallelujah, she said she was knitting a shawl.  I stuttered out something inane about my own attempts at knitting with beads, and we had something like a conversation about techniques, but all the while my brain was screaming, "Find out if she's on Ravelry!  Get her phone number!"

I fired up the camera, since my Ravelry notebook looked so forlorn with all of it empty boxes.  This is good news for my blog, because these posts aren't very interesting without graphics.

Here you can see the crude beginnings of my cabled riding jacket, which has proven to me that one cannot knit with wool during the dog days of summer unless one is in very good air conditioning.  The Fisherman's Wool is lovely and soft, but not very tightly plied and a rather light worsted weight.  Swatching (I swatched!) revealed that two strands would be necessary to get the stitch gauge, but my row gauge is hopelessly off.  I have no idea how to fix it without affecting the stitch gauge, so I'm just going to have a very long sweater.

I suppose I could attempt math, but how likely is that?

Looking ahead at the bodice instructions flip-flops my stomach.  To make any sense of them I will probably have to chart it out on graph paper with the errata close by.  I've never tried graphing out a whole pattern - only color charts, but it seems like a logical way of going about things.

On that note, I charted up this charming expy of my hipster husband as rendered by Charles Schultz, which I am applying to the Punk Rock Backpack from SnB.  It's turning out to be quite the stash-busting exercise, as I'm able to fill in the colors with some of the various odds and ends that have been kicking around in my bins forever.  On the other hand, I'm discovering that I really hate intarsia.

Which is why I have abandoned my ideas of making a colorwork-focused scarf for my husband's friend Andy, and am instead working up a Celtic Cables Scarf.  He has a Celtic cross tattooed on his back, so I figure that he should appreciate the motif, disappointed though he may be to not be getting the argyle scarf that I hinted at when he originally asked for a handknitted scarf.  The cables promise to be suitably impressive, so I'm not too worried.  I reckon it will be finished sometime in the next 20 years.

Having more or less finished Mirasol, I'm embarking on a new amigurumi, this time in knitting.  It's going to be me!  More or less.  The head is the wrong shape already, but I stuffed it with yarn, because that's what my head is full of.  The yarn is the same Sugar 'n Cream or Peaches and Creme kitchen cotton that I used for Mirasol, and I'm stabilizing the neck the same way I did for her: with a small wooden spool.  The gauge is just a little off, but I like the size it's coming out.  I was inspired by Stitch London and the Science Museum's 2010 Stitch Yourself project, but the pattern I'm using is Yarnigan's Blank Slate Doll, because it was free, and it hardly matters if I'm not sending the doll in.  I've added lots of mods to give the body more shape, which is also affecting the finished size considerably.

I dug out my old Pattern-a-Day calendar and found the pages for Cat Bordhi's Treasure Forest socks and the matching bookmark.  I don't have a suitable yarn for the socks just now, so I've cast on for the bookmark in Caron Simply Soft.

The Esperanza bookmark is growing gradually, with a few stitches jumping off whenever I pull it out of the bag - I need a better WIP storage solution.

Also growing - the Marple Shawl.

I've hit a literal snag with this one - it's so tangled up with the other projects in my bag that I can work no further on it until that is remedied.  It speaks volumes for my laziness that I'd just as soon work on something else as try to free this poor WIP.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Catching Up

My period is a day late.  This is not unusual for my periods, but these days wreaks havoc on my mood.

I cried most of the way home, because for one reason or another all the posts that my friends and Ryan's friends have put up about their pregnancies popped into my head, and I thought, ". . . And all of them will get to have their babies."  I was angry at the unfairness and horrified at my selfishness.

Then I look at my house and think, "This is no place for a baby.  This isn't even a place for kittens."  I am living in squalor, and eventually I'm not going to be able to use depression as an excuse.  Well, I could stay depressed forever, but impressed as I am with my ability to drive while sobbing, I don't want to live this way always.

Monday, August 1, 2011

On the upswing

I'm sorry that my last blog was so bleak.  I am full to the brim with turbulent emotion and letting it spill out is the only thing that keeps me sane sometimes.  It makes room for more.

Here is some good news.

My brother is officially back from Afghanistan for good!

He's my closest brother both in terms of age and being my best friend, and it's a major relief and joy to have him home.  Now he can find new dangerous things to do, like learning to ride a motorcycle and dating.

Susan sent me home with a bag full of yarn and books and magazines.  On the one hand, this violates my yarn diet, on the other hand, I didn't spend any money on them, which is what I was really concerned about.  

Ravelry is amazing.  It is the most comprehensive and exhaustively indexed pattern database I've ever encountered, and I love the inventory tools.  It is very cool to be able to type in a yarn that I have and see what other people have made with it, or see the finished objects they've made of patterns that I want to try.  It's like a social network for knitters/crocheters, but so much more than that.  It's my new favorite website.

I'm almost finished with Mirasol, my Free Spirit doll (pattern by Beth Webber)

Just a few more ends to weave in.  I placed her eyes too far apart, I think, but it gives her a unique look.  She's modeling next to my practice charts for Ryan's mittens.  The name Mirasol is an accidental jumbling of the name Marisol, which I also like, but Mirasol stuck.  I like that in rough Spanish it could mean, "She looks at the sun."  You know, if you smushed "mira al sol" together, dropped a couple letters, and understood that the subject of the sentence was implicit.  As I said, rough Spanish, not good Spanish.

This is a really fun pattern to crochet, very clearly and understandably written.  All of the dolls at By Hook, By Hand look like they're pure joy to make, and I look forward to working up more of them.  After all, once she's finished, Mirasol will need lots of clothes and friends!