Trouble with Trebles

This blog is to keep track of my knitting, other craft projects, and the weird bits of life that don't fit anywhere else.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

A Sleeve by Any Other Name

Yes, it's just one small sleeve (and a short one at that), but it was a long time coming. I have learned that when moving yourself cross-country that having an idiot-proof knitting project is key. This poor sleeve was ripped back many times, because I was tired or distracted and screwed it up....again. The next time I worked on it was during SnB, which was also a bad idea because I needed to keep careful track of my decreases. I finally picked it up again this week, did the math and discovered I had only forgotten to write down one decrease. The knitting was A-Okay, so I was finally able to finish.

At least I thought it was okay. When I checked the finished measurements, the length was a little too long (is an inch a little?). Arggh! I *thought* I was getting gauge (when I measured at the beginning), but maybe it went haywire somewhere between Tennessee and California? This poor sleeve may yet have to be reknit with a smaller needles (all that seed stitch with size 2's! Ugh!), but I am confident that the second time around I can manage to at least count correctly without the distraction of road noise.

The question is, what next? Should I do a gauge swatch of the lace pattern for the main body of the sweater and attempt to knit the front and back to the correct gauge? Then I can see how this sleeve fits before I make the other one. Or should I just make the other sleeve, knowing I may have to reknit them both?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Everyone Loves a Good Rival

I am a relatively new knitter, but even so I've picked up on the rivalry between "process" or "project" knitters. From my noobie point of view, this dichotomy makes "process knitters" sound like hard-core knitters who just love to knit (no matter how unwearable the final product might be) and "project knitters" like people who are just knitting so they can have a cool sweater at the end with no real appreciation for the knitting itself. I always imagine them duking it out, the process knitters in their cabled/intarsiad nightmarish sweaters beating up on the sissy project knitters in their matching twinsets. Of course, In reality most knitters probably have done both types of knitting, and most projects are a combination of process and project.

Most likely this line of thought was inspired by reading too much scientific theory. It always turns out that both sides of any theoretical argument have some grain of truth, and so a perfectly good rivalry is shot to hell. We all know that some of the best scientific thought was the result of bitter rivalry. Nothing motivates you to whip out a study like being able to prove to some other joker that you were right and they were wrong. And you'll both likely get a whole slew of publications out of it. What could be better?

I mention these things because right now the possibilities for my next project are duking it out. I am looking for a project and yarn to work on as a reward for surviving my first semester teaching (assuming I really do survive, that is; only time will tell). So, should I pick something with lace or cables, or should I pick something a bit more mindless (generally works better for me; I get distracted easily) that will give me a truly beautiful sweater in the end? Here are the current contenders:

One option I've been considering is the Union Square Market Sweater from Interweave Fall 2005. It's beautiful, but simple. Eunny Jang's turned out so beautifully that I've fallen for the pattern, and I would probably use the same yarn she did, Garnstudio DROPS alpaca. I am hankering for something in purple, and ideally the main color would be a dark purple with lavender trim.

In the other corner, is the Eyelet Chemise for Interweave Summer 06. It has a bit more interest in the knitting with the lace and scoop neckline. In blogland, Neglecting My Kids did a beautiful version that looks great and maintains a bit more modesty (Should we really need to do abs everyday to wear knitwear? If I went to the gym that much I wouldn't have time to knit!) I could knit it in a lovely cotton or splurge for the Euroflax the pattern calls for in eggplant. In a head to head knit-out, which would win?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Have You Any Wool?

I've been doing a lot of commenting recently (when I actually blog, that is) on the pecularities of living in Southern California. I feel it only fair to say that so far I really love living here. Californians seem to be very friendly (so far, although don't cut them off on the freeway), and the weather is hard to beat. My biggest dilemna recently is trying to determine what sweaters will be too warm to knit. Will I die of heatstroke in an alpaca sweater, even in January? What if it's very fine guage alpaca? How much cotton knitting am I willing to do before I break down and buy some nice stretchy wool? I guess I could always save my wooly sweaters for visits to Wisconsin

Anyway, I finally have evidence that I've actually been knitting! before you get all worked up at the low cut neckline, I should say that this is actually the back of the Knit.1 tank. It's knit with 3 different brands (one was King Tut) of worsted weight mercerized cotton in dark mauve, pink, and white. The back seems rather low, because there are two eyelets where a ribbon tie will go to form a keyhole. The front is well on it's way and I hope to finish it in the next 2-3 weeks (probably wishful thinking, but I'm allowed to be delusional).

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Monthly Project Recap

Perhaps some of you have been following along with Theresa from Knitting Underway, and her knitting project a month. Long, long ago, in a land far, far away I too vowed to complete a craft project every month. I did not restrict it to knitting, but instead an attempt to actually finish the dozens of half started craft projects that I then had to move 3100 miles.

So, how am I doing on this venture, you ask? Better than I had thought, really. Frankly, I had nearly forgotten about it until recently, but once I actually thought about the things I've finished I think I've kept up fairly well.

For July I finished the madras top I've been working on for three years.

For August, I completed the living room curtains.

Finally, for September I finished the bedroom curtains, which also had been sitting partially finished for three years.

For October, I plan to complete the refinishing of this small table: It isn't much to look at now, but once I get done it will be very cute, I promise. For the next post, I will have photos of the completed back of my Knit.1 tank. I owe a big thanks to the Orange knitting group for keeping me focused the on the truly important things in life: knitting.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Living in Material World

I love fabric almost as much as I love yarn. Every piece of cloth and skein of yarn has the potential to be something fantastic (except maybe flannel with Barney the Dinosaur, but even that might be useful for buffing the car or something). That's why I love crafting. You can take the most generic materials and turn it into something unique and beautiful. Of course, starting with beautiful materials can lead to something truly spectacular.
Our bedroom curtains started life as a bolt of beautiful, relatively expensive fabric. Now look at them, both beautiful and functional in all their glory. This fabric inspired the entire decorating scheme of the master bedroom. As I was working on the curtains, I was drawn to the dusty purple of some of the leaves. Our bedroom had always been missing something, and I could't quite put my finger on it. The antique brass bed, refinished dresser, butternut bookcase, all these things were lovely and went well together. What it really needed, though, was a dose of rich color. Once I settled on purple, I began to hunt for a purple bed covering that was, here's the hard part, machine washable. I have severe dust allergies and a dryclean only bed covering just wasn't going to work. I searched and searched, and had given up until I found the perfect thing at, get this, IKEA of all places! We even found a coordinating pillow to go with it! Now I am able to once again rest, knowing that I have negotiated another decorating crisis.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Random Number Generators Rock!

Haven't we all felt the affection of random numbers at one point in time or other? I know I have. More on that later.

Overall, I am enjoying and adjusting to MyNewCaliforniaLifeStyle quite well. I have learned to dress to keep cool, and even bought that style of footwear known only in California, the dressy flip-flop (mine are a rich, dark leather and perfectly appropriate for all manner of fancy occasions in Cali). One style that I hadn't anticipated is the "Dressy Hawaiian." I have seen on numerous occasions hawaiian shirts worn by men in such a way that they appear dressy.

I've spend the past couple weeks observing, and "Dressy Hawaiian" is a style that works best if you follow these rules:

1. The Hawaiian shirt should have no more than two colors
2. The shirt should be worn with Khakis, no shorts or jeans
3. The individual wearing this look should have at least a slight tan, as proof that they do in fact live in California

Follow these rules, and you too can embrace the SoCal "Dressy Hawaiian" style!

In knitting news, I'm a winner! Thanks to a wonderful random number generator, I won this absolutely gorgeous yarn and Kookaburra Woolwash from kaleidoscope yarns.

The yarn is a single skein (437 yards) of Cherry Tree Hill 100% suri alpaca laceweight. Rachel of Lickety Knit speculates that the colorway is “Champlain Sunset.” I'm extremly thrilled, although I do feel bad that I was an Amazing Lace dropout. My projects are still unfinished (although they are coming along) and I didn't even enter the last three challenges. I did spend altogether way too much time on the first few challenges (I apologize to my husband, who likely was neglected as a result), and was even a finalist in Challenge #2, so maybe it all evens out. Any pattern suggestions? Something Hawaiian perhaps?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Our Own Private Haven

I apologize to everyone for taking so long to make a new post. Ever since the husband got back into town, everything seems to be happening at once. I am lucky to find the time to eat, much less blog. But all is well and good in the world, with the husband now permanently joining me is SoCal.

My new job started, and as expected it has been crazy busy! Anyone who thinks college professors have it easy (we only teach a few hours a week, right?) has never actually done it. Hopefully I will be able to keep track of my 100 or so students this semester and make the learning process fun. I'm sure I will have more teaching experiences to post later.

The most exciting thing we've done this past couple weeks is sign on the dotted line for a house! OK, so technically it's not a house yet, just a pile of dirt. It's a really nice pile of dirt on hill, which will be a lovely townhouse by spring. Buying a house seems very surreal to me. The most expensive car I ever purchased was a three-year-old Geo Metro (yes, I know, very sad). The thought of buying a new-built house is a foreign concept. The husband and I have wanted a house for so long, however, that we decided to go for it. Besides, I couldn't talk him into buying a small "knock-down" house that we could fix up ourselves. For some reason, he wanted to buy something we could actually live in.

As for knitting, I've been joining the wonderful group in Orange each week and am actually making progress on the Knit.1 tank. I finished the back, and will post picture soon. I really haven't been working much on my knitting other than what I've done with the knitting group, however, so the way things are going the house may get done first.