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.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Successful Swapping

Thanks for all your comments and helpful suggestions regarding a sweater for the husband! After much discussion, I have a much better understanding of his desires in a sweater. First, he doesn't want anything that zips or buttons in the front (that eliminates a lot of the great sweaters you suggested, unfortunately). He says he has sweatshirts that serve that purpose, and he wants something more dressy he can wear to work. I am borrowing a booklet of men's patterns from someone in my knitting group that may just fit the bill (Thanks Zona!). I've decided that a good yarn choice might be Brown Sheep cotton fleece. It shouldn't be too warm and woolly for southern California, yet it hopefully won't sag and stretch like 100% cotton.

In other news, I received my swap package for the Potholder/Recipe Swap! A big thanks to Katy from Sherlock Knits for making these lovely knit potholders! I love the springy colors.

I may be joining another swap, if I can find some time in my busy semester schedule. My good friend Anne of Crafty Diversions, along with Zona, is hosting a fabulous fiber dying themed swap. Its called Dye-No-Mite and you can check out the details here. Happy swapping!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Five Things I Love

In honor of Valentine's Day last week, Professor Knitwit posted five things she loves (other than the obvious stuff like the husband, etc). So here is my love meme:

1. Sleeping in. For awhile I was a morning person. Much to my husband's relief, I've been cured of that afflication. There's nothing like the knowledge that you have no place you need to be and you can just ignore the clock and sleep.

2. Starting a new craft project. Even if you have a dozen projects already in the works, starting something new is always more fun. Also, it feeds into my love of shopping, since a new project always needs something purchased.

3. Coffee and pastries. Each one alone is pretty great, but together they're magic. I blame my German heritage for this particular love.

4. Long, hot baths. I grew up in place where you could freeze to death getting the mail. 'nuff said.

5. Reading for pleasure. I do a lot of reading to keep up with my research and teaching and I generally enjoy that type of reading, but there's something different about reading just for fun. The mere thought of the new Harry Potter book coming out it July is making me tingle with anticipation.

I also have some actual knitting content for the blog. Here is another scarf I'm working on. It's a nice, collegiate-looking scarf using Wool-Ease worsted in forest heather and oxford grey (both doubled) and Wool-Ease Chunky in willow. The pattern is called country home striped scarf. I haven't gotten very far yet, partly because the dark green is painful to see when working a pattern, but the grey and lighter green should be easier. Once I finish the manly scarf and vogue vest, I will put more time into this project. Also, just to share even more love, here is what I did this weekend. I actually baked a cake from scratch in honor of my husband's birthday. Is that domestic or what? Now, I just need to make a pot of coffee and I'll be all set.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Manly Sweater

"Love doesn't make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile."-Franklin P. Jones

I've been reading along as Rachel detailed the saga of her sweater for Matt. Her sweater not only looks great, but is a beautiful tribute to her husband. This lovely story reminded me of my own desire to try to knit something for my husband. It's not that I've never broached the subject before. Our conversations go something like this:

"Honey, I really should knit you something."

"Sure, sweetie, whatever you want."

"What would you like? Socks, a vest, a sweater?"

"Well, if you really want to knit something, I guess a sweater would be OK."

This is far from the positive response you might want if you intend to spend, oh, I don't know, hundreds of hours on something. If he really wanted a sweater he should have said, "I would love nothing in the world more than a sweater you had knit for me with your own two hands," or "I would cherish a handknit sweater from you more than anything else in world." (Nevermind that men only talk like that in romance novels, you get the picture. I want undying gratitude here people!) Without much encouragement, I went about my business knitting for myself and other family and friends who seemed in more need of knitwear.

Lately, however, I think he's starting to feel like he should have a handmade sweater. Like I've somehow given him a crafting snub. All the other husbands of knitters have handknit items, why doesn't he? I guess this means he really would like a sweater, but just didn't know that he was supposed to say something really mushy to get it. So, for the sake of making the love of my life happy, and in honor of Valentine's Day, I am in search of a nice, not-too-flashy men's sweater pattern. Any suggestions?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Change is Good?

"No one likes change but babies in diapers." - Barbara Johnson

First, I just want to thank everyone for all the nice comments about my sweater. It was a pretty big project for my first knit garment, so it's nice to hear that it turned out OK. It is very comfortable and more importantly gave me the confidence to tackle more large projects. Theresa mentioned that my rather shorter list of FOs for 2006 may have had something to do with having moved 3,000 miles, bought a house, and started a new job all this year as well. I can't deny that these life events have taken a lot more from my crafting time than I had hoped, but with so many wonderful things happening I don't want to complain. I also want to thank Jennifer for saying I look too young to be a professor. I am extremely flattered by your comment, although I fear I may look older in real life. Just ask my students. I also think the cricket lab I did this week for class may have aged me about 10 years. Who knew crickets required so much care?

Today's quote for the blog reflects my predilection for alternating between knitting and crochet projects, which probably hinders my ability to make any real progress on either one. The last few weeks I have been working feverishly on the manly scarf and the Vogue vest. After making what seemed like minimal progress on those, I picked up this baby afgan that was nearly finished. This switch was also spurred by the fact that I sent the blue one off as a gift to a recent arrival (a boy), and I also wanted to give one to fellow professor who recently had a girl. Here is a yellow afgan I plan to give to my colleague:

Here's a closeup of the stiches:

Yarn: Caron Simply Soft in white and some old Red Heart in gold - all 100% acrylic
Pattern: Seija blanket in The Happy Hooker
Changes: I added a shell edge and left out the braided trim, partly to make it look different and partly because I ran out of the gold.
Yardage: 1 skein white and whatever was left of the gold
Hook: size H
Notes: The blue one I made was a little small, so I went up a hook size. This pattern is really easy and fun, and the hole for the seatbelt is so clever. I think I may make dozens of these and give them to everyone (well, everyone with a baby, that is).

Actually, I do need to start working on a few more afgans. Besides the two that are already spoken for, I need to make gifts for at least four more babies. I already have yarn for blankets in blue, pink, and green. Thankfully they crochet pretty quickly!


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Delusions of Grandeur

"Delusions of grandeur make me feel a lot better about myself." - Lily Tomlin

As a college professor, I sometimes run across this type of comment - "Wow, what a great job! You only have a teach a few hours a week and you get summer off!" If I run across anyone who says that this week I may have to kill them. My poor blog and knitting have suffered these past few weeks as I am overwhelmed by prepping two new classes and doing an overhaul on a third, supervising two graduate students and four undergraduates in my lab, attempting to keep up with my writing committments, and actively participating in several job searches for our department.

Unfortunately, this means that you all get some recycled knitting content. I present to you, my first ever finished sweater:

Yarn: Patons Decor in pale taupe (worsted weight, 75% acrylic, 25% wool)
Pattern: Supplied my knitting teacher - "patchwork sweater"
Changes: none
Yardage: almost 8 skeins, so about 1600 yards
Needles: US size 8 for the body of the sweater, size 6 for the ribbing
Notes: I knit this as a learning project in a knitting class, so it was my first real project after a pair of slippers. In my naive state, I skipped the guage swatch and knit a medium in a sweater that has about 20 inches of ease. This sweater definitely has a "sweatshirt" type fit. I really should have knit a small, and I probably would have chosen a more fitted pattern if given a choice. Still, it really was fun to knit and I learned an enormous amount about knitting while plugging my way through this sweater. I think I frogged nearly as much as I knit, but I really began to understand things as I did. My instructor really knew what she was doing. Now I just need to find the time to finish the sweaters that are still on the needles.