Snakes on a Sweater*

Yeah, I'm that far out of the main stream.

I'm this far away from finishing Mrs. Darcy. (Er, still.) The second sleeve is done all the way up to the sleeve cap of the second sleeve when I ran out of yarn. I didn't really run out of yarn, after all, I bought seven skeins of the stuff. (I'm not really sure what I was thinking.) Anyway, I finished the fourth skein and, rather than wind up another perfectly, well, perfect skein of the stuff I, instead, decided that it would be thrifty of me to frog the first sleeve, the one that was knitted too tight and far, far too long, and reuse that yarn. Reduce! Reuse! Recycle! Anyway, so I did that, but I thought that it would be better for the yarn (and my sanity) if I washed it first before trying to reuse it, as it was way, way crimpy. So that had a bath today and is hanging in the bathroom on the shower rod with 2 hangers hanging off of it to give it that extra impetus to dry straight. Unfortunately, as I have found out while blocking each individual piece of the sweater (all the better for seaming, you see) once fully emersed in liquid (and I let knitted things soak for at least an hout to let it get nice and saturated) it takes about two days to dry.

Le sigh.

So anywho, I was out yesterday shopping for wood, which I was unable to get, let's just not go there, and I realized that since I was so close to finishing Mrs. Darcy, and the Tilted Duster too, really, that I had better start looking for some buttons. Now, I have no idea where people get all their cool buttons, because there sure aren't any stores around here that sell cool buttons, but my aunt mentioned there was a fabric store that might have something. So, off to find the mysterious fabric store we went.

It was Jo-Ann Fabric.

Now, I have to say that in the past, and not recent past eaither, I have had bad experiences with Jo-Ann Fabrics, which really has been no fault of the store itself and purely due to my own stupidity. Years ago beyond the mists of time that pre-date Etsy and Ebay and this thing we call The Internet, one had to physically travel to a store to buy, well, anything, unless it came out of a mail-order catalogue. This was also in the days that a store that strictly sold yarn was unheard of, a myth, kind of akin to la chupacabra (but one that would not eat your goats if you were not careful). The only big box craft type stores in town were Michael's and Jo-Ann's and though I was not, and still am not, a sewer, I would inevitably end up at Jo-Ann's and be disappointed, because dude, THEY DON'T SELL YARN. Lots of other cool crap, but no yarn. But do you know what they do sell (now anyway, and besides some pretty nice fabrics?)

Lots and lots of (mostly) cool buttons.

I could not believe how many cool buttons I found! At Jo-Ann Fabrics! Buttons! This pleases me greatly, because if you actually look at their website most of the buttons listed are pretty lame. What's up with that, Jo-Ann Fabrics? (Kinda makes me wish I had bought more buttons.) Here are the three (well, six) that I walked away with:


And here is what I was thinking. Maybe this (which my aunt was partial to but I was concerned about it being too matchy-matchy):


Or this:


And for the Duster maybe this:


There were so many pretty buttons there (along with some pretty hideous ones, but I am blocking those out of my memory), and it was only through sheer force of will that I did not walk out of that store with $50 in buttons. What think ye?

In other news, I pretty much completely ignored the advice of almost everyone and kept the Options dpns because, despite the relative heaviness of them they are so smooth and shiney in their titanium coatedness that I love them. I ended up knitting the sleeves of Mrs. Darcy with the 8s (the actual correct size, thank you very much) rather than the icky old plastic 7s that I >was using, and had a much more enjoyable time of it. Am having a much more enjoyable time of it. Make no mistake though, the new order is in the mail (gad).

And in other other news, I finally started on the fourth and last ball of Noro for the entrelac scarf. Cue the angelic choir. Not that I don't like knitting it, but it was starting to seem like that third ball was never going to end. I've just about finished the 40th tier, and I officially proclaim that knit 75% complete. That's good since I so want to cast on for some other scarf pattern, because this year everyones getting scarves for Christmas. Yesindeedydo.

And finally, have you seen this blog? (I think I have a new favorite.)

*Snakes on a Sweater refers, oddly enough, not to the movie Snakes on a Plane, but to Lime & Violet's podcast Snakes on a Podcast. Though I have been a devout listener of Brenda Dayne's podcast, Cast-On since the very beginning, I never did navigate over to Lime & Violet. So, once again, I am last to the party. I have just caught up through episode 11. I think I have a couple of long nights ahead of me...



Yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay! My package from Knitpicks came today! New needles! Tilted Duster! Yay!



If you look closely you will see that those are the Knitpicks Options GODDAMNDOUBLEPOINTEDNEEDLES. I did not want more large gauge double pointed needles. I do not need more large gauge double pointed needles. I however am apparently the new owner of some large gauge double pointed needles.


I don't think it is worth it to send them back. Well, that's not really true. I don't think it is worth the effort to send them back. I am lazy. I don't want to have to scrounge for a box and magic-marker the existing print and peel off the labels to reuse it, and I don't feel like buying a brand-new box to send them back. I guess I could always use some extra needles. Man, I am SO PISSED. This whole spectacle was supposed to SAVE ME MONEY. Now I have to go buy MORE new needles, because, as you may remember, I still don't have any needles to finish the Tilted Duster. This was not the fault of Knitpicks. I went back and looked at my order. This only proves that I can take inattentiveness to a level very near art form.

I did get this book. I have only flipped through once, but I am pleased. And also need some new tools. Sheesh.

We have seams!


Well, one seam, anyway. It's possible that Mrs. Darcy is not quite the quiet proper English lady she pretends to be, but may in fact be a voodoo master, sabotaging my efforts to even aquire the tools necessary to finishing the Duster, all the better to monopolize my time. Well, it's working. The left front is done and is soaking, and one sleeve is blocked. (Did I mention that before? One sleeve is done!) And the right front is sewn to the back (it matched up perfectly). I'm not convinced the sleeve is good enough. It's really long. Really really long. And, I decreased the number of stitches to accomodate my bird arms, but I think I decreased too much. The sleeve fits, but it is unlikely I would be able to wear anything underneath without cutting off the circulation to my hands. So, I think I am going to try the second sleeve a bit bigger. The astute reader will realize that this means, at minimum, I will need to knit three sleeves. Ahem. (What is wrong with me?)

Time to break out the new needles.



... leads to 2/3 of a knitted sweater:



Resistance is Futile

I've been assimilated:


That there is one of Schrodinger's cubes. You should go over to her Etsy shop right now before they are all gone. Seriously. When she first opened her shop they all sold in about ten seconds. (That might be a slight exaggeration, but they sure went fast!) I luckily got in on the second round with my favorite of the patterns, Purple Regal. Oh, Purple Regal, how I love thee! There are a few others I love too, but I gotta save some money to buy yarn. Oh yeah, and food.

Anyway, the cubes are way cute, impeccably crafted (the seams and lining and zipper are absolutely perfect - I could never make anything so lovely in a milion years, even if I did know how to sew...) and the fabric is a wonderful upholstry or drapery weight that just rocks. Not to mention they have the wicked cool square shape vibe going on. My one sad photo does not do it justice, but it's all I could manage today. It's perfect for holding a sock project on the go, or even a ball of Beaverslide... (it's a tight fit with the Beaverslide when the ball is new, but after a few rows there is plenty of room for it to unwind and yet still stay safe from dust bunnies and the roving beasts alternately known as my cats. If you use center pull balls this would not even be an issue, but, alas, I have neither winder now swift.)

I also have apparently no resistance to Mrs. Darcy. Who would have thought she would be so beguiling? No photos yet, but I am this far away from finishing the back. Really, it's not my fault. I had hoped that the new Options needles would come today, but no. And then this happened:


Now I know that this is not Southern California, where I did live for several years and where a rain event is akin to a blizzard. And I have visited Northern California many many times growing up. But always in the summer. It never ever rains in the summer! I've never seen the green hills of California. I can't wait. And so though I know in my brain that it does rain here in the winter, I find it a bit difficult to comprehend. Also, it is not winter - what's up with that? On September 1st the recorded high was 98. Today's high? Well, I can't get Weather.com to give me that information (I guess I will be able to find out tomorrow - curse you Weather.com!!!) but right now it is 67. My way of dealing with this is staying inside and knitting.

It's going to get ugly when the rain really starts to fall.


No Title

You probably have guessed after the last post that, being an equal opportunity neurotic, I both acted on my thrift impule and my need for instant gratification at the same time. Its a win-win! I ordered some Options needles, the metal ones, not the full set, but the ones I thought I would use the most (in other words, nothing above a size 8, though I'm thinking now I should have gotten the 9s as well...) and a couple of sets of longer cables, and some of those little needle size tag thingies (because I am nothing if not disorganized and one can never tell when one cannot figure out what size needle one is using). And it was free shipping on orders over $45. I ordered a book too... but I can't for the life of me remember which one. What I really wanted was Knitting Lingerie Style, but it isn't available through the site until September 28th, and my patience has limits.

Which reminds me, I was thinking about that foolishly short needle the other day that I started the skirt of the Duster with, and I though I might actually measure the length of it to see how short it really was. My friends, I am a very poor judge of length. Apparently the total length is 28 inches. Twenty-eight! I would never have guessed it (obviously). I was so sure that it was less than two feet... Nevertheless, it is still far too short for the task at hand, and so I feel 100% vindicated for ordering new needles. (I'm not sure why vindicated is how I feel, but I though, so there you have it.


So the new Beaverslide, teacher's pet that it is, cut in line and threw itself onto my needles. I was leaning towards Mrs. Darcy, but not 100% decided (although did you notice that Mrs. Darcy and Jolie are practically the same shape and style? I didn't, until I went back and looked at both of them again.) The pattern for Mrs. Darcy called for a gauge of 16 stitches and 20 rows to 4" on size 9s, though the yarn was some unheard of brand. I thought I would be smart and go down 2 needle sizes, even though the Beaverslide is way chunky, and swatched on 7s. That was the swatch you saw yesterday, after it had dried. It was a little stiff and the gauge I got was 17 stitches and 23 rows to 4". That would mean recalculating everything, which I was not really in the mood for. So wonder of wonders, I swatched again, this time on 8s. (I apparently refuse to knit with the specified needles.) I would show you a picture, but it looks exactly like the other swatch. You can use your imagination. This one turned out at 16 stitches and 21 rows to 4". As they say, it's good enough for government work! I'll just keep an eye on it, and maybe add a row here or there, but I think it will be fine, me being such a short-waisted individual and all.

I cast on tonight and am halfway through the waist ribbing. Hooray for chunky yarn! I think I'm in love.

ETA: Good lord, what's with all the typos?! I am so embarassed. And whoops, I forgot to add a title. Just what the heck is "instant verification" or "waste ribbing", anyway?! Oh yeah, I was nearly unconcious with fatigue when writing that post. Let that be a lesson: never sleep and blog. :)


1000 Words



Yet Another Duster Dilemma

I was going to take some more photos of the Beaverslide, but I keep getting home after the sun has set. I did finish la manica seconda today, knit to the same length as the first one, because I know that I am going to have extra yarn and I can always rip back later.

I also continued on the skirt, which I started yesterday, I think. Man, two by two ribbing takes a friggin' long time to knit, even at a gauge of four stitches to the inch. Twenty rows down, sixty more to go.


I also have another little problem with this project though:


This is called poor planing. Those are wooden needles, my friends, despite the fact that the rest of the sweater was knit on aluminum needles. In addition, they are size 7 needles, despite the fact that the rest of the sweater is knit on size 8. Those two facts, in an of themselves, are not a problem per se. The problem is that they are size 7 wooden needles with a 16" cable. There is no way that 234 stitches are going to fit on the cable of these needles. (Incidentally, I did not choose to use size 7 wooden circs for the skirt of this project, they choose me. They were the only size I had that were even close to size. Whoops!)

There are several options:
1. KnitPicks Options (but which, the metal ones or the new pretty wooden ones? I am a sucker for pretty, but I generally like metal better (except for some lace). Whole set? Single longer cable and set of tips? I've wanted some more of these for a while, but it would mean waiting, and probably spending mroe money in the short run too.
2. Run to the closest store and buy whatever size 7 wooden circs (longer than 16" of course) that they have. Instant gratification, but pricier in the long run (probably) on a needle I may never (or very rarely) use again (big size + long length = dust collector).

In the meantime I did not swatch with the Beaverslide, even though I wanted to very very much. I am thinking maybe of this sweater. Or maybe this one. Or this one. What do you think?


Tilted Duster Woes, Part Deux


Can you see the mistake? Can you? I'm so ticked off at myself. It is more obvious in the photo, I think, than in person, and I'm not inclined to care, seeing as how I've knitted the back two times now. I finished the front panels (again), and though one is slightly smaller than the other I think I shall block it a tad more vigorously tomorrow and forget about it. They are the same number of rows and so I assume that the second one was knit at a slightly looser gauge than the first. I am rapidly losing my enamoration with this project.

I finished the first sleeve as well, during a Lord of the Rings marathon, and started the second as I begin the third movie. (Was I asleep in the theater during this movie? I can't remember it at all. Anyway.) I realized that since I resized the armscyes I had to refigure the sleeve caps as well. Crud. I've no idea if this was successful. The sleeve (which ended up being 3" longer than the schematic, 2" longer than I intended) is drying right now, so I'll know sometime tomorrow if I have to reknit the sleeve cap. And maybe shorten it. Oy.


Sandra, I think I need some cherry cordial. More on the Beaverslide tomorrow!


I blame Jared.



One of These Things is Not Like the Other


It may be difficult to discern from the photo, but one of these needles is yellow and the other is pink. Even worse, one of these needles is a size 8 and the other is a size 5.

I am an idiot.

I decided to go down that long road and rip the finished pieces and reknit them. This may lead to much weeping and sighing and gnashing of teeth, I do not know. Indeed, it has already lead to some angst, as you can clearly see. It only took me twenty-two rows to realize the mistake. The most ridiculous part of it is that I kept wondering, as I was reknitting the back, why the right-side rows were so much tighter than the wrong-side rows, and thinking that it looked lik a$$, and reflecting on how it wasn't like that last time 'round. Obviously I was not reflecting hard enough.

So yes, I have decided to try and modify the pattern, for better or worse. I am attempting (as there is no guarantee of success) to incorporate the idea of a more fitted waist gleaned from Pikku-Kettu (thank you Ravelry), but with invisible (more or less) increases. I have also decided to attempt to shorten the armholes, since I skinny little bird arms, and simultaneously shorten the waist just a smidge, since I am also short-waisted. I'm a mess, I know. We'll see if this will be in any way successful, or if I am just playing with fire. (Oh, yes, I am also slipping the first stitch of every row, to help make the seaming neater and easier, as I think there were slipped selvedge stitches in Salina. Oh God I hope so, because I am too lazy to look back at my notes now and too far along to want to rip again anyway.) I've just reached the point of the armhole decreases (again) but I had to stop to blog. Also, Mary is sleeping on top of the piece right now.

All the while the Entrelac Scarf has been sighing that it could have been finished by now.


I'm very nearly finished with the third ball of Noro, and I would have sworn that I would have been starting on that fourth and final ball at the start of the next tier, but it looks like there might one or two more tiers left to it. I still have not decided what to do about the back, if anything. This, incidentally, is where the errant size 5 needle came from - it was sitting on the bed at the same time as the sweater yarn and needles. Bad scarf.

More fun shopping:


I saw this at the local Safeway and couldn't resist. They never have had any organic meats before, not even chicken, although they do stock organic eggs and dairy and a few vegetables. Could they (at least, my local store) be changing their priorities?

And finally, how about some cuteness?


Cute to the n-th degree,


No Self Control

I obviously have no self control. Also, that is a swatch you see there, a very rare and mytical beast around these parts, but one which has been reportedly spotted with increasing regularity, which begs the question: have I changed my impatient ways? (Answer: no.)

I cast on for the Tilted Duster from the Fall 2007 IK. I really do love the way it looks in the magazine photos, but I'm having all kinds of issues.

The Good:

I cast on for the 36", which should provide 0" of ease. And I got gauge, perfect gauge, on the first try, if you can believe that. I did go down 2 needle sizes, as I usually go down 1-2 sizes with socks all the time, and what a lucky estimation that was! The back and two fronts are done, and casually blocking out on the porch, and seem to be the correct size, as I followed the pattern exactly. The two halves even match each other.

The Bad:

The arm holes seem giant. I know it is an "outerwear" piece, but the total length along the armhole edge is longer than that of my wool peacoat. My store-bought wool peacoat, which I love and which came from Anne Taylor Loft last year and which is only a size 4 and yet still is a bit too big around for me in the chest area as I am somewhat deficient in this area of the anatomy.

The Quandry:

The pieces are drying right now. As soon as they are done I am going to pin them together and have a big decision to make. To frog (and reknit) or not to frog? I don't believe that the armholes are going to be that much smaller in the smallest size, and then what if the chest circumference is then too small? But, I think I am going to at least reknit the back after seeing this excellent version with the associated modifications to make a more fitted back. I hadn't thought about it before, but I definitely like the fitted look much more. I hate thinking about all the "wasted" time spent knitting the pieces too big, yet not wasted if ultimately I get a better product. Ug.

It has not escaped my notice that I probably could have finished one or more of my already-started projects in the time I have spent on this already.


Addio, Big Luciano

They are saying all over the world tonight.

You will be well missed.