Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Turkish Stockings for a Persian Lady

After wrestling with two lace projects to the point of complete frustration I decided it was time to cast on for the Turkish stockings anyway, so that's how my weekend came to a close. After reading the instructions for a toe up socks and trying with great success to do a wrapped cast on on size 6 dpns and worsted weight yarn, I switched to the Satakieli and size 0's and I discovered something. For some reason I can't translate the same movements to the tiny needles and yarn and have it work right. I don't know why, but I tried and tried, and it kept on looking wrong. So in the interest of my not flying into a frustration induced psychotic rage after a weekend of ripping and reknitting lace, I decided to cast on the leg stitches and get cracking on the chart to get gauge and practice colorwork. Talk about your instant gratification!

Gauge seems right, now I have to check measurements on the recipient and master the toe up thing on the tiny needles. I think color work is so much fun that even this little bit has been a sufficient break to calm my nerves. Which is a good thing, let me tell you.

Lately I see this phrase showing up on more and more blogs - "work is kicking my butt". Well, I am jumping on that bandwagon for sure. I have two weeks of hell coming up on me, and if I disappear from blogland I am probably in the hospital recovering from a stroke. Seriously, I have no idea if there will be anything left of me for knitting by the end of the day, but I'll check in a few times so you know I haven't had a nervous breakdown. Or maybe I'll just blog about having one. We'll see.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Chapter 12: I am driven to madness

I know I went too far. The finishing of all the projects before the due date, coupled with too much beer and repeated watching of the awesome "unpimp your ride" VW commercials combined synergistically to unbalance my brain, and when it came time to cast back on, suddenly the instruction to "cast on 299 stitches" didn't seem unreasonable to me at all.

But it isn't my fault, (it never is, you will soon come to learn about me) it is Eunny and Monkee's faults. Poor Eunny, she doesn't even know me, but I would swear she timed her awesome lace tutorial just to catch me at my most vulnerable. Just like Lolly got me all excited about socks, Eunny has taken advantage of my impaired state to hook me on lace for good. Even though I am sucking at it at the moment, I am loving it. And Monkee spreading all these great lace vibes around the place. Ladies, the damage is done. Lace is the new sock.

I like to call this "Still life with Birch, HP and Cat Butt"

In continuing sock madness news, however, even as I am inching fearfully forward to casting on the 2 color turkish socks, I must tell you a tale of frustration. A little while ago I saw these socks on Claudia's blog. Candy socks. Delicious. Had to have.

I have learned a lot about the self patterning sock business since this whole thing started. About the evils of limited runs, and the equally nasty ways shops lure you in with promises of wonderful self patterning color ranges only to produce large piles of grey, brown, black, and greybrown yuk they haven't been able to unload over the past humpteen years. In desperation, and in the throes of a creativity streak that had me designing candy purses to go along with my socks, I wrote Claudia asking for help. She was very kind and gracious, especially considering that I must have come across as a complete lunatic, and she shared her source as well as some other places to start my search. Nice lady, talented as all get out, too.

You know how it is once you have your mind set on something. After several attempts to purchase from various online sources only to receive an email of regret followed by removal of the item from their online catalogues, I was on a freaking mission from God to track down the last Trekking XXL Color 126 on this planet. And because when I am on said mission I am as stubborn as a mule on crack, it was inevitable that I triumphed.

Now, I'd like to say that tracking this yarn to a shop in Berlin is not even a little extreme, but I would be lying if I did so. I think I have gone round the bend, twist or any other metaphor I can think of, as long as it means I am completely mental. And I am having a hell of a time denying it. I had to pay for my yarn in freaking Euros. EUROS. But I am happy. Is that wrong?

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Wearing of the Green, or, Durrow is Done!!!

This past weekend found the husband and moi on the road again, headed back to New Orleans for the first "normal" family gathering since Katrina - the yearly pilgrimage to the St. Patrick's Day parade in Metairie. The weekend was packed with experiences.

First, I finished the last sleeve of Durrow somewhere in central Alabama, at which point I realized that I has no idea whatsoever how to put all the pieces together. (experience #1 - panic!) I forged on ahead in sheer stubborn refusal to allow this irritating little fact to get in my way, and by the time we hit N.O. I was completely finished! Possibly wrong, but finished! (My husband really loves me. He modelled this in Metairie in 80 degree heat and OMG% humidity for the photo.)

What a fun and satisfying experience it was to make this sweater. Many thanks to Jodi Green for this design. The sleeves came out a bit long, but not too bad, and the Husband loves it! So do I.

Durrow by Jodi Green for Magknits
Yarn: Donegal Tweed by Takhi/Stacy Charles
Color and lot: Lost! I don't know how, but I lost every one of those tags! I used the better part of 7 skeins.
Needles: Addi Turbo circs US6

So we stayed in the FEMA trailer with my parents. It was really nice! We had a great time, absolutely everything turns into a bed (not that I would really want to put more than 4 people max in one of those things). It was very heartening to me that the trailer was as nice as it was. Here is a taste of the FEMA trailer experience...

If you look carefully, you will see evidence of lace knitting.

On Sunday, we went to my sister's house for the parade party. Now that my folks are in their own space and my sister is back home from her exile in Houston, there is much to celebrate. Now for the St. Pat's experience.

We ate some bugs...

Kissed some Buzzards...

Marvelled at how anything can become Irish with a little paint and a new sign.... Here's the very Irish "Geisha O'Grady" (I'm not joking, read the sign)

Drank lots of beer, caught lots of beads, 3 cabbages, a handful of potatoes, some onions, carrots and even a lemon, and generally had a great time!

Happy St. Patrick's day from yours truly! If it bothers you that it isn't actually the 17th yet, you haven't drunk enough beer.

Also in late breaking news: Today in a stunning reversal, the heavily modified Coronet hat I was attempting finally convinced me it was way beyond my current knitting abilities and presented itself for frogging. What I was attempting to do was an intarsia design on the crown of the hat. What I failed to realize was that not only was intarsia tough enough to try to wrap the old brain around, but that I was also attempting it without nearly enough forethought on a hat which is knit in the round, and I am not even sure that can be done much less how to do it. No biggie, it just means I have achieved my finish or frog goal a few days shy of my deadline (for those of you who are saying "hang on a minute...", the Clapotis is still in the "Bag of Denial" and the lace scarf was started illegally during my self-imposed 'no new project' period, and therefore doesn't count. Glad we got that straight.), and I now have a zillion useless cut lengths of several colors of DB Merino Aran on intarsia bobbins with which to amuse myself. I am thinking of attaching them to a coat hanger and making a mobile out of them. I frogged back to the cable band which is separate, so I'll save that to be a cabled sweatband against the day I find myself in a flashdance kind of mood. I'm so freaking crafty, eh?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

On the Road Again

Well, after a week of being sick, I'm going to New Orleans to drink green beer. I have been so out of it that I am actually looking forward to the road time for the knitting. The whole St. Patrick's Day thing is very secondary. Except the beer.

So my hope as we draw ever closer to the Final Date of March 15 is that when I return I will have several finished or frogged objects to show, and will be ready to cast on my next slew of projects. And we will finally be able to bring you the exciting knitting pics from inside the FEMA trailer.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Finally I can stop pestering my British friends

It's finally here!

In America!

This is going to put the pinch on my yarn budget.
Must have. Now.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Lazy Sunday

As the weekend draws to a close, great progress has been made on the last sleeve of Durrow. Saturday morning I cast on and spent all of the morning knitting like a fiend. Then my best friend who is currently suffering from a lovely case of bilateral dry socket from wisdom teeth extractions came and spent the rest of the afternoon knitting with me. I feel so bad for her, I can only imagine how bad the pain must be. But she is quite a trooper, and after settling in cast on the mate for her sock. By the end of the knitting day I had made it halfway through the second repeat of the second chart. Not bad. Knitting the second sleeve has been much easier now. When I first had to deal with a chart I really thought I'd never catch on. First, there's the symbols, then the reversal of both the symbols and the direction of reading the chart for the wrong side rows. I thought my brain would split. Now it's old hat, and there's lots of times I know what needs to be done next without consulting the chart. And you know what that means.

Yep, I got cocky today, all pro with the charts and stuff, and ended up having to rip and re-knit several inches. That's the thing I like about knitting. It teaches you humility. Yeah, right.

So now it is Sunday evening, I am past all that craziness, and settled in for a nice relaxing evening. I'm making great progress again, and as evening falls I am plugged in to the audiobook of Order of the Phoenix and am covered in cats. The husband is in the library, playing his new WWII biplane game on the computer. I have my Girl Scout Thin Mints close by, my Diet Coke (it's caffeine free after 6pm or I'll never sleep) - all in all, it has been a relaxing day. The cats are relaxed, too.

Hang on, what's that? Or rather, who is that and what is he doing? Let's get a close-up.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it's "Action" Jackson who has face-planted in the center of the yarn and has fallen asleep. My pulling the yarn doesn't even wake him. That's how exciting it is around here. Woo.

What is exciting, though, is that I got an email from Jodi Green, the designer of Durrow, who sent me words of encouragement and general good knitting vibes. I think it is just awesome that she took time to check out what I was doing and send me a note. I can't get over how cool this whole knitblogging thing has been. I have "met" so many really wonderful folks - I never would have expected to be a part of an international community like this. It just floors me. I don't know of any other venue that has connected me with so many people - I am really happy to say that my experience with my blog has been as fun and satisfying as the knitting itself, which is truly amazing.

So from a comfy chair covered in cats this lazy Sunday, I am sending good kntting vibes back out to all of you wherever you are. Hope your weekend was as good as mine.