Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's All Good

Now that I've gotten THAT out of my system, we can return to our regularly scheduled madness.

Ok, entrelac. Yes, I'm gonna talk about it some more. But it's ok, just wait. I gave it a truly fair shot. I knit it until I was actually becoming proficient at it, and it's actually very simple, if fiddly. Now, projects like the Forest Path Stole are demystified, and I feel confident that I will be able to encounter entrelac projects in the future in a spirit of opennness, judging them on their own merit and not just reacting to the entrelac portion of the technique. See? Nobody died.

I did, however, finish the cuff of one sock before pulling the needles out and making the calm and reasonable decision to trash the project. And you know what? In the end it was not the entrelac that got me (although entrelac in socks is skirting the edge of madness) but the yarn. Noro sock yarn. Sucks for socks. That is all.

Meanwhile, I have been in a cooldown period over Shipwreck, during which time I thought I'd just order the undyed yarn and use the shipping time as a waiting period before casting it on again. I charted out Madiera directly from Barbara Walker no. 1 and cast on. I haven't gotten too far because I've had to work for the past 4 days, but what I've got, I love, love, love.
I probably won't get too far before the weekend either, because today's my only day off and I have to clean The Horde's room. They have been in apocalypse mode now for a few weeks, and they are hoarding seed and hiding it everywhere. So cages are a mess, and hams need their health checks (So cute! Everything about them is so cute!) Tonight Happy Goth and I will be watching the second half of Veer Zaara and drinking beer and knitting. See? It's all good.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The White Hot Fury of a Thousand Burning Suns

One of the things I like most about myself is my ability to stick with something even when it isn't what I originally signed on for. Some call it integrity, some call it stubbornness. Some call it marriage, but I call it (for lack of a better term which would more aptly describe the hidden evil within) entrelac.

Ok, it is tomorrow, and there is no burning of wool, no wailing and gnashing of teeth. There is, however, a slowly growing sock whose every stitch is imbued with pure unadulterated hatred.

I am human, I say, possibly the highest form of life on this planet, I say, and I am superior to mere yarn and therefore I will triumph. I say. This will not beat me. I have a brain, and cells and protoplasm and I can operate computers and cook and make stained glass windows for crying out loud. I can make these socks. And I will.

Last night for the first time in 15 years of marriage my husband came the closest he has ever come (possibly in both his marriages) to instant divorce. He was watching me struggle with this, this thing I am knitting, and he said: "I know it's giving you trouble, but it's pretty". Ok, that didn't get him in trouble, it was when he went on to say: "So when you are finished, you have to knit another one, right?". Instant divorce. No judge would blame me. My jaw actually dropped when he said that, and I just stared at him. Just stared. Then I merely said, "Gee, thanks, honey". He may never know how close he came to losing me in that moment.

Enter my best friend. Who apparently wanted a divorce as well, because when I told her about what the husband had said, she said: "You know what would be really funny? If you knit both the socks and then your cats ate them". Apparently, this is what I need friends for. Divorce, I tell you.

So now I'm just knitting out of shear bloody-mindedness. I will have these socks because they are awesome. I may be friendless, divorced and alone, but I'll have these socks, dammit.

Just thought you'd all like an update on my progress. I'll take a picture with the blaze of my fury stops interfering with the camera.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

When a Shipwreck becomes a Trainwreck.

Well, all my talk of project monogamy is total tosh. As soon as Knitty released its latest issue I had cast on the Shipwreck Shawl with stash yarn and got beads together for it. It was not going to be a perfect attempt, the yarn I had was already dyed green, but it was the right stuff, Knit Picks Gloss, which is the same base yarn and I was going to overdye it with the blue and black and hope for the best. I thought it fortuitous that I had a chance to use up the Gloss, I had purchased it for Thermal originally. Only after swatching for Thermal did I realize that I hated knitting that stitch pattern and the thought of having an entire sweater in that pattern made me cringe. So I ripped back my swatch and cast on and had instant success. St. Brigid went into what I was sure would be a quick hibernation. I was flying through the pattern. Until the Madiera chart section.

I would hardly consider myself an expert knitter. Usually, when a pattern or chart isn't working, it's my fault, and earlier projects taught me the errors of knitting hubris when it comes to lace patterns, so I figured the reason this chart wasn't working out was me. But for some reason, I plowed ahead, and I got through the first section of leaves on common sense. It was then that I had a brief conversation with Janice, who told me the chart was borked and that she had brought this up on Ravelry and the new charts fixed the problem. So I downloaded the new charts, which were different, and proceeded to get so confused I asked her to call me, feeling mere email exchanges weren't going to be good enough. Starting the second set of leaves, the chart seemed weird again, but she said to trust the charts, and I did. It wasn't perfect, but it turned out ok, and I got all the way to the tips of the leaves before things went horribly, horribly wrong again. I had thought I was clear, but no. Completely frustrated, I got out the original pattern in BW1 and charted the thing out myself from her instructions and lo, there was a chart that looked like it would work. So I ripped back to the center of the pattern and started again. Only now I was two stitches short. Somewhere. I could not for the life of me figure out which repeat lost stitches, and thought I saw a few rows down a problem, so I ripped some more.

After a certain point, there is no point anymore, so the whole thing has been frogged. I decided to take a break for a while before I revisited Shipwreck (which I have almost renamed Trainwreck). So did I pick St. B up and go back to cable heaven? Heck no, I cast on these socks. I have been obsessing over them ever since Pat put them on her blog, and although I have up till now been avoiding entrelac as if it were the plague, I figured the beauty of these would give me the intestinal fortitude needed to face entrelac.

OMGWTFBBQ11!!eleventyjillion! I hate it. I HATE IT! NO PROJECT CAN BE WORTH THIS! This is why people go postal, entrelac is, and I'm nearly there. I have never considered harming myself in anyway UP TILL NOW. There was a moment I really contemplated sticking a dpn in my eye BECAUSE SURELY IT WOULD BE MORE FUN THAN ENTRELAC!!!!!!!!!!

No, I haven't ripped it out yet. I'm going to sleep on this, and see how it works out in the morning. To be fair and all. Mostly to cover my ass so I can honestly say I gave it a fair shot before burning the whole freaking thing ritually. Those of you out there who actually LIKE entrelac, what is the secret? I can knit backwards, yeah I am doing that, so it isn't even more horrible like it would be if I had to turn and purl after every 6 freaking stitches. Where's the magic here?

Tomorrows episode: How to clear the smoke of burning wool out of your house fast enough to prevent your fire alarm from going off.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A More Refined Distraction

It is hard for me to pick between spring and fall for my favorite time of the year. Coming from New Orleans, they're both so new to me. The real charm of spring to me is when the cherry trees begin to bloom.
There is something so delicate and graceful about these blooms that charm me to distraction.
So many shades of pale pink, ethereal in their massed glory.
The bark is so dark in contrast to the ghostly color of the flowers.

My favorite haiku sums up my ultimate spring experience:

The cherry blossom
So lovely, so Japanese
Oh God am I drunk

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Plugging Away

Work on St. Brigid is not swift. Add to that the realization that because this is a pieced sweater and not steeked, I have to knit 2 of everything, and sometimes I want to cash it in. But then I look down and see what I've got and I just can't walk away...
It does continue to be eerily easy to knit. I think that all those years of doodling celtic knotwork have paid off because now I pretty much have the pattern in my head and the charts are only there for reference if I need it. Also, not using a cable needle speeds things up a lot. Cable needles are really fiddly and annoying, always tucking the ends out of the way and generally causing me to do more stopping and starting, and I drop the darned things a lot. At this point I have ditched the stitch markers as well, and as much as it is possible for the rows to fly by, they're flying.

So there's plenty of knitting satisfaction going on with this project. I'm really trying to stay monogamous with this one as I did with Rosarie, and hopefully before end of April I'll have another FO for the pile. I think I'll get the Hub to put on his Durrow and I'll don the St. Brigid and we'll have a photo shoot full of celtic goodness.

One thing I have noticed is my penchant for purple. I can't explain it, I certainly wouldn't characterize it as my favorite color, but I do seem to be knitting lots of purple. Secondary colors in general, because my project page on Ravelry has lots of green there as well. I am waiting to see how orange fits in there when it inevitably happens. Orange is not a color I remotely prefer, but I look really good in many shades of it. Ah, well, who knows.

On the Bollywood front I have now seen Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, which apparently in Hindi means "lets all cry for 3 and 1/2 hours". Beautiful men crying is definitly worth the time investment. Also we had HappyGoth and her husband and Jen over Sunday night for indian food and Asoka. Let me tell you, an angsty SRK with long hair does not suck.
Thanks to the Tsarina for the recommendation.

Aside from the knitting and the Bollywood, life is going well. The chicken is happy and laying, the fish are tooling around all fresh from their winter naps and the cats and the hamsters are crazy. Not together, that would be a bad kind of crazy, but they're all nuts. Kind of like me. Oh, well, back to cable insanity!

Monday, March 02, 2009

2009 Year of Epic Overachievement

Really, I didn't intend for this to happen. I don't know what came over me, but one minute I'm watching Bollywood movies and living in total denial of my inability to commit to a next project, and the next minute I look down and a repeat of St. Brigid snuck in there.
I suppose it is now safe to say that I will be working on this next. No, really. I was all distracted by the discovery of many dishy Indian men and a world of completely over the top films. The toughest part is that you can't knit anything but stockinette or ribbing and read subtitles, but that was just letting me live in a fantasy world that didn't include the pressure of my project list or the sheer guilt of my stash. But can you blame me for being distracted? Um,
Akshay, uh, hmmmm,
hello, Hrithik. My, is it getting warm in here? Oh.......
dear, dear, dear. It is tough to pick a favorite from these three. Ahem!(SRK)Cough! The movies I picked are hysterically funny, the music is great and they were a nice break after the intensity of Rosarie.

I actually had to lend out the movies so I would stop watching them long enough to, oh, I don't know, eat, sleep, do a little housework, maybe knit. Ahem. I do seem to have something caught in my throat, don't I?

Anyway, aside from taking any opportunity to post pics of these guys on my blog, the knitting is going weirdly well. I mean it. I picked this thing up without really thinking about it, and just started knitting away, no prep except to write out sheets to help me keep track of the multiple chart combinations, and totally forgot to check gauge or worry about complexity. And you know what? If you can knit a simple cable, you can knit this. As over the top as it seems, it is true. I don't know, maybe I levelled up after the last project and got some fancy new skills I hadn't counted on, but I don't think so. We'll see how long that feeling lasts. And of course, a great deal depends on my friends keeping my Bollywood DVDs long enough for me to make the sweater or else it's all over. Then, it's going to be all about SRK, baby. Maybe I should just pencil that in on my schedule right now.