Monday, February 19, 2007

Academia, here I come!

This is not a knitting post: it's better! I am officially into graduate school! I'm going to be getting my Ph.D. in English, with a concentration in Medieval literature. That's right -- I'll be spending a lot of time in the next few years with this guy.

Okay, it is a knitting post: perhaps the best thing about this program is its proximity to my favorite yarn shop. School Products will be doing some hot business next year, let me tell you!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Snow and sweater sleeves

A snow day on Wednesday meant lots more time for knitting Bristow this week. I've completed a left sleeve and a left front, and have a right sleeve on the needles. This pattern has been fun to knit so far, and I feel inordinately proud that the yarn I overdyed is coming out so nicely. There is some pooling of the darker forest green, but I choose to ignore this fact:

Meanwhile, happy Year of the Pig, everyone! I inadvertently started out the lunar new year in the right way: by scrubbing the floors of my apartment yesterday. Of course I did so only because they were filthy, not out of any new-beginnings sentiment. But speaking of new beginnings, here are my knitting plans for the next month or so:

  • complete current Bristow (the first project just for me in a long time!)
  • knit another Bristow for my mom, if she will just get around to picking out her yarn
  • knit a Cardigan for Arwen for my sister, potentially in time for her birthday, which is March 31
  • Finish the arms on a cabled Rowan sweater that has been languishing at the top of my knitting pile for more than a year.
We'll see if I can actually do it all. I have been thinking about joining the Sweater-a-Month Knitalong; perhaps this will help me to stay focused. Aside from vague musings about projects to start, and that damned languishing sweater, I have been really good about working on only one project at a time this month. I hope I can keep it up!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Bristow progress and an observer

One Bristow arm is almost complete, thanks to a lovely Saturday morning NPR lineup. I'm really enjoying this cable pattern: it looks more complicated than it really is, and now that the increases are done there's even less thinking involved. By the way, I highly endorse starting a sweater with an arm: the novelty of a new project has kept this from seeming as tedious as other arms have been for me in the past.

I had some trouble finding a shadow-free spot to photograph it in this sunny winter afternoon light. And there was a little shadow trailing me around the apartment as I posed my work:

Friday, February 9, 2007

The wine-dark sea

Work has begun on a Bristow sleeve, knit with my Kool-Aid dyed teal yarn. I love the way the color variations and cables combine to ripple like ocean waves -- I think I have changed my mind on variegated yarn (or I guess I'd call this semi-solid color).

I started this project while watching the much-anticipated new episode of Lost last night, and I started with a sleeve, in the hope that I would not get stranded on sleeve island! It was perhaps not a perfect idea -- I had to concentrate a little too hard on the knitting, with the combination of sleeve increases and cable twists. But this is a really nice pattern so far! The cable is easy to remember and pretty intuitive to figure out by looking at. It's not the speediest knitting I've done, so I don't have a lot of progress to show:

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

On the D. L.

Here's the update. Since the last post I did manage to finish one more thing: I made a tam to go with the Chronicles of Narnia sweater that I am sending to my friend Elisa. I had no baby to model it. Hence the stuffed Scottie. It's a little bit wacky and loud for the outfit, but I think it will suit Elisa, who is kind of into wacky and loud clothing. It's my first foray into tam knitting. I'm not thrilled with the center of it, which looks a little lumpy with a jog and with a center circle that is the same size as the flowers going around it, inadvertently.

If I were a better tam knitter I would know how to make the inside of my tam a nice flower. But for a last-minute scrap hat I think it's just fine. I added a little sprig thing to the center and it makes the center purple spot look less nipular.

Meanwhile, that might be the last knitting post in a little while because of two related factors. The first is that this guy is here for a while:

Raymond. Who is exceedingly curious about my knitting. And also not very disciplined about running in front of me with the leash, which led to my tripping over him in the park today, jamming my finger on my right hand. Tonight it hurt too much to knit (though I soldiered on through one row like the trouper I am), and I was so bummed because I had a lovely project all lined up for the whole evening: Bristow in my newly-died teal yarn, in front of the new episode of "Lost." Alas!

P.S. it is really hard to photograph a black dog! Especially one who is so adorably clingy that he won't let you back up too far away from him to take a picture. There's also nothing more lovely than sitting on your couch knitting while a scottie sleeps with his head on your foot.

Thursday, February 1, 2007


I spent the last few days dying yarn -- my first venture into Kool-Aid dying. I am pretty please with the result, though there were definitely some surprises. I ordered a bag of Debbie Bliss Merino DK from Little Knits for cheapy-cheap-cheap, and was a bit disappointed with the color of the yarn. So I thought it would be a good opportunity to try my hand at overdying. I used one packet of orange Kool-Aid for two skeins of yarn, aiming for a richer, more peacock-colored teal. I think that I got it. Here's the before-and-after shot:

The difference is admittedly subtle, but it's significant in my eyes. The yarn went from the color of a muppet to a nice mottled teal. So I did the whole bag. Here's the eye candy shot; it does capture the color relatively well:

What I should have expected but was surprised by was the variegated nature of the color. I suppose that with something as low-tech as Kool-Aid one can't expect perfectly even coverage. I don't really care, though one particular skein is more variegated than the others. In fact, upon knitting a swatch, I discovered that the more forest green sections that appear every once in a while give the knitted fabric some nice depth and almost a silky appearance. I'm not usually a fan of variegated wool (actually dislike, for example, the way that Koigu looks knitted up), but I think that this semi-solid might be nice and tasteful. Of course after dying this whole batch I went to knittyboard and discovered some hints for even Kool-Aid dying. Ah well. Next batch. It certainly was fun to do! And I definitely feel free now to buy whatever yarn is cheap and soft, regardless of the color!