Monthly Archives: September 2004

It's finished!!!


Behold!

(For another view, click on the photo)

Can I deal with deadlines or what? 😀

It’s about 4 1/2 feet to a side. After inserting blocking wires through each tooth, I steamed it heavily for about a twenty minutes. Knitting loosens a little with the heat (you can practically see it sigh in relief), and I therefore decided to pull it a little more in all four directions and steam it again.

I decided to block it mostly square, although it is properly a rectangle (wider than it is tall). You can see the consequences of that decision in the border, as the sides are narrower than the tops and bottom. I thought I’d pull it into a square to maximize the length of the piece, as I’d like to try and wear it as a veil. If I hold it up to the top of my head, it goes to about the mid-calf level.

Details of the project: The center panel and border patterns come from Sharon Miller’s Heirloom Knitting, the edging and construction method come from Galina Khmeleva’s Gossamer Webs. The latter book unfortunately appears to be out of print. I loved the center panel pattern (rosebud) and selected the other motifs based on that. The diamonds of the border obviously complement the center. The edging has a 4-hole rose motif in the center of each diamond and reflected the center pattern in a more simplified form. The extra eyelets edging the border teeth work well because the border diamonds are edged in double eyelets as well.

It was knit using a size US 0 (2 mm) needle, and the plied yarn is ~9600 ypp. (I spun one ply – 50/50 cashmere/superfine merino, the other ply is commercial gossamer silk.) Fiber was prepared with Forsyth mini combs and a Fricke/Strauch drumcarder. The yarn was spun on a Magnus Drudik wheel (pictured). The final weight of the piece is 120 g, and yes, it does go through Matt’s wedding ring (a size 11).

Bingeing

To celebrate the end of a nearly two-year project (pics tomorrow, I hope), I went on a little Adrienne Vittadini binge.


Okay, maybe it was a big binge

Truly, though, there is a great designer (or set of designers) working for that label, and I really like the simplicity of the Vittadini vision. What I don’t like is the heavy yarns they use. (I see a bit of pattern reworking in my future.)

We’re at the real wedding countdown now (stress!). There’s exactly ONE WEEK before the big day. I left work on Friday (I have 3 wks off) joking that I would return with different jewelry on my fingers. Frankly, I am kind of stunned at how miserable I have been in the last couple of weeks. I worked full time, was doing 90% of the wedding planning, and was still in the midst of job applications (the kind of jobs I am applying for come with a significant amount of homework – the last app. was 35 pages long). I kept thinking, I could handle two of the three fairly easily, but trying to do all three was just about killing me. Matt keeps rolling his eyes and saying to me, “Are you going to be less bitchy after we’re married?” and there’s little I can say in reply (other than snarl).

I spent some time decompressing last night by spinning the one batt I purchased at MDSW this past spring. It’s working up to a thin 2ply, probably about fingering weight. Because the batt is primarily alpaca and silk, the yarn has very little spring and is very drapey. It is practically screaming lace shawl.

Macaroni and Cheese

I recently downloaded a recipe for “white” mac and cheese. Although I grew up near Wisconsin, the orange cheddar capital, I have always felt it was strange to have such a strong coloring in a dairy product. Anyway, here’s how it turned out:


I’m a Midwesterner! I love casseroles!

4 c cooked elbow macaroni (I started with 2 c uncooked)
8 oz shredded extra sharp Vermont cheddar (white)
1 c of 1% fat cottage cheese
3/4 c reduced fat sour cream
1/2 c skim milk
1/3 c onion, chopped
1/2 t ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten
(salt to taste)
Cooking spray
Parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente, drain well. Combine everything from cheddar to the egg, mix until homogeneous, then add to the pasta. Pour it into a baking dish coated with cooking spray, top with sprinkles of Parmesan, and bake at 375 F for 30-40 minutes. If you like the top layer to be browned and slightly chewy crispy (I do), bake it uncovered. I don’t add any add’l salt because I cooked the pasta in salted water, but you might want to add a little bit more into it. There’s a little bit of liquid pooling when you first pull it out of the oven. Don’t worry about that, the pasta will just soak it right back up. Disclaimer: This is a “light” recipe and obviously bears only a mild resemblance to real mac-n-cheese, but I enjoyed it.

Fundamental Law of Ribbing

I’ve learned a few things knitting this sweater. One, I can knit pretty quickly when I have a mind to do so. (See the finished sweater back here.) I also did the entire right front of the cardigan in one day.


TA DAH!

Two, Zonta Wires are the bomb. See all of that stuff holding the knitting in place in the picture above? I could – but didn’t – pin a couple of strategic T-pins to get it to hold to the piece to its correct dimensions. More on that in a minute. Ordering information for the wires (NAYY) and related chat can be found here.

(Ooh, Matt just came downstairs modeling his wedding tux to make sure it still fit after dry cleaning and to have me adjust the tie. Lookin’ good, hubba hubba!)

Ahem.

Three, after knitting for seven years, I have rediscovered the Fundamental Law of Ribbing. Now we all know ribbing pulls in, that’s what it is supposed to do. Given the same yarn and needle size, thirty stitches of ribbing will be less wide than thirty stitches of stockinette, right? However, I had always held this inexplicable belief that if you wanted to, you could block ribbing into the same width as stockinette. That’s why some people use the same size needles (instead of one or two smaller) for bottom sweater edges and don’t start with 90% of the total stitches, that way, a sweater won’t hug around the posterior unattractively. Or so they said.

It’s not true.

Or, let me rephrase, at least in my hands and needles, this is not true. I added a slight rib detail (3×2 ribbing on the outer 2 inches that you totally can’t see in any of the photos) to the sides of this cardigan, originally thinking it would add a slight waist definition w/o my having to actually do decreases and increases. As I mentioned before, when I got to where the armscye bind off occurs, I decided to make the ribs a design detail and take it all the way to the top. (Yeah, racing stripes!) I thought it would be trivial to wet-block it to the correct width.

Wrong.

I had my first indication of a problem when I knit the shoulder section of the cardigan back. If you clicked on the picture of the finished piece, you might have noticed that there were only wires on the shoulder tabs. This is because I had to rip and reknit them after the rest of the piece was blocked. The same number of stitches in a 3×2 rib do not generate the same amount of width as the stockinette no matter what you do during a wet block. Ribbing on both sides made the sweater shrink from 18.5″ wide to 16″ wide. There’s no way on God’s green earth that I am going to fit (attractively, anyway) into a 32″ sweater. I checked the stockinette gauge a million times, and I was spot on.

So once I had realized there was all of this time and effort on a 32″ sweater, I had a most painful episode of IBS (I’ve been afflicted with a mild case of this since I was a teenager). Matt’s comment went something like, “It’s a sweater, for God’s sake. Can’t you be stressed about something important?” Uh, sorry. But then I had an inspiration! A moment of pure light.

I pulled out my iron and pressed the bejeezus out of that piece. Last night, it yielded to me (my “iron will”? ha ha) and assumed the proper dimensions. I actually like how pressed knitting looks. A lot of people feel pressing sucks the life out of knitting, but I think it adds a bit of polish to it. Anyway, I don’t know if it shrank back to its blocked dimensions overnight (gulp!), and I know it will definitely shrink the next time I wash it, so this is a strong lesson learned.

Just to make sure I wasn’t completely insane, I looked up a Rowan pattern where the front is ribbed, and the back is stockinette. Hm, cast on 86 stitches for the back, cast on 49 stitches for each front half of the cardigan. Design maven Kim Hargreaves is apparently quite aware of the fundamental law of ribbing. Damn. Well, better luck next time.

NY Sheep and Wool

Does anyone from eastern MA who is going to the Rhinebeck show want to be my personal shopper? I’ll give you an idea of what I’m looking for and hand you a wad of cash, you pick out what seems appropriate?

On the other hand, is anyone planning to go just for a day and want someone to pay for gas, tolls, and lunch? (I promise I’ll take up very little room in the car.) I’m coming back from my honeymoon I think only a day before the show and will probably not feel up to driving all that much by myself.

Dreary weather

It’s dreary outside in the Boston area, but it’s sunny inside because the back of my cardigan is almost complete!


As Becky might say, “Finish me already!”

I made a slight design error (too much ribbing at the waist for shaping, leaving me with two ribs’ worth of stitches after I had bound off for the beginning armscye), but I turned lemons into lemonade by turning it into a design feature! (Uh huh.) I decided to make the remaining armscye decreases after the ribbing, which will cause it to curve around and go all the way to the shoulder. I know you can’t see a damn thing in the photo (other than the safety pins I am using to keep track of how many rows I knit – 140, thankyouverymuch), but a post-blocking photo should make it all the clearer.

This has been a rough week (I did another job interview thing on Wednesday). TGIF!

PS. I changed the blog title “Twosheep – June’s Journal” to plain old “Twosheep” today. (That “June’s Journal” – which feels so much like I’m-such-a-happy-Pollyanna crap – was a default LJ setting that I never got around to turning off.)

Comments

I’ve participated in all sorts of fiber-themed internet groups since I picked up knitting in 1997 and handspinning in 1999. These days, I track a handful of blogs, as well. Over the years, I have noticed certain trends in the personalities of people who hobby with knitting, spinning, weaving, crochet, etc. In no particular order, we have:

a) The Technicians – these are people who spend a lot of time and patience answering technical questions, giving long and detailed answers to anyone who has rubbed two grey cells together and asked something interesting. God bless these folks, they have helped me overcome nearly every technical hurdle I have ever faced in fiber.

b) The Idiots – they have not internalized the concept of Internet search engines or archives of past list content. They like massive crosspostings and typically can’t figure out how to unsubscribe from lists.

c) The Artists – they just make the most amazing stuff. It’s creative and beautiful, often technically perfect, and you look at what they make and think, damn, they are good! They are often interesting to talk to or read about, as their personalities tend to be quite lively.

d) The Blind Followers – they buy the recommended yarn in the sweater pattern and follow the directions to the letter. They can’t figure out how to lengthen a sleeve or swap a button band for a zipper. If the pattern is wrong and they have an extra stitch when casting off the shoulders, they weep and moan to the lists about how the pattern editor sucks. (Plus, if they’re also Idiots, then they can’t figure out what to do with that last stitch, either.)

e) The Producers – don’t know how they do it, but these folks have hours a day to spend on their hobbies. They knit, spin, or weave their way through projects at lightning speed, much to the amazement of hoi polloi.

f) The Gushers – they tend to follow everyone else (except the Idiots) and heap praise on everything. If you ever read a week’s worth of one commercially-based knitting email list (guess which one?), you may have noticed the high percentage of slack-jawed droolers inhabiting that forum.

I’m sure there’s more (like the Apologizers – the ones who rarely update their blogs, and when they do, they just apologize for not updating their blogs and mumble about how busy they’ve been and how there’s not much going on anyway…), but having cruised the knitblog scene for the last year, I am dumbstruck by the number of Gushers out there. I am almost positive that if one of these Gusher-flooded blog authors posted, “Ah-choo!” there would follow a dozen posts of “Gesundheit” or “Gosh, you don’t sound so well, I hope you feel better soon” or “Thank God you’re still healthy enough to sneeze, I don’t know what I would do if you got too sick to blog.” I mean, what sort of weird knitblog comment culture is evolving out there?

Then again, I don’t wish to (as Kate so aptly phrased it) “whore for comments,” so you don’t really need to answer me. And honestly, I should just stop reading the comments sections on other blogs.

Home stretch

I am on the final edge of the wedding lace! It’s just a matter of days until completion.


Warm up the trumpets! Thirty four more border teeth to go!

I feel so psyched, energized. Oddly enough, I am also thoroughly sick of this project and can’t wait to move onto something with gigantic needles and huge yarn (say, like worsted weight on US 7s).

Johanna showed me her new antique wheel on Sunday. It’s very nifty! (See it here – scroll down to Aug 23rd.) The wheel is a little fiddly in its old age, but with a little work, practice, and love, it should be fully functional. (Johanna – you might want to contact Dave about any restorative type of work?) She also took very quickly to spinning on a handspindle and a modern wheel (the latter, courtesy of Claudia). We may have a new spinner among us!

An emerging cardigan

I give up. Because LJ caps how many links you can (easily) put into a link list, I lemminged and went to bloglines. Some of my regular reads don’t have the correct feed thingy set up, and those remain as links in the left sidebar.

There is still one more thing to share from the long Labor Day weekend. I started my Productive Spinners “Stashalong” project. Essentially, we are allowed to list one more project (in addition to the normal three) that is made entirely from stash holdings. This yarn is Patons au naturel, which was purchased at least three or four years ago via the WEBS grab bag sales (back when grab bags were cheap).


Two blocked sleeves!

I can’t believe how rapidly the knitting goes. Having worked on the wedding lace for such a long time (size 0 needles, 20 minutes per row), working with size 6 needles on small pieces is like driving in the fast lane. Can you believe I just cast on for the first sleeve a week ago? I started the back last night and have already knit about 6 inches!

The pattern is my own design, using Sweater Wizard software. It’s modeled off of a zippered cardigan that Matt’s mom gave me for my birthday this year. At this point, I am planning to have a simple collar, plus crocheted picot edges on the sleeves, hem, and zipper area. I’ve never put a zipper on knitwear before (nor have I ever done crochet picot trim!), so this should be a great learning experience.