Tuesday, August 31, 2010

FO: Spring Folly

If you've been around here for a while, you may remember this project. This was my Spring Folly project of 2009. Most years, when spring rolls around, I am overcome by the urge to knit something cute and perky that I would never in a million years actually wear. Previous Spring Folly project include Sparkly and the Spring Fever Cami.

This particular Spring Folly may be the silliest of all, and I dearly loved knitting it. For the record, I have never worn these. I can't quite figure out in what context a pair of frilly, knitted bloomers would work in my wardrobe. Or anyone's, really. Maybe Madonna's.

Still, these are totally fun. If I had a little girl to knit for, I would totally size these down and make a pair for her. I think they'd be adorable on someone under the age of five.

Since I am a bit over the age of five, these live in my closet and have come out only this one time since I finished them a year and a half ago.

Pattern: Unmentionables, by Lee Wood Juvan

Size: Small

Yarn: Jaeger Roma in Fern

Needles: Size 6 KnitPicks Options circs.

This concludes our FO parade. Stay tuned for new knits in our next regularly scheduled broadcast!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

FO: Enchanted Wood

Just to prove that I actually have knitted a lace shawl, may I present Enchanted Wood (also know as Hell Freezes Over).

I did this as part of a Unique Sheep KAL in February. I did post blocking shots back then, but never got around to the official FO post.

The yarn is from the Unique Sheep, in what they call a "gradience" colorway, which is a series of specially dyed skeins that progress from on color to another as you move from skein to skein. I like the idea, but it works better in some colorways than others, and the progression is occasionally a little more abrupt than I would like. I suppose that's the nature of hand dyeing. (It didn't stop me from ordering another gradience colorway for their next KAL...which I dropped out of during the eternal and horrific cast on. But that's another story.)

This was also my first (and only) attempt at knitting with beads, and I loved it!

I haven't had an opportunity to wear this yet, but it does grace Bertha (the dress form) in my craft room, so I get to enjoy it every day anyway.

It remains to be seen whether I will (successfully) tackle another lace shawl, but at least I can prove I knitted one once!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

FO: Lillian

This is another of my blog-neglected FOs. I test knitted this for Lucy Sweetland of a black pepper last fall. It was one of the more challenging knits I've done, and if I hadn't been on a deadline, I'd never have finished it in less than a month!

Pattern: Lillian, by Lucy Sweetland.

Size: 34" for my 35" bust.

Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Classic Al. I really love this yarn. It's a 50/50 wool and alpaca blend that is soft and springy and holds its shape really well without pilling. Two of my most often-worn sweaters are made of this yarn, and they both look great after much wear. Not itchy, either, and I'm pretty sensitive.

Needles: KnitPicks Options circulars in sizes 5 and 7.

Despite the complexity, it was a fun knit. I love knitting cables, and these ones were relatively easy because the cable repeats all coincide with each other, unlike some complex patterns, where the repeats all fall on different rows (Death By Cables, I'm looking at you!).

This is a great winter sweater. I wore it all last winter with all sorts of different outfits. I particularly like the sleeve detail.

The only things I don't like about this sweater are the i-cord cast on (never, never again), and the saddle shoulder, which makes for an oddly square-ish shape. This is probably due as much to my finishing as to the nature of the saddle shoulder, but whatever the reason, I won't be repeating this design feature in the future.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

August 24, 2010

August 24, 1996

Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart!

Monday, August 23, 2010

FO: Knitting Sunshine

I've been remiss, as usual, in blogging my FOs. I had to dig through the blog archives to figure out when I started this. This is the one I named Knitting Sunshine. I knitted it back in April and I've even worn it in public, but this is its official blog debut.

Pattern: Multnomah. This is a free pattern written for one skein of sock yarn. I used 630 yards of dk weight yarn and added a few rows.

Yarn: British Mohair Kidd Silk. Absolutely LOVE this yarn! So soft and slightly fuzzy, and the most gorgeous shade of gold.

Needles: Knit Picks Options circs, size 5.

Mods: Just added a few repeats of the garter pattern to use up my yarn and adjusted the lace pattern for the edging accordingly.

Thoughts: A wonderful, warm shawl pattern. I would happily make this again and again, if I were the sort to repeat patterns. The dk weight yarn made a thick, weighty shawl, due to all the garter, and the fact that I used fairly small needles for the yarn gauge.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Strips

Yes, it's true: now I have strips for real. As opposed to the strips that existed only in my mind. But more than that, in some sort of knitting miracle, I didn't use any yarn. Well, not any real yarn, anyway. Somehow, I managed to do all the strip assembly using only overlooked partial balls of yarn that I didn't count in any of my optimistic calculations for the rest of the blanket. And this has put me right back where I thought I was before that awful moment when I pulled out squares when I should have pulled out strips: I may actually have enough ancient, discontinued yarn for the rest of the blanket! (For the record, this is the solid purple boucle yarn in the picture, not the Noro. I looked on Ravelry and found only three stashes with this yarn, and none in the color I need. Nor was there any available anywhere else online. So really, this is more of a drama than I usually choose to engage in.)

Onward, knitting soldiers!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cosmic Smack Down

So I was knitting along happily on my new sweater and finished the body and hood, and then I hit a snag. Not a major snag, but one that required me to take a little break. Feeling the need for a little mindless knitting, I pulled out the Noro Log Cabin blanket that's been waiting patiently for a while. If you recall--as I did--I had finished all the squares and assembled them into strips. No mean feat, that, since it required miles and miles of garter stitch and grafting. But I persevered and conquered and all that, and I distinctly recall the relief with which I put all those assembled strips away in a basket to await the final assembly, requiring more miles and miles of garter stitch and grafting. At some point, I even got the first two strips put together, with three left to go.

All this I remembered, and I pulled out the blanket with some sense that, if I couldn't yet see the light at the end of the tunnel, at least I was beginning to believe there might be a light at the end of the tunnel.

I knitted and knitted and knitted, with a growing concern that the ancient and discontinued yarn I was using for the assembly might run out before the blanket did. I grafted and grafted and grafted, and finally the third strip joined the first two on the blanket and it was good:

At this point I paused and assessed the yarn situation. After some thought and some calculating and a little bit of unwarranted optimism, I decided I just might have enough to finish the assembly and put on a border. Maybe.

With a renewed sense of purpose, I reached into the basket to pull out the fourth strip and found this:

Those are not strips.

Those are individual squares.

I distinctly remember strips.

This not only means I have to invest god-only-knows-how-many-more hours in assembling these b*&!^%$s into strips--it also means there is no-freakin'-way I have enough ancient, discontinued yarn to finish both the assembly and the border.

*&%!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Life Does

Life is just doing its thing around here. Younger Son goes back to school tomorrow, Older Son is deeply involved in Civil Air Patrol activities, Oldest Son got a new apartment, the KH got some good news that is easing a little bit of stress we've been experiencing, and I am engaged in my first job hunt in more than 15 years.

I have an almost pathological aversion to looking for work. It's not that I'm not qualified for anything, or that I dread interviews, or that I don't know how to talk to people. Quite the opposite, in fact. It just seems like such a mountain to climb, trying to communicate who you are and what you can do in a couple of pages of resume, a brief chat on the phone, or a morning sitting across a desk from a total stranger. It's usually exhausting, often irritating, and sometimes depressing. And that's before the rejections start rolling in. It also has not escaped my notice that the last time I looked for work, in 1991, the nation was in the midst of a nasty recession that left 75% of my Harvard graduating class still out of work a year after graduation, and now, in 2010...well.

But it's time. Fourteen years ago, I resigned from my last "outside" job when I got married. I was a diplomat for the U.S. Government, and my then-fiance was an aerospace engineer in San Diego. I was posted to Moscow (the one in Russia), and scheduled to be reassigned to the far ends of Siberia with no phone service, internet, or international airport. This seemed a less than ideal locale from which to conduct a marriage, so I made the decision to leave that career behind, get married, and then figure out where to go from there. I moved (back) to San Diego two weeks before the wedding and I've been here ever since.

In the meantime, I had two babies and became a lawyer, the aerospace engineer moved to the computer industry and then became a lawyer, and we started a law practice. Since becoming a lawyer seven years ago, I've been working mostly part-time in our practice and working mostly full-time raising kids.

Now I want to do something different. Something that comes with a steady salary and full benefits to help balance out some of the disadvantages of the KH being self-employed. When I started law school, it was with the idea of eventually becoming a criminal prosecutor. By the time I graduated, with a toddler and a preschooler in tow, this sort of demanding, full-time career was no longer a viable option for our family. But now the kids are older and somewhat self-sufficient, the KH works mostly from home, and I am finally in a position to consider what I want to do instead of what I can do. So I've put in applications to the various government institutions that prosecute the bad guys and some of the private companies that help them do it, and we'll see what comes of it.

For now, though, I'm clinging to my yarn and needles and my favorite mantra: "Keep calm and knit on."