January 19, 2011

Damn it feels good to be a finisher

A mere 17 months after casting on, I'm pleased and proud to announce that I've finally finished the Chevron Scarf! I obviously haven't been knitting this scarf constantly for the last year and a half. For many months, I wasn't in the mood to work on it at all. And a fingering weight scarf is mighty slow going, even on size 6 needles.

Last-minute gift, my ass.


Specs: the ubiquitous Chevron Scarf, from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. J Knits Superwash Me Light Sock, in the Reno and Colorado colorways. US 6 needles. Final length after blocking 80" (it stretched almost 8 inches in blocking). No mods, except - for some reason I now can't recall - I went up a needle size. Which makes this a relatively lightweight scarf, perfect for the Bay Area's perpetual early fall temperatures.

J Knits sock yarn comes in huge skeins - 500+ yards each. So I've got a whole lot of both balls left over. There may be matching mitts in the near future.


There's a reason so many people knit this thing - it's easy, beautiful, and a brilliant (non-sock) use for your variegated sock yarns. If you're the sort that's both enamored of variegated yarns and bothered by pooling (I am that sort), this is totally the pattern for you.


And I promise it doesn't actually take a year and a half to knit.

January 5, 2011

Fits and starts

Forgoing the usual "Wow! I can't believe it's been so long!" comment, let's just jump straight into the knitting.

I've got good stuff on the needles these days. Well, some good stuff. And some, uh, less good stuff. As usual.

First on the needles are birthday socks for Kelley, a pretty pair of Nutkins. I've just started the second sock, after a rather long post-first-sock hiatus.


The yarn, Ancient Threads Bambu, is unutterably lovely, and constantly entertaining to knit. Every four stitches or so, another gorgeous color!


Kelley's birthday is in early March, so finishing them doesn't seem like much of a challenge. Except these socks were promised to her for her last birthday. So...yeah. I win at gift knitting. Forever.

In the "less good" category, we have my mom's Charades, knit in Crystal Palace Maizy Print. Since the gauge for this yarn is the same as the last Charades I knit for her, (using Panda Cotton Print - another Crystal Palace yarn), I reasoned that I could expect similar results with this new yarn.

Just to clarify the idiocy level this assumption is operating at, let's compare the fiber content of these two yarns:

- Panda Cotton: 59% Bamboo, 25% Cotton, 16% Nylon

- Maizy: 82% corn fiber, 18% elastic nylon

See? Nothing alike, really. Despite the rather, er, glaring differences between the old yarn and the new yarn, I merrily cast on the same number of stitches for what - I hoped - would be a very similar pair of socks. Because how different could TOTALLY DIFFERENT YARN be? Lalalalala I can't hear you....

Amazingly enough, at first it looked like my master plan would work out. I had my mom try on the first sock during her last visit, and it fit well. I was cruising along through the foot. All seemed right in the world.


But it turns out, this yarn slowly but oh-so-surely stretches like a motherfucker:

After trying it on a few more times, it seemed, well...a little big...


After a few more times, even bigger yet...in fact...Holy shit! Gigantic! (yes, both my rather wide feet do fit into one sock intended for my narrow-footed mom)...


Perhaps this yarn is not actually destined to be a sock.

I hope my mom will enjoy the nice scarf it will become.

Finally, there is a sweater. Previously blogged about and not much progressed since then. Here's the bottom cable band, all knit up and ready for the body stitches to be picked up.


I'm tinkering a bit with the pattern to better match Kelley's measurements, and we haven't managed to get her, the knitting, the pattern, sufficient sobriety, and the desire to measure in the same place at the same time until very recently.


I assume, given my facility with math and the humors of the knitting gods, that all this tinkering may turn out disastrously. But now I have her measurements, a giant swatch and a hoodie she likes to compare measurements to, so perhaps I will actually knit something resembling a well-fitted sweater. Optimism! Baseless naive hope! Potato. Po-tah-to.

Life, like knitting these days, seems to be a series of usually hopeful, occasionally stuttering starts, with a lot of lag time where not much seems to happen.

I finished my contract gig with my corporate masters in September. I decided to take a few months off before looking for work, and that stretched into another month and another. Being unemployed is equal parts fabulous and disconcerting. I never realized that working for a living was actually an important part of my identity. I never thought of my systems analyst gigs as a "career" or a major part of who I was, but not working at all feels very, very strange. I gave myself until after New Year's to just relax and enjoy being unemployed, but the job search will start up again soon.

I've also been dating a bit, which is instructive, terrifying and entertaining, as always. Nothing clicked for quite awhile, but I did make a good friend out of the whole process. And I hesitate to jinx it, but I recently met a guy I quite like. It's early yet, but we seem to be a really good fit so far.

The knitting, the job, the guy...I'm looking forward to seeing how all this turns out.