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Monday, April 24, 2006

Finished Forecast!

The weather has been perfectly lousy, but the Forecast is clearing up!



(Yikes. Sorry for the bad pun. Guess that's my specialty.) Anyway, the rain subsided just long enough to get a few photos in beautiful Cobble Hill Park.

Here's the arm. As I mentioned before, I misread the cable chart and therefore knit much looonger cables than the pattern called for. But I liked that it looked less busy and opted to keep it this way. It's Forecast -- now with fewer bobbles!



Here's the back.



And for good measure, a semi-smiling shot.



Now for the details. I used about 3 1/2 skeins of Cascade 220 on size 6 Clover circulars. In terms of modifications, I obviously altered the cable pattern a good deal, accidentally or otherwise. I lengthened the lower border by a few inches and, inspired by Winnie, I started the arm ribbing at the elbows.

Most notably, I redid the button band not once, twice but THRICE. The band looked funky with 10 buttons, so I tried knitting it a little wider by adding a few rows. Forget it. It was still far too many buttons. So I switched to just seven buttons, and that did the trick. At least I think so.

Now for something completely different, I bought a new microwave! I know this is dorky, but isn't it adorable?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Stitching along

As I've mentioned before, I learned to crochet first. This probably explains why I knit Continental, or so I'm told, and it also probably explains why I don't buy into the whole silly crochet vs. knitting smackdown. I'll say it loud and proud -- I love granny squares. A lot. Then again, I've always had a kitschy '70s aesthetic and secretly covet shag rugs and all things avocado. So my taste is slightly suspect.

But I must admit that knitting was winning the Carrie popularity contest in recent years. With the exception of afghans, nothing crochet was really calling to me. But now, and please please pardon the pun, I'm hooked again. It didn't do much for me the first time that I flipped through it, but now I want to crochet maybe four more things in the Stitch 'n Bitch Crochet book.



(Because my apartment basically lacks any natural light, these photos don't really communicate the beauty of the Cascade Quatro yarn. But you get the idea.)

Anyway, I've been really zipping through the Prepster. Is there a crochet equivalent for cast on? Well, I did that for this project over the weekend and already I've finished the back and two front sides. I know -- it's sort of looking like a boxy, ugly vest at this point. And those weird slits will some day be cute pockets!



Crocheting has its perks. Let me tell you -- crocheted short rows are a lot simpler than knit ones. And crochet goes so darn fast. Double crochet rows are like a quarter inch each. But there is one serious drawback. I can't stare at the television while crocheting the way I do when I'm knitting. Basically, I have to look down every time I insert the hook. I simply can't blindly poke around in the fabric.

Don't think I've forgotten Forecast. I sewed only seven buttons on, and I think it's a major improvement. I'll take some photos this weekend.

I'm also sort of surprised that I failed to create anything orange or yellow for
Project Spectrum, seeing as they're kind of my favorites. But it wasn't in the cards this month. So here's another little mosaic.



And lastly, I haven't given you a Dumbest Thing I Did All Week in ages. So let's see. In the elevator a few days ago, I struck up a conversation with a cop about how people on the upper East Side are spoiled since they are typically so far removed from the terrible crimes that besiege the other boroughs, like stray bullets shooting kids and such. I thoughtlessly said that the worst thing they have to worry about is someone stealing their chihuahua. "I love chihuahuas," she said. "And mine died last week." Oops.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Forecast forecast ... and a confession

Why do we do it? Why do we continue knitting and sewing and finishing even when we know we're headed for disaster? Why did I sew 10 buttons on my Forecast even though I knew that was far too many? Honestly, it looks like a button traffic jam.



I dunno, it reminds me of driving over the spindly, windy outer roadway of the Queensboro Bridge with some stinking livery cab on my bumper. "Beep beep! Get off my tail!"

Anyway, I blocked it nonetheless, and now I am convinced that it's time for button removal and recalculations. Maybe just seven? Or eight? I just think 10 looks way too crowded. The button band is completely overloaded. It will be a serious pain, but at least I won't have to pick up stitches again.

Now, my Forecast confession. And I'm pretty embarrassed. See, everyone knitting this sweater seems to be tweaking the cable/bobble pattern a little. Many of us are doing the three-stitch bobble instead of five, some are going strictly cable, others trying out new stitch patterns altogether. All very adventurous. So I, too, did something a little different, only in my case it was a mistake.

Truth is, I haven't used a chart in a while, so the bobble/cable pattern chart confused me. The instructions clearly say to "sl 1, p to end" on the wrong side rows and work the nine-stitch cable pattern only on the right side. Simple, right?

But every knitter worth her weight in fun fur knows that you work the chart on each and every row. And I knew it too, only I didn't remember that I knew it until maybe two and a half repeats in. So my cables are longer and there are far fewer of them, which, I'm telling myself, makes them more streamlined and less busy.



With luck, I'll have her all figured out by this weekend for a photo shoot with the long-suffering boyfriend. In the meantime, I'll show you my progress on the crocheted Prepster Jacket. I'm really cruising on this baby, but progress shots of crochet look rather dull. Here's the armhole shaping! Ooh! Aah!

Friday, April 14, 2006

We have a winner!

Well, basically anyway. No one precisely guessed my VERY FIRST EVER knitting project, which I suppose isn't surprising since it was a little lilac bag.



Complicated, ain't it? Actually, calling it a bag is being kind. I basically knit a swatch, I believe with a skein of Caron Wintuk in soft lilac, and crocheted the sides together. No mattress stitch needed!

It was my first semester of grad school and I was already crocheting and sewing up a storm, so much so that I took a job at a craft store. I decided there weren't enough cool crochet patterns, so I bought the cheapo yarn, size 7 Susan Bates needles and a copy of The Crocheter's Guide to knitting. There you have it.

A few of you guessed purple items, but only one reader guessed a bag. So Michelle wins the yarn from Brooklyn Handspun! And that concludes the blogiversary festivities.

So speaking of yarn -- and when am I not? -- my postman brought my Cascade Quattro for the prepster jacket in Happy Hooker. The color is awfully bright, but I really don't need another neutral blazer. I can't wait to start -- but I am determined to finish Forecast first. I only have the button bands to go, so I predict I'll be blocking by Sunday.



Oh, and two little items:

If you haven't already, and you probably have, be sure to check out Pure Knits, the new shop from the lovely Yahaira. The site is temporarily down while she does some upkeep, but stop by soon.

And this is the cutest Easter craft ever -- spool animals via Wee Wonderfuls. Be sure to check out her new website, Thrift Craft, which is all about living la vida thrift store.

Happy Passover and Easter!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A blogiversary, fuzzy photos -- and a contest!

I kinda can't believe it -- on Friday, this little blog turns one! In honor of that, I thought I'd post a blurry, unflattering photo of my half-finished forecast that I took in my streaky bathroom mirror, just like the old days. Sigh.



But to show how far I've come, I'm also posting a crisp, clear photo of the buttons I purchase for said forecast at Purl Soho. (Do yourself a favor and stear clear of that place on weekends. It was completely packed, and I couldn't reach the Cascade Quattro, which is for the best since they are charging way too much for it. Anyway, buttons.)



So back to my blogiversary. It took me a bit by surprise because my blogiversary coincides with my year anniversary in my present position at work, where I write about rather upsetting, depressing stuff. That's kinda why I started the blog. I would get home late at night, and it was just me and Conan O'Brien and my racing mind. Now I come home and write about yarn -- pleasant, uplifting and fuzzy. Ah, now that's better.

Meeting so many talented and bright and interesting knitters -- especially my dear spiders -- was just a pleasant surprise along the way.

Now here's the sappy part. Since my knitblog has given so much to me, why not give a little back to my readers? Enter the contest. Your mission is to guess the first item I ever knit, way back in the summer of 2002. Pick the type of item and the color -- like chartreuse legwarmers or a blue baby bonnet -- and leave your response in the comments. The person who guesses the correct item or closest to it will win FREE YARN! (Gosh, I hope this makes sense. I just worked 11 hours and it's 3 a.m. And my stuffed animals are bad proofreaders.)

What kind of yarn, you ask? A skein of superwash sock yarn from fellow Spider Brooklyn Handspun, or $20 toward another yarn from her store. (She's sold out right now, miss popularity that she is, but will have more yarn at the end of next week.)

So surprise me. What do you think it was?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

So this is how sick I was.

I'll spare you the gory details, but I became violently ill around 5:05 a.m. Monday. And I haven't been the same since. I still have no appetite, I'm lethargic and I actually forgot to drink coffee this morning. But the kicker? I haven't wanted to knit. Not at all.

So my mom, who is a worrier, was slightly concerned about how sick I was on Monday, when I took the day off and called her every 45 minutes to update her on my symptoms and what food I was able to digest. But she became up in arms when I told her that I didn't even feel like knitting.

She inhaled sharply and yelled to my father, "She's too sick to knit!"

Needless to say, there ain't much progress to show since my last post. Haven't touched forecast. I did, though, heed everyone's advice and began a pair of Jaywalkers with my lovely yarn from Sundara. I tried to resist because I feel as though everyone on the face of the globe has knit these, and I didn't see how mine would be any different. But you learn something new with every pattern, and it really does show off yarn's yummy colors.



I also finished up a quickie baby gift for one of my editors, who goes on maternity leave tomorrow. I used some leftover nuclear green yarn from my knit robots to whip up a hat from "Knitting for Baby." I then made a little pair of booties from this random online pattern.



Now, seeing as it actually SNOWED in New York today, I'm kinda late posting pictures of the glorious weather last weekend. Since Jon and I usually only head to the Bronx when something dreadful happens there -- sorry Bronxie --
we decided to visit the Zoo. It was wonderful -- colorful toucans, stately bison, lazy bears, great people watching. The highlights:


I couldn't resist the flamingos.


Seeing as I'm silly, I decided to chase geese. Honestly, there were geese in every exhibit. They apparently live peaceably with gelada baboons, antelopes and other manner of zoo creatures.


And Jonathan made a new friend in the Aquatic Bird House .