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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Tried and true

I'm truly a creature of habit, downright predictable and boring. I must begin the day with half a cup of coffee and some kind of news, or else I'm cranky and impossible. Before I can fall asleep, I need to watch a minute or two of Letterman -- even if there is a writers' strike and the show is so old that the guest is Sinbad promoting "Houseguest."

When we go to my favorite restaurant, Fragole, I always order the rigatoni Firenze, but with the wheat fettucini instead of the rigatoni. I've essentially had the same hairstyle since the George H.W. Bush administration. I own three pairs of the same black pants from Express. And I only like one treadmill at my gym. There's just something about it.

And so it is with my knitting. I love knitting top-down raglans. The construction of them is fail-safe and fool-proof and numerous other hyphenated phrases. They always fit me and always produce a wearable finished object, which is more than i can say about any of my attempts at set-in sleeves or the like. (Emma and Trapeze Jacket, I'm looking at you!)

So I'm returning to my tried and true. I simply adore 28thirty by the gals at Zephyr Style. I've made three of their patterns already and have had nothing but good luck. Always fresh and crisp and super cute.

And here's my developing 28Thirty. (Any idea what the name means?)

I'm using my favorite workhorse wool, Cascade 220 in the rainier heather colorway. I find the colors and textures of the heather much more appealing than the standard 220. I used the pale green heather for my Forecast and find that sweater simultaneously soft and indestructible.

(And a shout out to Alpaca Direct, which had an extra skein in the same dye lot after I foolishly under purchased at Brooklyn Knit-a-Way.)

I'm also moving right along on my Loop Shawl. This is superb knitting for "The Wire."

But I won't be watching this Sunday, since the fiance is in Arizona (already!) to cover the Superbowl. We cannot bear to watch "The Wire" separately, so we caught this week's On Demand already. It's a good one -- and by good, I mean terrible things happen!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Trapeze jacket, we hardly knew ya

There's something so sad about a finished object photo session without a human modeling the finished object. But I refuse to put the trapeze jacket on my body again. It just looked too dumpy and frumpy and lumpy and downright bad for my self esteem.

I couldn't even bring myself to weave in the ends. I did, though, have the common human decency to close it with a pretty brooch.

This one hurts. It really does. I've been working on it for months, and I truly had high hopes that it would become a favorite.

I accept most of the blame. I used Berocco Ultra Alpaca in a shade of gray that basically ensured maximum frumpiness. Should have picked something shinier or sleeker, but I wanted to start it right away. You know how that is.

I also suspected early on that the shoulders were too deep, starting too low on the arm, but I forged forward nonetheless. The jacket just ended up too big, despite the fact that I got gauge and knit the smallest size. Perhaps I knit looser as I went? Maybe I'll toss it in the dryer for the hell of it.

I hesitate to say this, but I also wonder if it's not just me. Even though a bunch of folks have started it on Ravelry, I can't find anyone yet who has finished it. As I've complained before, I never quite grasped the spacing of the increases in the body. The ribbing gradually grows from a 1x1 rib to a 1x2 rib to a 1x3 rib, but even after blocking, the increases look uneven and haphazard. I just feel like there had to be a better way. Anyway!

I'm currently captivated by these flowers:

I guess it's because I kinda can't stomach the prices of actual flowers. Maybe for centerpieces? Am I crazy? Here's a little practice bloom.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A post-holiday post

It's a little too close to the holidays to feel nostalgic quite yet, or maybe it's just too painful that my vacation is over. This Christmas, there was fondue and merlot and coffee cake and green bean casserole. There was snow on the ground in Massachusetts and a Penguins game in Pittsburgh. There was Jon's cousin's Wii and my cousin's Wii and the scarily accurate game "Twenty Questions." It actually guessed that I was thinking of a plunger. Crazy!

Of course, there was also yarn. My future mother-in-law is an ambitious knitter and made me the most touching present. When Jon and his brother were little, their grandmother knit them the most intricate stockings with snowmen and Santas. Jon's grandmother is gone now, and the pattern she used was literally falling apart. But Jon's mom found a new copy and made me this. I was floored!

Of course, I received some knitterly gifts, too, namely Sensual Knits from my mom. Oh, I just want to eat the pages, they look so luscious. (Does anyone else smell knitting books? I feel like they smell better than other books.) I'm obnoxious and started name dropping to my mom as soon as I cracked the spine. "Yahaira? Veronique? Connie? Saun? Of course I know them! What, you don't?"

My first project will be the Loop Shawl by the ever-inspiring Leah. And so far I'm loving it. The lace pattern is intoxicating -- just enough cable needle action to keep things exciting but not burdensome. And those k3togs through the back loop ain't so bad!!

I'm using the Shelridge Farms 4-ply DK that I bought at Rhinebeck. It's ever-so-delightfully squishy and bouncy. Knitting with it is a dream!

If it seems like I'm knitting less, it's probably because I am. I never thought I'd be this gal, but I'm a little pre-occupied with wedding planning. Not obsessed, just pre-occupied. I don't care about cakes or flowers or even dresses (that much.) It's all of the pretty little touches that make a wedding special. Even if you are a commitment-phobe, you'll probably love Style Me Pretty. Now, I shall sit here and resist the urge to make my own fortune cookie-inspired menus....