Tuesday, November 18, 2008

2.8 Years to Go

Erin, from A Dress A Day (the reason I've worn only dresses & skirts to work since February) linked to an article which says that the difference between being amazing, good and mediocre is how much you practice: it takes 10,000 hours to be great, 8,000 to be good, and 4,000 to be mediocre. (I think I've read those numbers somewhere before, but where?)

So, let's do a little math... say I've knit an hour a day since college (I knit in college too, but the combined effects of less money and more studying meant I didn't knit anywhere as much), and way more on weekends, vacations, and long plane rides... say my extra weekend and vacation knitting averages to an extra 4 hours per weekend day (which seems reasonable, since weekend days I didn't knit are balanced by marathon knitting sessions when traveling. Also, I'm trying to be conservative in this estimate, hard as that may be to believe!).

Regular daily knitting: 365(days/year) x 1(hours/day) = 365(hours/year)

Binge knitting: 52(weeks/year) x 2(days/weekend) x 4(hours/day) = 416(hours/year)

365 + 416 = 781 knitting hours/year

That's 7,810 hours over 10 years, leaving 190 hours to go to 8,000, and 2,190 to 10,000.

At 781 hours per year, that will take 2.8 years.

And I will need to buy more yarn, since I "only" have about a 6-month supply at my current rate of knitting (in my measured stash, at least).

Speaking of which, it occurs to me that I should probably start counting handspun, now that I've spun yarn on purpose to make a pre-selected project (the Montana Tunic) even if I did have to change the gauge.

So that's another reason to get knitting!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Go Knit a Cowl!

Hey, I have a pattern in the winter Knotions, which just went live. It's for these three cowls:

You also have my permission to knit other people's patterns. (This was not what my startitis needed!)

(Speaking of my startitis problem, I finished the socks...

...dashed off a pair of baby socks for a present...

...and knit about a foot of Montana Tunic...

No, I hardly did anything but knit this weekend. Why do you ask?)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Imaginary Startitis

(Non-knitters: startitis is when you start a bunch of things in a short space of time, and usually without making any real progress on anything before starting something else. Or not you, but knitters.)

There are approximately 800 things I want to knit immediately.

1. Montana Tunic. I think I'm leaning towards the teal handspun, because in my head I've alloted all the other possibilities to other sweaters. This decision subject to change without notice. (Especially since I'm trying to be good and make some progress on the things I'm already working on.)

2. Imogene. Maybe in the grey Miss Priss I just got?

3. Pullover something like 28thirty, but with a longer body, lower neck, and maybe it should be a cardigan after all. In some label-less tan-ish, hearther-y yarn that might or might not be from Green Mountain Spinnery, which came home with me from SnB.

4. Another red scarf for the Red Scarf Project . I made a malabrigo waffles scarf already, not from malabrigo, but I have some red malabrigo, and wouldn't it be nice to make another that lived up to its name? Except that the malabrigo might want to be a hat instead. Or possibly stripes with the might-be-Green-Mountain-Spinnery yarn.

5. Any sock that is not darknavypurplenearlyblack. (Yes, that's a real color.) Pair 24 is darknavypurplenearlyblack, which is somehow darker that actual black, and while it's incredibly beautiful, it is driving me crazy because it's hard to see (and "read") the stitches, so I keep having to stop to make sure I'm in the right place. The good news is that I'm about halfway through the leg on sock #2 (they're cuff-down, so that leaves the heel and foot left to knit). Any leftovers will be knit in stockinette, so there.

6. Brown cardigan that I've been designing in my head.

7. Baby sweater in Schaefer's new sock yarn. Gorgeous indigo-y blue that is nothing like darknavypurplenearlyblack, so I will be able to see what's going on.

8. Garter stitch wrap/scarf I blithered about when I finished the seamless hybrid--solid and handpainted yarn together for most of it, loose, deep ruffles out of just the handpainted to finish off.

9. Nearly every mitten/mitt/hat/glove I've ever seen a pattern for.

10. Top-down raglan or yoked sweater from multicolored pink/purple/grey merino (for the top of the yoke) and the silvery-grey yarn from Sarah and c=Coco that I showed on Wednesday (possibly Sarah and Coco are Corriedale sheep? Much check labels!).

I haven't actually cast on for any of these yet (even through I currently have 2 projects going, rather than my usual 3... maybe that's the problem?). But do you think this is the beginning of the end of knitting a pair of socks a week? 24 socks out of 52 is mile 12 of a marathon--just about the spot I start to think that the half marathon is really the perfect distance--long enough that I feel like I really ran somewhere, not so long as to become uncivilized.

Although on the other hand, I have been knitting other things at the same time as knitting the socks, so maybe there's hope, if I just cast on for the (apparently necessary for knitting balance) third thing?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

And Another Option

(Blogger tries to suggest previously used post titles when you start typing--but I don't need that feature, because I naturally want to call all my posts the same thing--this is the third post I have titled "And Another [Something]")

Anyway, I uncovered another Montana Tunic yarn choice--silvery grey handspun from two sheep named Coco and Sarah (I think). Here it is with the teal.

Hmmm. (See what kind of waffling ensues when I don't write about my socks?)

And I had a wildly nerdy thought which I just nearly forgot, but remembered again (hurray!). So, my favorite high school math teacher, Mr. Bock (look, he's mentioned in the Wikipedia entry about my high school!) explained infinity by saying that if you had a hotel with an infinite number of rooms, and they were all filled, and another guest came, you could make room for the new guest by putting him in room one and having everyone else move up/over one room. (And in one of my favorite books, Smilla's Sense of Snow, Smilla admires the dedication to privacy that makes moving an infinite number of people seem like a reasonable thing to do so everyone would have their own room.)

So, in Excel, if you highlight a row (my clicking on the grey border area), then try to paste it one column over in another row (say, pasting row 3 in row 4, beginning in B2), Excel won't let you because the highlighted area and the spot you want to paste it aren't the same size. Ergo, Excel does not allow an infinite number of columns. (Or if it does, it misunderstands infinity and needs to speak to Mr. Bock about it.)

But back to the yarn: I'd been vaguely thinking about the grey for the body and sleeves of a raglan sweater, with the yoke in another handspun (multi-colored, including grey). But I also might like it for this. Hmm.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


1. I was knitting in a talk at work just now, and the speaker was talking about blogs. He started to say "Does anyone knit?" but noticed me, said "oh, there you are," pointed out that there are knitting blogs, then distracted himself by asking what knitters' favorite programming language is (Perl, ha-ha). I wonder--does he have a knitblog/know how common knitting blogs are, or did he see one knitblog once and think "Wow! There are blogs about everything!"?

2. Would I have come up with Perl if I hadn't been thinking so hard about whether he meant that knitting directions are like a programming language, or that knitting is binary just like bits.

3. If I do decide to use the teal yarn for the Montana Tunic, will 650-700 yards be enough? (I plied about half of the yarn last night, and suddenly it seems like less yardage than I thought it would be--do I spin more densely than other people? Is that even possible?) I think I'm going to make the smallest size (38"), the size I usually make my sweaters (since it's semi-open on the sides, if anything it will seem to fit more loosely than it does, I think). The pattern calls for 3 skeins of 250 yards each for both the smallest size and the second smallest size--even if the whole third skein would be used up for the second smallest size, there would have been some left over when making the smallest size, right?

Monday, November 10, 2008


So, I've wanted to make a Montana Tunic (in two colors in the top pic here) since Gale brought her preview copy of Shear Spirit to SnB. Once the book actually came out, I started thinking about yarn--early on, I thought maybe a brown yarn, but I already have a brown vest, and since I only have 3 vests total (and 2 of them are already the same pattern in different colors...), maybe I should branch out color-wise?

So now I'm thinking either some teal-y, tweed-y handspun (technically, not quite finished--I still need to spin the last little bit, then ply it all...), or some semi-solid grey Miss Priss which appeared over the weekend. (And it brought 4 skeins of Schaefer Anne with it--sock yarn crisis averted! At least for the moment.)

Anyway, it's a quandary.

The tunic shape is already a little quirky (in the best possible way, naturally), so maybe it doesn't also need to be teal (even a very tweedy teal)? Also, the sleeves of my shirt will show when I wear it, and since teal is an unusual color for my wardrobe, maybe I'd be happier/wear it more not trying to match my sleeves to teal?

On the other hand... I really want to knit up the teal yarn. Once it's done, I mean.

Or maybe it's not a quandary, since wanting to knit the teal yarn is a reason to knit something with it, not a reason to knit the tunic with it.

(Also, do you think the tunic would be a disaster on me? I'm kind of pear-shaped. Not as noticeably as some, since I have fairly wide shoulders, but enough that there are some things I'm certain look terrible on me. I'm planning to shorten it/not lengthen it (I'm tall-ish, and can't remember how long it is as written) so it ends right at my hip bones.)

Friday, November 7, 2008

It Occurs to Me...

That maybe I'm not feeling bored with blogging, just with blogging about socks. (Also about blogging without pictures... a situation which will get worse now that it's dark at about 3:26 pm.)

And writing about socks would be more interesting if I'd just pick an interesting pattern--but my last 2 pairs have been stockinette, because I wanted to use up bits.

But hey, that reminds me! Would you have guessed that this:

And this:

Would look like this:

When knit together?

(That last one is Pair 22 out of 52--I just finished pair 23, so as long as I keep on schedule this month, I'll have 27 pairs done at the halfway point. I'm currently in possession of a mere 8 skeins of sock yarn, although some of them will be enough for more than 1 pair. CRISIS! IMPENDING SOCK YARN SHORTAGE!)

Anyway, looking at all three pairs together, I can see the first 2 colorways in the third, but looking at the first two, I wouldn't have predicted the third. Magic! Not my magic though--I think it works because the component colors are harmonious, and that's all the Schaefer Yarn Company's doing (this is their Anne yarn).

Look at that--when I think I'm bored of blogging about socks, I... blog about socks to mix things up.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008



Monday, November 3, 2008

Sweater at Last

I made Kevin take a quick picture of the finished seamless hybrid yesterday (I nearly said "new" but since finishing it I've worn it at least once a weekend and some weeks during the week too, so calling it new feels funny). And here it is:

I'm mostly happy with it. I do think I should have made it slightly longer (but am too lazy to knit a new lower edge then graft it on... ), so I'm thinking about knitting a lower hem in a different but coordinating color and sewing it to the bottom--that way, the ribs wouldn't need to match. That would also have the benefit of adding a little weight around the bottom--right now, the length problem is compounded because the sweater is so light and floaty that it seems shorter than it is.

On the other hand, it's kind of pill-y (not surprising, since I knit it with yarn meant for lacy shawls, not sweaters). I can't tell if it's going to keep pilling till it vanishes in a little puff of fuzz, or if it's going to reach some kind of pill equilibrium and be OK for years (my first hourglass sweater, in Tahki Donegal Tweed, pilled like mad then stopped, maybe it's like that?). If it's going to vanish in a puff of fuzz, then I don't want to sink more yarn and knitting time at it... but on the other hand if it's about to reach pill equilibrium and last forever, I want it to be perfect.

I also should have remembered (or acted on, because I actually did remember but did nothing) that Elizabeth Zimmerman's percentage sweaters (where you figure out how many stitches you need for the body, then the rest of the directions are given as a percentage of that number) produce more tightly fitting sleeves than most people prefer these days. Other people adjust for this by starting the sleeves with a higher percentage of the body stitches that she suggests, but I didn't, so the body is looser than the sleeves. (Although now that I look at the picture, I think the sleeves have relaxed and fit just fine.)

In other news, Kevin and I went for a nice run in Look Park in Northampton on Saturday, after his class. Look Park is one of the many (many, many, many) benefits of nearly everywhere I've lived before now that I hardly took advantage of because I hardly exercised outside (in college I did step classes and stair-climbed, mostly. Hard to believe, given how much I hate stairs.).

There was a cyclocross race going on, which we thought we'd be able to watch--but the park was too woodsy for us to see the race from a distance, and the race course filled the roads/paths it was on, so we couldn't run next to the course. Plus I hate to run right next to bike races--even through I know I'm not going to leap in on to the course, there's no way for the cyclists to know that I won't.

The instructor of the road bike workshop we went to in May was very pro-cyclocross. He tried to convince us we should try it--but I think he may have misunderstood my personality (and inherent klutziness). Long bike rides: yes; courses "featuring pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills and obstacles requiring the rider to quickly dismount, carry the bike whilst navigating the obstruction and remount in one motion" (according to the Wikipedia entry): no.

But I've been lazy about erging, which makes me feel like I'm being lazy overall. My excuse is that each of the 6 ergs in the regular (non-crew) area of the gym has at least 1 broken component, and it's a pain to use them. If the computer works, the foot stretchers are missing one or both straps. If the straps are there, the computer regularly hallucinates and displays stroke ratings (# of strokes per minute) that cannot possibly be right. And if both the straps and computer are in working order, the chain and wheel (which provide resistance in the absence of actual water) interact as though filled with gravel.

As a result, I cannot wait for December, when winter training starts and we'll get to use the crew room's ergs. And the tanks. In the mean time, I've been running, and staring at rowing vocab on Wikipedia, because there's no Ravelry for rowers. I was transfixed by this picture of an oarlock the other day. Pathetic!