Thursday, December 17, 2009

Biggest Swatch Ever

Meet some of my handspun. The lighter grey (in the front corner) is angora and very soft wool (Cormo? Merino? I should learn to write these things down!) from Woolybuns, and the darker grey with the barely visible purple tint is Romney. They're both 2 ply, and more or less the same weight.

I've wanted to combine them for a while, and I thought I'd found the right pattern when I saw Colonnade from the fall Knitty. I started knitting, but once I got to the lace it turned out that the colors weren't right--they were too similar to contrast like the original Colonnade, but too different to read as a single color. It just looked like I'd run out of yarn and tried to hide it.

So I ripped out the lace portion and switched to garter stitch, alternating 2 rows of each yarn. I love how the colors work in garter stitch... but now I don't like the shape (which you can see if you scroll down in the link to the Colonnade pattern). At first, I though I'd just change to another shawl pattern (still in garter stitch, but maybe something more triangular?), but that wasn't really inspiring me...

Then I thought it would be a great vest--with garter stitch on the upper chest and the lighter grey on its own below the bust. I'm not sure I really have enough light grey for that plan, so I'm wondering if I could find a commercial yarn that would work instead (this would also let me save the bunny yarn for something neck-adjacent)... But maybe I shouldn't mess with my yarn choices? I think part of the appeal may be the contrast between the angora fuzz and the Romney shimmer (possibly there's some silk with the Romney?), and it might be hard to match the fuzziness level of the handspun... but what if I run out? Or can't make the vest long enough? And is angora a strange choice for a vest?

Maybe I should just make a different shawl!

In either case, my Colonnade-turned-swatch is plenty big--about 200 stitches per row, at this point. And given my possible yarn shortage, I need to rip it out to reuse the yarn!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mind Games

I've been erging a lot this month (it's Concept 2 holiday challenge time again--I have just over 62,000 meters to go before the gym closes for the year on December 23), and I've noticed that I can take whole seconds off my split times by thinking the right thing at the right time. (For some reason, mentally yelling "FEET!" is very effective.) It feels like mental yelling is I'm doing--although the machine says I'm rowing faster, I don't feel I'm exerting any more effort. That's lucky for me, since I'm lazy about hard workouts... so lazy that after a while, I forget to yell at myself and slow down again.

Only 2 of the ergs really work, and they're right next to each other, so as soon as there are 2 of us, we have to sit right next to each other (where we can read each others' monitor screens). My favorite is when super-athletic (but non-rowing) guys notice that I'm going faster than they are. (It's not that I'm especially good--it's just that the way you're supposed to erg is much faster than the crazy way people usually do.) For some reason, they find this disconcerting--what ever would they think if they could hear me yelling "FEET!" to myself??!

Speaking of meters to finish, I'm just about done with my holiday knitting--I have about 200 meters of the original distance left to go. That should be little enough to finish without resorting to frantic marathon knitting, although there's some danger that I'll get distracted: I did finally cast on for my last holiday project earlier tonight, but over the last couple of days I also slipped in two entirely unplanned projects (hey, they were small!), started a shawl for me, and did some planning and math for a shawl for Schaefer. Babies don't know exactly when Christmas is, right?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Side Effect

Here's the thing:

Much as I love yarn shops that put prices on their yarns, there's a small danger that, when a semi-acquaintance/coworker/fellow knitter/[what's it called when you attended the same college, but it different years?] asks what yarn you're using, you'll hand her the label, and the fourth fact she learns about you will be that you spent $26 for a skein of sock yarn.

On the plus side, the yarn is gorgeous, the skein was enough for 2 socks (I may like good sock yarn, but I'm not crazy), and the socks are turning out very well. AND I'm about to bind off the second, so it probably won't happen again.

At least not with this yarn!

Friday, December 4, 2009

How Did This Happen?

I seem to have only 3 hats. How is that possible? I knit hats, and I keep other things I make--why haven't I managed to keep more hats?

Also puzzling, they're all only semi-suitable for daily wear: one is the hat I row and run in, and probably everyone who comes near me outside of those contexts would be happier if I wasn't wearing it; one is lined with a felted wool sweater (and is wool itself, of course), so I save that for when it's really arctic; and the third is knit with a double strand of wool, so it's pretty toasty too.

Maybe I'll work on that after I finish all my Christmas socks?

(This sock has gotten bigger already.)

(And this one hasn't.)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Scarf Factory

I got a little carried away on the whole scarf thing:

(Although this is less impressive than it looks--I made the one on the bottom a while ago.)

But I couldn't help myself: they were the perfect Thanksgiving knitting--a mindless stitch pattern and cuddly yarn, accompanied by the warm and fizzy feeling of doing something nice for someone.

And the scarves didn't mess up my Christmas knitting schedule/yarn mileage obsession, even though I only meant to knit one. I have about 3/4 of a mile of yarn left to knit, and 3/4 of a month left to knit it in.