Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Too Much Matching?

Purple tunic by rehatcherLook!  A picture of a sweater!
I bought this yarn on a previous visit to see my parents in Ithaca, so finally taking pictures of it there (while visiting for Thanksgiving) seems appropriate.  Let's see, what do I remember about the sweater?  I made up the pattern--it's knit from the bottom up, then I used the neck shaping from Manu for some pleats at the neck (not that they show here, under the gigantic cowl I made from the leftovers). 
I thought I'd wear it as a tunic over leggings, but it turns out I mostly wear it with jeans and dresses.  I try not to wear the cowl with it, on the grounds that different items of clothing made from the same yarn and worn together (DIOCMFTSYAWT) are a step closer to just wrapping myself in yarn and thinking I'm dressed than I like to be... but on the other hand maybe it's ok because it might be mistaken for a cowl-necked sweater.  (For future reference, these are exceptions to the no DIOCMFTSYAWT rule for pairs of things and sets of accessories.) 
I have delegated all of my facebooking to Kevin, so if you are friends with him there you know that I survived my marathon (nearly 10 days ago now!).  I finished in 4:14:06--very close to my speediest times (I ran Chicago in 4:11:something, in 2 consecutive years), and about how I was hoping to do, so I'm pretty happy with it.  But wow, was the last 8 miles long!  The course is basically a 13 mile loop followed by a 13 mile out and back, but the out and back has forks, so it seemed like I'd never get to the final u-turn to really, truly go back.  Then when I finally did (sometime in mile 20, as I recall), it wasn't nearly as energizing as I'd hoped it would be!
Despite all that, I'm contemplating another one... next year.
Good thing I'm thinking about next year, because I haven't run yet--and only started erging yesterday (the Concept2 holiday challenge is underway... mustn't fall too far behind, or I will have to erg for 24 solid hours on December 24th to make up for it!).  I was thinking the other morning that I have a lot of workout clothes all of a sudden... and then I realized this was the first time in months (maybe years?) that they've all been clean and put away at the same time!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Semiannual Report

I give up... I'm never going to write about the past 6 months in detail, so I will sum up:

I ran a lot (including a marathon in Iceland in August, and I'm going to run the Philly marathon on November 18), rowed a lot (including a bunch of boats at masters nationals in Worcester, and an 8+ in the Head of the Charles--which finished 6 out of 17 so we have a guaranteed entry for next year, hurray!) and probably in consequence, feel like I have knit less than usual.

 Even knitting less, my sweater collection is outgrowing its allotted space--if I make too many more, we will have to move.  The situation with shawls, socks, hats and mittens isn't much better.  Oh, and cowls!  Not good.

In response, I have been trying to give away or fix things that never quite worked out.  I turned one of the sweaters from Problem Sweater Week (the purple one) into a shrug (this one, but with slightly shorter sleeves because I didn't quite have enough yarn for long sleeves).  I like the new incarnation, and I think I've worn it more in the past couple of months than I every wore the original.  Maybe I will remember to take pictures of it, some day.

And I'm currently reknitting the lower body on my Summer Solstice sweater, in order to remove the front extensions.  I like the front extensions on other people's sweaters, but I think my fabric was a little thicker, so it didn't drape well and I always wanted to fidget with it.  I'm hoping the regular version will be a better match for my fabric.  It feels a little silly to put more time into this yarn (it's turned out to be very pill-prone), but I really like the color.

Also, HURRAY! 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


That last post, by the way, is my shawl storage system--one of those ring-shaped organizers from Ikea. There's something funny about someone whose job it is to keep photos from deteriorating as they age using an app to age her own photos artificially, isn't there?

Now I just need to figure out how to accompany the picture with my own text, rather than the automatic message.

archiknist shared an Instagram photo with you

New Plan...

Clearly, I was not meant to be a fashion blogger, since I couldn't even make it through a week of posting my sweaters every day! It started feeling very self-centered. (How is this more self-centered than writing about my knitting all the time? Who knows!)

Anyway, I've been making the Nemesis socks, from a few Knittys (Knitties?) ago.

I suspect they may turn out to be slipper-y socks, because they are a cashmere blend, and slightly on the loose side. The yarn is Lush, from Forbidden Woolery, and I'm using size 1.5 needles. I'm knitting the larger size--72 stitches, which is not an unusual number of stitches for socks, for me, with these needles. But I think they'll be great as slipper-esque socks.

My other new plan concerns the doomed Malin (lacy vest, which I was knitting from brown Baby Kid Extra), which has morphed into Belinda (lacy, 2 color wrap from the second mason Dixon Knitting book). Poor Malin was doomed for a couple of reasons: the lace pattern was driving me batty, and wasn't really reading very clearly when I stretched it over clothes I hoped to wear it with. Too fuzzy, I think, and the solid areas of the fabric weren't solid enough to provide a clear contrast with the YOs.

After an inch of work, Belinda seems like a much better idea: the lace is much more graphic (and easier to work), so it will read more clearly over patterned fabric. But get back to me again when I've knit an acre of repetitive lace length-wise, and have to knit a second acre of the same lace width-wise!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Thursday's Sweater

Actually, this was two Thursdays ago...

PS3 by rehatcher

Another of the sweaters I think of as problematic. Although I probably shouldn't say that, with the pattern for sale just pixels away. But I don't think my issues are the sweater per se: it's not it, it's me.

PS3 by rehatcher

I really like the fit of the sweater, and I think the cuffs and front bands are really great. It's not visible, but they are really luxurious--deep, fold-over hems, with the outside portion in seed stitch, which makes them seem even more cushy in comparison to the rest of the sweater (knit in stockinette).

But, I tend to fidget with my clothes, which doesn't mix well with wrap sweaters. I have a purchased wrap sweater which I only wore because I felt bad that I didn't wear it--until I removed the ties and started wearing it open, and discovered that it's less hassle that way.

The same thing happened here--this used to button, but the button was too heavy for the fabric, so I removed it, and tried an i-cord belt, regular belt, and shawl pin (not all at once). All three were better than the button, but still hard to keep in place. I think this is the first time I've worn it sans closure (you can still see the button loop on the inner front), and I think it may be the answer.

Also: look! I cut my hair.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tuesday's Sweater

This sweater (my own design, and my own handspun) began life as a scarf.

PS2 by rehatcher

Which wouldn't be particularly impressive or unusual (yarn changes its mind about what it wants to be all the time), except that the scarf is still there, as the collar.

PS2 by rehatcher

I knit a scarf, then knit the upper center back out from one edge to form a T. Then the sleeves and sides of the upper body out to the cuffs, then picked up all around the bottom edge to knit the lower body.

I tried pinning it closed for a while, then I tried actually sewing the lower front closed (from a little bit above my hand to the hem, in the lower picture). I wore it that way once, but ripped out the sewing yesterday morning in the gym locker room. I have become that crazy person at the gym, by the way--the other morning I did yoga off to the side of the indoor track--and ripping out a small seam in the locker room is only another sign.

In other news, I'm just about done with a pair of socks, have rediscovered the difficulty of knitting kidsilk haze-style yarns without looking thanks to Malin, and developed a puncture wound on my fingertip over the weekend from knitting too much. My Malin is going to be brown, not surprisingly. (Did I mention that most of my sweater quantities of yarn are brown or purple? There was a point in the fall when I have yarn for three brown sweaters and two purple sweaters... and zero sweaters of any other colors. The situation is less alarming now--I have a brown sweater and a purple sweater in progress, plus sweater quantities of yarn for another brown sweater and one green sweater.) I'm enjoying the lace pattern, but it's slow going, so I've only knit a few inches. Good thing it's sleeveless!

Monday, March 12, 2012


This isn't one of the handmade problem sweaters, but it's a problem nonetheless.

I want to wear socially acceptable bathrobes to work as much as the next person, but I think this sweater may have crossed some kind of clothes/pajamas demarcation line:

It's too big maybe? Not enough waist shaping? There's a belt, which I pull to the back and tie as through that might create some shape, but I think it just makes it more bathrobe-esque.

I've though about taking it along the side seams, but I worry about the bulk of the excess fabric (or that it would unravel if I trimmed it off... although that's basically a steek, isn't it? I'm not sure how well the yarn will grip--it looks tweedy and woolly, but it's actually a cotton-acrylic blend).

I have another store-bought sweater which lacked a waist, but which I was able to fix--I sewed a strip of fabric horizontally across the inside of the back (where the waist should have been) leaving the short ends open. Then I cut a length of 1" wide elastic shorter than the fabric, ran it through the channel I'd made with the fabric, and sewed it securely to the sweater on both ends. That way, it gathered the sweater across the channel. I can't tell if that would work here, or if the addition of elastic would just move the sweater further into pajama territory.

Is this all in my head? (Two people complimented my sweater, but they're kind people who thought I'd made it, so does that really count?) Is there a way to add shaping to a sweater that I'm missing? (I've also tried belting over the sweater, but haven't like that one bit.) What would you do?

(P.S. I thought the sweater was a wool-acrylic blend, till I checked the label as I was writing... now that I know its secret, I'm just going to attribute all its troubles to lack of memory, ok?)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Problem Sweater Week

I do this crazy thing where I bring my outfits for the week to the gym over the weekend or on Monday, so I can run to the gym the rest of the week, shower there, and go right to work. It basically works out, but from time to time I make a swap during the week which leaves me with a strange assortment of leftovers to wear on Friday. That happened last week--on Thursday, I decided to swap shoes between my remaining outfits. This improved my Thursday outfit, but on Friday, my shoes still seemed wrong. By that time, they were the only non-sneaker shoes in my locker, so I wore them anyway.

At lunch time, a woman came over, apologized for interrupting, and said she loved everything I was wearing, especially my shoes. (This story would be better if I had a picture of my shoes, huh?) As I thanked her, she explained that she's trying to give more compliments, since people tend not to.

Meanwhile, in the land of long digressions, I've been thinking about taking more pictures of my daily outfits, complete with knitwear, because I think I'm pretty good about actually wearing my knits in real life. I'd decided not to start on Friday, thanks to the shoe crisis. But after the problematic shoes were specifically complimented, I decided to do it anyway:

The sweater is Martha, from Rowan's Fresh Fashion Knits (looking on Ravelry, I see Rowan has designed many Marthas). The invisible shoes are like these, but grey suede. They're the ones I wrote about as being useless, but cute. Although a short-sleeved wool cardigan seems like a bad idea, Martha is actually very versatile. I leave you to decide on appearances.

So, Martha is not a problem sweater. But, this all relates to Problem Sweater Week because when I was assembling my clothes for the week, I decided to give some of my problem sweaters another chance not to drive me batty: my Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday outfits all include sweaters which haven't ever been quite right. The woman who loved my shoes made me wonder whether the problem sweaters really are problematic, or if I just think they are for no reason that anyone else can see. If I can remember to take pictures, we'll all find out.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

280 Yards?

After approximately 1.3 million years (actually, 3.5 months), I have finished knitting Zora!

I got some snazzy blocking wires for Christmas, which are in place in the picture, even though you can't actually see them. This was the first time I used them. They were really easy to use and my edges are definitely nicer than usual. Although, now that I look at the picture, I'm not sure what's going on with the weird lump on the sleeve...

Since that picture, I've sewn most of the pieces together, and knit the front bands and collar. The bands and collar took forever--I understand that they're wide (4 inches), and that the sweater is hip length (and that I'm tall-ish), but good heavens! I never counted the stitches per row, since I suspected the number would be disheartening, but each row took 15 minutes, and the collar and fronts bands used up HALF a skein of yarn (Schaefer Anne comes in 560 yard skeins, so that's 280 yards)!

I may need another speedy sweater break before I sew up and set in the sleeves.

(I'm thinking about making a tunic/dress out of some purple wool boucle I bought at Thanksgiving... maybe with pleats at the neck, like Manu... but the fact that it's purple worries me. Maybe I also need a break from knitting purple? Also, maybe a dress/tunic is not actually speedy, and I'm just distracted by the prospect of knitting on size 7 needles, rather than sizes 2, 4, and 5 as used in my current projects?)

Friday, January 20, 2012


Are addictive!

I started this (the Stripes to Keep Me Warm Cowl) at knitting tonight. And I don't seem to be able to stop. The orange/red/gold/peach yarn is handspan from a fiber club (Lulu and Pancake, a present from Kevin for Christmas last year), and the brown is a partial skein, left over from a Harminia's Rings Tunic I knit this weekend (as my break from the purple sweater). It's String Theory Merino DK, bought as a second at Stitches East. I'm going to try to wear the tunic (more of a vest) tomorrow, if I can successfully assemble an outfit. Maybe I'll even remember to take a picture or two.

Orange/red/gold/peach aren't really my colors, but I'm hoping the brown will help it look more like me... It seems like it's working so far, but I won't be sure till more of it exists.

Friday, January 13, 2012


In addition to my hatred of having dirty/dusty fingertips while being otherwise clean, I am also unable to type the word "papers" correctly on the first try. It generally comes out as apeprs, because apparently my hands type at different speeds, with my right hand getting ahead of my left.

Really, is there a profession to which I am less suited than archivist? What was I thinking?

In other news, I spoke too soon about the purple Zora cardi going relatively quickly. It's now going incredibly slowly, and I am contemplating taking a break from it to knit something speedy and instant-gratification-y.... like a sweater. But with short sleeves! On size 8 needles (or 9! depending on gauge!)

Monday, January 9, 2012


My spinning group met this weekend, and that inspired me to finish the batch of wool I have been working on forever--the half finnsheep fleece I got over the summer.

As I was spinning I found some spots where it turned out that the fleece wasn't completely clean (no surprise since this is the ony fleece I have ever washed, and since the main thing I learned is that I don't enjoy it enough to do a good job!). Now that it's all spun, what seemed like a few spots feel like a lot more, so tonight I'm going to try washing it again.

I'm also still thinking about dying it. It's a pretty cream color (of which I will someday take pictures!), but I wear dark and jewel tones much more frequently, so if I'm going to keep whatever I make, it might be more useful in a darker color. I suspect the lanolin would prevent those areas from taking up the dye, so unless I want it to turn out spotty, that's another reason to give washing it another try.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


With Christmas out of the way, I'm back to the sweater for myself which I can't remember if I've mentioned here, Zora. I started it at the beginning of November, with the delusion that I might finish it during NaKniSwMo (am I forgetting a syllable? National Knit a Sweater Month?).

By the end of the month, I had a number of other things finished, but only a sleeve and a half of Zora (it's knit on size 4 needles, with fingering weight yarn... Plus, I got distracted). Then I thought I might work on it in December after finishing my Christmas presents, but that didn't happen either. Now though, I'm making good progress. I finished the sleeve last weekend, then cast on for the back on Thursday night, and have 7 or 8 inches finished. It's a longer cardigan than I usually knit, so I have a bit more to knit than usual, but still, it feels like I'm making progress.

I do have a question. Does it seem to you that the ribs on the body are a little low? I think I might rather have them centered at my actual waist, not offset towards my hips. What do you think?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Random New Year’s Thoughts

I’m never going to catch up on telling you all about the fall, am I? Or the summer, for that matter. So I’m going to give up, halfheartedly catch up with Christmas knitting, then move on.

I’ve been thinking about Russia lately. Partly because Kevin gave me a book called Travels in Siberia for Christmas (technically, he gave it to me last year, but it took us till this year to realize that he had received the gift email instead of me, and that he needed to forward it so I could actually get my present… on the bright side, this year he gave me an iPad as well, so it was easier to read than it would have been last year on my phone). Anyway, the other reason I have been thinking about Russia is that I bought some completely useless (but very cute!) shoes—grey booties with high-for-me heels and pointy-for-me toes—and tottering around in useless shoes but otherwise sensibly bundled up in wool and down makes me feel like my Russian roommate from when I studied abroad there. They are awfully cute though, and since they are grey they match my entire wardrobe.

Kevin and I are thinking about running the Reykjavik Marathon at the end of August (this relates to Russia, just wait!), for our anniversary. Six is the marathon anniversary, didn’t you know? And we got married in Iceland. Anyway, I haven’t run a marathon since I was so annoyed about how I did in the last one (in 2009? I think?). But thinking about running a non-crazy marathon like Reykjavik has me also thinking again about running a crazy marathon: the Lake Baikal Marathon, in the winter on frozen Lake Baikal in Siberia. What could be more fun? This wouldn’t be till March 2013, so there's plenty of time for the whole thing to become impossible due to global warming, or for me to regain my senses.

Back to the Christmas knitting: much as knitters complain about knitting like mad for a deadline, it is also kind of fun. So, to have as much fun as possible, I knit nearly all my presents in December. I always give socks to my sisters, so I made those ahead of time (plus a matching pair of baby socks for an impending niece). However, that left plenty of knitting to do at the last minute! In December I knit half of a (small) blanket, 4 hats, 1 scarf, 1 cowl, 3 sweaters (2 kid for kids, 1 for a baby), 2 pairs of (adult!) socks for people other than my sisters, 1 pair of mittens, and 2 pint glass cozies. The blanket wasn't even a present (but for some reason it felt like I should finish it before I started on my Christmas knitting), and one of the hats was for a birthday. Fortunately, we didn’t see my side of the family till after Christmas, so I had a few extra days… otherwise, I would have had to start at Thanksgiving.