Been a while...
Feels like I'm dragging out of a coma right now. *shakes self off*
Late August through mid-October, despite spanning my birthday, is usually not actually my favorite time. Now that I'm not in school, it's not really leading up to anything in particular, and things just get very hectic. My birthday is a weird time, where I don't want fuss but I do... but I don't... and with the prospect of grad school on the horizon, but wondering what field to pick when my m.o. has always been "Do what's fun and the connections will form on their own," I found myself in sort of a funk -- the kind where (oddly enough) it's the many opportunities available that blind you and make you want to retreat into a fuzzy corner with some cocoa.
Happily, however, I've gotten my focus back, and with it another go at many projects.
--A knitting group!
I am now ensconced in the TChemGrrl Mostly Grad Student Knitting Group Of Doom. Which is great, because it's every week and is full of awesome people who mostly live near me. I'm so tickled.
--New books! Picked up Louisa Harding's Natural Knitting for Moms and Babies through a swap on LJ for some Koigu I had lying around. Great book, but not very heavy on the "simple, quick stuff for coworker's Baby Of Indeterminate Gender." Maybe I'll just make a hat and some booties; the kid's due around Thanksgiving.
Also, I received volumes 1 (knit and purl patterns), 2 (cables) AND 3 (color) of the Vogue Stitchionary series for my birthday. The giver had seen them in the store when we were poking around, and he was really impressed by them, so it was a great present. Of course, the third volume didn't come out until just last week, and for some reason the entirely separate Amazon order he'd placed that included my requested Mason-Dixon Knitting (also new, also exciting) wouldn't get shipped without the unreleased Stitchionary 3, so I had to wait for that, too. Bummer. But now everything is here and I am tickled pink.
I have to say, though, that Volume 3 is perhaps the least useful. So many of the color patterns are the kind of thing you could easily put together with some graph paper, and they look kind of Eighties. Still, it's a good resource, and I'm sure I'll use it. I think the sections on using color AND texture (bicolor cables, for example, or putting little knots of color on a different background) are the most interesting, and I'll definitely try them out.
--Tools 'n' stuff! So, uh, for those of you who don't know, I won a bunch of money on Jeopardy, and after socking away most of it I've bought a few things. I like to think I've been pretty good about it, only getting stuff to replace things that have gotten worn out (or, in the case of living room furniture, buying stuff for the gaping empty floor space that prevents me from having people over).
Last week I went on something of a shopping spree at Lakeside Fibers. Good: went through my second punch card and well into my third. Bad: got my card declined. Oops. (That's what happens when you buy a couch, a hutch and a seven foot bookcase in one week.) It wasn't a huge deal, since I just went in the back and transferred money from Happy Fun Account into The One With The Card, but it did make me say, "Okay, pardner. WATCH IT."
I'm glad I limited myself. But let me tell you something right now -- I STILL would NEVER call up a yarn company and say, "Send me everything new," and regardless of that, I have ZERO skeins of sock yarn in my stash. Do you hear me? ZERO.
That said, I've bought 12 balls of Lana Grossa Soffice (see below), 4 balls of Kidsilk Haze (why? WHY??), EZ's Knitter's Almanac, blocking wires and a swift. FINALLY. Of course, I don't own any tables or desks that is swift-appropriate, but I'll figure something out.
Still looking for a niddy-noddy, primarily for winding recycled yarn. I wonder if that Nancy's KnitKnacks one with all the bells and whistles is worth it, though I do like the idea of having the varied sizes right there.
ON THE NEEDLES
Dad's vest: I FINALLY started it! It took for fricking evarr, but finally I just threw up my hands and laid out the cash on some yarn. And what a yarn it is: Lana Grossa's Soffice, a new WASHABLE merino/cashmere/acrylic blend. It is sooooo sofffffft. Oh my gracious, is it soft. The colors are just beautiful -- it's got lovely variation within the strands, but it also gradually changes color, almost like Noro. I'm a little worried about color matching when I get to the end of the ball (not wanting to waste too much yarn trying to get to a matching spot), but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
I picked up 10 balls of color 009 for the vest and two balls of 008 for a hat or scarf for myself. Dunno what I'll make, but I don't want it to shrink like my poor Celtic Cable hat :( So many possibilities! (So snuggly!)
The pattern is vaguely based on the Diamonds vest from Knitty. I measured a vest that my mom said fit my dad well, and it had a 44" chest (and a finer gauge). I bumped it up a little to about 45 or so, because a 228-stitch circumference allows me to use a 12-stitch-repeat diamond pattern from the Vogue Stitchionary, vol. 1. This is really my first time sitting down and doing the math for something, but it should be good. I like patterns that tell you to knit for a certain amount of inches, instead of a certain amount of rows; that will camouflage any gauge issues I might run into.
--Sienna Cardigan from Fall IK: Finished the back, and was about six or seven inches in on the right front, but I just was not feelin' the faggoting on the front. (Yeah, I'd be lying if I said the name didn't feel uncomfortable too.) The yarn I'm using gets gauge but isn't fluffy, so the holes are more like places my fingers and zippers will obviously get stuck. No good. After I let it sit for a while, I decided to just rip it out and replace it with a leaf or cable or something of similar width. Still sitting around -- I think I might look at one of the Nicky Epstein books, if not just take the mirrored halves of a cable from Stitchionary vol. 2.
Mermaid's Hair scarf: Went to the sheep and wool festival with TChemGrrl and bought a beautiful pattern, only to realize that it was actually a modification of that danged Print o' the Wave motif that I'd had such trouble with earlier. also that a scarf with holes isn't that warm. PAH, I say! I'm making it anyways! I'm using some berry-red stashed GGH Merino Soft, a discontinued fingering-weight superwash. I'm about halfway through the fourth repeat of a 36-row pattern; it's listed at eight repeats but I might go for nine for length. It's going well, but it's going to take forever, and between the TV watching and the chatting at knitting group it's not great for production. Still, I'm excited to see how it'll look all blocked out.
IN THE HOPPER
--Building on the TChemGrrl strategy of "just fricking ASK them what they want, okay?", I'm working with my mom to make her a shawl. Last year, she wanted an "evening wrap" for a wedding, and she said she wanted something "gossamer," but despite my continued Kidsilk Haze prompts she kept saying she wanted something even thinner. So unless she has some inside line on Tinkerbell spit, I think she's going to have to modify her expectations :P I think, however, that we will be able to find a nice compromise in there somewhere. She did love Icarus, so that's a start.
--She and my husband could also both use hats with earflaps. Think, think, think about what to put on them.
That's the news from Lake Madam's-desk, where all the women are awesome, the men are cuteful, and the children are not yet zygotes.