Monday, April 28, 2008


Here is the beginning of Lochinver: the first flap, rolled up on spare needles:


This might not be my absolute favorite design in Fishermen's Sweaters but it will work very well with the Frangipani yarn I already have and it will be eminently practical. I have visions of walking the dog through New England woods while wearing this sweater, a rugged link with knitters of the past. At the beginning of the year I resolved to do more historical knitting, and this will certainly qualify for that. 

Not much to report about the sweater yet, except a very warm recommendation for Jan at Frangipani. Last Fall I was looking at yarn for Jess' Gansey, and Jan insisted that she mail me (for free) a color card before I make a decision - and I bought one cone of 5-ply yarn. The pattern proved impossible to learn, though, so the yarn sat around for a while in my stash. When I decided to make Lochinver, I e-mailed Jan, in the hope that she might have more of my yarn: one cone doesn't seem to be quite enough for a long-sleeved, generously-sized gansey. Jan e-mailed me right away, and she even found my dye lot! Also, her prices are amazing: even with shipping from the UK a cone of yarn is still 1/3 cheaper than just the yarn at other stores. And shipping is very fast - one week from the UK to Philadelphia! 

I haven't been much of a gansey knitter so far, but it seems like the Frangipani 5-ply is the gold standard for such sweaters. True? False? I'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Monogamy pays off

I have too many projects going on, so it's no wonder that I hardly ever finish stuff. If one knits 3-4 rows on a different project every day, not much will get done.. 

For the past few days I've been churning away at the Lace Ribbon Scarf, in the hope that I will get rid of one thing on the list. And here it is! 

I haven't blogged about this scarf much, because it's a scarf and not a particularly exciting one at that. This is what the Artfibers Sylph would have become had I not come to my senses and saved that yarn for something more special. Plus, I got plenty of scarf from 400 yards of yarn; the 780 yards of Sylph would have produced a monster.

It's blocking right now (hurray for blocking!), but it has already been worn: it made a great wrap for walking the dog and driving to the pet food store. This was an easy knit, and more than half was done on the subway, to and from my volunteer work earlier this month. Half a repeat on the ride there, half a repeat on the ride back. Got me into some interesting conversations with people. Is there something about me that makes people start to talk to me? The other day a lady sat next to me on a bench on campus and half an hour later I knew her life story, she knew some of mine, and she had prayed for me, my boyfriend AND the dog, in one very beautiful and thoughtful prayer. Anyway, back to the scarf:

Pattern: Lace Ribbon Scarf by Veronik Avery, in the Spring'08 Knitty
Yarn: The Fibre Company's Canopy Sport, 2 skeins in Kaffir Plum. ( what is a kaffir plum?.)
Needles: does it matter? probably size 3 or 4.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A hard day

Today is another of those days when I am so happy that I dropped out of school*. Instead of spending the lovely April day in a depressing building, working on obscure problems that will never benefit or interest anyone, having lunch with sexist professor three times my age, I spent the lunch hours biking at one of my favorite spots in town: the 18th century mansions in Fairmount Park. The smell of grass, the colors of flowers, the chirping of the birds... sounds cliche, but it really felt like heaven. I even bumped into the model plane people, who seem to fly their planes and do some great plane acrobatics on the same field every day at noon. April might be the best month in Philadelphia: the temperatures are high, everything is blooming, but the humidity hasn't started yet. 

I'll spend the rest of the day taking the dog to a park, knitting, reading... I know, my life is very difficult right now. I know that I am paying a price for dropping out of school, though, so I might as well enjoy myself and savor my free time. 

Obligatory knitting content: see the photo above. I finished the roses chart on the heart-warmer shawl. Stupid @#$%! roses chart. What a pain.

* For all of you worried about my future and such: I dropped out of graduate school, after getting a masters. My career will be Ok, methinks. So I won't be able to be an Ivy League professor any more. Big deal.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"Amazing Chinese Weight Loss Cure"

That's what one of the AdSense ads above the posts says today. I should share my own "amazing weight loss cure": getting off one's butt and doing stuff. The weather's turned very nice, I fixed up my road bike and hurray! A first timid solo ride happened today. It's true that you never really forget how to ride a bike, even when the bike is complicated and you need to ride through insane city traffic. 

Speaking of city traffic, I am doing my share: I started taking driving lessons! If you are in Philadelphia next Tuesday (the 22nd, Earth Day), please avoid being on the streets between 1-3pm. 

And the knitting? The knitting is fine. Nothing spectacular to report, just crawling along on the three active projects. As a classic solution to the "how to deal with too many UFOs" problem, I cast on for another sweater: my first Starmore! I will be knitting, hopefully, Lochinver from the Fishermen's Sweaters book. At a 40 inch waist, on size 2 needles, it will take forever plus a few years. I worked on it for a few hours yesterday and I have nothing worth photographing.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A midwinter night's dream

I spent the past few days knitting and tinking / frogging almost everything I had just knit. More on that later. Here's one project that hasn't been tinked too much: the Swedish Heart Warmer shawl.
There is a row of suns (stranded), then a background transition region (also stranded), then some beautiful red roses (intarsia!!). I hate intarsia, but what can you do when the pattern needs it? So here I am, intarsi-ing away on the second such project:

The original intarsia project, the Kaffe vest of doom, hasn't been touched in more than a month. Instead, I've spent the past 48 hours knitting and frogging this:

Pele, a lacey shell from Lavold's Book Fourteen, knit in Bamboucle. The yarn and book are so new they haven't been posted on Lavold's webpage yet, so unfortunately I haven't been able to find an errata. I think I will run out of yarn, although I've never run out of yarn on a Lavold project before.

Back to the pattern: it will stand as proof that you can start a project too soon. The entire fabric you see above has been frogged, because I misunderstood the directions and didn't center the pattern correctly. Granted, I was off by only two stitches, but it will have made an enormous difference in a V-neck! There is a Romanian proverb: "Cine face si desface tot anul are ce face!" (in a knitterly translation, If you knit and then frog, you will have something to do all the time!) and I am living it.

Special non-knitting note: It seems that you can dramatically increase the number of readers of your blog if you mention... Scientology. So there, Scientology, Scientology! (I can't wait for my AdSense revenue to triple!) Also, Xenu, if you want to see why Scientology sucks.

Friday, April 4, 2008

New Haven!

An unexpected apartment find in New Haven prompted a blitz visit: took the 7am train yesterday, saw the apartment, visited the school (my future employer), checked out the neighborhood, then caught a 5pm train back. I didn't find the Acela train as impressive as I had imagined - it was very crowded and the passengers were all boring businessman-type people. I'd rather be seated next to friendly grannies wearing "Bush lied" buttons and asking for my advice on knitting! 

Anyway, I persuaded the landlord that I am a trustworthy person and that my dog is a medium dog (ha-ha, even the dog is laughing at this), so I got the apartment. It's in a lovely neighborhood, very green and spacious, and I have a 15 minute walk to a cute shopping area: a few coffee shops, a yoga / new age studio, a hair salon, a Scientology gathering place * and ... 

... a very dangerous place: Yarn LLC. Why dangerous? Let's just say I was able to find Lavold's books one and nine (the Viking ones) for original prices, plus her latest, plus what seems like most if not all the yarns in her collection. I have a feeling a good portion of my meager future income will be paid to the friendly ladies at this store. 

* I don't really approve of Scientology. In fact, the whole cult creeps me out. I was just astonished to see the storefront in what looked like a friendly, nice part of the street.