Tuesday, February 28, 2006

So Grumpy, oh, so Very Very Grumpy!

I think I get this way every year at around this time. I started blogging around this time last year, and maybe that is why I titled the blog the Bitter Knitter. For that is how I felt at the time. Bitter. Grumpy. That's how I've been feeling for the past few days. I had hoped to avoid posting during this little mental slump, but I have to vent somewhere, and you all can just surf away if you're not interested in my kvetching.

The cardigan is on hold waiting for some measurements, since I am too disorganized to have managed to keep the original measurements anywhere that now makes sense. It's just lying around now, reminding me of my ineptitude at keeping order in my life. *GRUMP*

I just turned the heel on Potatomatomustard #2. I made a couple of errors on this one, and left one in and "fixed" the other, since they are just for me. My perfectionism oddly doesn't extend to things I make for myself. Which makes me think about the Stash of Shame, and why should it be a Stash of Shame, anyway? Because it's acrylic? It's all I can afford right now, which makes me grumpy, and there are people out there who wouldn't touch the stuff with any length of pole and are proud of it. So why is yarn snobbery okay, anyway? Other snobbery is frowned upon, but it seems that knitters are encouraged and applauded for saying things like, "Lion Brand? Maybe, but NEVER EVER Red Heart!" Mind you, I'm not in love with cheap yarn, but I feel that it has its place for certain projects, and, without it, I wouldn't get much knitting done, since I'd have nothing to knit with! *GRUMP*

The girls are getting closer to turning 3, and it is not agreeing with them OR me, as it seems to be turning them into sassy backtalking Pierres, which is making me grumpy and doubtful of my skills at raising children (note to self: 3 years in is a little late to start doubting).

The only bright point lately seems to be that one of my violets has decided to bloom.

I wish it were enough to snap me out of this funk. (I posted the photo as a little thank you for those who managed to wade through this post.)

Friday, February 24, 2006

Never Say Never... Again

As in "I'm never ripping this cardigan back again." Yeah, that's right, I got the fronts done and the armscyes ended up being about 3-4" longer than their corresponding backs. Rippit, rippit, rippit. Reknit last night, and now all is well. It's probably for the best that I've had to redo a lot on this, as there are some projects I'm waiting to hear back on, and it keeps me from obsessing (too much) on when that might happen. On to the sleeves. I swatched up the lace I want to run up the sleeves. Any opinions?
This is the wrong side. I pinned it out and started shooting away without thinking, but, I kind of like it, and it might stand out more against stockinette and complement the seed stitch. Yes? No? Just knit the damn sleeves already, you weirdo?

This is the right side. Also nice, looks

a bit more polished, perhaps? Yes? No? Put down the crack and finish already?

While I've been working on all this black, the girls have been asking for yarn for hats and scarves. So, we went to the "Yarn Store" (I use that term VERY LOOSELY) and each girl chose some yarn. Ah, to be 3 again! Here's what they chose:
Ilsa's favorite color is orange. She will inform anyone and everyone of this fact at any time. It's her current obsession. And when she says orange, she means ORANGE!!
Zoe chose the variegated sample on the left, which I actually really like. It looks, well, kind of delicious and juicy for some reason. See what I mean? Anyway, they have been having fun "knitting" with their new yarn, and have let me keep the lion's share to actually make some hats and, perhaps, scarves for them. Anyone have any ideas for patterns? I'm open to suggestions!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

That's More Like It

The back is finished, the sides are getting close, I may yet finish this cardigan! The fact that it is looking more like a properly proportioned garment is kind of cheering me along, and I'm enjoying this knit again. I will say, however, that unless I somehow end up with 3 armscyes or something of similar disastrous proportions, I will not be reworking any part of this sweater that is already in progress. The yarn (and my nerves) simply won't take it.

I actually managed to get a decent detail shot of the seed stitch edging along the side welts.

And here's the completed back in all its blackness and glory!
Were this for anyone else, I would've bagged it long ago, but Skippy's worth it!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Oh, Poo!

The cardigan, to quote Ned Flanders in Streetcar! the musical, is,
"Puttin' me through hell-a
Can't you hear me yell-a

It has now been ripped back to the armscye shaping. All three pieces. I dug out my Handy Book of Sweater Patterns by Ann Budd and I think things will be a bit better with her guiding hand. I now feel more confident that it will fit and be a wearable thing, so that's good. Maybe I'll even get around to posting some progress photos, but black is so difficult to show any real detail on, so we'll see.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Skippy the Enabler

Lest any of you were feeling sorry for Skippy, pining away for her cardigan (which she's not, really, I know.), take a peek at what came in the mail today.
Yup. Skippy was at "The Crap Store" and they were going out of business, so she dug around and found me a bunch of circs for socks. She's just that kind of person. She also sent this:
for me to play with. I really will get on that cardigan, honestly I will. Especially since I finished my first Potatomatomustard today! I think I had about 2 yards left from the first hank after grafting the toe, so it should be smooth sailing (I'm always panic stricken that I'm going to run out of yarn. You'd think I'd buy extra "just to be sure" but, noooooooo!) Again, the lighting is bad, but it's a gloomy day here. Second day of snow in a row. You'd think some of it would have stuck, but, alas, no.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Olympic Sports and the American Toddler

I remember watching Dorothy Hamill skate in the Olympics oh, so many years ago. I was about the age my daughters are now. My dreamy little head was filled with visions of pretty costumes and flawless jumps. And the flowers. Oh, all the flowers they throw at you! Soon to follow was my first attempt at actually ice skating. My aspirations diminished the moment my bum hit the ice. Maybe it would be enough to just make it all the way around the rink without falling. Okay, without falling more times than I can count.

So, now I have two daughters. The Olympics are on, and to what do they aspire?
1. Curling. I caught them curling in the kitchen with a Matchbox car and a toy broom. Ilsa was the Skip, and Zoe was sweeping furiously down the Bahnspiel.
2. Speedskating. Long track. They have been racing all morning, although, inevitably someone "falls" and then needs a Band-Aid (and sometimes becomes "the baby" and needs a "bottle" and a nap)
3. Hockey. This, however, is no surprise, as the DH has been hoping to groom them into a "kick-ass defensive pairing" since we found out they were both girls (we're rather smallish people, so boys would have been too small to go far in hockey. Not so girls, I guess). They have been enjoying watching the "Hockey Lady Guys" whenever they get the chance.

And what of figure skating? They seem to like it okay, but (and maybe this is for the best for their egos) they seem to believe that it entails a lot of falling down. It does, girls. It does.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I'm a Bad Friend...

It's official: I am a world class jerk at times. Way way waaaaaay back in August, I promised my friend Skippy a cardigan. This was a major leap for me, as I was to knit it sans pattern. We took measurements of a sweater she owns and likes and, armed with that and a good half kilo of CC (that's Crafter's Crack), I set off to create a sweater for my best friend. My best friend who lives 1000 miles away and cannot come over to try things on. My best friend who is a 6 foot tall viking, which I, decidedly, am not.

I started off at lightning speed, swatching, calculating, knitting away. The back was done! Yippeee! Now, to the fronts. I wanted to add some short row shaping to add some length to the center front. Simple enough idea, right? Well, the first attempt resembled a sock heel on each side of the sweater (despite what you may be thinking, this was NOT PRETTY, nor was it WHAT I INTENDED). So I frogged. Then I worked up the courage to try again, and achieved the subtle effect I was looking for. Then, X-mas came along, and I got a little, well, distracted. In the recent past (for a couple of months now, actually), I have thought about Skippy's sweater, but there were so many colorful woolen temptresses out there to sway my fingers. (Did I mention it's a black cardigan? Stockinette? [I'm planning lace panels up the sleeves to stave off the monotony. Or maybe just to make it take longer to knit and punish myself for the neglect I've submitted it to.]) Then it happened. I was chatting with Skippy the other night, going on about this project and that, and she oh, so casually and breezily posed the question, "So, what's up with the cardigan?"

It's resting. (I am the sorriest person I know and have no right to complain about any others not getting things done in a timely manner.)

I have since restored the cardigan to the needles, the v-neck and armholes are in the process of being shaped, and, I hope, I am on the road to redemption.

I am still having mini-trysts with color, however. Here is the current state of Potanowannafanna:
I know, the lighting is awful and, yes, I do have Monkey Toes. Perhaps when I evolve a bit, I will be a better friend to my projects for Skippy.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Cleaning Up My Act

So, the socks have been washed and dried. There is still a little shadow of coffee on them, but, oh, well. These things happen. As I said before, at least they're washable. Had I made them from 3 balls of Koigu as the example in KOTR, you would find me today either minus one child, or repeatedly dipping the finished socks in a coffee bath, gently sobbing and hoping against hope that they would "dye" to a nice, even taupe. And lest you fear for my children's safety, it would undoubtedly be the latter scenario.

Since I've finished up quite a bit in the last week or so, I started swatching for Zigzag last night. I was going to post pics of the swatches, single and double yarn, and ask for opinions, but when I tried to double the yarn it became immediately apparant that I mustn't double up with this yarn. It just got too thick. So, that means that I will have plenty of leftover yarn for other projects, since I ordered enough to double.

I am almost on the heel flap for Pomatomus. The stitch pattern is starting to make sense to me now, so I'm not glued to the chart. That makes things go a lot faster.

I find I am itching to cast on for another shawl. Maybe the Flower Basket Shawl? I have a lovely hank of Alpaca Cloud that I won from Knittin' Mom awhile back. I've been keeping her lovely gifts away from the riff raff in the Stash of Shame, so they should not misbehave out of sheer terror when I get to them. This is what she sent, LLSS in Grapevine, Alpaca Cloud in Mist, some candies and an origami bowl kit! My camera software was broken at the time so I'm finally getting around to posting a photo. Thanks again, Chrissy!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

In Praise of the Indestructable...

So, I finished the acrylic socks of doom today, and was yet again reminded of just why I chose the $1.52 a ball clearance yarn instead of springing for something nicer to work with. Through no fault of her own, Ilsa "helped" me spill coffee on the completed sock. No problem. They will take a quick trip through the washer/dryer and be good as new, and all the yuckiness of working with this yarn will have been worth it for the mere fact that this incident did not ruin them! I couldn't wait to post pics, so try to ignore the coffee splotches. They are starting to look like old blood stains, actually, but no blood was shed in the knitting of these socks. There were some choice words, especially last night when I spotted an error four rows back and just couldn't let it go. I ripped back and somehow managed to get all 69 stitches back on the needles. I think it was just sheer force of will. Anyway, without further ado, New England socks from Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road. Knit in Bernat Sox on Brittany dpns size 1 1/2.
Coffee stains "cleverly concealed"

Yup, there they are!

I should have hiked them up to smooth them out, but I was in a hurry!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Givin' the People What They Want

So, Skippy keeps reminding me that my camera has a timer, and it seems people wanted to see the fabulous Miss Kiri on a human body (or maybe just wanted to put a face on the Bitter Knitter, who knows?) So, the kids are napping, the light is okay, and the entertainment center is as good a tripod as anything else in this house, so here goes!
Note that I even put on a dress for you all! (Skippy can attest to the rarity of this occurance)When is the camera going to go off? This is my half-assed tribute to Oprah in the late 80's (remember the scarves?) but I couldn't find a nice wide belt to cinch it with.
Doesn't everyone pin their projects up in the window like some weird, lacy bat? (I know I do!)
A nice, backlit detail of the lace.

For those of you who tuned in to Fashion Police: Special Libraries Edition, you will no doubt have noted the absence of myself and the girls. Sadly, we had to let the DH have the car. Conferences this evening and all that, which means more babysitting tonight. I hope I have the energy to stay up and watch this week's Project Runway.

Speaking of Project Runway, can anyone please stop Heidi Klum from saying, "Models, this is also a competition for you as well."? It's redundant. In fact, just now, it hurt my hand a little to type it out. I know, English isn't her first language, I should cut her some slack, but it bugs me. A lot. Am I the only one?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Kiri block party

After casting off on Kiri (I now know how glaciers feel, two inches forward, one inch back, and on and on and on...), I had to get the house presentable so I could babysit. Parent teacher conferences are this week and one of the DH's colleagues needed someone to watch her little girl. She's sat for us before, so I figured I'd return the favor. I'm tired. I'm really really tired, but I blocked Kiri anyway whilst watching House.

Here's the rundown in photos:
Preblocking, ready to go!

This angle shows off how bumpy she is, and I'm starting to think things might go alright.

Unceremoniously plopped into the bath (what, no candles? No lavendar?)

Flung on a towel.

Stomped upon like so many grapes (BTW I kept the camera strap in these pics on purpose to add dramatic effect. Mmm hmm. I did. I wasn't half delerious from my adventures in babysitting. No way.

Then, the Fiber Fairy came. (I left her an offering of Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby)

She is now a sea of lace, which I will wear on the red carpet that is story time at the public library tomorrow. I promise I'll take some decently lit photos tomorrow as well (tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow, blah blah!) For those who might wonder, the DH thinks my Kiri looks like the pond behind his folks' house in the summer, which is to say, covered in duckweed. Nice, eh?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Pending sucess? Perhaps. Secrets? Hoo-boy!

So, I finished the edging on Kiri and am now 1/2 way through casting off and I must tell you all (all, what? 5 of you?) I am scared. This is my first lace project that requires blocking and I am praying to the Fiber Fairies that everything will go according to plan (not that I have a plan, per se). It just seems so, I don't know, small right now. I even laid out the completed half and counted to reassure myself that I had, indeed knit the full 12 repeats. Yup, they're all there. So, here's hoping!

I guess more people have (happily, I hope) stumbled over here since this fall when I made my Josephine, so here's the scoop. Yes, I made it out of Red Heart doubled. (To add insult to injury, I used frogged Red Heart! Hah! Sometimes I gots to give myself my own Ghetto props!) I used size 13 and 11 needles, and my gauge was spot on. There is an error in the pattern (I've e-mailed the designer, but she either doesn't check her mail anymore or I managed to piss her off somehow I always tend to believe I've pissed someone off before considering alternatives, BTW at any rate, the errors have not been posted with the pattern yet). I did not join the KAL, as someone mocked me for my yarn choice and my feelings were hurt (yeah, I'm petty like that, so what?) It was a pretty quick knit, and I think I'm going to add some twill tape at the back of the neck, as it is a heavy sweater and I have no shoulders. I'm also looking for a nice pin to use as a closure. Here's a couple photos of how she turned out:
If I do say so myself, it's hard to guess her "dirty little secret," but the Josephine pictured above is 100% Red Heart Super Saver, acrylic to the core! And she's holding up nicely, no pilling to speak of, so all in all, I'd do it again!

And as long as we're airing secrets, I didn't finish Kiri or my socks today because I was taking down the X-mas tree. Finally. I'm so ashamed.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Well, Whaddaya Know!?

I'm actually flexible and disciplined enough to give myself a swift kick in the, well, you know what! Setting myself on a strict ration of actually accomplishing something (one lace repeat) on the white socks per day, I have reached the heel flap and am 1/3 of the way through that. These will be off my needles within days! Hooray! My mom accused me of turning into a yarn snob due to my disdain for working on these. Not true. (I did knit Josephine out of doubled Red Heart, after all!) This yarn is just icky. It sticks to itself and is rough and makes centered double decreases a dreaded chore! Blech! But, the socks will look good, and I will wear them.

Since I didn't have the chart for the socks memorized, I also got to get some work on Kiri done. I'd done so many repeats of chart two that I didn't even need to look at it anymore, which made it a lot more portable. Anyway, it has been a real struggle lately to get the girls down for their nap, and I found myself getting angry with them when I would just lie down with them, so I discovered that if I just sit in the rocking chair in their room and knit, I stay calm and they settle down and sleep sooner. I did the 12th repeat (thanks, Candsmom! Your Kiri photos and the hard work and determination I know you put into it really inspired me) and am now 1/2 way through the edging.

No pictures today, but keep on the lookout for a couple of FOs in the near future!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Save Me From Myself... please?

So, I had fully intended to finish up these socks for my February socks for the SockAMonthALongADingDong.

Mmm hmm. Yeah. Well, then I got to thinking about how it IS February and it IS the start of Carnival season, culminating in Mardi Gras on the 28th and (I really don't know how this happened) I ended up with Potanowanofana (that's Pomatomus to you and me, Rus) cast on in Knitpicks Sock Memories Carnival (see what I'm getting at here? How could I resist?) and underway before you could say short attention (what? Oh, never mind!).

Originally, and due to a rare blend of Crafter's Crack that I keep only for myself, I had planned to attempt to do these using the 2 socks on 2 circs method, but owing to a rare combination of laziness and penny pinching (aka: not willing to search long enough to find instructions and too cheap to even consider buying any) I found myself attempting to re-invent the wheel with mere bendy sticks and wool. It wasn't happening. After roughly an hour of knitterly contortionism, I looked down at the mess in front of me and quietly surrendered. Perhaps (and I think this may be a big part of it) 16" circs are a wee bit too short for such an undertaking. Yeah, let's blame the equipment and move on. Perhaps the Pomatomus, much like the Beta, is a solitary fish, doomed to fight and destroy any others who dare approach it (at least on a 16" circular. Here's hoping it'll tolerate its mate on the other foot, at least)
It's much happier alone.

But, what of the 3/4 finished pair? I just can't bring myself to work on them. The pattern is fun and challenging.

Perhaps this

has something to do with it. (Yes, it's the label from the Bernat Sox yarn I'm using. 60% acrylic, 40% nylon, 100% cheap) Anyone have any motivating words to give me the swift kick in the nether regions to get these done and get yet another ball of acrylic gone from my stash?

And then there was Kiri. I have now completed 11 repeats of Chart 2.
1. Behold Kiri, unblocked.

2. Behold closeup of kinda-pinned-out-to-simulate-blocking leaf.

3. Behold remaining yarn from original 3 balls.

4. Tell me now, one more repeat, or leave it alone and just do the edging?

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