Thursday, July 31 / 10:01 a.m.

Deep breath
Okay, I'm back. No major emergency or anything; my life was just too complicated to find time to blog for a while. Unfortunately, the digital camera is on vacation in Quebec at the moment, so I guess I'll have to be descriptive.

Mystery Project: It's being knit in cream-coloured worsted. Two squares of basketweave bordered by braided cables, so far; also a long strip of caterpillar cables that I so far have not yet completed. There is a lot of turning involved, so I have been advised to learn to knit backwards. Haven't had the time yet, though. In fact, I'm more of an 'armchair knitter' these days - I read about knitting, think about knitting, talk about knitting... but I haven't been doing much knitting. This is partly because of my summer job, my volunteering, and Umberto Eco. Also partly because I've decided to frog St. Brigid and can't bring myself to rip it out. Also, here's a question - if I wash and recycle the yarn, do I need to wash the rest of the skeins before knitting it, or will it be ok to join on a ball that hasn't been washed? The gauge should be slightly different, that's why I'm wondering. Anyone know?

Smooch: It's finished. I don't like it. It flares out too much for my hips, but fits nice and snugly everywhere else. So, this brings me to my


(a.k.a. shameless ploy to get people to start reading my long-dormant blog again)

It's not particularly complicated. You could win One genuine size-L Rowan "Smooch" knitted in locally hand-dyed brown silk! I know this sucks without a photo, but you can check out the pattern here and the colour of the yarn below.

And that's not all! You get the extra silk from the two skeins I bought. So if you were thinking "This Smooch tank is for the birds, but that brown silk is sweet," you'd have a total of 1500 yards (or is that metres? Damn. The tag's around here somewhere... if you really care email me and I'll hunt around for it) of sport-fingering weight (I used the yarn doubled) to play around with once you unravelled the tank.

Okay. So, most disorganized contest ever. To win, you must do one OR both of the following:
(a) tell me why you, you, and only you deserve to have this scrumptious silk in your hot little hands, and/or
(b) bribe me. Offer to trade one spiffy Smooch for __________. I classify this as a contest and not a trade, because I'm not looking for something of equal value here - It could be something small, knitting-related or non knitting-related.

Contest closes at 11:59 pm Atlantic time, on Wed. Aug. 6. Go crazy!


Thursday, July 10 / 6:45 p.m.

Life is crazy right now. Expect weekly updates on Sundays.


Tuesday, July 8 / 10:14 a.m.

Tee hee
So much for updating every day. I have been knitting, though. Smooch is 50% done (again!) and I've started a 'mystery project' - it's not secret from you, it's secret from me! I get instructions every week, and I won't know what the thing is until I'm finished. It's supposed to be pretty swanky, though. However, I had a two hour rugby practice today in the blistering heat, so you'll have to wait until tomorrow for pictures 'cause I'm going to BED. I leave you with this:

A fair isle that I actually like! It's by Kirsten Cowan from her book, Irresistable Knits. Most of them are fairly resistable, but I really like this one. Of course, definitely not in purple. You can't really tell in the picture, but that little line across the keyhole neck is actually a string of glass beads. Very cool, if difficult-to-wash. The contrast edging is great, too.


Friday, July 4 / 10:32 a.m.

Tra la la
It was sunny today! Stopped off at the yarn store during my lunch break and bought another hank of Fleece Artist Silk. Now I'll have to rip out the progress I've made on Smooch, 'cause I'll need to knit two strands of BOTH hanks together in case the colours are a bit different. That's okay, though - it's fast knitting! Didn't knit anything today, though, because I finally got Baudolino from the library and sat down to enjoy it. The first ten pages are absolutely hilarious, which I was not at all expecting. I predict much knitting will be done this weekend, however.


Thursday, July 3 / 11:13 a.m.

We'll leave a proof, by that which we will do,
Wives may be merry, and yet honest too:

Not much time to write today; I was volunteering for Shakespeare by the Sea tonight after work and I've gotta hit the sack. It's the best outdoor theatre I've ever seen and I strongly urge anyone who's anywhere near Halifax this summer to check it out. A skinny guy with lots of padding played Falstaff tonight, and was grotesquely hilarious.

Thanks for all your kind comments about St. Brigid; it's in limbo at the moment because I don't want to go any further before I've figured out exactly what to do with it. I think I'll just work on my Estonian mittens for a few days... or maybe visit the LYS....

P.S. The merry wives spoke in broad Cape Breton accents. I can't describe to you how unbelievably funny that was.


Wednesday, July 2 / 7:07 a.m.

As my friend Cate would say, Gah!

Every time I think I'm finally making some progress as a knitter, I screw something up big time. Above is a photo of St. Brigid. I have completed 8 pattern repeats, which is what the pattern requires. It's quite a bit too short, but I knew that was going to happen because - aha! - I made a careful gauge swatch and decided I had enough knitting expertise to progress despite the fact that my row gauge was off, since what really counted was stitch gauge and that was fine. I just need to knit until it's as long as it's supposed to be. Unfortunately, it's also about 9 centimetres too narrow. Well, let's be fair, it's about five centimetres too narrow for the size I'm making, but I have just realized that even that is too small! I had been worrying about the smallness of the garment, but the little light didn't click on in my head until this afternoon, when I was browsing through Sweater Design in Plain English in order to begin a completely different and heretofore unmentioned project. Maggie pointed out that most women's hips are larger than their chests, and I realized my problem - St. Brigid is sized for 34-36 and 38-40" busts. No problem there. But it's quite a long sweater, and at the size I'm making, it might cover my hips, but it'll cling to my bum like there's no tomorrow. Why, oh why, didn't Alice list the suggested HIP size? The sweater is a big rectangle, so obviously the widest body measurement is the important one. Gah! Oh well, it's all my fault anyway.

"Okay," you may be saying to yourself, "so she's making the wrong size. But why is it too narrow even considering the stupid small size?" Answer: I'm not exactly sure. I made several careful gauge swatches in moss stitch, and washed 'em and measured over and over. I think it comes down to a few things.
  1. Just because I can achieve the same stitch gauge as Ms. Starmore in moss stitch doesn't mean that my gauge in several different kinds of Celtic knots.

  2. I was a bit off when I measured. The pattern gets 2.4 stitches per centimetre; I was getting 2.4 stitches per centimetre, at least measured on the moss stitch on the sweater, which is a big squished as it *is* on the edge. That makes quite a difference in the big scheme of things.

  3. I washed and blocked my swatches; the sweater-in-progress has not yet been blocked or washed. However, I don't think it's prudent to assume I can stretch it 5 centimetres through blocking, and I think I should be making the larger size anyway.

This brings me to Krista's Knitting Tip O' The Week: Measure your garment while you knit it. Constantly. I measured the width a couple of times soon after I'd started, but since it was more a strip than a rectangle at that point I was probably stretching it too much.

I think I can save this without re-knitting it, though: All I have to do is knit long thin strips of moss stitch and sew 'em to the sides. Right? Does anyone have a reason why I shouldn't do this? If so, please speak now! And when I knit the sleeves I'll calculate how much extra moss stitch I have to add, and try to figure out how to change the increases as best I can.

"Why", you might ask, "doesn't she rip the darn thing out and knit it on bigger needles"? Good question. I'm really happy with the drape and density of the fabric as it is; I think going up a needle size would make it too drape-y, especially given that it's a Starmore design and she likes really tight gauges.

It's no longer smooth sailing, but if I make it out of this sweater alive, methinks I will have learned a lot about pattern manipulation.


Tuesday, July 1 / 7:54 a.m.

Well, this Intarsia thing is as tough as I expected it would be. I think I need to practice on some squares first or something. But I'm getting there. Just maybe not in time for Canada Day! I'm a bit confused about where I need to have separate lengths of yarn and where I don't. And sometimes I wrap the wrong way and end up with holes.

I think you all probably want to see a St. Brigid update (despite the fact that it's a giant rectangle and if you picture the same photo you saw last time, but twice as long, you've pretty much got it), so I'll post one tomorrow (that's right, tomorrow. Muahaha). I've finished eight pattern repeats, and should be shaping the shoulders now, except it's shorter than it's supposed to be because my row gauge is quite different. However, I kinda like it the length it is. But I'm not sure if I'll like it once I get the sleeves on. Decisions, decisions....

I leave you with funny stuff. Most of this will resonate with Canadians (in keeping with my Canada Day theme-o-the-moment), but there's some stuff Yanks should appreciate too. Comedy from "The Vestibules:"

Exclusive Interview with Mr. Dressup - this is a song. A weird song. A funny song. Mr. Dressup is the Canadian equivalent of Mr. Rogers. But he was far less creepy, did far cooler stuff, had far better puppets, and (this is the best part) posessed a magic Tickle Trunk full of all kinds of different costumes. I love costumes. So very much.

I Don't Want to Go to Toronto - another funny song. Anyone who knows how the rest of Canada loves to hate the city in which I attend school will love this song. It's especially appropriate in these SARS-ridden times!

Laurence Olivier for Diet Coke - Remember a few years ago when they did those Pepsi commercials with dead stars and used special effects to make them plug pepsi? Did you hate them as much as I did? If so, listen to this.

Looking for a Job in Quebec - If you know even a little bit of French, I guarantee this will make you fall off that computer chair of yours. Tee hee. I'm laughing just thinking about it.