Thursday, November 30, 2006

Obnoxiously Fuzzy Sweater

Look at that sweater. It doesn't do you any good. You know why? Because you have to touch it to experience it. It's handspun, handpainted, 100% angora. You could touch a cloud and it wouldn't be this soft.
I'd been craving this Malabrigo angora ever since I first saw it at Fringe, probably six months ago. I was good for a long time. Also, I couldn't think of what to do with it. It's absurdly expensive, but Fringe finally offered it at 15% off. Still, we're not going to talk about how much the whole sweater cost.
Luckily, after I foun the right price, I found the right project. Veronica had made an adorable sweater for her daughter based on the ballet T, but with sleeves and a pocket. Well, I didn't need a pocket, but the ballet T was the perfect design. You know I love that pattern. I've never come across anything that goes faster or uses less yarn. So that's what this sweater is. Thanks to the way the angora fluffs out, I didn't even have to double it, which saved a lot on the cost. And thanks to the size 15 needles, I had this whole sweater done in a weekend.
The body really just is the ballet T, but made longer by an extra skein. The stitches you would bind off for the sleeves are left live. Then once you finish the body, you go back, get those stitches and pick up an extra 5 or so stitches at the underarm and knit to length. This was all Veronica's idea, I totally can't claim credit for it, but I wish I could. The sweater is perfect. It's also extremely warm.
I was going to make myself wait to knit it until all the holiday knitting was done, but I went to my parents' house for Thanksgiving and I couldn't very well knit their respective gifts in front of them. So my secrets are safe, and I have a gorgeous sweater to wear for the holidays.

In summary:
Pattern: Ballet T w/ Veronica's sleeves
Needles: Size 15, 24"circular and set of 5 dpn
Yarn: Malabrigo angora, 9 skeins
Cost: We're not going to talk about that
Time: Two lazy evenings of TV, could have been one if I applied myself

Friday, November 17, 2006

20 Questions

1. Is it a reasonable goal to plan to finish my Ph.D. in physics, then devote the rest of my life to knitting?

2. At what point do you need to seriously examine and attempt to reduce your yarn stash?

3. Is it ever okay to get rid of yarn? Even Red Heart acrylic? What do you do with it?

4. When do you give up on a UFO?

5. When did this go from "hobby" to "obsession"?

6. Will I always be this fanatical about knitting?

7. What does my cat dream about?

8. How can I justify that really cute, $40 circular needle organizer at the LYS?

9. Will I ever realistically gauge how much time/money I will spend on a given project?

10. What is my deal with socks?

11. Is it okay to not want to fix my deal with socks?

12. Is it possible to completely finish a project without daydreaming about the next one?

13. Do the non-knitters know?

14. Is everyone a knitter at heart, they just haven't learned yet? Or are there fibers wound directly into a knitter's DNA?

15. What made me think a 26 color intarsia blanket was a great idea?

16. Will I eventually have every needle in every length? Or will I still find a way to buy more needles?

17. Is a switch to entirely circular needles inevitable?

18. Why am I always hungry?

19. Will I ever be one of those people who casually design their own complicated sweater patterns?

20. Should I be more of a perfectionist?

Bad Blogger, Bad!

It's not that I haven't been knitting. I really have, even on the scuba trip. It's just that I'm still knitting the same thing. It's true. That pretty grey thing I have in my hands on the boat? That's just one piece (left front) of the sweater I'm making for my dad (who is aparently the size of the entire state of Washington, judging by this sweater) for Christmas.
He's gotten hats and scarves for Christmas before (including the year I started knitting, in which he got some cleverly expanding hats that could just about fit the Lincoln memorial), but this year I decided he needed a sweater. The truth is, I just got cocky. A sweater, I scoffed. How long can that take? I made a sweater for someone my size in just five days. I didn't really take into account that my dad is a foot taller and more than a hundred pounds heavier than someone my size. It's three weeks later, and I've been knitting, and knitting, and knitting. I'm nearing the end of the first sleeve. I could have knit at least two small sweaters in this time, but I'm still only at about the halfway point on this monster. And did I mention I picked a pattern that requires a lot of finishing? So even once I'm done with the bulk of the knitting, I have to block it, assemble it, pick up stitches at the neck and make the collar, crochet the edging all around, and then sew in the zipper. Then it might be done. It's good thing I started this in October.
There's also a slight problem, in that I didn't really check my row gauge very clearly. And while this worked out just fine on the body, when I got to the right number of stitches for the sleeve, the length was too long by about 3". The pattern didn't call for a cuffed sleeve, but it has one now.
Since I'm reasonably sure my dad only reads my blog when my mom tells him there's something funny, I may post some WIP pictures at some point. Really, a lot of knitting has been done around here, it just doesn't look like it.
Mom don't read this. [The other thing that I'm working on is a fantastic lace scarf for my mom for Christmas. (Clearly, I love my parents dearly. And if they can't tell that by the amount of knitting I'm doing, I'll murder them in their sleep.) I can't wait to blog about it once it's done and the holidays are over. The scarf is suprisingly fun, and a huge relief from the vast expanses of stockinette stitch in the sweater sleeves. The trouble is, it's still a lace scarf, that is to say, lace weight yarn (gorgeous 100% merino, btw) on size 2 needles. It's like knitting with thread on toothpicks. I don't know how some people (Elizabeth, Jessica) turn out lace like it's garter stitch, I only know I am not one of them.]
All this ranting and raving brings me to my final rant/rave, which is this. I have a massive amount of knitting left before the holidays. I'm going home for Thanksgiving, so I'll have a nice amount of leisure time with the family during which I can knit. However, I cannot knit the two things I desperately need to be knitting! This means I have to come up with some kind of buffer project that is interesting enough to keep me entertained, but not interesting enough so as to distract me from the real knitting that needs to get done once I'm back in the fortresss of solitude. Hats, anyone?