Sunday, February 26, 2006

KOP - Endgame

At douse of torch, I was on Row 160. Of course, I kept knitting and now I'm on Row 165. So, 238-165=73 more rows to knit before mom gets here the weekend after next. At least I think that's 73 more math has always been shaky, and it's 1 AM.

I did not medal in these Olympic games. But, neither did a lot of Olympians in Torino. Doesn't mean we didn't try hard, just means we didn't medal. I picked a large, semi-difficult project (as it goes on it's really more large than difficult) and I did my best. I had a few days where all I ate was Raisin Bran because time spent cooking is time spent not knitting. I was very regular on those days. Guess what? Time spent in the bathroom? Also time spent not knitting. I did get more lax as time went on, because the Knitting Olympics, unlike the actual Olympics, were an exercise in concentration. Most Olympic sports last 10 minutes or less. My event lasted 16 days. There is a limit to my concentration. That limit is apparently 10 days, because that's when I started thinking of all sorts of things I could be doing besides knitting, such as vacuuming, sleeping, reading, sleeping, being with Rick, sleeping...I've been a very sleep deprived little child during the course of these games! But my laxity should not be confused with Bode Miller's "I don't care, it was a perfect run, I just didn't medal" mentality, which I think is a crock of shit. Sorry, just had to get my Bode frustration out there.

Before I go to bed, I leave you with what 16 days of knitting looks like:

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From the back.

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From the front.

Friday, February 24, 2006

last minute gift

Sorry to "break in" to Julies run of Knitting Olympics post, but I just wanted to get this in here.

I decided last minute to knit something for Kev's mom...out of guilt because I can't go with him to visit her this weekend, and also because Kev asked me "'re going to knit her something, right?"


So four skanks of Berroco's "Optik" from my LYS and much rapid knitting on 15 needles...along with copious swearing, because this stuff is a bitch to knit with, and picking up the easily dropped stitches is frustrating because it sticks together like mohair...PLUS there are occasional loopy sections which like to catch on to the point of the needle...

OK, enough bitching. Here are the pics (clicky to pop and make biggie)

wrap gift

Somehow, Kev managed to blur a picture taken with a "steady shot" camera.

Here is a close-up of the yarn detail:

close up

Lots of very thin and very thick sections. I think it turned out pretty in the end - not the most complicated thing I've ever done, but I hope future MIL will like it!


So I received my first order from Crafter's Choice last night, and I was madly excited to get inside, open the box, and see my new books. (Shut up, I get excited over books. Especially when I've saved a lot of money on them and screwed over the Yarn Co. girls by paying $1 for their book.) But when I opened the box...

Let's see...Yarn Girls' Beyond the Basics, The Knitting Answer Book, Sensational Knitted Socks, and...Vintage Paper Crafts? What the fuck? Furniture Makeovers? I didn't order these! Where's my Yarn Harlot book? Where's my Yarns to Dye For? Why did I get books I didn't order, and where the hell are my books? What's this piece of paper? An invoice for these stupid books...that were supposed to go to British Columbia. Goddammit, my books are probably in British Columbia!!!

So two emails to Customer Service in which I was very vocal about my displeasure (as vocal as you can be in a typed medium, that is), I am waiting to hear from Crafter's Choice. They'd better have a damned good excuse, and they had better pay for the postage for me to ship the stupid books back to them. And they had better send my Yarn Harlot book post, post haste.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

KOP - What day is this?

I think it's Day 11. And that is just one more sign that I'm not going to get this shawl done by the time the torch is extinguished on Sunday. Because I have been ganged up on by the Koreans.

In this case, the Koreans are metaphorical. If you've been watching the Men's Speed Skating, or listening to any interview with Apolo Anton Ohno, you know that the Koreans "team skate". They will work together to make sure that no one finishes ahead of them, going so far as to engineer crashes. My Koreans? A messy house and tax time.

You see, the longer I knitted, the longer the cats had to destroy my house. Litter got tracked about, food scattered, fur flew, shit got knocked over. I don't know about you, but I can't ignore that. I tried. I even made it to Saturday. But faced with a weekend of watching my house turn to crap around me, I put down the knitting and cleaned. I cleaned the bathroom, I swept, I did laundry (because I was running out of underwear), I went to the grocery store (because I had been surviving on Raisin Bran for a few days - cooking takes time away from knitting).

Also, tax time is around the corner, and Julie likes to get her refunds early. Because the earlier I file, the earlier the refund gets to me. So I sat down to do taxes. But while I had some of my tax stuff together, most of my deductions were sitting in a pile of filing that hadn't been done since I moved to this apartment. So I had to organize that and shred what didn't need to be filed, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. The taxes got done last night.

Now that all of those things are done, I can settle back into my knitting. But since I'm on Row 134 of 238 with only five and a half days left...yeah, I don't think the shawl is going to be finished. I'll keep trying just to see how far I can get, but the real goal I have is to get it done before Mom comes up in three weeks. That's a realistic goal. But the rest of you out for the Koreans.

Friday, February 17, 2006

KOP Day 7

Again, no picture, although I finished earlier last night. At 1:30. I would have finished prior to that, but I tried to do my taxes for a while to ease hand cramping. And then I got incredibly frustrated with taxes, as I always do, and went back to the knitting.

I'm starting to think that the majority of Olympic Knitters out there are sandbagging (ie, have picked really easy projects, or at least projects that have turned out easy). Obviously I did not do this. I am on Row 118 now, of 238. This would lead you to believe that I am nearly halfway through, but because the shawl is comprised of increases every other row, this is not the case. I don't even want to know how many stitches I have left, so I guess it's good that math was never my strong subject. I know of several knitters who are either already done or close to done, and I am jealous envious thinking that they didn't embrace the "challenge" aspect of these games. Of course, they will medal (finish), and I probably won't unless I do a shitload of knitting this weekend, so maybe the joke's on me.

Tonight is a partial night off for me since I have to see a friend's show in the Village. I'm figuring on subway knitting, of course, and I think I can work in a few rows here and there during the show (a bunch of ten minute plays). You know the Knitting Olympics have affected your mental health when you're already planning how best to knit in a bar while watching a show...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

KOP Day 6

There is no picture today, because when I finished with 13 rows last night at 2 AM, I was too freakin' tired to take one. Oh well.

As I was holding it up to the light last night to admire the lace pattern, I noticed two mistakes. Actually, I noticed one mistake as I was making it, when I somehow had 38 stitches on the center section and decided that rather than tinking back 200-some stitches to get to where I probably made the mistake, I was just going to decrease right there. I think Mom would support this decision.

The other mistake, the one I found as I was holding the shawl up to the light, occurred at about Row 10, when I think I put a yarn over in the wrong place. It's still pretty, it just doesn't match the corresponding "peak" on the other side of the center.

When mistakes occur on Row 10 which are not noticed until we reach Row 103, we must adopt the attitude of Persian rug makers. Those wonderful people purposely insert one mistake into each rug they make because "only Allah is perfect" and it's vanity to make a perfect object. We all know that I am not vain. We just didn't know that I should have been making Persian rugs all this time.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

KOP Day 5

I am tired. I am in a bad mood. But here's yesterday's progress (15 rows):

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

KOP Day 4

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I like to call this one "I started to snore at 74." At least, that's when the wine from our early Valentine's dinner caught up with me.

And are those metal needles in this picture? They are! Susan Bates Silvalumes, size 3, 29" cord. The pattern calls for a 32" cord, but do you think I could find one? No. So here we are. Time will tell if I actually needed those three inches. These needles are doing the trick, although they're much slipperier than the bamboo were - I think I dropped stitches 3 times while transferring them, and had a resultant 3 heart attacks. I think I figured out the pattern to get them back on correctly (it's so much easier to tell on worsted weight stockinette than on lace weight, well, lace), but I probably won't be sure till I block the damn thing. Oh well. The cable joins on this pair of needles are SO much better though, and they're pointier than the bamboos, so now that I've got the hang of it, I'm having a much easier time. Regan, get Silvalumes when you pick this project back up again.

Monday, February 13, 2006

KOP Day 3

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I'm developing calluses on my index fingers from coaxing stitches across bamboo needles, but we made it to row 58 last night (the Kacha counter says 59 to remind me where to start the next time I pick it up).

The pattern is getting much easier since I figured out that the center gusset section always has 37 stitches in it, and all that's happening on the sides are yarn overs that increase the stitch count by four every other row, but I still have high hopes for what I can do with metal needles. Please, let me be able to find metal needles today.

Off to do that now.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

KOP Day 2

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Day 2 - up to row 36.

I have decided something. Well, two things. The first is that counting stitches becomes extremely challenging after two beers and two glasses of wine. But as of yet, no mistakes (more tinking was involved, however).

The second is that the Clover size 3's I'm using have to be replaced. They are just not pointy enough to be doing k3togs. And the join between the cable and the needle is a pain in the ass - my stitches tend to get caught there. So tomorrow I am off in search of a pair of Addi Turbos. I've avoided them in the past because I like the way bamboo grips my stitches (I sometimes drop stitches off the edge of the needle before I've realized it), but for shawl making, I think I need the Turbos. Hope I can find them quickly, I want to be able to knit all afternoon.

President Lincoln, thank you for having your birthday during the Knitting Olympics so that my workplace is closed in celebration. I was a fan of yours before, but this has sealed the deal.

Abe's Number One Fan,

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Knitting Olympics Progress (KOP) - Day 1

Here's the first day's progress:

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Rows 1-20 of Knitpicks' Faroese Peaks Shawl.

So far, I have to pay attention and count a lot, which has slowed my knitting down, but the pattern overall isn't that hard (aside from one center gusset section I had to tink back because I was watching TV, IMing with Rick, blogging, drinking Malbec, and watching the Olympics while knitting. I guess there is such a thing as too much multi-tasking, at least while drinking wine). I'm knocking wood as I say that, since I still have 217 rows to knit and have to increase the number of stitches by another 422. I'm going to leave the math there because otherwise it's going to get downright depressing. In my optimism right now I think I can do this in the time frame I've got. I'd like to just keep that state of mind.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Finished: One Present

Would you like to see Regan's present? Would you?


You sure?

Because if you don't want to see it, quit scrolling now.

Okay, we're going to do this in two stages. First, the pictures taken when I realized I was running out of yarn and wasn't going to be able to finish with what I had:
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Pretty bad, huh? But this is where it gets really delusional, when you put the SOCKS (yes, they are SOCKS! Jaywalkers at that. Damn, that was the best kept secret in blog-dom.) side by side and see just how far I had to go:
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Um, yeah, not gonna happen. So, one trip back the the LYS and one new skein purchased (and several more hours of knitting on teeny-tiny size 1 dpns), and here's the finished product:
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In case you couldn't tell that these are the most fraternal pair of sock twins evah, take a look at this:
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The one with the orange toe was finished with the new skein, but as they were the same dye lot, it was just luck of the draw. What you can't tell is that each of the plys for this yarn is dyed separately and then spun together. Which makes for some pretty fucking cool socks, just not identical twins. And for the record, the last two pictures are the closest to how the socks' colors actually look. Like I've been saying, in sunlight they are works of freakin' art.

So, the stats:

Cast on: I think January 5 or thereabouts. I need to start writing this crap down.

Bind off: Was it Monday or Tuesday? Again, I need to write this down. Let's call it February 7. Please note that this pattern is easy to learn and would go faster if you were making a smaller sized sock. Like for Julie-sized feet instead of Bunsen sized feet.

Pattern: Jaywalker, by Grumperina. I knit the largest size.

Yarn: Trekking XXL by Skacel, colorway 100. Yarn is 75% wool, 25% nylon, and I think qualifies as superwash, although I'm not completely sure.

Would I knit it again? Hell yeah! But for Julie-sized feet. Sorry, Bunsen.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Tricksy Present

Regan's present has been evil the past few days. We are engaged in a race, the present and I, to see if I win (project completed with current yarn) or it does (project runs out of yarn with a ridiculously small amount left to knit). It will be close, and at the moment it's impossible to tell who will be the victor, but if I use all the yarn I will have burned through 494 yards. Insanity.

Yesterday the present pulled a dirty trick and lost one of the needles necessary to knitting it so that when I pulled it out of my bag on my commute yesterday morning I was unable to knit. Tricksy present 1, Julie 0. I found the needle when I got home, but there was no way I was going to knit a project on Size 1s at my first Stitch n Bitch, so I had to abandon it in favor of Em's hat. Tricksy present 2, Julie 0. I wound up knitting a fair amount during Project Runway when I got home, though, so take that! Tricksy Present 2, Julie 1. See, there is redemption.

The Stitch n Bitch greatly improved my mood. This week we met in a coffee house in Park Slope, only a subway ride and a decent walk away from my house. The girls seem nice, and I learned that I actually knit pretty quickly in comparison to others. I also noticed that many of us are English-style knitters, or throwers, which made me feel better. The Knitting Knazi at my workplace has always insisted that I learn Continental or I would be somehow deficient. Not so, Knazi, not so. I ended up staying at the SnB for almost three hours, and will definitely go back next week, when we're invading the bar across the street. Let's hear it for drunk SnB!