Sunday, February 28, 2016

A Certain Level of Maturity

It pains me to admit it, but I seem to be dealing with the real effects of...ahem...maturing. There have been several clues in my everyday living that are pointing in this direction, not the least of which was when last week, after looking back over my last few blog posts, I realized I had titled two blog posts exactly the same.  Within two months' time.  Um...yeah.  

There have been other signs as well, but most have been subtle enough that I just pretend they don't exist. Like the fact that I've progressed from forgetting why I walked into a particular room to forgetting why I just got up from my seat.  My train of thought derails that quickly.  I'm sure it's because The Husband distracted me with something ridiculous, you know, like breathing.  

And there's the "Grandma Naming Syndrome".  I call it that because my maternal grandmother manifested this from time to time, scrolling through several family names as she called for me before she landed on my actual name:  "Hey,!"  I am officially a grandma now, so I suppose it was inevitable.  But since I only have one grand baby so far and she lives in another part of the country, my syndrome affects the 5 dachshunds in the house that I keep in an almost perpetual state of confusion, as they are all aging too.

The absolute worst part of this process, however, has been the putting on of weight around my middle.  Aside from the obvious problem this creates - no longer fitting into my existing clothing - this has put a serious kabosh on certain quantities of yarn I purchased prior to the weight gain.  I no longer have enough for that sweater I was going to make (eventually) out of that yummy merino or that lovely summer top out of the gorgeous cotton-linen blend that I found at the bottom of a sale bin and will never find any more of again EVER.  I suppose it serves me right for procrastinating on those projects.  Then again, if I'd knit them then, they wouldn't fit now anyway.  

"I will always buy extra yarn. I will not try to tempt fate."
- Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much

And so, after over 6 months of ignoring the weight and waiting for it to drop off on its own proved futile, I decided to do something productive.  I have begun a new exercise regimen and have started tracking what I eat and choosing healthy foods, watching my portions, and cutting down on snacking.  I've been at it a week and I've lost a whopping ZERO pounds (not that I'm impatient or anything). Every muscle in my body is sore and I now hate my virtual workout instructor and tell her so on a regular basis.  But...MERINO.

Some things are worth the pain...


Sunday, February 14, 2016

In Which I May Not Have Been Paying Attention

Sometimes you just need to knit something simple.  No fancy lace patterns, no counting knits and purls in a crazy texture - just mindless row after row of stockinette with a little ribbing thrown in to keep you from going to sleep.  That was the idea behind my choice to knit the Trapeze Tunic/Dress.  It was a free pattern from Tahki Stacy Charles and I wanted something to wear with my first ever pair of leggings.  The actual choice to purchase a pair of leggings was edgy enough at my age*, so the companion piece needed to be something easy and quick.  And it was.  Maybe too easy because it seems that there were possibly a few moments when I wasn't paying attention.

I could fit four arms in there
Like not noticing how incredibly deep the armholes had gotten.  And maybe that they were made even deeper when I blocked the thing (I SWEAR I measured).  Or that the number of rows of ribbing below the armholes on the back piece didn't match the number of rows of ribbing under the armholes I'd knit on the front.  The ribbing was already weird because apparently in order to spice up the relative ease of the construction of the dress, the pattern writer inserted random stitch counts for the size I was making that actual planning and logic played no part in.  So rather than steady k2, p2 ribbing, I found myself forced into p2, k2 with a random p3 slipped in on either side which I decided in a fit of complete denial that neither I nor anyone else would notice at all.  This proved untrue.

The good news is, I DID eventually notice all of these imperfections and, once they came to light (read: once I realized I was not going to be able to pretend they weren't there), I commenced to reworking the problem areas, starting with UN-SEAMING THE ENTIRE DRESS.  That's right friends, my denial had remained strong clear through actually putting the project together.  It wasn't until I was wearing this mess for which I have no good excuse in front of a mirror that I got the first painfully clear picture that things did not work out as I had planned.  

Trapeze Tunic - Deconstructed

I plan to pay more attention to v2.0.  Yarn used and a few notes are on my Ravelry project page.

On a happier note, it is Valentine's Day and while I think the holiday is a tad overrated, I always welcome the chocolate The Husband gets for me each year.  In return, I cooked him breakfast (which is rare) and have supper in the crock pot for this evening.  The REAL proof of my love is still in the works.  Behold, it's even in a lovely shade of red:

Chocolate and yarn - Yay!

This is definitely real proof of my affection because after the last sweater I made for TH - the one HE picked out that was done completely in moss stitch in a sport weight yarn (which, incidentally, grew with use) - I wasn't sure that either my love for him or for knitting could convince me to attempt another one.  Love for both won out.

Tubular and gnarly, man...

I made a significant yarn investment for him, choosing Madelinetosh Pasmina Worsted.  Okay, it wasn't just for him - I mentioned before this stuff is dreamy.  I gave him a few pattern choices (none of them in a weight lighter than worsted, thank you) and he chose Jon's Sweater by Sarah Wilson.  I am going all out for this project, even using a lovely tubular cast on for the bottom ribbing and sleeves which looks so much nicer than a regular cast on.  

True love

The back is complete and I was halfway through the front piece when I decided I need to make more of an adjustment for my dear hubby's manly girth (read: his over-40 gut).  I haven't quite decided how to adjust the mid-section.  I'm considering either short rows in the front, or simply knitting the next size in the pattern for the front, keeping the row count the same as the back.  Do you have any advice?  Anyone?

Happy Valentine's Day!

*The Husband keeps telling me I'm not old.  He may be right, but I am not a young woman either.  I'm old enough to have realized that while young women choose leggings because they look adorable in them, women my age choose leggings hoping they'll look adorable, but we really just care that they're comfortable.  I mean, have you tried these things?  Super stretchy + One Size Fits All = they're brilliant!  I may never wear anything else.  Now, I'm off to eat some chocolate...

Monday, February 1, 2016


Happy Monday!

Quite some time ago, I finished a sweater project, the Steampunk Pullover by Julia Farwell-Clay.  Two weeks ago, I was finally disciplined enough to put the thing on and have The Husband take some pictures so I could share it with you.

Please ignore the ridiculous facial expression.
On both me and the dog.  It was sunny.

I like the sweater, and you can't really tell from the photo, but the yoke construction is just…well, weird.  It is knit bottom-up, and after the sleeves are attached, the whole thing is knit in the round with a series of decreases that create a rather strange shape.  In fact, if I hadn’t been able to block the odd shape into something passable, I’d have had to rip the whole yoke back and do something different.  It still feels a bit off while wearing, but the look is acceptable and who wants to rip back stitches if they can get by without?  I’m not THAT much of a perfectionist. 

I extended the sleeves because, call me old school but, elbow-length sleeves over a long sleeved blouse (which is how the sweater was modeled in Knitscene, Fall 2014) just makes me cringe.  Yarn used was Claddagh by Good for Ewe that I picked up at a yarn store in Indianapolis a few years ago.  I like the yarn and it is toasty warm.  I know this because I put it on during a cold snap here in South Mississippi.  It was exactly what I needed to stay comfy while running around that day.

My daughter's dog, Sophie.  She only
sits next to me when her master is at work.

In my last post, I meant to share with you the way I found to join a new ball of lace weight yarn.  I spent many days avoiding working on the lace shawl I shared last time simply because I was paralyzed by fear at the thought of trying to join a new ball of yarn.   I turned to Google (as usual) and found a method called “spit-splicing”.  It does, in fact, involve spit.  You can find an excellent video tutorial for it here.  You may think this is a disgusting way to join yarn, but believe me, it works like a dream and when you are desperate (as lace knitting made me), you will do what it takes. 

Current WIPs include a tunic (otherwise known as a jumper to us American mid-westerners) that only needs to be seamed, a pair of “I-made-this-pattern-up-because-I-like-it” socks for which I’ve completed one entire sock - minus the afterthought heel, and I’ve started a sweater for The Husband.  He will likely not get to wear it until next winter, as the weather is already turning warmer and the days growing longer, but it has been a joy to work on as it involves a particularly lovely shade of Madelintosh PashminaWorsted (Tart).  If I could afford it, I’d use Pashmina for every scrap of clothing that touches my flesh.  Too creepy?  Sorry.  Let’s just say it feels like I imagine heaven would feel like…