Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Knitty's surprises are up! I think this might be the front runner for my new scarf:


It even calls for the yarn I chose from my stash, which, incidentally, is natural colored wool/alpaca and so falls into the first Project Spectrum range. (As does the yarn I have for the Anemoi Mittens and forgot to list in my PS2.0 plans post.) I was close to casting on Backyard Leaves last night, but J was monopolizing the laptop and I couldn't remember how to purl through the back loop to do a ssp, so I worked on the Tara sweater instead. I think I'm ready now to start the armhole shaping, although I have a sneaking suspicion that I might have knit a few rows too many. I've had to rip and tink this thing so many times already it's unbelievable. I added waist shaping to mine, so I just need to check that the shaping is landing in the right spot before I continue.

No ATC's happened last night. Perhaps tonight. I need to get them done for the February SAS meeting, assuming I go to that and not the Coptic binding class that weekend. The class requires finding a Saturday afternoon babysitter, which would be the first babysitting attempt for the little one, so I don't know.

Monday, January 29, 2007

I've been trying to get up early. I never have been a morning person, but lately I've found that taking 10 or 15 minutes while my coffee brews to read a little bit or knit a couple rounds of a sock makes me feel better about starting my day. A week ago I found this on the Booksense bestsellers shelf in the campus bookstore:

The Intellectual Devotional

The book is set up like a traditional religious devotional, with a one-page reading each day for a year. The difference is that it is entirely secular and covers a different area of knowledge for each day of the week. So far I've read about the history of the alphabet, James Joyce's Ulysses, the cave art of Lascaux, cloning, and the Torah, among other things. Each topic is presented simply and at a reading level about equivalent to a newspaper. The point is not to make you an expert, but to give you the basic information about a wide range of subjects and hopefully inspire you to look further on your own. I love the idea. My interests are wide-ranging and I am curious about so many things. My undergraduate and graduate degrees are both interdisciplinary, and I have so many things I want to read about further. This, combined with an almost photographic memory, makes me really good at Trivial Pursuit even though it doesn't prepare me for any sort of specialized career. Oh well. I enjoy my dilettantism.

My knitting projects are all sitting in time out right now. They've been misbehaving. I can't seem to get a ball of Tahki New Tweed to become an armwarmer for my husband, who requested elbow-length green ones. The sweater can't decide if it is 36 cm or 40 cm long. And the sock is slightly too big around the ankle. I discovered that I've lost my favorite Silk Garden scarf, so I contemplated scarf patterns all weekend and decided that the next one will be natural wool to complement my new seafoam green trench coat.

I read the latest Cloth Paper Scissors and Quilting Arts magazines last night, and wow am I inspired to do monoprint paper quilts! I came up with three subjects within an hour of reading that article. I'm hoping to work a bit more on my Lab555 iconography assignment tonight, and get a few overdue ATC's done. I decided on Saturday that I need to embroider some of them, so I need to inventory the floss and pearl cotton stashes to see if I have the colors I need. I also want to make a wee zippered bag to carry those pesky girly products from my office to the ladies' room down the hall. I might need a craft store run this week!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

frogging pain
Originally uploaded by everydayautumn.
Terrible photo, I know, especially the yarn/carpet color war going on.... I had a stupid mistake in the lace panel, twice actually, and had to frog four inches tonight. It wouldn't be so bad if this wasn't the third time I've ripped this thing back. I also discovered, when I took it off the needle, that it (this is the back) is 18 inches across, not 17 like I expected. I hate gauge.

This is the sweater from the latest issue of Rebecca that they have up as a free download on the site. I'm ready to just convince myself that four inches of ease will be fine because that's how it looks like it fits the model anyway. Stupid gauge.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Maybe it's synchronicity, I don't know, but several of my upcoming knitting projects happen to fall into the color triad for the first two months of Project Spectrum. Here are my plans:

Way last year (or actually the year before I guess!) I bought three skeins of powder blue Baby Alpaca Grande (color 3317 I think) intending to make something for which I couldn't get gauge, and I've been hoarding it all year waiting for a pattern to call to me. I finally decided on this and I'm so excited to finally be able to use it!

How embarrassing - it's my Knitting Olympics shawl, still unfinished. Looks like I still have a ways to go:

(I don't know why I think it will be easier to do this year - my daughter is 15 months now, rather than only three, is self-propelled, and requires a lot more attention!)

This is the Meg Swansen shawl from Vogue Knitting Fall 2005, and I think it is also in the Vogue Knitting on the Go: Shawls book. I'm making mine in Frog Tree Alpaca in a fingering/light sport weight, in gray and natural. I love knitting with alpaca.

I love alpaca so much that I am making this sweater in Debbie Bliss alpaca silk in a deep teal color. I'm not a blue person, really, and here I have two blue projects ready to go. Actually, this one was started before I saw the Project Spectrum post for this year. But it won't be done before February, so I say it counts.

I've also been planning to make this sweater from the Spring 2007 Knitscene. (Actually I want that whole room.) I can't afford the Rowan Holiday the pattern is written for, but I happen to have a full bag of R2 Paper in the stash (in gray even) that I got for ridiculously cheap off Elann, and I think I can get gauge by holding it doubled. I think the design is loose enough and the yarn airy enough that the fact that it is 100% nylon won't be as big a deal as it would for something close fitting. (Why did I buy that stuff anyway?)

My sister and I spent some quality time at Weaving Works on Sunday, and I came away with two skeins of Colinette Jitterbug (despite the "knit from stash, damn it!" diet), in Castagna and Marble. I didn't put it together until today that the Marble is, duh, mostly white. I think I'll do the Monkey socks. Once I finish one of the pairs I have going and free up some size 1's, that is. (I know the pattern says US2. I'll need the 1's, trust me.)

Think that's enough for two months?

Friday, January 19, 2007

I've discovered something about myself I think, as far as my motivation waxing and waning for different types of activities. I think it's seasonal. In October I was all fired up about the M.A. again, purchased and borrowed an enormous stack of books, took notes, made plans....which all sort of faded away by Christmas. Now it's January and I'm in full-on art and craft idea mode, with ideas birthing ideas all over the place, which will all sort of fade in a few months as I get tired and move onto something else (I think it's usually painting in the spring). I just finally realized that I do this little cycle over and over, every year. Odd, I think. And I don't know what to do about sustaining any of my phases really. So oh well. Move on with the project du jour.

Right now there are two sort of uber-projects, Lab555 and Project Spectrum. (My Lab555 "I want to do this!" list is below.) I think maybe with other people doing the same kind of playing and experimenting and everyone watching each other's progress maybe I'll stay motivated to do some of these things, some of which I first came up with a whole year ago during my January ideasideasideas phase. I sort of started doing stuff for Project Spectrum last year, but I think I'll officially participate this year. I have several want-to-do-soon knitting projects that happen to fall within the color range for February and March. And if I end up doing other stuff besides knitting in blue/white/gray, that will be cool too.

It's so hard for me sometimes to choose what to do, where to focus my energy. I don't feel like I can do school stuff and art stuff at the same time, and when I am focusing on only one or the other, I feel like I am ignoring an important part of who I am and what I want to be doing in this life. That pesky thing called "earning a living" just gets in the way, doesn't it?

Lab555 - The List!

1. use my stuff
2. knit from stash
3. embroidery
4. quilts - art/journal and mixed media
5. sketching/art journaling
6. the broken heart thingy
7. scan journal pages, print on fabric, design and construct skirt
8. self portrait quilt/canvas/knit thing
9. Mina's book
10. wire and beads
11. sewing
12. Project Spectrum
13. knitted books
14. nest and egg
15. start writing again
16. go thru all the accumulated books and mags and try things
17. explore various media, esp. colored pencils and watercolor crayons
18. embroidered felt matryoshka from Craft Magazine blog
19. painted dryer sheet fibers (from CPS)
20. silk fiber
21. spinning
22. knit hemp or linen curtain for back door
23. photo/image transfers
24. Tarot pages
25. stamp carving
26. knitting skills - fair isle, medium-complicated lace, garment fit and finishing
27. home stuff - living room; bedroom - colors, paint, sew curtains, duvet, etc; jungle bathroom
28. photography - build collection of my own images to use in various other art pieces
29. painting/texturing papers - new techniques
30. shrines - use collected tins and boxes
31. observance of seasons and nature thru art and journal; pay attention to spiritual aspect of art and craft
32. altering fabric for use in mixed media pieces
33. bead embroidery
34. freeform surface stitching/embroidery (learn patience w/ handstitching!)
35. frame Bill's prints and hang
36. other indie art to surround us
37. dyeing - yarn, fabric, what else?
38. do something with that hand dyed seam binding
39. Stupid Sock Creatures book
40. coptic binding
41. personal mythology
42. imagi-Nation
43. practice hand lettering
44. spirograph like those framed ones i saw
45. dressform self sculpture muse (but how to construct that big w/ wire???)
46. shibori - knitting and fabric

These were actually done a couple of months ago. I started having inexplicable urges to knit socks back in the springtime. Prior to that I thought that socks were something I would never, ever have the desire to knit. Oh, how I've changed my mind! I'm not a rabid sock knitter (yet anyway) but now that I have these and one other pair done I find that having cozy, perfectly made for me socks to wear at home when it's chilly to be one of those simple luxuries that just makes me happy, and is so easy to provide. That tile floor you see is what we have throughout most of the house - it gets cold!

Pattern: Rib and Cable Socks, Nancy Bush, Interweave Knits Fall 2005
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, Gray's Corner
Needles: KA White Bamboo dpns, size US1
Modifications: I only did 1.5 inches before starting the cables, rather than 3 inches

They are far from perfect, but I love them. You can see the toe is a little funky. It's one of the ones Bush explains in Knitting Vintage Socks. I don't remember what it is called - four point star or something maybe? But it's not a smooth grafted toe. These being my first socks, I didn't want to swap out heels or toes. I'm using the leftover yarn to make a pair for the baby girl (with solid color heels and toes) and I'll probably do a different toe for hers.