Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas, Happy Holydays!

Whatever you are celebrating, have celebrated, or will celebrate, I hope it's happy! Our holy day is Christmas, and it has been happy indeed. Life is very full and busy right now - mostly in a good way - and I've been behind on everything (including blogging, blogmenting, and responding to blogments), but I just wanted to stop by and wish you all happiness too. Thanks for reading, thanks for your kind comments throughout the year, thanks for the inspiration and encouragement you all give.

(clockwise from upper-left): earthchick, My Old Man, Tiny Dancer, Little Buddha
in one of about 50 attempts to get a Christmas card photo

When things settle down, I'll have a few things to show and tell. But in the meantime, I just have one more thing to say. This was pretty much exactly the reaction I was going for when I spent the last few days sewing the Puppet Theater from Bend the Rules Sewing:

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Zeebee Fever and other maladies

I got the bug. The stomach bug, yes, but more to your interest - Zeebee Fever. It's madness, I tell you. Totally overtakes the mind, the hands, the head.

pattern: Zeebee by Schmeebot
for: Tiny Dancer
Handspun, Handpainted, Colorblock Merino, in Wabi Sabi, from Pancake and Lulu - I am mad for this yarn
needles: KP Options, size 10
size: 18" circumference (for a 20.5" head)
dates: December 5-6
verdict: I love this yarn, I'm crazy about this pattern, and I made it both too loose and too short (something I actually have a history of doing). This was my second attempt on this particular hat, (already tried three times on a Zeebee for Little Buddha as well) and I am going to frog and try one more time to get it just right. I have just enough of the yarn left that I think I can make it work. Even as is, though, it's pretty darn cute. And the boys love it.

(he's being a bunny - those fingers are his carrots)

the cool thing about doing this hat with the colorblock hat is that you can change what color the hat is from the front - Tiny Dancer likes the blue in front, Little Buddha likes the green

And just so you can't ever say I never show you WIPs anymore:

Little Buddha's Zeebee
3rd attempt
soon to be frogged
will most likely run out of this glorious Pancake and Lulu yarn....

My Zeebee Fever is in temporary remission while I deal with a strong case of Sock-itis.

We're having a winter storm here today, which would be prime knitting weather if it weren't for a few other things - like the need to get the house in order for company coming in - WHAT?!? - five days. I hope wherever you are, you are staying warm, staying safe, and getting your knit on!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Things I Did Not Do in November

Apparently, November is the month that people sign up to do all kinds of intensely-focused projects. Not me, man. November was full enough - a shawl, a wedding, a weeklong conference. So as much of a joiner as I am, I did not do the following things:

1. Blog every day. Obviously.

2. Write a novel. Though I did get started on a major writing project. And steadfastly avoided a much smaller one that I'm actually under contract for (and which is due in about 6 weeks).

3. Write a dissertation. Primarily because, you know, I'm not a doctoral student.

4. Do all of my holiday preparations. Because y'all, really, that would mean no last-minute deadline-induced adrenaline-soaked panicked frenzy. And you know how I like a good panicked frenzy.

5. Knit a sweater.

Oh, wait, I did do that one.

pattern: Gathered Pullover, Interweave Knits Winter 2007
yarn: KP Telemark, Delphinium Heather, 8 skeins plus roughly 1 yard. Yep, that's right. 843 yards for this sweater - that's a $16 sweater. And another $10 of leftover yarn since in an uncharacteristic move, I erred on the side of overbuying.
needles: size 7, circs, brand unknown, borrowed from a friend when I couldn't find my Option tips (and size 7 dpns for the sleeves)
size: small (36 1/4")
started: 16 November
finished: 1 December
(so technically I didn't actually finish the sweater in November, but since I did finally finish my Lace Leaf Pullover on November 15, then let's just call it even, shall we?)
modifications: added one inch of length to body, otherwise no mods - should've probably added another inch or two to give the fit I usually prefer on my long-waisted body

Mmmm, cable-y goodness.
My first real cabled project - a nice, easy introduction. I have to say I'm a bit obsessed with cable motifs now.

This neckline is interesting. After knitting the V-neck, you then go back and pick up stitches and knit a half-inch flat, then seam. I considered knitting it in the round to avoid the obvious seam, but I decided to knit as written (in case knitting it in the round would cause it to roll). I think - even with the visible seam - it's a really lovely neckline.

There was a lot of discussion on the Ravelry boards about modifying the placement of the cable motif in order to have the sweater gather in under the bust (as this gathering is the only shaping of the sweater). I knit as written, as I really did like the fit of the sweater as pictured in the magazine. The gathering happens right across the bustline, which then creates a gentle empire waist. I don't like it when an empire waist looks maternity-ish, but I like it very much when it means by least-favorite body part is rather camouflaged. I do like the fit of mine, but the truth is, there is a lot of extra material here:

I'm still learning about how to play with negative ease. The size I knit gave me an 1.75" negative ease. The next smaller size (the smallest listed) would've been a 32" bust - that's 5" negative ease. I was scared to go that far (and since I don't commonly wear an XS, I figured that was a reality-based fear), though I still wonder if it might've worked. I have toyed with the idea of sewing some darts in the back, because you know I love to sew darts. Is it possible with a knitted sweater? Perhaps I'll find out for myself. Obviously another option would've been to add waist-shaping as I knitted.

Though I didn't officially sign up for any November projects, I apparently have signed on for the supposed current trend of not posting WIPs. I'll blame Ravelry. I never mentioned this knit here (mind you, I have blogged precisely one time since I cast on for this number), but I talked about it plenty on the Interweave Knits group forum on Ravelry, and posted WIP pics on my projects page. It turns out that Ravelry is seriously cutting into my other online pursuits, including blogging and reading blogs. Maybe next November, someone will come up with with NaPoWIPMo (National Post WIPS Month) [If so, you read it here first!]. h

I may be a bad blogger in the WIP department, but never let it be said that I don't go to great lengths to get pictures. Front yard, mid-afternoon, freezing cold, two different photo shoot sessions, no coat, just me and my tripod. Yup, that's me. Willing to brave extremes of weather and neighborly humiliation, just to bring you multiple shots that look almost exactly the same. [for full set, see here]

Still I'm a happy girl.