Saturday, May 24, 2008

Revealing Something Red

This sweater has been finished for a few weeks, but I never got around to sewing the button on. (I know, one button! How hard can that be?!?) Then I had to wait a while to get The Brain to take pictures. But here it is: my Something Red!

Pattern: Something Red, by Wendy Bernard

Yarn: Cascade 220

Size: 35"

Needles: Knit Picks circs, size 9

Mods: None. I just knit as written, making adjustments in length to fit my tall frame.

This fits perfectly over a t-shirt, and I have already worn it running errands a couple of times. It's the perfect casual sweater to have for those slightly chilly evenings here in SoCal! :)

Late But Not Forgotten

This post was supposed to be all about the trials I went through to complete that "easy" knit-in-the-round hoodie. Well, by altering the pattern to knit it in the round, I lulled myself into thinking it was going to be a breeze. By the time I stopped knitting endless rounds of stockinette, I realized I was two inches past where I should have broken for armholes. I ripped out two inches and continued to complete the back, the front, the three-needle bind off at the shoulders, and was halfway finished with the hood when I realized I hadn't been 2 inches off after all. I was five and a half inches off!

I panicked for a minute, then considered my options. I could rip out all of my tedious work, which involved a fiddly neckline, shoulder seams, and different balls of yarn attached in different places, or...I could steek.

I have never steeked before. This was a very scary thing to consider.

I emailed my brother. He was freaked out too.

But one of my goals this year was to learn how to steek, so it might as well be now, right?

With some help from Eunny Jang, I made a practice swatch, reinforced the steek line with crocheted stitches, and cut it:

Since I was making the sweater with fake side seams (a column of purl stitches on each side), I knit my swatch the way too, and added a yarnover at the top of the column. I cut the steek, and it was kind of fun! The crochet stitches held the cut ends very tightly. In fact, The Brain took my swatch and tried to stretch it and rip the stitches out, but they held on.

So, I learned a useful new skill, and more importantly, I learned that it's not scary! I plan on using steeking a lot more in the future. :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Is It Really Summer Already?

Sorry I left that last, whiny post up there for so long. I meant to have progress pics the next day or something, but then the real world called and I had to take care of a few things. Mainly, I had to polish off my thesis and graduate. Which I did! I am now officially a former grad student and have progressed on to being a regular unemployed, overeducated person. What joy.

Before I get to my knitting stuff, however, I want to share a tip for any thesis advisors out there: If your student turns in a draft of their thesis and has only three weeks to gather responses from three different people and make any changes before the final draft is due, PLEASE don't wait two and a half weeks and then email them on a Monday morning, three days before their final thesis review meeting, with a list of topics that you would like to see addressed, and chapters you want them to add to the paper, especially if they only remotely pertain to the topic at hand. This will make the student really hate you for a while.

And while you're at it, PLEASE don't begin your email by saying, "Dear Student, It is obvious that you are just dialing it in..." This will make the student hate you forever and swear to ignore any pleas for money the school starts sending out immediately after graduation, and which somehow manage to find you, no matter what remote corners of the country you move to.

Just a little nugget of advice from me to you.

Now. On to the knitting:

I finished up my Something Red, but I will save info on that until I sew the button on and get pics.

I also finished up my Hanami Stole. It was a very easy knit and the changing pattern kept things fresh. I added beads throughout. They're a little hard to see in the photos, but I put them next to yarnovers in the petal part of the shawl, and added four rows of them just before the gathered edge on the bottom. I like how they look, and I hope that they look just as delicate after I block the stole and they stand out a bit more.

Pattern: Hanami Stole, by Melanie Gibbons
Yarn: Malabrigo Lace in Cactus Flower
Needles: Knit Picks circ, 3.25 mm

I started my next two projects:

Under the Hoodie, by Kristin Spurkland from the first Stitch 'n' Bitch book. I'm making this in Ultra Alpaca (so soft! But so warm!), and I'm liking it so far. It's for my little sister, and per her very specific requests I am making it all in a pea green color, with no stripes or cables. I also modified the pattern to knit it in the round to save my self the pain of having to seam all those pieces together. Since it's just simple stockinette, I see no problem with it.

I cast on for my Auburn Camp Shirt, by Chrissy Gardiner from the Spring '08 IK, last night. I like the pattern so far, but it's the first time I have done a hem, so that part was a bit tedious. But it really does add to the finished look of the sweater, so I'm happy.

Finally, to follow up on my last post, I did eventually receive an email from the woman who sold me the yarn. She SWEARS she put all the yarn in the box, and that it must have been "compromised" while it was in Pittsburgh. She sent an email to the USPS and another one to Berroco to see how long it would take to get replacement yarn. This was over a week ago, and I have not heard from her since. Now, maybe it's just me and the fact that I like to GET THINGS DONE (you know, "I don't freak out. I just get it done. That's just the way I roll" and all that), but when I'm at work and there's a problem, I CALL SOMEONE right away to get the problem taken care of. We all know that sending emails out into the ether is the lazy way of foisting the responsibility onto someone else. I'm giving her another week and then I'm demanding my money back. This is beyond ridiculous. Just to put it into perspective: I wrote an entire thesis and finished my masters degree while waiting for my yarn!

OK, I wasn't going to complain and then I did. Oh well. Don't come between a knitter and her yarn, people! It's not pretty!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Knitting Funk

Sorry, I have no pictures today. I haven't made any picture-worthy progress on anything since my last post, even though I feel like I've been knitting my fingers raw.

I ran out of yarn on my Dollar and a Half cardi midway through sleeve #2 last night, so I have to order a couple more balls of that before I can continue. That's OK. It will give me time to finish up my Something Red, (remember when I thought I would have that finished by the end of last weekend? HA!) so I'm working on that.

But I have a little story for you that has caused me to be in a knitting funk today: (warning, it's a little long)

I'm super bummed because waaaaay back in early March, a woman who runs a tiny little online yarn store out of her home advertised some Berroco Ultra Alpaca for really cheap, so I took advantage of her clearance sale and bought 25 skeins. Even though I am on a very tight grad student budget, I knew I would use this yarn and wanted to take advantage of such a great deal. Plus, the woman was more than accommodating and sent me lists of the colors she had available so I could have first pick.

Well, I placed my order with her and paid for all 25 skeins through PayPal. Then...disaster struck. For some reason, PayPal had never taken off my old Pittsburgh address, even though I have lived in Minnesota and now California since I ever lived in Pittsburgh. I didn't realize this until the shipment went out and I was eagerly following the tracking number...all the way to the Pittsburgh post office. WAH!!!

The seller was very pleasant and went to the post office to fill out a form to recall the package, but it still took a month for the post office to send it back to her in Texas. I was annoyed with PayPal, but it wasn't this poor woman's fault at all, and our correspondence was extremely pleasant.

Once the package was back in Texas, she re-posted it to me out in California. I made sure to have her send me another PayPal invoice for the new shipping charges (nearly $12!!!), and the package FINALLY arrived here today. YAY!

Except for one problem: there were only 13 skeins of yarn in the box. I paid for 25! Not only that, but she doesn't even list Ultra Alpaca on her little shop's website any more, which probably means that she doesn't have any left so I can't get more from her if I wanted to. There aren't enough skeins of any one color to make a sweater, so any additional yarn I would get would be in a different dye lot and that is beyond annoying too. I am more than annoyed. I am VERY ANGRY.

I paid cash that I don't really have right now (which is my problem entirely, but I was considering it a graduation gift to myself), I waited nearly 2 months, I paid shipping twice, and SHE ONLY SENT ME HALF OF WHAT I ORDERED!

Not to sound like Eeyore or anything, but this kind of stuff always happens to me. My life is a continuous comedy of errors. But I have been looking forward to this yarn for TWO MONTHS, people! I wrote my thesis while dreaming of all the sweaters I could knit as soon as I got my work done!

I sent the woman a very polite email, asking where the rest of my yarn could be, but I haven't received a response yet. I will keep you posted, believe me.

In happier news, Little Knits has a couple issues of Phildar magazine on clearance so I snagged those yesterday. I had never heard of their patterns (they're from France) until I started seeing some really cute sweaters on Ravelry. Does anyone know if you can get subscriptions? Or which yarn stores sell them? Too cute!