Monday, February 15, 2010

The Sweater Continues

I recommend knitting lots of socks if you want to make a small gauge sweater. I've become so used to sock gauge that this thing is just flying along. Front & back are done, and bound together by a three needle bind off at the shoulders.

I needed to re-write the sleeves, as the original pattern called for long and I wanted short, but that's just about done. The real question was whether to pick up and knit (using a certain amount of short row shaping) or knit and sew in. It's probably going to be the second. And the knitting will be from the ribbing up, as the alternative includes too much casting on for large increases from the top.

This isn't exactly scintillating copy, is it? But it's interesting to me because it's an examination of a creative process. At the end of it I'll also have not only a new sweater, but a new 1930s sweater.

Not uninteresting after all.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Left Out

New England and New York seem to be left out of the party this week. Not that it's a party everyone wants to attend: snowstorm.

Friends on the rest of the Eastern Seaboard and in the midwest are literally digging out. In Baltimore, for heaven's sake! And my sister in Texas tells me that snow is predicted down there. Again!

At the moment a few lazy flakes are floating down to die a lingering death on the brown grass and pavement. There's a tidy rim of snow around the perimeter of our yard (such as it is, asphalt and all).

In Rhode Island, a storm prediction usually means a run on milk and bread. DH and I both find this rather funny. Unless, of course, you live on milk toast. Then I'd be concerned, too.

However, I admit to making a grocery list a few minutes ago:

baking potatoes
soda water
salad greens
..and so forth. Ending in bread. I admit it.

More firewood, too. We use our fireplace for coziness and atmosphere, not a great deal for warmth, but I love having it. So do the boys, needless to say. They even "ask" for a fire by plopping down decisively in front of it, bundling front paws under and glancing back and forth from the nearest human to the dark, empty, cold bricks in front of the pathetic little (cold) feline face. Sometimes it works.

So...I'm getting ready for the possiblity of snow. Seems like the city fathers believe it's heading our way this time; there's a parking ban right now.

Which means I'll feel no guilt at hauling out the knitting and curling up with two feline lapwarmers this evening. I like snow.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Random Siamese Cats

Pictures of them, that is. Of my boys. (Yes, I'm one of those; other people are twee if they obsess over their pets, I think it's perfectly fine for me to act this way.)

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Getting There

In spite of some difficulty (nothing like having a needle snap, especially when it's vintage and you can't be sure of the gauge of a new one) I'm moving along quite well on the sweater.

The armseye shaping is finished, and soon I'll be shaping the shoulders. Shall I be lazy and bind off (thereby landing myself with some nasty seaming) or do proper short-row shaping so I can use a three needle bind off? Probably I'll do the latter, and then add some ribbon to the inner seam for stability.

I had to buy a new--and I do mean new--needle. None of the straights at the shop were of the correct dimensions (I did have the presence of mind to bring a needle gauge with me), so I ended up buying an Addi circ. It's working very well. I don't like circs for knitting in the round, messing with cable lengths drives me mad, and I don't like interchangeable needles very well.

But...they're great for working back and forth on an item, especially when it gets some weight on it. And it turns out that marked "3" or no, the straights I was using were really 2s. Oho...just thought of something; I'll bet they were needles from New Zealand, and so the size marked was, of course, in mm. Because, yes, the one I bought is 3.0 mm. Mystery solved.

Would you still like some proof?

The young critic in the photo is Than Chai. He insisted on making an inspection.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Why the U.K.?

I'm an Anglophile. It came naturally, via my mother and her Anglophilia.

As kids we watched Dr. Who (Tom Baker), (parts of) Benny Hill, and Monty Python...because Mom did. We saw Masterpiece Theater with Derek Jacobi in I, Claudius, and never made it through Upstairs, Downstairs because, foolish children that we were, it bored us.

Then I married another Anglophile. When I got married guessed it. I've spent a lot of time watching Are You Being Served?, As Time Goes By, Waiting for God, Mulberry, and a slew of other British programs, either on PBS or BBC America or on video, DVD and whatever other media presents itself.

British programming can be just as empty and useless as U.S. shows are at their worst, but the best in the U.K. is very, very good indeed. And it's usually richer, funnier, and much more inclined to require that the viewer possess a few working brain cells.

I'm not sure why that is. Maybe because of the television license? Maybe because America got there first, and the Brits set out to surpass us? I really don't know, but I see the superiority time and again.

There are good U.S. shows. Funny ones, quirky ones, shows that ask the viewer to think...but so many inane things lurk around them that I'm not inclined to try and sift through to find the stuff I like.

It could be, of course, that their better offerings are what we get over here. After all, it's been pre-sifted. There are things, though, that I can't buy in non-PAL format (I'm looking into getting a format free DVD player)...or instance, Blackpool, which I managed to watch on YouTube (not my preferred method of viewing, I promise you).

I'd like to see Tennant's Hamlet NOW, thanks. And the truly uncut versions of Dr. Who. Why in the hell do we get the slashed and burned versions here? Is the Hays office still lurking?

I don't know. But in the meantime, I'll continue to hunt down British comedy, dramas on the Beeb, and wish for complete access to it online. For heaven's sake, we don't even have radio shows any more!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

This time I'll finish it!

The sweater I'm working on, I mean. For some reason, I seldom finish a sweater, no matter how small it is, or whatever the gauge. I get bored, probably. Socks are usually quick, and there's no such thing as too many hand knit socks. They wear out so quickly.

This time, though...I found the missing yarn, my "Crayola Tweed". First I thought it would be a 20s sweater (June 1924, from Needlecraft). No, didn't work. No gauge was mentioned in the pattern, but some swatching and math made it plain that it needed a very bulky yarn. Found a nice worsted, but even that didn't do the trick.

So back to the fingering weight and a different pattern, out of a British hardcover, The Compleat Book of Knitting. It's just listed as a jumper, and the pattern is indicated by graph. I'm using US #3 needles to get gauge, which is 6.5 stitches per inch, and 9 rows per inch. The ribbing for the back piece is finished. It took 45 rows and is staying true to gauge. I'll have use for a sweater like this: fine gauge, yarn that will go with half my wardrobe, from jeans to skirts, and real 1930s style.

The question is, will I actually finish it?