Monday, March 27, 2006

Back at the ranch

I'm home! It's so great to be back home. Don't get me wrong - the conference in San Fran was nice and all - but it's nice to be back to my routine - with my hubby and my cats. I learned a lot at the conference - it gave me some good ideas for my own research. So, I guess on that end it was successful.

It was also successful on the knitting front. As of this evening, the pieces of my To Dye For sweater are finished and I've seamed up the shoulders and have set in the sleeves. Tomorrow I'd like to try to finish it - but it probably won't happen because I have a fancy dance dinner tomorrow evening at the home of the president of the university. Yes, it's true. The president of the university is having all new faculty over to his home for dinner which I thought was quite a nice gesture. Unfortunately, it will probably cut into my knitting time..but we shall see.

Anyway, I'd thought I'd pass on some of the progress:

To Dye For So, here's the main body of the sweater

and a close-up of the lovely bell sleeve:

Sleeve I'm definitely liking the sweater more now. Plus, the yarn is so soft. I can't wait to finally wear it! The verdict is still out on how figure flattering it will be... so stay tuned for that!

Until then - I'm off to check on dinner!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Yes, I'm still alive

Just wanted to drop a very quick note letting you all know that I am still alive! I am actually at a conference right now and so haven't had an opportunity to update my blog. All is well though. I think I had mentioned that I was looking forward to getting a lot of knitting done at this conference. Unfortunately, that hasn't exactly happened. I've been going to session after session - which has been quite interesting but also exhausting mentally and physically. So, I haven't knitted since the plane on Wednesday. I guess that's not so far away - but it just seems that way because I'm itching to knit! Between all of the sessions and work that I have to do and jetlag - I wasn't up to doing much knitting yesterday..but I'll try to get some in today.

I will be returning Sunday night - so hopefully by next week I'll have some good knitting progress to report!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Dying to finish

It's been a few days since my last post. I was planning on posting yesterday, but I had the most terrible day. I ended up spending the entire afternoon at the car mechanic. I originally went because my battery needed changing - but of course, there turned out to be other problems as well. Luckily, there's nothing too serious with my car and nothing too expensive - but it took several hours for a part to be delivered and installed - and then it turned out to be the wrong part. So, my car is still in the shop, and it ended up being a total waste of an afternoon.

However, it wasn't a complete waste because while I was waiting I made great progress on my "To Dye For" sweater. As of last night, I finished the front. Here's a picture of it:

To Dye For F and B

I must tell you though that at the moment I have mixed feelings about the sweater. I loooove the feel of the yarn (Rowan Kid Silk Haze). It's so soft and yummy. But, I hate working with it - especially since the sweater is knit with three strands held together. The yarn keeps catching on things. So, I keep getting tangled up. That's the thing about mohair - I love the way that it looks and feels but really don't like all the trouble I get from it while knitting. The other thing is that I'm concerned that the sweater won't be flattering. It's knit on size 13 needles so the gauge is quite large. The yarn also seems to be stretching a little as I work with it. I'm hoping that with some blocking at the end that the problem will rectify itself. The good news is that I'm loving how quickly the sweater is going. I'll be off at a conference in San Francisco this week - and with the plane and extra downtime that I'll get, I feel that the sleeves aren't too far behind!

In other knitting news, I stopped by a Barnes and Nobles the other day. Just to "take a look" at the selection of knitting books and mags at this particular B&N. Yeah. Sure. Of course, I came out with two small purchases. I'm still feeling a little guilty about it even though it was only $25 - but I couldn't help it. I ended up purchasing Sarah Dallas' Vintage Knits. There are so many that I have my eye on knitting. So, I'm thinking about knitting either this one first:

Ribbon top

or this one:


Come to think of it, they're actually pretty similar looking - I could do both as a twinset. Although I'll need to think about that one since both are knit on size 2 and 3 needles. I hope I won't go insane! That's why I might start with the shortsleeve and see how I feel at that point. Regardless, I have in mind to also do a quicker project at the same time so I'll feel that I'm making some progress. So, I also ended up picking up this season's Interweave Knits and am planning on working on this one next:


Now if only I had unlimited funding for my yarn budget!!!

One last thing - I cast on and did a few rows of my first sock. First time with DPNs - so far so good!! I do feel a little awkward juggling so many needles at once...for some reason, an octopus comes to mind...but I'm determined to master it.

Now that I have multiple projects in mind - I decided to put up knitting meters in the sidebar. That should keep me motivated and on track!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A Citizen Model or Model Citizen??

As promised, here's a picture of my hubby modelling the Manly Sweater:

It's a little big on him - he's actually quite slim - but he seems to like it. Unfortunately, he probably won't be wearing it until next winter. It's just getting too warm and the sweater is quite heavy.

In other knitting news, I'm making good progress on the To Dye for Sweater. The back of the sweater is finished. Tomorrow I'll start working on the front. So far, I'm happy with the way that it's looking.

I'd also like to take some time to discuss something completely non-knitting related. Yesterday, we got the paperwork for our taxes in the mail. It turns out that hubby and I again owe the government more money! This year, because some bonds of ours matured, we now owe the govt. over $2,000! This is only slightly less than what we actually made from govt. bonds that have been maturing for the past 30 years! Now, my question to all of you is: does this happen to everyone else? Does everyone else end up shelling out the big bucks come tax season? I feel that no matter what we do, we always end up owing money. The thing is - I am very much a democrat. I have no problems with paying taxes - that is, if my tax dollars end up going to worthwhile causes such as a national health care system, a better educational system, or a regulated system for daycare. But, I do have a problem when my money ends up going to war or tax refunds for the wealthy. Argh. It just seems that no matter what we end up doing, we just can't get ahead.

Well, enough of that - I'm not about to depress what few regular readers I have!! So, let me conclude on a more positive note. I just found this great new website: - I don't know if you're familiar with it - but it's very witty. Those of you who have gone or are going through grad school will find that a lot of their comics hit very close to home. Here's one that I found especially relevant:

Friday, March 10, 2006

I've reached the finish line!

Today, there's only good news. I finished the Manly Sweater! Yes, it's true. I got over my complaining with the mattress stitch. The seams came out pretty decently. The only ones I would have liked to have done better were the shoulder seams - but all the others look pretty great. A giant improvement since Zeepy's Bag (there's a good reason why there's no closeup of that FO!!).

Anyway, no more anticipation. Here's the Manly Sweater finished and ready for blocking to begin:

So, not too shabby for my first sweater, huh? The red stripe is much more maroony - here it looks very bright. But, you get the basic idea.

Now the sweater is sitting and blocking - I'm hoping that I was able to get the sleeves to shorten a little and the shoulder seams to flatten a little.

Once that's done, I'll have hubby model it for the full effect...but that might be a couple of days. What's more frustrating though is that the weater is getting warm. Too warm for him to actually wear the sweater! Let's hope for a freak snow storm. Otherwise, my work will remain in the closet until November!!! Regardless, it's the process, right?

In other knitting news, I also started up the To Dye For sweater. I'm loving the Kid Silk Haze - sooooo soft. Here's my progress on that so far:

Again, not the greatest picture - it's more lavender in real life. It's knitting up pretty quickly so I'm hoping it won't be too long before I'll have a sweater to call my own! Lucky for me, it's such a light mohair that I'll certainly be able to wear it in the spring.

Although I must say, after these two sweaters, I'll be working on a few things that will give me gratification a little sooner.

Other than knitting, all has been going pretty well - but very busy. I've been bombarded with students recently. But, that's a good thing since they're really such a pleasure to meet with!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I seam to dread seaming

Good news: I'm out of my knitting blues.
Bad news: I'm stuck in seaming hell.

Yes, it's true. I finished all of the pieces of the Manly Sweater. Since I last posted, I finished the second sleeve and fixed the first sleeve then did the neckband - which created a little bit of confusion as to how to attach it to the sweater properly...but I think I figured it out.

So, now I have the very daunting task of seaming the whole thing together. Now, I know I'm not the only knitting who really dislikes why is it dreaded by so many? For me, I feel that after spending weeks knitting this thing, now that the knitting is done - I wish that the whole thing were truly done...but instead, it will take a few more days. But, why is it that those few days seem like an eternity? It will be done before the week is out - and that's not so bad in comparison to how long it took me to knit the whole thing...but I'm really trying to get myself to relax a little bit about it. I wouldn't want to wreck weeks of knitting because of a shoddy seaming job.

Once I finished struggling with the collar yesterday, I seamed up both shoulders and part of the side. Tonight, my goal is to seam in the sleeves. I think I can I think I can!!! However, my new yarn should be arriving tonight - so I might end up getting a little diverted while I play with that for a bit.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Bad, bad blogger

I've been a very bad blogger. I know. I was intending on updating earlier in the week...but a couple of things came up:

1. Primarily, the knitting baby blues. I finished the 1st sleeve on Monday night. Yeah! Or, so I thought. I was working on the sleeve while watching "Sense and Sensibility" -
One of my favorite Jane Austin movies (I just love her in general though) - and I guess I was more caught up in the movie than paying attention to my sleeve directions. So basically, I got the point where I was supposed to decrease at each edge for a number of rows. For whatever reason (ok, I know the reason - I was watching the movie instead of paying closer attention to my knitting), I ended up binding off rather than decreasing. Of course, I didn't realize that this was probably going to be a problem until I had triumphantly (or so I thought) finished the sleeve. So, that means I'm going to have to rip back a few rows. Sigh. It's only about 20 rows - no big deal...but I always get nervous about doing that. So, what's my response? I've moved on to the second sleeve. Procrastination. The stitch doctor will get back to the first sleeve once the second one is properly finished. On the positive side, the second sleeve is already on the red part of the color pattern so it won't be long!!!

2. My hubby and I went to a Lord of the Rings festival a few days ago where we watched the Return of the King in the late evening. So, that left no time for knitting on Tuesday night - although I did think about bringing it with me - there would have been a few problems. First, the theater was too dark. Second, even if it was light enough I would have likely had a replay of Monday night b/c I'm even more into the Return of the King than Jane Austin. Third, I think my hubby would have really thought that I've gone off the deep end with the knitting stuff if I had brought my sleeve to the movies.

I'll tell you though - I'll be so happy to be done with this sweater! I'm almost there. So close in fact, that I purchased yarn for my next project..which will finally be for me!! I don't know if I mentioned it before - but my next project is going to be the "To dye for" sweater from the Stitch 'n Bitch book (I promise you - I do have other projects in the queue than those from Stitch n 'Bitch - but I wanted another simple one to do first before moving on to something a little more ambitious). The original sweater is knit in a mohair by Halcyon - but I heard that it's a little scratchy. My skin is pretty sensitive so - I took the plunge and ordered 9 skeins of Rowan Kidsilk Haze (according to the lovely woman who helped me from I will need to knit it with 3 strands together to attempt to match the gauge) in this color:

It was a little more money than I planned on spending, but I figure that I'd rather spend a little more on a nice yarn that will feel nice and I'll want to wear rather than a slightly cheaper one that will make me itch all day. Rationalization?? Anyway, next Wednesday I'm going to a little Sit 'n Knit event in my neighb so I want to be ready to go for the new project because I WILL be done with the Manly Sweater by then!

Have a great weekend all!