Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I'm Happy

The poncho arrived safe and sound in North Carolina last Tuesday. My sister texted me the following:

"Guess what came today while I was at work and they opened it. Doesn't it look great?! She won't take it off. :-)"

I couldn't be happier that my niece is so happy with it. The next day (Christmas Eve) my sister sent me another text:

"Thank you so much for the Christmas gifts! Aubrey still won't take off the poncho....Here we are outside the restaurant we are eating at tonight. Note the poncho!"

Honestly, there is nothing that makes me happier than when someone uses the thing I made for them.  Could be as simple as a dishcloth, but it is really so validating that the effort was worthwhile!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Love, Love, Love

If loving this 1985 cabled-icicle intarsia pullover sweater is wrong, then I don't want to be right.

I'd seriously knit this and wear it in a heartbeat.  The good news is that there are a few copies of the Vogue Knitting International magazine's Fall/Winter 1985 edition to be had out there. There are 2 on ebay and even a couple in the Amazon Marketplace.

Someone in a Facebook group tipped me off to this wonderful book:

 Miyoko Ihara: Misao the Big Mama and Fukumaru the Cat

So basically this elderly Japanese woman (Misao) in took in a stray Japanese Bobcat (she named him Fukumaru) and this book is a photographic journal of their lives together. It's the most, lovely, endearing, poignant series of photos I've seen in a long time. Misao's granddaughter is the photographer. The depth and meaningfulness of their relationship come through so beautifully in these photos.  Here are few of my favorites:


Poncho is DONE! Mailed it off yesterday with the rest of the Christmas gifts for my sister and her family.  Fi-Fi was sad to see it go:

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Poncho Update

Ok, so I did more math on this than I ever wanted to do.  Basically, this whole thing is a paradox.

So it turns out that the chart IS only supposed to be 69 rounds. I read the instructions incorrectly. It was the stitch count on row 69 that was like 77 stitches or something. Still, in my defense, it doesn't read very clearly. And it doesn't change the fact that the chart, when knitted, looks different than the pictured garment.

Also, the gauge is written as 19 rows for 4 inches. Ok. I am getting that or very close to it, despite using the smaller needle (not my fault). Well 69 rounds equates to about 14.5 inches in length. At what point does the length end up being 20.5 before the fringe? Can't be blocking. It's fair isle. It won't stretch out but only so much. Maybe that's the length with fringe? Not what the pattern shows, though. Brain hurting.

I did make the chart longer by one pattern repeat. This increases it by about 17 rounds. But I think that either A) I will run out of yarn, or B) it will be too long. 

So here's what I think I'm going to do: before the bottom charted border, I will add like 5 rounds of a simple, repeating heart pattern. Something like this:

WTF, Sally Melville?

I have the trilogy of Sally Melville's basic Knitting Experience books, which includes (1- The Knit Stitch, 2- The Purl Stitch, and 3- Color).  I don't necessarily have a problem with the "fashion" of these patterns, albeit a good number DO look a little dated to me.  The books' patterns (particularly those in Book 1) are mostly odd, asymmetrical, boxy things that don't really look good on someone my shape and size.  But the books have value for me not because of the patterns, but for the basic knitting instructions. It is what sets Melville's books apart from other knitting books.  The patterns are laid out very clearly with detailed information about gauge, yarn, needles, etc. 

Yeah, not so much in the 3rd book, sadly. The quality of the pattern instructions has really declined.

As of the date I am typing this, I am currently trying to knit "The Seventies" poncho pattern for my seven-year-old niece. She personally picked this pattern out. First of all, I am about 1/3 of the way done and I just noticed that the charted snowflake pattern that I've been diligently knitting does not match the pattern as it appears on the garments worn by the models in the pictures. It's not terrible---in fact it is the same pattern---just slightly different, like it's centered differently or something. So referring to the pictures is NO HELP when trying to determine if I'm staying on course. 

Second, I have also noticed that my poncho is turning out really small. Like toddler sized. According to the pattern instructions, the child size fits sizes 4 to 10. My niece is very tiny; she still wears a child's size 6. I must have missed something somewhere, right? So I looked back at the written instructions. There it mentions the unusual increases in the chart rounds. I haven't had any problems following the chart and the increases at all. But the instructions mention "rounds 69-77." Um...my chart ends at row 69.

So, Oops, I guess?

Thirdly, I decided to check the internet and, lo and behold, there are errata available for this book of patterns, and this pattern in particular.  Do they address the charting being off-centered? No. The missing 9 rows? No. But the errata DID mention that the entire poncho should have been knit on size 7 needles and not size 6. Awesome. Thanks for that.

So now I don't trust that anything at all is right with this pattern. I was getting gauge on size 6, but maybe that gauge is wrong? Maybe I was supposed to use bulky yarn instead of worsted?  What ELSE is screwed up?

I'm not ripping it out. I need to have this done and sent to North Carolina in time for Christmas. I am just going to have to extend the chart out on some graph paper.  Hopefully, I can get it close to the 20-inch length that it's supposed to be (not counting fringe). As it is now, if I don't do something, it will be like 14 inches long.

Hey, Sally, did anyone bother to test knit these patterns before you committed them to the book? This is like knitting patterns 101, here, Sally. Come on. Very disappointing.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

I really do exist

Hi. Yeah, so I know it's been over 2 years. There really is no excuse for my lapse other than my own depression and/or laziness. Mostly laziness. Things are way better now and I feel compelled to write again.

Trying to recollect where I left off in my life...rebooting...I'm just going to start spewing out things as they come to me, ok?

Well, we're back up to 7 cats again.  My sister adopted Toothless in early 2012 and now he's livin' large in an upscale apartment in Hoboken, NJ.  A few months after, we took in my parents' 10-year-old black cat (in the summer of 2012). His name is Rudy. Rudy was always a standoffish kind of cat when he lived with my parents. Not so with us. He adores me. He follows me like a puppy and sits on my chest at night. He drools on me. He licks my nose and cheeks. It's awesome. Fi-Fi hates him. Not so awesome. After 2+ years, she will still awaken from a sound sleep in her kitty bed and wander upstairs with what seems like the sole purpose of attacking him for no reason. She succeeds more often than we'd like. It has gotten better, but I don't like my babies hatin' on each other.

Herc is enormous -- 22+ pounds. Orson has arthritis in his silly toes. :-( Titus was very ill last year right around Thanksgiving. I was a wreck. But he's perfectly fine now. His birthday is actually tomorrow. He's 10. They're all getting older and knowing they won't go on forever makes me very sad. I try not to dwell on it.

All other cats are present and accounted for.

Probably the biggest news is that in March 2013 I started a new job. Todd also got a new job just about the same time. There is no other way to say it: it has changed my life. For the first time in I-don't-know-how-many-years I really have NO complaints. Sure, I still have the daily frustrations that come with any job. For instance, I just spent most of the day in what can only be described as an email exercise in tooth extraction with Dell over a missing monitor stand. I still don't think they know what the hell I'm talking about. But the people in my immediate group of co-workers and my boss are all wonderful. No weird egos. No jealous backstabbing. No soul destroying lies. Everyone treats me with respect and my contributions are valued. It's a nice feeling.

Still knitting. I've knit a lot of stuff since I last posted. Too much to mention everything. I will post some things soon. I've taken to lace knitting.  I love that wow factor that you get when you take a pile of knitted fabric that looks like nothing more than a giant wad of knots and then spread it out for blocking and you see this amazing landscape of delicate intricacy. Here are a few examples:

More to come....