Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Does she or doesn't she?

Originally uploaded by runawaypenguin
She does! Finish, that is, not run out of yarn, although it was certainly close towards the end. If I had an overflowing basket of these yarns (or even just another two yards of the khaki, white and the lightest blue) I probably would have done the last few stripes differently, but I'm still quite pleased with this tidy little jacket. My cousin has a great deal of experience in designing clothes, and I was sorely tempted to gift this as an amoeba without sewing up the sleeve seams, just so she could see how it looks before hand. I will admit that it makes a much better presentation with all parts properly attached.

I couldn't find a lot of information about the best way to seam together perpendicular pieces of garter stitch, so I ended up just trying a bunch of things until something worked. The first thing I tried was stitching right behind the cast on row on the back, but because the stitching resembles a knit stitch it appeared as if there were two rows in stockinette right at the transition. I was worried that the seam would get bulky if I hid a knit row with the cast on edge, but the yarn is small enough that it didn't make much of a difference. If I have something critical to add before I find buttons I may post a close up of the seam, because I am very proud of how they turned out. If you're impatient you can just poke around on my Flickr page (click on the picture above).

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Originally uploaded by runawaypenguin
This is a common misperception, is it not? At this point, a few rows short of halfway, I had 3.5 ounces of knit fabric, and 4 ounces of yarn. I had to rip out project to even get that much, a neckerchief that I never would have worn. I'm pretty sure that I'll have enough to finish, but there is still the question of whether I'll be changing colors in the middle of rows. I also have two untouched skeins leftover from the same sweater as all of the yarn pictured, but as it is a pastel pink it may not be the best match.

With this small sweater I have connected to the Yankee within. Knitting down each tiny skein within an inch of its life and strategizing about when to switch colors has been a true pleasure. I don't think the sweater would have been half as fun if I were working with a bountiful excess of cotton. It feels cleansing to know that there is that much more space left in my showcase box of yarn, although I'm sure some quick rearranging will fill it.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Originally uploaded by runawaypenguin
No matter how shocking the final construction of this garment, the real surprise is that I ever found the pattern again. Sometimes packing up can be a marvelous thing. I've been intending to get this Baby Surprise Jacket started since the end of last summer, and it feels good to be whittling down the yarn in my "use is imminent" box.

That's all for today!

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Claudia hat03
Originally uploaded by runawaypenguin
I can't remember exactly how I got this far on the Claudia hat because I haven't been knitting on it for days. I haven't forgotten it but I've definitely been stalling. I'm far enough along to start the decreases for the top, except that I bought my size 6 dpns in January while I was making a concerted effort to control my knitting expenses. My entire purchase that day was within my budget and I was the very embodiment of virtue. I've been paying for it ever since.

I got a set of Susan Bates dpns and they would be perfect except they came in a set of four needles instead of five. Knitting in the round with only four dpns feels awkward, and I have a hard time knitting a few extra stitches onto each needle to move the join. I started doing this when I made my first Odessa, and I've found that moving the join is key to avoiding tension problems in my knitting. I made my first socks on two circulars, and it's fairly clear where one circular ended and the next began. As it was my first attempt with fair-isle, the entirety of the first sock could be said to have some tension issues because I either hadn't heard or didn't take seriously the advise to space out your stitches before changing colors. However, I'm pretty sure that the tightest spots on the sock occur right at the joins because I was overcompensating for the stitches being pulled apart by the weight of the needles. I have one pairs worth of Koigu in my stash from Marylen, and I can guarantee that it will get worked up on five needles if I ever get to it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Packing up & moving out

Originally uploaded by runawaypenguin
Despite the fact that this looks exactly like the back we have come to know and love, this is the front. Mo and I had a crazy busy weekend--I finished my last college paper on Friday morning at 3 am, and three hours later a friend drove us to the Springfield train station for a trip to Philly. I would have accomplished more of the sweater on the way down, but I was understandably exhausted and didn't even get all the way through the ribbing. Packing at three in the morning is never a good idea, especially when there is unpleasant weather on the horizon. Neither of us remembered (or should I say, both remembered and packed) a rain jacket, so we were freezing and soggy on the first day of our visit. We did not find an apartment we liked, but spending time in the area gave us a much better idea of where to look.

I started packing up my things today. The first box is always the hardest for me, and I tend to start with something easy. When I left for college it was my favorite books, and today it was all the yarn I don't plan on using over the next five days. I found and tried on a second iteration of Green Gables which is much better than the first but still needs some tweaking with the sleeves. We'll have to see what I'm up for once I've finished with this purple beauty. The bursts of colder weather we keep having are taunting me, telling me that if I finished the sweater by Sunday I'd be able to wear it to graduation, but I'm pretty sure that I don't want to spend my last week (almost half over already!) knitting on a deadline.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


I woke up the first morning of reading period several hours before our alarm was set to go off, compulsively thinking about knitting. When I first saw the preview for the spring Interweave Knits, I was underwhelmed by the Drawstring Raglan. Something about the color striping bothered me, but I just decided the pattern wasn't for me. Then the gallery went up at Knitting Daily, and I realized it was the colors that were driving me crazy; the dark charcoal color seemed to fade into the purple stripe it surrounds, which makes a huge dark block. I would never knit something like that.

Overnight I must have dreamed about the drawstring raglan, because I certainly wasn't thinking about horticulture and the growing habit of green beans. The first thought that came to me when I woke up was the fact that I still have linen yarn left from making facecloths a while ago. The colors would be perfect.

It's all over. I don't have the rest of the yarn yet, but I've placed an order for two balls of Cotlin from Knitpicks, and they'll be auditioning shortly. I've decided to make the bottom half of the sweater be a combination of textures, much like Adrienne's blanket pictured above. I first saw the Colinette Absolutely Fabulous Blanket when we visited Marylen, and it was the first time I really understood why you would use such a large group of radically different yarns on the same project. It's beautiful! (Fairy Godmother moment number three) Hopefully the final sweater will be slightly more sedate, as I think there could be a strong tendency towards blanket-qualities if I go too nuts with the color and texture mixing. I still have about $30 left on a gift certificate to Webs, and so I'm currently considering all of their linens. I'm particularly drawn to Elsebeth Lavold's new yarn called Bamboucle, and even though I haven't seen it yet in person I'm pretty sure that at least one stripe will make it into the final garment.

Many thanks to Adrienne of Yarn for Brains for allowing me to use her picture. Her Ravelry page for this blanket is here, and she's blogged about this photo here. There are a lot of other gorgeous Ab Fab blankets on Ravelry, I recommend taking a look around.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

House T-shirt

House T-shirt
Originally uploaded by runawaypenguin
My camera continues to have difficulty shooting the color purple. In real life this is a royal purple, the purple you remember from kindergarten color wheels. I'm very pleased with how these turned out.

I realize that I never properly explained how the illustration relates to the house. According to the Smith website, Park House was originally built in 1880 and acquired by the college in 1923. At some point close to when the college purchased the building, there was an addition put onto the house. Common spaces are primarily located in the footprint of the original building, and private rooms are primarily located in the addition. For some reason, the addition isn't exactly plumb. There are reports of a few dressers whose drawers wouldn't stay shut, and when I first got to college Parkies would play a game called "Will it Roll?". This involved dropping things in the hallway to see how far they could go.

There are a number of art students in the house, and a common assignment for the first drawing course is a perspective drawing of a hallway. I thought it was interesting that in order to to fulfill the assignment a student might be tempted to ignore the reality of slightly off-kilter walls. After coming up with a vision for the illustration I played around with a few slogans before landing on this one.

(I should mention that Park Complex also has an annex, which is a smaller building across the street. We have the same set of keys and you know how sometimes couples say they have one heart in two bodies? Well, that's creepy. But we're one house in two buildings. The cubism is slightly less applicable to the annex.)

I finally had time to bind off the back of Alouette. You should be unsurprised when I tell you that it looks almost identical to the picture I posted a week ago.