Archive for January, 2007

Two Hundred Something

50lbmagnet

Face350_1
Face298_1

I couldn’t really figure out what people were talking about when they said they could see that I was losing weight just from my face. That is, I couldn’t figure it out until I found the picture of me from almost a year ago, right at the start of the first Knitting Olympics. Owing to the dark color of the clothes I’m wearing, and the fact that I’m trying my best to obscure my double chin with a very pretty Saxon Braid Cable, the details are a little fuzzy. But wow, what a difference! If I didn’t know any better, I would say that the girl in that picture has had a bad allergic reaction to shellfish or something and she’s swelling up like a balloon.

So now I can officially tell people that I weigh two hundred and something, instead of three hundred and something. It’s been at least two years since I’ve been under three hundred, and I’m tickled pink. I don’t think I’ll end up meeting my goal of losing 100 pounds this year, but I’ve been at a loss every week for the month of January and I feel like this is going to be a continuing trend. After I lost my first 10%, I kind of got cold feet and hovered around 315 for several months, but I’m back in ready to lose mode now!

My next big goal is 275. 275 is about five pounds less than what I weighed about 4 years ago, back when I was considerably more active. Believe it or not, somewhere in between quitting my fairly active job as a cashier and starting a "real" job where I live in a cubicle, I gained a purely alarming 70 pounds. Also, reaching 275 will put me less than a hundred pounds away from reaching my ultimate weight goal. Slowly but surely, I’m getting a new body!

To celebrate, I bought a real domain for the blog at http://www.knitonmycat.com. You’ll still be able to get here from the old Typepad address for now, but you might want to update your links in case I end up moving hosts in the future.

Okay, enough about my fat! Time for the good stuff!

Remember this?

Byopalsock_1 I started this sock last summer. The yarn was a souvenir from my vacation in Washington, and I lost steam on it after I turned the heel and decided I didn’t like the way the ribbing obscured the pattern. I never got started on it again because I decided that I’m way too much of a free spirit to be confined by self-striping yarn. (Well, that and I didn’t really feel like knitting a whole pair of socks in plain stockinette.)

Enter my first toe-up sock!

Toeup1 Okay, I know you can’t really tell it’s a sock yet, but take my work for it… that is a baby toe up sock in the making. I’m using the Universal Toe-Up Sock Formula from Knitty and teeny-tiny double O needles. So far, I really like it and I think it’s going to result in a much better fitting pair of socks for my tugboat size feet.

My other knitting of the moment consists of that damnable Strawberry Purse and my Orange Vest of Failure. I feel like the fun of making a short row tow got me out of my knitting funk. The next time I get into a knitting slump, I think I’ll just try knitting things backwards. Seems to do the trick!

Leave a Comment

Orange: The Color of Failure

Orangereview
Orangereview2
Orangereview3

I haven’t blogged for almost two weeks now. For once, it’s not because I don’t have time (overtime is off, at least for awhile), or because I don’t have anything interesting to say. It’s because every time I sat down to blog last week, I got annoyed, then angry, and then a little depressed. My posts would start out with a few mild complaints, and by the end they were usually peppered with incoherent ranting in ALL CAPS, with lots of exclamation points and expletives. If you’re around me for any length of time, you know that my mouth could make the surliest sailor weak with shame, but even for me this was an awful lot of anger to be hurling around on the Intarwebs.

Knitting isn’t going so well lately (see above photos), and when my knitting is out of joint, I find myself feeling out of joint too. It’s easy for me to blog my knitting triumphs- who doesn’t love a happy ending? – but when it gets ugly, I never feel quite so ready to share.

I’m not shy about my imperfections, or embarrassed about making mistakes. You hear it all the time, and it’s true: mistakes are just a part of the process. If you knit long enough, you’ll figure out how to prevent and correct many errors, but you’ll never stop making them all together.

In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore says that because his intelligence is far greater than average, his mistakes are far greater and more terrible than average too. The same can definitely be applied to knitting. The more adventurous and experienced you become as a knitter, the more complex your mistakes will become.

I know all that, really I do. I accept that I will have to rip things out and re-knit. I accept that I will twist stitches where they shouldn’t twist and drop them where they shouldn’t be dropped. My happy knitting experiences outweigh the bad ones by far. But for some reason, I feel like I should keep my knitting problems locked in a closet, as far away from the public eye as possible.

I hypothesize that my feeling of wanting to cover up the seedy underbelly of knitting stems from a desire for others, especially non-knitters, to see this craft as one that is largely pleasant and productive. I figure that if "the muggles" get wind of the fact that knitting doesn’t always turn out the way you want it to, and can occasionally bring the knitter to the brink of desperation, they’ll get scared off. It’s the same reason that you’re not supposed to tell pregnant women how awful labor is and how your baby mostly cries, poops, and throws up on you. (Maybe it’s okay before they’re pregnant, but definitely not after it’s already too late to turn back.)

Ah, confession really is good for the soul.

Anyway, I had started the Central Park Hoodie and I was absolutely in love. Everything was going fine, until I decided that I needed to adjust the depth of the armhole. After spending a couple hours pondering over the mysteries of recalculating the slope of the decreases and trying to self-measure my armpit to see how deep it actually is, I was forced to admit defeat and ripped my beautiful orange tweed back for the second time. I know it’s not the yarn’s fault, but I still feel like punishing it. ("Bad yarn! Back in the closet! No knitting for you!")

To sum it all up, I’m feeling very under-inspired at the moment. My last successful project was the Kitty Pi from Wendy Knits. I definitely want to make at least one more (extra large for Fat Louie, of course), but it doesn’t sound particularly fun at the moment. I’ve decided to swear off the knitting of all things with sleeves for the time being. I think the orange yarn might be destined to be a vest, but I’m pretty sick of looking at it. I started working on a little felted strawberry purse from the latest issue of Knitscene, but it is a pain in the ass. (More on that later.)

Kittypi4
Kittypi5
Strawberry1

So anyway, I’m sorry for the downer of a post. Maybe I’ll get inspired and knit something awesome, which should lead to happier blogging.

Comments (1)

Back on Track

Chaosresolved

Life is looking considerably brighter here at Casa de Golightly, as you can see from my glouriously organized stash. The yarn corner is 110% improved since yesterday, some languishing projects have finally made it to cast off, and exciting new projects are in the works. (And those new projects are totally Rotation legal- sweet!)

Last week, after the emotional upheaval of aran disaster, I decided that what I really, really needed was a break from anything involving charts, seed stitch, or thought. Serendipitously, that very day I saw a post on Crazy Aunt Purl about her Kitty Pi. It was love at first sight. I had to buy needles for it the second I left work. Can you believe after two years of knitting I didn’t have a single set of size 11 DPNs? What is the world coming to? 

Also serendipitiously, Tara recently gifted me with more black felting wool than you can shake a stick at (thanks again!), so I had plenty of raw material. I cast on for the Pi Tuesday night, and today I cast off! A super fast, totally brainless project was what I needed and Kitty Pi delivered.

Kittypi1
Kittypi2Kittypi3

I should be felting it tomorrow when I do laundry. Having something to felt is great motivation to go to the laundromat. Maybe I should make a Kitty Pi every week…

I’m planning to make at least one more, and possibly a third for a cat loving co-worker. If you think your favorite kitty needs a Pi, this is a free pattern from Wendy Knits. If my resounding endorsement doesn’t convince you, check out the finished Kitty Pi gallery. (Warning: Viewing gallery could cause cute cat overload.)

As of last night, I’m officially finished with my 2006 Holiday Knitathon. Behold! Mylea’s Fingerless Mitts:
Orangefingerlessmitts The yarn is Blue Sky Alpaca’s worsted, although you should be warned that this yarn is a very, very heavy worsted. One more ply and I think we could safely call it bulky. I knit it a little too densely on my trust Susan Bates DPNs, sizes 4 and 5. The pattern came from the Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns. I find that this book really lives up to the title, especially when it comes to Xmas knitting. Mylea likes them, and I knit them to match her Grown Up Bonnet Scarf.

I know I’ve said this every year since I started knitting, but this time I mean it: I’m not doing the whole Xmas knitting thing next year. I’m sure some people really enjoy it, but for me it always ends up being stressful and annoying. I love knitting things for my fellow knitters, but from now on I’m sticking to birthdays. At least those are spaced out through the year.

Last but not least, I ripped out the orange aran and it felt great! It felt even better when I cast on for the Central Park Hoodie. No regrets here, not a single one.

So, just for the record, the Rotation projects are as follows: one pink and aqua Ballband Warshrag. One Grown Up Bonnet Scarf. And one Central Park Hoodie. There are a couple other things still on the needles chillin’ out in the frog pond, but since they’re soon to be recycled yarn, they don’t count!! Woohoo!

Comments (2)

Bad Week

When I was a kid I had a book called Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. That poor kid just couldn’t catch a break. I’ve thought about that story several times over the last week, because I’ve been feeling a little like Alexander ever since Monday. Nothing drastically awful has happened- I mean, no one I care about has died, I haven’t been abducted by aliens, and moths didn’t get into my stash- but it seems like nothing has gone right either. Work is a mess. My house is a mess. And worst of all, my knitting is a mess. (Naturally, I’m most concerned about the knitting.)

Let’s deal with the most terrible and important thing first: the possible frogging of the Orange Aran. (Yes, you read that right. The whole shebang.)

It was going so, so well. In my last post, I proudly announced no less than 6 inches of new knitting progress on the back, all accomplished in one frenzied weekend. I was almost halfway done with the back, and since I already have a sleeve, that means I was mere inches away from being halfway done with this sweater.

So what is the problem? Can you see it?

Aran5

How about now?

Aran5error

The really sickening thing is, the mistake isn’t even my fault. Basically, there are two places in the first and seventh rows of the chart where you do what I’ve been thinking of as "the big cable". It’s a six stitch right twisting cable, and it’s "the big cable" because all of the other cables in this sweater are worked over four stitches. The problem is that when you’re working the largest sizes of the sweater, you work the chart twice, and neither the chart or the pattern indicate that the big cable still needs to be worked when you are in the middle of the row, or in between charts. So if you work the chart as it’s written, you end up with a six stitch column of un-cabled stitches going right up the middle of the sweater.

Of course the model sweater pictured in the magazine doesn’t have this problem, probably because it is one of the smaller sizes and therefore was knit using only the center of the chart. Or maybe it’s that the test knitter was smarter than me and figured it out on her own, before knitting a foot of interlocking diamond seed stitch cables. (Bitter, party of one?)

I guess it doesn’t really matter who’s to blame. At this point, all I can do is either rip it out or learn to live with it. To rip, or not to rip? I can’t make up my mind. On the one hand, I only followed the chart as written twice before discovering the issue, and it’s pretty low on the back of the sweater. I’m sure if I just go ahead with the rest of the sweater it will be fine and it won’t be noticed from a prancing pony, or a trotting horse, or what-have-you.

Who am I kidding? I know I’m going to eventually rip it out. I’m just postponing the inevitable. Mistakes in knitting are a weird thing to me. I’m not a perfectionist by any stretch of the imagination about anything in my life, except knitting. When I make a mistake, I always go through several stages of denial (see above paragraph), and usually knit several inches past the mistake before I accept the unalterable fact that maybe I could live with it- but I don’t want to. I don’t like frogging, but I’d rather frog than live with a mistake that I know I could have fixed.

After I made the decision to rip (which was a few nights ago, since I started this post while my blogging host was having "issues"), I felt a lot better, but also realized that I wasn’t really interested in finishing the sweater I started anymore. I still love the yarn and it will definitely be a sweater eventually, but it will probably be a Central Park Hoodie instead of a Kristin Nicholas Aran Pullover. It’s bittersweet. I’m excited about the prospect of a new sweater, but sad about losing the old one.

The rest of my knitting has been all jacked up too, but I’m determined to get things back on the path to Finished-Objectdom over the rest of the weekend. Since I’ve decided that a lot of my UFOs are going in the frog pond, after I finish up a few smallish project I should be back on the proverbial straight and narrow as far as my Rotation goes, which will be a relief.

Part of getting back on track means that I need to deal with the disaster area my knitting shelf has become. No wonder I’m a mess! Chaos breeds chaos, people.
Chaos

I’ll take another picture tonight if I make any progress.  (There will be some progress!)

Just so we don’t end on a down note, I’ll say that I’m feeling a lot better since I cried me a little cry this morning, and I’m feeling confident that the upcoming week will be much brighter.

Comments (1)

Making Up for Lost Time

Aran4 Bonnetscarf1_1

I love how even after an unproductive knitting week, I can usually manage to make it up to myself on Sunday. With just a few short breaks, I’ve been knitting since I woke up at nine this morning, and have about two and a half feet of knitting progress to show for it.

Do you remember the Aran Pullover of tweedy orange goodness that I cast on for way back in August? I knit more than 7 inches on it this weekend, which is quite a feat considering the difficulty of the chart. Interlocking diamond cables + seed stitch = headache.

Since the picture doesn’t show the trademark flare of 3×3 ribbing at the cast on edge, you might not be able to tell that long, green scarf is a future Grown Up Bonnet Scarf from Knit 2 Together. (You know, the one that I absolutely did not cast on for Thursday night!) I knit two whole feet on that baby today, and I think that if the rest of the yarn was in my hands right now, I’d probably just stay up the rest of the night and wear it to work tomorrow. If you’ve noticed this scarf popping up on a lot of knitting blogs lately… there’s a good reason. Apparently I’m not the only one who’s always had a secret longing for a bonnet.

Leave a Comment

Baby Got Back (Problems)

Pinkaqua1

This has been a slooooow week for knitting. My knitting Rotation is all screwed up because of holiday knitting (which still isn’t finished as of January 6th). I suspect that I’m above my self-imposed limit of two projects and a sock, but I’m keeping myself in a comfortable state of denial by staying a little unclear on exactly what I’m working on. There’s a dishcloth and a half in my purse right now, so I’ll admit that it is a valid, in Rotation project. (I blame a New Year’s Eve party that featured the world’s longest game of Trivial Pursuit.) There’s a halfway completed Christmas present that I *should* be working on, but does it really count if I haven’t picked it up in almost two weeks? I vaguely remember casting on for a Moss Grid Hand towel from Mason Dixon Knitting, but it was almost immediately frogged and abandoned after the unfortunate linen/cat incident. I don’t think that one quite made it into the Rotation either.

Oh, and if anyone tells you that they saw some tall, fat dark haired woman at the Knit Nook last night casting on for the Grown Up Bonnet from Knit 2 Together in a beautiful avocado green alpaca/wool blend… it was so not me. Especially if the dirty liar said she was wearing a fabulous Clapotis and complaining about her back.

Speaking of which… my back hurts, and I’m not entirely sure why. I haven’t done anything particularly strenuous over the last week, but all of the sudden things like sitting down, standing up and bending over are very painful activities. It started hurting on Monday night, and now it’s Friday and I still can’t wear shoes that need to be tied. I’m trying to be "macho" and wait it out, but I think if it doesn’t significantly improve over this weekend I’m going to have to suck it up and go to the doctor. As much as I’m looking forward to being a crazy old cat lady, I see no reason why I should be shuffling around like one at age 22.

As if I didn’t have enough knitting problems with all the upset to my Rotation plan, I have had to put a temporary halt to all sock knitting. I finished my Stripey Socks on New Year’s Eve, just in time to wear them to the party. Like most of the socks I’ve knit for myself, they fit fine… when I first put them on. But after a few hours of wear, they get really loose and baggy. When I wash them, they shrink back to regular size and the cycle begins anew.   

I’d always kind of assumed that this was just a problem inherent to hand knit socks, since this isn’t a problem I have with the regular kind. But I was flipping through the sock chapter from the Yarn Harlot’s Knitting Rules book and I noticed a Sock FAQ where common sock problems are addressed. Wouldn’t you know, this isn’t an uncommon problem at all, and according to the book the reason it happens is because your gauge is too loose.

Big freaking shock. The girl with the long fingers and gigantic gauge can’t get proper sock gauge on size 1 needles? Of course she can’t. I know I nearly always have to go down 2 sizes from the suggested needle in any pattern. Why didn’t it occur to me that this would probably carry over to socks? I think I’m going to need to go down at least to a 0 and possible even smaller!  Unfortunately these sizes are hard to come by around here, unless I want to buy two sets of Addi Turbos, which are out of my budget right now. So, no socks for me, for awhile anyway. I guess warshrags are an acceptable alternative for a portable project.

Hearts1

*sob* Just look at those cute little hearts I’m going to have to frog! *sob*

In non-knitting news, Liz will be happy to hear that I am finished with Grey’s Anatomy season two, so I will be returning the box set she graciously loaned me. Last night I dreamed that Izzy was operating on my back. (No, she didn’t try to cut off my life support.)

Comments (1)