Monday, July 28, 2014

The Impatient Knitter

I've always said that knitting doesn't take patience, it takes persistence.  I am not a patient person, and despite that, I'm a pretty prolific knitter.

Endless Circular Stockinette

Sometimes I really enjoy mindless, repetitive tasks, like knitting stockinette in the round, and then other times I need to break it up with something different.  Even if it's just a change to a different size needle.

On my current raglan top-down project (see below), it even helped to just switch to a sleeve where the rounds are shorter and it requires me to count rows so I know when to decrease.  Just that minor change added enough change to make it interesting.

Current Project

I've made a lot of progress on the top-down raglan, although it might not seem like it.

As noted above, I did get kind of bored with the seemingly endless stockinette of the body of the sweater, and I also thought it would be easier to photograph a progress shot of the sweater if I started one of the sleeves.

It also helped that I had two extra circular needles in the size needle I'm using, so I can switch back and forth between body and sleeve.  Thank goodness for obsessive purchasing of things like Addi Turbos!

This is also the most accurate color photograph I've been able to capture.  I loved one commenters description as "arresting".  I think it totally is.

Readers' Comments/Questions

Some readers asked how I would use the reversible edging on the corners of the kid alpaca blanket.

I figured I would just have plain garter stitch in the squares that make of the corners of the edging.  In fact, if you notice, my original swatch for the edging started off with a square of garter stitch.  I think I'll just knit four of those swatches and sew them to the blanket as shown here.

Then next piece of edging will just be sewn to the left side of the garter square in the photo above.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Edging - A First Step in Completion

This post's title might get a few disappointed googlers, but a few extra hits on the old blog never hurts.

If You're Here for Knitting...

...continue on.

I just realized that I've been working on the kid alpaca blanket/coffin cover for almost as long as I've been writing this blog, and as I start to get to the point that I think it may be finished soon, it scares me in a few ways.

Having called it my coffin cover for so many years, I'm hopeful its completion won't mean I have to follow through with that idea.

Since the Work-In-Progress (WIP) is as old as the blog, I'm hopeful I won't have run out of blog topics with the completion of the blanket.

I'll have no "when all else fails, pick up the the kid alpaca blanket project" project to fall back on when all else is boring.

The Edging is Started

Yes, I've come up with an edging that I just love for the blanket (even though I do still have a dozen more inches of the blanket to knit):

It's a simple cable cross-over on a garter stitch background, but the nice part is that it's reversible (the cables show up on both sides.

I had never seen this technique, but it's just using 1x1 rib for the stitches in the cable.  The resulting fabric has a bit more structure and stability than the blanket fabric, and it looks good on both sides.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Color Appeal

Do you spend any time looking through Pinterest for knit-related items to post?  Have you seen a trend in what folks re-Pin or "Like"?

It's Usually Vibrant Colors

Not always, but usually when I find a particular knit stitch or garment in my Pinterest feed, and I find myself compelled to save it to my Knitting and Crochet pin board, it's usually something done in bright, vibrant colors.

Which tells me two thing:

  1. If I want something to be popular and be re-pinned or liked on Pinterest, make sure the photo of the object is in bright, vibrant colors.
  2. I should look at the more bland colored knitting posts on Pinterest to try and imagine them in vibrant colorways, to see if they might be a great example of something done in brighter colors.

Current Knitting

Well, I've finally gotten past the raglan increases on the Top-Down Raglan pullover I'm making.

I'm actually looking forward to the next section of knitting which requires absolutely no concentration for me at all.  The top section required constant counting and making sure I remembered if I was on an increase row or not.  Now all I have to make sure of is not to go past the length I'm going for in the body of the sweater before starting the ribbing at the bottom.

Readers' Comments/Questions

Thanks for all the feedback on mustache.  I think most people realized I wasn't really planning on growing one and I also don't plan on naming any future adopted children Adolph.  If you've ever seen the movie Clerks II, the character Randall tries to reclaim a racist term, and that was really my inspiration for the last blog post.

Also, my sister-in-law of mine is Jewish, and she was telling me that her grandfather (also Jewish) wore a Hitler mustache.  She even texted me a photo to prove it.

I'm not really sure I'd consider this a Hitler-like mustache...more like a soul-patch above the lip.  I also thinks he looks good with it.  Me, not so much.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Reclaiming With Pride

Years ago, when I first started establishing an on-line identity, I decided I loved the idea of reclaiming "queer" as a term of pride, rather than derision.

Taking On a Bigger Challenge

Now I think it's time to take back the under-nose-only mustache.

I mean why is it that one person can ruin a mustache style for all of eternity?  Especially when it's one of the few mustaches that I could actually grow.

And just think, if enough of us took back the stache and wore it with pride, it would take away the assholes' ability to use it against good people like our president.

I'm thinking this could be a social movement...#reclaimthestache.

Thoughts, concerns, question, suggestions?

Current Knitting

I've made a lot of progress on the top-down raglan I started at the end of last week, although you'd never know it.

Taking a photo of this work-in-progress is almost as difficult as photographing an in-progress knitted lace project, but at least you can see the collar a bit and the striping I'm doing.

I was honestly hoping to have finished all the raglan increases before this morning, but it's starting to feel never-ending.  But I love the color combination...I know the green might seem a bit overwhelming at this stage in the project, but there will be very little more of it used except as an accent in the cuffs and waistband at the bottom.

Thoughts, concerns, question, suggestions?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Finding Inspiration

I've been looking for a new project and I think I've finally found one that I'll enjoy for at least a little while.

New Top-Down Raglan

I went through my stash and found some beautiful brown yarn from Madeline Tosh in DK weight (which is my favorite weight to knit), so I decided to start a new top-down raglan for either me or Thaddeus (we both take about the same size sweater).

As beautiful as the Tosh yarn was, I still wanted to jazz it up a bit with a contrasting color and I found this wonderful yarn that I think I dyed at the Rocky Mountain Men's Knitting Retreat a few years ago.

I've made it past the neck shaping but I still have some increases to go before it's full-circumference.  And for now, the vibrant green is just the two stitches in between the raglan increase stitches.

So far so good.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hope Springs Eternal

I have a confession...I posted a request for positive thoughts on Facebook yesterday and got many lovely (and a couple of odd) responses.  I wasn't requesting positivity because I was doing badly...I requested it to keep the momentum going in my life.

I Got What I Asked For

Regardless of the intention of the request, I got an beautiful array of lovely ideas, thoughts and techniques for bolstering joy in my life and I was very grateful for all of them.

Thank you.

And with that momentum, I decided to redouble my efforts on a New Years resolution that was stalled, and picked up the kid alpaca blanket and started to work on it some more.

Current Knitting

I searched all through Pinterest and in my queue on Ravelry and I couldn't find anything that inspired me to start a new project.  Despite all my efforts, I did the right thing and went back to work on an existing work-in-progress.

The good news is that the blanket is about 6 feet long...I don't know when that happened...I may actually have knitting fairies (other than myself) helping out on this one.  Honestly, I think I just need to do another 12-24 inches (just!...hah!) of knitting on this and then do some border.

It might actually get done by the end of the year...might.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Cutting My Losses

Two projects in the last few months haven't really turned out as I had envisioned, so I'm cutting my losses and in one case, ripping out a lot of knitting.

Bad Projects

The latest one is the Fireworks Scarf, which I finished over the weekend.  Can you see the problems with this design?

I mentioned a couple of things I didn't like about this design in the last blog entry.  It's not reversible and it doesn't mix two variegated colorways of yarns like Koigu very well.  I've also come to realize that the fabric curls and is only flat with a lot of steam blocking and I don't think the star designs shows up very well.  

The other design I've screwed up, is the Henry Der Vest.

This is the one I'll be completely frogging.  I realized I tried to do too much with some bias knitting and I also didn't make a waistband that works at all.  The ribbing is way too flimsy with this beautiful Icelandic yarn.

Here's a photo of Finn hunting from the second floor window.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Overlapping Worlds

One of those delightful collisions of two worlds happened yesterday.  And it was accidentally even captured on film.

Major Milestone and Coincidental Meet-up

A good friend of mine, Charles, after working for Princeton University for 52 years, had his retirement reception yesterday.  The photo above shows a blurry photo of his joy in opening his retirement gift from the University (which is a gorgeous Lalique glass Buddha, by the way).  

There were many coworkers and friends attending the reception...after 52 years at the same employer, I guess you get to know a lot of people.  Charles kept his work life pretty separate from his social life, so I didn't know anyone at the reception, except from things I had heard from Charles about a couple people.

After the formal presentation, one of the presenters (possibly shown in the photo case the person would prefer not to be identified) came up to me and said, "You're queerjoe!"  That kind of chance meeting of a blog reader, especially one so influential in the life of a good friend is always surprising in the most delightful ways.  Turns out this reader is a hardcore knitter who is quite involved in the local and on-line knitting community.

It was a joy to be able to meet a reader in such an unexpected way.

Current Knitting

I'm making progress on my new scarf design.  Progress was slow until I got the rhythm of the pattern stitch down, and I also had to rip it out a few times before I got the hang of it.

I like how the scarf is coming out, and it will look even better once it's blocked and the pattern will be more obvious.

But there are some shortcomings to this design so far.  First (and most importantly, in my mind) is that the stitch pattern doesn't work that well with 2 different colorways of Koigu like my three other scarf designs.  I may be able to find two colorways that would work, but the genius of the Bright Lizard Scarf, Crochet Interlocking Scarf and the Cross Stitch Scarf are that even somewhat random colorways of Koigu work together very well.  The second is that the pattern isn't reversible.  Not a critical feature but it would have been preferred.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Mid Year Update

Given that I did make some 2014 New Year's Resolutions, I thought I should give an update on where I am halfway though the year.

Progress Report

Here are the 2014 resolutions:

  • Finish the kid alpaca blanket/coffin cover (2013 taught me I really MUST work on this more frequently to get it finished).
  • Get down below 195 pounds and stay there (or less).  It's where I'm most comfortable and feel the best about myself.
  • Blog on average at least twice a week.
  • Publish at least one new design on Ravelry
  • Finish piecing the current quilt top I'm working on

  • Here's where I am so far:
    • Done some work on the kid alpaca blanket, but finishing it isn't likely.
    • I've successfully gone down to under 190 pounds and stay there consistently 
    • I've averaged about 2.19 posts per week since January
    • I've published Bright Lizard Scarf design and I may even have a second design to publish this year
    • I've done very little work on the quilt top...I may have to change to a different quilt project to be inspired.
    So far, so good...and if I put some extra effort into the first and last item, I might actually accomplish all of them.

    Current Knitting

    I started a new knitting project, using up more of my leftover Koigu and another sock yarn.

    This will eventually be a scarf I will call the Fireworks Scarf, as I'm hopeful the variegated, pastel yarn will look like little color bursts when it's blocked.  We shall see

    Monday, July 07, 2014

    There Is No "Hover"

    A wise friend once told me that when it comes to my emotional and spiritual journey, there is no such thing as "hover."

    Growing or Decaying

    So that means I'm either growing or decaying.

    I always have spurts of growth and when I've reached a certain level of growth, I can just kick back and relax, staying at the same plateau for a while.  You know, kind of rest up for the next trek onward.

    Turns out, that it's really just two steps forward, one step back unless I keep working on myself and trying to be the most authentic Joe I can be.

    Having recently just had some breakthroughs in this area, I think I'll try to see if momentum plays a part in this growth and try working to see what comes next without resting on my laurels, congratulating myself on my progress.

    Yoga?  Meditation?  Scientology?

    Not sure what's next, but I'll be searching.

    Current Knitting

    I did end up finishing the latest "Bright Lizard Scarf" in Koigu and those wonderful people at Koigu did NOT disappoint.

    One of the things I love about this scarf design, in addition to how wonderfully it handles Koigu's colors, is the drape of it.  It's loose and drapey, with enough structure to keep the pattern stitch stable. I'll need to do one of these in darker colors that I would wear.

    Wednesday, July 02, 2014

    Women To The Rescue...AGAIN!

    With all the damage our conservative idiots in Congress and the Supreme Court have done, I'm hopeful women will turn out in droves to vote out some of these idiots.

    Worse and Worse

    I have thought for a long time that much of the backlash and the obstinance on the side of the conservatives was either just bitter partisanship, or racism.

    Now it appears that it's probably both.

    But I'm hopeful, that the recent Hobby Lobby anti-woman decision will be just what November needs to get out a huge voter turnout for ousting the idiots in Congress.

    We shall see.

    Current Knitting

    I finished the stranded knit hat (or finished sewing in the knitted lining) and Thaddeus tells me I make it look ridiculous.

    I think he's right.  But it will look good on him...or at least better.

    I also started another Bright Lizard Scarf using some of my leftover remnants of Koigu.

    I knew that Koigu would work perfectly with this pattern.  Can't wait to show it to you when it's finished.