Saturday, 29 September 2007

The Ron / Hermione Debate along the Road to Denial

I'm pathetic. I've gone all NoOby again because Ralvery asked me if they could use my picture of Riley for the Basic Dog Sweater page. Pathetic.

In sock news: Denial continues. I'm working on the second Keira Knitghtly sized sock and all was well until I realized that I hadn't moved the stitches before starting the heel flap. You're supposed to rearrange them so you have one purl at the beginning of the top of the sock and one purl at the end. I didn't do this and wound up confusing myself. Finally I figured out where I had gone wrong. I had to choose what to do next; free my inner Hermione and frog the entire heel and heel flap and redo everything correctly, or make something up and continue knitting sans le grenouille (Henceforth known as freeing your inner Ron). I thought, I fought with myself, then I realized that I was already so far down the Road to Denial that there was no point in trying to turn back now. Ron is free. I purled two together, knit the pattern, purled one, made one purl-wise and am now continuing to skip happily along the Road. I wonder what happens when you actually reach Denial. Is that the point where the people in the little yellow car with the nice crisp white jacket come and pick you up and take you to the little room with lovely soft walls where you sing 1970's hit songs to yourself for the rest of your life? Or does Life step in, ruin your nice delusions of everything being wonderful and make you start all over again?

Since I "wasted" two skeins of the sock yarn on the Denial socks, I had to go get more to make the Reality socks, i.e the ones that will fit Grandma. The Swiss have this really annoying way about them. This woman must remember that I was in the shop last Sat. and bought green sock yarn. I was the only customer and it was all I bought. Still, she has to point out that I'm going to need three, not two, of these skeins to make a pair of socks. I told her I know. She persists in telling me that because it's thicker, there's less yardage and therefore you need more than for normal sock yarn. Thank you, I know. Again she tells me it's not the same. Come on woman! You don't seriously think I'm going to stand here and tell you that I need this yarn because I screwed up the first pair of socks do you?!? I know what will happen if I do this. You won't let it go if I just tell you I messed up the first pair. You'll hound me until you have the whole, blow by blow humiliating story of my Failure to properly knit a pair of socks, all the while clicking your tongue and tut-tutting over not only my failure to properly knit a pair of socks, but my persistent refusal to see that they are too small, that I could never have knit a sock with one skein and why didn't I frog the whole thing and reclaim the yarn to start afresh. Indeed, why don't I go home now and unravel the sock I finished so that I will have a pair of socks I can actually wear without using forceps to pull them up? No, the Swiss just can't let things go at "I made a mistake", they have to know the whole story so they can feel utterly superior to you and then tell the story to their friends so they can feel superior to you as well, especially as the whole telling will culminate with the sentence: "Of course she's not Swiss you know." accompanied by many nods of the head and click-tuttings. She didn't seriously think I was going to give her the satisfaction, did she? The Swiss have learned to free their Inner Hermione in a big, rather unhealthy way, and they like to let you know that. Join them? No thank you, I'm quite happy skipping along the Road with Barry Manilow songs running through my head. Fly Ron! Be Free!

In other news, WE HAVE HEAT! Wooot! 60° in your apartment is just not warm enough. Thank you for noticing that dear landlord. Maybe she noticed that I put up my second windows (Vorfenster) today. I figured I should so that I didn't lose the heat that I might manage to generate with prodigious candle burning.

I also cleaned the car, went groc shopping, cleaned the balcony and the windows, hoovered and mopped the floors, cleaned out my tea cupboard, went to the post office, hung the laundry out side and cleaned the kitchen. I'm tired now. I think I'll go knit.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Knitterly Denial

I looked at the pattern. Looked at the yarn and thought "72 stitches will be HUGE". I cast on 60. I knit a round or two. It looked waaaaay to big. I frogged. I cast on 48 stitches. I knit for a while, thought "this might be just a weeeeny bit tight. I knit on. I tried the sock on. It was still a liiiiiitle tight. I thought it might grow a bit with the washing and grandma has much thinner legs anyway. I continued to knit. I tried on. I felt there was still hope. I finished the sock. I tried on. No two ways about it, it's too tight. I washed. It did not grow as hoped. It remained the same. I thought since the damn thing says "unshrinkable yarn" that it would still grow because that would be sod's law, but alas, it did not. This is known as reverse sod's law.

Currently, I'm trying to convince myself that if it was too tight for me, it should be OK for Grandma because she really does have much thinner legs than me (I have the calves from hell. Doesn't matter how much weight I lose, my calves refuse to give up a mm of circumfrance and remain the size of small elephant legs. I console myself with the knowledge that it is really all muscle, and at least I still have ankles. Wonder if you could make rump steak out of them? Lord knows I wouldn't miss them). I'm going to make the second one come hell or high water. If all else fails, I'll just hunt someone down who has really thin legs and randomly present them with a pair of socks. Anyone have Keira Knightly's address?

Knitterly denial or have the Pink Gods been colluding with the Green Sock Gods to make my life hell? I'll go for the latter. That would make it less my own fault. After all, no one owns up to fault anymore, why should I?

At least no one can sue me for this, can they?

Monday, 24 September 2007

Not Much New

Well, life has been going on as per usual. I haven't gotten much knitting actually finished lately. I did do the second goodie bag for my cousins. I think they'll like the chocolate more than the bag though. Still, it was a cheery yarn and maybe they can use it for something else later. I also have two pair (count them TPS, two) of socks for my grandma on the needles. One plain pair of phone socks and one pair of 9 to 5s with super special (read: expensive) winter snow and rain resistant yarn in 8 ply so they will be super warm. Yes, this means I not only fell off the wagon, but got run over as well. I didn't want to go all the way to my usual Not So LYS just for plain sock yarn, so I went to the really LYS and got it there at three times the price. It did, however, come with reinforcement yarn so these socks will last a long, long time. It's the first time I've worked with it and I have to say I rather like it. You do have to be a bit more careful when knitting it because it's double stranded, and you do have to weave in the ends, but it's worth it if the socks last longer. Anyway, I bought that and a skein of the same in light blue for me, only mine was on sale for just a little more that I usually pay. Grandma likes green, so I got the not on sale stuff. I keep justifying with: It's Grandma and she will appreciate it, like really appreciate it. Plus, I didn't have to pay for the gas to get to the NSLYS, so there was a bit of savings there. Master of justification, as long as I don't think of my stash. *cringes*

Spent Sat. at the Concours. My friend's horse (Pete Rose - I am oh so not responsible for that name) was jumping in it and it was near where I live, so we went together. The guy riding Pete was supposed to have finished his riding apprenticeship thingy this year, but had a nasty accident involving most of the bones in his foot and leg. This was the first time he'd ridden in a competition since and was nervous. He got to the second phase of the first competition, but lost concentration when he was trying to listen if he really got through and knocked a pole off. He would have won otherwise. Poor thing. Pete then decided he didn't want to play anymore and refused to jump in the second competition (just one jump, not all) and Christoph gave it up as a bad day. At least the weather was nice and we got to sit outside and enjoy the day.

Spent Sunday sleeping, reading and knitting, oh, and walking the dogs as per usual. T had looked a bit wobbly on Sat. but was fine on Sunday, so I am refusing to worry. Besides, what am I supposed to do, go to the vet and say he very occasionally looks a bit wobbly? He was probably just tired. I left them out on the balcony on Sat. while at the competition and he probably didn't get much sleep out there - for those of you who do not know, I have a very large balcony that goes around 3/4 of the house with beds in both sun and shade, so the dogs were not in any way, shape or form poor things for having been left out there. It was just to nice to leave them out so they could enjoy the sun and see what's going on outside for a change.

Deb had mentioned the Cow Thing in her blog, and indeed, we had to take a detour for the cows this weekend. They were coming home from the Alps and this is a big deal here. People come from all over to watch the cows walk down the middle of the street. (Let me tell you, if my dogs shat in the street like that and I didn't pick it up, there would be hell to pay. Apparently cows are exempt from the poop pick up thing. So are horses and sheep. Bitter? Me? Never!) So the people watched and we drove around them. The cows are now all safely tucked up at home and Switzerland can sleep well again. Oh the relief!

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

We are not amused Volume II

As you can see, we really aren’t amused. I’ll grant you, it was still over 90°F (32°C) when the picture was taken, but Riley was not amused. It remains to be seen how she reacts when it’s cold.

I also need to do another one. Same yarn, same size, different armholes. They’re too tight. This is my fault for assuming that a dog the size of a large rat (This is reverse sizeism. What can I say, I own Great Danes. People don’t like my dog's size either and I get to hear about it All. The. Time. and then some. Besides, I'm sure I'll love her to death when I meet her, she's just very small.) could not possibly have legs wider than that. I was wrong. I should have paid attention to the pattern. My penance: Re-Knitting the sweater. Ah well. This time it will be perfect. *bangs very hard on large block of wood with two by four*
Finished second goodie bag last night. Yet another two Christmas Pressies down. Will CO dog sweater by this weekend. In the meantime, sock work. Need to get socks done.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Wherein We Learn Not to Anger the Pink Gods

Now that she finally has them, I can post about the very first Coronet Hat and Cowl I made for thepinksheep as “revenge” for the load of tea she sent me (Still hoarding/lovin’ it :0).

Note to TPS: This is meant to be funny. Even when I was knitting this hat I though it was funny, well mostly. OK, occasionally. Well, after I finished anyway :P It is also proof of how much I really do value your friendship, because trust me, there aren’t that many people I would have finished this hat for. What am I saying! It’s pink, there are even fewer people I would have started the hat for, let alone finish it :P

First of all, I should have done mine, (in blue - oh the surprise), first. That way I would have known what I was doing when I was making hers.

Secondly, NEVER, EVER ANGER THE PINK GODS or any other colour gods for that matter. Never thinking that I would ever knit anything in any shade of pink whatsoever, I have razzed TPS over her choice of favourite colour for ages now. This was a mistake. As soon as I decided that I would give in and knit something in pink because it was the only colour for TPS, the pink gods decided to take this rare opportunity to take their revenge and wreak havoc with me, in a big way.

Problem #1 – Finding pink yarn. They don’t make decent yarn in pink, at least not in wool. (I am soooo refraining from asking if they make anything decent in pink. *whistles innocently*). As it is cold where TPS lives, I wanted wool. Nope. That wasn’t going to happen. Not unless I wanted her to look like a human being wearing a pale pink flower on her head in the middle of winter. Needless to say, I didn’t. Some poor unsuspecting bird, thinking it had struck gold in the middle of winter, might have tried to suck her hat dry of non-existent nectar, pecking and pooping away in anger and disappointment . Since we do really like TPS and don’t want her full of bird poop, we decided it would be a fall hat and switched to cotton.

Problem #2 – Gauge. Shut up knitters. I hear the collective snorting. Gauge, schmauge. A: it never works anyway. B: The only decent pink, cotton yarn they had was in aran weight and the pattern calls for worsted. OK, we calculate. I am not good at math. Three hours later, I gave in and just started knitting, figuring I would just stop when it was just short of fitting around my head – the coronet part is knit in a band which you mattress stitch together and then pick up the stitches for the top from the “side” of the band.

Problem #3 – The yarn was STIFF. My fingers suddenly knew that they really never want to have chronic, acute or even mild arthritis. A few minutes into knitting and I wasn’t sure which was stiffer, the yarn or my fingers. I couldn’t / didn’t want to stop and rest because I really needed to get the hat done and sent before the last leaf fell off the last tree. Finally. The band is finished and is looking GOOD. Woot, I think. The rest will be easy. – This is proof that sometimes even I’m an optimist, rarely, but it happens. Shit happens too…

Problem #4 – Gauge. (alright already!) Since I didn’t get gauge, I didn’t know how many stitches to pick up, so I just went along picking them up happily and then suddenly realized that I would have to figure out how to do the reductions evenly. Whoops. OK, no problem, I think. I counted the stitches and made a reduction or two in the first round. This would work. (oh the misplaced optimism!)

Problem #5 – Happily knitting along, I’m just about to finish the crown when I turn the hat to look at the back . At this point, hat, needles, dogs, cats and other random objects fly. There was a big, humongous, gaping hole at the back of the hat. I must have done something seriously wrong with kitting in the ends because the whole hat was coming apart on me. This is where I began to suspect the pink gods. Only they could want me to have to knit this hat twice.

Deep breath. Much frogging of crown. More expletives uttered. I pick up the stitches again and restart the crown.

Problem #6 – The realization that I have indeed picked up too many stitches and the crown is going to be huge. Decision time: Knit pink hat a third time or make emergency reductions. Hmmmm…me and my multiple personalities opted for the emergency reductions to save what is left of my sanity.

I continue knitting, making the reductions as attractive as possible, and finish knitting the hat without too many more difficulties (note the Not Too Many. There were, but only the boring kind), whilst my hand continues to wither in arthritic pain. I finish the hat. I throw mini-party including dancing around room and mad, cackling laughter. Dogs learn to dial 911and bark for help (they can be quite clever when desperate).

Very pleased with myself, I try the hat on and become even more pleased with myself as it fits perfectly. Even more misplaced optimism.

Still pleased, I wash the hat and immediately notice that Sod’s Law, a.k.a Revenge of the Pink Gods, struck again. It grew. OMG, the bloody hat grew! It was too big. I cried. Then I tried rewashing in hot water. Then I tried drying it with the ceramic fan heater (heating is not yet on and nothing dries in my house at the moment). Then I tried rewashing and scrunching in front of the heater. It was still too big. I begin to pray that TPS has a large head. She doesn’t. We know that now.

Still having yarn left over and thinking I could redeem myself by making her a matching cowl, which I already knew she wanted, I sat down to cast on the cowl – five times. First it was too big, especially seeing as how the yarn would grow when it got wet, right? So, I cast on afresh, knit for a while and noticed that it was still too big, we still know it’s going to grow. I re-cast on and suddenly couldn’t get it over my head and even with growth it wouldn’t be big enough. I re-cast on, again, but it was still too small. Finally, I re-cast on and it seemed to be just the right size – namely slightly too small because, yes, you know it, it would certainly grow, as shown by the hat, when washed, oui? Woot! Success! The rest was easy peasy! Knit away, got the cowl done before the hat was dry for the final time, and revelled in my success.

But the Pink Gods were not done with me.

I finished, I tried on, it was slightly too small, I enjoyed the glow of a job well done, I washed.

It stayed Exactly. The. Same. Bloody. Size. Namely slightly too small. I banged my head against the wall until I couldn’t remember why I was doing so. It didn’t help. The cowl was still the same bloody size.

So, once again we transfer our hope to blocking. I stuck the thing over a large jar to see if I could get it to stretch, alas, the jar was not wide enough and I had nothing else appropriate. As already mentioned, absolutely nothing dries in my flat right now as the heating is not on, but it’s not overly warm out. The average temperature in the flat is 65°F (18°C) with an outside humidity of 68%. Nothing dries. It’s all just a different stage of damp. Ergo, blocking and pinning on a towel was not an option or it’ll would have been next fall before she gets the hat. So, I finally gave in and just dried and sent it. Poor TPS will have to block her own cowl.

Pink Gods - 1
Melinda – somewhere in the region of negative with triple digits.

Fortunately, the combination of being too big and the emergency reductions gives the hat a sort of cloche look that both TPS and I agreed would look good anyway. She’s also going to re-block the cowl and get it to stretch just a little so that it’s easier to get on, even though it does apparently fit - hallelujah. (See, the pink gods like YOU). Then she’s going to put the ensemble on and take pictures, Oui chérie?

Monday, 10 September 2007

We are not amused

As worried as I was about the dog sweater, it’s finished. Poor Sydney got stuck modelling (we were not amused, as you can see) since I lack a small dog to try it out on. The leg holes seemed to be in the wrong place for her, so I’m hoping that’s just an anatomical difference between dogs and cats. If it’s not, I’ve written everything down so I’ll know what to change on the follow up model. At least it didn’t take long to knit up, so if I do have to do it again, I won’t have to spend days on it. It actually took more time to figure out how many stitches to CO than to knit it since I was using a much fatter yarn than the pattern called for.
Tonight I’m doing socks. At least I don’t have to think about those.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Slow Knitting

I was finishing projects on almost a daily basis for a while and now I’m not, so I feel kind of like I’ve let knitting down. Hmmm…upon reflection, this could be a really unhealthy thing. However, in the words of a friend’s (you know who you are) relative, I’ve never been to a psychiatrist, so I cannot possibly be mentally ill. Ergo, I’ll just continue not to seek psychiatric help and all will be fine. Sounds good to me anyway. *raises eyebrows*

I have still been knitting, it’s just all been socks. I occasionally freak out about sock knitting. I’ve just finished a pair of Phone Socks for myself (grey camouflage and boring so I won’t post pics, especially as they are already on Ravellry) and have the second of a pair of blue striped socks that were originally meant for me, but will be for my aunt as I know she’ll like them, on the needles. *takes breath* That sentence makes sense to me, so I’ll just refer you to the previous paragraph, k? I’ve also still got to do at least one pair (of socks) for my grandmother, one for a friend, and then I really need to start thinking about random Christmas gifts. I already know that I want to do two little knit drawstring bags for chocolate for my “cousins”. I’ve got the perfect yellow and orange cotton yarn in my stash for that. I’ve also got enough sock yarn for many random pairs of socks should I fail to come up with better ideas for other gifts. I also should probably wash and stretch my father’s sweater again, just to see if I can get it a liiiittttle bit bigger, just in case (oh Lord, please make that sweater fit!).

Anyone want to chat on the phone? I seriously need to get some sock knitting done :P

Can someone tell me why it is that something I do for fun can be so stressing? Oh, wait, I remember now. I have no Christmas money this year and an extensive stash. That might have something to do with it.

Never did I think in the beginning of my knitting days (1.5 years ago) that I would ever have yarns that sat around in my stash for so long. I blame the yarn store for not being closer. I can only go on Saturdays because it takes a half hour to get there and closes at 6:30pm on the weekdays, so I always feel like I need to make the trip worth it and that I need to make sure that I don’t run out of yarn. Then there is, of course, the yarn that screams buy me! but doesn’t get used right away, gets replaced with something “better” and is now still awaiting knittage. At this point I will refer to you to paragraph one again. Anyway, I’m currently stash busting which is a good thing. I should have enough yarn for interesting projects to last me until next year, especially considering that I really need to make myself some socks as well. I’m the one who live in the cold environment after all, I really need them. I shall now refrain from scoffing at Californians who wear wool socks – and then refer you to paragraph one again. (yes, Californians, I know, it gets cold there too)

Oh yes, and the dog sweater. I really, really need to start the dog sweater. This weekend. I solemnly swear. My sweater will just have to wait. Bugger that for a lark.

So much to knit, so little time.

Knitting list for own purposes:

Dog sweater (CO this weekend)
Second sock for Aunt N
Socks for Grandma (CO this weekend)
Socks for friend
2 drawstring bags
random Christmas gifts
socks for me
Rogue Sweater for me
Christmas Ornaments - possibly
Bookmarks for Cousins