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Posts from October 2004

Size matters

Emma, my five year old took some outdoor pictures of me in the Entrelac coat. So now we have better lighting but less...focus. We'll have to try again soon.


I wore it out for the first time today and well, it feels a bit big. Yes I know it's a coat, but I feel a bit sloppy in it. It's actually 2 inches smaller in the bust than the pattern but the sleeves are an inch longer (not sure how that happened, my row gauge must have been off, and I guess I didn't measure at the end or something). It's definately snuggly, but I feel a bit lost in it. I would say it has 80s ease--remember all those lose sweatershirts and bit shoulder pads and dolman sleeves? (shudder).

I may undo the sleeves and shorten them, but for now I'm keeping them rolled up. Maybe when it's colder and I'm wearing a sweater underneath it won't feel so big.

Now that the coat is done I'm back to butterfly. I finished the sleeve last night and did copious measurements to be sure I got it right. I actually made it about 1.5 inches shorter than the pattern said after seeing Claudia's and Julie's sleeve length troubles. I also got a bit clever and calculated my measurements from the back of my neck (that bump in the middle), down my arms to my wrist. Then I took the shoulder width of the finished sweater and the sleeve length and calculated how much I needed to shorten it for it to fit me. See, I didn't pull that 1.5 number out of thin air.


That leads to my biggest problem with the patterns in this Jane Ellison book, and indeed many new books lately--no schematics. I'm not saying it's hard to figure out all the dimensions of finished pieces, but I don't feel like I should have to do it. It would be much nicer/easier for me, if they were included. I'm just saying is all. (Okay, so I'm lazy).

So I calculated most of the numbers last night because I want to shorten the sweater a bit too. I purposely bought 2 less skeins than the pattern stated and hopefully I'll guestimate things correctly so that I don't run short. I'll be sure to keep you posted on that score.


Here are some hasty, in my pj's, late at night photos of the entrelac coat*.



(*Notice anything else? Brunette-y goodness maybe?)
I like it. It's a big cozy, walk in the leaves kind of sweater. It's very oversized, which takes some getting used to, and the sleeves are a touch too long, but I like it. I'm going to test-drive it a bit before I decide about felting it. I'm still worried about the unpredicability of the process to take the plunge just yet. I will try to take some better pictures this week sometime. Maybe we'll even have some sunshine--that would be awfully nice.

It's been really busy at home. We carved pumpkins last night:



And Craig's been sewing away at Xander's Jimmy the Elf costume for Halloween. He's done a great job--he made it all up as he went along, having only the paused image of Jimmy from a Wiggles Christmas video as his only guide. I bow to his skill--sewing is not one of my talents.

Now that the coat and the Halloween stuff are done, it will be nice to park my ass on the couch and watch some tv and knit some stitches. Butterfly is started, I finally have a pattern in mind for a scarf for Craig and I want to get started on Lara. Though, my originally Arctic office is now very warm--too warm for sweaters and there's no window. I might just be a fluke this week--this is a very odd building. I especially like the yellow triangle a few inches from my ceiling that says "ASBESTOS above ceiling Authorized Access ONLY"--gotta love 1950's architecture.

Sooooo close

The coat is done. It's in the washer soaking in Eulacan, getting washed. I'm holding off on the felting/fulling decision until it dries and I wear it a bit. I really like it and don't want to fuck it up (yep, that's the correct sentiment here.)

I did reinforce the shoulder seams by working a single crochet just outside the sewn-on seam. It looks a lot like a three-needle bind off and should hold (since the other seam is there too).


And I got goodies in the mail.


The Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk book from Cari and some goodies I traded for with Nancy--baby alpaca/silk yarn, sock yarn and a neat little sweater on knitting needles zipper pull that will make a groovy stitch marker.

Time to spin out the sweater and get out the fan. Maybe I'll have pictures tomorrow!

Go see

The Knitty Fall Surprise is up. It's lovely. I was happy to be a part of what was a great idea by Amy which came to fruition over an Italian dinner with friends on a hot summer day. Girls rock I tell you.

And the coat is almost done. I have it seamed, but there are many ends to weave. I spit spliced a lot, but there are still ends. I also have to reinforce the shoulders because one seam ain't going to hold this baby together. And it needs to be reblocked as a garment. I'm actually thinking of lightly felting it to give it a bit more firmness because I get the feeling that it's going to grow with wearing. Is this a totally insane idea? I have LOTS of ease and the sleeves are too long. I don't want to make a felted bag texture here, just a light felting. I should be wise and test on a swatch. I will be wise and test on a swatch.

Why does this happen to me?

I've completed the 284 stitch button band and started the collar. It's so cleverly designed that the collar stitches are left live after the rest is bound off and you just add new yarn and go. After a little knitting break (I'm working at home today) I laid the pieces down on the rug so I could admire it. And to my complete horror I notice something is not quite right.


That collar ain't centred, and there's a button hole right under my ear (see the crochet hook?). Hmmm. After some swearing and promised not to attempt finishing work once The National comes on (i.e. after 10pm), I investigate. As soon as I read the pattern I see my mistake. I'm short 9 stitches. Nine stupid stitches and the word and. As in, pick up 100 stitches from right front side triangles AND 9 stitches from first neck block. I even remember my misinterpretation because it took me a couple of tries to get to that point. Shit.

So to the frog pond I go. Again clever construction is my saviour. Some of the button band stitches are on holders and you're instructed to break the yarn at these places. So I don't have to pick up all the stitches just the first 109 which happen to be just before a yarn break. Now I'm back to the button holes, a bit more humble (because no, I mustn't have counted all the stitches after I picked them up the first time) and not too bitter. Like many of my favourite sweaters, this one comes with some struggle. It better look fantastic on me.

Let's Hear it For TV

All the pieces of the entrelac coat are finished! The squares on the back piece are much better and I must have had some gauge issues because I used about 1/2 a ball less when I reknit it.


Once they dry I'll start the finishing work: pocket edges, bottom edges, button bands, collar and seaming. The instructions say to do the bottom edges before seaming, but I'm thinking of doing it after so it makes a unified edge--if I can get it all on the needles and actually knit it. It's only 4 rows of garter stitch, but it is a big piece. If anyone knows why I shouldn't do it this way, tell me ok?

I finished the knitting while watching the season premiere of The West Wing last night. Aside from the Donna/Josh love story (which I confess I like but in a sappy way), I thought it was great. Was it just me, or was this a little morality play about how a real leader should act in the face of a tough decision to go to war? Did it not provide an alternative to the "they killed our guys, so we have to kill their guys" mentality that is out there?

His entire staff and government and the public are calling for military action but with the knowledge that this will create a dangerous and uncertain future for his country, Bartlett moves toward a different solution, the higher moral ground, and does something daring. Now I would be disappointed if his efforts lead to peace in the Middle East (he ain't that good) but I like how it presented an alternative to current discourses about war that are dominant in the media right now.

And speaking of media, Kathy put me onto this little gem of Jon Stewart on Crossfire. It's nice to see someone take on the newsmedia and trouble the process a bit. I confess I've never seen The Daily Show, but I think I'll be setting my VCR to give it a watch. I don't do much American TV (I don't have cable even) but I might give this one a try. Besides, funny is always good.

And so is yarn. I've had two deliveries of yummy yarn this week. My Kureyon arrived today for Butterfly and I also bought some Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran in Venetian (which is a burgundy brown if that makes sense, I can't pin the colour down) to make my Lara sweater. While I'm anxious to finish my coat, I'm also itching to start some new projects.


Finally, Xander is improving. He didn't have strep throat, just a rather nasty viral infection. He's home today (napping right now) because he's still not 100% but I'm hoping to be back to the routine tomorrow. I must also comment on how great my encounters have been with the medical profession in all this. I always liked my GP, but she went out of her way to make sure Xander was doing well, calliing us at home and explaining her decision to send us to the ER because she wasn't sure about the severity of his illness. (I like when Doctors admit the don't have all the answers.) And at the ER the three doctors we saw were wonderful. The pediatrician actually called our GP so everyone was in the loop and Dr. Dana (don't know her last name) the pediatric resident just called to give us the test results and check up on Xander--how's that for good patient care--someone in an ER following up. I know Canadian like to complain about the state of Medicare, and I know our experience comes out of being in the largest city in the country, and there's lots of work that needs to be done to improve the system, but sometimes it's important to note that things are pretty damned good here in Canada.

Still breathing, but tired

Not much knitting content today because I've got a sick child on my hands. Poor Xander has a wicked throat infection with fever and general crankiness. His whole mouth was swollen inside so I took him to the doctor today who examined him and encouraged me to take him to the Emergency Room to have him on a course of IV antibiotics to ensure it didn't get worse and close up his throat.

I'm not a worrier by nature, but I was a bit surprised--he doesn't seem that sick. So off to the hospital we went. I called Craig to take me because I was a bit concerned and having two adults makes amusing a sick three year old easier. It was a long 5 hours, but 3 doctors later it was determined that Xander would be fine with oral antibiotics and close supervision. We're still waiting for the throat culture to see if he has strep throat, but since yesterday he's made a huge improvement and was back to his cheery defiant self by bedtime.

All this doctor-waiting time didn't turn into a lot of waiting because lots of snuggles and hand holding and game playing were needed to keep him from going crazy. We waited a total of 6 hours between the two places and I'm amazed at how well Xander did--being sick means lots of laying on Mommy instead of running amuck in the hospital.

He fell asleep at one point on the guerney so I got to knit up a bit more of the entrelac coat. I have no photos because the camera battery is dead. I'm about three rows of diamonds away from finishing the pieces. I am actually looking forward to the finishing, even the many many inches of seams (the coat is 30 inches long). I want to wear this a few times before the real cold weather comes in.
Tonight I'll work on it a bit, but all the waiting and worrying made me rather tired--mothering sick children is tough work.


Time to catch up. I haven't done a bunch of knitting this weekend, but I did make some progress on the entrelac coat. Now I really want to get it done because I knit up the first (and only) ball of Kureyon 148 for Butterfly and I'm smitten. This is a sleeve/swatch and my gauge is right on. I lurve the colours.


I also found a good source for the yarn and it's in the mail on Monday. Knit'n'tyme sells Kureyon for a buck less than everyone else, and while it's not as cheap as Woolneedlework, my colour was in stock and ready to ship (and she's just a postal region away). I ordered two less skeins than required because like Claudia, I plan to shorten the sweater a bit. I'm chalking this up to laziness and the fact that 30 inches seems really long to me--like 7 inches longer than most sweaters I knit.

I also did another swatch for Zig Zag. This one is in Cascade 220.


The colour is horrible (was from this extra cute hat and is expendible for swatches), but the fabric is pretty good. It's a bit less drapey than the dk weight swatch but would work if you're looking for a solid economical substitution. I'm going to swatch Zara next and then make a decision. I have a colour picked--classic aran/cream/vanilla--because I don't have one in my wardobe and you can't go wrong with a classic coloured sweater.

And Cari and I worked out a nice trade for the Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk book I want. I got her a nice surprise yarn in exchange. And I also worked out a yarn for book trade with Nancy for the Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton book. Thanks for all the offers. I'm already hunting for other stuff to trade because it's so fun.

Well now it's back to cleaning and other Sunday business. Everyone here just wants to loaf around today--where are the cleaning fairies when I need them?

Anybody wanna trade?

After seeing Lara trapsing all over her house I want one. Seeing it on her, made me covet one. I especially like it open--it looks like a suit-y jacket. I'm also trying to knit more cardigans because I like the climate regulation they provide better than sweaters. I'm constantly moving from too hot to too cold so cardigans are the way to go this winter for me. And, I managed to get in on the Jo Sharp Silk Road Aran that was on sale (and all gone) at Elann on Tuesday--a perfect substitution for the lovely but too delicate Alpaca Silk (and a fraction of the price too).

I don't have the book and instead of buying it, I wonder if someone who's done with hers would like to trade. I can offer up a few things, but the one I had in mind was the Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton Book Two, featuring Klaralund. I don't see myself making anything else in the book and though it has really lovely photos, it's now just a coffee table book. Drop me an email if you're interested in this book or something else (yarn even).

And, I'm taking Claudia's advice. I started Butterfly. The snag is I only have the one ball of 148 that I purchased to swatch with. So I'm calling the starting the sleeve a large swatch (which means I'm taking more of Claudia's sage advice). Wool Needlework still doesn't have this colour back in stock. So I'm vaccillating between being frugal and waiting an indeterminate amount of time or being spontaneous and finding this yarn somewhere in town and spending the extra 40 bucks. I'll probably wait a bit longer or I'll never finish the Entrelac coat. When I was going out this afternoon I noticed it was the perfect day to wear it. Hey, I better get off the computer and get knitting!