Posts categorized "Noro Entrelac"

Could it be worse?

Saturday night I started painting the bathroom.  While painting the ceiling I decided I hate painting the bathroom.  It's small, there's all kinds of things to paint around (sink, tub, toilet, fan) and you can't just work in an empty room.  Painting the ceiling with an extension pole is worse and while I was doing I started thinking about what I would rather be doing.  But since that was too easy--knit, watch tv, eat chocolate--I came up with things that would be worse than painting one's bathroom ceiling on a Saturday night (I should add that this list is full of actual possibilities vs bizarre torturous ideas propogated by silly 12 year old boys):

1. Waiting in line for tickets to the upcoming Star Wars movie (i.e. one week before opening night).

2. Having what Craig has--current diagnosis is strep throat, but he's going back to check because he feels/looks/sounds positively awful.

3. Untangling the tangled messes of cotton centre-pull balls.

4. Hosting a birthday party for 20 4 year old boys (never done it, never will).

5. Handsearching newspapers for work (I have a summer student who is finishing the final part of the sample for me--it's great).

6. Painting the attic--the ceiling is a wall too--it's going to take forever which means it may never happen.

7. Knitting the "freedom poncho" in Red Heart yarn.

8. Watching re-runs of Murder She Wrote or Golden Girls or The A Team or The Dukes of Hazzard.

9. Ripping apart an entrelac coat you spent a year making but in a "what was I thinking moment" realizing you're likely never going to wear it and can't stand the idea of wasting 20 balls of kureyon.

10.  Never finishing said bathroom.  I'll get back to it.  But not tonight.

Call to Action

I want to thank everyone for their stories. I do know that there is a large majority of people in the US who don't support Bush and I'm with you. But it really seems like you're in a collective pickle. The Democrats seem to feel like they have to become almost-Republicans to get elected and frankly that strategy ain't working. I guess what I hope to see is Americans getting organized and activated. If you don't no one else will.

And it also tells me that I need to get active again. Before I had the kids I was very involved in the student movement advocating on behalf of graduate students at a national level for causes specific to higher education and to social democratic principles. Babies and the Ph.D. meant I backed off (it can be an all-encompassing process) but with current discussions surrounding the implementation of a national daycare system and gay marriage and increasing homelessness and poverty in this country, I have to add my voice to the mix. Especially now that the pressure to go to war from America will be intense if Bush decides to continue/add to the idiocy they've created in Iraq.

Of course the President will keep the comedians busy. Further to my Handmaid's Tale comment of yesterday, may I present a revised map that is funny/scary (courtesy of a friend in California).


I object to the name, but realize that Canadians will be outnumbered about 10 to 1 so I guess I'll live with it.

I have been knitting through all this. Lara is moving along nicely, but as a one piece knit side-to-side garment, it's absolutely unphotographible (and I think that word is absolutely fabricated by me). I'm still in love with the squooshiness of the yarn and poor Butterfly has been abandoned. But seeing Theresa's almost finished version will likely get me going again.

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!

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.

It is done.


Thanks for all the condolences, suggestions, humour and handholding. Not long after I posted, I ripped. It felt good, except the point where I had to cut the yarn. Yep, cut. At the end of every second row of blocks you actually end up with one stitch that you expand and pull the working ball of yarn through to make a knot. A knot that doesn't like to be undone. I think Kureyon actually felts together in the process of being knit. Once I figured out that there was no way to unknot it, I cut and ripped. I didn't have to rip the whole thing because the first few rows looked fine. I figure what happened was that I didn't pick up the stitches evenly enough to make the blocks look right. The pattern explicitly states how to pick up the stitches but I thought I could do it better. That'll learn me.

I still managed to make progress on this coat. The front right is one row of blocks away from being done. And the back doesn't seem that big (notice the way I talk myself into not being bitter?).

After all this ripping I kinda want to start something new. A reward for my sacrifice or something. I might swatch for Zig Zag or make a scarf or something. Clapotis looks awfully nice.

Listening to myself

Ever have one of those moments that keeps coming back to nag you? A knitted piece that doesn't look quite right. One that you tell yourself will be just fine, it's in the back, it's not that noticeble. But, it is that bad, that obvious. You can see it from a galloping horse. As you knit the rest of the garment this the unthinkable creeps up on you--you have to rip back, you have no choice. The mere idea of it is frustrating and infuriating, you use the word fuck a lot. You're pissed. However the decision is now made and you know what you have to do.

Well, that was me last night. I knew there was something funny about the back squares--they aren't square. The first thumbnail is the front as it should look, the second the back all skewed and icky. You can click to see 800 pixel versions to see the real mess up this is.

Anniversary_correct_1 Anniversary_gone_wrong

As you can see, most of the back--that huge fucking piece--has to be ripped back. I got Craig to look at it just to confirm what my conscience told me. He apologetically gave me the bad news. I took it like a good knitter. I will not have this done for October 2, but I will have a better coat in the end (whenever the hell that is).

So why didn't I notice it before. Well it is hard to see it when it's on the needles, but I also think I was ignoring it, figuring it would block out. Telling myself it was fine. Next time I need to listen to that nagging voice that says it won't do. I guess I forsaked the process so I could have the product. Crap.

I haven't ripped yet. I'm working on the right front piece first. I stopped any fancy picking up, knitting backwards and other modifications and I am blindly following a perfectly fine pattern. It served me well with the front so this time I'm not fooling around. Crap.