Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I am so happy that I finished up the Aaron's Aran sweater this weekend! That thing was really starting to drag me down for some reason. I think it looks pretty good and the arms don't seem too funny-looking:I really hope it fits!
This shows the various design elements, as well as a good representation of the color:
Pattern notes:
"Aaron's Aaron", design from ByMelissa.net
Knit in Cascade 220 in color #7815, on 4 mm needles (except for the sleeves, which I accidentally knit on the ribbing needles which I think were 3.5 mm??)

This was a rather simple design, to the point that I was actually a bit bored with it, but I still might warn absolute beginner knitters away. This is because the pattern is rather spartan, and assumes that you know the basics of sweater construction. Not a huge deal, just something to keep in mind. I really would have appreciated the inclusion of a schematic, especially given the different cables and stitch patterns involved. It's one thing if a pattern is straight stockinette and easy to calculate what the measurements should come out to. A schematic would've helped when I accidentally knit the sleeves using the smaller ribbing needles, so that I could figure out how close the sleeves were to the "correct" measurements.

At the neckline, I attempted to use the bind-off for double rib as described in the Knitter's Handbook (which I've used previously when binding off button bands), but I would really not recommend it for a collar bind-off. It does have some stretch, but not enough to allow it to go over a head. I ended up doing an extremely loose, standard chain bind-off and it seems nice and stretchy.

The only other change I would recommend would be to start with four extra stitches on the sleeve cast-on. The cuff seems a bit small to me, but I guess it will work.
In moving news, we found an apartment on Saturday and signed a lease so we are hopefully good to go. I must say, the apartment stock in Portland left a bit to be desired (at least what we saw of it), but the one we found is newly renovated and a reasonable price (and thank goodness we got it, since it was the only one we liked at all! And on short notice too). The downside? We're moving into about half the square footage than we are used to! I know we are lucky to have lived somewhere so inexpensive and roomy, but as you know junk tends to expand to fill the available space:Ack! We jettisoned as much as we could, and ended up with a decent stack of albums and books to give away, although we're still left with far too many. But some just can't be given away. For example, did you notice the Heatwave album at the front? Noted for excellent hits such as "The Groove Line", the band also had something else going for it:Matching intarsia "Heatwave" sweaters. Oh yeah. I so want to make a replica...someday. (Also love the fact that they provide each member's star sign, I guess so that you can be sure to only moon over the ones that you're astrologically balanced with.)

Have a fun rest of the week!


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Yeah, so I totally did NOT bother to reknit the sleeve. It won't be perfect, but I hope it's at least passable. I really tugged the sleeves to make them as big as possible and I think once I release them they'll be around 12 1/2 inches wide, which is pretty close to a standard 3 year old size (as far as I could determine). The pieces are still drying but I should be able to start seaming tomorrow night. Cross your fingers for me that it doesn't end up completely idiotic-looking.

And, I have a semi-good reason for wanting to get this done ASAP--I found out as of Friday that we're moving!!--so I want to give this to the recipient before we leave. I (finally) got a new job and in just two weeks we are going to be living in the "big city"--Portland. I am just a bundle of raw nerves right now: too much stress from having to say goodbyes, find a place to live, trying to wrap up 8 million projects at the current job, wondering whether I'm gonna hate the new job, etc. etc. I'm sure it will all work out but right now the transition is not very fun :( If there's one thing I hate more than anything in the world it's trying to find a new apartment. Ugh. I really hope I can buy a house in the near future and put my renting days behind me.

Anyway, if the posting gets a bit sparse over the next few weeks, you'll know why. 'Cause I'm usually such a prolific poster, and all.

It's starting to get rather wintery-looking around here, there are many bare trees and the sun is lower in the sky during the day. I'm amazed that we do still have quite a few leaves hanging on; it seems very late to be seeing them. We haven't hit a huge cold snap despite a few slightly brisk days. I really wish we would get a frost to kill my impatiens, so that I can dump the containers for easier moving. I don't have the heart to kill them myself!

I seem to be the only person with this opinion, but the new later date for turning back the clocks is really irritating me. I have to get up around 6-6:30 AM and it is PITCH BLACK at that hour. Not really conducive to a happy awakening, and I keep oversleeping. I really don't care about having a little more light after work is over, I mean it's only for an hour or so, big whoop. I don't buy the energy-savings theory either, the sun is so low when I get home that I have to turn on lights anyway. It's a conspiracy, I tell you.

So I don't end this post on completely grouchy note, I'm happy to report that I wore my Shell Socks today:First wooly sock wearing of the season!


Friday, October 19, 2007

So, in my anxiety to finish the Aaron's Aran sweater, I really wanted to see if I could get a whole sleeve done last night.

The good news is, I was able to get a whole sleeve done in a night.

The bad news is, I realized just as I finished binding off that I forgot to switch from the smaller needles to the larger needles after the ribbed cuff!!

Nooooo! I was about to rip it out really quickly to just get it over with and not stew about it, but then I decided that maybe it would still work and I would leave it overnight. I am pretty sure that it actually might work OK, but thought I'd see if you all had any opinions.
Here is a photo of two pieces laid next to each other. As you can see, there is little visual difference between the body, which was done correctly (on the left), and the sleeve, which was done on the smaller needles (on the right). The sleeve fabric does has a somewhat firmer texture. Also, the braid cable on the sleeve is noticeably tighter than that on the body, but not glaringly so.

I am more worried about whether the sleeve has sufficient width and ease. Unfortunately the pattern is severely lacking in schematics, which doesn't help. I looked at some other kid's pullover patterns and found that for a 3 year old size, sleeve should be about 6.5-6.75 inches at its widest point and this one is probably only about 5.5 inches. Maybe an aggressive blocking would give it a bit more ease. I really got nervous when I looked at the photo on the pattern:It looks like the sleeves go almost halfway down the body! I suspect the photo shows the smallest size, so maybe the larger size should be a bit more proportional, but mine looks really narrow in comparison with the body:Two different views because they both look distorted depending on the angle.

The weirdest part is that despite using smaller needles, it does not appear that the sleeve's gauge is really different than on the body where I used the larger needles! So maybe they are supposed to be like this? Gah, I don't know. What would you do? I'm really sick of this sweater and just want to finish, but I don't want to give a crummy gift either. I also fear going through all the effort of re-knitting the sleeve only to find out that it makes almost no difference.

On a different topic, I must mention how amazed I am at the mild fall we have been happening. This is the latest my plants have ever survived, as we have still not had a hard frost! It hasn't exactly been balmy warm, just not freezing cold either. The impatiens and coleus are still looking lush:And my salvias, after not blooming all summer, finally decided to take the plunge:Hope you have an enjoyable weekend--I have way too many chores to do, boo hoo!


Monday, October 15, 2007

Whew...I've been back home for a week now but I'm only just making it back to the blog! Of course we had a lovely time in San Francisco--we had last visited there about four years ago and did a lot of the tourist-y stuff back then, so this time we just did a lot of walking and sight-seeing in the neighborhood where we were staying (Nob Hill). I was particularly enamored of the tiling around doorways, the iron gates on every door, and the plethora of old neon signs that can be found everywhere.

Also everywhere was a lot of:Stairs, hills, hills, stairs...argh! No wonder everyone is pretty fit-looking in that city! We didn't do too bad but by the second day I definitely had a wee bit of soreness in the posterior!
Lots more pictures on Flickr.

The knitting was not horribly neglected either, due to the six- to eight-hour travel days including layovers. I made some decent progress on the first of my "Funfetti" socks:Although I think they should actually be called "Froot Loop" socks now. This is actually a pattern created by blog-friend Dipsy (thanks Dipsy!) called Lacertilia
. I needed something easy-to-memorize--who wants to fumble with a difficult pattern while on a cramped plane?--
so these fit the bill perfectly. The only bummer is that the stripe-y yarn kind of obscures the patterning--it would definitely look much better with just a regular variegated like the originals. Also, my yarn colors border on garish to my eyes, but who's going to be staring at my feet anyway? Hmm...maybe I don't want to know the answer to that question.

I am starting to feel like I have too many projects going on...yes, three projects are just too many for me! I just hate forgetting where I am when I pick a project back up, and the more projects I have going, the longer the interval between working on each item. I really want to get the toddler aran sweater done asap, as it is starting to get a bit boring. The Victoria Shawl has been cast aside (is that the third type of "casting"--cast on, cast off, and cast aside? har har) for the time being so I can finish the sweater and socks. Plus I really want to start a semi-complex project for Christmas (not sure if it has any chance of being done by then), and I really don't think I can handle...gasp...four projects!

Well I am seriously "out of it" right now due to one of G's harebrained schemes. We drove 4 hours last night to Boston to see the Hives. Somehow through a number of e-mails amongst G's grandfather and some relative of his in Sweden, we found out that this Swedish relative is the father of the Hives' drummer. The drummer hooked us up with a pair of tickets and said we should meet him after the show. G spent Sunday morning trying to find a friend down in New Hampshire or Boston to go with him (one said he couldn't because of a "major loan" he had to close at work on Monday--I guess we are the only ones to live in eternal teenagerdom LOL). When this plan failed, I was recruited to accompany him to the show. I'm actually glad it worked out that way because it was ridiculously awesome--I'm not sure the last time I saw a band with that much energy--and well, fast loud rock 'n' roll is always a good thing. Here is a really crappy photo of the band:Actually this is what I saw most of the time, cuz i am so short:Heads.

After the show, the band was totally spent but we introduced ourselves to the drummer dude (his hilarious bandmates were like, "Ooh, is this 'the relative'?", so I called G "the relative" the rest of the night). We were able to hang out and chat with him and a couple of the other guys for half an hour or so which was interesting. They have a rather wicked sense of humor. But it is definitely odd talking to random famous people--I mean what do you really have to talk about? If it were me I would get really annoyed at having strangers hanging around all the time. But anyway, they were very nice to us despite looking like they were ready to crash and it was quite the memorable experience! Probably never to happen to me again!

Oh, and somehow we made it home and I dragged myself into work today. Although I was completely useless, so not sure what the point of that heroic gesture was. I guess you can see why I am so tired--I'm going to crash into bed now! G'night!


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I'm going to be away from the blog for the next week (as if that is anything new, ha ha). I thought I'd leave you with some scenic photos from our hike last Saturday. There was lots of interesting stuff at the micro level:

Interesting geological formation (aka stripy rock):
Our friend was visiting so we decided to take a sight-seeing plane ride on Sunday, and there we got the macro view:
Perfect time of year too, with all the leaves changing colors and sweeping across the landscape:
We even flew by our house, although you can just barely see it here:
And just where are we going for the next few days?? Here is a little clue:Should be a fun trip but a bit on the "whirlwind" side. And of course, I definitely need a small project to knit on the horribly long plane ride, so I whipped out this Trekking XXL from the stash, in oddball colors (I think I threw this into an online shopping cart months ago so that I would cross the free shipping threshold):
I really want to call it "Funfetti Cake!"
Be back soon!