tough love.

I read all your comments on my brompton cardigan, and I thought about what you said.

I thought about it while I made vegetable stock. I even asked Boh to think about it.

Boh thought about it, and then he thought some more.

When I got home from yoga this morning, I ripped out the progress I’d made on one sleeve, and tried it on again. Definitely too big. So this afternoon, I sat down and slowly picked out the seams connecting the basketweave button band to the body of the sweater, and frogged the whole thing.

Well, all but the button bands. I might hold off on those until I absolutely need that yarn, because basketweave in a sticky yarn like Rowan Felted Tweed is a pain to undo.

Later I’ll skein it up and wash it, and then it will be ready for a new project. I’m not giving up on brompton (still LOVE the pattern), but I’m not sure I have it in me to re-knit it out of this yarn right this second.

Thanks, you guys. Ripping out this project was strangely liberating, and I’m excited to start daydreaming about what else this yarn might become.

brompton, revisited.

Yesterday I was feeling inspired by all of the “finish or frog” talk on ravelry, so I dug out my brompton cardigan and took some pictures. (I have to be honest: these are the good, hopeful ones. I have other pictures where it looks way too big.) See, I love this sweater. I cast on in January 2008 in Rowan Felted Tweed, imagining that this would be a cardigan I’d reach for often when I was in grad school. Fast forward two years: I am in grad school, I do wear cardigans, but this one isn’t done yet.

The trouble is, I really didn’t understand ease and sizing as well as I thought I did when I cast this on. Bottom line? This is essentially a 42″ sweater, with the body finished and the button bands both knit and seamed onto the sweater. (This would have been big on a 2008 rooster, and I am smaller now.)

I LOVE this pattern, love the yarn, and I don’t want to frog this, so here’s what I’m thinking: decrease as I knit the sleeves so that they are slim and fitted, and maybe only 3/4 length. The cardigan itself is light and drapey. I’ll never wear this all buttoned up because of how big it is, but I could see it as a layering cardigan. I may be able to sew closed some of the button holes discretely (because of the basketweave stitch) and either give it an asymmetrical closure or one bigger button in the upper half of the sweater.

Thoughts? (Are you with me? It’s okay if you’re not. I could really use some advice on this one.)

returning to brompton.

It felt so good to finish 28thirty (thank you for all of your kind words) that I decided to take a look at my grad school cardigan (alice bell’s lovely brompton), so named because I was not actually IN grad school when I began this sweater in January 2008. I envisioned myself wearing a cozy cardigan, drinking my morning coffee, and digging into exciting books. I’d say that’s pretty accurate, although I’m not sure I realized when I started this sweater how fast I would have to read, and how not-so-exciting some of the books would be.

When I dug this particular WIP out of its tote bag, I found that I had knit and seamed one button band, and had begun knitting the second. This week, I’ve knit and seamed the second button band (and boy, has my seaming improved!), and begun on the first sleeve.

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I’m pretty sure I can block the wonkiness out of the first button band, but my biggest worry is that it will be too big.  I’m a bit slimmer (or so I’m told) than when I started this sweater, and I’m not sure I totally understood things like size, ease and fit. I’m going to pay particular attention to this as I work the sleeves, and hopefully after blocking I’ll have a drape-y, good-for-layering cardigan. Fingers crossed!

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I also finished spinning the second half of my January Spunky Club Fiber in Twilight. I’m planning to turn this into 2-ply, and I’m anxious to see what kind of yardage and wpi I end up with. For my next project, I’d like to think more carefully about what kind of end product I want, and maybe try a new kind of plying…

Alright, time to get to (school) work!

breakfast and button bands.

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Good morning! Thought I’d snap a picture of my colorful breakfast. This treat from my CSA box brightened the to do list reviewing/revising that needed to occur this morning.  I also managed to make some progress on my Brompton button band — one down! An evening of chicken soup, knitting, and movie-watching, combined with some a.m. quiet time today has produced this:

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The button band is slightly shorter than the body of the cardigan. I want to keep making progress on this, so you heard it here: I will not delay seaming this button band even though seaming is still a bit scary to me. I will not delay seaming this button band even though seaming is still a bit scary to me. I will not delay seaming…

This is our first full week of glorious weather, and it is getting more and more difficult to be inside all day at the office. Weekend, please.

brompton progress.

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Forgive the awkward light streaming through the window — couldn’t wait until later to share a Brompton milestone: I’ve completed the majority of the body stitches! Time to begin work on the button bands. I say it every time I post about this sweater, but I love Rowan Felted Tweed. (Love.) Also, with the arrival of spring here in the Southwest comes the wind, and I am in serious need of a morning/evening layer like this one. I have some work and play travel coming up in mid-April, and I am hoping to have this done in time to take with me!

more progress: grad school cardigan

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I’m still slightly nervous that the shoulders are a tad big, but because this is a looser cardigan that I intend to layer over all kinds of things, I’m hoping that won’t matter. I’m halfway through the side shaping — done with the waist decrease sets and into the hip increases. Here’s an arm’s length side view:

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Yesterday was a day of recovery from the excitement of Saturday’s sunshine/rugby/Korean food/gelato. I spent it knitting, catching up on podcasts, reading at a nearby coffee shop with a pot of tea, and, of course watching more Flight of the Conchords while eating delicious homemade pizza with friends (Thanks, you guys!).

Spring is here — 71 degrees on Saturday, snow on the ground this morning. Here’s a shot of yesterday’s sunrise:

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Hope your week is off to a good start. I’m going to pour my first cup of coffee. Ahh.

hip-hop-opotamus:

Best rapping name ever. Go rent Flight of the Conchords. You won’t be sorry. (I thought about saving this post title for when I attempt the pomatomus socks, but that may be a long way off, and I am laughing about this now.)

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Meet my new teapot. My recent house guest knows me well — a funky teapot has been on my wishlist for a long time, and this is perfect. Also, it was accompanied by a bacon bar:

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That’s right. Said past roommate and I used to make North American breakfast every weekend. As he says, “in Canada, we just call it bacon”. I bought extra for his visit, and I believe we are both shocked that with all of our exploring, we did not find time to eat it! I am very excited about this.

Lest you think I am no longer knitting, and instead just lazing about, watching silly DVDs, drinking tea, and eating bacon:

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I am making progress on my grad school cardigan (Brompton) — into the shaping now. I love Rowan Felted Tweed. I have some cross-country airplane travel coming up this week and next, and I anticipate much uninterrupted Brompton knitting. Hooray!

Also, because of all the bacon talk, here is a picture of Boh being a complete ham. (I blame the hip-hop-opotamus for the corny humor I am employing here. I can’t help it.)

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scrap yarn: brilliant concept.

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I am excited about my Brompton cardigan — a bit nervous, as this is the first time I have tried to fit something to myself — but excited all the same. The fit in the chest seems perfect, but the armholes seemed a bit loose on me. The prospect of ripping back a few rows to take out the raglan increases in the arms seemed less than enjoyable, so I decided to divide and try it on again to get a better sense for how it will lay.

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This picture made me feel a bit better. It may be a tad loose, but I want the fit to be similar to Alice’s, with some positive ease so that it is comfy and can be worn over layers. The last 10 rows took forever, but those are also the longest rows, so I think the next bit will be  bit quicker (in my head, at least!). Have I mentioned (today) that I love Rowan Felted Tweed? It is gorgeous. I love the bits of orangey brown — they offset the blue-green color perfectly.

As the theme of the day is scrap yarn, I didn’t stop there.

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[Note to self: Shiny-ish yarn, unfinished, cropped sweater, arms length away — these do not make for flattering photographs.]

I present Rusted Root! I began this in September, and have been working on it whenever I am on an airplane. I may have to break that rule, as I just need to knit another 6 or so inches and then knit the ribbing on the bottom, neckline and sleeves. I switched from some hot pink plastic Susan Bates needles to my KnitPicks Harmony Options, and got this project all settled in a very pretty knitting bag. It would be great to wear this in a few weeks when spring arrives…

As I write this, there is a mixture of snow and freezing rain falling. Snow day?

pears for crisp…

Recipe from Apples for Jam. (Self, you are so clever.) I know that I am super late to this party, but while I was in NYC, I found this cookbook by Tessa Kiros at Anthropologie for under ten dollars. No brainer. This weekend I made both the Pear and Berry Crisp (with pears, apples, and some frozen blueberries), and the Lentil Soup (with more liberal modifications based on the contents of my fridge and pantry). Balsamic vinegar with lentils is a brilliant idea, by the way, and here’s a shot of the crisp:

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Boh and I went for a great run along the river on Saturday, which is my way of telling you that I am eating this for breakfast momentarily. Before I can dig into the crisp, how about a bit of knitting? Still knitting away on Brompton (so excited about this) and several other projects, but again, knitting time does not equal visible knitting progress. More on those soon.

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I’m making serious progress on the Gathered Scarf. While not the quickest knit, due to all the needle switching and kfb/k2tog, this is a lot of fun. It doesn’t hurt that the yarn may be the softest I’ve knit with: Blue Sky Alpacas Suri Merino, for those of you just tuning in. In this picture, the scarf is not yet wrapped around my neck.

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Last night I started my third skein, and I think this is going to be long and luxurious. This is a pretty substantial knit, and while I wouldn’t call the scarf heavy, I think it will stretch out considerably with wear. I absolutely adore superlong scarves, so I think this will become fast favorite. It is starting to warm up here in the afternoons, so I better hurry up and finish it so I can wear it before next fall!

I think I mentioned that I was in need of an unplanned, relaxing weekend. If this picture is any indication, we were successful.

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Hope your Monday is off to a good start.

“i miss the barbed wire and the sage on that wild northern range…”

Eilen Jewell says that, or rather, sings that, in her song, “Boundary County”. I just bought the album, and I highly recommend it. She has this incredible lilt in her voice that just reminds me of mesas and prairies and desolate, beautiful landscapes. This is my roundabout way of telling you that it is good to be home. Each time I visit New York, whether for work or pleasure, I have a great time. I love visiting the favorite places of friends there, and this last time, the haunts and corners of the city we visited (shuffleboard bars, dog parks, noisy diners, cozy Italian restaurants) had me thinking that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to live in New York. (Victory for you, JP.)

Please accept this description in lieu of photos of cityscapes, as I failed to document the goings on around me — partly because of the cold (hands stayed in pockets!), but also because I hate that touristy feeling I get when surrounded by lots of other folks taking pictures of tall American buildings. I’d rather blend in and participate in daily life. Clearly, this conflicts at times with my desire to be a better recorder/documenter of my life. Something to work on.

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Speaking of working on, I have much knitting progress to share. First up, my Brompton progress. You will recall that I managed to acquire the yarn for this project and swatch just before leaving on Friday. I’m in the increase section, and I’m just about ready to divide the sleeves and body. Had to stop knitting on this on the plane home, as I realized it was about time to put it on waste yarn and try it on. This is rather difficult to do in an airplane seat.

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The color is far greener than this picture, but I love how this highlights the tweediness of the yarn and the beauty of the basketweave stitch. I was worried that a tweedy yarn would obscure the stitch detail, but I am really happy with how this is turning out.

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I also managed some progress on the gathered scarf. The Blue Sky Alpacas Suri Merino is so soft, and I love how this scarf is draping. This is a slower knit, due to the constant needle switching every five or so rows, but this is worth it.

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Also, ta-da! My first attempt at Magic Loop, in the form of Schrodinger’s Twisted Tweed Socks. I am very excited about these, as this method is so much faster and less fiddly than using DPNS — particularly valuable on an airplane. I am using KnitPicks circulars, size 2, 32 inches, and while the cable is nice and flexible, I did manage to yank the cable out of the needle. I don’t think I pulled very hard on the cable, so that was frustrating. I managed to push the cable back into the needle, but the join is a bit awkward, and a bit more predisposed towards separating again (happened once more, though I was being extra careful). I’m sure part of this is my fault — I know that tightening the first stitch too much is a common problem when learning Magic Loop, but I was a bit disappointed, as this is my first time using this particular circ, and the join will never be smooth.

Phew! Long knitting update. Sun is shining, and I have the morning to get my life in order before heading to the office this afternoon. Boh is curled up in his favorite spot, snoring. All is well.