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Friday, December 9, 2011

A definite change in plans

 This week has been an interesting one.  I started me new classes yesterday, and even though I was really excited about the subject matter, I'm not so excited about the E-books (because one can't read ahead and be prepared for the first week if one doesn't have access to the books), or the fact that seminars are graded again and therefore mandatory.  I like to attend class, but I don't like having to be really rigid about my schedule or having to do extra work to make up for a missed class.  I also don't enjoy being the only psych major in the class, because almost no one sees things from the prospective of a psych major and I don't much like being the odd one out in a classroom.

Then there was the class I taught at Blithewold Manor in Bristol.  I had a lovely time and the ladies were wonderful.  But, the mansion is set off the road in the middle of nowhere, with no street lights and it was pouring rain.  I couldn't see much of anything and my eyes are still killing me from struggling against the lights, and the glare, and the dark.  Thankfully, I thought ahead and took the GPS with me this time so I got home just fine.  And I came home to find a Keurig coffee maker gift wrapped for us on the coffee table!  This is one of the coolest gifts we've ever received, especially the reusable filter that lets me use my own teas.  Now I can make my favorite tea from The Coffee Depot at home, and it comes out like their does :)

And lastly, we got a large shipment of books and yarn in the shop this week (and you can read a little more about the aftermath here).  Anyway, Naomi suggested that I take a look at all the new books (so I'll know what's in there and I can direct customers to the right stuff...really!...it's not just about looking in the books, lol).  While flipping through a copy of Modern Knits, Vintage Style, I came across a pattern for a crocheted skirt.  When I looked closer, I realized that it was the same exact skirt I had previously submitted to that Book Project and that I was going to design here on the blog!!  Now, I've heard that this happens a lot (two different people who've never met and live in different parts of the world come up with the same idea at the same time), but I have to admit that it's happened to me quite a bit recently.  See exhibit one: this is mine, and this is not, nor is thisExhibit two is mine, and this is not.  I can't exactly show you exhibit three, because I only have a collection of swatches and a sketch, and the pattern photo is not uploaded to Ravelry, but trust me when I say that unlike the other examples, these were spitten images of each other...right down to the scalloped hem.  So I guess it was truly for the best that my proposal was rejected because I wouldn't have anything to contribute after all, and I would have been terribly embarrassed.

So the project isn't off, but it's definitely different that planned.  I'm going to force myself to take the plunge and design my first sweater, right here on the blog.  I know that I'm going to run up against some issues with my first design and I think that having a place where I can talk about them will be therapeutic :)  Plus, the peer-pressure will keep me from backing out.  The Great Design Project of 2011 is back on (with a new name), and this time it's a sweater!  So, check back for the next post in The Great-ish Sweater Project, where I'll have a pretty sketch and some swatches to show you.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Holiday Madness

Today, after I went to Petco for cat food and cat nip, I went into Michael's looking for plain tree-shaped blocks of wood to paint for Alex's Thomas set.  I didn't find that, but I did find some pre-painted trees and a boat, a light house, and a sun.  But I also found a gingerbread Christmas tree, and a foam gingerbread house that he can put together.  I figure that if I get a few inexpensive things and let him color/paint/put together one every day or two...that should hold him till Christmas.  I even found a wooden advent calendar with dials that let you count down the days until Christmas, and he gets to paint it!

Meanwhile, I've finished the first of his socks so I know that at least Alex will have socks in his stocking on Christmas morning.  I'm still in the middle of Aaron's first one, and I haven't even cast on for Dante's socks.  But the good news is that these stockings I'm knitting are basically worsted-weight socks so there's a good chance that I can finish them in about a week.  The only issue I've had so far is that I've had to completely chart the colorwork myself using Intwined Pattern Studio, because the chart is non-existent.  I'm also going to need to re-write the pattern because much of it is missing.  So I'm pretty much reverse engineering from the stocking itself.  Maybe when I'm all done, I'll refresh this vintage pattern and release it with modern directions (if I can find the time, lol). 

Also, tomorrow I'm teaching a knitting workshop at the Blithewold Mansion in Bristol RI from 6-8pm, if you're in the area.  Stop in and knit a scarf or a cowl with us!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Takoma is all done!

 I finally finished knitting my Takoma sweater, and I haven't taken it off since I got the buttons put on.
 I changed the shawl-collar to one with 2x2 ribbing to better match the cuff and hem details.  I actually did knit the original collar as written in the pattern, but then I pulled it out and replaced it with this one.  I'm much happier.
 The Eco Wool grew a bit after blocking.  I knew it would, and I counted on it, but I didn't realize that my sleeves would grow quite as much as they did.  They're super long, and I'm actually really excited about that.  When you're as tall as I am, you rarely have to worry about sleeves being too long :)  It's a refreshing change.
 I went with dark brown leather buttons from JHB.  Naomi and I are going to have to go onto their site to get the care instructions for the buttons.  I hope that I won't need to remove them every time I need to wash the sweater...  Thankfully, these don't need to be cleaned very often.
Check out that set-in sleeve!  I'm really proud of this one.  The fit wasn't exactly perfect, since I'd steeked the armhole and I knit the sleeve in the round.  Thankfully, I got it sewn in evenly all around.  And you'll also notice in earlier photos that I fixed my error in the colorwork section in the middle of my arm.  

My husband said this was the most impressive thing he's ever seen me knit, and that it looks like I bought this sweater in a store.  When you knit as often as I do, your family gets pretty jaded over the handknits (cause they see so many come off the needles).  They get tough to impress, so this is one of the best complements he's given me (regarding my knitting).  That's saying something :)