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Saturday, February 18, 2012

School break, day 3; baking granola

Wow people!  I had not idea how tired I really was (am?).  Day 3 of my school break was preceded by two naps, a Supernatural marathon, a Bones season 6 marathon, a trip to Whole Foods for some vegan dinner options (not because I'm vegan, but because I'm allergic to milk proteins and I'm a vegetarian), two giant bottles of Naked juice Green Machine to help me bounce back a bit, lots of knitting, and an early bedtime.  Day 3 itself included dragging myself out of bed (even after a few decent night of sleep), several episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba and Spongebob, and finally getting myself into the kitchen to make the best granola on the planet! 

I found a recipe for olive oil and maple granola on Orangette (one of several food blogs that I follow religiously) and I've had the ingredients for a while but I haven't had the time or energy to mix it up.  It was very simple, easy to make, baked up fast, and now I've got jars of the stuff.  Jars!  I love it :)  (And in my search for that recipe, I found at least three other granola recipes that I'd love to try out.)  I'll tell you one thing though, she was totally right about the coconut flakes!  They're nutty and crunchy, not at all like coconut, and definitely my favorite part of this granola.  I had a small bowl with coconut-almond milk (my current favorite milk substitute) and it was great.  Matter of fact, I'm having some right now.

So, about that knitting, lol.  I'm making decent progress on the first sleeve and I might even be wearing this baby by the end of my vacation.  Hopefully I'll get some half-decent photos soon, but right now it doesn't look much different from the blue version (other than the fact that it's red, and a cardigan, lol).

Thursday, February 16, 2012

School break

My dear friends,

I am writing this post as I sip a cup of Teeccino herbal coffee (that mean's its not actually coffee, but taste like coffee), listening to my new copy of Adelle's 21 album on my iPod and planning to do nothing more.  Just knitting and a Supernatural marathon on Netflix.  I might even take a nap today, cause I can.  And last night, I went to bed at a reasonable hour!  I've got about 10 weeks worth of lost sleep to make up for in a very short amount of time, and I'm weary.  I don't think I've ever been what I would call 'weary' before, but I am now.

Ever been so tired that your whole body feels heavy, like you have to drag it around?  Ever been to wiped out that you can't watch anything with a plot, because your brain has checked out?  That's where I am right now.  As a matter of fact, last night at class...when no one showed up...I was relieved.  I just didn't have it in me to walk anyone through anything.  And another thing...when I turned in my final project for one of my classes, and saw that I'd gotten a B on my last assignment (a rare occurrence), I didn't even care.  I didn't look at the assignment to see what I lost points for.  I'm just sooooo over it.  Thank goodness I only have 4 classes left, because I don't think I have much left in the tank for school, lol.

So, I'm going to knit on my sample some more today.  And watch what ever I want on t.v.  And maybe only check my email once today instead of stocking it for news of potential upcoming projects.  In other words, I'm taking the day off.

Yours truly,

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Great Design Project: part 5c

Well, when last we met I had sent my design out for editing and was getting ready to start testing.  Lets just say, it hasn't been an easy process.  I had incorrect expectations regarding what my editor would be looking for in the initial pattern review, and I've learned why it's not a good idea to go over complicated numbers when one is sleep deprived (didn't I say something like this in the last post?...).

My long suffering editor (who puts up with me for some unknown reason, lol) reviewed the pattern for clarity.  It turns out that most editors do this as well, and leave the issue of numbers to the test knitters.  I thought she would go over them to double check before we sent the pattern to the testers.  So, that was my error.  Thankfully, my testers (who are all at different points in the pattern) have found some of the bigger problems and they were easy to address.  But I discovered that my sleeve numbers were off in the 34" size, and my fronts were off in my 38" sample, so I realized that I needed to go rework the numbers for a 5th time.  That photo you see above...that represents my latest round of number crunching. 

In a particularly down moment, where I doubted my ability to pull this design together and seriously considered scrapping it (and I probably would have, if it weren't for the fact that I'm doing this in public and pride won't let me, lol), I thought "what if I just reverse the whole thing and design it from the bottom-up?"  I've done that before successfully.  But some of you out there expressed that you really, really wanted it to remain top down.  So what's a girl to do?  Work the numbers from the bottom up!  Start with the final numbers and work backward like a word problem!  Why the heck didn't I think of that sooner?  (Probably because I didn't pray hard enough, lol). 

I started with the finished numbers for the body and the sleeves.  I pulled out my Handy Book of Sweaters again for help in determining the standard depth for a raglan sweater.  Then, I took the body numbers and made sure they were divisible by 4 (to accomodate my ribbing), and split that number in half to give me a front and a back.  I took the front and split that in half again, so I would know how many sts I will end up with on either side of the v-neck.  From there, I used my formula from last time to determine how many stitches would be decreased when I worked the neck and sleeve shaping.  I subtracted that number from the total sts where the v-neck joins, and I got the number of sts to cast on.  Genius, and much faster than pulling numbers out of thin air and trying them out till I found the right one.  Knowing the raglan depth also provided me with the number of total rows through the yoke, so I knew how many decrease rows I would have, and how many stitches to decrease for the sleeves and the back.  A little subtraction, and I had those cast on numbers too. 

The next step was to write all the cast on numbers down, and add them together for the total number of stitches to cast on.  Now, here's where it got really complicated last time.  I needed to move some of the sts around so that I could fit the cable into the raglan.  Shirley Paden's book, Knitware Design Workshop mentions that the cross-back should be about one inch shorter than the front, so that the garment sits correctly.  Using that logic, I subtracted 4 sts from the back-neck numbers and moved them to the fronts.  This accomplished my goal of providing enough sts to fit the raglan in, and creating a cross-back that is one inch shorter than the front.  To make sure I did everything correctly, I went down my paper listing the bust sizes, and went across the paper listing the different sections of the cast on (front, sleeve, back, sleeve, front) and the total.  I plotted the numbers for every size.  Then I went back and moved the stitches around, plugging the cable into the fronts and the back (front, raglan, sleeve, raglan, back, raglan, sleeve, raglan, front).  I added those numbers again to make sure the total remained unchanged.  Finally, I listed the total number of the front sts and back sts for each size, along the bottom of the page.  I verified that the fronts had 4 more sts than the backs, and that the total of each size matched the total body numbers that I started with.  It all worked out, and my editor said that they all look good to her as well.

So what does that mean for me?  Well, it means that I need to completely adjust the cast-on numbers in my pattern, and that my testers will all have different sleeve numbers that I originally thought.  That won't really be an issue, because I can help them adjust the sleeves to fit correctly so their finished piece will be wearable.  But it definitely means that I'll need a second round of testing.  It also means that I had to rip back my sample and start one more time with the latest set of numbers.  And lastly, it means that I'm definitely taking Rock + Purl's grading class this August, because there's no way I'm going to deal with this mess again without a little more training :)