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Preview: Kitsch, please!

Kitsch, please!

You say 'kitschy' like it's a bad thing...

Updated: 2014-10-06T18:07:39.977-07:00


FO: Urban Necessity Gloves


Finally!!! I finished these on Dec. 30 and wrapped them up to give to my dad on New Year's Eve ... just in time for the warmest winter Northern California has had in a while. But it felt great to get these done, nevertheless.

Pattern Specs

Pattern: Urban Necessity Gloves
Yarn: Cascade 220 Wool, gray (8401)
Needles: US 6 dpns
Started: September 19, 2008
Finished: December 30, 2011
Total Time: way too long
Cost: ~ $15-20

My only modification was leaving out the design on the mitten cap. I used a long tail cast-on for the ribbing on both the wrists and mitten cap, to make sure they were stretchy and strong.

For some reason, the mitten cap ribbing on the right mitten (which I knit second) has a purl row, unlike the other mitten. Eh,whatever. At that point I could smell the finish line and wasn't going to rip back because of something like that.

My dad tried them on and they fit really well, but I cringed the whole time as he stuffed his hands into them and pulled the mitten caps on and off ... it's difficult not to treat your knits like your children and accept the fact that gifted knits belong to someone else and you have no control over how they're treated.

I hope my dad gets a lot of use out of these guys ... they were a long time coming!

Next up? A Cambridge Watchcap for my wonderful, tolerant boyfriend. Not knitting anything with appendages sound really, really appealing.

The Mitts That Would Not Die


According to my Ravelry account, I started making a pair of Urban Necessity Mitts for my dad on Sept. 19, 2008. Ever since that fateful day when I thought it was a fantastic idea to work on them in class (it wasn't), every attempt to finally finish them has ended in more mistakes, swearing, frustration, stupid mistakes, tears and, occasionally, blood.

When I packed in preparation to visit my parents, I took the mitts along, fully intending to finish them in time for Giftmas. But I somehow left the pattern at home. It's available online, so it's not a deal-breaker.
Tonight, I will attempt (again), the previously insurmountable feat: conquering once and for all The Mitts That Would Not Die. All that's left is the mittencap on the second one. I've gotta do it. I've gotta show these mitts who's boss so I can finally move on to a different project. And I have to finish them now, because who the hell wears mittens in the summertime??

Mitt No. 2, taunting me back in January 2011

Bad Knitter


Well. The title pretty much sums it up. There has been very little knitting because -- I'm ashamed to say -- I'm lazy and uninspired.

After the unfinished glittens languished for two years, I finally fixed the (stupid) mistake in January and completed the first one. Half-way through the second, I realized I was making the wrong increases -- ones that left noticeable holes. Down went the glittens again. Almost three years on a project is pretty damn pathetic. My dad probably doesn't expect to ever receive them -- and can I blame him?

I've always been a sporadic knitter. My fiber-frenzies usually reflect whatever is going on in my life. The times I am most secure and confident are the most productive. Though there have been a lot of really positive changes lately, I've come to realize that these don't necessarily add up to "perfect" ... at least not immediately. I've shrugged off a dead-end relationship, celebrated one year with an amazing guy, got into the university of my dreams -- but while I felt sure of my goals last year, things are now nebulous.

Knitting has always been a comfort, especially in times like these, when one of the few things I could control were the stitches on my needles, when the only things going according to plan was the pattern. Knitting has taught me this important lesson of controlling what we can and not waging a Sisyphean battle against what we cannot. I've also learned a good deal about myself, especially from this recent lapse: when problems arise, I've always taken a certain amount of pleasure in solving them. I'm like my dad that way; we both want to puzzle over it until it's fixed. Maybe I've become a bit weary in that department. But people problems are different than, say, knitting ones. If I don't start fixing my problems now, they'll pile up and suffocate me. There's nothing more depressing than looking around yourself and seeing unfinished projects and failed attempts -- and that goes way beyond just knitting.

Many say that real life experience is what counts -- and that's true in many ways -- yet since recorded time, and most likely long before, humans have played games and told stories: allegories for life. Knitting is one of those safe arenas, with the added benefit of finished products. I've admitted to myself that I have issues with following through. The glittens are a good place to start.

Everything but the Main Thing


This summer, I did a lot of things: spent time with friends, made my first cheesecake, bought used books, came home way too late, cursed the heat, kept the house clean, and slept in excess.I don't have a photo of my cheesecake, so instead, here are macaroons.An unfortunate side-effect of having so much free time and so many ways of filling it was that I didn't knit much. Still, in retrospect, I wish I had taken the time to blog a little. You know, for posterity. There's something about blogging about what you do that feels deliciously introspective and validating. But that's not a novel realization, is it, now. Hopefully now that I've got responsibilities again, I can get off my ass and blog every week (that's my goal amount, anyhow!)So what became of my Citrus Yoke sweater? Katie Himmelberg sent me a reply right away but I didn't actually get what I was doing wrong until I actually posted a cry for help on Ravelry. The solution was simple: I didn't know how to do a yo correctly! Instead of passing the yarn over and then making a knit stitch, I had been knitting a stitch and then making a real yo stitch! Hey, the good thing is, I'm never going to forget how to do it now!So after that little epiphany, things progressed pretty smoothly, save for a narrow miss or two. In my frustrated attempts to start the sweater, I'd tortured the first few feet of yarn so badly that I had to cut it off... but I was so, so happy to finally be getting somewhere!The yoke was really fun to knit and, best of all, easy to memorize. As always, I mostly knit at work but I'd sometimes bring it to the cafe my friends and I got obsessed with going to for a while. I'll never get tired of how people react to my knitting; I love it, seriously. And as simple knit is perfect for KIP; you can afford to be a little distracted.I also LOVE that the whole sweater is knit in the round. After knitting my first sweater in 4 parts and seaming it, the Citrus Yoke was magic--and so simple!My coworkers' reaction to this sweater was hilarious; they couldn't understand how a tube with holes was going to grow into a sweater! I think they began to get the idea as I started on the body and made the armholes...I've gotta admit, plain stockinette can put you in a coma, especially the arms. But it was perfect for knitting on the job, though I did manage to lose my stitch marker when knitting one of the sleeves and wasn't sure where the row began; quite a freak-out ensued.I also had a little trouble with the length of the sleeves, though it had nothing to do with the pattern and everything to do with my stupidity! As I remember, the pattern says to make the sleeves 19" long (for the size I made) but after measuring that out on my own arm, I decided that that was a little short. So I went up to 21.5". But when I was done with the sweater and went to try it on, the sleeves were about an inch too long--the silly long, not the comfy long! I took it to knitting night last Wednesday--my first in months!-- and tinkered back about 5 rows on each sleeve. I haven't tried it on yet to see how the sleeves are...but I will!!Overall, I'm really pleased with this sweater and even more pleased that I seem to be getting better at knitting things faster--and at starting something new almost as soon as I'm done. Yep, I'm working on something else, but that's for the next post...[...]

What Next?


So after finally finishing the afghan (which, incidentally, the recipient has yet to pick up...), I needed to decide on my next project.For a while I was stuck between these two: the Citrus Yoke pullover from the Winter 2007 edition of Interweave Knits and a cabled jumper from a Needful Yarns booklet (click photos for source).Long story short, I decided on the Citrus Yoke pullover since I, uh, couldn't decide whether or not I wanted to use the yarn the cabled jumper called for. Why? Because it's partially acrylic. I had almost decided to pony up and get the aforementioned yarn but still really wanted to find a substitute. The called-for yarn is chainette instead of plied, so my choices are pretty narrow. I did see some similar yarns that could have worked, though.Anyhow, I decided to knit Citrus Yoke first...The needlesPicking the yarn was a bit trying since I couldn't decide which color I wanted, Pumpkin or Orange. I was going from looking at the yarns on my laptop to looking at the color in the magazine under the white light lamp across the room. In the end I chose Orange and I think it was the right choice; it's a bit darker than Pumpkin, and therefore not as 'orangey'. With my light skin and dark hair, It's very easy to look like I'm dressed for Halloween.In direct sunlightThe yarn: Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky; Wool & Alpaca; 108 yds; in 'Orange'.I have to say, this yarn is pretty nice. Soft and very resilient, the latter because I've frogged it so many times.I can't seem to make it past the neck of this sweater, it's just not coming out right no matter what I try. The pattern doesn't have any errata and nobody on Ravelry seems to have the same problem as I do. So I ended up sending a message to the designer, Katie Himmelberg, a few hours ago, asking for help. This sweater is making me feel seriously stupid.See that seed stitch on the sides? Well, that's supposed to be reverse stockinette...The good news is that I now know how to yo and ssk. But yeah, it'd be great if I could actually figure out what I'm doing wrong.Around the same time that I got the yarn for Citrus Yoke I went to my LYS and picked up some more delicious yarn.The yarn: ShibuiKnits Sock; Merino.I've got 2 skeins of this and they will eventually become a scarf for my girl cuz. I think I've finally figure out a pattern for it, after hours of fruitless swatching with the Red Heart I usually reserve for stuff like that. I really like the vision I have for this scarf so I hope it works out. More info to follow...[...]

FO: VK Block and Cable Throw...with a slightly different meaning


While you've always known 'FO" to be an acronym for 'finished object', there exists a slightly different meaning that applies to projects of a certain caliber: 'Finally Over'.I've finally done with the Block and Cable throw and I couldn't be more pleased--and excited to be able to start something new! I cast off Tuesday evening but there were still dozens of ends to weave in.All in all, this baby took me 8 months to complete. Eight! Mind, that's 8 months of knitting mainly on the weekends, sitting at my desk at work all day, answering the phone and the like. Sheesh, that's almost as long as it takes to make an actual baby.But before I show glorious photos of this thing, a few tidbits about the previously hinted-at shenanigans.About 20 or so rows before finishing it, I realized that I was going to run out of yarn! Now, I was sure that I'd bought the right amount but I wasn't about to give up any length. As luck would have it, Knit Picks has discontinued their superwash worsted weight yarn so I turned to Ravelry and found 2 skeins for sale! Thanks Christine!! (As if one needed more reasons to love Ravelry). I ended up needing only about 3/4 of one, which is okay by me.The second shenanigan was really my fault, but I'm in a diffusion-of-responsibility kind of mood, so let's just chalk this one up to the afghan, shall we?This blanket has a 5-stitch knit border, which is sometimes preceded by 2 knit stitches. Sometimes I'd space out and purl those 5 stitches when they followed 2 knit stitches--I guess it made sense to me somehow. I'd usually catch the mistake as I knit the next row and rip back to fix it, but not this time. When I caught this one, I had 4 or 5 rows of stockinette stitch, meaning that I'd made the mistake more than once!Like before, I tried undoing just those 5 stitches but for some reason it didn't work and I ended up with a bigger mess than before! In the end, I threaded a lifeline 9 rows above and frogged. I'm one of those knitters who doesn't mind ripping back at all; in fact, I find it satisfying. There's something about undoing something you've just done, and the knowledge that you're fixing a mistake. But it really surprised me how fast 9 rows, each consisting of 200 stitches, could be frogged. In less than a minute I had undone hours' worth of work. Kind of humbling, in a way.After that, things progressed smoothly. I bound off and then took a couple days to weave in the many, many ends. Sheesh, I ran out of yarn despite using every last morsel! My gauge must be abysmally off...or it's just of of VK's mistakes.I'm SO excited to finally give this to Paul!Pattern SpecsPattern: Block and Cable Throw #29, Vogue Knitting MagazineYarn: KnitPicks Swish Superwash Wool in Sand Dune(18 balls)Needles: #9 circularsStarted: September 2007Finished: April 15, 2008Total Time: about 7.5 monthsCost: $58.93 (not including needles)Satisfaction (1-10): 9.5I was going to hang it out in the sun for a few hours after blocking it but then got lazy and decided that I've kept it clean while I knit it as it is.It looks like the length is about right--60"--since it reaches all the way up to my chin! KnitPicks' Superwash wool is soft and springy, so it shows off the cables and texture very well. It's amazingly warm, too! All I have left is to make a card with care instructions and it'll be ready to be gifted.[...]

A little undeserved hedonism...


Despite my better judgment, after finishing class last Friday, I made a beeline for my favorite downtown haunts: the LYS and the thrift store. It's no so much that I needed a reward as much as a morale boost. I ended up dropping my physics class a few weeks ago since only a miracle would've made me get a passing grade; serves me right for taking 3 science/math classes in one semester. So while I still don't have time to knit during the week, I now have time to study for my remaining classes!I wanted the new issues of IK and VK badly and since they've been out for a while now, I knew my best bet was my LYS rather than the bookstore. While I love this store's atmosphere and selection, their customer service isn't famous for being great; some people have gotten ignored, others talked-down to. I usually feel like I don't belong and that the sales person isn't giving me her complete attention. But that's no big tragedy, at least not to me. I get most of my yarn online, anyhow (shame, shame).So after the saleslady laboriously finishes typing my info into the computer ("to let you know about sales") she hands me a notice on a pink slip of paper: the store is moving! Whaa?! It's not moving very far, but I'll no longer have my favorite places in the same same area--so much for my bank-LYS-thrift store triangle. But I'm glad I found this out before showing up to find an empty store!The next stop was the thrift store where I scored some pretty good loot, as always:A few books to satisfy the bibliophile withinA few records to add to the already sizable collectionAnd lastly, my most favorite find...Maybe I'm the only one who can't help giggling over this. I don't know when this was published in relation to, oh, everything else she's famous for, but I'll definitely look it up. The book's actually not bad at all, content-wise. I'm actually going to use this book.As for the VK Block and Cable afghan, it's still in progress but so, so close to being finished.Its latest shenanigans will be explained in a later post. I'm really looking forward to getting it done and gifting it.I can't believe how big it's gotten!A happy weekend to you! Now stretch![...]

FO: Seaman's Cap (and other news)


Pattern SepecsPattern: Seaman's Cap by Brenda Zuk (Ravelry)Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca (6209); 3/4 skeinNeedles: US #6, 7Started: January 2008Finished: February 2008Total Time: >1 monthCost: $8.50/skein, ~ $6.38Satisfaction (1-10): 10After being sick for a week and then desperately trying to catch up with my classes afterwards, I finally got around to blogging! I'm pretty sure that Donny liked his hat, although he couldn't understand why the yarn was a little fuzzy. I blocked the hat a little so that the brim wouldn't roll up so much but it still does a little bit. Otherwise, I'm extremely happy with this FO! It knit up so quickly and the pattern was straightforward. Since I've finished it, two other salesguys at work have requested hats. A while ago I had started on my dad's Urban Necessity Gloves (Ravelry) but only got half-way through the cuff before frogging them. I had knit loosely at one of the joins and couldn't get it to tighten up. Besides, a different cast on method will probably make the k1p1 ribbing look better. Knitting with 5 DPNs, how shall I say it, perilous. I've more or less gotten the hang of holding my work so that it doesn't flop around everywhere, but it can still be awkward sometimes. Knitting on two circs looks really good at times like this.I'm still plugging away at the VK Block and Cable throw. A testament to exactly how long I've been working on it is that the manager I'm making it for no longer works for the company. Not to worry, I emailed him and will hopefully get it to him soon. Two repeats to go! (Plus the half-a-repeat and border at the end). There are dozens of little ends to weave in, too, and that's going to take a while.Lately I've been itching to buy things knitting-related (like the latest IK that I haven't had time to pick up!). Actually, this offer from Interweave has caught my attention:The book would be really helpful for a self-designed sweater that I'm planning to knit in the future, and the yarn requirements pamphlet is bound to come in use whenever I don't use a pattern. For $24.95, I just might...It's beginning to look a lot like spring...Does it make me a bad person if I wish it would stay cold for a little bit longer?[...]

A Tale of Two Firsts


Want to know what else is a first? Updating more than once a month. Blogging to document my knitting as well as getting to know other knitters is my ultimate goal and I'm slowly learning what it takes to achieve that. Perhaps viewing laziness as a virtue is part of the problem...But onto the aforementioned firsts!After finishing my VK pullover (Ravelry link), I decided to knit my mom a hat, something I'd been promising to make her for a while. She had picked out the yarn (Rowan Super Chunky) and the pattern (Sideways Hat), as well. The result was so deliciously hilarious that I'm surprised that I forgot to blog about it. In the end, the hat wouldn't have fit my fist. For those familiar with Ravelry, this is my very first Ugh!The construction is interesting enough--it's knit sideway and incorporates a lot of short tows--but my gauge must've been insanely off. I know I knit tightly, but this was ridiculous! Anyhow, I frogged it a few days after 'finishing' it. The yarn is lovely and I'll have to find a pattern that suits it.Mom still wants a hat, of course, and had the nerve to request one made from the yarn I was using for another project. Incidentally, the other first!My first hat, ever! Heck, it's the first thing that I've knit in the round, with the exception of the collar for my VK pullover. Mom was lusting over the yarn and lucky for her, I have a whole skein left (I have no idea why I bought 2 when I only needed less than one.) The yarn was a dream to work with; incredibly soft and warm with just the right amount of fuzzing. The recipient was very pleased. Donnie is a sales guy at my work. He'd come by once in a while to watch me knit it and ask questions about what I was doing; really, that's the best part about knitting for someone. Even though I finished it last week I don't have photos yet.A closeup of the inside of the fold-up brim:Currently, I'm only working on Paul's Block and Cable throw. I promised him that it would be ready by mid February and hopefully I can make that deadline. I've only got 4 pattern repeats to go and while that doesn't sound like much, my classes are borderline overwhelming so it's not a guarantee. Compared to the Berroco Ultra Alpaca I used for Donnie's' hat, the yarn I'm using for this afghan feels like cotton even though it's wool! Is this yarn love? Funny, I've never experienced that before and frankly I like it. I want to knit everything with Ultra Alpaca. Absolutely everything.[...]

The not-so-finished FO


Pattern SpecsPattern: Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 1989Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss (Woodland Sage); 7 skeinsNeedles: US #2, 3Started: April 2007Finished: November 2007Total Time: ~8 monthsSatisfaction (1 to 10): 8Well, here it is. All finished, or so it seems. Seems. Seams! As I'd expected, the seaming part was a bit of a challenge, but not impossible. The sides didn't quite match up in length so I thought I'd be clever and cinch up the longer side little by little as I seamed. It's a worthy technique, no question, but it was probably no match for the length difference I was trying to hide (which wasn't that much). Needless to say, the sides pucker in a way that doesn't exactly inspire joyful kissing:ARG! Look at that puckering! The first picture shows the weird hip curve as well--that part definitely sticks out too much. My only option is to rip out the side seams and start over.But wait, there's more!What the hell is up with these sleeves?! (I'm not even going to rant about how very 80s they are because, well, the pattern's from the 80s so it's my fault). But it is what it looks like: a pouch on my underarm. Amy Winehouse has nothing on this little hiding place. I know that I knit the sleeves as per the pattern, so what gives? I can understand the shoulder pads--it was the 80s, after all--but what's with the weird bagginess? Does it serve as a purse? Illusion of big muscles? Easy accommodation of arm fat one may acquire between 9 and 5?Actually, I'm not angry in the least. It was an invaluable learning experience both technically and, uh, practically. Older patterns should be picked with care; it's useful to check for errata, too.One more detail I'm a bit perplexed about and then it's on to happier stuff:The ridges don't match up! I painstakingly matched them up for the sleeves and upper body, but there just wasn't the same number on both sides. Weird, but at least the evidence isn't in a noticeable place! Unless I lift up my arms and flaunt it.So as for the puckering, it seems like my only option is to take the sides apart and start over. Unless I stash it in my closet and never see it again, that is. Which would be sad, considering how much effort I've put into it. No, I'll get to it soon, because otherwise I can't let myself start a new project (there's a gorgeous sweater I've been eyeing in the last issue of IK)!Paul's afghan is progressing well. I can't believe how big it's gotten!Yep, it's long enough to cover my legs but I've still got almost as much left to go! I somehow didn't manage to work on it very much during the week while I was on winter break. Weekends, however, are completely dedicated to working on this afghan. Work would be intolerable otherwise. It's already being put to good use, actually, as the room I work in is really cold. It's much better with a snuggly afghan on your lap although it'd be even better if I could tuck it under my feet, too! Anyhow, I promised Paul that I'd be done with it by mid February, but we shall see. It's gotten too heavy to bring to school, which is just as well since all of my classes this semester are math ans sciences; no opportunity to knit.In other news, I've gotten the hang of knitting with DPNs! I started Donny's hat (procrastination has the darndest effects, eh?) but I'll probably rip it out and start over. The joins weren't the neatest and want this hat to come out well.[...]

The VK pullover is blocking...and I'm in a knitting rut


It's blocking. Or was, actually, since it's been dry for a few hours. I laid down the sleeves last Monday but only got to the body this Tuesday. Everything looks alright so far, although the fabric got alarmingly fuzzy-looking after getting wet.


Next I have to sew one shoulder seam together and knit a neckline. One of my reference books suggests using a needle that's one or two sizes bigger than what was used on the rest of the garment, so I bought size 4 needles today. The picking-up-stitches part is a bit indimidating to me, actually. I'm really hoping that I don't mess it up.

I'm aiming to have it done by Wednesday, which is Knitting Night. A couple of members also have green FOs, so we've arranged to share them then. 'Can't wait!

This past week has been beyond busy--I didn't have time to knit at all! Hopefully I'll make up for it this weekend.

I decided to start Dad's Glitten's tonight--what a disaster! I knew learning to use DPNs would be challenging, but this seemed near impossible! The needles (the project calls for 4) kept moving out of position and twisting around. Just like when I was learning to use circulars, casting on a few times helped a lot. I still haven't got the hang of actually knitting with them, but I'm sure it's only a matter of practice. Seriously though, these things are so awkward!

One of the downsides to having non-knitting parents is their ignorance of things like UFOs or project boredom. I'm the kind of knitter who is more focused on the finished object, so it's a bit unnerving when my folks ask me why I haven't finished the VK pullover and why I'm looking to start a new project when I've got two already. They're so serious about it too, as if it's something akin to my schoolwork. They're probably just antsy because I haven't knit them anything yet!

Speaking of folks: this year's Thanksgiving was quiet and modest. 'Just us, a salad, and the turkey I got from work. And some good white wine, too. Desserts was similarily simple: I baked a pumpkin mirengue pie which we had with tea and more wine.


So close I can almost taste it!


I may have finally gotten cables down, but the art of regular blogging still escapes me. That's something that I need to learn how to do; if I'm going to document this knitting adventure of mine (which is actually rather subdued), I might as well do it right!I've since finished the front of the VK pullover! As with the back, I somehow lost my place in the ridge pattern repeat and while I fixed my mistake much faster this time around, the de-ja-vu feeling was less than enjoyable. (Afterwards I started circling each row as I got to it to make sure I knew exactly where I was. Who knew that it was okay to write on patterns?!) There was also a bit of confusion about the length right before I began to bind off for the neck. At first it seemed like the piece was going to be a bit longer than I wanted, but as I finished up the armholes, it turned out that it was just right. At this point I don't care how that worked. I'm just glad that it did. Both front and back pieces match! Well, actually, the back is wider in the bust than the front and I'm not really sure why. Maybe it's my knitting tension, or maybe it's just because of different armhole placement for each piece (which doesn't make any sense).I finished the front on around Oct. 21st. The second sleeve is about 2/3 finished! After that it's on to blocking, picking up the neck cuff, and stitching it all together. It hasn't really sunk in yet, actually. The thought of wearing a garment that I made is bizzare to me. I'm still plugging away at the VK Block and Cable Throw for Paul. This sucker is going to take a while to finish. Why is it that I always choose projects with small gauge? Talk about masochism! I worked out the math in my head while riding the bus home one day (warning: NERDY CONTENT): There are 28 rows in the repeat, and I need 12 repeats plus the first 14 rows, and then 5 rows for the border. I can knit an average of 3 rows per day. I've done 1 repeat so far and am 12 rows into the second one. This means that I've got 327 rows to go, and if I knit 3 rows each day, then I'll be finished in 109 days (!!!!!!!) Methinks I've got to knit more than 3 rows per day. Or at least knit more than 3 rows on some days. A few photos: (A closeup of the stitch pattern. No idea where the funky color is from; the color in the other photos is correct, though) (The WS looks like chromosomes! Hee!)On the bright side, I bought some new yarn recently for upcoming projects! The first one is Berroco's Ultra Alpaca for a Seaman's Cap . A co-worker asked me to make him a beanie so I, will oblige, soon. As soon as I finish my VK pullover. (No photo of the yarn yet as I still haven't recieved it.)Next, I'm going to make a pair of Urban Necessity Gloves for my dad. The yarn will be Cascade 220 :A few weeks ago I took my mom to a Real Yarn Store! It's owned by a woman who I know from knitting night ('not sure if she'd care to be mentioned, so she'll stay anonymous for now!). Ma wants me to make her a hat and after parousing patterns on Ravelry, she finally picked one out: the Sideways Bobble Hat. Ma doesn't want the pompom, and so don't I, for that matter! At first I was really against this pattern seeing as it's so simple, but the upside is that it's going to knit up very quickly. My mom picked out some Rowan Big Wool Fusion for it:Knitting night is still the thing I look forward to most during the week. Even if I'm not in a social mood when I get on the bus to go there, I already feel better when I get off at my stop. By the end of the night, I'm in a pretty damn good mood. So, long live knitting night! I need to remember to get the new issue of VK and possibly IK's Holiday issue. Like I need more projects in my Ravelry queue.[...]

WIP update and a bit of inspiration


On the WIP front: The VK pullover is coming along well. The front is about half-way done as of now. A photo from 2 days ago: I have since started the ridge pattern (which takes forever). The sides are held down by pins, so they're not really that angular!I cast on for Paul's afghan on the 2nd (Sunday) and was less than 10 rows in when I frogged it at Wednesday's knitting night. My stitch count seemed off and since I'd be dealing with cables, it seemed best to have the correct amount of stitches on my needles. I've since gotten further than I was before I frogged it but I'm still a few rows short of cabling. At this point the stitch pattern doesn't look like much so it's not worth photographing. At first, knitting with circulars was a bit awkward, but once I learned to turn my work so the two ends of my knitting wouldn't join, things progressed pretty quickly. Circular needles have intimidated me for so long, so it was a surprise to me how easy they are to handle. My only complaint is that the needles can spontaneously untwist from the cable! It's happened twice so far. I sort of panicked the first time and did this fancy maneuver of transfering the stitches from the separated needle onto a stitch holder. The second time happened in class and I didn't have anything to hold the stitches. Sliding them all down onto the cable and then re-attaching the needle worked perfectly, so I guess fancy maneuvers aren't necessary. I'm used to stitches getting lost the instant they slip off the needle, so I think the chunkier yarn of this project plus the bigger gauge is the reason that didn't happen. These needles are the screw-in kind and it looks like that's not the best mechanism.I've also discovered the joys of knitting in class. Yes, I swore that it could never work for me and yes, I am now eating my words. As long as I don't need to constantly write things down, knitting in class is possible.Now on to the inspiration:Some leaves I found on the ground a few days ago. The colors are absolutely stunning. Someday, if I ever learn how to dye yarn, I hope to attempt to recreate these colors. A few of my favorites: In in attempt to preserve them, I've pressed these leaves into a Webster's dictionary. I discovered a pressed spider as I was flipping through it--made me jump about a foot. Note to self: don't use books to kill spiders hanging in mid-air by their webs. [...]

My First Cables! (and other good stuff)


One of the sales managers at work, Paul, asked me to knit him an afghan a little while ago. I nosed around online for a while, searching for a suitable pattern. Paul wanted it in a solid color so the dog hair wouldn't show, so I needed to find one with an interesting stitch pattern. I finally decided on one I found in the winter 97/98 edition of VK:Stitch detail:Knit Picks had a sale a few weeks ago so I ordered the yarn for them: 17 balls of Swish Superwash in Sand Dune:The pattern requires size 9 circular needles (24" cord) so I bought those as well. This project includes a few techniques that I've never used before, such as using circular needles and making cables. After a few weeks of hemming and hawing, I finally sat down to learn how to cable:So far I only know how to make this basic cable--making it gradually 'unzip' at the end didn't work out too well. Thankfully, it looks like I can skate by with what I know so far!I finished HP 7 a few weeks ago, which means that the knitting hiatus is over!! My friend C invited me to an A's game on 8/14 (Tuesday) and I thought it'd be a good idea to start the front of my VK pullover there...except that I'd packed a skein instead of a ball of yarn. I wasn't about to start converting it on the train, so I cast on when I got home instead. My progress so far: I've got 2 more decreases to do and then I'm on to whatever's next! Its been coming to school with me every day and I can usually do about 2-5 rows per day. My new back pack even has a nifty little compartment for it! (Well, it's actually a sort of built-in notebook sleeve, but no matter)The compartment holds a bag containing my WIP (not pictured), as well as the pattern magazine and a ruler.And...last but not least, I went to my first knitting night last Wednesday! It was mentioned on Ravelry--I was surprised by how many knitting nights there are in the bay area. It's held at a bookstore close to campus and it's very easy to get to by bus. Overall it was awesome and a huge treat since I've never knit with a group of people before or listened to people talk about things that I've only read about. I couldn't make it this week but I'm hoping to make this a regular event for me! I finally picked up the new IK and VK issues and both are fabulous, although I like VK a little more. Then again I'm partial to VK in general! It's definitely a drool-worthy issue. Before quitting my barista job a few weeks ago, I used my benefits to get so yummy tea and a cup. I can't wait until the weather gets cold enough to make hot tea in the morning. The tins will definitely come in handy when they're empty (DPNs, anyone? Notions?)[...]

Kitsch of Yester-year


HP 7 went on sale yesterday and I'm still desparately plowing my way through the fifth book. I want to be up-to-date before I read the final one. Pops picked up #7 from Costco the morning it was released and has since settled down to read it. He gives me smug looks at the dinner table and laughs when I clamp my hands to my ears and hum loudly when he drops hints about the plot.Preparing for HP 7 has definitely been the reason for my knitting lapse; I think that I should continue with the VK pullover soon if I hope to finish it before it gets too cold to wear short sleeves!A few evenings ago, the absense of knitting drove me to rummage through drawers in search of kitsch. And kitsch I did find!Circa 1995. This sweater was knit for me by a family acquaintance while we were still living in Russia. Though this photo doesn't show it, the panels of ribbing are actually diagonal. The sweater is really itchy so I didn't like it much. I wasn't too keen on the color either. 'Still had to wear it, though... Circa 1987. This dress was crocheted for me by my godmother. There's a tie in the front (photo on left) and a button closure in the back (photo on right). I've got to hand it to my mother, she kept this dress in pristine condition all this time! Socks!! L to R: Slip-on socks made from dog hair (my guess is that it came from a dog my uncle's family used to own); wool socks; my baby socks! All of these were definitely brough over by either my mom or dad from Russia at some point. More socks! These are a combination of dog hair and what looks like the same wool used for the white socks in the photo above.Detail of the heel.The potholder at the top was crocheted by my grandmother's neighbor, who then gifted it to my mother. I'm not ashamed to admit that I sniggered at it. A lot. Dad came home, took one look at it, and scoffed. He then began to rummage through the kitchen drawers, looking for something. After asking him what he was after multiple times, he replied that he was looking for his mother's crocheted potholders. I benignly pointed to a hook on the wall above his head which held the two potholders (bottom photo). "Now that's crocheting", dad proclaimed. I've always been in awe of his mother's handiwork, though I've only just begun to truly appreciate and understand it. Her crocheted coasters.Amazingly, these items satisfied my need for a knitting fix without me even so much as looking at a pair of needles. Pathetic? Maybe. Nostalgic and inspirational? A definite 'yes'![...]

At the half-way point--pausing to enjoy the view!


Progress on the pullover's sleeve became faster as I got closer to the shoulder thanks to the decreases. And the less stitches on the needles, the more rows I was able to do on the train! Returning home from work today with five minutes until my stop, I had almost finished binding off when I accidentally dropped a stitch. So much for my triumphant finale! I ended up finishing the sleeve at home in front of the computer. Here it is, in all of its triangular glory:

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A different perspective:

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The two finished pieces together:

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It's starting to look like a pullover now, eh? Two more pieces like this and I'll be ready to block and seam this puppy together! I'll probably cast on for the front in a few days--I'm a bit behind in reading the first six Harry Potter books before the final one comes out next month! (A change of activity is supposed to be good for concentration, right?)

Making a knitter of her


Today I sheared a live'un!!

My father, to be more presice. Sadly, he produces hair and not wool.

Ever since I learned about Ravelry, I was anxious to join and see what it was all about. So many knitters and crocheters in one place--who can say 'no' to that? Finally, a few days ago I received an invite and signed up! I haven't had time to explore it yet or get settled in, but after reading about various bloggers' addiction to it, I think it's only a matter of time before it becomes one of my daily habits.

Work was busy this weekend so I didn't get to knit as much as I'd hoped; my goal was to finish the sleeve I'm currently working on, but no cigar. I'm about 3/4 of the way done, with 11 of 16 repeats out of the way. 'Not much time to knit this week, so the soonest this piece can be finished is next weekend.
Eventually it'll look like this:

The list of knitting/craft blogs I read has gotten longer again. I read sporadically, but I do read them! It's extremely uplifitng to interact with people with a common interest, to give and receive compliments and critique. Mostly, I just like oggling at crafts!

You CAN take it with you...but will you use it??


The mominator (aka my mother) and I left for a vacation on the 12th, but amidst the hustle, bustle, and shouting, I didn't find time for an update. So here it is, in all its posthumous glory!

Knitting needles and planes: there's a lot of infrmation about this topic if you know where to look. (Craftster has a thread featuring experience as well as rock-solid evidence; then there's TSA's list.) Up until the day before our flight, I'd been looking forward to whipping out my knitting 38,000 feet above ground...then the pink fog of dreamland cleared and I came to realize reality: no carry-on inspector in their right mind would let an abundantly-pierced gal wielding sharp, thin metal sticks onto an airplane full of unsuspecting people. Well, they might, but the odds were against me. Besides, I wasn't prepared: circs or even plastic needles look much more benign, and point protectors are good to have as well. Having weighed my chances, I concluded that it would be best for both me and the knitting if it rode in the suitcase. Better than having to stick it in an envelope and mail it back home.

Since our destination featured a beach, I'd imagined that I'd get a lot of knitting done there. And wow was I wrong! Maybe it's because I had forgotten what a sandy, wet place the beach was, or maybe the Harry Potter books I brought along proved more interesting (with #7 coming out soon, I've gotta get in the mood). So in conclusion, the knitting only came out in the hotel room, and just a few times at that. Silly me, I'd even brought materials for starting the front of my WIP, as well as my Vogue Knitting reference book and some larger needles and scrap yarn for the purpose of practicing new techniques. Oh, well. I guess knitting on the beach just isn't for me.

Knitting on the train, however, is definitely my thing. Getting a second job in San Francisco has proved to be pretty beneficial to my knitting, since there's not really much to do for the 35 minutes that I'm on the train. It warrants some interesting comments/conversations/glassy-eyed stares. The interaction is one of my favorite things about knitting, second to the finished product and the experience, that is!

A Small Mistake Almost Sunk This Kitschy Ship...


Yow, not one update for almost a month. (Some would call it a curse, while others insist that it's a form of genius that's closely related to procrastination).To summarize: I was progressing well on my current WIP and getting a lot done at work...until I made a mistake. About halfway through the ridge-patterned section of my pullover, I must have gotten distracted by something (like my job) and instead of purling 2 rows, I only purled one and moved on. As I was knitting the next row, things didn't look right and I realized my mistake. No problem!, thought I. I'll just frog this row and that'll be the end of that. So I frogged the row, undoing the stitches one by one (they're so small that ripping them out will almost guarantee that some will get lost). My workday was just about over by the time I finished frogging, so I put my knitting away; I could go back to it the next day, right? That's where things went painfully wrong (insert screeching violins here).I didn't get a chance to knit at all the following week but when I started again Saturday morning, I was confident that I knew where I'd left off. The first ridge looked right but as I finished the second, I saw that the repeat didn't look right: the WS was on the RS, and vice versa. To say I was perplexed was an understatement. So I frogged what I'd done and set out to correct my mistake, a process that took almost 2 full days of knitting a few rows and frogging them again (stitch. by. stitch)! It got rather depressing after a while. I somehow finally managed to find the right place in the pattern repeat. After that, things went smoothly until the "knit both sides at the same time" direction for knitting the neck. I'd initially thought that this meant keeping the work on the same needle and to keep knitting as usual. As I tried to knit on the other side of a bound-off row, the two sides became connected and I realized that there must be something else to the whole "knit both at the same time" thing. I looked up the term in my Vogue Knitting reference book, which cleared things up: each 'side' is to be knit using a separate ball of yarn. So I made another skein of yarn into a ball and things went merrily on their way.Behold, the finished back piece!I cast on for this piece on April 22 (Sunday) and finished on June 3 (Sunday); that's a little over a month. Not bad for knitting twice a week, plus a row here and there on weekdays. A few detail shots:A view of a shoulder and the neck opening.Armhole shaping.For the sake of variety, I decided to knit a sleeve now. My progress so far: As suggested by Gloria, I've been writing out pattern instructions to prevent myself from losing my place (instructions like "decrease every other row 5 times AT SAME TIME cont. ridge pattern" or "*dec. 1 st each side, work even 3, dec. 1 st each side AT SAME TIME...." are just asking for it). Writing out the pattern repeat (k, k, p, k, etc.) and then adding whatever it is you have to do next to that row helps tremendously. I check off rows as I go and there's no chance of losing my place! A (blurry) example of my notes: This update is dedicated to a Mr. B. Franklin, whose aphorism I stole and twisted into what is now the title of this post. You rawk.[...]

The Selfless Knitter 6.0 (batteries not included)


My FOs are few, but I can safely say that I enjoy knitting for others more than for myself. (My current WIP is a necessary exception). Coupled with my love of pleasing people is my reluctance to disappoint them: in essense, to say 'no' when they suggest that I knit them something.
Now, don't get me wrong, getting requests is flattering and frankly, sometimes I suggest it myself. But I get to thinking sometimes...could that be what knitting is all about? I'm by no means a knitting history buff, but I do know that from the very beginning, knitting was a practice that benefited many people other than the knitter. Whether it was a necessary craft (socks, sweaters, etc.) or simply entertainment (lace, etc.), the knitted items always seemed to benefit somebody else. But does that meant that knitters are selfless folk working tirelessly for the good of others? I'm not so sure. The act of knitting something is, by itself, highly rewarding, pleasing, and challenging. Watching somebody accept your finished item and knowing how much good they'll get out of it is, as they say, the icing on the cake. Besides, there are only so many things you can knit for yourself. Would you ever be able to use them all? Not to mention that after weeks of working on an item (if not longer), I'm pretty eager to send it on its merry way.
So perhaps there's more to knitting than yarn and needles, cardigans and baby socks. Maybe knitting has hidden intrinsic value that only really makes sense to a knitter.

So what has my knitter's nature wrought upon me? Why, more future projects, of course! There are many thigns I want to knit for myself, but the majority of future projects are for other people:

M-the-younger: He's my co-worker and we're only a few months apart in age. He was the first to (jokingly) ask for something after seeing me knitting the now finished faux-lace scarf at my desk. He requested a tie (really) and since then I've found a few good pattern that will work.

M-the-elder: Another co-worker. This one wants a vest, with cables and all. Well, if he wants it done before the year is over, he'll have to settle for something simpler.

G: My little cousin. She requested a rainbow-colored scarf and matching hat. I'm planning to have them ready for her by this fall.

N: A former lady co-worker who may have asked for a scarf at some point. I'm thinking something lacy.

M&C: The original muses :) These two can pull off things like shrugs and capelets. I'd love to make things like that but I know that I'd never wear them; just a matter of taste. Having friends to gift things like this to allows me to make things that I wouldn't necessarily use myself. And of course, it's fun figuring out what they'll like.

The rest of my list includes projects for people that didn't ask for them. A huge benefit of making things for others is the opportunity to learn new skills and practice learned ones--both parties benefit!

Moving right along...


I've made a lot of progress on the pullover--it's almost time to shape the armholes, neck, and shoulders!Aerial view: the sides roll horribly, so they were pinned out for the photo session. Look--shaping! A close-up of the ridge pattern.Another view of the ridge pattern.I wasn't kidding when I said it curled! Half of the time, it doesn't even look like the front or back of anything.And the WS of the piece. Lots and lots of garter stitch. Currently, the piece measures 36.5 cm; it needs to be 37.5cm before I can start shaping the armholes. I started a second hank last weekend! This time around, winding it into a ball by hand turned disastrous towards the end--a scary, tangled mass that took me about a half hour to fix. Maybe it was a combination of the late hour and listening to a radio show. Perhaps there is something to having a partner help you wind...The photos were taken with different types of flash, which is why they all look different. Still not sure which is best for 2am photo sessions with the floor lamp on...It's been very smooth sailing so far and I'm a bit nervous about starting on armholes, shoulders, etc. Something about "working both sides at once" scares me. That and the AT THE SAME TIME directions--not only must you continue the ridge pattern, but you should also decrease/increase every x number of rows. The first two repeats of the ridge pattern called for this and it wasn't so much difficult as it was about planning ahead and knowing after which row to increase. My other concern is the length. The ridge pattern on the sweater the model in the mag is wearing doesn't start at the same place it starts on me. Granted, we're not the same person but the size of the sweater is the same! I'm afraid that it'll turn out ot be a little long for me. In that case, I'll probably frog from the bottom and re-do the ribbing so that it fits better.Not only have I been able to knit at work, but during the week as well! A row here, two more there--that adds up to a lot, considering that it takes me about 10-12 minutes to knit a single row. There are currently 134 stitches on the needle, although it doesn't look like it! (No, I didn't count them! 'Just glanced at the pattern!) Initially, I thought that bringing my knitting to school would just distract me, but I've actually found that knitting a bit before hitting the books is relaxing. Plus, I'll never be bored during a dull lecture hour! I should be done with this side by the end of this month, finals and all being taken into consideration. Maybe I should do a sleeve next instead of the other side, to keep things interesting. I'm considering starting a second, smaller project in addition to this WIP. There are a lot of things I'd been planning to knit--mostly things people have requested. But that's another can of worms meant for another post... [...]

Stash: Not just for yarn anymore


I've made a lot of progress on my pullover over the past week--in reference to the pattern photo in the last post, I've just begun the ridge pattern.
So far, I've been surprised at how some of the direction details I'd previously thought of as challenging were a breeze when it came to actually following them. For example, I was worried about how I could keep track of the number of rows I'd done (and in what stitch) and, at the same time, make the right number of increases. The problem was easily solved with a piece of paper to tally up the number of increases and write down either 'k' or 'p' for the row I was currently on. The upcoming directions will probably challenge me a lot more than this, since they involve shaping for the sleeves and picking up stitches to form a neckline. I'm hoping that it'll fall into place when the times comes to knit them, just like everything else!
Progress photos in the next post.

On stashes. Since I've only recently started to get serious about knitting, my yarn stash is pretty nominal. And actually, I'd like to keep it that way! I like impulse buys as much as the next knitter, but the longer that yarn sits unused, the more guilty/frustrated one feels. My plan is to buy yarn as I need it, whether it be for a current project or for a future one (yarn specs. would be known). It's pragmatic and ambitious. Let's see if I can stick to it!
My weakness, however, is books. And magazines. And anything craft-related. So, for your viewing pleasure as well as my future nostalgia, my book-stash!

Clockwise from top: 3 books on sewing, 1 small book with Chinese patterns (knitting inspiration!), my current collection of past VK issues (80s-early 90s), a Vogue Knitting reference book (very handy; it's got articles from past issues, stitch patterns, techniques, etc.), a few books on marcame. This section of my book-stash is dubbed 'the old stuff' because, well, it's all second hand! And yay for that!

(image) Dubbed 'the new stuff', this is my collection of current knitting magazines and books. Only the Vogue Stitchionary (vol. 2: cables) is second hand (I'm not ashamed to admit that as a relative cheap-skate, I try to buy as many things used as possible).

And now the yarn stash, plus where I keep my notions and all that jazz...


It all fits inside a medium-sized box: needles, yarn, ruler, faux stitch holders (made out of paper clips).

Not pictured are my pattern binder (downloaded patterns from online) and an inspiration folder (holds clippings, pictures, etc. that are somehow inspirational).

New Horizons: 1st sweater progress!


Ever since I learned how to knit in the fourth grade, I'd never gone beyond making rectangles (ie. scarves). I've only recently become interested--no, fascinated--with the world of knitting.Having the desire to develop my skills was one thing, but getting there was going to take an initial push! So I hopped on the bus and rode downtown to buy a Dummies book on knitting. I knew the basics (knit, purl)...or so I thought. Somehow, the easy to follow instructions confused me; my knit stitches looked the same as the purls. Frustrated, I began making another long rectangle. A few months later, the curiosity returned with a vengeance, so I began searching for different instructions. Ironically, while considering which book to buy, I realized that Lionbrand and Knitpicks had instructions that I actually understood (and they were free!). So I obviously never did end up buying another book. As I studied the aforementioned instructions, I had one of thone AHA! moments: I realized that I'd been knitting wrong for years. My purl stitch was actually my knit stitch, and vice versa. Re-learning them was pretty helpful, to say the least. I've currently learned the proper way to do simple decreases/increases.Well, enough on that! My current WIP:A "close-fitting crewneck pullover with set-in sleeves". This pattern is from a Spring/Summer 1989 edition of Vogue Magazine. Progress after 2 weeks:Another photoA close up:And for the curious ones, the magazine cover!A better look at the decreases (I'm finished with these as of now; if you look at the pattern photo, I'm right where the model's waist is)The yarn is Knit Picks Gloss in Woodland Sage (70% Merino Wool, 30% silk). This yarn smells absolutely heavenly and feels almost as good. The best I can describe it is as a high-end department store smell. Clean, yet perfumey. I ordered 7 hanks, and at $3.99 each, my first big project isn't going to make me poor(er). The sweater is knit mostly on size 3 needles (I don't blame you from shuddering in horror), which gets a lot more comfortable after a little while. The ribbing was knit on size 2's. The yarn, alongside a member of my tiny stash (everything else are half-used skeins of Red Heart Acrylic that I'm not too keen on using anymore):I've got a long, long way to go until I finish, given that I'm knitting with tiny needles and have to study for finals (and fend off the urge to 'just forget about it all' and hole up somewhere to knit). I got a lot done last Sunday at work--as a receptionist, there's not much else for me to do on a slow day. A few customers saw me knitting at my desk and stopped by to chat! All said things along the lines of compliments and interests, and one elderly lady asked if she could just watch me for a while. These types of results of knitting in public are my favorite; what I don't like is when people treat me as an anomaly (which I may be, to them) and make a big fuss...and ask if I'm knitting them a pair of socks. Somehow, the response of "Hey buddy, you need more than two needles to knit a sock!" doesn't have any effect. [...]

Return to Blogging: some FO's and promises


Ask anyone, and they'll uphold the fact that procrastination just makes the issue snowball out of control. After a few months, I've finally triumphed over the "I'll do it tomorrow"s and have against started to blog and, most importantly, knit!!First, some finished projects.I did end up finishing the scarf mentioned in my last post, the only difference being that I narrowed to 3 pattern repeats instead of 4. Much more attractive, I think!Pattern: HereYarn: Bernat Cottontots (worsted weight, 100% cotton, 4oz/113g)Needles: size 11 (US)Duration: too longBlocking (I misted this one instead of dunking it in water; the cotton yarn as well as the 'lacy' stitch would have made it easy to stretch out of proportion)It was gifted to my friend, Marina, who's studying away at college. More on that later...I started a second scarf after finishing this one. It was inspired by a (rediculously priced--around $200) Anthropologie scarf my friend Chelsea and I had looked at online. Genius here didn't save a photo from the website but my recreation is pretty identical to the original, albeit slightly lighter and made out of better materials. The dimensions were specified on the site, which made the recreation even easier. They were 3in by 60in, I think. To get a similar color, I used two strands held together.Pattern: my own (1x1 ribbing)Yarn: Crystal Palace Yarns 'Iceland' (100% wool; the green/yellow yarn), Red Heart Super Saver (wosted weight, 100% acrylic; the blue yarn)Needles: size 11 (US)Duration: 5 weeks or so?A closeup:Action!This scarf was we-blocked as well (dunked instead of misted). I was so surprised that despite the freezing water, the wool felt warm!The scarves were included in care packages sent to M & C, along with other goodies!In current news, I'm a week into a new (more ambitious) project! Pictures and details in the next post. [...]

Wanted: Escape from project boredom


My current project, yet another scarf, has dragged on for a little more than a month.
The pattern I'm using:
Don't let the perfect example lull you into easy-pattern land--the thing is bloody irritating! Well, only if you're a perfectionist. The X design comes out a little loose for me and two extra stitches have appeared in my row (which isn't exactly noticeable as far as the Xes are concerned). I'm using Size 11 needles and a natural-fiber yarn (exact details later).
I had planned to gift it but now I'm not sure if the recipient would like it. On top of that, I'm itching to get started on more complex patterns!

Knitting and the World: According to the 'experts', knitting is a trend that comes and goes and is occasionally pronounced dead only to spring back to life at the fingers of creative folk. Fashion, a not much removed cousin of the Fad, is also cyclical and it just so happens that the time is right yet again for bulky knits. While as an enthusiastic knitter I appreciate that cables and argyle patterns are in the mainstream, it also angers me. Who's to say what's fashionable and what's isn't? More importantly, it's about consumerism. Many people still view knitting with a kind of childlike wonder--whenever I KIP (knit in public) I'm often treated like a prehistoric animal in a cage. Fashion-conscious people are buying cable-embellished cardigans and T-shirts with argyle print (which is an atrocity in itself) without really knowing what it all represents, how it's made, etc. And really, what's with the miniscule cables? The whole point of the cable is to embellish, to make a statement, to be noticed! In my kitschy opinion, machine made knits, especially with cables, don't look right. They don't 'pop' like they should and tend to blend into the background, giving the garment a very cheap look that a handmade one does not have. Here we come to another part of consumerism: the price of handmade garments. Many knitters, myself included, get inspiration from the collections of high-end designers becuase we a) can't afford their overpriced duds b) don't want to possible support a cheap-labor company and/or c) know that we can alter a few things about the piece, make it, and have it come out better than the original.

There, my first kvetch session! Feels bloody good.