August 23, 2012

Under Construction

Recently, I took a look at my Harris Slouch pattern and decided that it needed some redesigning, particularly in regard to the smallest size. So, I've spent the past week undertaking the task of knitting through and reconstructing the entire pattern.  A few language changes here, a few math corrections there, and voila! Honestly, one thing I have learned from this pattern is that no matter how many times you work out the math, even if it's by tick marks on a sheet of paper, somewhere in the pattern the math won't jive and you will have to make a correction.  I think I had this issue initially because of the seamless, circular nature of the design--there is much to do about pattern repeats in 4s and so the number of stitches were tricky to predict in the final decreases.  (Don't worry.  If you purchased this pattern from me from any of the venues in which it is available, you will be receiving an awesome pattern update soon.)

I was able to talk Rocket into modeling the smallest size, and I undertook modeling the medium.

The great thing about this hat is that you can really make it as slouchy as you like by simply following the instructions to add additional pattern repeats.  The pattern looks the same no matter how much one extends the slouch.  Myself, I like more of a beret-styled hat, so I prefer a repeat less than what the instructions require.  Rocket, on the other hand, complained that the hat she was wearing needed to be about 4 inches longer and hang down to below her shoulders. Who knew that stocking caps were back in style with 3rd graders?

August 13, 2012

First Day

Today marked the first day of the new school year.  For the first time in 15 years, I got up an hour later, I put on a pair of old blue jeans, a t-shirt, and flip-flops instead of 3-inch heels and office clothes, I got my kids out the door an hour later--all packed, fed, and with nothing left behind--and I drove my kids to school.  I haven't been able to drive my kids to school since my 10th grader was in elementary school.  I've never driven my 3rd grader to school.  Even though I sat in loooooong lines of traffic to pick up and drop off this morning and afternoon (of course a newly cast-on pair of socks accompanied me!), and even though my first day of NOT teaching high school students who think reading is NOT a life skill was uneventful (I cleaned the pool and took the dog to the vet and did some laundry and  put some materials together for the Boy Scout meeting tonight), I find at the end of the day that I AM JUBILANT!!  A special thanks goes out to my Honey and man of my dreams (they are one in the same, FYI) who, although he is now significantly more stressed out, has given me a chance to get my head back in the game and to move my energies in a new, more creative and family-healthy direction. I feel like I've just won an Academy Award.

But what about the knitting?

I thought that you would like to see my Olympics knitting FOs.  I began the games like so many of the athletes by injuring my wrist in a bizarre purse-lifting accident while in Vegas.  Despite the wrist and thumb brace on my primary knitting hand, I was able to knock out a few simple projects and the first of three test-knit top-down, seamless baby sweaters for a new pattern I'm working on.  The first in the series of pictures is the new pair of anklet socks that Rocket had to have in the Hiker Chick pattern.  There's a lesson in those socks--besides the one that I can't seem to learn about knitting the foot according to the size you are working on instead of the next largest size--and it has to do with self-striping yarn.  Yarn that says "self-striping" means "self-striping" ONLY if you are knitting the standard sock size for a woman's foot.  If you are knitting a size smaller, like children's socks, or larger, like men's socks, there will be very little striping and a whole lot of pooling. Rocket is happy to have more socks but definitely not happy about that pooling of grey on each foot. 

Charity Hats

Skull Cap #1

Skull Cap #2

Something I've noticed about myself that is different from other designers ... they like to keep their  projects under wraps until the day the pattern becomes available to the public or appears in a magazine.  I, on the other hand, am not working for a magazine, although I'd like to be and if there are any magazine publishers who are reading this post, you should give me a call. Seriously.  So, I guess it can't hurt to show off my stuff.  But the baby sweater is going to be a Knit Picks submission so I have to wait to see what they say before I show it off.  Sorry. (P.S. It's REALLY cute and girly!)

To change the subject ... This week I have decided to embark on a campaign to learn a string of new somethings each day.  I spent so much time teaching and re-teaching the same ol' stuff over the last few years that I really feel like I have fallen into some kind of intellectual black hole.  I used to be intelligent and able to carry on in-depth discussions with other intelligent people about things like String Theory and Scepticism and Chaos Theory and Buddhism vs. Taoism and the pros and cons of Slam Poetry.  Yeah.  That was five years ago. I barely remember what those words mean these days, and that's very sad.  So, today, I learned that you can knit top-down sweaters with a saddle shoulder.  Who knew?   I also learned that there are about a gazillion ways to cast on that I have never heard of AND I learned how to put a faux side seam in a seamless sweater to keep the body of the sweater from twisting. I also learned that the Maya had a written language that was a mixture of pictures that represented not only numbers but also over 800 specific words and sounds and told stories of kings and queens much like Egyptian hieroglyphs.  I also learned that Stone Henge was a ceremonial burial ground based on archeological evidence from the past few years--there were actually three parts to the darned thing over a span of two miles that were linked by the Avon River and used to celebrate the summer and winter solstices.  I think I am in love with Nova. 

Tomorrow, I'm going to read The Universe in a Single Atom by the Dalai Lama.  I'm not kidding.  Three years ago I made it to page 31 and then I had to go back to work.  I have a substantial reading list lined up to make up for all of the reading of which I have been deprived over the last few years because I was reading through less-than-brilliant essays and poetry explications.  Are you like me?  Do you buy books because you love books and then they collect dust because you don't have time to read them?  I practically have a library of my own.  So, between household chores, groceries, driving kids to/from school, and knitting, I'll be squeezing in the reading list this week.  It was a very good day today!


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