Mohair wishes and champagne dreams

Make that Sauvignon Blanc. The Kenwood was on sale so I had to make it happen, plus I’ve been drinking red by the barrel-ful, it being the winter of my discontent and all. It’s a Wednesday night, and my man-friend is at the Knicks-Pacers game with Indy friends. Potentially the two worst teams in the NBA – I guess that might make it a good game.

So: my most recent project is a sweater I’ve knit poorly before, albeit with the wrong guage/yarn happening. This would be the Kelly Cardigan, a lovely, simple pattern from Erica Knight’s Classic Knits, one of my all time favorite books. Now I’m starting with yarn I should be working with, a mushroom/taupe shade in kid mohair blend from Sublime. It’s 60% mohair, 35% nylon and 5% extra fine merino. The cardigan itself it fitted, with 3/4 sleeves and a simple 1×1 rib trim. That’s what I like about Classic Knits – it’s shit you’ll actually wear.

Sublime Truffle

Meanwhile: I’ve begun to watch this creep-tacular, awesome movie about 45 minutes in called The Prophecy. The TWC description was intriguing (“Jealous angels wage war against humanity”, 1995), but then you add Christopher Walken as an angel, Viggo Mortensen as THE baddie angel Lucifer, and a young Virginia Madsen and – wait for it – a younger Christopher Meloni! Playing a cop! Now with more hair.

Speaking of hair and back to knitting: I’ve never really knit with mohair before. Mohair sweaters are for girls in the ’50’s with big torpedo boobies. Mohair is indulgent. It’s soft, and seems expensive. It’s ok so far to knit!

Update: Ok it’s not Christopher Meloni. It’s Elias Koteas. Is it me or are these two separated at birth?

Elias Koteas Det. Stabler

A Yarn Tragedy

Cloud Bolero. A great pattern. Knit well by me! And I ran out of fucking yarn. Ran out of it! And no other place in NYC seems to carry Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk anymore. Fuck a doodle doo.

Serenity now. I went out to a work dinner and had a lovely Malbec and a filet mignon. I’m putting my Cloud Bolero away until I can find my yarn and eat worms. Meanwhile, I might make Le Slouch. Wendy B. rules! Knit and Tonic’s free patterns rule. Yarn tragedies make me sad!

Yarn Over Matter

I’ve moved on…we shan’t talk of Briar Rose unless I’m drunk or much time has passed. The former being a possibility even tonight.

I’m now on Fantasy Pattern #2, Cloud Bolero. And it’s moving along right nice! I’ve never done a ton of yarn over stuff, creating that lacy, open look. But this pattern is full of them. I had a couple of hanks of Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk, which is so*fine*. I’ve doubled the yarn, since it called for chunky, and it’s so soft and purty. I’m working in a gorgeous almost navy dark blue. Things seem to be moving along!

Debbie Bliss - Alpaca Silk

I’m watching Shadow of the Vampire with my man friend and a glass or eight of McWilliams Shiraz. Kinda brilliant and really funny. Director hires method actor to play Dracula, and he turns outto be a real vampire.

Failure..is an option, nay, it’s my manifest destiny

Briar Rose is complete. If I could just find a little person with Booger McFarland-sized biceps the sweater would be an excellent gift.

How have I really fucked this up? How could I have sincerely f-ed the sweater but make reasonable Booger-sized arms? And the damned baby cables. For 4″! Could I not tell this was a doll-sized garment before I wasted my entire holiday weekend working this nonsense?

It comes down to guage. If I am not prepared to really take into account guage, I have to face this possibility. But I’ve been lucky so many times before!! ARGHHH.

Pics and or vids to come. They’re embarrassing. But I’ll show you.

Update: Ok, ready to show. Not ready to try it on, because it would be like fat guy in a little coat, fat guy in a little coat:

So here it is on the floor. My greatest disappointment to date. Le sigh.

So close, yet so far away

Last weekend was the first time since before the holiday that I was able to really relax and do some knitting. And just freaking chillax for a second, although it wasn’t a total and unadulterated weekend of sloth like I’d hoped for.

So I’ve sort of “finished” Briar Rose! But not really. The border on this thing is like, most of the damn sweater. So while the sleeves, body and shoulders are complete, it still looks like a sweater for Mary Lou Retton, and not me and my linebacker shoulders.

I’ve got a free hour before Somnus takes me to the land of Nod [run + shower + jammy pants – cell phone left at work + 1 goblet Pinot x comforting sounds of Alien in background on HBO = happy sleepy time by 11:45p], so I’m going to take a crack at the border. I haven’t even gotten to the baby cable part! [Marge Simpson annoyed noise] impatience!

Eyes are bigger than my…hands?

My man-friend always comments/complains that my eyes are bigger than my stomach, and we consistently over-order at restaurants. I do my best work at tapas, korean and sushi spots, which specialize in small plates and little tastes of things. At Peter Luger’s, I’ve unfortunately been known to plow through creamed spinach, bread, mashed taters, caesar salad, and bacon slabs before even considering my porterhouse.

Likewise: I’m plowing through Briar Rose, and now more fantasy patterns come to light Do I have knitting ADD?

Want: Ysolda’s Gretel beret. So cute! Not sure if my noggin could swing it, but I like it. Want: Ysolda’s FREE pattern, Cloud Bolero.

Cloud Bolero

Bah…must finish existing projects! It kinda felt good to finish those mittens over Christmas, even though I finished them in a larger needle size and are thus a bit mismatched.

All this happening with the background of Episode 7 of the New York documentary. Truly a riveting, enjoyable doc. This is the ep of the’50’s and ’60’s. Jane Jacobs is the hero, and she’s going head to head with Robert Moses, who is pretty much the devil. Love this.

Knitting on a whirlwind tour of holiday insanity

Feliz navidad…what to do with a entire week free from work (well mostly free)? Watch movies, spend time with family, eat wheels of brie, drink excessive amounts of wine and champagne, and relax with some projects.

I finished a mitten set (which I left in Indianapolis), a hat for Greer (knitted entirely on Christmas Day) and started on my Ysolda Briar Rose sweater. I’ve finished the bottom body portion, which is knit with short rows. I think I did it okay, and I’m now seeing the point of short rows: it makes a groovy little curve within a long piece. I’ve finished and then joined the first sleeve, which took me a good ten minutes of studying the piece before I figured it out. Sometimes I am not that smart. We’ll see how the rest of it goes!

The F stands for fleur

So I made a flower for the new ribbed hat. May I also take a moment to note that the hat? Is mostly knitted in purl. So purl folks, knock your collective selves out.

I found this flower pattern on the most excellent Knitting Pattern Directory – Flower Pattern 2. Even though it calls for a different yarn and size 8 needles, I used the super chunky (same as the hat) and size 10s (same as the hat).

It’s super cute. I still am without a digital camera! But the video function is cool so tomorrow I will model. Tonight me and my man friend Greg had our own Christmas, and now we’re drinking wine and watching Amadeus. Actually Greg is napping and I’m making the same hat in leftover gray yarn, possibly for Greer? Possibly for Mom? TBD. More to come. Amadeus is funny!

[2.5 glasses Capella Sant’ Andrea Merlot later]

The reason why I love this movie so much is that I love a good historical dramatization of something, but also F. Murray Abraham. A couple of years ago, I worked at a start-up ad agency where one of our clients was MSG,who at the time still did A Christmas Carol. They alwayd hired some tired old B-list former famous actor to be Scrooge because it was a HUGE draw to be “Oscar-nominee” fill in the blank. He came on the set and there was a smattering of applause, and he said, “The F stands for Famous.” No one could tell if he was being completely self-aware, that he was an oscar-winner now reduced to playing Scrooge at MSG? Or was he demanding that we all address him as a big star because he won an oscar like 16 years before? It was all very weird, and funny. F, you’re a big star in my eyes.

PS – Gray version of hat with fleur knitted and completed for my friend Kate’s 31st birthday.

Thirty-third time’s a charm

Norweege blogi hat continues. I bought 40 cm size 10 needles, and cast on 60 sts. Hat is progressing well (knock on wood) and I’m moving between some red wine from my friend Kate (we just had our annual christmas gift exchange), Arnold Palmer Lite, and Poland Spring sparkling water (or fuzzy wee-wa as it’s also known).

I’m also watching Nightwatch. Apparently it’s a fine Josh Brolin performance. A very young Ewan MacGregor. Bradley Whitford? And a way whory chick – you can tell because her lip liner is roughly 800 shades darker than the lipstick.

And now I’m ready for the decrease. Rib row means row 1, not the cable row. After the first decrease, I now have 53 sts. Is that right?

[one dinner at Bar Toto and one whisky at Barbes and one Melatonin-induced dreamscape and then coffee/Big Lebowski later]

I am decreasing steadily according to the pattern, and the percentages are working out (ie, the 53 sts are correct, and they continue to be so). I think I am going to end up with all knit sts – and I think I do a ssk to keep the right-leaning knit pattern. Actually, it was ktog, well, I ended up doing a combo of both but it didn’t really matter b/c it only needed one last decrease before I was done! DONE! and it’s cute! It’s very snug on my head, which is a pretty normal sized head. If I were making this for my friend Devon who has an enormous noggin, I would start a bit larger.

Now, on to the fleur…but for the moment, here’s the base hat (uploaded with my new Flip camera).

It’s a mod, mod, mod world

Ok, ready to make the swirly-do hat with fleur, from Lauran Blogi. Except the only white or white-ish yarn I have is Twinkle’s handknit super chunky. And because I’ve waited until the last moment for custom holiday gifts for friends, now I must…dum dum dum. Modify this pattern! I’ve never done this before. I hope I don’t fuck it up. Is it a good idea to do this for the first time when the instructions are in Norwegian?

It calls for:

Aran weight yarn, gauge 14 sts/10 rows = 10 cm. 5mm circular needles, cast on 80 sts.

I know nothing about guage. I should. Maybe I’ll learn one day. I hope this isn’t the day. But anyway – I cast on 48 sts of Twinkle handknit super chunky on a 5mm circular needle. Fingers crossed!

[40 mins/1.5 glasses cabernet sauvignon later]

It seems to be working. Because I’m an idiot, and also I think because the yarn I’m working with is so thick, I’m using a cable needle (well just a single dpn; I don’t own a cable needle) and doing this cable-style. The instructions I needed (and ass-umed, which turned out to be correct), is that for the first row (knit 1, purl 3), you knit the knit and purl the purl. Er, the 3rd and odd rows, since you repeat rows 1 & 2 ongoing.

[1 glass Fresca and 10 rows later]

Hat looks great. For a Pinhead. Dammit! Changing to larger (size 10) circs, metal.

[3 days, 1 office holiday party, 1 dinner party, 1 play festival and countless glasses of wine, beers and vodka rocks later]

Size 10 circs too long in length. To be continued!