I’m getting started on a selfish knitting project and it’s time for serious sweater swatching. For small or non-garment items I often just start and use that as a swatch (I’m lazy!), but sweaters require the proper swatching and washing and blocking and measuring. Time consuming, but I know worth it. I’m hoping my gauge will work out and I can start on a Harvest cardigan.
One of my reading goals for 2016 is to reread more of my favorite books after almost two years of only reading books for the first time. So I’m rereading Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin, which is an interesting read about habits and types of people. I pretty much love any book that categorizes people so this is right up my alley.
The Killer of Little Shepherds is about a serial killer and the start of forensic science in France. I read The Poisoner’s Handbook last year which is a very similar book about the birth of forensic science in America, so it’s been interesting to compare them.
I often joke with Gavin that he would be happy if I never knit him anything but grey hats. Well, here’s #5.
I’m knitting a Graffiti Hat for him, size large, using two shades of Knit Picks Swish Worsted: Cobblestone Heather and Dove Heather. The first hat I ever knit Gavin was in this darker shade of Swish. I had him go on a scavenger hunt for it in my apartment in Wisconsin. That hat was lost many years ago, and I never got a proper photo of it, but it’s part of my memories of our long-distance times.
I won this pattern as a knit-a-long (KAL) prize from the Designed in Canada group on ravelry. So far, I’m really enjoying knitting it. I think watching those cables stretch themselves over the stripes is going to be addicting. I’m going to post it in the new Colorwork KALs group, whose first KAL is anything with stripes. This certainly fits the bill!
I started Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie this week. I’m really enjoying it and find it to be very thought-provoking. It’s not quite as compelling a read as Me Before You by Jojo Moyes which I finished earlier this week (and hated the end of…) but is still definitely a book I can’t wait to read more of.
I got to the end of the heel increases on his socks and found that they were MUCH too large for his feet, so some frogging is in my future. Boo. At least they’re great TV knitting and easily read. Gavin requested a princess sole (reverse stockinette) on this pair and I wasn’t quite sure how to handle the toe. I left it as normal, so they look a little funny when they’re not on his feet. Oh well.
I’m loving the twisted stitches without using a cable needle on my socks though, at least now that I’ve found my rhythm! They’re quite a fun knit, with enough action to be interesting and enough plain knit stitches to not make me throw them down in disgust: a rare combination indeed.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog is quietly funny and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I recently finished The Elephant Keepers’ Children so I’m apparently on a kick of reading translated books with a teen narrator and bizarre parents.
After painting our living room and all of our house’s hallways on Saturday and Sunday, I found myself without any library books checked out. As part of getting the house back in shape, I rearranged our main bookshelf to be in color order, which is something I had done in my room in high school (before it was cool!) and enjoyed. Going through the books reminded me of some I hadn’t read in a long time, like Heidi.
As for knitting, it’s a new month and I’m participating in a couple of knitalongs that started today so I cast on a couple of new projects! Nothing is at a very exciting point yet, but here’s what I have on the needles.
For Sock Knitters Anonymous‘ October challenge and 52 in 52 Weeks‘ quarterly literary-inspired challenge, I’m knitting Porthos toe-up for Gavin using some self-striping Opal 6-Ply I’ve had for ages. He needs another pair of hand-knit socks and I am hoping this yarn will be super-sturdy.
I also cast on some Animal Crackers using a skein of red Opal Uni for myself. These will be for the same two groups as Porthos, plus SolidSocks‘ red challenge. I know the pattern is intended for men, but I’m just knitting the smallest size on size 0 needles and will likely make a couple more decreases in the gusset.
This is the first sock of a cabled design I’m working on. They’re inspired by the Mississippi river and I think they are a classic style with just a little whimsy for those in the know. I’ll probably also knit a pair for Gavin to model as the pattern would be great for men. Those will likely be brown, you know, like the actual river.
Right now I’m reading A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan. So far it’s the classic tale of a working mom trying to juggle everything, with the added layer of her living in the literary world (enjoyably meta, but it will be dating as time passes). It’s written in a surprisingly lovely style for the genre, similar to Where’d You Go, Bernadette?. I’m looking forward to finishing it.
Well, look at that – I’m done knitting my stocking! I started it on Wednesday and finished knitting it on Saturday, but there’s still a lot of finishing work to be done.
I need to Kitchener the toe, duplicate stitch my name and the green lines into the argyle, and weave in all of the ends.
I have a few tutorials I refer back to frequently, for knitting skills I don’t do often enough to know every step by heart. I like Purl Bee’s duplicate stitch tutorial and Knitty’s tutorial for Kitchener stitch. I really should know the Kitchener stitch by heart, but I always have to remind myself of the sequence one time before flying through the rest of the stitches.
I’m about to start reading this book, The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman, after finishing We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh last night. This is the second Alice Hoffman book I’ve read; the first was The Museum of Extraordinary Things.
It’s pretty clear that everyone loves swatching as much as I do. That is to say, not very much.
Especially because this is my third try to get gauge with this Wool of the Andes Sport. I knit the first very diligently, washed it, measured it, and saw that it was too big. So I went down a needle size and knit a couple of inches before figuring out it was still too big and ripping out. So this is my third swatch with this yarn. Augh!
I have a sneaking suspicion this swatch (on size 2 needles!) is still going to be too big. If it is, I quit. At least for now.
I finally picked up Go Set a Watchman from the library last night. I just finished The Book of Speculation this morning, so I’m all set to start later this evening.
Jesus the Bridegroom: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told is so good. I asked for it last year for my birthday after starting Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist, which is also an amazing book. As a Catholic who is extremely interested in the Jewish traditions we draw from, both books have been fascinating. I love Brant Pitre but find him a little heavy for bedtime reading, hence the second book.
I just started The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu. After reading a bunch of fiction, it feels slow, but I have enjoyed, among other things, a lengthy explanation of the word entrée.
As for knitting, I just picked my Trillian back up after abandoning it during my knitting slump. I’m going to be clocking some serious time riding in the car in the next few weeks and its simplicity and portability should make it a good car project.
Also, because I am the world’s best bruiser, here’s what happened to my leg after falling off a bucket. It’s literally amazing. Whenever I catch a glimpse in the mirror I feel like I have a sleeve tattoo on my leg.
I started my Magrathea on Monday, using Stroll Tonal in Wine Tasting, which is more variegated than tonal, in shades of burgundy and purple. I had narrowed it down to Wine Tasting, Canopy, or Deep Waters and let Gavin have the final decision.
The chart is a little funky so if you knit this, definitely pay attention to the symbols! But now I am used to it and down to the business of knitting the same eight rows 25 times over. (Nine down, fourteen to go.)
A Fifty-Year Silence is about a woman’s quest to find out what happened between her grandparents, who were Holocaust refugees, after her grandmother walked out on the marriage. When I checked it out and started reading, I thought it was a piece of fiction and had to totally recalibrate a few pages in.
I finished The Lost Art of Dress and thoroughly enjoyed it! The book dealt with so many interesting topics, from the loss of home economics as a valued field of study to how modern clothing has not only lost beauty, craftsmanship, and detail, but has also become more impractical. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in fashion, needlework, the women’s liberation movement, or art.
Today I started on my Roam Cowl — my first Möbius cast on! I used Cat Bordhi’s video to help me and only had to do it twice to get it right. I’m using some Knit Picks Hawthorne I bought during the Big Sale this year when it was half price.
Ever since I was little and Muse magazine (I was an original subscriber!) did a piece on Möbius strips, I’ve been hooked by their “magic,” as I would describe it. So to see the hot mess that is the Möbius cast on and then to watch it grow from the inside out because it only has one edge is insanely cool. I highly recommend Möbius knitting for all geeks.
Atlas Shrugged is coming along, slowly but surely. My husband Gavin read (listened to) it last year and convinced me I had to start reading it and it’s been slow going. It’s taken me a while to get all the characters straight but I am honestly enjoying it at this point over halfway through.