Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tilting at Windmills, i.e. Putting Sleeves on Waste Yarn

Recently I have gained some insight into the psychology of my knitting praxis. As top-down raglan construction seems to be my drug of choice these days, I have noticed a certain thought process that has come into play with several of my current projects. I tend to be under the impression that once I am at that magical place of 'putting sleeves on waste yarn', all my problems will be over and I'll be in the home stretch. Boy those sleeves were taking sooo looong. Endless, really. Whew! Finallly...Just a few more rows and I'm done, right?

Umm, wrong.

I seem to have my eyes on the sleeve prize so much so that once I actually get there and my knitting isn't transformed into some sort of magic porridge pot that finishes itself, I completely run out of gas. To wit:

1.) The Diminishing Rib Cardigan. Such enthusiasm I had, such brio--that is, before I hit the sleeves. Then my élan seemed to dissipate,which is bananapants considering that this project goes so quickly. I know this project is my best bet for resurrecting my self-respect,but I had to go on and cast on for the...

2.) Featherweight Cardigan, i.e. the project that gnaws at my soul. If this doesn't grind me into a paste, I don't know what will. Things were going exceedingly well until I put the sleeves on waste yarn and then 'poof' went my interest and gumption, two qualities that might be sort of needed to get anywhere with this. Now it's a slog. With lace weight yarn. But I still want it--THAT hasn't changed. Maybe a project on size 8 needles will help me snap to? Perhaps something like...

3.) Rusted Root! Added bonus: I get to knit it out of Rowan Calmer, a yarn for which I have an abiding love. The lace panel is a genius addition here, for the simple reason that it helps you mark the passage of time and let's you know that you are in fact getting somewhere. Last night I finally, well , you can figure that out, and it is all I can do to not let the spirit drain out of this one. What is my problem?

Hmmmm, we seem to gave a pattern here. Perhaps this whole 'putting the sleeves on waste yarn' isn't all I've made it out to be. Maybe I've been fighting the wrong enemy à la Don Quixote and windmills that he took for monsters. Perhaps it's time to go back to--gasp--knitting in pieces and seaming sweaters together or rather, knitting in pieces and getting Big Babs to seam it together:). At least that way a sense of accomplishment is built into the project from day 1 as in 'woo hoo I finished the left front' rather than 'omfg I have 14 more inches to go until the ribbing'. Something to think about...and me being me, of course I have the perfect project in mind! I even have the yarn! I've set my sights on the Minimalist Cardigan and am planning on using the new Brown Sheep Shepherd's Solids in Cayenne pictured above. Please refrain from bursting my bubble here, people and let's pretend that this project won't break me--it is such delusional thinking that keeps me going.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Paris Round-up and Knitting? *crickets*

Sock at Metro Station Emile Zola

We are back from our trip and let me tell you it was a week full of WIN. I've discovered the key to traveling with the Curmudgeon involves both of us being separated for the majority of the day (me: at a work-related workshop that was fulfilling in every way, him: free to wander the streets and do his lonely boy routine) so that we can be reunited at the end of the afternoon for a lovely walk, a visit to a museum or two, Parisian prandial delights and much conversation about our respective days. Photographic evidence submitted below:

Near the Eiffel Tower
1.) Can you really ever get enough of this miraculous structure? To stand beneath it is to marvel at human ingenuity and capability. The joy of catching glimpses of it, each time from an unexpected, different angle, cannot be overestimated.

The view from our window
2.) We rented a studio apartment in the 15th arrondissment. The price was quite reasonable and having that little frigo proved invaluable: we stocked it with yogurt and beer, both necessary to our respective happiness.

Musée du quai Branly
3.) This museum will one day be call the Musée Chirac, but in the mean time it's had a variety of awkward names and now is referred to by the quai that it's located on. We saw the Tarzan exhibit which was a thrill because a. graphic novel / cartoon culture is such a huge part of French culture and b. my grandfather was a cartoonist who worked in the same tradition.

Martin Parr @ the Jeu de Paume
4.) Personal museum high that will last me a very long time: seeing the Martin Parr exhibit at the Jeu de Paume. I have loved this photographer for such a long time and strongly recommend that you check out his British cities series as well as other collections like Boring Postcards. He is hilarious without being mean and tends to go after the right people (read: ostentatiously wealthy shitbags).

Une galette
5.) Have no fear--we made the most of our mealtimes. Even though one of us is counting points (down 32!), we still made sure to not deprive ourselves of the culinary bounty to be had. Plus, we were walking like mofos so we earned it. Above you see a galette (savory crêpe) that was particularly delish.

Restaurant Lola, the site of the best meal in the history of our relationship.
6.) Lola, the café pictured above, was the site of the best meal we've ever had together. It was our last night, and it was magical.

H & G in Moroccan restaurant
7.) Oh hai it's us. I put this lil bonus photo at the end for those who persevered through the home movie portion of the blog. This is the last picture of me taken before I did away with the highlights-that-weren't-doing-me-any-favors (my stylist's words--Umm, thanks! So why'dya keep doing 'em then?) look and embraced the way of the curl. I'm in a new cult now, and I'm loving it! Pictures will be coming at some point.

We had a stupendous time, but you might be noticing a lack of impressive knitting content. There's a good reason for that: THERE WASN'T ANY. I only just put my Featherweight sleeves on waste yarn and made scoff-worthy progress on my sock. But that's ok, because it seems that sometimes no knitting is good news in that it means you actually got off your duff and did something else for a change.

There was however one special occasion for knitting at the very end of our trip. This moment will heretofor be known as The Happiest Moment of my Life
® , as it represents that split-second when I learned that my Silver Elite Status® on Northwest was somehow valid on Air France and "earned" (Curmudgeon's quotes, not mine) us an upgrade to first class (!).

Air France
[Please to notice the leg room. And real glass of champagne that didn't suck.]

Yes--that place from which you hear dishes and real glassware clinking together and making those delightful little sounds! That place where your seat folds down into an actual bed, and a table cloth is put down for each meal! I know these comments put me into the realm of the truly shallow...but I'll happily accept this moniker if it means I can go back to that special place once more in my lifetime.

Even though the knitting content is scant, I have some major blockbuster projects coming up that are going to redeem me in your eyes...for now I remain shallowly yours,
The A.D.D. Knitter

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Featherweight Cardigan: WANT

Featherweight in Malabrigo 'Pagoda'
I can't seem to recall ever wanting a Finished Object as much as I want the
Featherweight Cardigan. So many projects seem to get finished and you are initially pleased with the results, they then hang around and slowly you become a bit
meh about them, or you give them away, so the recipients can love them initially and then themselves feel somewhat meh as well. I get the feeling that the Featherweight is a different experience entirely as it seems like a sweater that one would actually wear, especially this time of year when air conditioning makes wearing sleeveless shirts a bit dicey. Bottom line: I WANT IT and it's taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r. I am knitting on this mofo day and night and I am still at least 8 rows away from dividing for the sleeves. For the love of all that is sacred and holy, I just want to make it to that magical place where I am putting those sleeves on scrap yarn--is that so much to ask? I was so hoping to wear the Featherweight in Paris this week, but alas, no. I will be wearing my usual tired parade of Old Navy duds from 3 years ago and the French will have to be exposed to my appalling bare arms. Just one more indignity, I suppose. Small consolation that will preserve tiny shred of dignity: at least I won't be wearing a fanny pack.
Malabrigo Laceweight: Frank Ochre Malabrigo Lace in 'Polar Morn'
Another reason I want to finish is that I have two more in the knitting queue and really want these as well. Hi, I'm greedy and unrealistic. I have finally managed to get my grubby little hands on some Malabrigo Laceweight in Frank Ochre (which was exceedingly difficult) and some Polar Morn that have Featherweight written all over them. Since only thing more insane than working on one of these cardigans would be working on two of them at a time, Frank and Molar Porn will have to wait.

And with this, I bid you adieu. As I write this, the Curmudgeon is maniacally checking to make sure the coffee pot isn't plugged in and is racing around the house, setting up those timers that people used back in 1970s to switch their lights on and off. He is also imploring me to assist with our preparations for departure. Leisure time is over, time to snap to! Cheerio, friends...

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Embossed Leaves

Embossed Leaves in Malabrigo 'Violetas Africanas'
I am pleased to report that I have made it back from my parents house in Foodislovelandia where I managed to not slather butter on everything in sight (except for one moment of anxiety at the kitchen sink when I might have shoved a scone buttered on all sides and then some into my greedy mouth, but I am chalking it up to a sort of temporary teen-like reversion brought on by being in kitchen where I learned every bad habit), help my dad get settled back into life at home, and finish a pair of socks. Yes, you read that correctly...

Embossed Leaves in Malabrigo 'Violetas Africanas'


Pattern: Embossed Leaves by Mona Schmidt
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock in 'Violetas Africanas'
Needles: Addi Lace, 1.5
Mods: Not doing that weird thing where you cut the yarn when starting the gusset. Whatever for?

Embossed Leaves in Malabrigo 'Violetas Africanas'

This pattern has so much to recommend it--easy pattern to put down and pick up again, a gorgeous leaf motif and perfect sizing. I would happily make this pattern again and again, and given the amount of sock yarn in my possession, I just might...

Embossed Leaves in Malabrigo 'Violetas Africanas'

I am getting ready for a week long trip to Paris, so naturally my thoughts have turned to vacation knitting. The choice of project is key as it must be portable, practical and captivating. I've decided to do another pair of socks as I'm bound and determined to enter a picture in the 'Socks on Vacation' contest for the Summer of Socks 09 on Ravelry. I am so out of energy for most group activities these days, but I had a killer vacation sock shot from last year and forgot to enter it...after making Mr. Sunshine wait while I took like 30 shots. Here it is:

Such a cliche, I know...

Didn't that have WIN written all over it? Sheesh. This year I have my eyes on the prize and am setting an iPhone calendar reminder so I don't snooze again. Any suggestions on an easy yet winningly photogenic pattern that will bring home the bacon for me?