WIP Wednesday: A Frigid Start

As I mentioned on Monday, things here on the North Carolina coast have been very unusual as of late.  The public schools have been closed for the past three days and the university had a two hour delay today for the first day of the semester.  Sadly it looks like the temperature will be back up to sixty this weekend, much to my dismay and before I get a chance to wear the hat I started last week.

This will be my third Turn A Square hat in the past two months.  I loved the ones I knit for gifts so much that I wanted one for myself.  I'm using Cascade 220 in a lovely shade of grey and the last of the Malabrigo Twist I used for my sister's Strawberry Chocolate Wristers.

Sadly I have not made nearly as much progress on my Jaded Milkmaid pullover since last week.  I finished the ribbing and have almost reached the waist shaping but then put it away because it required too much pattern referencing and measuring for the amount of time I have had available as of late.  Because I am trying to write and defend my thesis this semester (yikes!) I have been spending most of my time buried under large piles of books.  And maybe a little too much time in the stacks.

My Knit Happy water bottle amidst the Soviet Union section

Look what I found!  I really am turning into the absentminded professor type.

As always, if you'd like to read more WIP Wednesday posts by people with a lot more interesting things to say, check out Mister Linky on Tami's blog.


FO: Unorthodox Cowl

It snowed today.  At the beach.  In North Carolina.  This actually happened last year, but I was out of town and so did not get the full joy of playing in snow that has mixed with sand.

After you gets over the initial shock of snow on the beach it is pretty much just like normal with the  big wind blowing sand in your eyes.  Only you're wearing hats and giant coats and are allowed to throw things at people.

Erica wonders why, if it's snowing, are you still not allowed to swim?
Yesterday I finished the Unorthodox Cowl, so it got quite the debut.

Dilih Wrap from Go Go Malabrigo 2 by Alexandra Tinsley

It was really cold, so I was more concerned with photographing the cowl than with how I looked.  Evidentially when I'm cold I get really really red.  Who knew?

I love this cowl.  I technically bought the ebook to get the pattern for my sister's Strawberry Chocolate Wristers, but really I wanted an excuse to make this.  I splurged and bought the two skeins of Malabrigo Chunky in Sunset (same color as the pattern because I love it that much) and it was totally worth it.  The cowl is warm, but not an intense winter item, which is fine for where I currently live.  You can also wear it around your shoulders like a wrap, but it was too cold to try to take pictures of that.

I have never knit a pattern with dropped stitches before, so now I totally understand what all the hype is about.  It's so much fun!  The pattern itself is actually a fairly simple concept, but Alexandra's writing is very clear.  The directions are very easy to visualize and make it totally worth the purchase.

My sad snow hat is starting to fall apart, so today was probably its last outing. I think I am going to make one of her hat patterns my next project because one can never have too many hats.


Unorthodox Knitting

I have a confession to make. I knit during church. Not flagrantly (though really, how does one knit flagrantly?), but I do bring some small travel project that I can keep on my lap. I do it to keep my hands busy and maintain concentration. Kind of like taking really detailed notes, only this way I'm not absentmindedly chewing a fingernail or something. It helps me to keep my attention focused and usually I don't have to look at my knitting so unless you see my hands you probably would not notice. I fully participate in the service, the standing, the singing, the praying, and only knit during the sermon.

For the past two Sundays I have been working on my Dihli Wrap (no pictures because I won't take any in church and the lighting has been bad today). I've never had anyone have a problem with my knitting, which I've mostly attributed to the rather giantish size of the church. One of the first times I did this a woman two seats down from me actually pulled out her knitting as well. She has not sat near us since, but it has been nice to know that there is some other knitter somewhere in the congregation.

Now I don't know if it was the very bright color of my knitting (I'm using the same colorway as the pattern sample) or what, but I had a very different experience today. Today when I pulled out my little ball of yarn and circs the couple next to me almost lost it. The woman sitting next to me kept staring at me (which was quite a feat, let me tell you, because she was almost sitting on top of me) and then whispering to the man who was with her. Then they would giggle loudly, whisper some more, and keep moving around in their seats. All the people around us kept looking at them. Actually other people would look over because of the noise and then look disapprovingly at me. I didn't say anything, but I really wanted to turn to them afterwards and ask them if they found my knitting distracting.

Honestly, if I thought I was a distraction, I would not do it. I keep my knitting very contained in my seat (I'm a firm believer in taking up as little space as possible in a crowd) and because my hands are busy I maintain a pretty steady focus on the minister. No looking around, no whispering, no jostling the people next to me. I find it very interesting that I work very hard to maintain a respectful and quiet manner during the service, but am viewed as the distraction, while people who are not paying attention and making noise are at most ignored. I guess this to be expected, but I really view it as just another case in which knitting could make the world a better place. When you are knitting, your hands are busy and if you are working on a small, simple project, presumably your mind is clear to receive information. When your hands are not busy, however, it seems the vast majority of the population becomes restless and even irritable. This is why knitters do so well in lines, on hold, and even, in some cases, in church. I'm not comparing being in church to being on hold, but it is a significant amount of time in which you are expected to be quiet and pay attention. I just find it a lot easier to absorb the information when my hands are busy and knitting is a better alternative to doodling.

I'm not going to stop knitting in church, but I do think I'll be a little more hypersensitive to other people's reactions. No matter if I was knitting or not, being noisy and disruptive is not appropriate to the situation. And don't get me started on people who feel the need to sit in my seat as well as their own. It just makes me wonder. Am I the only one who has run in to this problem? Not just in church but in other public situations?


WIP Wednesday: What Am I Thinking

And we're back!  I'm finally knitting for myself which means I can finally participate in WIP Wednesday again!  And to inaugurate my return to WIP world, I have a new development in my knitting-- a swatch!

One of the five knitting books I got for Christmas (oh yes, it was a very kitting Christmas) was Brave New Knits.  Zillions of blogs have done a much better review job than I could do, so I'm not even going to try beyond telling you to check it out if you have yet to.  Over our week at home my mom and I dragged the family to our favorite yarn shop, which just happened to be having a sale on green and red yarn.  I picked up a sweaters worth of Berroco Ultra Alpaca in this gorgeous heathered green.  I'm using it to make the Milk Maiden Pullover by Teresa Gregorio.  Now, don't ask me why I've decided to knit a sweater on size US 4 needles.  I think I may have lost my mind.  But it should be pretty.  I love the construction, the length of the sleeves, and, of course, the square neckline.  Hopefully I'll finish before it is too hot and humid to wear wool.


"Seize the Moment, Cause Tomorrow You Might Be Dead"

I have spent most of today trying to work on my thesis, going through sources, bemoaning authors' lack of footnotes, and now I find myself knitting a gauge swatch trying to restart my brain before charging on (yes, a gauge swatch, your eyes do not deceive you).  I am trying to do more reading when I decompress, but tonight I'm falling back on old habits and watching Buffy.  I have a good reason (aside from the continued rewachability of late 90s fashion), I promise.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) is the start of the Buffy rewatch on Nik at Nite.  If you are in to television studies you should check out Nikki Stafford's blog anyway.  For 2011 she has pulled together a great group of guest bloggers to watch and commentate on the series, including my very own Dr R!  Dr. R was both my English professor and my Buffy studies mentor during undergrad and continues to be a dear friend.  I'm very excited to read what she and the other contributors have to say as I love anything that will enhance my understanding of the show. (Viewing schedule can be found here)

As I write this I am watching the pilot.  Every time I watch this episode I'm reminded of the first time I watched the show.  I had just started ninth grade at a new school and one of the first girls to befriend me was a fan.  The first season had just been released on to dvd so I went over to her house to watch it in her room on a computer with all of the lights off and windows drawn.  The only time I had even heard of Buffy before was in 5th grade when a mom was watching it during a sleepover.  I don't know why we didn't watch beyond the first disk, but it was not a giant leap to snatch up the season when I found it in the library my first month of college.  You guys know the rest, but I can't help but every time I watch this episode I can't help but feel like a thirteen year old sitting on the floor in late afternoon darkness.


FO: New Year Flame

Ok, here's something I did not expect to have, an FO on the first day of the year (yes, I know it's the second, but I finished it last night).  Anyway, remember that beautiful Brooks Farm Four Play that my mom bought for me?  It has finally been turned in to this!

Unique Melody by Rose Beck.  I stayed up all night when I got the yarn to pick out the perfect pattern and fell in love with this scarf.  The construction is playful and interesting but very logical.  I loved the way flame motifs (they look like leaves to me but she calls them flames) are added and taken away to maintain the number of motifs.  One of my favorite items in my winter wardrobe is giant scarves that are both wide and long.  They are also one of the most aggravating to knit.  But they're always totally worth it.  I stopped knitting when I ran out of yarn and though it was longish I was not quite happy with it.  Blocking, as always, made all the difference.  I'm still learning a lot about yarn, but I'm pretty sure that the silk content is what made it gain an extra third in length.


This yarn also brought one of my most exciting Christmas presents. A swift!

I hand wound the yarn for this scarf over Thanksgiving, using my dad's football-watching as the perfect opportunity to have someone hold the skein for me.  That hour and a half was enough to make him decide that I need a swift.  I think the whole family got a kick out of how excited I was to open the Knit Picks box to find this beauty.