Listen to the Math

(Title thanks to Tokyo Police Club.)

Happy Friday all! I don’t know about you, but I am in need of a little extra time to slow down and remember what’s important.

Brightly colored knitted sleeves on a lime green sheet

This is a terrible picture. I think my camera saw lime sheets and artificial light and just said “forget it.”

I remain determined to finish my little sweater, but part of that resolve means proceeding cautiously, without my usual rush-rush-rush. So Sleeve 2 was measured before getting blocked. When it’s dry I’ll measure it again, and fit it into the armhole. Only then will Sleeve 1 get ripped and reknitted.

Dark blue knitting on lime sheet

Slightly less terrible picture. Notice frogged yarn.

I am also listening to the math on Querido’s sweater. Quince and Company’s Osprey is supposed to be an aran weight, but I will swear to its being a bulky. I was getting gauge on the sleeves, but the resulting fabric was almost bulletproof, and my wrists were getting so tired that I was having a hard time psyching myself up to the knitting. So I decided to do the thing that usually sends my projects on a collision course with knitterly doom: I changed the gauge.

Math has never been my strong suit, but I’m trying to do it right. I knitted a little bit of sleeve, blocked it, and measured. I multiplied the stitch and row gauge by the desired sleeve size and compared my numbers against the pattern. I went down a sweater size and adjusted the rate of increase. Does that sound right?

Per experiences with my little sweater, I am measuring this sleeve in every direction every inch. But it is coming out the size I expect it to, and my wrists are no longer tired. Every time I knit on it, it gets appreciably bigger (an amazing thing when you have been spending months knitting with fingering and sportweight). The fabric even picks up less cat hair now. Always a plus.

You’ve basically seen what will keep me busy this holiday weekend: what knitting do you have lined up?

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Can’t Let Go

Brightly colored knitted top in progress

The sleeves will end me.

I meant to do a post about Querido’s sweater, which is coming along slowly but without major mishap. But I can’t let go of this top. The sleeves continue to confound me, but they’re so little, so deceptively simple…I keep having to take a crack at getting them right.

This week will be chilly, too…I could totally pull off wearing this at work. I have a vision, in which the top is awesome and the nine months I spent thinking it would be awful are all requited by its awesomeness. If I lose any more of my sanity, I will take to wandering the prairie wrapped in a giant shawl and wondering aloud to nobody when the rains will return.

But I have tried knitting the medium size sleeve, and I know that will give me a claustrophobically small sleeve. I tried a 2X Large, which gave me untidily large sleeves that I’d never be able to fit into the armhole. Logically, the Extra Large numbers should work pretty well. I’ve even counted how many stitches are bound off and how many rows are knitted, to see if this size will fit in the armhole.

The fifth time could be the charm. Wish me luck.

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One Day


One day, this little scrap of knitting will be a sleeve. But not until I have ripped and reknitted it a fourth time. 

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Level Up

Big news, readers! The story of my very slowly knit vest was post 500 for yours truly.

For this blogger, post one happened almost eight years ago. 500 posts have taken a 500 posts ago, I was blogging under the nom de plume Wendolene on a blog called Shop on the High Street (since migrated here: had you wondered where that giant tag in the tag cloud originated?), studying anthropology and taking some very poorly lit photos on my digital camera, because my phone barely had the capacity to text.

Some things don’t change. I’ve been trying to stashbust since early 2008. I have always had the heart of a librarian, if not the training. And I like pushing my knitterly limits.

The things that have changed are pretty awesome. Then, Blogger, now, WordPress. Once a library page? Now a faculty librarian. Bigger still, you, my dear readers. Nobody read Shop on the High Street, thank goodness, but now…look at all of you guys. You bowl me over with your warm comments, your infusions of good karma, and heck–the fact that you keep reading at all.

Do you appreciate the changes to the stash? Wonky acrylic made up a good part of my 2007 stash. My 2015 stash shows a willingness to drop intemperate amounts of money for single-breed and hand dyed yarns.

Which brings us to today’s FO: the Lilac Shawl.

All the garter stitch

All the garter stitch

At post 1, my first lace shawl was a year away, and it would take me a semester to knit. The seven years on, I managed a shawl in nine days.

Gone are the days of blog photos taken after dark in a poorly lit room. Las Hermanas, my first Garment Photographers, have handed over the mantle of to Querido, who remains a good sport. He traipsed around with me and Melba this weekend, displaying a remarkable aptitude for photography instructions like “now the edgy bits.”

Woman kissing a chiweenie

Best Melba

(Melba will always prefer the photo shoots that do not require her feet to touch the ground.)

Another 500 posts on, who knows where I’ll be or what I’ll be knitting. But I do hope you’ll be there, dear readers, cheering me on.

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Long Time in the Making

Today, dear readers, I have a FO for you!

Woman in a green knitted vest holding a chiweenie in a pink sweater

Does anyone remember when I started my Sexxxy Librarian Vest? I for one had to look that date up: I bought the yarn in 2012, and as best I can estimate, I started it over a year ago. I was having a great time knitting another cool Holla Knits pattern…until I started having trouble with it.

Green cabled knitting atop a laptop

Laptop as photo prop.

I guess this is where I should admit that I am a serial yarn substituter. The pattern calls for either Dirty Water Dyeworks Edna or Knit Picks City Tweed. One of the awesome things about Holla Knits is that they offer you two road-tested yarns for each pattern. What did I do? Throw reason to the wind and choose an entirely different yarn, Rowan DK Tweed. It’s a nice yarn, don’t get me wrong, but I will swear on my stash it’s not a DK.

If it was a DK my vest wouldn’t have come out sheer the first time.

Woman wearing a green cowl-necked vest

The vest on Thursday

Please note that this is not the fault of the awesome Holla Knits team, but of the knitter who didn’t swatch until it was far too late. Even though my own lack of common sense meant that I knitted this project twice, I had a great time: like all the other Holla Knits patterns I’ve taken on thus far, the Sexxxy Librarian was a fast and straightforward knit.

Woman holding a small dog and wearing a cowl neck vest

The cowl is crazy warm

I can’t say enough about the cowl. It is super super warm: if this was a full sweater, it would be too warm, but as a vest, it’s perfect. I layered it under a denim jacket for a baseball game and stayed warm and snug all night.

Super super fun cable

Super super fun cable

Anything else you need to know about this vest? The cable. It makes the whole project fun.

Oh yeah. Don’t substitute yarns without swatching. Unless, of course, you want to spend a year knitting a vest you could have been rocking last fall.

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Hello dear readers, I hope you aren’t champing at the bit to see Querido in a brand new sweater, because that’s nowhere close to happening yet.

Lilac bush in bloom

I had forgotten how much I love lilacs. I will stop and smell them over roses any day.

Last Saturday was an outrageously SPRING day, with the lilacs and ornamental cherries and trees with white flowers and trees with tiny mauve flowers going crazy, and I decided on a whim I was going to turn this

At Bullard Farms Wonder

Into a Welted Peerie Shawl.

In one week.

It was an insane plan, I knew, but there was a campus event happening Saturday night, and I didn’t have any purple accessories for my little black dress.

Well, Sunday morning, here’s where I was on the shawl:

Not done.

Not done.

That’s not quite half a border.

I did a pretty good job of cutting out sleep, so that wasn’t what slowed me down. I think it was going to work, or perhaps eating, that got in the way. Clearly, I just didn’t prioritize well. The pattern is very easy: incrementally thicker garter stitch lattices sandwiched between bands of garter stitch, followed by tiny garter flowers on a garter stitch field (the pattern says they’re berries, but I don’t see it).

Because the thought of seaming with laceweight yarn sounds awful, I am knitting on the border. Now that I am not knitting in a crazed hurry, it’s very satisfying to see the little strip of liberated fabric hanging off the needle grow.

Making up for last weekend's sun

Making up for last weekend’s sun.

This Saturday dawned cold and rainy, a warning for the weekend ahead. It would have been perfect weather for sulking, being angry that I lost my bet with myself and had to “accessorize” a black dress with purple nail polish. But I’m only two hours away from the end. I’ve never finished most of a shawl in a week before, and I’m actually pretty proud of that. In two hours, I will have a new shawl and some wiggle room in the stash. There are a few hours left in this chilly Sunday night to hunker down with Melba and knit, so I’m going to pull the shawl back out and liberate the other half from my needles.

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Curse be Darned

Ball of navy yarn

Yummy squishy Quince & Co.

Remember this addition to the stash? It arrived early this year as a wedding present: Quince & Co. Osprey in Peacoat.

Yarn as a wedding present is quite knitterish, I know, but there is a method to my madness. I mentioned that this yarn is being knitted into a sweater for somebody. Well, that certain somebody is my Querido.

Gasp! The Boyfriend Sweater Curse, right? I’m not sure I believe in that curse, and I have three things going for me here:

1) Querido and I are officially married, so technically I am not knitting a boyfriend sweater

2) I like grocery shopping and grocery stores come in right behind department stores on the list of Places Querido Does Not Go Unless it is a Matter of Life or Death

3) I promised Querido I’d knit him a sweater if we moved someplace cold

So here I am, trying to knit Querido a sweater that he will like. I totally missed winter, but we’ll set that aside for the moment.

He approved the dark blue, so we’re good there. I also had him test the Osprey for scratchiness using a skein already in my stash, double check. I suggested a cute pullover, but that was nixed because pullovers mess up one’s hair. This required some explaining, because I was really hoping to make him something without seams or knitted-on edgings. Apparently, it does not matter how cute one looks when one’s hair gets all disheveled by pulling on a pullover. Nor does it matter how little time one spends fixing one’s hair in the morning. If one’s hair is fixed, it cannot be disheveled.

I am sad about this, first because Querido would be quite adorable in a pullover with slightly disheveled hair and second because I am still quite bad at knitted-on edgings. But I found a cardigan in my pattern collection that I think will match all his requirements of fashion: Karida Collins’ Steve McQueen Weekend Cardigan.

White cat inspecting blue knitting

Eloise was on hand to supervise the blocking process

The puzzling thing about this pattern is that I am only the second Raveler to knit it. The Weekend Cardigan was released in 2013 in Silver Screen Knits: Volume 1, which would give it some time to get through knitters’ queues. Perhaps it is simply because the collection overall has low Ravelry traffic? But aside from the fact that it is knitted in pieces and seamed, this pattern seems pretty simple. It’s all stockinette with ribbed edgings, with a classic understated cut. Most of the men I know are understated dressers, more Jared Flood than Stephen West.

So why haven’t these guys knitted themselves up a Weekend Cardigan, or been gifted one by their SOs? Perhaps it is planning to throw me a curveball soon–as of today, I am only halfway done with the sleeves. Or perhaps I’m just paranoid and it’s the lovely, overlooked pattern it seems.

Any ideas why there aren’t more Weekend Cardigans out there in the world?

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Hello Again

Goodness, where have I been?

Since I posted last, spring came to Kansas.

Green buds on a tree

Buds! Sunlight! Phone Autofocus!

After the first day, which burst with chuckling robins, frolicking squirrels, cheery daffodils, and exuberant green buds, we have moved through fog, a heatwave, thunderstorms, and dreary dampness, which means it’s spring in the Midwest for sure.

What else?

Tabby cat sitting on striped fabric

Malthus says: Kitty hienie of approval.

The cats and I tried out a quilting project, which will have its own post in the future.

I traveled to a new city

Red knitted mouse on a bookshelf at Powell's Books

Mousie was slightly overwhelmed by Powell’s

Where I bought books and caught a cold.

And there has been knitting.

Brightly colored knitting with Noro yarn.

Noro. Could you guess?

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About that Stash

Thank you all for your comments on Melba’s sweater! She is taking the praise with great composure ;)

I have a FO to show you, just as soon as I get my photographer back. In the meantime, let’s check in on the stash.

Yummy squishy Quince & Co.

Yummy squishy Quince & Co.

As you’ll recall, I ended last year with a lot more yarn than I started with. This year started with an addition: 2,040 yards that I asked for as a gift. It’s already on the needles, getting knitted into a sweater for a certain thin-blooded somebody.

Then I was very good, using up most of my latest additions for Mummy’s cape and the dogzilla sweater. I dug out stash yarn for some knitted gifts, and to knit some patches for an old, worn sweater.

While I still knit more slowly than I’d like, my grand stashbusting total for the year is 2483.3 yards out. Not too shabby!

Except then we went to Lawrence and I visited the Yarn Barn.

Pink yarn



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Sick Day Knitting

green cabled knitting

Finally, the collar. See that mis-crossed cable? I’m not ripping back.

Querido insisted I print myself a new stitch pattern page and laminate it the second it came off the printer.  I don't know why.

Querido insisted I print myself a new stitch pattern page and laminate it the second it came off the printer. I don’t know why.

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