Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Morning Talk Shows

Molly: ...sigh...

Winston: ...

Molly: SIGH!

Winston: Uh, Molly? I'm kinda, you know, trying to sleep, and...

Molly: I know, and it's REALLY hard, huh? How can any of us sleep when we're worrying about my luscious paella?

Winston: Your what? 'Cause I was only thinking about how much I like sleeping, but...

Molly: That's what I'm SAYING, though. It's really hard to sleep when you have a LUXURIANT PATINA!

Winston: It's really hard to sleep when you're sighing on my face. I don't have a levitating pancetta or whatever.

Accountant Boy: Luxating patella, guys. It's called a luxating patella. But you seem fine, Molly, since you spent last night kicking me in the back.

Molly: Yay for Molly! Physical therapy resistance training! YAAAAAYYY!

* * *

Meanwhile, my hand surgeon told me that my finger isn't straightening out as well as it did last year, and recommended that I keep it splinted for three weeks. It's not going to help it hurt less, or make it less stiff, but it might make it less gnarled, so I'm going to give it a shot. There goes my tensioning finger, so no knitting. If it works, at least it'll look more like the other one. I'll take my victories where I can get them.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Way back in January, I mentioned that I had a new knitting goal for this year. You might think that it’d be the same as the knitting goals I come up with every year, which are to knit more, knit faster, and not buy yarn to replace the yarn I’ve used. Yes, I still have those goals, but I’ve added another one, one which I think is going to complement the first three. My main goal this year is to wear what I’ve made, and do something with it if I think that it isn’t currently wearable.

This was prompted by a big closet clean-out that I did right after Christmas. I took everything out and threw it on the bed, then tried it on before putting it back in the closet. If it didn’t fit, it didn’t go back. If I didn’t like how it hung on me, it didn’t go back. If I never wore it, even though there was nothing obviously wrong with it, which meant that there was something about it that just wasn’t right for me, and it didn’t go back. What I was left with was a much less crowded closet containing only clothes that fit and flatter me right now, a dozen skirts and pairs of trousers folded into a pile on my bed, and several sweaters that I never wore wadded up next to them. I boxed up the too-small clothes and stored them, because there’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to wear them in a few months. Then, I dealt with the sweater collection.

Some of the sweaters were store-bought and just faded enough that they didn’t look sharp enough for work. If they looked decent enough to donate, they went into a bag and went to Goodwill. Some of them were just slightly too small, which is more an issue with me than with the garment. Those got folded up and stored in the cedar drawer under my bed. My beloved chick-gym went out of business a few weeks ago, and I bought one of the treadmills from the liquidator. Freed from the “I can’t drive to the gym in the dark” problem, I’ve been running three times a week. It’s only a matter of time before the smaller clothes rejoin the rotation.

A few of the sweaters were simply bad designs for me. Even at my very fittest, I don’t look good with garments that cover my bust and end at mid-ribcage. This style of cardigan makes me look like a post-op augmentation patient, and I ought to know that look, because I was once a data entry clerk at an implant manufacturer. Fun fact. I also gain weight around the middle and don’t have a strongly defined waist. I look good in things with empire waists, or that tuck in at that point and then flow back out to mid-hip, but not things where either the color or the entire garment abruptly stops right there.

So what was I thinking making cropped sweaters? The only one that doesn’t make me cringe when I come across it is the (not)Two-Tone Shrug, which avoids all of the worst shape offenses by not having much of a front profile. It also creates the illusion of a more slender back, because it curves in where my waist should narrow. (not)Two-Tone is safe, then, just waiting for me to tone up and wear it. The others, though, need some help.

I’ve had Cobweb shifting around on the shelf for almost four years. I wore it to Kitten’s wedding but, although I love the color and the feel of it, and I said that I could see myself wearing it all the time, I’ve never worn it again. Not once. I love how soft it is. I love the lace. I love the beading. It’s a great shade on me, especially when my hair is darker, like it is now. It’s a shame that it has been demoted to “nice thing to brush my hand against while I’m hanging up my shirts”. I feel sad when I see it in there, and when I occasionally pull it out so that I can lovingly refold it.

My plan for it is simple. I’m going to make it a full-length cardigan. I’m going to pick up along the bottom and knit down in the lace pattern. I haven’t decided if I want to pull out the crochet scallops. I might have it tie at one side. I still have a bunch of the beads, so there are all sorts of possibilities for beaded closures and ties.

Anthropologie-Inspired Capelet is another story entirely. I didn’t like it as I was knitting it, I didn’t like it when I finished it and laid it flat to photograph it, and I’ve never worn it. It’s too stripy for my taste, and there’s nothing that can save the style of it for me. I’d thought about pulling out the bind-off and continuing down to hip length with a coordinating solid yarn, but then I’ve still got all of that busy variegation up at my widest point. I can’t add a solid border around it to make an additional yarn color look intentional, because the seed border at the neckline is part of the body. When I come across this one, I get angry. I do not stare at it lovingly as I hold it up in front of me. My most common response is to grunt, “Ugh! Stupid f&%king mistake!” and shove it roughly to the back of the closet. This yarn made me much happier in the skein than it does knit up.

So there’s no hope for it in its current state. I haven’t decided if I want to reuse it for socks, or as an accent stripe or faux-Fair Isle in a solid sweater. I have decided that it’s not going to sit in my closet anymore, so that’s a start.

My final two reworks-in-progress are Pas de Valse, which desperately needs me to work a crochet border around its edges, and a lacy tie-front sweater from Banana Republic that I’ve been meaning to recreate and improve upon for several years.

PdV should take all of about two hours to finish once I commit to it. I had a lot of problems with that pattern and it shows, especially up around the collar. I need the crochet edge to flatten everything out and cover the evidence of my crimes. It’s the main reason I haven’t done an FO write-up about it yet. Even though I’ve been wearing it since January – with decreasing frequency and increasing displeasure – I don’t consider it done.

The Banana sweater is still in my closet simply because I keep thinking that I can use it as a template and whip up a better one. I mean, look at it. It’s three rectangles of great big lace knitting, with ties in awkward places. I got it off of the clearance rack, probably because it didn’t look good on anybody, even the models. Here’s how I think the photo shoot must have gone down. “It’s meant to hang straight, tie directly over the crotch, but not very tightly, and slip off your shoulders if you turn your head more than a centimeter in either direction. I need you to lean forward and slouch your shoulders. Annabella! SLOUCH, damn you! You are having a good time on your beach vacation, and so much fun that you are unconcerned that your flimsy cover-up is neither flattering nor conforming to the shape or your body as you listen to your sandy-haired boyfriend in the cargo capris play the ukulele by the campfire. Slouch and laugh whimsically!”

I have to guess that’s how it went, because I never saw a photo of it, which means that it slipped into the stores under the radar, and slipped back out without being featured in any catalog. Nevertheless, there’s something about it that appeals to me, because I’ve had it for six years and I keep trying to wear it, even though the ties are too long and the shape is so weird. I have cotton in my stash that would work for it. In fact, that’s probably a good use for cotton yarn, because it’d be lacy enough to remain lightweight.

This, then, is my main goal for this year. If something isn’t working, don’t let it sit around and continue to not work. If I have a dozen skirts and pairs of trousers that don’t fit, they shouldn’t confront me and make me feel ashamed of myself every time I open the closet door. If I took the time to knit something, that time was wasted if the thing sits in my closet for five years. I should wrest back control of these things. Gotta get with the moving forward.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

My Best Friend Winston by Molly

Hey, you guys! Hi! It's me, Molly! I wanted to tell you a story about my best friend Winston. It's called "My Best Friend Winston". Here it is!

My best friend Winston likes the sunshine, and so do I. Sometimes, we try to soak up the rays together. Sometimes we end up trying to soak up the EXACT SAME RAYS! And that means I end up sitting on him, and that makes him REALLY HAPPY because I'M happy, and he still gets to be warm because I'm warm. It's a win for EVERYONE! Plus, he's just the right height for sitting on, and if it bugged him he'd get up, right?

He looks sad, but you guys? That's totally how he looks all the time. I always look like a lovable scamp, and he always looks sad, but the difference is that I AM a lovable scamp, and that's just his face.

Anyway, my best friend Winston and I like to lie in the sun together, and sometimes we do it outside and I try to protect his soft, pink belly from getting sunburned, because I am a GOOD FRIEND.

And sometimes we sit on the sofa together and I protect him while he watches television. Nobody's going to throw him into traffic on MY watch.

See, I'm his best friend, too. It's a two-way street. A two-way street where nobody gets thrown out into TRAFFIC, even when they horf on the freshly cleaned carpet. He's such a good friend that he even tries to help me clean up when that happens. We look out for each other. So, he doesn't sit on me because it might hurt me. He sits on Accountant Boy instead.

Most of the time it's not even about sitting on him or kicking him out of his favorite spots. I just like being near him, and he's not very good at that yet. Dr. Nice Lady at the weird place with all the TASTY cookies says that he's a 'different' kind of dog, so he still has to learn to like curling up with other dogs. I'm teaching him to wag his tail and wriggle, so I KNOW he can learn the other stuff. And I'm learning to not sit on him all the time, too! Sometimes I just squeeze in next to him.

I love my best friend Winston. The end.

* * *

One sleeve down on Papeline, halfway through the next. This yarn is so smooth and lovely, and almost all of the rowing evened out when I washed it. The odd thing about it is that there is a very slight tonal variegation to it, which wasn't obvious in the skein. I actually like it even more since it's not completely solid. I cannot wait to finish this one so that I can wear it.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Short Sentences, Simple Things

Sometimes you just want something classic, simple. Sometimes you don't want to have knit something that grows increasingly awkward to handle as you knit it, knitting a round, untwisting the work, knitting another round, for a hundred rounds or more. And then doing the same for the other sleeve. Sometimes seams are fun.

That's what this is going to be. It's a good, old knit-in-pieces pullover. It's Papeline from this year's Winter/Spring Knitscene. I'm almost done with the first sleeve.

I'm currently suffering from what I like to call 'winter brain', so that's about as much as I can write at one time. I'd say more about it, but not being able to write about winter brain is one of the hallmarks of winter brain.