just knit

on swatching: size matters

[Repost from a new thread over in my Ravelry group]

(Fountain pen for scale.)

Every once in a while, a newbie knitter would bring to my teaching table a swatch made up of just a few stiches - a wee, postage-stamp-sized slip of a thing. “The pattern said I needed a gauge of 6 stitches to the inch, so I cast on 6 stitches!” Fair enough - that’s an easy assumption to make as a brand-new knitter. Knit up 6 stitches, and if it’s not 1 inch, you’re off… Right?

Welllll, no. And what I’m about to say applies to just-slightly-larger-but-still-not-big-enough swatches as well: if you aren’t working long enough rows, you aren’t really creating the kind of fabric you’ll make in a larger garment. PLUS, you won’t be able to count accurately.

A sweater-sized project will likely have a hundred or more stitches across a row - long enough for you to get into a good rhythm, get moving at a good clip, maybe even space out a little bit. That different rhythm can impact how loosely or tightly you knit! So the longer you can make your rows in your swatch, the more accurately it will reflect how you’ll knit in a sweater.

A slightly more experienced knitter might cast on the # of sts in 4”/10cm called out on the pattern. So, 24 stitches in 4” for the same gauge as the newbie above. That’s better, but still no cigar, and here’s why: your edge stitches always curl in just a little bit, which sucks away a bit of the measurement… And you don’t have a larger bit of fabric within which to measure, which means you might lose that half-a-stitch that would otherwise creep into your 4”/10cm measurement across - and a half a stitch in 4” means 5 stitches in 40” around a sweater, which could be an inch or more off. Might not sound like much, but believe me - it’s the difference between your sweater fitting beautifully or not. Between your fabric being just the right density, or being too stiff or too loose. Those half stitches matter! And the way you’re going to be able to see that is by knitting a swatch that is larger than 4”/10cm across.

So if your gauge says 24 sts = 4”/10cm, CAST ON MORE THAN THAT. Doesn’t really matter how many more, as long as it’s materially more. In this case, 4 more stitches would be a bare minimum. I’d be more likely to cast on 32 or 36 or 40 for a swatch at this gauge. Be generous with yourself - those longer rows are more pleasurable to knit, anyway.

And while you’re at it, make sure your swatch is also tall enough - row gauge matters too! Sometimes different needle sizes will generate a bigger difference in row gauge than stitch gauge. And a too-tight row gauge means you’re eating up yarn faster than the pattern calls for, so you might run out before you’re done…! Or it might mean your fabric is too dense. So check your row gauge as well; at the very least, it’s a good indicator that you’re on the right track, fabric-wise. I try to go until my swatch is nearly square, or until I’ve done about 10 rows more than the row gauge on the pattern over 4”/10cm.

This is the first in a series of posts in praise of swatching, and how to make it really work for you. More in the coming weeks!

progress!

The year is starting off well!

I have TWO FOs to report:

1. A linen-stitch scarf (loosely based on Jo Sharp's "Umbra Scarf" [of sainted memory]):

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, in 3 colors
Needles: Um... US 11? (been knitted for so long, I can't remember!)

This one was knitted, and then stalled at the fringing stage... perhaps because I'm not at heart a fringe-y person, and I dislike untidy edges.

I resisted finishing up the fringe, and it got stuffed in a bag for the last 4 years or so.

When I pulled it out the day before yesterday, all I had to do was tidy up some existing knots, cut a few new lengths of fringe to supplement its natural complement, and give the fringe a haircut!

Ta-da: a great cozy scarf, suitable for gifting this year (that is, if Boyhood doesn't snag it first). 

2) A snuggly alpaca cowl!: 

Yarn: Cascade Eco Duo (1 skein)
Needles: US9, I think

This was the silliest little non-pattern: provisional cast-on X sts (enough to make it wide enough for a cozy cowl); work in garter stitch for 28", or until it's long enough to wrap well around the neck and make a good cowl; graft the live sts to the loops from the provisional cast-on with Kitchener stitch to make a loop. Done. The End.

Which doesn't explain why that last bit took me a year to get around to!

•  •  •  •  •

The cowl was my first official FO at a 'UFO party' my friend Renae threw for The Knitting Ladies of Bainbridge last week. Here's the basic recipe:

Take
1 excellent hostess and 1 fantastic home;
Add 10 or so dedicated knitters;
Marinate for a few hours in a delirious mixture of spinach dip, bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, lemon bars, brownies, and champagne;
Roll in yarn and needles and chat and laughter.

Later, bake in a lasagna pan with two kinds of lasagna and finish off with some lovely salad.

But be aware: this recipe does require a little clean-up!
Viz: 

 

Rogues' Gallery #3 and 3

Now, where were we?

Ah yes - Sweater #3. 
This one is a Habu kit from the last time Takako came to Churchmouse...
Kit #119? 135? oh dear.
Anyway, it's a luscious combination of mohair, merino, and silk! 



This is probably the one garment I am DYING to finish. I remember putting on the piece from the trunk show, and just walking around in a little cloud.

And while we're on the topic of mohair, here's a Crocheted Moebius Loop, in a luscious orange shade of Shibui Silk Cloud! 

[now, where the heck is that photo?]

 

It's just too bad that Pantone has shifted the Color of the Year from Tangerine to Emerald.
I'm a little bit in mourning. Just sayin'. 

January UFOs: Bailey & Bedsocks

Now that I've achieved some symmetry with the UFOs (I may have ripped one or two to get things down to 12+12), it's time to introduce you all to the Rogue's Gallery that are my unfinished objects: 12 sweaters and 12 smaller projects.

First up: Bailey!

I began Bailey last fall, with a color of Rowan "Lima" that was being discontinued (sad, since it's the perfect shade of '70's appliance Harvest Gold). "Bailey" is a cardigan pattern from my girlcrush Amy Christoffers -- one that I love so much, I'm knitting it twice! I wear my first Bailey (made from Berroco Ultra Alpaca) every other day, so I couldn't wait for one in another cozy yarn.

You may recall that this Bailey was destined for great things, and Fall wearings, until I put it on Louise, the mannequin, and realized that I'd incorporated a bad dye lot into the upper body. ... Which meant ripping the back and both fronts down to below the underarms. Sigh. [The one downside to all-in-one construction.]

I've ripped, and been re-knitting the upper bodice, so the evidence of that little blunder is now successfully buried in the past. And just in time for the January 1 Savory Knitting KAL over at the "We Love Amy!" Ravelry group (it's not called that, but it could be), I've got it going again, and am whizzing up the second sleeve. This one could be in the bag (or on the bod) in a matter of a week or so!

And the January Wee-UFO: at least one pair of Turkish Bedsocks.

I have a raft of these wee sockies that have no mate. So before Valentine's Day rolls around, I figure it's time to get them united with their solemates (ouch. sorry. couldn't resist).
These are the socks I wear most often during the week, and even though they might not be worked up with yarn we carry in the shop, I feel okay about wearing them to work - I'm still representing and walking the walk with them on. It's a great pattern, my go-to for travel knitting. They're so fun and interesting and portable! I can finish one, if not a pair, on a longer/international flight.

Those are going in my Three Bags Full project bags this month. Can't wait to get 'em DONE!

Rogues' Gallery, #2 and 2

Next up in my unfinished business is Tempest, that beautiful stripey cardigan made with two colors of handpainted yarn hand-picked in Bar Harbor, Maine on the knitting cruise up the East Coast last fall.

Knitting? Done. Seams? Done. Sigh.
This one's all down to the edging – was I just made tired by the thought of applied I-cord? That's never stopped me before...!?!

 

And then, in the small project department, I really, really, really HAVE to get this scrumptious Bias Before & After Scarf off the needles, because it's done in strands of Habu Linen & Stainless held with Habu Cashmere. In turquoise.

I mean, really.
Right?

post-partum needles

Okay, Knitting Lovies:

What do you do when you've *finally* gotten a project off the needles,
and you're ready to start something new...
and you get stuck?

I have SO many ideas, and SO many things in the queue, and SO many UFOs...

... that I'm basically paralyzed.

I could be a grown-up and finish a few UFOs (or, hell, ALL of them!); or
I could throw caution to the wind and start a new sweater with some vacation yarn; or
I could be a little reasonable and start a work-related sample project.

Do you have those 'post-partum' moments after you've finished a big project
(or one that's given you fits)?
What do you do when you're faced with too many options and empty needles? 

done, done, and done

As fun as it is to start new projects, it's just as fun to clear the decks by getting stuff DONE. Since coming home from a busy work week on Wednesday night, I've finished FOUR projects!

The first I can't share with you (yet) because it's super-duper-top-secret and will be until next week. This I can say - it's gonna be a doozy. Best combination of easy knit, total wearability, and comfortable price point. Plus a great yarn. Oh, and mine is orange. 'Nuff said.

The second is a fair isle felted bag <Rav link> from Sally Melville's great Color book - taken over from a friend who was not feeling the love for stranded colorwork knitting right now.

I love how the Noro Kureyon plays with the black Cascade 220.

Time to felt this guy today and sew on some leather handles!

 

 

 

 

 

Third is my first Mohair Bias Loop, done not in mohair but with two strands of Classic Elite's "Silky Alpaca Lace" - one of my new favorite yarns. I love how it's lacy and soft without being too, too hairy. The deep teal did, however, come off on the needles and in the soaking tub, so I'll have to remind myself not to wear this over a white T-shirt until it stops releasing dye.

 

 

 

 

 

Fourth is another top-secret item: my latest design for a yarn company I deeply, deeply love. I'll let you know when it's published - I think it's going to be a fun, wearable knit! (Oh, and the yarn is delicious, too.) I've been hatching this design for about 6 months now, and it will be a big relief to get it done and out into the world.

 

 

 

 

 


Do you ever get clogged with a project, one that you feel is tying up your mojo and stopping other things from getting off the needles? I'm just hoping I don't come down with a clapping great dose of startitis after this one goes out the door - I still have two sweaters on the needles that need to get done and into the shop pronto! 

it's adorable pattern monday!

(Could this be a new feature?)

I give you the most glorious Teutonic adorableness...

Pattern: Bluegirl Knits' Emmit's Lederhosen.
Yarn? Berocco Suede (it's a natural).
[Oompah music and Bratwurst not included.] 

She's looking for a professional translation from American Knitting into German Knitting.
Anyone out there well-versed in pattern translation in that direction?
(I'd be good from German into American, but vice-versa? not so much.) 

we interrupt our regularly scheduled deadline

... for...

Wayfarer!

Yarn: Sincere Sheep Yarn Co., from a sheep called 'Martha' in 2005
Needles: US 9 / 5.5mm Suzanne's rosewood 24" circulars
Pattern: Wayfarer from Brooklyn Tweed

All I can say is, it's all browncurls' and Lorilee's fault!
She posted a super-cute photo of herself and all her friends entwined in one of these, and I knew I had to make one.

Stash yarn, partly because it makes me feel good to make this out of some very sincere indigenous sheep (while the closest source for Jared's new yarn is 45 miles away) out of my likewise sincere stash.

The above was knit on a one-day odyssey over to The Other Side to look at dump trucks (yeah, we know how to party). Boy wants a new truck, and I took it as an excuse to cast on something fun for the drive over. Little did I know that my tired Sunday brain wouldn't be up for the monumental task of increasing, decreasing, and slipping selvage stitches the right way after 2 p.m. Not an AFP, perhaps, but fun nonetheless.

And since Martha's a Merino sheep, this will be a cozy accessory as the fall days draw in.

Thanks, Jared, for a great pattern! (And sorry for calling you 'Pipsqueak' all the time. It's a jealousy thing. I'll get over it.)

mindless, yet distracting

Fall is creeping in – my favorite time of year. I'm home for a week, getting some things accomplished, doing some pattern writing, and enjoying being unpacked for a few days.

Boyhood and I celebrated over 1,000 days of wedded bliss yesterday with a day off at home, together (what luxury)! And a few of our favorite things: a soak in the hot tub, a stroll with the Hound to the farmers' market, and cooking dinner together. The Universe even sent a little shout-out to us for our anniversary: look what showed up in our bag of little fingerling potatoes for dinner!:

Aww.

But now it's Thursday, and there are only a few days left before I fly down to California for a week to help mom out with her surgery. So once again, I face the age-old question: what makes for good hospital* knitting?

* Okay, so technically, Mom's thing is just an outpatient procedure – but the project parameters remain the same. What can I knit on while someone I love is recovering?

If this year has been good for anything, it's been to refine my understanding of good crisis knitting: between parental health issues, I've been able to crank out some pieces. And yet I remain completely stalled on others. Socks? You bet. Lace? Not on your life. And my UFOs languished this summer (since so many of them are in a fussy stage that requires concentration or blocking or seaming or something incompatible with all of the above).

A great crisis, or hospital, project should:

  • be mindless enough that you can't screw it up royally;
  • be distracting enough that you have something to occupy your mind other than worry;
  • be interruptable so you can jam it away to catch the doctor as she whips through on her rounds;
  • be portable so you can drop it in a bag to go head down the hall or out to the doctor's office.

 

What worked? The Featherweight Cardigan – as a top-down raglan, it was a clear winner in the 'mindless, yet distracting' category. No seaming required; long rows of stockinette punctuated by increases; just enough to do in each row that I didn't keel over from boredom. And the yarn I'm using is so light and fluffy, one skein did the trick for the whole body: talk about portable!

Socks are also the obvious contender for crisis knitting, especially if you've got a 'Plain Vanilla,' basic sock pattern in your head that you've knit so often, you could practically knit it in your sleep. My Unpattern Socks are obviously my own go-to, but if you're in the market for another great basic pattern, Churchmouse just released theirs, and it's as classy and classic as all their other patterns. [Luckily for me, my brother just informed me that he's running dangerously low in the sock department! Bring it!]

So now, like any good little knitter, I'm obsessing about what project to pack for my week-long trip. I'd narrowed it down to three choices, all of which seem to meet most of the crisis knitting criteria.

There's "Marmee," a shaped cardigan from Louisa Harding's book, appropriately titled, well... "Cardigans":
Upside: I'd get to use one of my desert-island yarns from my stash: Jaeger's Extra-Fine Merino DK.
Downside: too many fussy pieces, and perhaps just a little too much shaping to be beneficially mindless.


And there's "Kirigami," designed by the illustrious Kate Gilbert (can I be her when I grow up?):
 (Bought some fabulous yarn for this at a recent visit to Fiber Gallery in Seattle - "Sweater" by Spud & Chloe. The fact that I chose lime and violet couldn't possibly have anything to do with the fact that Jessica of RoseKim Knits was helping me... could it?)

Cool and unusual construction, but only reverse stockinette; two colors, but single-row stripes. This one has a lot going for it. Only downside is the amount of space the (worsted-weight) yarn would take in my (carry-on) luggage.


The third and final contender – Carol Feller's "Mendel":
Stockinette. Stockinette good. (And look! Ruching! and a cool neckline to keep a girl mildly distracted!)

Only downside to this one is that I can't decide which fingering-weight yarn from my stash to use, and might just end up crumbling under the pressure and running out to buy some Tosh Sock as a tiebreaker. 

 

Boyhood cast his vote this morning – what say you, knitters?
(Don't wait too long to chime in... a girl's gotta get packing!) 

 

the two-week-sweater challenge

So you know this gal loves a challenge.
Those lovelies over at Twist Collective just issued one in their blog:

Finish a sweater in two weeks!

And as luck would have it, I cast on for a new project yesterday:

Yarn: Sublime Extra Fine Merino DK (with a name like that, what's not to love?)
Needles: Signature 4.0mm stilettos, baby!
Gauge: 5.875 sts/1"
Pattern: a test-knit for my upcoming Unpattern Cardigan line – this one will be a set-in-sleeve worked from the bottom up, with plain ol' garter-stitch edging.

[This one's a sprint, not a marathon, so it's considered speedwork training, right?]
Coincidentally, I own 14 skeins for this project, so the mission is simple: a skein a day.
I may have an unfair advantage, however – we leave tomorrow to fly to Columbus, Ohio for the big industry trade show (come see us in booth #114!), so there are plane flights and taxi rides to eat up the yardage.

Let the games begin! (And let's see if this gal can't sprint in stilettos!)

things i want to knit

The fabulous JPKnits did a cool blog entry the other day simply entitled "Things I Want to Knit." And although she may not have intended it to start a blogswarm, here I am chiming in for the record on my things I want to knit.

(I'm also using this as an opportunity to get all these patterns organized and put my Queue Binder, like the good little Daughter of a Librarian.)

So here they are, in no particular order... The Things I Want to Knit.

First, some sleeveless/short-sleeved numbers:
Joan McGowan-Michaels' "Shapely Tank Top"

Lanaknits "Kathy's Knot Garden Tank" Gardiner Yarn Works "Valencia"

... and then there are some wrap-front tops:

 Carol Sunday's "Poplar & Elm"Kristin Rengren's "Tanis"

Boy's vote is for "Valencia," not surprising since he watched me drool over it in Chrissy's booth at the trade show last January. I have some lovely white merino and silk from Naturally that should be just grand.

So all this inspiration prompted me to re-organize my studio on Sunday. My central work island (which has storage underneath the work surface) now has totes filled with upcoming work projects (Unpattern samples to knit), as well as one part of a shelf dedicated to the queue:

I don't know about you, but I found it frustrating to have yarn mentally dedicated to projects that was still filed away with the rest of my stash. I tend to buy yarn with a vague notion of the kind of garment I want to make out of it; and then in the fullness of time select a pattern (or design one) to knit out of it. As a result, I have a mental category called "stash masquerading as projects" (or, if I'm frustrated with them, "projects masquerading as stash." This re-org helped me return some languishing SMasP's to the stash where they really belonged.

So... what do you want to knit? and how do you keep it fresh in your mind without making you feel guilty or crazy?

finishing and magical thinking

Still more stuff just flying off the needles!

I'm trying to establish healthy, sustainable habits in all areas of my life (diet, exercise, work...), so what about knitting? I'm making a valiant effort to finish up my teaching projects from one session of classes at Churchmouse before I start the next.

To wit:
1. The Turkish Bed Socks are DONE!

Pattern: Turkish Bed Socks - A Churchmouse Classics Pattern
Yarn: Koigu KPPPM (what else?) – a colorway I shamelessly bought right off one of my students from my Linen-Stitch Scarf class, when she needed to swap it out for a new color. (And I therefore don't have the ball band to tell you what colorway # ... sad, because it's scrumptious!)
Needles: US 2-1/2 (3.0mm), DPNs

These are definitely coming with me as the ersatz slipper choice for my next hotel stay.

2. The Somewhat Cowl will be DONE later today!
(Just a dozen or so rounds left on the second sleeve.)

Pattern: The Somewhat Cowl - A Knit & Tonic Pattern by the fabulous Wendy Bernard
Yarn: Debbie Bliss "Eco Baby" Cotton in a rich, deep navy blue
Needles: US 4 (3.5mm), with US 3 (3.25mm) for the cowl neck ribbing.

It's not often that I can take the time to knit a second one of anything – I have far too many ideas about what to knit next to allow me the luxury – but this was a no-brainer. The first Somewhat I knit (out of Blue Sky Alpacas "Alpaca & Silk") is hands-down one of the best-fitting, most flattering sweaters I have ever knit for myself. Period. Every time I put it on, I get compliments; and what gal doesn't like to hear "You look gorgeous today! Hey - did you lose weight?"

The only modifications I made to the pattern were these:

 

  • Purl darts rather than K2,P2 rib as the bottom edging, and around the sleeves.
  • Added more 'girlie shaping' and some bust darts thanks to the fabulous workshop I got to take with Deb MacLeod at Churchmouse last month. I braved short rows and under-bust double-decreases!
  • In my first Somewhat, a mistake turned into a design feature: I bound off the neckline too tightly, which didn't allow me to fold the cowl collar to the inside and tack it down the way Wendy does. When I tried it on the first time (in my hotel room in Quebec City, on the Vogue tour), I flipped it to the inside to see how badly I needed to change it and ... voila! Tthe (rather deep) neckline was thus made more modest. I like the intrigue of it as it's not sewn down. So there.

 

So as these things roll off the needles, I'm rootling through the UFO bin to see what I can tackle next. But of course, there's that little voice on my shoulder saying "You just finished two things! Can't you start something new? Just think of all those gorgeous summer tops in your Ravelry queue, just itching to get done before fall. Just think... Just think..."

Get thee behind me.

To quote Boyhood (in response to my all-too-frequent salvo "Hey -- I've been thinking...."):
"Oh no. Not again!"

I think I hear that Featherweight Cardigan calling my name. 

today's FOrecast

Cloudy with a chance of... Cardigan?

Yup, that's right –  better sit right down, because we've got a UFO coming off the needles!

Pattern: "Gatsby" from Shibui Knits
Yarns: Koigu KPM (for the torso) and 2 colors Kidsilk Haze held together for upper body
Needles: US 4 (3.5mm) and US 3 (3.25)

It was just about shameless how long this sat in the UFO bin, and at what stage of near-completion. When I pulled it out a few weeks ago, I had just 20 or so rows to go on one front, and then assembly and bands to do.

Sadly, this isn't the only place that 'abandonitis' shows up in my life… I'm spending some time lately noticing the number of things I get almost done. Weeding? Laundry? (Hell, they don't count because they're simply never done before another round starts again.)

But there's a moment, about 85% through a project, where I heave a premature sigh of relief, seeing that the end is in sight … and that somehow gives me permission to put it down and pick up something else. Maybe I'm easily distracted, or maybe it's that the projects lose their compelling interest when I know how they're going to end?

Anyway, that must be yet another reason I'm attracted to marathons: you have to do EVERY. LAST. STEP. yourself. And you're not done until you're done, dammit. Same with mystery novels and makeover shows: since the 'reveal' comes at the bitter end, you gotta hang in there for the payoff.

Of course, blogging about an FO when you still have to do the final blocking and sew on the buttons is, of course, only perpetuating the problem.

See ya!

[How do you all handle your finishing? Do you roar through like a bear? Or do you sneak up on it from downwind? Do your projects go into 'time outs' like mine? Discuss amongst yourselves. I'll be the gal in the corner with the backer buttons and the sewing needle, finishing.]

the cruellest season

... Summer, that is.

No, wait -- let me explain!

It's a cruel couple of months coming up for knitters, in ways that you non-knitters might not realize:

 

  • The garden is calling! The garden is calling! And after hours of weeding and planting and mulching, sometimes the hands just can't move any more … not even to knit (gasp!).
  • For those of you lucky enough to live nearer the equator, it's just getting too stinkin' HOT to have a whole top-down sweater in your lap, and I don't care if it's made of cotton or bamboo or silk.
  • The children, however many you have roaming your house, are getting restless, and while they could just go play outside, there are the soccer and baseball games, the swimming lessons … the list goes on.
  • And finally, even if the above three don't getcha, there's the final knitter's conundrum: what do you knit to WEAR in summer?

 

This last is the thing that really gets me. Thanks to Madam, we have our garden well in hand this year, and we're really caught up to the point that we're planting little veggie starts and cooing over them. That's all for the garden chores so far this spring.

And one of the reasons on the list to move up to the Pacific Northwest in the first place was "Wool sweaters are not silly." (No joke -- I can show you the slip of paper my ex and I wrote this down on before we moved!) So I live in one of the few climates where I can have an entire sweater in my lap in August and actually enjoy it as a windbreak.

No little savages wandering about the place, and even the Mighty Hound prefers to keep things on the down-low as the temperatures climb, on account of the fur coat he insists upon schlepping around.

So we are left with the last: If I'm going to take up the gauntlet that The Immortal Sally Melville threw down two years ago in Ottawa, I want to Represent, dammit! I want to walk around in handknits to show the world what fun we have with yarn. I want to show off those mad skillz I've spent years (and hours in class) honing. I want to gambol around my little maritime village in cutoffs and a kickin' sweater.

But what to knit?

Most of my knitted wardrobe runs to soft, wooly long-sleeved lovelies, things that would be as at home in the Hebrides as they would in Cornwall. I love cables, colorwork, everything sweater-related, really. So when it comes to warmer-weather gear, I admit I'm a bit stymied. Add on to that the fact that my hourglass figure is really not well-suited to breezy, diaphanous things (they cling in all the wrong ways to all the wrong places), I'm left with a summer wardrobe of black and gray and white T-shirts. <Yawn.>

Okay, so I did have that Summer of Hemp a few years ago, where I knit at least four different samples for the shop out of LanaKnits Hemp 3 and Hemp 6. And there's my Hempathy "No Purling Allowed" cap-sleeve T-shirt which is a favorite in hot weather -- despite its Dr.-Seuss-ness:

But now I find myself combing the pages of Ravelry and Patternfish, and even back issues of Interweave Knits, trying to find those great little summery pieces I can knit up and run out of the house in.

What about you, gentle knitters? What do you/have you knit to wear in summer?

future perfect, present passive

As a former language teacher, I have a rather geeky relationship with grammar.
I love the regal symmetry of it all, the relationships between verb constructions -
And sometimes even the names of grammar elements have a certain metaphorical 'oomph.'

To illustrate: my relationship with the Future Perfect tense.

"At some point, I will have...
a) finished that sweater;
b) launched that pattern line;
c) come out from under that crushing deadline."

There's been all this talk about what I will be about to be knitting
(say, for the Olympics in a few months), but little to no blog content about what I am actually-right-now-this-very-moment knitting.
(That's the present progressive tense, for those of you keeping track.)

So, I present for your consideration
What I AM knitting:

One Koolhaas Hat.
(You saw it yesterday, but I'll reiterate.)
Yarn: Berocco Inca Gold, in a lovely shade of British Racing Green.
Plus, I cast on with some leftover yarn in a great, deep turquoise – I think it's Rowan Wool Cotton.
Needles: US 6 (4.0mm) Inox metal, 16"

Having ripped back three (count 'em, three!) times, I think I'm now underway on this sucker, and have just one more repeat or more to do before the crown shaping.

(Good thing, too, 'cuz it's a holiday present for someone.) (Who shall remain nameless.)

And there are some more UFOs that are just for fun (gifts, sweaters for me, etc), but the bulk of my time and knitting hours have been spent on these babies:

Meet The Rockettes, here posed as a barbershop quartet.

I'm deep in the throes of knitting samples for my very-first-ever trade show booth, to go to TNNA (The National Needle Arts) in Long Beach in January. I'm doing an Unpattern booth there for the very first time, and the Rockettes are the stars of the show. There are 8 gals in all, which is making my studio feel like a doctor's waiting room.

So far, I have 4 samples complete, as you can see on The Gals above.
We have (from left to right): a Bottom-Up Sleeveless Pullover with a ruffled neckline (in Sublime Soya Cotton, a yarn I thought I'd fight and ended up loving); a Top-Down Raglan Pullover (in good ol' Cascade 220); a Top-Down Set-In Sleeve Pullover (in Rowan Cocoon, in tweed stitch. Cozy personified); and the Top-Down Sleeveless Pullover you met earlier (in Broken Rib, out of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece).

All that progress was made by the time I left for Victoria last month; and now I've officially spent AN ENTIRE MONTH on ONE sweater. It's going to be lovely, I know it is, but they call the past tense that goes on and on and on the 'Imperfect' for a reason.

I don't know why I've been knitting on this sweater so long. And yes, I realize that 'long' is a relative term... For many of us, we're lucky to get a sweater done in three or four months. But folks, didja look at the calendar lately? As Boyhood says, "Dates in this calendar may be closer than they appear"; and January's breathing down our necks already.

I have FOUR sweaters to go, which means a sweater a week (I can handle that) in December. So, Little Mister Classic Elite Soft Linen Bottom-Up Drop-Shoulder Turtleneck Pullover?
Yer days are numbered.

sundays

Sundays are for goofing off.

A clean worktop,
a sunny day,
a skein acrylic (!?!),
a glass of wine,
and a crochet hook.

!!!

Want proof? Here's the closeup:

Project: Crocheted Beanie (a Churchmouse shop pattern, designed by the world-famous Mary Guterson)
Yarn: Berocco Comfort Worsted (no animal fiber anywhere in this skein! Nowhere!)*

For some unknown reason, I feel compelled to teach myself crochet this year.
We have a definite gap in the course offerings since we lost our friend and co-worker, Pam, last year (and since the magnificent Carol, our lady of the skirts, went back to her highfalutin' day job). So I'm thinkin' I'd like to give it a go. But first, I gotta know how to crochet my way out of a paper bag.

My mom's a whiz... if all else fails, I'll go travel 900 miles and ask her.

* Oh, don't panic... I'm still the same fiber snob I used to be. That's a skein of ArtYarns Cashmere5 in the bin, destined for this if the first beanie comes out at all.