the yarn is the life

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!

new year, new paradigm

2016 is ushering in a lot of great new things over here at casa akabini!

I'm back to designing full-time, and looking forward to re-issuing some of my 2nd Nature patterns as akabini patterns...

And has found a new home here - see the tab up at the top of the page (where there will be more detailed content coming soon), and feel free to click the Patternfish link at right to see the whole collection for purchase over there.

And I'm looking forward to posting here again with my random thoughts about life, healthy food, geeky knitting tricks, and ALL THE MAKES!


Nice to be back.

poof! a new design

I'm happy to report that a sweet little design I did last year for Tina over at Blue Moon is now live!

"Sea of Tranquility," a scarf done in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Worthy - a yarn deserving of that name, if ever there was one.

I was playing with the different stitch and row tensions of 1x1 ribbing and garter stitch - I love how the columns of the different textures cause the little undulations at the ends of the scarf:

And the eyelet details stagger like wee footsteps, tracking up towards your neck.

In a sweet ironic moment, I named the scarf after one of the features of the moon … and then as I was finishing the knitting, the news came through that Neil Armstrong had passed.

So this one's for all the crazy dreams we have, all the things we think might not be possible - until we actually try.

okie dokie.

Of course, if you've been reading here for any length of time, you *know* that we're never not knitting at casa akabini. So....

I loved JKghostrider's answer to my post-partum knitting conundrum: work on everything! ("D: all of the above")! So we are indeed proceeding "Forward in all directions," as Ex #1 would say.

It's funny – often, I find that when I feel stuck with my knitting it's because I'm avoiding something I should be doing, or should be finishing. This week, it was a minor 'speed bump' in a project for the shop that left me stalled and awash with the residual guilt that's all too familiar: "I want to start that shiny new project, but I should finish ________." A case of 'shoulding' all over myself, as it were.

To remedy that, I've spent the morning getting over the hump on that stalled design project (no pictures while it's still top secret, sorry), and I'm just 12 rows shy of being done, done-zo, finito!

And after that, it's a new month starting tomorrow, so I'll have two, count 'em, TWO, shiny, sparkly new projects to work on!

The first is the Vacation Yarn project (Angelia's vote - thanks!):

Pattern: "Tempest," by Weaverknits (from Knitty's Spring 2008 issue)
Yarn: "Caper Sock" by String Theory
(a super-delicious, soft, bouncy cashmere blend, oh my)

... purchased from a lovely little souvenir shop on the main drag in Bar Harbor, Maine on our recent cruise with Traveling Together.
Needles: US 7

MommaJ and I are going to work these up as a wee knitalong – she has her Caper Sock in a lovely other set of colours, from the same shop. We had a blast in Bar Harbor, capped off by an epic lobster dinner!

And that's what I love about souvenir yarn – you get to re-live a great trip for the duration of the project.

Second sparkly new project:
"Peerie Flooers" by Kate Davies (she of Owls fame)
Yarn: Rowan Fine Tweed, brand new in the shop in all the lovely colours.
Needles: 3, probably (haven't swatched yet)
That will make a nice counterpoint to the straight stockinette and simple stripes of "Tempest."

Some speedy stockinette, mixed with a little charty colourwork … sounds like a balanced diet with lots of fiber to me! 


When it's your own &*@&%^ing pattern, and you have FOUR, count 'em, FOUR re-knits.

1) Back: done. Front: done through armhole shaping, and you discover that the second (large) skein has a dyelot issue, and your front will fade to pale through the neckline. Rrrrrrrip. And rrrrip the back to become the front, and off you go to re-knit above the armholes on both pieces. Sigh.

2) Front: split for the V-neck front neckline, and in a spate of commuter knitting, the first front is done, done, capital-D-done! You start on the second side of the front neckline, and things are looking a little... shorter... than the other side of the front. On further, and closer, inspection, the hideous discovery that you've not divided the front in half correctly, so the one side has more stitches than the other. Much swearing, and ripping.

3) Front: done, through the armhole.... Whoops. Except, after that set of cocktails after work, you've managed to forget the armhole decreases after the bind-off on that front. Rrrrrrrrrrrrip.

4) Front: finally done. Back: working up through the armholes.... And that's going well.... And then there's the neckline... Could it be? Done? Done? and edged?


Pattern: Twisted Tweed Vest
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts "Twisted", in colorway "Farmhouse"
Needles: US7 for body, US6 for armholes and neckline

And dudes? Totally a simple pattern to follow - Sandi the Tech Editor did a screamin' job on this one. It's a no-brainer, completely. (Unless you wrote the pattern, apparently!)


Life occurs!

Well, that was a rather unplanned six-month hiatus...

Thanks to all of you for putting up with the same images here for all that time.

Life, as usual, hath outstripped the blogosphere.
To quote Inigo Montoya: "To sum up...":

• Still alive, still knitting.
• Lots of great activity in the yarnosphere: I have a new full-time job, with the Best Yarn Shop in the Whole Entire World; Boyhood and I went to the big trade show in Long Beach and had a grand time and made lots of new friends with a whole socking great lot of new Unpatterns (for which I need to upgrade the website, alack alay);
• We've been a little preoccupied with family stuff in the interim, keeping folks happy and healthy after a few hiccups.

But for now, it's nearly my birthday (yay, fun for me!), and I have a new toy to play with, and there is lots of yarny goodness, and there is more than one fantastic new book out by one of my amazing colleagues...

So let's play. Shall we? 

let the ravelry begin!

In the "as if I didn't have enough to do" department...

You know how sometimes deadlines prompt us to get other things done, things that weren't as urgent but suddenly became interesting when something else is on the front burner?

Packing for the trade show, getting ready to hit the show floor and talk about Unpatterns 24/7 has somehow triggered me to get off my duff and (finally!) get an Unpattern forum started on Ravelry.

So, for those of you curious about Unpatterns, or working your way through a complicated design, we'll now have a forum for (nearly) instant feedback.

And for those of you not on Ravelry yet, come on over and check it out! With over 600,000 knitters registered, it's an amazing resource for information on yarns, patterns, and all things fiber-related. It's free! Log in, set up your user profile, and get ready to play. You'll wonder how your knitting ever survived without it!

See you on Ravelry! Or in Columbus … Booth 114!

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?

new uses for exercise equipment, and more

Dateline Los Altos: Knitter discovers ideal alternate use for exercise equipment:

(I mean, really - if you were knitting a top-down, wouldn't you snap a progress shot like this?)

Yarn: A Verb for Keeping Warm "Wishing," in colorway "Chartreuse's Sister."
This yarn has the claim to fame of being the only yarn I've ever slept with. As in, on the pillow next to me in my hotel room at Stitches. So I could wake up looking at it. Really.
Needles: 3.5mm/US4 Ebony Suzanne's needles. In a word? Yum. Perfect for this yarn.
Pattern: "Featherweight Cardigan" from KnitBot (ravelry link)

Top-down raglans are such mindless fun, ideal for hospital and recovery knitting.

Poppy's doing very well - walked up the driveway to get his newspaper this morning! But I'm staying on down here through next week to make sure he's truly on the mend and back up to speed again.

So in the meantime, the Spring/Summer Twist Collective is up, and d*mned if I don't want to knit THIS and THIS and THIS and THIS! I need to find that fifth dimension, where all the extra time goes.

resident aliens

Okay, so those UFOs...
They range from the absurd
(who leaves a project done up to the weaving in of the ends? I mean really...)
to the epic
(fingering-weight black pullovers. Eminently wearable, death-march to knit.).

I'll take the next few blog entries to introduce you to them (all!), and hopefully by the time I'm done writing about them, some of them will have finished themselves!

(Hey - a girl can dream.)

1. The Absurd: a wee baby hat, with only ends to weave in...
Yarn: AslanTrends "Pima Clasico" 100% cotton, in a color called "Dahlia."
Needles: US 6 or 7? Can't recall… I cast it on in the blur that was TNNA.

Just a little i-cord detail on the top for fancy fun.
Nurse K's baby will get this just as soon as it emerges!

I had nurtured some hopes that the colorway might inspire one baby name choice, should it turn out to be a girl. But the parents have decided that they will name it after his mom instead of after a yarn. Whatever. (Priorities, man! Priorities!)

2. "Easy Peasy Baby Sweater,"

Yarn: Sublime "Soya Cotton DK" (3 skeins and a skosh)
Needles: again, can't recall. US 4? US 5? US 6?

This was me test-driving an upcoming variation on the popular Churchmouse pattern in DK weight. I think I might have begun this as a class sample… but now I can't even remember teaching the class! Oy.

Again, all finished but the shouting: two side seams, one sleeve seam, and some buttons to sew on. All ready for Nurse K's baby next month!

Instead of focusing on just how short my attention span or memory are these days, please to notice the adorable buttons I have on hand:

Too cute, right?
I'll be able to finish this sucker up on Monday, when I demo Mattress Stitch seaming in one of my afternoon classes at Churchmouse.

One more? Let's continue in the baby theme, shall we?

3. Stella Pixie Hat!
Pattern: Stella Pixie Hat, by Kristen Rengren from Vintage Baby Knits
Yarn: Sundara Sock, in colorway "Violet," I think.
Needles: US 3

Started this one in the hotel room on our way to Victoria with the Sisterhood of the Travelling Needles last fall. What a fun wee project!

In fact, I was enamored of this construction and the aesthetics of Kristen's designs that I just bought the book. I'm going to rely upon the inevitability that people around me will continue to make babies to knit for, so…

(And besides, when you don't have 800 UFOs sucking up all your knitting time, you can actually finish up a baby item in relatively little time!)


So there's the tip of the iceberg: all the wee little knits that are just going to need an hour or so of loving attention before they can walk out the door attached to a small, new person.

And here's the plan. I recognize that I probably took one puff too many on the Crazy Pipe the other day when I announced my intention to finish up all these items by my birthday. This calendar year is a more realistic goal, don't you think? Three sweaters, laceweight shawls… Yeah. End of the year oughta do me.

And I came up with a great solution to the problem of finding enough knitting time!

(That's my new Soak tub, "Carrie," sitting to the left of the exerbikle:

Happily containing a few UFOs for me to work on while I watch reruns of "The Biggest Loser" on our AppleTV.

Now, that's what I call multi-tasking!


"we're ready for our closeup, Mr. DeMille."

Gentle Readers, may I present the new Unpattern lineup?

Bottom-Up Sleeveless Pullover

Bottom-Up Drop-Shoulder PulloverBottom-Up Set-In Sleeve Pullover

Top-Down Sleevless Pullover

Top-Down Raglan Pullover (not new, but a favorite)

Top-Down Set-In Sleeve PulloverWe're ready for the ride in the back of the station wagon over the Grapevine into LaLa Land for the Big Show! Stay tuned for their début... they're sure to be giddy.

new year, new decade, same ol' knitter

Hiya, Troops!

Life proceeding on behind the scenes here at casa akabini — change of venue to Northern California for the holidays. (And a convenient prolonged stop-over on our way to Long Beach for TNNA next week.)

But now, suddenly, it's December 31st, and Das Internetz is full of reflections on the past year. Clara over at Knitter's Review has done a nice write-up of 2009: my goodness, did we get a lot done this year! Sock Summit, Ravelry pattern sales topping US $1M ... Astonishing.

The two things I'm proudest of this year:
a) Actually having fun running a marathon. I trained solo this year (Nurse K being out of commission for part of the season), which took a lot of dedication. And then I really focused on running my own race in Chicago, and had a blast. (It helps when the course is flat. It helps a lot.)

b) Knuckling down and dedicating my work time, full-time, to the Unpatterns. I've been hell-on-fire since early September to get this trade show thing done, and by the time I go live on the show floor next week, I'll have 6 new samples, 6 re-vamped patterns, a brand-spankin' new website, and downloadable .pdfs on their way to Patternfish! I really grew up as a company this year, thanks to a lot of good advice and role-modeling from my colleagues, whom I now get to join at TNNA. Can't wait to hang out with all of you and share the stories from the trenches.

I may also be growing up a bit, now that I'm in my forties: Dr. K and I were just discussing 'big project' people and 'quick challenge' people … No surprise which category I fall into. Give me an idea, and I'll turn it into a dissertation, or a product line, or a magnum opus with full marketing plan.

So I'm catching myself this morning wanting to post a full list of twelve sweaters for my NaKniSweMoDo'10 projects … and stopping. Not that I don't have a Ravelry queue as long as a donkey's ear, but I'm just getting wise to my tendency to overbook things. I got smart with the TNNA booth and decided to do a soft launch of just the 6 Pullover Unpatterns, postponing the Cardigan release until the June show. Likewise, I'll have sweaters in the back of my mind to work on this year, but I'll consider the 6 Unpattern Cardis as half of those 12, with another 6 or more to round out the year.

And the Olympic Challenge? (It's coming up! Can you feel it?) No new sweaters for me—despite all your great votes, I've decided to get even more grown-up and tackle the UFOs. There are some very worthy projects in there that have just stalled out, and they deserve to get off the needles. So we're-a-gonna hit them hard in February. Finish one, and I get a bronze medal. Two for silver, three for gold.

Here they are, in all their delayed glory:



And there's a lovely Linen-Stitch Laceweight Stole that may take me until the End of Time, but it's worth a shot—

That oughta keep me out of trouble, eh?

Happy New Year, one and all!
See you on the needles next year.

it's beginning to look a lot like…

Trade Show!

No Christmas tree this year, since we're gettin' out of dodge next week, but I do have a festive display in our living room:

One, two, three, four, five, six!

Which means... the deadline has been met. All ladies in my booth shall be clothed. Each silhouette has been sampled (in pullover form, at least), so I have something to show in the booth!

Of course, the knitting doesn't stop here (what, are you kidding me?), but at least the big pressure is off and I can stand in front of The Rockettes with a smile and show off my wares.

The Hat Unpatterns got a major remodel this week, and they're ready to go to press…

We might just be able to pull this one off, folks!


vital matters of no urgency

Am I the only one out here who starts obsessing about completely irrelevant things when under the gun on a deadline?

I mean, frankly, there's nothing like giving your brain a break from the things that really matter (like getting 12 Unpatterns ready for launch in two months' time) (and designing a trade show booth) (and getting sexy marketing materials organized and printed) (and re-designing a workshop for trade show participants) by planning what you're going to knit in …


But I got a little taste of Olympic fever when we were up north across the border (Victoria being deliciously close to Whistler, host of the Winter 2010 Olympics). So now, there's a part of my brain that's planning for the Winter Knitting Olympics, which probably starts when we're at Madrona.

For Torino 2006, I set myself the absurd challenge of whipping up Alice Starmore's "St. Brigid" in 17 days. And, to be honest, I got a bronze for effort: back and most of the front done in time. Had I not hit the speed bump of needing to add a full repeat for length (which meant ripping back the front neckline, a heinous bit of shaping - in pattern), I might have muscled through. As it was, I finished it before the … Summer Olympics were finished (yes, in 2008):

So this time around, I'm playing a bit more conservative with my goals.
Sweater? Sure. Charts? Perhaps. But no all-over cable craziness!

In the last 24 hours, I've settled on three top contenders, and decided to take it to the vote with you all (mainly so I can reclaim my prefrontal cortex for more important matters, like, um, work).

In the first corner: "Tweedie"
by Hanne Falkenberg.
• size 4 needle or so (my fastest size … really!);
• no charts to speak of, just color wrangling every 3 rows;
• cachet of putting "Falkenberg" on my knitting C.V.;
• plus, I actually already own the kit!

Cons: well, none, really.
Bought this kit at Stitches West a few years ago after seeing one of the Madrona gals sporting it. Loved it, loved the shape, loved the colorway, and it would make a great addition to the wardrobe.
(Besides, I've been assured by others that if I knit this, my ass will indeed look that good in jeans.)


In the next corner: "Ivy League Vest"
by Eunny Jang.
•Fair Isle a serious opportunity to show off chops;
•no sleeves to speak of (thereby vastly increasing chances of actually finishing);
•great color play opportunity before Olympics, and chance to use what I've learned from Feral Knitter in color workshops;
•plus a chance to use some of my Shetland stash!

Cons: well, none, really.


In the third corner: "Seneca"
by Jared Flood.
• a chance to hop on the "I [heart] Jared" bandwagon;
• lots of stockinette makes up for the presence of sleeves;
• cool cablework, but only in a few select places;
• plus, I actually already own the yarn and the booklet!

Cons: well, none, really.





In the fourth and final corner:
One of the Official Vancouver 2010 designs

by Kristina Hjelde for Dale of Norway.
• actually knitting an actual Olympic sweater less than 500 miles from the Games!
• lots of stockinette plus strategically-placed colorwork
• an official patch to put on the sleeve when you're done (we loves us our schwag).

Cons: don't own the yarn, don't own the pattern book – but Yarn Barn does let you choose a unique colorway! I'm thinking charcoal gray for the main color, plus natural and orange for the contrast colors.


So what say you, Gentle Knitters?
Vote in the comments.
The brain you save may be my own!


it's in the air

Just back from a long-ish dog walk, and realizing that it's turning into my favorite time of year.

Yes, the lawn is crispy, and the pretty flowers are few and far between, but there's a nostalgic twang in the air. There's a moment when you leave the house in the morning when you wonder if you'll need a scarf -- and then decide not. We're in shorts-and-T-shirt mode, but some mornings you need a hat, and you realize that the slow slide into more and more layers is beginning.

The days also don't seem quite as glaringly bright, and there's a whiff of cool on the air -- perhaps from the collective exhalations of teenagers looking at the calendar, sighing, and counting their remaining days of freedom.

And, let's face it, no matter how old I get, I still lust after back-to-school supplies.

We grown-ups don't get the luxury of a life change built-in at this time of year, and I think that's sad. I, for one, get a little thrill from putting together the Fall class mailer for Churchmouse (it'll be coming out next week!) -- it's my chance to participate in that 'back-to-school' vibe. And I love any excuse to be thinking about sweaters, so it's no wonder I look forward to the day I can pull them all back out from storage and start wearing them again.

One of my favorite things about living in Berkeley was the microclimate: just a titch different from the peninsula, across the Bay, where I grew up. Berkeley gets morning fog from The City (SF) year-round, which means that nine months out of the year you've got "Sweater-and-Shorts" weather. Fabulous.

Up here in the Pacific Northwest, we get an actual Winter (okay, so it's not Minnesota, but hey -- we need gloves for a few months!), so our Sweater-and-Shorts season is shorter than California's. That doesn't mean I don't savor it, of course. The few weeks in September when my lower half stays in Summer while my upper half heads to Fall is a very comfortable time.

So, to celebrate, I have an (almost) finished sweater to show off!

This is "Lily," from Marie Grace Designs: knit from the top-down, with a cool little special yarn-over increase at the raglan lines, and a feminine-without-being-girly picot edge at the cuffs.

Yarn: Marianne Isager "Alpaca 2", a wool-alpaca blend that is to die for, dahling.
8 skeins; held doubled throughout.
Needles: US 5 (3.75mm) Addi Turbos

Mods: decided against the picot edge along the bottom hem, and worked I-cord bind-off instead all the way around bottom, along front edges, and around neckline. Worked two large-ish buttonholes at base of V-neck shaping, to accommodate a tie or a button closure (snaps of that next, when I get those finished).

I also decided not to work the sleeves in the round and seam them instead (shock! horror!). I know, I know, I'm usually the no-seam evangelist, but with the 50% alpaca content in this yarn, I was worried that my gauge might shift from flat to circular knitting: and the sleeves are (naturally) the only place in the pattern where you work in the round.

Which explains why my close-up of the picot sleeve hem features a tell-tale yarn end: I haven't actually sewn the sleeve seams yet. I'll grab an hour this afternoon to get that done, and hopefully post final final snaps of Lily in the next day or two.

Can't wait to trot her out (with a pair of denim shorts, of course!

Happy fall knitting, y'all.

it's an art, not a science

Shock-horror: actual knitting content ahead!

[Non-knitters may want to skip ahead to the running content. Or not.]

The black Malabrigo Sock Top-Down Pullover with Set-in Sleeves is just about due to come out of its bag after an extended time-out. It's been there, well, because... because of a miscalculation which I choose to blame on the sweater instead of on the designer.

Photographic evidence of what I've wanted to avoid acknowledging for the last month:

I'm pointing to my careful short-row bust shaping (lower finger), and ... my actual bust (upper finger.) You see, the problem is that despite the ravages of gravity, my bustline does not usually reside quite on top of my belly button.

There's a whole lot of size-one-and-a-half-needle ripping in my future. Gurp.

With faith in positive thinking, however, I'm declaring that this is the ideal opportunity to fix the massive amount of rolling it's doing at the bottom:

(Does wonders for the muffin top, hey?)

Oh, and I managed to make the sleeves too long, too! By about three inches! See?

But at least the sleeve cap is not too bunchy – it should block out nicely.
[Impossible to see in the photo below due to bad lighting, so sorry … But for the sake of posterity I'll post it here anyway.]

Further evidence, as if y'all needed any, that design is an art, not a science. We can calculate, and plan, but in the end we're creating a flexible fabric to wrap around some (very odd!) shapes. So we plan, and then check, and then check again … and when adjustments are required, we put our big-girl boots on and do the necessary. Because in the end, it's the finished sweater that you're left with; eventually, you forget the hours of knitting that went in and got ripped out. I want to wear this puppy with pride for years and years, and that's worth investing another few weeks in.

Besides, Boy and I got a road trip coming up! 2 days in the car to go down to Cali: time to visit Dad again, and celebrate Doctor K's birthday in STYLE.

Okay, that's all for today: Got me a hot date with a ball winder to unravel this bad boy. Wish me luck.

big gray

Tina (yes, that Tina) sent me the linky love today...

I've been knitting on something for the past few weeks, something we've been cooking up together, one (which is why it remains unbloggable). Trust me, though. It's-a-gonna be COOL.

In the blog entries I write in my head all day long (but don't often get down in time to post), I've been referring to it as "The Big Gray Blob." Which of course doesn't do the garment justice at all, because it's the most neatly architectural thing I've done to date, I think.

But here's what I can show ya, since Tina's posted the same photo over at her blog:

Mmm. Gray.
I've been obsessed lately. Unashamedly. I think it started with Dr. K's birthday cardigan (Ravelry link), and has just rolled on from there.