Monday, April 30, 2012

Yggdrasil and Charting Lace

My current monster project (because I inevitably have at least on of these on my needles, regardless of how many smaller projects are/need to be worked on) is Yggdrasil. I've mentioned it in passing a couple of times but I hadn't taken pictures of it until today. This is mostly because enough of the cable border needed to be knit so that the body was "liberated" and I could lay it flat. I can't wait for it to be finished. It's so endearingly lovely... all heathered and cabled.

Of course, it would be finished much more quickly if I worked on it. At all.

Between knitting breasts and writing patterns for knit breasts, it's hard to find the motivation to actually grind through the last 4 repeats of the cable chart, work the corner and kitchener that bugger together. Also, it probably doesn't help that I mis-crossed my last cable row and I'm being a stubborn idiot about fixing it. But in theory, it's about halfway done, which is good because I underbought in yarn from a store 5 hours from my home like a genius, and the likelihood of ever re-encountering this dyelot is somewhere next to the likelihood of re-encountering a dinosaur while being struck by lightning. I think I can make it, though.

It really is a clever little pattern. (Word to the wise, print the chart and mark both sides of rows to keep your bearings. That ^^ is not a symmetrical tree and the chart, she is wide and written in tiny font)

I think there may actually be too many repeats in the edging. It wants to curl up into a gentle ruffle. Maybe in the heavy cotton the pattern calls for the cables lay flat simply due to their weight, but my loft wool doesn't want to. I need to be careful on the pick up round (I'm writing this down here so that there's proof that I told myself this in advance, even though I will probably do so haphazardly, like an idiot.)

I have distant plans to cast on another Niebling project--frosted fern. I recharted it in excel from the written directions courtesy of the wayback machine. I have a personal rule never to work complex lace from written directions. It stems from a run in with a frostflower border in Vogue Knitting on one of my first sweaters. Frostflowers are evil. They are knitted lace--pattern on every row, as opposed to lace knitting where the pattern is on every other row. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into, and after days of struggling with the stupid narrow columns that divided a row of knitting over 5 rows of directions, I invented charting.

By myself. I had never read a chart before. I had never even seen one. It didn't matter. The pattern seemed linear, the stitch count didn't change. I made up my own symbols and went to town.

So, upon encountering 120 rows of uncharted text, I opened excel, got out my graph paper, and set out to make an easily understandable chart.

It needs a few more edits--I don't write in Mr. Niebling's style. I prefer my leaves segregated into their own sections and my stems mostly unbroken, and to achieve this, I'm willing to work with large "no stitch here"sections. But those need to be added later, since you can't really know the widest point of something until you've past it. It's about half-way done. I was content simply getting it transcribed.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Boobkini

Links in this post are probably not safe for work. Nothing terrifying, just... stuff your boss probably doesn't want to see.

My knitting has taken an... odd turn as of late. A few months back, I applied to a posting on CraigsList asking for "knitresses" to make objects "roughly the size of hats." I am a naturally curious creature, and so I spent a good month mulling over what sort of projects were roughly the size of hats but still not hats. The only thing I could come up with was a bowling ball cozy. (If I had a bowling ball, I would make one just so I could say I had a bowling ball cozy.)

After a few weeks of silence, the woman in charge got in contact with me and told me we would be knitting fake breasts for a lactation instructor. Oh. Hats. Gottcha. I offered to help with anything she needed--editing, yarn selection, all that good stuff. A few weeks later, I got an e-mail saying that they were looking to combine 2 patterns into one, and she would get it to me eventually.

That leads us to this past weekend. Friday I received an e-mail with the two patterns that needed to be combine: a relatively standard breast pattern that was probably designed for women who've had mastectomies, and something called "Booby trap." Also she needed it by Monday (... ... ...). And so I set to work trying to make what I have affectionately dubbed the "boobkini." First the breast needed to change so that it would look full but not actually be too thick. Then I needed to make straps. Then I needed to figure out how to connect the two.

15 hours and a trip to Joann fabrics later, it was finished. It was a slog to get it done, mostly because every decision needed to be correct the first time if I were to finish in time. but it's done. finally. and now I just need to knit a ba-jillion more of them. So regular knitting is probably on a temporary hiatus in favor of monetary advancement, which is a little sad since I was really enjoying Les Mis.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Gingko and grad school

It's been an awkward time of life these past few weeks. I was accepted into my graduate program at EWU (weeeeee!) and funded for the next year, which meant that job searching was more or less a moot point, since no one is hiring someone for 6 months. So job hunting has been replaced with sketching serial cross-sections of chick embryos and learning basic programing. I'm excited to see what next year will hold, but I'm also rather nervous. I received an assistanship, which I wanted, but they haven't told me what I will be doing/teaching in order to merit their money, and I've been out of school for a year. I'm feeling rusty. I'm feeling inadequate. I'm feeling like I need to review my entire undergraduate curriculum in the next 6 months.

It's terrifying. Still, I can't wait to get back on the embryology horse and learn all sorts of new, fascinating things. Let's just leave it at "change is scary."

In other news, I started knitting Les Miserables, which has several things going for it. First, it is named after my favorite book by my favorite author. Second, it is felted laceweight, something I have always wanted to try. Third, it is charmingly distressed by little dropped stitch columns that fill me with girlish glee. The pattern is quite simple, and it's nice and mindless most of the time.

It was put aside for two days, though, to make way for Gingko, a shawl that I knit for our accountant. The blessed woman did our taxes pro bono this year and got us back enough money to calm my worried, worried heart and fix the car. She said, "pay me when you come back next year." I could have cried. Instead, I knit her a shawl.

Gingko is adorable. I went down a 2 needle sizes across the board so that it would be a little more sturdy. I added a repeat to each section (45 increase rows and a m1 in each half to get the necessary 92 stitches), and it looks lovely. I couldn't be happier. Well, maybe the leaves could look something like a gingko leaf (seriously... no relationship is shape.)

These are not gingko leaves.
This is a gingko leaf
But for what I wanted and the amount of time and effort it took to get there, I am more than pleased. It's in the mail. Marvelous.

Photo credit for the gingko leaf: