Friday, September 29, 2006

Convergence: Matilda and Angeltiger on the Town

So, my adorable, darling Angeltiger had occasion to visit the Windy City yesterday. Normally, this would produce in me only joy. In this instance, it produced mostly joy with just a soupcon of "Oh, crap. My house is a crack den." Before her arrival, I am happy to say, most of the crack den tendencies of the Painful Acres were of the past; furthermore, we were (I think) 100% stealth-cat-vomit free.

When she arrived, she was absolutely Teh H0tn355 +eleventy against male characters in her new pirate boots, her kickin' pencil skirt, and a side-button sweater that I have often coveted. I, in contrast, was in one of my shirts that blurs the line between adjunct slave and cafeteria lady.

Having balanced Angeltiger's fluids (urine out, Diet Coke ["It tastes like a mixture of Regular Coke and Tab. {pause} It is not heinous.] in), we needed A Plan. Delicious and spicy food was a must. A trip to Lush was requested on an "if possible" basis. Yarn whoring was inevitable.

Angeltiger had arrived at exactly that time of day when Gil the Wonderhound goes into a little routine I like to call Crack Pony. This involves indicating that he will explode all over me, my stash, and everything I hold dear if he does not get a walk RIGHT THE HELL NOW!

I changed into my fair isle sweater dress (complete with furry hood for those occasions when one needs to hide among the jawas of the tundra), tights, and boots that are cute, but no match for the piratey goodness. We put the harness on the dog (upside down, as it happened, but only for the first block or so. STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT!) and we headed to my lucious, dog-friendly LYS, My Sisters Knits.

Gil, completely without regard for our hot, hot boots, zigzagged merrily in front of us and kept the pace of our walk brisk. At the shop, he, Goldie, and Cody did their time-honored rituals. Cody and Goldie then began showing off for him, mock-wrestling (Cody has a very convincing growl, but he ruined the effect by kissing his best girl). And, of course, Gil completely subjugated the owner and got a cookie. Other than occasionally letting me know that he was ready to gooooooo, he was a very good boy.

Oh, and I had to admit that I did not, in fact, make the fair isle dress. Hoist on my own fashionable petard.

The shop is pretty small (Carol would like to expand, but we are DEFINITELY NOT taking out a contract on the beauty shop owner next door, nossir, not us), but she's always made the most of the space. However, I was not prepared for the embarassment of riches yesterday. She's reorganized and made even more space. For example this pretty space, which used to house needles now has floor-to-ceiling cubbies full of yarn. Lots more stock, beautiful color options, all Noro 50% off. SQUEEE!

I picked up some Kochoran in the 41 colorway. Angeltiger fawned appropriately over my yarn choice and asked what I had planned for it. When I named the hourglass from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. She blinked twice said, "I WANT THAT, but I keep forgetting about it!" and dove headfirst back into the Noro.

She emerged with enough for a totally hot ballet wrap (but we then forgot to buy the magazine with the pattern in it DOH!) and a bit short on another colorway for her own superhot hourglass. Carol offered to check at home to see if she had two more skeins in the second colorway. No joy as of last night, but she's also going to check in the box she sent to Washington State for an impending Yarn Thing. If it's not there, we're totally NOT going after the woman who'd walked out of the store earlier with three skeins of it. Nossir, not us.

Smackhead Smackdown: Gabby of Rowan, Smackier Picture

I don't really believe in writing hate mail. I'd like to feel that I've grown enough as a person that my days of gathering all objects associated with one who has betrayed me, setting fire to them, salting the ashes, driving a stake through each individual piece, and burying them at a crossroads are behind me. But let me tell you something: Kim Hargreave's patterns would have Penelope on the lookout for some accelerant and unconsecrated ground.

Knitting her Gabby from Rowan: Smackier Picture is rather like a high school relationship. There's the infatuation phase: You're knitting pretty, pretty stockinette to beat the band and you want nothing more than to feel the weight of your Cheeky, pullulating, 100% merino boyfriend in your lap 24/7. It's all you can do to keep from sleeping with it under your pillow. Under persistent questioning, you might be forced to admit that you lick him from time to time, even though this is a very, very bad idea with natural animal fibers.

But every couple has to have its first fight. This will usually occur when it's about time to start shaping the armholes on the back. "Complete to match first side, reversing shapings." Well what the hell does he mean by that? How could he strand me here on the wrong side of cast off stitches this way? Why does he think that I am arranged in some kind of nonstandard shoulder, shoulder, THEN NECK anatomical order? And then on the front, you can either choose to have a different number of rows on each side OR you can end on a wrong side. Is this a test? IS HE GETTING BORED WITH ME?

But you get through it. Your 100% merino boyfriend is no less soft and he's given you so much in such a short period of time. You think back to your old and busted wool and mohair boyfriend and you know that HE'D never have given you a whole front and back so soon.

The sleeves are a second honeymoon. You're older and wiser and your love is richer for it. Yes, you resent the fact that you're increasing as you knit upward toward the shoulder. But you don't complain. You don't point out that one should always decrease while knitting down toward the wrist as the elder gods intended. Instead you smile a secret, smug, self-satisfied smile and think of yourself as a giver.

The collar is the Cape Horn of the relationship: You will either weather it or wreck on it. My 100% merino boyfriend and I had a little from column A, a little from column B. Accusations are traded: Would it really have KILLED him to provide a freaking picture of the fucking 168-row, 800-lb swag from hell?

It's time for third-party involvement. No, not a threesome, but I suppose that might make for some highly reconciliatory make-up sex. A mediator. A counselor. And if you are lucky enough to have chicagowench play that role for you, you might just make it.

She tries to break the news about the collar gently, but there's bound to be rage. Does he SERIOUSLY mean to tell you that the thing is only to be attached in the back and left hanging free in the front to expose the stockinette AND the shaped neck, which features a freaking HOLE where one side's shaping leaves off and the other's picks up? No, you didn't fucking realize that the geometry wouldn't work if the thing was attached all the way around, because there is NO FUCKING PICTURE and not a single mention of any such thing. And little does he know the reckoning he is bringing down upon himself when he points out that you knew about the set-in sleeves before you set needle to skein. Don't lecture ME, 100% merino boyfriend, because I look like a serpent guard and I carry the wrath of the Jaffa. In my culture, I would be well within my rights to dismember you, indeed. (Still, serpent guard or not, it's kinda hot, even without side seams sewed. So, yah, the 100% merino sex is still good.)

If you're lucky, you emerge from this process with 98% of a sweater and a lot of wisdom. (And if you're SUPREMELY lucky, you get to observe 100% of the odious sewing, rather than living it.)

And then there's that last, baffling 2%. Not even chicagowench can lead you through the yarn fowards (which might or might not just be a goddamned yarn over). Not even she can tell you what the hell it looks like beyond: "Um, I guess it makes kind of a jagged line?" Not even she can save you from dorking on a row and ending up with one of the goddamned triangles pointing up. And she's probably not going to fly in to sew that new, improved, 100%-triangles-pointing-down motherfucker.

I'm goin' in.

Send lawyers, guns, and money.

Monday, September 25, 2006

7 deadly sins

Is it lust or greed that I just cruised past the lexie barnes outlet store and snapped up a heavily discounted Flo in 'little miss perfect'.

Clapotis is at 7 repeats in to the straight section. And now dutifully set it aside to work on hats in honor of a friend's recently departed mum.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Knitting to the Tiger Beat

So. I Volunteered at a teen open mic night last week. Yes, it's true. Rowan: Smackier Picture's Gabby has apparently driven me 'round the bend.

Before I realized that I'd committed to a 5-hour shift ending at 10:30 PM, I'd rather planned on taking the train up to the Armitage location, then enticing my spouse to come fetch me so we could go out to dinner or something. Of course, this is all a ruse of Bond-Villain-Level Complexity to facilitate knitting (train = quality knitting time with hundreds of your favorite crazy people).

But I ended up driving, so no strangely peaceful knitting time on the train, alas. The first part of my evening was spent in the concert hall where I mostly watched the performers, kept hooligans from exiting through the main door, and lusted after various shoes. Midway through the evening, though, we swapped with the folks outside the doors. This meant less to do, more light, and a chair. Ideal circumstances for knitting.

So I grabbed my dual counters, the collar, and my spare skein and got to work. Can I just tell you that every person, male or female, knitter or novice, who sees the Gabby collar says, "That's . . . a collar? Is it for . . . a giant sweater?" I got some idle curiosity from my covolunteers, and some strange looks and giggles from the under-18 set. But nothing builds self esteem like Toaster, stand-up comic and emcee, stopping dead in front of your chair, pointing to the knitting and LAUGHING.

Do I know how to build street cred or what?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Blocked, finished, and handed off on Saturday.

The freakin Clapotis is a joy to knit, after that. Le omg.

Monday, September 04, 2006


My hate for this pattern knows no bounds.
I have 3 inches left to go which will likely take the better part of 2 days, minimum, it's that obnoxious.

And I am sick.
And just got my period.

And want to do anything- ANYTHING- but work on this goddamn thing.

Unfortunately, I must finish it, as it's on deadline for a photoshoot.