Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Forecast - FO or Frog?

I'm not sure if I have finished my Japel Forecast from Knitty, worked in Crystal Palace Bunny Hop, Teal Lake color. The sweater feels quite snuggly, but the fit is not what I was hoping it would be. I'm a little tired of this project and don't much relish frogging the sleeves, but think that might be in order. Maybe I'll put it off until autumn, when it is much more likely I'll be wearing cardigans again.

Bunny Hop was nice to knit up as it was soft and springy. The bobbles and cables have a nice contrast and body to them. However, there is no stiffness to the final product which, in retrospect, I see was part of why the pattern works so well in wool. It might have worked better too if I did a gauge swatch (which, by the way, you should do in garter stitch worked with purls not knits if you have different tensions with those stitches).

The body of the sweater is fine, but the sleeves don't work well. I did the usual modifications of the pattern (thank you Winnie), and thought doing 3-stitch rather than 5-stitch bobbles would lessen the enormous arm effect. Alas, these arms are baggy and bulky. Maybe I should have paid more attention to Winnie and separated for the sleeves as called for in the pattern. Instead I knit a further 1.5 inches because the bust was much too tight.

Not only are the sleeves big enough for Atlas, they suffer the added problem of being too short. The pattern allowed for dpns in the round for the sleeves, or knitting flat. I chose knitting flat. Now and then I pinned the arms closed to see about length. I thought I got it right, but the arms are much too short.

Oh how I wish this were done so that I could move on to my next Japel project, the cable-down raglan from Interweave Knits, Spring 2007. The Knit Picks Swish DK in cornflower has arrived and wants to be on the needles.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Color Enhanced

Through a series of events that span decades and the full range of experiences that might visit a family, I now live in the house in which I grew up. Mostly I am busy with my life and don't give much thought to the fact that in the very same space where we now eat my family has eaten many thousands of meals, or that where I do the laundry is where my mom did quite similar laundry, and so on for every thing you might do during a day. But sometimes I indulge in those memories and think of what it means to have more generations here, living. I am spending more time these days with those thoughts as we contemplate painting the exterior of our house.

I didn't imagine before getting ready for this project what a stumbling place it would be to chose the color. I mentioned to my husband a color of green that I thought was nice, he asked why not go get the color and test it? This seems so simple, yes? But, good luck arriving in a busy paint store and saying something along the lines of "I'd like a green that is fernish, maybe a little more chartreuse." Hah. And making a choice from those itty-bitty cards illuminated with fluorescent light is equally challenging. Given that we're painting hardi-board the color choice will be with us for a decade or more. And though I've lived in this house most of my life, I don't feel I can look to the paint/stain choices of the past for any guidance since I never particularly liked the darkness of it all. Still, thinking of the past is so often a good starting point for future plans.

This is a picture that my brother recently sent to me of our house, the photo was taken about 10 years ago. And this is a picture of the house today.

It almost isn't recognizably the same house, but then you can see how the doors and windows are the same. In the last several years we've had to remove most of the trees around the house. Some were actively falling over, others were in poor health, yet others had matured more than expected and were taking out the fence and constantly brushing the house. The end result of all the arborist's work is in part the loss of the feeling that the house was in the forest. It was perhaps the most redeeming quality of the house as it used to be, it felt very much as though you stepped out of the city and into a quiet place amid the bustle.

This color choice dilemma I think is fed by conflicting desires of how the house should be. It should be much like it was yet entirely different, full of color yet not garish, modern yet classic. The yets! And onward I go because, after all, it is just paint.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Going Postal

At last I make my first post.  Years ago someone I don't admire so much mentioned that she was blogging for hours every single day.  She seemed pretty pleased about it.  I immediately imagined a drab diary on the internet and couldn't understand why to bother, and why anyone else would be interested.  What a failure of imagination!  I have only myself to blame for not investigating further until quite recently.   A few months ago I stumbled on blogs while searching for free knitting patterns and reviews of yarns, and what beautiful, detailed blogs they were.

I'm hoping to regularly "go postal."  It can be added to the list of other things I'm hoping to do as some sort of routine.  For instance, I will weed the strawberry bed regularly enough that it will take only moments a week instead of the hours on end at the beginning of the gardening season.  This is one of the many gardening "I wills" that I hope will come to some fruition.  Here you can see the half completed bed and it's promise of juicy July delights.

It is especially nice to see these plants upright and seemingly happy about Spring given the odd weather here earlier this week.  We set a local record for late snowfall.  Happily, the plants seem not nearly as confused as people about how to forge ahead despite their weird surroundings.