Speak the Good News, Sista!

Pattern: "Sideways Grande Cloche," by Laura Irwin, available in Boutique Knits and Interweave Knits Accessories, 2009
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca Grande - 100% Alapaca, ultra lofty 2-ply super-bulky weight
Colorway: Brown

Plus: This yarn feels like heaven in your hands, and I feel like a movie star wearing this hat. Nuff said, y'all.

Delta: Dear knit designers, please, please, pretty please, with rainbow sprinkles and cool-whip on top, give gauge specifications in stockinette. Because Irwin provides this gauge in ribbing, I totally psyched myself out on this piece and ripped it out at least four times before proceeding with my gut instinct needle (one size above the specified, my usual MO). This anxiety was intensified after reading the Ravelled comments about how many people's hats turned out way too large. It's no wonder, since I could never figure out whether I was on track for gauge or not. Totally, unnecessarily infuriating. It did come out on the big side, but I've got a pretty big noggin.

I wore this hat to school the day after I finished it, and one of my knitting students looked the construction over, wide-eyed, and then asked me, "So, did you....tapestry needle this twist thing down?" Best noun-to-verb conversion I've heard in all week.

We received our first law school "YES" this week. Washington and Lee, ranked #30 in the nation. Woot! That knocks out all the previously applied schools ranked lower. He also added this week U of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, Boston University, and Georgetown. Keep your fingers crossed for us! I've been busy writing personal statements and collecting recommendation letters for my own job search, which is a pretty odd search, indeed, since I don't yet know my city. Let's hope the good people at Carney, Sandoe, and Associates know what they're doing.

Square #15


Chilly Steers and Discount Yarn

Pattern: "Easy Wave" by Lynne Barr (you know, that chick who's getting all the buzz for her new reversible knitting book), available in Knitting New Scarves
Yarn: Fiesta Watermark - 60% mohair/40% wool; single-ply heavy aran (almost bulky)
Colorway: Tequila Sunrise

Plus: Lynne Barr is kind of crazy. She thinks of the most insane things to do with knitting needles. Every time I'm knitting this scarf around accomplished knitters, they stare in wonder and eventually pull up a chair so they can see how this textured is created. Perhaps the most amazing thing is that it's not hard at all. Easy memorize, easy to rip back, easy to keep your place, virtually idiot proof.

Delta: This yarn, while lustrous and beautifully dyed, itches like the devil and felt sweaty and hairy in my hands. Not a wise choice for a scarf, for sure, but darnit, it was whispering to me demands of structure. I have two full skeins leftover from when I snatched up everyone last one out of the 50% off bin at Woolie Ewe. I'm thinking it will also look fetching as a felted purse. Stay tuned!

Those cows were major divas, but they gave me some good advice:

Also, way overdue......

Pattern: "Ingenue," by Wendy Bernard, available in Custom Knits
Yarn: Karabella Marble - 55% Wool/ 45% Alpaca; loosely spun two-ply worsted
Colorway: gold
Size: 43" modeled here with 1" of positive ease
Mods: added 1.5" torso length

Plus: Love, love, love. I want to wear it constantly. In fact, by the time this picture was taken, I had worn the sweater out at least 5 times, hence the slightly rumpled sleeves. Bernard's design is both classy and wearable, and the seamless construction is a breeze. I demand that you make one right now! Oh, and I can't say enough about this yummy yarn, which incidentally, I also plucked from Woolie Ewe's discount shelf. Hurray for 50% off!!!

I'm wondering if the sleeve edges and bottom hems would look cleaner with a turned hem. Like, you could work your ridge pattern stitch four times, purl a row, then work the same depth in stockinette (in a smaller needle size) and tack it down behind the ridge stitch. I'm wild about the collar, and I sometimes worry that the sleeves and hem look flimsy in comparison. Maybe I'll try that someday, since I have two more lovely balls left....again. Coincidences abound here.

Jake applied to the following schools yesterday. More applications to come in the next month. Imagine me in the following cities....

1. New York U (Manhattan)

2. U of Texas (Austin)

3. U of So Cal (LA)

4. U of Minnesota (Twin Cities)

5. William and Mary (Williamsburg, VA)

6. Washington and Lee (Lexington, VA)

7. U of Georgia (Athens)

8. Yeshiva U (Manhattan)

9. U of Cincinnati (duh)

10. Penn State (Carlisle)

11. DePaul (Chicago)


My other husband - Xmas gift 7 (boy)

Pattern: "Seamless Saddle Shoulder Pullover," by the inimitable Elizabeth Zimmerman, available in Knitting Without Tears
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy (Tea Party and Happy Forest)
Needles: US7
Size: I calculated precisely for 41 inch chest, modeled here with 1.5 inch positive ease; I also measured his favorite sweater, a good move since it turns out he has the arms of a freaking ape, and I was going to need to add 2 more full inches to each sleeve length
Mods: By request, I made 2" ribbed edgings (1" around the neck), rather than turned hems

So easy, so joyful, so satisfying! You can't help but feel clever when working a Zimmerman design. The long stretches of circular stockinette were excellent for commuting or really good TV, while the shoulders were downright fascinating to watch take shape. I will definitely use Classy again, a multi-plied superwash yarn that improves dramatically after a bath. Garrett was so impressed by the depth of the colors and the softness of the wool, it was hard not to purchase more that very night!

If I could do it again, I would add at least 1.5 more inches in body length and taper a bit down to the waist. I had cast on and knit a great deal of the torso before I measured his favorite sweater, and it was then that I realized that I should have started narrower. Also, I'm not sure that 1/4 of chest width on each shoulder saddle was enough, since it left the neck hole oddly large and horizontally rectangular. Maybe 1/3? I offered to fix it right away, but he turned me down and said that he was presently too eager to start wearing it around. Spoken like a man who wants more handknits, huh???

Too cute, man.

KER-SPLAT!!! I'm finally getting back to Becca's afghan. I had been buzzing along at a decent one-square-a-week pace for a while and then fell behind.


Simple Gifts

One of my knitting group kiddos gave me this bookmark, her second finished object ever. Have you ever seen anything sweeter?

A slightly more experienced knitter whipped up this eyelash yarn "scarflet." It's barely big enough to wrap around my neck. She had run out of yarn. It happens.

Another student baked this Christmas ornament which has perfumed the entire apartment with a yummy cinnamon aroma, even through the ziploc bag. I'm afraid that if I remove it from said bag to hang on the tree, I'll be vacuuming up glitter until next Christmas.

Unsurprisingly, I think I'm most excited about these two beauties. The one on the left is the successfully improvised, first canning effort of one of my dearest friends (she's a tad afraid that she has now gifted her friends with a can of botulism). On the right is a gift from a school parent.

Handmade gifts old and new: on the bottom is an adorable planter turned votive holder, painted by my bestie Garrett. Ever since I revealed to him my fantasy that all my friends adopt different handcrafts and we fill each others' lives with incredible, one-of-a-kind treasures, he's been searching for more ways to get creative. I suggested BeDazzling. Above, origami flower bouquet, a wedding gift from my college roommate Emily.

My mother-in-law and aunt-in-law have taken up beading. The piece above is my mil's second necklace! She even gave me a bracelet and pair of chandelier earrings to match. They take a metals class this spring. I've got to say, I am in full support of this new hobby.

Pattern: "Leafy Mitts" by Ruth Stewart, available for paid download on Ravelry here
Yarn: Noelle's Noodles Handpainted Merino Aran (San Francisco)
Needles: US 7 dpns (worked in the round)

Plus: I bought this yarn 100% for the colorway name, which was the fabulous location of our honeymoon. It's hard to see in the photo, but the color is truly lovely. This is everything I want a handpainted yarn to be: flickery, subtle, watery, spirited, delicate....not stark contrasts with regularly occurring thick, horizontal darts of variation (ahem, Lorna's Laces). As for the pattern, the embossed leaf design has a big "wow" effect with non-knitters, even though it's a cinch and pretty fun.

Delta: I found the pattern a little clunky. The chart was oddly drawn, and the directions were awkwardly phrased where written out. None of it was hard, really. I just couldn't shake the feeling that it could have been more straightforward. Also, do you see that little roll at the base of the stem, just above the ribbed cuff? The part that makes it look like my wrist has a roll of fat around it? Yeah.

Groundlessness - Xmas gift 6 (boy)

My heart is so full.

My sister was wed to a wonderful man last weekend. You can check out her incredible wedding here, along with some shots of the shawls I knit for the bridesmaids. (I am especially wary of stealing photography from a photographer's website.) I spent the weekend aching under the weight of fierce nostalgia for my sister, happiness for their perfect match, loneliness among the thick friendships of her maids, envy for her glamorous looks, and deep shame for my dumpy appearance. I wore a dress four sizes larger than the wedding dress I wore in April 2008. I'm like a sad cliche: the girl who gets married and blows up like a balloon because she no longer cares. I felt cut open and raw from all the frank reality, made worse by the strict documentation conducted by her three photographers.

This week, I told everyone at my job that I'm leaving. Jake got back his LSAT scores, and it looks like we're aiming within the top 30 law schools; none are located in the Dallas metro. I thought it would be exhilirating and freeing to do so. Instead, I now waiver between feeling like a traitor and footnote.

I have no idea where we're going. I have no clue where I'm going to work or even what type of school I'd like to work in. We don't know whether Jake will be able to work at all during year one. I don't know how much of a downsizing of our family income I should anticipate.

Lupron injections have finally been approved by my insurance company to treat my endo, but now I'm afraid to start. I'm afraid to give up. Even for six months.

My favorite stapler is broken.

At least I have knitting.

Pattern: "Over the Rainbow Scarf," by Claire Compton, available in The Knitter's Bible: Knitted Accessories
Yarn: Ella Rae Jaspe Wool (2)
Needle: US10 straights
Mods: slipped the first stitch of every row p-wise to make a pretty selvedge

Plus: Super-easy commuter piece. I seriously knit the whole thing at red lights and drive-throughs during the two weeks before Xmas. The Jaspe was a nice alternative to the Noro Iro, and the swap saved me about $15.

Delta: The wool is just slightly itchy. I also wish I had cast on a few more stitches to make the scarf about half an inch wider.