It must have been the full moon 

The grumpiness is gone. The weather is nicer. Two loads of laundry have been done. And the dishes too. The toe is purple, but better and I think my toenail might even hang on. BUT my productivity still hasn't come back. I had to go back to my real job today so I fooled around with my huge capelet swatch while taking the metro. "Real" work will probably cut into the knitting time for at least the next couple of days. Hopefully I will accomplish something soon (must feed blog). Time to make Riz sauté aux crevettes for dinner.


G is for Grumpy 

I finally took a photo with my stole on. It's long enough to make a decent poncho! Just 5.5 repeats left. I knit 2 rows tonight, even though it's not on my knitting schedule until Saturday. It was a nice break from struggling with the hell I created for myself. There seems to be a mistake at the end of the short rows and I'm trying to figure it out. The problem is, I think I made a mistake checking it and now I have to go back and figure out if I made a mistake knitting or if I made a mistake reading or if the mistake is in the pattern. I have to admit, knitting this pattern from the text isn't much fun. Knitting it from the chart is better. Granted, it's not the most beautiful chart in the world, but I never expected anyone else to see it when I made it.

I've had it. The stupid pattern has won. The dishes have won. The huge pile of laundry has won. My throbbing toe has won (I smashed it against the window that is leaning against the wall in the hall and split my toenail and have a huge blood blister). I'm going to grump off to bed.


Just call me Fuzzy Lumpkins 

Hormone imbalance? . . . Steroids? . . . Puberty?

No. Angora. There is fuzz all over my house. Pink kidsilk haze fuzz in the shower, in the butter and then on my toast. Black angora fuzz all over me and up my nose and on my computer and stuck to my frog's face. After I'm done with these 2 projects there will be no more fuzzy yarn in the house for a while.

I knit for over 10 hours yesterday. I'm serious. Now I remember why I don't like gigantic needles. They make my hands hurt. Now maybe if I had had some nice Bryspuns it would have been a little better than the hard bamboo. I really should buy every single size next time I go home. I'll do that as soon as I win the lottery.

I'm just too darn tired to make a beautiful EZ "casting on casting off" in order to finish my angora project so I'm going to start my butter swatch. It will be my reward for my hard work yesterday. I'll be productive later.


A decision is made 


is going to be ripped quite a bit and become a sweater.


is going to become the capelet.

Can you believe I am actually going to use US8/5mm needles? That's huge for me. I really hesitated about this color. I usually hate yellow, but there was something I liked about this one. I tried to buy #508 but they only had 2 balls. Then I was trying to decide between #213 and the yellow. I probably should have bought the blue, but I figured if I really hate it, I'll give it to my yellow-loving sister... assuming she likes the capelet. Even though our early fall like weather is making me crave a nice sweatery thing to walk around in, I probably won't get to work on this for a while, like after October 1st. I'll have to check my knitting calendar and then my people will call the cashmerino's people to work out the details of our contract and the start date. I demand that it knit up quickly, not split and most importantly, that this will be the last (and 3rd) time that I knit this damned capelet. The cashmerino requires that I knit a huge swatch instead of unkindly ripping it 6 times. It also requests that I refer to it as "butter" and to stop badmouthing yellow. I'll have to call my lawyers to see if that's possible.


Knitting Grammar 

I have to go back to my "real job" any day now. For those of you who don't know, I'm a graphic designer teaching business English in order to stay in the country legally. This is because France appreciates me as an aglophone, but not as a designer who could potentially steal rare design jobs from les citoyens. So this reminds me of this question I have always had and have never bothered to get answered. Is knit a regular verb? Today, my friends, I will find the answer to this very important question.

When you are a French junior high student you learn loooong lists of irregular verbs in English just like this:
cut cut cut, do did done, eat ate eaten, go went gone, hit hit hit, leave left left, sit sat sat...
The first time someone said to me, "Dig dug dug, right?" I actually had to think about it. I dig holes every day. Yesterday, I dug a hole. I have dug many holes in my life. "Uh, yeah."

So which is it?
Is it knit knitted knitted?
Is it knit knit knit, like hit hit hit?
How about knit knat knat, like sit sat sat?

And the survey says:
So in one dictionary I have, knit is most definitely a regular verb, which means we should be saying, "Yesterday I knitted a thong." but as I look around at blogs, most people say, "Yesterday I knit a thong." According to Meriam Webster Online both are correct. What do you prefer? Why and where are you from? I wonder if there isn't a geographical divide between the Yesterday I kniters and the Yesterday I knitteders. I tend to say, "Yesterday I knit for 8 hours." although I'm going to try to start a "Yesterday I knat" revolution.


Anyone feel like test knitting? 

If you've got a skein or two of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky and size 10 1/2 straight needles, I've got a winter pattern that is very quick (1-2 hours? less?) and easy. I'd like it test knit and to check the yardage needed. Anyone interested? It comes in 3 kids sizes and 2 adult sizes. I'm being vague on purpose. Your help would be much appreciated. Email me for more info: katums AT kategilbert DOT com

I told you I was anal 

This is frustrating. I've been knitting all day long but I can't even show it to you! I haven't touched the stole. It's on my schedule starting September 4th. Yes, you read that right. A schedule. I actually made a calendar with each step of my projects on it to make sure I get everything done on time. Not to mention the numerous lists of wedding tasks. I just hope I can get everything done before I have to go back to work. Oh screw it. Here's a picture. You can't see much, but you know it's blue and you know it's knit on big needles. You'll see the FO soon enough.


Knitting dreams again 

Here's the dream I had last night: I knit this scarf sort of thing in bright orange possibly acrylic yarn and it needed a button because scarves have buttons, doncha know. So I go to this store to find the button, but it isn't a button store. It's Interweave Knits. And it's just two ladies sitting behind a counter and they tell me that today is the deadline for an upcoming issue. So I tell them that I knit this orange thing to submit. I put it on and show them how it wraps around my neck several time and even has buttonhole and a pompon randomly dangling near my chin. They say it's great and they love it and that a scarf with a pompon is a nice idea. Just go get the button and I can submit it. Kind of stupid dream, no? What does that mean, if anything? I think my ideas are great, but really they are crap? I should submit something? If I submit, I will be submitting crap? That one button and one pompon hanging off of a scarf is going to be the next big thing? Anyone have any other interpretations?

No stole progress. I've been working on project neck (hence the scarf dream). It has to remain secret for now, but I promise it is not an orange acrylic scarf with a pompon.


Little Miss Perfect 

This was me 30 minutes ago
Don't you just love when things come out right?! I mean, you have an idea, you sit down and knit it, and it's just what you wanted!

This is me now

I'm a perfectionist. I admit it. And it turns out that what I knit, while being what I wanted in terms of shape, is not what I wanted in terms of texture so I have to go yarn shopping. If I were just knitting something for me, I wouldn't worry so much about it being perfect. But whenever I'm designing something or knitting for someone else, I want it to be exactly right.

Haven't touched the stole today. Back to obsessing over details.

Summer bug 

I had some sort of bug yesterday and felt terrible! I had a fever and all my joints ached so I didn't get much done. 11.5 repeats are done on the stole and I started swatching for project neck. Thanks for all your opinions on the sweater/capelet dilemma. I think I have a solution. I just need about a million hours in the day to do everything I want to do ...too worn out to say anything interesting. Time to lay down and knit.


Here's the Capelet argument 

Professor Sweater: What the heck are we knitting a capelet on size 3 needles for? You know we might only wear it for a year. This sure is taking a long time!
Professor Capelet: Why should we going to stop now?! We were making so much progress and it feels so nice! Don't you want to be like all the cool girls and have a poncho thing this fall?
PS: No! I don't want to be like the cool girls. And even if I do this would be much nicer as a sweater. Plus, it would last a long time rather than one season.
PC: Yeah, but knitting the darned sweater is going to take just as long and just as much yarn. Maybe more! We only have 6 skeins.
PS: We can buy more and just hope that black is black.
PC: Yeah, right. Good luck!
PS: What if we turn this capelet into a sweater and then make another capelet/poncho thing? That way we can keep our sanity, be one of the cool girls AND have a lovely sweater.
PC: But we had such a good idea...
PS: But it might work even better with a thicker yarn. You can't even see the good idea in the photo!
PC: That's because it's not finished, dumbass!
PS: Oh shut up. Go knit yourself another mortar board.

Professor Sweater makes some good points. I'll have to think about it.
Hang in there Professor Capelet. I won't forget about you.

PS 10.5 repeats done on the stole. That's 62% if I end up doing 17 reps.


Project Progress Roll Call 

Lots of progress
I've got 9.5 repeats done on my stole now. I'll put up a new photo when I get a little further because you really won't see much a difference from yesterday's photo. I think I might not end up having to do the 17 repeats I had planned. I think it will stretch out a bit when it's blocked, so we'll see how many I get done and how long seems long enough. I'll probably freeze my ass off no matter how long it is.
Limited Progress
My capelet was going really well, but I'm unsure of the next step to take. I'll post about that tomorrow.
No Progress
1) I'm not getting anywhere with the patterns I've been meaning to write up. Those of you who've emailed me for something: Hang in there. I promise I'll get to them as soon as some of the wedding stuff is done and magazine deadlines have passed.
2) I had some ideas I really wanted to develop. After lots of swatching and ripping, they are getting nowhere. We'll call them Project Neck, Project Babe, Project Triangle, Project Fancy and Project Summer. Maybe you'll hear more about these later depending what I decide to do with them (and if I ever get anything done on them).
3) I'm the worst knit-alonger ever! I never even cast on for Anouk.
4) The second uptown boot sock... are you kidding? Do you think I have even thought about this thing lately?! I'm not sure I even like it enough to make a second sock.

Here's an Austrian sheep for ya.

Note to self: Must make this look more like a knitting blog.


The hills are alive 

length: 33.5" / 85 cm
repeats worked: 8
level of fed-up-edness: 2 out of 10.
I'm more bored than fed up.
days left: 45
finger allergy index: 4 out of 10

And here are a couple vacation photos:
Cornelia, Émilie and me in the mountains.
Cornelia climbed up barefoot. She was raised there, so she's part goat.

Here we are dancing and singing "Do, a deer..."
Émilie is singing in French and I'm singing in English.


I'm ba-ack 

Austria was fun. I ate wiener schnitzel and wurst and had apfelstrudel nearly everyday. I discovered almdudler, radler and kaiserschmarren. I spun in circles in the mountains and sang songs from The Sound of Music. It was great. I also visited 5 or so yarn stores in Vienna and one in Innsbruck. I ended up with the stuff you see above. One of the stores sold addi needles. They aren't marked "turbo" but they look like them and feel like them, so maybe they really are them. Fortunately, they cost less than half the price than in the states. I bought 8 so you won't have to listen to me whine about not being able to get the needles I want. I also got 2 balls of regia to make some socks or gloves or something with. I haven't decided. I got a couple random balls of GGH yarn and a bag of some lovely turquoise gedifra. Plus, a nice lady in a store gave me a bunch of magazines. They're in German, but it was still really nice. Now I just have to get working. I'll put some vacation photos up later so you can see me making a fool of myself pretending to be fraulein Maria in the mountains.

How are you all doing?


Gone fishin' 

for Austrian yarn and magazines

Maybe I'll post from Austria. Maybe I won't, but I'll be back around the 16th.

I'm having a fight with my cashmerino project so I'm bringing some random balls of yarn and my denise kit so I can play around. I'm even thinking about bringing my stole with me. I've made a lot of progress in the last 3 days and would like to keep it going while I'm on a roll.

While I'm gone, please enjoy my favorite Julias:
Julia FC who knits, spins and is taller and more articulate than most.
Julia in LA who always has lots of great ideas and is as nice as she is cute.
German Julia who lives in Paris, is tri-lingual and knits continental at the speed of light.
Hope to see you when I'm back!


Mary had a little lamb 

Check out my bargain book!

I found it in an American bookstore. There was no price on the back and it was kind of beaten up. It should have cost 2 euros but the saleswoman wanted to "faire un geste" because it was "fatigué" so she knocked it down to 1.50. It was originally published in 1943. I haven't really had time to look at it but it's got lots of crazy old-fashioned patterns in it and is chock full of clip art that illustrates nothing.

this is from the chapter "Sometimes puppies yawn while sitting near yarn"

This is to illustrate that if you knit ribbing
the sleeves will be too short on your son's sweater.
Whereas if you use welts the sleeves will be much too long
but at least your long-sleeved son can pick on the short-sleeved boy.

There is even a chapter of German knitting terms. Now I can fearlessly buy magazines in Austria without begging for too much help from Julia. I just hope I can find them! Wo sind die strickenden Zeitschriften? Wo ist der Garnspeicher? I have no idea what I'm saying. That's what the online translater thingy gave me. I hope I don't insult anyone.


I already know I'm a geek 

One of the reasons I really love knitting is that I really love math. When I'm not knitting, I like to do math and logic puzzles. And I like designing because it's like a big puzzle. You have to choose the right kind of increases and decreases and number of stitches and gauge to make something that fits and won't ride up or fall apart. So, as part of my never-ending quest to amuse and educate Try harder, Kate!, I have made you this beautiful knitting themed logic puzzle. I'll give you the answer in a few days. Questions or "I figured it out"s can be posted in comments. Good luck!

By the way, this little story is not at all a realistic reflection of my knitting so far this year. And extra help for those who need it: Licorne and Legende are made by Phildar. The former is 100% cotton and the latter is a wool/alpaca/acrylic blend. Cotton glace (100% cotton), Polar (wool/alpaca/acrylic) and Kidsilk Haze (mohair/silk) are made by Rowan.

Time to go to the bookstore. I'm going to Vienna on Thursday and have to figure out what there is there. My friend's friend says we'll go swimming in the Danube. After spending most of my life in cities with rivers (Genessee, Niagara, East, Hudson, Seine), I really can't imagine this being anything but dirty and gross, but hey, when in Austria, do as the Austrians. And maybe they don't call it "the Blue Danube" for nothing. I can hear the song now. Can't you?

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