Works in progress

Not that it’s ever going to be cold enough to wear any of these things ever again. Maybe I can use them as padding for the beds on my improvised raft-home when the icecaps melt completely and Brooklyn floods over. Gah.

(this ridiculous mild winter is really getting to me. I have reverse SAD; going too long without inclement weather makes me cranky. it’s in the 50s today! on january 31! everything is just the worst.)

The herringbone cowl proceeds apace. Irritating as the actual knitting is, it really is gorgeous.

I went ahead and did the sleeves on the Effortless Cardigan before continuing with the body. I’m pretty sure I’m going to run out of yarn, and while I don’t care if all of the ribbing is done in a different black yarn, I do care if the sleeves are. So I used one ball for each sleeve and knit down to where the ribbing would start. There was just a little left of each ball, which I tucked up into the sleeves and pinned in place with large stitch holders. I think I have three balls left in addition to the one I’m working on, which will definitely get me to the lower edge, but may not cover all of the deep ribbing at the bottom and along the front edge and around the neck.
This is another project that’s not very interesting to work on, but will be a fantastic wardrobe addition. The yarn I’m using, Karabella Frost, is a very soft blend of cashmere, silk, and viscose and has enough weight to it that it drapes beautifully. I’ve lengthened it by two inches between the waist decreases and increases to accommodate my freakishly long torso, but otherwise am making it exactly as written.

The last active project in my rotation right now, Edith Mildred Ferguson, is kind of the opposite: super fun to work on, but probably won’t see a ton of wear. I think complicated cables are pretty much my favorite kind of knitting. They’re just so damn satisfying. And cool. But this is going to be a heavy worsted-weight turtleneck, which I don’t need very often in the overheated places I spend my time.
Since I took this picture before the weekend, I’ve gotten up to the armhole bindoff on the front. I don’t know that I could recommend the pattern unreservedly — the chart is numbered consecutively and the numbers alternate from the left side to the right side, which in every other pattern everywhere indicates the inclusion of ALL rows, but it in fact only charts right-side rows; also, the side shaping is a little weird, the decreases and increases are set very close together — but for a knitter who is experienced enough to work through the chart issues and redistribute the shaping, I think it makes a really cool sweater. I’m going to add a turtleneck, since that kind of high crew neck doesn’t flatter me and I’ve lengthened the body some and made some technical changes, but the basic garment and the cable placement is unchanged.

New projects

After my recent finishing frenzy, which also includes Osmena:
I’ve been in the mood for some new projects. To that end, I cast on for the purlbee’s Herringbone Cowl in Water Green Malabrigo. It’s not a color that I’m typically drawn to, but it’s working for me. Plus, Lady Emily Ashworth is always described as being dressed in very flattering “water green silk” in Anne Perry’s Thomas Pitt mysteries — I like the William Monk series better, but still read all of ‘em — and Lady Emily and I have the same coloring. Inasmuch as fictional and non-fictional people can be said to resemble each other, that is. The stitch pattern is not my favorite to work, but I love love love the result.
I’ve been plotting some non-yarn crafts too. These geometric coasters are great and would work well to use up scraps. And I love the idea of these stamped tea towels.

Um, holy crap. I did a quick google to find some fun stamps for that project and there is a serious rubber stamp rabbit hole on the internet. I just fell down it. This site of Edward Gorey-related ones is awesome. The “geekery” section of the rubber stamp category on etsy has some good stuff. Geometry stamps! Who doesn’t love Abraham Lincoln? A number of etsy sellers offer custom portraits, which could be a weirdly hilarious gift for everyone you know (Merry Christmas! It’s my face! On a towel!). Old-timey monsters. Yellow Owl Workshop has some seriously awesome stamp sets. Turn everyone into Victorian gentlemen. And in the event that you have any ferret-themed rubber stamp needs, this site will meet them handily.


I’ve actually already managed to knock out both of my crafty goals for January.

1. Rob’s scarf is done. That was a lot of seed stitch.

2. I finished blind stitching the binding on this quilt, so I can finally, finally use it. I made the top out of samples of silk upholstery fabric that I bought at a now-defunct thrift shop on Atlantic Avenue four apartments ago, so six years? Seven? I backed it with a zebra print because the mix of patterns and colors made me think of a certain kind of eccentric British aesthetic: manor houses filled with generations of beloved possessions, a sacrosanct cocktail hour, wellies under a silk slip with your grandmother’s Persian lamb coat, a cursed emerald as big as an egg, and a tea cozy for a hat. Those kinds of places always have a stray moth-eaten zebra rug lying around from when Great-Grand-Uncle Binty was in Kenya with Papa or whatever.
The apartment that I moved into after the one where I was living when I made it turned out to have bedbugs. (First go, I typed that as ‘badbugs,’ which they really, really are.) So it ended up being washed in super-hot water and dried to a crisp, which made some of the squares with metallic threads shrink unevenly and pull some of the seams — like the one smack dab in the middle (argh!) — out of alignment. I hid it away in despair and left it alone for a few years.
But in the spirit of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good and also because I got tired of it taking it drawer space while being useless, I went to visit Carolyn in Chicago and had her walk me through the quilting and binding steps. And now it’s done!

Also: squirrels:


I *love* New Year’s resolutions. Love them. I love sitting down on New Year’s Day with my fresh Moleskine day planner and thinking about what I want to happen in the next 12 months while shoveling as much hoppin’ john in my mouth as I can handle*. I believe in making very specific resolutions, ones that are going to be either FUN or in the service of something that I really want. (A good friend of mine from grad school made the same resolution every year: Drink more. That’s what I’m talking about.) Last year’s included making sure that I always had some wine around the house, reading all of Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, a timeline for finishing, editing, and submitting my book, donating blood as often as I was eligible, and some goals for pursuing more freelance writing and self-publishing more knitting patterns. I let myself get derailed on some of the work-y ones, but I totally kicked ass when it came to booze and blood.

This year, I’m trying something a little different: more general goals for the year, specific ones for each month. The general ones all fall into one of two categories: ‘Learn’ or ‘More of.’ Among other things, I want to learn more embroidery and crochet — I’m decent at each as far as I go with them, but stay well within my very limited comfort zone — and want more of a lot of things in my life: music, having people over, houseplants, hiking, baking bread…

January’s specific goals are to finish the scarf I’m knitting for Rob, which is seed stitch and sportweight yarn and insanely boring but beautiful, knock off the blind stitching for the binding on this quilt, which is a task I find insanely tedious but one I need to do to finally finish this thing and be able to use it, and get back on track with writing. I have a big freelance proofreading project due next week, so the book will have to wait until after that (not least because I need my work table back to spread out all of my notes and research), but I’ll get there.