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Call Him Ishmael

minerva
Minerva says hey.

At the start of the New Year, I made a decision about my 2013 knitting. I wanted to knit as many sweaters as possible. I wanted to broaden my sweater construction technique. It only takes a quick look at my pattern page to notice that I am a top-down raglan sort of girl. Now, I love a top-down raglan. The math is relatively easy for this English major, the shoulders fit without too much trouble, and I don’t spend too days cursing at my darning needle trying to seam the damn thing. (I have nothing against seaming. I think it is amazing when done well–I just don’t do it enough to do it well, so I take it very seriously when I do it.) In my quest to learn different knitting techniques for sweaters, I decided that knitting a sweater per month sounded reasonable. I queued up a bunch of sweaters I thought I would like to knit this year, evaluated them all, and decided I could certainly knit one each in 30 days or so. (I may or may not have been crazy. You’ll notice, it’s well into March and this is the first time you, dear reader, are hearing anything of it.)

In January, I knit Abigal, which I still don’t have good pictures of. It’s a great, quick knit, for a fingering weight sweater. The weight is perfect, but it has this nasty habit of slipping off my slopy, round shoulders. I am wondering if blocking the collar out more would perhaps make it a bit more sturdy? (My other solution has to pin it in place at work with a brooch on one side and my name tag on the other.) You’ll notice the Abigail is a top-down raglan. But it was a quick knit and I got a deal on the yarn. Happy birthday me. I finished it early, so I decided to start on a new sweater for Brock since he’s wearing holes through the elbows of his Cobblestone every other week. Speaking of, if anyone has some brown, not to reddish suede I could use for elbow patches, I am in the market, as it were.

Having finished the Abigail cardigan early, I cast on for Ishmael Sweater in January and worked on it during the entire month of February. It took me until last night to finish it. Five days late isn’t anything, especially for such a large sweater.

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I don’t know how many of you have met Brock, but he’s not exactly small. 6’3″ and lanky as all get out.

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I added four inches to length all around.

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I also knit it a slightly tighter gauge than the pattern called for since he is firmly between sizes.

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The back detail floors me. It’s such a lovely touch (even with my mis-crossed cable that yes, I noticed, but decided to hell with it, and moved on.)

I’ll tell you a secret about the yarn. I dyed it myself, of course, in a color to Brock’s specifications, but the yarn isn’t something I have ever worked with before. It’s plain old Lionbrand Fisherman’s Wool. Talk about a bargain. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how much I trusted this yarn, but I have to say I really enjoyed knitting with it–and doesn’t it dye superbly? Brock wears his sweaters hard, so I will keep you updated with how well it wears.

I just cast on for Tule which I fell in love with the second I laid my hands on the new Knitpicks catalog. (You’ll notice that while Tule is top-down, it is a round yoke pullover, and not a raglan like the last two, so I really am doing something new, I promise.) Something snapped and I ordered the Aloft yarn immediately. I am secretly hoping I have enough yarn left to knit a cute little cowl.

I have been harboring the desire to design a sock weight summer tee with puffed sleeves, which may or may not have anything to do with me having just reread Anne of Green Gables, but am too chicken to start it just yet.

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Drive By Update on All the Things

First, an update on the hand-made wedding thing.

marla1

Here’s our save the date postcard, photographed by Brock’s sister, Lori Locke. She’s an amazing photographer and artist. (The font in the photo is original by her.) If you live in Northeast Kansas or the KC Metro area, give her site a look! The picture was taken in front of the old barn (at the farm where the wedding will take place) over Thanksgiving. (True story, Lori was just taking pictures for fun. She didn’t know we were getting married yet when the photo was taken. I am really grateful to her for letting us use it!)

Next, here’s a quick picture of what went out in the January Shipment of the RAWR sock club.

rawrjanuary

The inaugural yarn was, of course, hot pink, could it be anything else? Also, the special gift this time was a hand-printed greeting card featuring hipster Tiny Dino. This was my first shot at block printing, and I think it turned out pretty well. Brock drew the dinosaur and helped a bit cutting the linoleum. I really like how the cards came out. I am toying with using this technique for the wedding invitations.

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Card in detial

I finished my abigail cardigan and have been wearing it for a couple of weeks. Not one person has asked me if I knit it myself, which tells me I did a good job with the construction, so I am pleased. The yarn is pilling a lot in the underarms, but nothing a sweater stone can’t handle.

I am now hard at work on the Call Him Ishmael sweater I am making for Brock out of Nikol Lohr’s Literary Knits book. I am knitting it out of plain ole wool yarn that I dyed a nice masculine red, somewhere between brick and wine. I am nearly done with the yoke and love the pattern. It’s the perfect ration of mindless stockinette to shaping and cabling. Of course, it’s been in time out for the last three days because I twisted half the cables backwards on the last cable round and didn’t notice until I was four rounds up. I have become rather adept at dropping down and re-twisting the cables (the trick is to use double pointed needles on just the part you need to work on), but couldn’t face actually doing it quite yet. I will tackle it this afternoon so I have something to do during the Superbowl, as I am neither a big fan of football or beer and junk food.

Speaking of beer and junk food, I have been hibernating in the losing weight arena, possibly eating too many gluten free bread-like products and not enough vegetables. I have, however, been working out more regularly, and am making a commitment to do something active every day this month. So far so good. I hope to give weekly check-in updates about my progress in this arena. I have been gluten-free for 10 months now. I feel like after almost a year, I should have made more progress. I do try to remind myself that it has been a stressful year full of new jobs and changing birth controls and stuff that generally makes it difficult to lose weight. But then again, what year isn’t, you know? All I know, is I want to be stronger and buy fewer yards of yarn to make myself a sweater. Two, very simple goals.

And last, but certainly not least, I have been very distracted the last couple of weeks. Our apartment complex changed it’s pet policy at the beginning of the year, which made my goal of eventually living in a place where I could have a pet and a garden in the ground slightly more attainable. We decided to adopt a kitten from the local shelter. Since then, I have been reading about taking care of cats, reviewing cat products and foods (and trying to find an affordable grain-free cat food.) Basically, I haven’t been thinking about much else other than making our home right for our new addition. It’s very similar to how I was when preparing for Athrun, though much less intense.

minerva
Meet Minerva Pigwidgeon Cheeseburger III, I am sure she will be a recurring character.