Wednesday, June 28, 2006

SUMOTAMOP (That's Pomatomus Reversed)

Drumroll, please! Here is the long-awaited Pomatomus Reversal!


Before you begin, you will need to:
1) Print out a copy of the pattern.
2) Get some graph paper.
3) Reverse the two charts for the pattern. The order of the rows will be the same, but you will essentially be knitting from the last stitch to the first stitch in each row. (If you have trouble keeping track of the stitches, an easy way to do this is to print out an extra copy of the two charts, hold the chart up to a window with the printed side facing away from you, and trace the chart as it shows through the paper.)

The following are the modifications I made to the pattern to reverse it. So as not to reproduce the entire pattern (and thereby probably infringe on its copyright!), I am only outlining the parts of the pattern that need to be changed from the original. You will want to keep a copy of the pattern with you so you will know when to plug in the modifications.

Every effort has been made to make sure that these mods are correct (I've test knit the reversed sock twice), but if you do find an error, please let me know so I can correct it. Also, please feel free to e-mail me or leave a comment if you have questions!

Note: All the symbols in the charts are the same as for the original EXCEPT for the symbol that stands for K2tog tbl. In the reversed pattern, this symbol will stand for K2tog (as normal; not through back loop).

DIRECTIONS
Cuff

CO 72 sts and divide as directed.
Round 1: [K1 tbl, P1] to end.
Repeat this round 9 times more.

Leg
Set-up Round: [(K1 tbl, P1) five times, K2tog, YO] to end of round
Work Rounds 2-22 of Chart A.

After each chart has been worked, rearrange stitches as follows:
Move last stitch from each needle to the beginning of the next needle.

You will begin Row 1 of Chart A at the second stitch, since you have already knit the new first stitch you just transferred from needle 3.

Work Chart A a total of 3 times, rearranging stitches after Row 22 each time.

Heel Flap
Transfer 12 stitches from needle 2 to needle 1. You will have 36 stitches on needle 1, which will be worked back and forth for the heel flap. Hold the remaining 36 stitches on one or two other needles.
Row 1: (K1 tbl, P1) across to end
Row 2: Sl 1, (P1 tbl, K1) across to last stitch, P1 tbl
Row 3: Sl 1, P1, (K1 tbl, P1) across to end (*you may need to reorient the K sts for them to twist correctly)
Row 4: Sl 1, (P1 tbl, K1) across to last stitch, P1 tbl
Repeat rows 3 and 4 twelve times more.

Turn Heel
Follow directions as given in pattern.

Gussets
Follow directions as given, except for patterning on instep stitches. Instead, work Row 1 of reversed Chart B. Note that on this first repeat of the chart, you will K2 tog at the end of the row; on subsequent repeats of this chart, you will K3 tog.

Foot/Toe
Follow directions as given in pattern.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Photographic Evidence

Here, as promised, pictures!

First things first:

Pattern: Pomatomus (winter '05 Knitty) by Cookie A.
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in colorway Jay Pond
Needles: US 2 (really more like 1.5) Inox dpns
Recipient: my mom
Mods: My own reversal of the pattern for one sock, to create a mirror-image pair.

These were my mom's Mother's Day present, which I hope she won't mind getting so late! (At least she's in a better situation than my future MIL, whose feet I have yet to even measure for her socks.) I am still not 100 percent pleased with the pattern reversal, but I am working on another prototype sock with an additional modification that looks like it's coming out more the way I wanted it to. I'll know in about another pattern repeat if it's working, and if I does I'll be posting the mods on this here blog shortly.

Here's a closeup shot of the socks so you can see how the pattern has been reversed:


Next up -- sing along with me, now! -- Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, good-bye!


Say adios to Trellis! Yes, that is my trash can. Frankly I didn't even think it was worth it to throw this sweater in the frog pond. The yarn is acrylic baby yarn I got on sale at JoAnn's; maybe if it was wool I'd feel differently. Somehow I managed to build up an incredible resentment of this sweater, and throwing it away -- really throwing it away -- just felt so good. This sweater might look really cute once it's knit up, but the actual process of knitting it was a big pain in the you-know-what. If you ask me, a knit item for a baby or little kid shouldn't be so complicated. I'm using the rest of this yarn for a baby sweater I like much better.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Done. And done.

I finished two things last night, both of which were long in coming. The first was my mother's Pomatomuses (whenever I say "Pomatomus" to J, he responds with "Polamalu"), which I actually finished knitting at lunch but, finding myself without a tapestry needle, had to wait until I got home to kitchener the toes and weave in the ends. I didn't take a picture this morning because they were still blocking on a towel that, coincidentally, is nearly the same color as the main color of the yarn. So I'll wait until they're dry and I can set them up in a pretty location for their photo shoot. This was the first pair with the semi-successful pattern reversal, which I'm semi-excited to show you. I cast on for another experimental sock last night, so I can try out my final tinkering of the pattern in my attempt to get the reversed pattern to pop in the same way as the original. Look for the pattern mods to be posted here some time next week.

Last night I also finished reading Marley & Me, and yes, I bawled like a baby. It's a good thing I was reading right before bed, and when J wasn't around, because let me tell you, I was seriously scary-looking with my bright red, puffy eyes. It was not pretty. But oh, what a good book! If you love dogs, you'll love it, just make sure you're alone and have plenty of tissues on hand (and no place to go for at least a couple hours afterward) when you finish it.

Remember my plan to finish up that baby sweater by the end of the weekend? Yeah, so not happening. I got to the placing of the markers for the fronts, sleeves, and back, and I haven't picked it up since. Let's revise that completion date to at least the end of next weekend, shall we?

Finally, I stopped by Pittsburgh Knit and Bead after work on Wednesday, just to see if there was anything at all left. I think this may be their last week in business, and the discount was up to 55% off. There was pathetically little selection left in the way of yarn (unless you're into eyelash, ribbon, or other novelty yarn, which I'm not particularly) and the needle selection had been decimated. I did score two more pairs of Addi 12" circs (US 1's -- for socks), plus five balls of Karabella Aurora 8 in a lovely color called Kangaroo Taupe (or something like that), two balls of chunky 100% wool for felting in black and bubblegum pink, and a massive skein (1,300+ yards!) of bright red laceweight merino. All of this for about $46! I just couldn't pass it up. I don't have specific projects for any of the yarn yet, but I know I'll use it for something. Any suggestions?

Pictures in the next post, I promise! I have to clear out the camera from all the silly pictures J and I took at the bar last weekend when we were out celebrating the engagement.

Happy weekend knitting, all!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Winning the Lace Race


Pattern: Leaf Lace Shawl by Evelyn Clark for Fiber Trends
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Lace, approximately 1.25 skeins
Needles: US 5 Addi Turbo circs
Dimensions: approximately 60" wide and 32" deep
Mods: None

I finished in time! (Boo hiss to all of you who thought I wouldn't make it!) I finished the knitting Friday afternoon, blocked it (what a PITA that was!) before J and I went out to celebrate Friday night, and finished snipping all the ends and wrapped it Saturday afternoon, just in time to present it to my mom at dinner on Saturday night. It turned out to be a big hit; she just LOVED it, and kept telling me how impressed she was with it.

In spite of the blocking (most definitely my least favorite part of this project), I now find myself completely addicted to knitting lace. I am all set to rip and restart my Adamas Shawl, which I started and set aside months ago.

Before I can pick up the shawl again, however, I have a baby sweater to finish! Remember how I was knitting Trellis for the baby due in July? Well, since then there have been two developments. The first (and most important) is that little Finn made his appearance about a month early last week! The second is that I have decided that I will not be finishing Trellis. Frankly, I think the pattern might be a little too fussy/girly for baby Finn, not to mention the fact that the idea of having to seam that little sweater just horrifies me. So last night I started to make another Seamless Yoked Baby Sweater (Carole Barenys), which I know will be a fast knit (and no seaming, hooray!). Assuming I can find myself some decent knitting time this week, my goal is to have it finished by the end of next weekend so I can send it on to Finn. Yes, I know he won't be wearing it any time soon, but I'm just that anxious to get it out of my WIP pile!

A reminder to all the Pittsburgh-area knitters: this Wednesday is knitting at the Waterworks Barnes & Noble. I'll be bringing my Pomatomus reversal, for anyone who may be interested in seeing it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

...but enough about the ring

Thank you all for your congratulations and your compliments on the ring. (Apologizes for the fuzziness of the picture, by the way. I was holding my hand up against J's chest--because he was wearing a black shirt, the only dark background we could find at the time--and I had to have my father actually take the picture, on account of my still being too shaky to take it on my own. I guess in the end both J and I were still too excited to really hold still.)

There is still a lot of excitement about The Engagement, and it still hasn't fully sunk in, but I know that soon enough the planning will start for the wedding and I'll miss this initial stage of shock/disbelief/joy/excitement/etc. Just trying to enjoy it while it lasts.

(And now, we return to our regular knitting content, already in progress.)

All this week I have been knitting furiously on that lace item you got a peek at last week. I think I mentioned that it's a shawl, but I don't think I did a good enough job of explaining beyond that, so here's full disclosure. This is the pattern (Leaf Lace Shawl by Evelyn Clark for Fibertrends) and yarn (Misti Alpaca Lace) that I purchased at Rosie's Yarn Cellar on our trip to Philadelphia a few weeks ago. After a few false starts, this has turned into my first successful piece of lace knitting, and I've decided that it will be a birthday gift for my mother, who turns 29 again (okay, maybe she's 39 now that she's got an engaged daughter) this weekend. I feel pretty confident in posting this because I'm just about 100 percent sure she won't be reading my blog. (Remember my mom? "What exactly is a blog?") As of this afternoon, I have just a little more than 10.5 repeats done of the body lace chart. I am doing the small version of the shawl (13 pattern repeats), so that means that I have until Sunday to complete just under 2.5 body pattern repeats, do all the edging rows, bind off, and block. Think it'll happen? I know she really won't mind if I need an extra day or two to finish it, but I'd really like to have it done. Then I'd be able to get back to her Mother's Day Pomotomuses. Not to mention that I haven't even measured my future MIL's feet for her Mother's Day socks. Yeah, I'm a bit behind.

Here's a little peek at the progress so far, with my best attempt to spread out the lace one-handed so you can see the design:

I am just loving this pattern, and I plan to knit up one for myself. I may do mine in fingering weight yarn instead of lace weight, if I can find a nice colorway that won't interfere with the lace pattern. The Misti Alpaca is delightful, and you can't beat the price. I just wish it didn't shed so much!

Remember how a while ago I mentioned that I was reversing the Pomatomus pattern? Well do you think I've forgotten about that. I did reverse it, but I'm still tinkering with the stitches a bit to try to get a better mirror image. Once I'm satisfied, Cookie (the designer) has given me permission to post the modifications needed for the reversal to this here blog. So keep an eye out for it. I'm hoping it'll be up in the next couple of weeks.

I'm off to my shawl knitting. Must. Finish. By. Sunday.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Curses! Foiled again!

Last night I was all set to post when I happened to look out the window -- just in time to see a huge bolt of lightening. Eesh. So, instead of risking frying my hard drive, I decided to do this:

This used to be an Old Navy sweater that I'd bought a couple years ago and then wore maybe twice. It was totally an impulse buy--it was a cheery color (it's actually more of a soft pink than it appears in the photo) and really soft--but unfortately it was a tad big and was rather unflattering. I think I only wore it as a cardigan when I was really desperate and just wanted something to keep me warm. While I was cleaning out my closet in preparation for warm weather, I decided that this yarn was too cozy to just throw away, so it went in the To Be Recycled pile. It's not the nicest fiber (90% acrylic, 10% wool), but, as I said, it's soft and it'll do well for baby garments, I think. The yarn above is from the back, collar and two sleeves. I think the front sections are unless because of the button bands. By the way, here's what the sweater looked like originially:

See what I mean? This thing isn't even flattering on the couch. I don't know what I was thinking.

Once I finished winding the sweater yarn, I decided to make the evening Fun With the Ball Winder Night and tackled my sock yarn. The result of a good hour of winding? Every single skein of sock yarn in my stash is now in a center-pull yarn cake. The proof:

This would be the "affordable" sock yarn drawer (Knit Picks Essential, Regia, and a ball of some German sock yarn whose name I can't read). The "luxury" sock yarn drawer is below this one; it contains the Lorna's and the Koigu.

Knitting on my mom's Pomatomuses (I think I'll call 'em Popos from now on) is going slowly. Why, you ask? Well, I guess this is the point where I have to make a confession: I am addicted to knitting lace. After ripping out my shawl twice, and becoming fully convinced that I would never master lace, I remembered that there was an article on lace knitting in the latest Interweave Knits. I whipped it out, looked up the article, and discovered the one ridiculously simple thing I was doing that was messing me up over and over again: I was yarning over wrong. Hello? Did anyone else know that there's a specific way to yarn over for lace? (And if you did, why didn't you tell me?!) I restarted the pattern, and after only a few rows it became very apparent that the YOs--the correct YOs--made the lace. Ever since, I've been hooked, and I've been spending most of my knitting time this week on the shawl. Here's the obligatory progress shot (and the obligatory statement that lace looks like crap until it's blocked):

Right now I'm almost through six repeats of either 13 (small) or 18 (large). I am thinking the small size will be sufficient, although I specifically bought more than enough yarn for the large. Once it's blocked, the small size should be big enough to throw over my shoulders. Besides, the rows are already taking me about 10 minutes each, and I can't imagine how long they'd take once I got up to 18 repeats.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Scenes from the Spot That Loves You Back

[Note: This post was written yesterday, but due to an unfortunate Blogger bug did not have any pictures.]

Here, as promised, is a summary (I'll try to keep it brief) of the weekend in Philadelphia. Lots of pictures ahead!

Amazing, my office closed early on Friday, at 2:30, so J and I were able to get on the road by 3 p.m. We were able to beat rush hour traffic on the way to the Turnpike, which is what would have really slowed us down, and we encountered very little traffic on the Turnpike itself. We stopped once to use the facilities and fill up on gas, and we arrived at our friends' place in Warrington, Pa., by 7:40. (Yes, that's right, we made it there in four-and-a-half hours. What can I say, J has a bit of a lead foot. No worries, no speeding tickets were issued.) We had a late-ish dinner at a Chinese/Japanese place down the road from their house and then passed out. Well, at least J did. Although I was tired, for some reason I decided to start feeling nervous about the audition at that moment and didn't fall asleep until after midnight.

We were up before 6 a.m., showed and dressed, and got on the train into the city, where we arrived in plenty of time for my Jeopardy! audition. J wandered around the city for the two hours I was in there, and amazingly didn't get lost (it was his first time ever in Philadelphia, so he didn't know his way around at all). The audition itself went well, I think. It's really hard to tell because they didn't give any sort of feedback. There were about 20 people in my group, and we took another 50-question written test before playing a mock game in groups of three. They told us that they were calling us up to play in random order (this is after they graded our tests, mind you), and don't you know I was the last one called up? I had fun, knew the answers to most of the questions, and got a free Jeopardy! pen for my troubles. On the way out, one of the other people trying out with me told me that he didn't want to be up against me in an actual game. I'm choosing to take that as a compliment. So if they want me to be on the show, they'll call me, but that could be any time in the next year, or not at all. I figure, hey, I had fun, I got a pen, so if they call, they call.

I hadn't eaten anything at this point, so while we waited for our hosts to meet up with us I got a cup of coffee from a stand in Reading Terminal Market (where we saw real live Amish people!). We went for an early lunch at Marathon Grill, then headed down to Old City to see the famous historic landmarks.

As you would expect on a beautiful holiday weekend day, Old City was mobbed. J had wanted to see the Liberty Bell (which, if you don't know, is now in its own building with a museum or something inside as well), but the line was huge and we didn't feel like waiting, so we walked around the back of the pavilion where we could see the bell through the glass, albeit not very close up. Here's my mom's Pomatomus with the bell in the background (if you look closely you'll see it):

From there we turned around and took a look at Independence Hall, site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which we also didn't go into. Sock took a good look:

We then decided to get away from the hordes of Asian tourists (just what is it about the Japanese and Independence Mall?) and walk down to Front Street at Penn's Landing. There was some sort of music festival going on at Penn's Landing, and admission was $60 a person, so needless to say we did not hang around. We soon hailed a cab over to West Philly, to visit Penn's campus, my old stomping grounds. One of our hosts thought Penn was kind of a dump, so I took them through the most scenic route through campus: starting at 34th and Walnut, up Locust through the green, ending at the bridge over to Superblock. We paused by the compass so Ben on the Bench could admire the Pomatomus:

(Ben says: A penny saved is a penny to be spent on wool!)

And don't worry, fellow Penn grads, the sock did not actually come into contact with Ben and will be washed thoroughly anyway before it goes to my mom.

We did just a brief loop through the main part of campus -- we didn't even make it up to the western edge where I used to live -- and stopped for some ice cream before hailing a cab back to the Rittenhouse Square area.

Our first stop in Rittenhouse -- yes, I dragged J and our (non-knitting) hos
ts -- was Rosie's Yarn Cellar, my former LYS. They had renovated a bit since my last visit, but it was still as cozy and welcoming as I remembered. I successfully resisted the lure of the wall of Koigu and instead settled on a shawl pattern and some Misti Alpaca Lace to knit it up (I started it once I got home, see below). It was hard to tell if J was impressed by my restraint in spending less than $25 in a yarn store, especially after what I spent in D.C.; he seemed pretty comfortable in a chair with a fan blowing on him and was impervious to the wool, silk, and alpaca all around him. He did, however, admire the softness and silkiness of the yarn I purchased, if he was puzzled by my eagerness to try lace after my last lace misadventure.

Our hosts bid us adieu after we left Rosie's (they both had evening plans, and had to catch the train home to change), and J and I headed over to my old apartment building to visit Julia, who happens to live in my old apartment! We relaxed in the air conditioning for about an hour and a half (J dozed on her sofa while the two of us caught up), and then the three of us went out to dinner at Pietro's, where I had my favorite Rigatoni alla Vodka, sans pancetta. Mmm.

J and I caught the train back to the 'burbs shortly after dinner, got "home" at about 9:15, watched most of Fever Pitch on TV, and passed out at about 11 p.m. We were up by about 8 the next morning and had lunch before getting back on the road. We made great time again and were back in the 'Burgh in plenty of time to go to barbeque Sunday night. The rest of the holiday weekend was scorching hot but fairly uneventful. I spent Monday doing some work (grr) and doing my grocery shopping while J played golf with my dad. And that was the weekend.

Yesterday evening I met up with Jen and Lori at Knit One, where I picked up another skein of Cascade 220 for Forecast (no, I haven't started yet, but I'm swatching so much to get gauge -- or not -- that I was worried I'd be short on yarn) and some Regia sock yarn, so that J and I will have semi-matching socks (see picture below). Jen found one skein of some gorgeous hand-dyed merino sock yarn that looked somewhat like Koigu, and Lori cast on for a piece of Trellis, which made me feel guilty for having not yet started the second sleeve of mine. We then went to dinner. The plan had been to go to an Indian restaurant up the street from Knit One, but we discovered that it had closed and been replaced with a Thai place. After surveying our options, we decided to give it a try, and Jen enjoyed (I think) her first Pad Thai.

I've decided to close this post with a brief rundown of what I'm currently knitting and, since this blog is allegedly also about books, what I'm currently reading. Perhaps I'll do this regularly to close my posts; we'll have to see just how monotonous/boring it becomes. So here goes....

Currently Knitting: Pomatomus #1 (for mom); toe-up Mata Hari in cotton/lycra (for me); Trellis - one sleeve, collar, and sewing up to go (for baby due in July); Leaf Lace Shawl in Misti Alpaca Lace (for me)

Currently Reading: Marley & Me by John Grogan

Blogger sucks, or, Why this isn't a post about the trip to Philadelphia

I had some major issues with Blogger last night, which is why today you may be wondering where my post about the weekend in Philly is. I had everything all ready: the text was all written, the links were put in, the places for the photos were set out. And then I tried to upload a picture. Repeatly. I got the "Done" button, but when I clicked on it, nothing happened. It was as though I had never uploaded the picture. I tried repeatedly to get my photos up over the course of about four hours, but it was always the same, icky-poo. No photos. So, no post. I will try again tonight. Keep your fingers crossed that it'll work, because I'm starting to take out my frustration on my knitting (and as I'm knitting lace and socks with bamboo dpns, that could get ugly).