The Year of Living Dangerously Super Bulky – 2011 in Review

Emma, 1996 Gwyneth Paltrow“Badly done, Emma!” I have been a poor blogger these many months, but since it is the end of the year, and the last time I updated this blog was roughly a year ago, it seems good to recap the knittings etc.

A new job, with global responsibilities (and thus long plane flights – so far no one has restricted knitting needles, even the Ukraine) has taken a bite out of knitting, but oddly enough, not as much as the last job. If I could find a one-word theme for knitting in 2011, it was “chunky”. Pretty much goes for me too, but mostly on the yarn side.

Why do I like this yarn? It’s intensely satisfying to knit up – so fast, so easy, I actually don’t mind knitting with big needles (all the way up to 19). It’s usually on the softer side, it’s cozy, and I don’t see it as being more expensive per gram or hank or anything (although I don’t do much math when it comes to purchasing). The downside: everything I knit sucks as a finished product, exceptions being scarves, some kinds of hats, and blankets. I would like to graduate beyond that, but if I had a second theme for 2011, it would be the unraveling of finished projects that never went anywhere, that is, projects I either never wore myself or didn’t think worthy to gift to another person. Even now, looking at the posts from 2010 here, I have been in love with super bulky yarn for a long time. First was buying Twinkle‘s books and then her yarn, and I did graduate a bit to bulk/super bulky in Lion Brand Yarn after they opened a cool NYC showroom. I highly recommend shopping there, by the by.

My 2012 knitting resolution: divorce yourself from super bulky! Be not tempted by the quick and easy path! To the dark side! Sorry, it’s Christmastime and my darling husband is out, so I’m watching Star Wars while knitting and drinking.  And, as Jane Austen said, “I am afraid that the pleasantness of an employment does not always evince its propriety.”

In no particular order, the next couple of posts will feature highlights of my Chunky year. And thus, my path to learning finished objects that are *not* chunky begins…you must unlearn what you have learned:

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Rumors of my knitting death are greatly exaggerated

I just got a promotion, is all! And my workload blew up. And, I got engaged to the most fabulous man of all time. So, I’ve been working harder than a one armed paper hanger. And I bought a weekend house. So shit’s been cra-zy. The nice part is that when I’m up at my house (in Barryville, NY – the southwest corner of the Catskill mountains) it’s all knitting all the time. There’s vodka, a fireplace, wild turkeys and not much else.

weekend Catskill house.

Here’s a photo of our lovely upstate abode. I met the builder and saw the bones of the house in January, and closed June 1. All in all, a relatively painless process and it’s been incredibly fun since then. It’s small, but with an open floor plan design and tons of windows that really let the outdoors in, it feels huge.

Greg is up there with a bunch of dudes this weekend, which is why I’ve got a free pass here at home, watching Jane Austen movies and drinking sparkling shiraz by myself. Think the dudes are having a good time. No bears just yet, but they’re killing lots of zombies in Left 4 Dead, which is my new favorite Xbox game.

I’ve started the Concetta cardigan, which is an awesomely simple, well-designed shaped cardigan. Two big buttons, slighly belled sleeves and a funnel neck give it a really modern shape, and I re-allocated an ill-devised plan for a wrap sweater’s yarn supply to make it happen; it’s a nice Berroco wool (Peruvia) in a pretty green called Peat Moss. Sounds very Wuthering Heights, which I guess the sweater is too.

I am now watching Emma for the 456th time. Oh, comfort of 19th century Regency. “It sounds as      though he eats a worrisome amount of custard!” Mr. Woodhouse is adorable.


A Likely Story

Yes, I’ve been in planning hell. No excuses. But I’ve been in Dallas for Christ’s sake. However, it has meant I’ve completed and come close to completing some actual projects. My AA miles (not related to my wine consumption, but close enough) are coming close to allowing space travel, so I guess that is good too.

So! A completed project. I bought 4 hanks of Lion Brand yarn’s Thick & Quick wool yarn in a lovely burnt orange called Butterscotch. An aside: I really hate that they call this yarn “Thick & Quick”. It makes you slur the words. Or else I’ve had too much Cabernet already. It’s like my man friend’s joke about saying Linens N’ Things – you always sound a little drunkie when you say it.

Anyhoo – I actually made this scarf for my man friend. I hope he enjoys it! Also, I’m thisclose to finishing the Kelly cardigan mohair jobby. Hopeully will finish this week/weekend. I’ll be in Bloomington, IN, crossing my fingers for some quiet college town time. I am so excited!


Mohair wishes and champagne dreams

Make that Sauvignon Blanc. The Kenwood was on sale so I had to make it happen, plus I’ve been drinking red by the barrel-ful, it being the winter of my discontent and all. It’s a Wednesday night, and my man-friend is at the Knicks-Pacers game with Indy friends. Potentially the two worst teams in the NBA – I guess that might make it a good game.

So: my most recent project is a sweater I’ve knit poorly before, albeit with the wrong guage/yarn happening. This would be the Kelly Cardigan, a lovely, simple pattern from Erica Knight’s Classic Knits, one of my all time favorite books. Now I’m starting with yarn I should be working with, a mushroom/taupe shade in kid mohair blend from Sublime. It’s 60% mohair, 35% nylon and 5% extra fine merino. The cardigan itself it fitted, with 3/4 sleeves and a simple 1×1 rib trim. That’s what I like about Classic Knits – it’s shit you’ll actually wear.

Sublime Truffle

Meanwhile: I’ve begun to watch this creep-tacular, awesome movie about 45 minutes in called The Prophecy. The TWC description was intriguing (“Jealous angels wage war against humanity”, 1995), but then you add Christopher Walken as an angel, Viggo Mortensen as THE baddie angel Lucifer, and a young Virginia Madsen and – wait for it – a younger Christopher Meloni! Playing a cop! Now with more hair.

Speaking of hair and back to knitting: I’ve never really knit with mohair before. Mohair sweaters are for girls in the ’50’s with big torpedo boobies. Mohair is indulgent. It’s soft, and seems expensive. It’s ok so far to knit!

Update: Ok it’s not Christopher Meloni. It’s Elias Koteas. Is it me or are these two separated at birth?

Elias Koteas Det. Stabler


So close, yet so far away

Last weekend was the first time since before the holiday that I was able to really relax and do some knitting. And just freaking chillax for a second, although it wasn’t a total and unadulterated weekend of sloth like I’d hoped for.

So I’ve sort of “finished” Briar Rose! But not really. The border on this thing is like, most of the damn sweater. So while the sleeves, body and shoulders are complete, it still looks like a sweater for Mary Lou Retton, and not me and my linebacker shoulders.

I’ve got a free hour before Somnus takes me to the land of Nod [run + shower + jammy pants – cell phone left at work + 1 goblet Pinot x comforting sounds of Alien in background on HBO = happy sleepy time by 11:45p], so I’m going to take a crack at the border. I haven’t even gotten to the baby cable part! [Marge Simpson annoyed noise] impatience!


It’s a mod, mod, mod world

Ok, ready to make the swirly-do hat with fleur, from Lauran Blogi. Except the only white or white-ish yarn I have is Twinkle’s handknit super chunky. And because I’ve waited until the last moment for custom holiday gifts for friends, now I must…dum dum dum. Modify this pattern! I’ve never done this before. I hope I don’t fuck it up. Is it a good idea to do this for the first time when the instructions are in Norwegian?

It calls for:

Aran weight yarn, gauge 14 sts/10 rows = 10 cm. 5mm circular needles, cast on 80 sts.

I know nothing about guage. I should. Maybe I’ll learn one day. I hope this isn’t the day. But anyway – I cast on 48 sts of Twinkle handknit super chunky on a 5mm circular needle. Fingers crossed!

[40 mins/1.5 glasses cabernet sauvignon later]

It seems to be working. Because I’m an idiot, and also I think because the yarn I’m working with is so thick, I’m using a cable needle (well just a single dpn; I don’t own a cable needle) and doing this cable-style. The instructions I needed (and ass-umed, which turned out to be correct), is that for the first row (knit 1, purl 3), you knit the knit and purl the purl. Er, the 3rd and odd rows, since you repeat rows 1 & 2 ongoing.

[1 glass Fresca and 10 rows later]

Hat looks great. For a Pinhead. Dammit! Changing to larger (size 10) circs, metal.

[3 days, 1 office holiday party, 1 dinner party, 1 play festival and countless glasses of wine, beers and vodka rocks later]

Size 10 circs too long in length. To be continued!


Progress, Malbec and Movies

My man friend Greg is off to Los Angeles (safely I hope), meeting the elusive, kind, mysterious Jewerl and pursuing his dreams. I myself am pursuing my dream of a real wearable sweater (Somewhat Cowl, by Wendy from Knit and Tonic, excellent pattern), while powering through some work, some freelance stuff, roughly 1/2 bottle of Malbec, and a couple of movies. TCM, one   favorite channels of course played one of my favorite flicks – Sense and Sensibility. Then, nothing interested me (even AMC’s Monster Fest – the Frighteners which I’ve seen, not that great despite Peter Jackson directing), so I popped in – this is very embarrassing – Don Juan de Marco. So what – sue me. I love this movie. It’s freakin fun. Ok, now I’m watching Little Odessa. Tim Roth is fucking amazing. Edward Furlong – actually not offending me. Vanessa Redgrave – brava! Moira Kelly – Boo urns. Girlfriend, can you just FAKE a Little OdessaRussian accent? It’s even Brooklyn Russian. I’m not asking for St. Petersburg, this is goddam Brighton Beach. Christ. She is ruining everything. The Cutting Edge aside, she has not lifted my skirt since time out of mind. The upside being, the sweater is progressing, as is the bottle of cheapie Malbec I procured from the incomparable Shawn Liquors. Shout out to Hillary!