Link 25: Pure Dad

While I think a “pocket-size Roland Barthes bursting with critique and paradox” would be a glorious thing, this piece from Michael Chabon taking his son to Paris fashion week is definitely not about that. But it is a dad being such a dad over his kiddo in the most epic dad way, and it is pure dad. So much love and understanding jumping off the page! Read it and enjoy some feels.

Link 24: On Gin

Recently, something I read (a post on Mason Dixon Knitting, maybe?) linked to the blog Desperate Reader. I wasn’t super interested in that particular link, but the blog name and tone set my spidey senses tingling, and I was pretty sure a scroll through the archives would pay off. And boy did it ever: a whole series of gin reviews, paired with books! How perfect!

At the moment, I’m enjoying a bottle of Unruly Gin from the Wayward Distillation House–sent over on my birthday by my oldest brother (thank you, Andrew!)–but once that’s run dry and it’s time to refill the tantalus, I am definitely going to take a close look at DR’s picks. Hopefully some of her UK-based choices will be available in Canada.

 

Filing This One Away for Later: Improving Saggy Sweaters

While I’m not anticipating any problems with either of my Improv sweaters falling off my shoulders, thanks to Karen Templer’s good advice about things like faux seams and picking up collar stitches from a cast-on edge, I do have a few sweaters in my closet (knit from patterns that I paid for!) that wear terribly due to floppy sloppiness in the shoulder area.

I definitely don’t wear these sweaters as often as I might, and fixing them is seeming (seaming?) like a better and better idea every time I think about garment construction. This post from TECHknitter on stabilizing the shoulders and back-of-neck on sweaters to improve wear is advice that I am going to use.

Link 23: On Gudetama

I adore Gudetama–it is just so bleakly, so wrongly, hilarious.

So of course I have a couple of items from the Holika Holika + Gudetama collaboration: the peeling gel, and the melting lip button.

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I think the Gudetama lippie is a great companion for my angry-faced Tonymoly gloss bar. I like to imagine them sitting together in my bathroom, whispering Nietzsche quotes at each other (while my Jack Black lipgloss hits on all my Revlon balm stains).

Which means: I was very happy to read this is fun little interview with the head Gudetama designer about the character’s genesis and meaning.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go stare into the abyss

Improv #2, Take 2

After writing the other day about the start of my second Fringe and Friends Knitalong sweater, I pretty much immediately scrapped the first few rows I had knit. I worked another two rows, and realized that my raglans were looking like the dog’s breakfast. I was adding Irish Moss stitches on the front, cable stitches on the sleeves, and different cable stitches on the back. It was a mess.

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So after a quick check to see that I liked my chosen number of cast-on stitches, I pulled out the needle and started to rethink things. The problem was my decision to centre my cable layout on the sleeves and back–so how to rethink the placement of the layout?

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I ended up inputting my cable layout into Excel (the different colours representing the different stitches, of course), and printing off a few copies to play with. The solution was to cut the cable layout in half, and then insert the required number of sleeve stitches (and back stitches) into the centre.

I did consider adding additional cables in the centres of the sleeves and backs, but instead opted to just work more Irish Moss stitch (the pale green). Since this is a sweater for me to wear at home, I feel fairly relaxed about the back: no one’s going to see it, so I might as well take it easy back there, lol.

But–if I did care more about the back, I think an even better way to approach the design of the cables/ stitches on a raglan cardigan would be to design the back first. Then you’d just have to cut it in half to get your two fronts. And then, to get the correct stitch count on the sleeves, just remove stitches from the centre of the sleeves. This way, your stitches would line up nicely along the raglans, and things would be pleasantly symmetrical.

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I am much much happier with this second take on my second Improv sweater. In addition to looking much better, it is also easier to knit.

Despite this progress on Improv #2, I am not neglecting my first Improv sweater.

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Yesterday morning, I cast off the hem–leaving just the pockets and sleeves to knit, plus the faux seams to sew up and all the ends to weave in. I have decided to finish the body–pockets, seams, ends–before proceeding on to the sleeves, so that I’m not left with a ton of finishing work to do at the end.

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I knit the HOT PINK!!! pocket lining last night, and am going to take advantage of the daylight now to weave in some ends.

On Ravelry: Improv #1 and Improv #2

Improv #2–The Inspiration

Being in more of a rest and recuperation sort of phase these days, I am being very careful to match my projects to my energy. At first this meant spending two and a half months knitting a 7 1/2 foot-long stretch of garter stitch. Then, I cast on for a nice simple stockinette stitch pullover for the Fringe and Friends Knitalong.

The pullover has gone swimmingly–the fit is perfect, and the finished project is going to be a really useful addition to my wardrobe. But the process has almost gone too swimmingly. With the exception of a dropped stitch (which I am blaming on Stranger Things being utterly amazing), nothing has gone wrong. I did adjust my raglan increases on the fly, but this required no ripping back and not much thought. I simply opted to split the sleeves from the body a little earlier than my swatch math had indicated because it felt like the yoke was getting too long; I worked the last few body increases under the arms, and it worked out perfectly. This sweater is taking shape with no problems, and no difficulties. I still have to work the pockets and sleeves, and sew up the faux seams, so I suppose there is still a chance for drama!–but it’s unlikely.

I am revelling in the sensation of something being too easy… and of course I’m also making things more difficult for myself, in the form of another top-down improv sweater.

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The sweater’s basic shape–a long cardigan–is inspired by an old store-bought cardigan that I wear at home all the time. It’s basically my housecoat, I suppose. I’ve gotten a ton of wear out of this sweater–and it shows. The entire thing is covered in pills, and has started to form a few holes. It is worn past the point of repairing, so the plan is to replace is with something hand knit that will get treated with a bit more love, and that will be worth repairing once it starts to wear out.

I spent a lot of time considering various design elements. I even printed out pictures of a few favourite projects and taped them into my notebook so that I could think slowly and thoroughly about their appeal.

Was I inspired by the gentleman in the lower-right corner? You bet I was.
Was I inspired by the gentleman in the lower-right corner? You bet I was.

Kay’s post on Mason Dixon Knitting about searching for a “glamorous granddad” sweater definitely gave me a lot to think about–so many good links in the comments. I fell in love with the notched collar on the sweater in that post, and hope to achieve something similar on my Improv #2.

I was also attracted to a wide button band, as seen on this Vine Lace Vest and on this Dark and Stormy sweater. And I really liked the two button look on the Storytime Scholar sweater. But I also liked the no-button band look on Aidez, and the way the lace pattern follows the neck shaping on Vignette. Deciding on a button band and collar style for this project was difficult–all my desires were very competing. But my love of the notch overrode other concerns!

I’m also really into the cables-up-top-stockinette-below look of Flyingdales, so I will be doing a variation on that. I will likely place my horizontal line a little higher up than shown in that project, and add pockets.

Hello!

And, when it comes to Mr. Handsome McBeardyman… I’ll be making my cardigan a little bit v-necked as shown, as I think it will look good with my collection of denim shirts.

And finally… overall, looking at many, many, many projects… I decided that I like Irish Moss stitch and tight skinny cables, so that’s what I’m going with.

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My chart is kind of a mess, but it makes sense to me! I cast on last night and so far–four whole rows!–it’s going well.

I’m using Knitpicks’ CotLin yarn, as something machine washable seemed to make sense for an item that will get a lot of wear. Plus I usually love the way that my store-bought cotton yarn sweaters wear, so hopefully I’ll get that same feel out of this project. And although O-Wool’s Balance was very appealing, I wanted something lighter than worsted weight.

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I created a layout for the two fronts of the cardigan, and then centred this layout on the sleeves and back as well. I’m uncertain what I will do when I have reached the full width of the cable layout on the sleeves and back–I may just leave the motif centred in a sea of stockinette, or I may chart out some more cables. I’ll figure it out when I get there.

This will either be a disaster, or it will be amazing–either way, it’s just challenging enough.

My Birthday’s Coming Up, FYI

If you just happened to be wondering what to get me…

These boots are calling to me. They’re gorgeous but a little weird? Size 8 should do it.

This face cream sounds amazing. For a (softball) look at the science behind it, read this.

Or really anything from the Erica Weiner Collection, please. Maybe a cool swag earring, or a giant gold hairpin, or something with Herkimer diamonds? Really anything in gold would be much appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

Link 21: (Another) Harry

I really can’t explain the appeal, but these One Direction’s Week In Review round-ups are just doing it for me.

The latest one includes this tantalizing line: “Harry Styles’s whereabouts are unknown. He was last seen Sunday Sept. 4 at a party in LA.”

Just think about it.

Harry Styles’s whereabouts are unknown.

Harry Styles’s whereabouts are unknown

My theories:

  1. He’s in hiding until his hair grows back.
  2. He’s being held captive by a rabid 1D fan, Misery-style.