When Knitters Take Over The World

It was a dark and stormy night...

Really, it was dark and stormy.  It was raining so hard that I literally could not see out of the car windows well enough to read the numbers on the buildings.  I abandoned the car in the first open space I found in the general vicinity of the place I thought I was supposed to be.  I grabbed the rolly-trunk of book sweaters and plunged headlong into the deluge.  The sun, had I been able to see it, would almost have been down at this time, contributing to the gloom and lack of visibility.  I ran with my head down (Oregonians for some reason never have umbrellas - we just let it run down our noses) in an attempt to keep my minimal makeup from washing away.  I ducked into a doorway to try and get my bearings.  When I tilted my head up properly, my eyes landed here:

My sense of direction is exactly like my grasp of math:  Flimsy.  So to have accidentally landed directly in the middle of my own book signing was the sort of lucky break I would dare not hope for.  I so seldom find myself in the place I'm supposed to be, it's like being given a present.

And speaking of presents, the Knit Picks staff surprised me with a knitter's dream come true:  All the Colors of Palette.  I flatly cannot believe it.  What an incredible surprise.  The smallies and I wanted our picture taken with it, we were so totally blown away.  Lindsay (center) is looking at the colors with the most cunning little device - it's essentially a color-choosing kaleidescope, and it's so cool that it warrants its own post.  Stay tuned...

The lovely Giselle got her copy signed, and has almost decided on what to make first...

And the wee Leland, who managed not to get bored throughout the proceedings, even helped me zip up the sample bags at the end of the evening.

Delightful Kelly Petkun, and her Knit Picks team did absolutely everything in the world to make it a fun event.  No Kidding - that gang is one well-oiled machine.  If I ever need to schedule a safari, or mount an invasion, these are the people I'm going to call.  It was a precision display of crack event-planning skill.  And they even gave away yarn and needles.

Tomorrow, the wet knitters of Oregon and Southwest Washington (did I mention that winter has arrived?) can tune into AM Northwest on KATU, on which program I will be explaining the art and science of the Ugly Sweater, and demonstrating what constitutes one.  I will also have some Non-Ugly sweaters, for comparison.

And then I'm going to Lindsay's ice skating competition.  And then, perhaps a nap.

Peasant Under Glass

Peasant Under Glass.jpg

And here we rejoin the stealth peasant blouse, post-frog, and well on its way to completion.  For such a simple project, it sure has been a pain in the butt. 

So what did you learn, Dorothy?
1.  Row guage is not just a good idea, it's the law.  You really do need to get as close as possible when substituting one yarn for another, especially if your goal is to create something that is going to be re-created (hopefully often).
2.  Cascade Heritage is an affordable, sproingy, basic sock yarn.  I do think it's going to pill, but the jury's still out.  Some people will do anything for a good purple yarn (are you listening, Sandi Wisehart?), including  myself.
3.  When you make a top-down raglan whose neckline is way lower than the usual raglan, there may not be enough lengthwise knitting to get in all the increases you need.  Cast on some armpit stitches so the thing will fit around your arms, or live with the consequences.

In unrelated news, my publicist contacted me with two terrifying assignments: 

1.  Answer a scary boatload of essay questions that will assist the publisher in promoting the book without having to actually read any of it.  I suspect the volume of writing this generates will be greater than the actual manuscript.
1.  Procure a photograph of self for "promotional use".  I am thinking that this is the one they stick on the back of the book, among other places.  Is there a scarier thought in the world?  I made an appointment with a photographer.  I bought a top with an interesting neckline.  I am hoping with every fiber of my being that it won't look like a realtor's business card (why do they put their photos on those, anyway?) or worse, a senior yearbook photo.  Any advice from my loyal following on what to do or not do will be wholeheartedly appreciated.  We who are about to smile salute you.


Tug O' War

And here we join the cream-colored organic cotton peasant blouse in progress, still looking suspiciously like an aubergine wool peasant blouse.   The trouble with raglan shaping is that sure, you can try it on as you go, but who wants to move 800 stitches onto waste yarn to do so?  Okay, yes, I am aware that if you have 800 stitches, there are bigger problems at hand than moving them to waste yarn.  So that's why I finally did just that.  You'll notice the telltale safety pins marking the spots where the raglan shaping should really have ended.  At first I thought it was actually passable, but on closer inspection (shortly after I lost feeling in both my arms) I noticed that the sleeve bind-off was tourniquet-like, rather than perky.  Then I decided that the fullness over the bust was matronly, rather than mysterious.  And after that the sleeve length started to look more dumpy than dainty.  There was too much wrong and only one thing to do.  After a suitable period spent alternating feelings of denial, rage and disgust, I frogged the sucker.  Yanked back about 4 vertical inches, which was probably 10 horizontal inches of raglan fullness.  Stupid thing looked like an umbrella without ribs.  And a really big neck hole where the top should have been.  But it's okay; I can totally do this.  Really.  Now it looks like this:

Yeah.  I know.  Not appreciably different than it did before a whole day's worth of stolen moments knitting.  But I have faith that it is, in fact, different now.  For one thing, the sleeves are way less long, and way less miserably bound off.  In fact, I might even be enjoying this little process if it weren't for the fact that I would WAY rather be working on something else.  Notably the Faery Ring.
It is still only a pile of skeins on my living room table to the naked eye, but it's a fully-fleshed-out dream pattern in the wilds of my imagination.  It's yelling at me from across the room:  "Hey!  You with the stupid peasant blouse!  Put that thing down and come over here and feeeeeeel meeeeee......."  It's hypnotic.  I could just stand up and stretch.  It would be good for me.  I've been sitting here slaving away for like, seconds on end.  I'll just stand up, and stretch my legs, and if I happen to wander over there to where the Blackwater Abbey yarn is, well what's the harm?  And if I accidentally tripped and fell and one of those skeins inadvertently fell onto the swift, well, I would be duty-bound to wind it nicely into a ball, now wouldn't I?

These are the evil thoughts that will keep me from finishing the stealth peasant blouse.  Get thee behind me Blackwater!  I must finish the reknitting of the aubergine sock wool so I can write the pattern, and get paid, and live to knit another day.  Even though the sock yarn is kinda splitty.  And I think it might be starting to pill.  Abbey yarn would never act like that.  And what's with these size two needles, anyway?  Whose dumb idea was seed stitch edging in sock yarn on size two's for crying out loud?  Stupid designer.  What I need is some relief.  A little break.  I'd still be knitting, you understand; it's not as if I'm not working after all.  Lovely sticky worsted on some nice grippy size eights, that's what's wanted here.  Just for a minute.  I'll just cast on for the swatch.  I have to swatch, don't I?  Never mind I've made like a hundred things with this exact yarn.  Never mind that I know just what to expect of it in my hands and on my needles, and that's why I wanted to use it in the first place.  A responsible knitter swatches things; that's how it's done.  In fact, it could be said that frittering away my knitting time on this ill-behaving prototype is impeding my valuable swatch-making time...

Enough already!  I shall ignore the siren song of the tricksy Irish wool.  This pretend-cream-colored-organic-cotton-aubergine-sock-wool albatross is about to be removed from my neck by the sheer force of will required to complete it.  Must...finish...peasant....blouse......