minnamade minutes

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


In what could be called a second a HA moment, but in all actuality is probably closer to a DER moment, I suddenly realized that since it is the wrist and hand shaping that was affected the most by my sudden change in gauge, all I needed to do was rip back four stripes and reknit the offending portion.

I'm already back up to the thumb hole, and in a quick side-by-side comparison, both arm warmers are equally snug. At this rate I'll be done by tomorrow!



So here's the dirty details. My not-quite-matched arm warmers. I'm posting these as a record but also MommaSquared will be checking out the damage to let me know how she feels about it. I want these to be perfect for her, so better to fix anything now than later.

Twins. Fraternal twins.

Side by side blurry, dark comparison of the two palms. The difference in gauge can really be felt in the wrist and palm. The arms are pretty much the same. I just ah HAed all over the hands.

Action shot with cat.

A little asymmetry.

The Billy Idol.

So there it is. I'll wear them for a couple hours again tonight and see if I still want to knit a third. Upside is, they're gonna smell nice from all the BPAL I'm testing out right now.

Taking the High Road

Pics tonight. The arm warmers are of a different size. Just slightly, but after wearing them for about an hour last night (while taking weirdly angled pictures) I can definitely tell a difference.

This would not be a problem if they were just for me. But I want them to be (closer to) perfect for MommaSquared. So, perfect they shall be. I'm knitting a third.

Gotta go cry in a corner somewhere for a bit.

But I will not get my hate on for this project (like I usually do, see also "The Bitch" AKA Gigi sweater). This project gets nothing but positive, productive, happy shiny vibes.

I'm not sure if the knitter's psychic state is really all that influential to the end product, but I'm not testing that theory on someone else's armwarmers. Nosiree.

So. Ommmmmm. Ommmm. S'all good.

Monday, October 24, 2005


The Coast, The Wine, The Tension!

I read a coming of age book back in elementary school about a girl who played the violin. She was also named Minna which just struck me as absolute fate at the time, since I was trying to learn the violin as well.

Her big "a HA" moment was when she finally learned how to do vibrato (that sort of waggly thing real string players do with their non-bow hand to make their instruments warble) and as an additional bonus, got the boy (I believe he was a cello player).

I never could master that particular technique, but I do have an enduring swooning fascination with cello playing boys.

I think I hit my a HA moment with my knitting: ever since I re-re-taught myself how to knit with Knitting for Dummies I'd been knitting Continental style by carrying the working yarn in my left hand. It's more comfortable, but also much looser than carrying the working yarn in my right hand. Often I have to go down two or even three needle sizes to get gauge.

While working on the DarkityMa shawl I noticed that my garter stitch suddenly got really tight. Somehow my left hand has finally figured out to provide decent tension on the working yarn.

Only problem is I just finished the second striped arm warmer and, well, it's a different size than the first one.

After I finish weaving in the many, many, many ends I'll check these guys again to see if the difference is just too obvious... best case scenario I'll suggest the loose arm warmer go on the dominant hand. Worst case scenario? Guess I'll be knitting a third arm warmer.

Monday, October 17, 2005

One Down...


Sleeves, socks, gloves... why is it that the first of a pair of knitted things goes by lickety-split, but the second one always takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r?

I started working on the MommaSquared Armwarmers Saturday night after spending the day yarn/art supply shopping, and having a good Meet 'n' Sniff with the local BPALers (though my right index finger did smell of Gluttony for the rest of the evening. Bleah.). Granted, I got "into the groove" and probably cranked on this sucker for a couple-three hours, but still, it seems like pretty fast progress.


The next day we be-bopped around town for a bit. I got my unfashionable shoes rejected by the local hipster thrift store and we caught MirrorMask at the one place in all of Oregon where it is showing. When we got home I put on my audio CD of Bruce Campbell's Make Love!* (*the Bruce Campbell Way) and cranked up to the thumb hole.

Monday, so far, and Yikes!

So far tonight I've finished up the thumb and am faced with this unfortunate mass of dangly bits. The intended arm warmer wearer (MommaSquared) will soon have two inquisitive, grabby infants so I want to make sure that all the ends are neatly worked in and un-pick-out-able. She left the color choices up to me, so I hope she likes it! It has gotten The Mr's stamp of approval, and now that he has stopped wearing dyed jean shorts, I'm more inclined to trust his fashion sense.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Toil for Oil

I don't obsess about much.

I've got the same dresses I wore in college ten years ago in heavy rotation, my shoes are ridiculously sensible, and I'm lucky if I put on a little lip gloss in the morning. I check graphic novels out at the library and rent movies and we recycle all our magazines eventually (except for the cooking ones). I have very little "appointment television viewing" and hate waiting in lines for movies/concerts/lectures/events.

I guess I'm just not willing to extend myself beyond my basic creature comforts for most things out there.

Of course there's a "but".

I do knit. Like some storybook heroine that might lose her stunning beauty/be tortured/get married to the local land baron's cretinous, drooling first born son/dishonor her family ancestors if she doesn't sweatshop out a hat or two every night. There are stacks of patterns and stash yarn wide and deep enough to keep me busy well into my midlife crisis.

I stare at people on the bus who are wearing scarves. They shift uncomfortably as I try to ascertain the geneses of their accessories. So far I haven't asked if I could touch them too. Yet.

I've re-started the same sweater five times (version three or four was all the way up to armhole shaping when I decided to rip back) because it didn't feel quite right.

Somewhere between year two and year three of my knitting, I made the switch from product oriented knitting to process focused... it's the only way I can explain the near OCD frogging, re-frogging, re-re-frogging of "good enough" work and growing desire to tinker with existing patterns or chuck it all and do it my own gosh darned way.

And now I'm venturing into knitting for (almost) complete strangers. For barter! It's exciting (more knitted things, yay!) and nervewracking (what if I'm not good enogh?).

I'm making a few wintery accessories for fellow BPALers in exchange for more perfume oil blends. I guess that's really just justifying the cultivation of one obsession in order to cultivate another.

I don't obsess about much. But when two of my "worlds" collide like this? Pure heaven. It's taking all I have to keep from diving right in to sketch up patterns and play with colors while I should be doing work things.

Luckily my short list of obsessions does not include "climb the corporate ladder".

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Klumsy Kepler Komplete!

Blocking, Again, Once More

Huzzah! Kepler is finally done. I am, on the whole, very satisfied with this project. My gut was telling me all kinds of nasty, bad things. Normally, it's right, but this came out just good enough that I am NOT ripping it all the frakking way back and starting over. BUT. If I were a komplete perfectionist, I would re-knit Kepler on slightly smaller needles and in the next size up. If.

Things I did differently (besides going with a wonky yarn):
-shortened torso and sleeves to arm hole shaping for my proportions (3/4 sleeves are ok, but I like "Bermuda" length)
-mattress seamed the side seams instead of backstitch. Not sure why I did this as the backstitch would have probably lent more structure to the seams. I think it was vanity. This yarn makes a very pretty swath of stockinette! Luckily I think the pretty pretty seams as they are will be enough "backbone" to keep the sweater from drooping to my knees. Only time will tell.
-final blocking ignored in lieu of impatient photoshoot. I might get around to the final blocking eventually. More likely I'll block the first time I really wash this sucker. I'm a make/buy today, wear the same night kinda gal.

Drum roll please...

Spot the mandatory imbedded cat hair and win a prize!*

It wasn't until I took this picture that I realized I had put the sweater on backwards.

Pose: courtesy of NotHavingaTripod. Expression: courtesy of SpousalGentleMockeryatKnittingObsession

Even with less-than-ideal yarn (which is fabulous, just not perfect for Kepler!), this is a great go-anywhere sweater. I'm definitely making another one.

*Prize=Smug satisfaction at being a neater knitter than I.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Proof of Life

Giant Fuzzy Mushroom Goodness

Chemo Cap One is completed. I followed the free Berroco pattern (link in sidebar) and used the recommended yarn and needles and everything. It ended up a bit large, but my family tends to be big-headed. That's "big". With a "B", OK? The Mr. likes to call it GiantEggBrain Syndrome. We're like those guys from the first Star Trek episode. But our forehead veins only pulse when we're angry.

I'd like to make her some more, more interesting caps to wear throughout the winter. Any ideas? I'll post links as I find them.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The "C" Word

Plum Blossom

While this is supposed to be just a knitting blog, the Outside World inevitably is gonna seep through that thin virtual membrane.

Cancer is a lurking threat in both my and my husband's families. My mother had breast cancer twenty three years ago. She survived treatment and remained cancer free for eighteen years. Then five years ago small tumors showed up on her annual exam. Those were also removed and she has been on Tamoxifen ever since.

Two months ago, they discovered a new lump. She has since undergone a second mastectomy and has tested clear for any cancer in her lymph nodes. Since this has been determined to be a new cancer that is resistant to her current drug therapy, she started chemotherapy last week.

She will continue treatment through November. So far her appetite has been effected the most. She will lose her hair. I think it is the thought of her losing all that thick, beautiful hair again that has me the most devasted.

They have asked that my brother and I stay away for now as she and Dad work out how to live between treatments. To keep from going insane The Mr. and I have been planning small care packages for her. Things to help encourage her appetite. Things to give her comfort. Things to make us feel like we're doing something for her.

I've started on a chemo cap (Berroco's free pattern) and will be knitting E. Zimmerman's Pi shawl once I get my hands on the pattern. I'm not exactly sure when she'll start losing her hair, but I want her to be able to surround herself with warm woolie things from me since I can't be there. It is starting to get cooler now, even in Texas.

I don't think I was really totally aware of what was happening to my mother, to my father, to our extended family twenty three years ago (heck, I was seven). The stone-cold reality of it all is still only now starting to sink in. My mother is a strong woman, and I know that Dad will take good care of her during this tenuous time. Still, she will probably have to be the rock to which the rest of us cling. I just wish I could do more than fret and knit and make lists.