Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day off

These days, I'm working from home on a project that has been dangling over my head for far too long.

What sort of project, you may ask? (Or not, I don't know if anyone actually reads what I put here.)

My PhD thesis.

I started my program in the fall of 2003. It is now 2010. It has taken me seven full years to accomplish what I originally set out to do in four. That's a pretty depressing sort of performance, but I've become quite quick at reminding myself that the vast majority of scholars in my field do not really finish in four years - in fact, so many don't get it done in four that my department has actually changed their PhD program so that the four-year PhD no longer exists.

Still, I think most folks finish before they hit seven years, too.

In any event, I've been making progress. Yesterday seemed rough around the edges, but I got some things done that made finishing up this revised chapter draft by end of day tomorrow seem entirely possible. Today is going significantly worse, though, and for the first time, I think it's actually knitting's fault that I'm not being academically productive.

The past three sweaters I've knit have all been in sport weight yarn, on 4 mm needles. I decided to change things up a bit, and have been chugging along on Yahaira Ferreira's Asymmetrical Cabled Cardi in a heavy worsted/aran weight yarn (Knit Picks City Tweed HW) on 5.5 mm needles. Now that I type it out, 5.5 mm doesn't seem like it should be vastly different from 4 mm, but oh well. The yarn is way different, and I've been enjoying the change of pace.

The problem for me actually getting real work done, however, is that I've pretty much finished the sweater - I'm at the ending stages of the yoke, and soon I'll be binding off, then picking up stitches again for the tall collar - since it's a decorative sort of collar, I thought it might be a good idea to bind off then pick up again to add some stability. I'm so close to having the thing off the needles - admittedly temporarily - and being able to truly try the thing on to make sure that it actually fits in a way that pleases me.

So my fingers stay on the knitting, and off the keyboard, and my mind refuses to focus on any sort of intelligent discussion of things not relevant to this sweater.

I really hope tomorrow goes better. Maybe I should give up and just haul off and finish this sweater to ensure that there's no sweater-related distraction for tomorrow.

After all, it is 4:30 now. Work day's practically done, right?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

K'done: Wispy Cardi

A light layer of happy.

Pattern: Wispy Cardi, by Hannah Fettig
Yarn: Scarlet Fleece Silk & Ivory, in Professor Plum (4 skeins)
Needles: 4 mm / US 6; 3.5 mm / US 4 for ribbing and gathering at centre back

The first time I saw pictures of Hannah Fettig's Whisper Cardigan, I thought the garment was silly - it had no real front, and thus there was no way to do up the cardigan. A few months later, I had a bit of an attitude adjustment with respect to non-closing cardigans - I came to view them as valuable layering pieces for creating work-appropriate tops by combining them with a camisole or tank top, which would otherwise not be work appropriate. This attitude adjustment came, not surprisingly, shortly on the heels of the realization that I am rather lacking in work appropriate clothes. Adding a few of these layering pieces would allow me to maximize that which I already have.

Since the target was really the Whisper Cardigan, I took out the ribbing on the cuffs and hem, replacing them with stockinette. I shortened the shoulder section to better suit my shoulders, effectively removing 2.5" of width. I didn't use 2.75 mm / US 2 needles to knit the gathering at the centre back, because I don't have a circular or straights in that size. I do have plenty of 5" DPNs in that size, but I wasn't about to try juggling DPNs in a straight line for three rows of knitting.

I winged the picking up of stitches for the ribbing, and ended up starting in the wrong spot, so my end of round wasn't really in the right place, but I don't think it shows - by the time I realized, I was faced with ripping out an inch of ribbing to fix it, and was therefore much more inclined to let the error slide. Basically, four columns of ribbing in the left armpit are one stitch short each - doesn't seem catastrophic. Also, I suspect I didn't pick up the wraps on the short rows correctly, but the two fronts match each other, and it's not exactly a huge glaring error, so again I let it go and continued onward.

The yarn is really a sport weight, and not the laceweight called for in the pattern. I chose the yarn because A) I had it, and B) my work season is primarily fall and winter, and C) I live in Canada. Plus, I didn't want my sweater to be sheer and gauzy, and sport weight yarn worked at that gauge is light and drapey, but substantial enough. Now that I've done it, I'm starting to think I'd like to try it again with laceweight, just to see what it's like.

Didn't work all the sweater bug kinks out of my system, though. I've got another sweater on the needles.

I am starting to feel a bit socky too, though.