January One -- KH Cardigan

March 15, 2007

Beware the Ides

Posted by Cara at 09:57 AM | Comments (33)

March 12, 2007

Color Me Wonderful

I'm in a really good mood today. Which is probably the last thing you want to say out loud - or at least out blog - but it's true. And my morning wasn't all that great either. I'm going to attribute it to the fact that I -GASP- ate breakfast this morning. I NEVER eat breakfast. In fact oftentimes I won't eat until 2 or 3 in the afternoon. So I ate some oatmeal with cinnamon and honey and then a couple of hours later I ran and now I'm going to eat I just ate my lunch and I feel pretty damn good.

I had a GREAT weekend with my sister and the kids. On Saturday we went to the Crayola Factory which was, in a word, FANTASTIC! It's in Easton, PA and I would recommend anyone with kids go there NOW. It's like one HUGE craft project. Actually, a million little craft projects. You can go from station to station and make all sorts of stuff and the best part is that the three kids, ages 6, 4 and 2 could do the same projects - just each to their own level. We were there for like five hours and I barely had a headache when we left. ;-) This was actually really good practice for me. Kind of like training camp. You see, in two weeks my sister and her husband are going away for a long weekend and they're leaving the kids at home...WITH ME!! (And G actually.) We will be TOTALLY RESPONSIBLE for the lives of three VERY young humans. To say I'm a bit freaked is putting it mildly, but as my sister keeps reminding me, I volunteered for the job. The kids are so super excited about it, and I am too.

Maybe that's why I've been knitting like a fiend on the KH Cardigan. I want to get as much done as possible before I go back down to Philly.

You're looking at 12" of back BAYBEE! Another 2.5 to go and I'm ready to start the armhole decreasing. I'm going to go with the size 40.5" decreases - so that the sleeves measure up no problem. Fingers crossed it all works out. Still LOVING this project. Every time I finish a repeat (or sometimes more often) I lay it out over my lap and run my hand over the yarn. It's very satisfying.

And in the definitely NOT "Not Your Grandmother's Knitting" department, I'm sure you've all heard that Eunny Jang has been named Editor of Interweave Knits. This is grand in so many ways, but most of all because Eunny, as evidenced by her superior technical skills and innovative designs, GETS our grandmothers' knitting, APPRECIATES our grandmothers' knitting, and takes their genius and builds on it. The most original and creative people in the world did not and do not turn their back on the art that came before, they incorporate it into their own work. They feed off of it. Most of all they show the utmost RESPECT for it. Through her blog alone, Eunny has raised the knitting bar for all of us. I, for one, am very excited about what she can bring to IK and the knitting community in general. Whether I ever knit an IK pattern again, I am confident that the patterns that DO appear under her creative direction will be SMART and CHALLENGING. That cannot be a bad direction to take our craft. Congratulations Eunny! I wish you only the best!

Posted by Cara at 03:33 PM | Comments (30)

March 08, 2007

It's not a hobby, it's a lifestyle.

Second verse, same as the first:

The color is way off here. Not so blue/green.

The other day I was having lunch with a friend and she looked up at me and said, "I love knitting so much. It's just the greatest thing ever." And I said, "I know. I do too." And she said, "I feel so sorry for people who don't knit." And all I could do was nod my head in agreement.

I've thought a lot about this conversation and it's not so much that knitting IS the greatest thing ever - but that knitting is the greatest thing ever FOR ME. And while I don't really care so much if everyone else knits (there's a part of me that would like to keep it just a tiny bit exclusive) I do feel sorry for people that don't have something in their lives LIKE knitting. Something that can at the same time frustrate and amaze and comfort and that can only TRULY be satisfying with a lot of hard work and disappointment. Anything worth having takes a bit of work. You know? I don't care whether it's tennis or gardening or stamp collecting - if it makes you cry and lifts you up and brings you joy - if it keeps you up at night or helps you sleep or makes you want to see another day - then it's GOOD.

The other night G and I were watching TV and he said to me - "It's knitting, right? You're thinking about your knitting?" And I sort of waved him off and said, "Yeah, I'm trying to do some math in my head. Did I look like I was having trouble?" "Well, I was going to ask you if you were okay - if something was wrong, but I figured it was your knitting." And then I turned to him and words started to fall out of my mouth and I was explaining the problem and what I thought I should do and how stupid the designers were to make the sizes so far apart and my love's eyes glazed over and I thought to myself: Thank god for Ann. And Vicki. And Margene. And Kay. And thank god for all of you because I don't need everyone in the world to understand my knitting. I really could care less if 99% of you never pick up yarn and sticks in your life. But I do NEED at least a few of you to understand that look I get. And more importantly, share in the joy.

Things are going to get really really really boring around here. I'm knitting and knitting on my KH Cardigan and it feels like it's going NO WHERE. I've never knit a whole sweater on size 5s with sportweight and lace and I can see this getting tedious fast. But yet I can't stop knitting. I feel like if I can just get through the back I will feel like progress has been made and the rest will go really quickly. I've got the pattern memorized and I'm sailing without a cable needle and I'm counting rows so that repeats go fairly quickly, but still, I've only got like 5". I need 14".

I'm off to my sister's today and I'll be there through the weekend. Which probably means not a lot of knitting. Although the train ride today will be nice - I've got Kate and Ira Glass and we'll be having a little party on the Northeast Corridor.

Have a great weekend everyone! See you on Monday!

Posted by Cara at 09:44 AM | Comments (62)

March 07, 2007

Reasons to be cheerful

Reason No. 7,659 that I love knitbloggers: Yesterday, about fifteen minutes after I posted about my encounter with extra terrestrials Jenni sent me an email detailing EXACTLY which solar system the aliens were from, which kind of ship they used to land, the instruments they used to cut the crop circles and how butt cream would do nothing to stop the twitching in my ass. Thanks Jenni!! No, really, Jenni, an engineer and ecologist in New Jersey said she thought it was probably salt marsh mitigation and DING DING DING! She's right! I heard back from the NJ Meadowlands Commission and apparently they cleared the reeds for a mitigation project being spearheaded by the Commission and the US Army Corps of Engineers. She thinks they're probably going to plant some new pretty plants out there. WHOOHOO! No building here! It's like the Ghostbusters sign. Closed for business! (Oh and Risa - the stuff on the other side of the river is, I believe, going to be a golf course and/or a new apartment complex. I don't think I'll be able to see it from my view, thank god.)

Reason No. 7,660 that I love knitbloggers: Ivete emailed me the other day asking about the double decreases I'm doing for the Katharine Hepburn cardigan. She said she was knitting it as well and her double decreases look A LOT different than mine. I, cockily it turns out, told her I was doing what the pattern said: slip two stitches knit wise, knit the next stitch, then pass the slipped stitches over. What Ivete pointed out is that it actually says slip two stitches as if you were going k2tog, then knit one, then slip the stitches over. BIG DIFFERENCE! Thank god Ivete told me this early because her way, the CORRECT way, looks a helluva lot better than the bonehead way I was doing it. There was some ripping on my end, but not that much, and I'm VERY happy now and oh my god what if she had noticed it when I was halfway done the sweater? I would have been SO PISSED. Crises averted. Thanks Ivete!

Reason No. 7,661 that I love knitbloggers: The KH Cardigan has lots of little easy peasy cables that you turn every fourth row. I heart my cable needle. But not that much. I decided I needed to learn to cable without the damn needle, for this project at least, and Wendy came to my rescue! I can now do a simple four stitch cable cross - both left and right - without a cable needle. Although it would be great if I could remember which way I'm twisting. Yeah, yeah. We all know I can fix a freaking miscrossed cable. That doesn't mean I should have to. Thanks Wendy!

Reason No. 7,662 that I love knitbloggers: I'm feeling extremely confident in my plan for KH - I think KNOW it's going to fit EXACTLY the way I'd like. This is in no small part to all of you, but especially Emily - who reworked the numbers again for me and told me that I was completely correct in my assessments on how to knit this baby up. Thanks Emily!! You really made me feel good about my skillz! Now imagine my surprise, as I'm knitting in bed last night, flipping through the channels, to find EMILY on TV!! I was gliding through the guide and saw a show on PBS called The Art of Quilting. Hmmmm, I thought, this could be good for some inspiration. So I turned to it and there she was!! EMILY! Have you seen what this girl can do with some fabric and a sewing machine? OH MY GOD! She's a genius! (She knits, dyes yarn AND she likes crunching numbers for other people. I guess she's crazy, too.)

After all this goodness, I'm cruising on Katharine Hepburn!

God bless KNITBLOGGERS one and all!

Posted by Cara at 12:53 PM | Comments (24)

March 06, 2007

Crop Circles

The other day Margene had a contest asking everyone to reveal a little secret about themselves. (I think the contest is still going on, by the way.) I revealed this:

My secret is that I've been probed by aliens and I have the anal fissures to prove it. Ann says she has a cream to help me, but honestly, how can we believe her, er, I mean him?

Dudes. My ass has been mighty twitchy lately and I think I've discovered why!!! The aliens are sending messages in the form of CROP CIRCLES! [Click for bigger photographs.]

I am FREAKED! As some of you may know, I live in the swamps. My apartment looks over a beautiful field of reeds leading into the Hackensack River. We get gorgeous sunsets. One of my favorite things in the world is watching a storm roll across the swamps. All of the many windows in my apartment face over these swamps and I can get lost staring out the window. If I didn't have these swamps, I can guarantee I would've looked for a new place to live a long time ago. My view is one of the few things I'll miss when we do eventually leave.

You can understand, then, why I was horrified to see that the reeds had somehow been mowed over or destroyed or cut in such a way as to write out SURRENDER CARA! I tried to find some comparison pictures of what it looked like BEFORE the aliens came and ruined it:

I'm not sure if you can tell from those pictures what a lush wonderful landscape I've been enjoying over the past 15 years. Now I've got this catastrophe:

I spent the day calling many high ranking officials in my local government and the NJ Meadowlands Commission and no one knows what the hell I'm talking about. One guy at the Meadowlands Commission actually said the words: Crop Circles. I laughed and said that IF I was crazy, which I mostly certainly am not, that is EXACTLY how I would describe it. I senthim the pictures and hope he'll get back to me soon. My worst fear is that someone is going to build something - which I find really hard to believe - I think it's all protected land - and that my glorious view will be gone and I'll have to move ASAP. I refuse to live here without my view.

Thanks for all the suggestions on the Katharine Hepburn Cardigan. I understand what a lot of you are saying about how knits stretch and ease and all that stuff. I don't want a fitted sweater. I don't like fitted sweaters. While I have been blessed with a lovely girly figure, I don't like to call attention to it and I can guarantee that if I make the sweater at 40.5" I will be uncomfortable. It might look fabulous to you, but I won't feel good. The fact that the designers/editors thought it was okay to have 5.5" jump between sizes is preposterous to me. The last two sweaters I've made have been the 43" size and the 44" size - and I'm quite happy with both of those sweaters. Last night I cast on my modified pattern - probably around 44" - and my plan is to knit the 40.5" shoulders and sleeves. I'm not done tweaking yet, so we'll see. Oh and I decided to do the thing in pieces instead of the body in one piece. I was all set to do it in one piece and I had a lengthy discussion with Ann about structure and whether it would work without a real seam (we decided it would because we'd have two cables and two purl stitches where the seam would be) and I cut and pasted and photocopied the pattern and calculated the number of stitches needed: 309. It was then I decided pieces would be best. There was no way I was casting on 309 stitches. It would take me FOREVER to knit and I would get bored and it would get tedious. So pieces it is. And this way I can figure out the sizing if it needs to change much more easily.

Okay. Off to wait for the Mother Ship.

PS - Heather is running a drive to provide books to kids in South Africa. You can donate money and/or books and there is YARN to be had! Heather has INCREDIBLY offered up yarn to everyone who donates at least $20. The girl is NUTS! Please go visit to learn more about this very worthy cause. Literacy is EVERYTHING.

Posted by Cara at 11:38 AM | Comments (29)

March 05, 2007

The Fat Girl

At about midway through this post I'm going to ask for you to put your thinking caps on. I need serious KNITTY MATH help. You will be given fair warning. THANK YOU.

Thanks everyone for checking out my yarn and double thanks to those who purchased it! I've pretty much destashed everything I'm going to destash now - I'm getting much smarter about my yarn purchases. Everything I've sold off in the past few months has been impulse buys. No more impulses for me!

But that doesn't mean I'm not buying yarn. No siree bob. I've got two sweaters worth of Beaverslide in the stash and yesterday I bought yarn for my Katharine Hepburn Cardigan. But first, some adventures in yarn.

Friday I was in the city to get my hair cut and colored (MAN did it need it!) and also I had become obsessed with the KH Cardigan and getting some Louet Gems Sport Weight (I guess they don't call it Opal anymore) to swatch with. I had some yarn to return to Seaport so after my hair appointment, I trekked it all the way downtown to see if I could switch out the yarn - I was trying to return the Gems Topaz I sold yesterday. After the staff was particularly unhelpful and pissy about my return, I wasn't able to find the needed amount in a color I thought I wanted. So I didn't buy anything. Not even a skein to swatch with. I have a strict policy of not spending my money in places that treat me poorly. (I hear what you're saying Ann, but the Post Office is a totally different story. YES IT IS!) I feel this is really the only way to get my displeasure across and I'm fairly good about keeping my policies in check. Okay. No yarn. I'm in NYC with about a million yarn stores. It's Friday at 5:45. SOME STORE must be open AND have ONE FREAKING SKEIN of Gems Opal so I can AT LEAST SWATCH! Did I say I had become obsessed? After a few phone calls to G to check the web for me, I found out that Purl was open until 7. So I hightail it up there because I know that I've seen tons of Gems at Purl. Tons.

I get to Purl, out of breath and hot - it was WARM this weekend. (Although not as warm as the 40 people I saw wearing shorts thought it was.) I stumbled into the store and ask "Gems. Opal." They pointed out the fingering weight. "Sorry. No. I mean the Sport Weight." "Oh, sorry, we only sell that on the website." WHAT?! Does anyone else think that's weird? I mean, yes, Purl is a VERY small store, granted, but still - they can't even have like a FEW skeins of the sport weight. For, like, you know, SWATCHING purposes?

I stumbled back out onto the street. MUST.FIND.SPORTWEIGHT. My weekend was starting to deteriorate. Friday night and I've got new hair, but who cares? Think, Cara, THINK! The Point! Don't the Spiders knit there Friday nights? Hmmmm. It's around the corner. It's open. It's a yarn store. There's a chance.

I called up G again and asked him to look up the Spiders. He found their website and I told him to look to see where they meet on Friday nights. He didn't find that info, but he did find the "rules" for joining and he asked if this was some kind of secret society or something and do we really need to give up our first born for me to find some yarn and I said they're NICE girls, they don't want our kid and then I passed Julianne Moore and her lovely family on Bedford (which was a little bit weird because I had just watched this movie the night before) and then I was there. At The Point.

Did I mention I haven't eaten yet that day?

seemed genuinely happy to see me and I was genuinely happy to see her and sit next to her and hear her big pregnant belly laugh all night long and then Craptina showed up and was all like where's Ann and Flair? And I said I dropped those bitches like a hot freaking potato and then Marie came in and gave me a great hug and there were lots of other Spiders there that I was introduced to but don't remember their names and for that I am oh so sorry but you see I hadn't eaten all day and then I had a cupcake so I was so sugared up I was actually about to fall asleep.

In case you're wondering, they had Gems Fingering Weight and Gems Worsted Weight.

I left after a little bit because I had to go get my car and pick up G and I was super starving and tired and I didn't have my fucking yarn and then, on Madison around 67th, there was a man lying on the ground in the middle of the sidewalk sort of crumpled up and looking very much NOT alive and people started gathering and I called 911 and then I had to wait for the ambulance to come and people in NYC are nice when there's a crisis and the guy turned out to be okay, I guess, after the EMTs started yelling at him to GET UP. At least, he was able to stand up and when I came around the corner again with my car the ambulance and the guy were gone, so who knows. Hey Ginny! Don't Stop Believing!!

Damn. This post is turning out to be long. Sorry about that.

Okay. No yarn. But the night was saved because my husband found me a very nice burger and more cupcakes. The next day I went and had lunch with my mom, who was in town for the opera, my sister and my brother. Family love! It was actually quite nice and then my bro and I head up to Knitty City because the QUEST HAS NOT ENDED! Luckily for me my bro had some time to kill AND his girlfriend is a knitter so he knows the drill. Knitty City didn't have the yarn, but my brother buys his girlfriend a Lover Boy.

What to do, what to do, what to do!

You know, when it comes to yarn, policies don't apply. Seriously.

My brother just happened to have to be down town to meet his friend and I KNEW Seaport had the freaking yarn - at least one skein in any freaking color so I could freaking SWATCH and the Japanese place right around the corner was probably open with my favorite chewy fruity candies so I got myself lots of candies and one skein of yarn. Although the subway ride down there almost made the whole thing very UNWORTH it.

A sort of happy ending is coming to all this. I FINALLY found some Gems Sport Weight and I swatched.

My swatch is perfect and I love it.

So I swatched on Saturday and I LOVE the yarn and it's perfect for the pattern (imagine that - given that it's the yarn CALLED for in the pattern) but I swatched in Willow and Willow isn't the best green. I wanted Fern Green because I think it will look fantastic with this pattern and fantastic on me and I would've done the red, but all I do is red (although this will be the second green sweater) but G says I look great in green. I should wear more green, he says. Clearly, it's not easy being green.

And of course now that I found the pattern AND the perfect yarn and identified the perfect color, well, you can imagine where this is going. Luckily for me it only took two phone calls to find enough yarn in the same dyelot to get my project going. Sheila, the owner of Stix-N-Stitches in Montclair, was super sweet to hold the yarn for me and she put me on some list to get me two more skeins. (I imagine the list is like the kind they use at car dealerships - I need a 2007 Red Camry with white leather interior. I can trade a Black Corolla with tan interior. Only, you know, with yarn. I need two skeins of Fern Green, dyelot 12, and I can trade you one French Blue and one Crabapple, etc.) Everyone at SNS was really nice - I'm sorry to everyone I met (some for the second time at least) that I can't remember your names. I was holding them in my head so I could remember and then I started winding up my new yarn and all the names just flew out of my head like Scarlett O'Hara in that scene when she tries on her new bonnet. Please forgive me and shout out in the comments! Thank you! SNS is a beautiful store - TONS of yarns and accessories and I should really go there more often. Oh yeah, and they had my gorgeous yarn.

I cast on for the sweater last night...BUT...I'm having problems with sizing. I need help. And since this post is already a freaking novel, I'm going to talk about my size issues after the jump. But first, the title of this post refers not only to my body, but to my favorite short story - "The Fat Girl", by Andre Dubus. It's one of the best stories I've ever read in my life. And, also, Eve needs some help. She needs you to read comics for her and then, maybe, she'll send you some yarn. Go help.


Hi! Thanks for sticking around to help me out. I am both math phobic AND math handicapped, so please be patient.

Okay. So I want to make this cardigan. I have a 40" chest, which, even if I lose the 15-20 pounds I want to lose probably won't be much smaller. And then, if there's any luck in the world, I'll get pregnant and the boobs will threaten to smother all of the tri-state area but let's not worry about that right now. Let's worry about the Katharine Hepburn cardigan.

40" chest. Let's look at the sizes: 40.5" and 46" chest/bust circumference, buttoned.

Let's look at the models - hmmmm. Both are stick thin with absolutely no boobs to speak of.

Let's think about my own personal style: I LOVE the cardigan. Perfect for the big boobish among us - stylish, but you can keep the sweater open so they don't constrict the girls. I RARELY button a cardigan. I like things on the bigger side - I'm not really into the body hugging knits.

Initially I thought - okay. Do the 46". But that seems too big. And the 40.5 just seems too small. I mean, sure, probably if I'm not going to button it I could get away with it, but I'll be self-conscious and uncomfortable and not happy with my beautiful sweater.

Can anyone tell me why they sized it this way? With 5.5" between the sizes?

I did, in fact, cast on last night for the 46" size. But it seems big. So I took out the charts and my notepad and did some math. The charts have you starting at different places depending on your size. The way I figure it, if I start at the size below the 40.5 and then I add two extra repeats, I will gain about ten extra stitches (there are 20 stitches between the 40.5" size and the 46" size.) I will be casting on 159 stitches for the back (including two selvedge stitches) instead of 167 for the 46" size. I can get gauge - I didn't wet block my swatch, but the directions say to block lightly so I will be doing the wet towel thing to the pieces which I don't see changing the swatch that much. So let's say I can get gauge - 29 stitches to the 4". Divide that by 4 and I get 7.25 stitches per inch. So I get about 22" for the back. The 46" size schematic says you should get 23". So I'll be getting a 44" sweater - which seems like it would be just right!

So what do I do with the sleeves and the armhole/neck shaping?

I guess I could add the same number of stitches to the sleeves - I mean - I'm going to make the sleeves longer anyway so I'm going to be changing those all up.

According to the schematics, there's only a 1/2" difference between the 40.5" and the 46" size in the armholes and stuff - so probably I could just pick one and do that? Right? I guess I would pick the 46" inch size and go from there. What do you think? Could this work? Should I mess with it or just do the 46" size?

One more question: Since I'm going to need to cast on again, should I do the body in one piece up to the armholes or should I keep the back and fronts separate - please discuss!

ALL OPINIONS ARE WELCOME!!! (Well, that is unless you're going to call me an asshole. Please refrain. Thank you.)

Thank you so much. I love you all!

My row gauge was pretty good - off by a couple rows, but I know how to fix row gauge. I'm talking more about binding off for shoulders and arm holes and stuff like that - I know I mixed things up a bit. The horizontal shaping as opposed to the vertical shaping. It might not matter anymore anyway because I just soaked my swatch and it's drying. Probably I'll have to make either the 32" size or the 50" size. You know how it goes. I'm trying to learn PATIENCE. I want the sweater to look NICE.

Posted by Cara at 08:19 AM | Comments (63)

March 02, 2007

Seek and Ye Shall Find

YAY! I'm pretty sure I've found my next sweater:

Can you guess? It's been all over the knitblogs - I'm hardly original. Oh alright. I'll tell you:

It's the Katharine Hepburn Cardigan from the new Lace Style from Interweave. I'm having a bit of a Goldilocks moment in regards to yarn selection. So far I've semi-swatched with two yarns - the green is Rowan Wool Cotton and the red is Heavyweight Socks That Rock. I'm not 100% happy with either one of them. The Wool Cotton has a bit too much drape and a bit too much sheen and the HSTR is a bit too flat in the sheen department and a bit too heavy. The pattern calls for Louet Gems Opal and I'm going to pick some up today to swatch. Hopefully that will be just right. The best part is that I like the pattern and I'm getting to know it so when I finally cast on I'll have it memorized and G likes the sweater and it's different than the other two sweaters I've knit this year and it's perfect for the coming spring season. I'm planning on making the cropped version.


Yeah. That shit would barely cover my areolas. Dude. I'll be making the Amish version. Long body, long sleeves. I'm planning on turning the 3/4 sleeves into long sleeves. And I'm toying with the idea of doing the body in one piece again. This has more to do with getting it all done in a seemingly faster fashion than it has to do with my feelings for seaming. I LIKE to seam. I've got no problems with seaming. What I hate is all the pieces. You do the back. Then you have to do the sleeves and then you have to do the fronts. If you do the back and fronts together - well - when you're done - you've just got the sleeves! Then you do those together and voila! You're DONE! Doesn't that seem like it goes so much faster? Plus I think it might make the lace lay together nicer to do it in one piece. No fuddly seaming. We'll see. I'm jumping ahead of myself. First I've got to find a yarn.

But I'm feeling much better. Am Kamin will have to wait. I know that many people have successfully knit the sweater - hell - I was running the knit-a-long. I've gotten much farther than I have before and I WILL knit this sweater. I'm just not ready yet. This is going to be my next Short Rows. It may take me awhile to do it. And that's okay. For now, I'm excited about jumping in with Katherine. It might be time for some Philadelphia Story.

Have a great weekend!

Posted by Cara at 09:44 AM | Comments (55)