Saturday, September 22, 2007

Cotton Shrug = Shrug Addiction?

I love shrugs. I bought my first one at Nordie's last summer and then lost it last fall, around the same time that I learned how to knit. A shrug is a strange, dismantled sort of sweater, without a front, simply sleeves and a collar of some sort.

But they fit my lifestyle: southern living; ducking in and out of over-AC'd cafes to read and write; layers of clothing rather than large, heavy pieces; small enough to tuck into a shoulder bag.

This one I made out of Schachenmayr Nomotta "Maxi Cotton" using size 8 needles.

To start, I used the principles of the top-down raglan construction from Stefanie Japel's Fitted Knits, reconfigured for this larger yarn and needle size.

I ribbed the sleeves, then brought them down to a 3/4 length. The variegated yarn makes it lots of fun, and cotton is nice too, in this climate of ours down heah.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Men can be funny - who knew?

My M.A.P. and I were sitting on the couch watching our new 50" plasma television (what the heck? clearly I wasn't a part of that decision) and I was typing a blog entry. He said, "Your knitting blog is called what? Cyber Farts?"

It was an accidental slip of the tongue, actually, the transposing of the first letters of each word. But of course, now it's the preferred phrase of our household (if you are 6'3" and male).

Yes, I'm marrying a teenager, complete with oversized televisions and fart jokes.

But you know, Knitty Gritty lookes bitching on that T.V. screen -- you should see those swatch close-ups. You can actually count the gauge from across the room.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Knitty Friends

I used to have the world's best knitty friend. Her name is C. and she and I were housemates for a little while, while I was finishing my dissertation, and we would spend hours knitting--either at the bar, or on the front porch with Coronas. She taught me everything I know, really. Then, disaster struck, and she moved to Japan.

Knitting has become a solitary endeavor.

Then, last Sunday, after pulling myself from the shadowy wasteland of my bachelorette party hangover, I met a departmental colleague and another academic for a knitty time at our local over-sized bookshop's cafe. It was great. I found myself in the odd position of the person to whom questions were asked, but I didn't mind that, and we all know how the teacher can become the student.

I hope this becomes a regular thing. Wish our new fragile group luck against the forces of social inertia.


[update 12-2009]

Available now in S, M, and L, for $3.00

Clarissa is now available in an expanded .pdf format with sizes for S, M, L.

This shrug is named for Clarissa Dalloway, the title character of Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, one of my favorite books.

This pattern is a great first-sweater project, because it is simple and easy to fit to your body.

The cotton-blend yarns make it perfect for summer. I wear this shrug all the time--it was perfect for my early-spring trip to New Orleans this year.


Check out Clarissa on Ravelry:

Monday, September 17, 2007

Rip It, Rip It Good

I made the diamond scarf out of Wenlan Chia's Twinkle's Big City Knits, but I realized I would never wear it.

(According to Pearl-McPhee's quiz in Casts Off, I appear to be "product" knitter. That means I care about the usefulness of the end product. Or, it could mean I'm incredibly cheap about yarn. Because I also have never knitted a gauge swatch in my life.)

I love Chia's book, but thus far have been stumped by it, or rather, by the goal of making something that makes me feel awesome when I wear it.

I made the scarf, then ripped it out.

Around the same time, I saw a re-run of Stefanie Japel on Knitty Gritty, demonstrating a chunky cardigan project (the "better sweater").

Whoa, did this come out badly too. I've realized what my problem is. I think if you put chunky yarn on an amazon then you'd best be careful. And I was not careful in selecting this project--because I am not a careful knitter.

Don't misunderstand: Japel's Fitted Knits is my favorite pattern book of all time. It changed my (knitting) life. I recommend it to all of my acolytes. But this chunky cardigan just was not for me.

So I put the cardi on my small-boned slightly shorter friend S. and had her model it for me so I could photograph the work, before I ripped the yarn yet again. Here it is, nearly complete (pardon the stitch-holder in place of button):

As you can see, I made it out of two colors of yarn -- Classic Elite "Alaska," an alpaca blend. I also shortened the sleeves. Here's the sleeve detail:

And the back view:

I told S. that if she thought she would wear it, she could keep the sweater, but she wisely observed that in our southern clime, an alpaca-wool short-sleeved sweater-coat seemed chock full of clothing contradictions. (Not exactly her words, but you get the point.)

So I have ripped yet again, and have chosen another project from Chia's book -- the "Magic Shawl." This time, I'll be careful.


I have now seen in more than three places (and three's the charm) that bootie is in fact spelled "bootee." I stand corrected.

I, of course, prefer booty.