10/28/2008

Knitting Writers Reading

If you live in the Bay Area, mark your calendars for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 15th!  I’ll be joined by fellow knitting writers Peggy Vincent and Rachael Herron for a reading at knit-one-one in Oakland.  Rachael will be reading from Love Spun (a knitting romance!) and Peggy will read selections from her memoir, Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife.  I haven’t decided what I’ll be reading yet.  With fiction on one end and memoir on the other, I might have to bust out some poems.

By the way, Baby Catcher played a significant role in the timing of the appearance of that baby bump, so it comes highly recommended.  The book, not the bump.  Get your own baby bump.

And if you just can’t wait for more of my writing, hop on over to Woolgatherer’s blog, where I have a guest post today.

10/21/2008

Pictures Anyone?

If you live in or around the San Francisco Bay Area, and you’re thinking about having some pictures taken, go visit Superhero Designs.  The above picture is only one of many fabulous pictures that Andrea took of me and Z a couple of weeks ago.  Neither Z nor I are much good at standing in front of a camera, but Andrea drew us out in totally unexpected ways, and we both felt completely relaxed.  You can see more of Andrea’s work (and read what she has to say about it) on her blog.

And in case you’re wondering, Z’s sweater is the Mommy Snug from the Summer 2006 issue of Interweave Knits.  If there’s any history of twins in your family, knit the second set of short rows.

10/15/2008

Whole vs. Pieces

This is the February Lady Sweater, which I just finished for Z.  And that is in fact Z wearing it, and she is in fact pregnant.  Here are the answers to all of your questions, in the order that they’re usually asked:

1. December 18th.

2. Both.

3. Fraternal. Different sexes usually are.

4. Yes, in both of our families.

5. Yes, but we’re not telling anyone what they are.

6. Sure, I’d love a doughnut right about now.  Thanks!

Now, on to the sweater. If you’ve knit this pattern before (and odds are that you have, given how immensely popular it is) then you know that it’s worked as one piece, from the top down. If you’ve spent any time reading my earlier posts, then you know that there’s a special place in my heart for seaming, which translates into a general avoidance of top-down sweater patterns.  So, with the exception of a baby sweater or two, the February Lady Sweater is my first one-piece sweater. Now that it’s under my belt (and over Z’s) I can see certain significant advantages to knitting sweaters top-down, one piece:

  • Size as you go. At various points in the knitting, I was able to drape this over Z’s shoulders and ask her how much farther/longer/wider.
  • Fewer g#dd%&m f!*&%#g yarn ends. I think I only had to weave in about ten yarn ends for this sweater, thanks to the fact that there were yarn ends only where I cast on, started a new skein, picked up stitches for the sleeves, bound off, and one other stupid place where the yarn manufacturer got lazy and and tied a knot instead of spliced.
  • “Garment satisfaction” comes earlier. You know that magical moment when the work on the needles turns from a collection of rows into something that actually looks and feels like a garment? That moment comes a lot sooner on one-piece items.
  • You’re done faster. Ain’t no two ways about it, really. When there aren’t any seams to sew, you get to wear that sweater that much sooner. Or your wife does. Which, in some ways, is more satisfying.

So what’s the problem?  Why haven’t I joined the ranks of the converted?

  • Mass transit. Regular readers know that I’m a regular (albeit unwilling) patron of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system.  That half-hour of train time each way is perfect for getting some knitting in——so long as your project doesn’t spill on to your neighbor’s lap.  Unfortunately, the moment garment satisfaction arrives is the same moment you can’t work on that sweater on the train anymore.
  • Cat fur. The ugly affinity between yarn and cat fur is a perennial issue, but when you have an entire sweater on your needles, you end up with a cat’s worth of fur on your work.  Each time you turn the needles, your sweater drags up every feline filament within ten yards.  It took an entire roll of packing tape to get the sweater into the fur-free state you see above.  Please put that magnifying glass down and take my word for it.
  • Twisting sleeves. It’s great to have a shoulder with no seams, but when you knit those sleeves from the shoulder down, they just don’t turn as freely while you’re knitting them.  And any resisting force on your needles, however minuscule, is really annoying.  You either have to stop in mid-round and untwist the sleeves, or pick up the entire sweater and turn it around.

I do knit all of my Halfdomes in the round these days, so it’s not like I’m totally opposed to the seamless knitting.  The February Lady Sweater is an elegantly-written pattern, with truly stunning results, and I know better than to go rewriting patterns that work just fine on their own.  And besides, now that I think of it, didn’t I design a one-piece sweater once?  But I like having controversy in my life, so I’m going to leave this one up in the air.

Speaking of being totally opposed, if you live in California, please vote no on Proposition 4 and Proposition 8.  Keep access to medical care and advice available to teens, and make us all equal in the eyes of the law.