Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Yes, Shrub's Gone! And Yes, We Did!

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.--Barack Obama

The Bush regime is gone. I'm working from home today but I stopped at 11:30 and gave the inauguration my full attention. The night Obama was elected, I know we all cried tears of relief. It's been 8 miserable years and the country overcame their stagnancy and regained their hope. What a magnificent speech Obama gave. I'm not listening to the talking heads dissect it. Just want to savor the moment.
Can-do. We can don that national persona once again. It's never really been lost, just masked in despair. The time has come for us all to raise up our faces to the sun and get to work. We can get out of this mess we're in. Hard work, patience, and perseverance will prevail now. And Dallas can keep that son of a bitch. I hope that Obama and the Congress have the balls to go after him, Cheney, and Rove for their crimes. They need to pay, not to get a free ride.

Jerry's Aran
I've been doodling around with this. There is a method to my madness. I'll be chronicling this sweater design, from the beginning to the end, as I go along because I think it may be of value to you, if not to me.

Long before Janet Szabo published her book, I had designed several Aran sweaters, two of which were commissions for friends. I had a process then that was very similar to Janet's, simply because there is really no other sane way to design an Aran.
I've picked the stitch patterns and I've begun fitting them into the front. As the tech writer I am, I'll be systematic about describing my process.
  1. Pick the central panel first, then fill in the others. Use Fibonacci numbers, as suggested by Janet. My design will have three main design elements: the central panel, a tight plait next to it, dividers, and then a braid.

  2. Scan the stitch patterns from their respective books and insert into a Word document.

  3. Set up an Excel file for layout and preliminary stitch number calculations.
The latter step is very helpful. Rather than make a line sketch of the pattern placement, I use a spreadsheet for a layout and then insert the number of stitches for each pattern below. I then do a sum of the stitches that will constitute roughly 90% of the entire front/back, with the side filler stitches left blank until the actual swatch is finished.

This is just half of the row, since I couldn't get the entire thing captured as a readable graphic. I do the entire row, with the right side stitch patterns mirrored. But you get the idea.
I guesstimate my gauge so that I have a rough idea of what I need to cast on when I swatch. I'll be using Dale Falk, so 5.5 sts/in. is not unrealistic, although it may vary slightly. Using this figure, I can remove stitch patterns that may add too many stitches, since I need to have a decent number of filler stitches on each side to accommodate the armhole shaping. I removed the twisted divider stitch and accompanying purls to acheive this but left it in the spreadsheet if the swatch's measurements will allow me to include it.

I now have a road map for swatching. The spreadsheet will help me do the final calculations for the cast-on, given a 10% reduction for the ribbing.

The central panel and the large braid still have to be charted--I've done the tight plait. I'm going to try to get those done tonight on Knit Visualizer.

If this design turns out the way I'm hoping, I'll sell it. Might as well make some money from my efforts.

Winter IK
I have to say, I was underwhelmed. However, I loved Sean Riley's Harvard Square hat and Laura Grutzeck's Ropes and Picots cardigan. I'll make Sean's hat, definitely, since I need one and I love the graphic approach of his design. Laura's cardigan will have to go on hold for awhile, since I just ordered and received three more Mari Debrow patterns. I've got enough to keep me busy for the next ten years, at least.

IK wasn't terrible, it was just lackluster to me. I liked the socks OK, the mittens were a bit late in the season. Why they weren't in the gift issue is beyond me. Otherwise, it was kinda boring. If I see another "Why We Knit" article, I'm gonna spew. Do we really need to analyze it yet again? For what reason? Who gives a flying fuck why we knit?
Interweave has some good books out, though. Books I will get asap. Carol's sock book, of course. Knitted Lace of Estonia. And maybe French Girl Knits. I need more books like a hole in the head. Every time I've moved, it's been the books that were a royal pain in the ass.

One Thing Finished
I got the mitts done and I've been wearing them constantly in this hellish weather. They're quite funky against my black winter jacket.

I think when I do Sean's hat, I'll match two of the colors. Yikes! I'll probably make it this weekend, since I need a hat badly. My black felt hat is alright but it shows every little stray hair and piece of lint.
In the meanwhile, inbetween major projects, I've been replenishing my sock drawer as well as using up some of my sock yarn stash.

Anyway, thanks for all the good wishes. Jerry appreciated them, as did I. He read them and was going to comment but was at a loss for words. Pretty damned unusual for him.

With the weather so gawd awful, I'm getting a serious case of cabin fever. One good thing is that I'm feeling quite balanced and focused, despite the urge to go hibernate. I'd say that's normal. Subzero wind chill has never been rare nor handy. I want warm.

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