The Musings of One Miss Julie

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Warning: Tale of Despair, Pt. 1

I hoped to post good news tonight. Alas, it is bittersweet, and heavier on the bitter side.

All day today I was working on my cabled sweater vest, knitting furiously away (and trying new techniques, to boot). I was so close to finishing it, you see. I finished one shoulder seam (thanks, Heidi, for the tip -- the crochet slipstich method worked great!) and I tried it on. Success! The sweater actually fit around me, which was my greatest concern.

After all my try-ons today, I had nothing but optimism. I modeled it one last time just a few minutes ago. I finished all the knitting on the neckband and armbands and had only the side seams to go. "It's going to be great," thought I.

I look like a linebacker.

Which is, needless to say, not the look I was going for. Yeah, as usual for me, the shoulders are way too big. I'm "blessed," as my mother reminds me, with a curvaceous figure. (Read: I've got a prow to make Barbie jealous.) There's no blessing about it (and I'm not fooled into believing that Mom's suggestion is anything other than a well-meaning parental lie). But the fact is that the biggest part of me is disproportionately large compared to my small shoulders, small upper chest, and small back.

Why didn't I consider that sooner? Why couldn't I remember what I learned a while back at a sewing seminar on fit that I attended? In the class, led by Sandra Betzina, no less, I discovered that I'm a victim of small, sloping shoulders, a neck that sits forward on said shoulders, and a number of other fitting nightmares. All of which require (pain-in-the-arse) alterations.

Yet I forge boldly ahead, assuming that if I just knit the pattern as it's written and cross my fingers while I'm doing it (an impressive display of dexterity, surely), that all will turn out well in the end.

Tomorrow I'll finish the side seams and give everything a final steaming with the iron. I know what magic an iron can work, so I'll put my faith in shaping the shoulders so they don't stand out from my body like the cut of the spacesuits worn by Erin Gray in Buck Rogers.

If that doesn't work, I'll try Plan B: I'll put my head in my arms and cry. Then I'll post a photo and we can all cry together.

* * *

But because I can't end unhappily, here's the photo I meant to post before Christmas. I intended to showcase only my favorite of the cookies I baked this year, but Groucho the Wonderpooch insisted on getting one of his best sides in the shot.

Groucho sniffs out the Christmas cookies

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I Know What I'm Getting for Christmas

Mum instructed me to get one of my own Christmas gifts, so I did. It arrived today. I admit it: I peeked. Knitting Over the Edge by Nicky Epstein is just too delicious to resist. I wonder if I'll go through the charade of acting surprised on Christmas morning. I suppose it won't be too difficult to muster up some excitement for this book, though, considering it contains instructions for the coolest fringed scarf I've ever seen.

I have a week off from work beginning next Wednesday. I'm plotting and scheming what my next knitting project will be. I thought I had it all figured out: I was going to use the hot pink yarn from the last post to make the Point Five Pullover from The Yarn Girls' Guide to Simple Knits. I've also been thinking about venturing into colorwork. Scott and I went to Frankenmuth (a place I secretly love) this weekend where he saw a fabulous Dale of Norway sweater that he begged me to make for him. Add that to the lovely colorwork stocking Jan at Be*mused made, and I'm stuck.

Alas, I guess I should concentrate on finishing the sweater vest. I stalled out because I can't figure out what seaming method to use for reverse stockinette. Does anybody out there have any suggestions? I'm particularly befuddled by how to stitch the shoulder seams together invisibly.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

It's That Time of Year

I saw my first sunshine in what seems like weeks today. Over the weekend I finally started getting into the Christmas spirit a bit and now the Christmas cacti are catching my mood. They looked so beautiful this morning.

I love the Christmas cactus, with its exotic blooms and waxy leaves. The top pot, which contains both white and salmon-colored blooms, holds a lot of meaning for me. I estimate that the cactus is at least 30 years old. I received it 4 years ago when my grandma gave it to me for safe keeping while she and my grandpa headed south for the winter. She died quite unexpectedly a month later.

The hot pink blooms reside on a cactus I bought for myself last year to add to my collection. And the violet is just there for good measure. I received that as a sort of gift, too, from Mr. Julie's grandma. The plant was in the most bedraggled shape and none of us gave it a strong prognosis for longevity. It's proved us all wrong and is now the star of the living room, with blooms spanning more than 2 inches in diameter. My secret? Give the plants water every 2 weeks if they're lucky. They've gone as long as a month between drinks.

In other news, I had good surprise mail today.

Back in August I fell in love with some bright pink thick-and-thin wool yarn at the Michigan Fiber Fest. I could only buy two wodges of it at the festival so I contacted the spinner and ordered more. After sporadic email communications, I finally received my other four wodges today. Now I finally know what I'm going to make next.

Friday, December 02, 2005

An Actual Finished Project

As actual proof that I may be the slowest knitter in the whole wide world, I present this finished garter-stitch scarf, which I started about a year ago. Granted, I did unravel everything at one point and start again (about 10 inches of work). But really, should it take a body this long to make a scarf?

It's a bit more than 6 feet long, 3 inches wide, and made with size 10 needles using some Haitian cotton I bought on the cheap at Yarnia. I particularly love how the dusty-dull teals, tans, and brick-reds of it occasionally transform into silky-shiny versions of themselves.

I'm still procrastinating on the cabled vest. Anytime the picking up of stitches is involved I cringe. I may face it tonight, though. I've got some time to kill while we hang out around the house until 9:30. We're going to see my man Brendan Benson play a show in Ann Arbor and he probably won't hit the stage until 11oo.

I hope I can stay awake that long.