Believe it or not, my life is not all social melodrama; I do actually have time to get a little knitting done between threats and brawls. A very little, though: this is my busiest quarter at work, plus I have taken on a very large freelance job that is eating up most of my previously free time. Therefore, any time I’m knitting is time I really ought to be doing something else, so I usually only get in a row or two before succumbing to the guilt.
Okay, now I’ve given you my excuse for why it took me three months to finish Green Gable (which, as Matt correctly if somewhat repetitively points out, and likely will again in the comments if I do not acknowledge it here, is not at all green). I picked this project for my Grand Cayman knitting, since it’s very easy, knit in worsted weight yarn (so it goes quickly) and not too large. I brought it on vacation very concerned that I would finish it too soon and be stuck without knitting for the rest of the trip. I needn’t have worried.
The sweater is all the things I said — easy, small, quick — and that may have been the root of the problem: I just never was excited by it, especially once I (quickly) got past the lace panel at the neckline. I know that sometimes miles of stockinette are just the thing for a knitter, depending on the circumstances, but for some reason this was never anything but boring to me.
I have only a couple of complaints about this pattern. The main one can be seen above: the neckline curls in back and bows out in front, as anyone who has ever knit anything ever would realize that it would, as it is knit in stockinette (the lace, of course, is stockinette-based). It did block out to some extent, but I know that it will become more pronounced as time-since-blocking increases. I started this pattern thinking that for sure that it would call for some edging to be added after the fact, but it doesn’t, and I’m thinking maybe someday I’ll pick up the stitches around the neckline and see if I can come up with something that doesn’t look awful to fix the problem. The only other issue I have with the pattern is that I think the increases and decreases in the waist shaping are backwards, creating less of a shapely slimming illusion and more of a roly-poly look. That is, the decreases coming down from the top angle toward the back, and the increases coming back out for the hips angle toward the front. I’m not explaining this well, but if anyone else knits this pattern, I recommend that you reverse the right-leaning and left-leaning increases and decreases, unless you want to emphasize, for example, the number of coconut macaroons you might or might not have eaten this month. (Note: it is entirely possible that I got the pattern backwards, which can happen when you knit a quarter of a round every two weeks, so read the pattern carefully before taking my advice.)
Other than that, I am happy with this FO. It is flattering and comfortable and something I could wear to work. I also think it is a pretty good boob shirt, which wasn’t intentional, but I’ll take it.
The yarn is Knitpicks Main Line (75 percent cotton, 25 percent wool) in Red Velvet Cake. It is a perfectly acceptable yarn — nothing fancy or showy or particularly memorable, but inexpensive and — importantly — not at all scratchy against my skin. The red did bleed a lot when washed, which is a drawback but not terribly unexpected. I’m not sure how it’ll hold up over time — it fuzzed pretty readily while I was knitting it. If I weren’t making a real effort to swear off Knitpicks, I’d probably use it again, but I doubt it’ll ever become an enduring favorite.
Okay, that’s enough about that. Freed from the yoke of Green Gable, I have started/resumed work on several other knitting projects, which I will detail at great length on this very blog at some future date. I’ll leave you with a scandalous teaser: I am knitting a lovely pattern out of the lovely Natural Knits for Babies and Moms — a book that emphasizes lovely organic and wholesome yarns — out of acrylic microfiber and nylon. I know, I’m appalled too.
Finally, a non-knitting-related link of interest: Matt just sent me these predictions, printed in The Ladies Home Journal in 1900, about what life would be like in the year 2000. Some are way off the mark, some are surprisingly accurate, and most of them are touchingly optimistic. They’re pretty fun to read.
Thanks for all your nice comments on my last post: absolving me for being a humorless crank, warning me of Sims addiction, and expressing enthusiasm for my hotel’s pillow menu. I happened upon an article here that describes a hotel with twelve different pillow choices, and a pillow concierge to advise you on your pillow decision! (Sometimes you realize more acutely than others how this country’s wealth may be going toward the wrong priorities, but that’s a discussion for a very different post, and probably a very different blog.)
Most of you, though, wanted to know about Minty the Homewrecker. To be fair, this is not exactly how I would characterize Minty’s influence on my family life; perhaps that was an easy conclusion for my readers to reach since it immediately followed the accidental intimation that Minty and I had nearly violated my marital vows (which we did not). No, it’s not my husband who hates Minty with a fiery passion (why would he?). It’s my sister-in-law.
Let me begin by saying that my sister-in-law is great. Her name is Rachel. (To prevent confusion at family gatherings I go by RJ, for Rachel Jr., as she is three long months older than I am.) Rachel is funny and wise and successful (though I outscored her on the LSAT — sorry, Rachel, now the whole internet knows). We share a shameful love for the disgustingly delicious Birthday Cake Remix at Stonecold Creamery (her name, not mine, though I admit to having co-opted it). She does not award her friendship automatically (it took me far longer to win her over than it did my husband), and she is not someone you want to cross. Which brings us to Minty.
It all began several months ago, during my first-ever business trip to New York City. I was quite nervous, so as I planned my schedule of meetings for the day I decided to allow time for a social, stress free lunch. I emailed Rachel and determined that my 11 a.m. appointment was, in fact, quite close to her office downtown. We made a noon lunch date.
The day before my trip, however, I discovered that our office database had bad information and that the person I was meeting at 11:00 worked in midtown, not downtown. I emailed Rachel and told her that I was sorry, but we’d have to have lunch on another trip, because there was no way I could get downtown for noon and then back to midtown for my afternoon meetings. She was disappointed (I flatter myself to presume) but understood.
Finding myself suddenly without lunch plans, I emailed Minty, whom I knew worked in midtown (we had never met but had talked about trying to get together someday when I was in town). Happily, she was available, and we had a great lunch together, blogged here (scroll down). Little did I realize what a mistake that was. You see, Rachel reads this blog, and when she found out that I had, as far as she could tell, ditched her so I could have lunch with a blog friend, she developed a deep-seated grudge against Minty, which I still haven’t heard the end of. Minty now figures fairly prominently in most if not all of our interactions:
“So you’re not coming to our house for Thanksgiving this year? No, no, I’m not surprised, I figured you’d probably be spending Thanksgiving with Minty’s family.”
“I’d ask you what you want for Winter Holiday Gift-Giving Time, but I assume Minty has already gotten you everything you could want.”
“Thanks for inviting me to come to Grand Cayman with you and Matt. I take it Minty wasn’t available? Or will I be sleeping on the floor while she gets the pull-out couch?”
I think this is all in good fun, though I did get a text message from Rachel out of the blue a couple months ago that read simply: “Minty sleeps with the fishes.” And when I last saw her in New York (I never dare to go into the city anymore without seeing her), she told me to get out my cell phone because she wanted to give me something to give Minty:
Afraid to disobey, I showed Minty the photo when we met for the Yarn Harlot and warned her of my sister-in-law’s vendetta. Minty, being the brave or possibly foolhardy soul that she is, did not seem overly concerned, and sent me back with a message of her own:
I’m a little scared to put this up — Rachel hasn’t seen it yet, and I don’t think she’ll take kindly to being told to talk to the hand. Who knows how it may escalate the Minty Wars? Be warned, blogging public: when your real life and your blog life collide, there could be casualties. Don’t let this happen to you.
Next week: Knitting! It’s a little hobby I do occasionally that I thought I might share with you all.
I considered spending the whole of this first paragraph apologizing for not having posted for three weeks, but I decided that that’s boring and that none of you have been irreversibly harmed by my semi-extended absence. I will tell you that April-June is the busiest quarter at my job, plus I have taken on a hefty freelance project that is eating up my evenings and weekends, plus I seem to have gotten a poorly timed but powerful urge to play The Sims again, which means that my blog posts will remain erratic for the next couple months. I thought about taking an officially declared hiatus, but I think I’ll stop short of that. So just leave me in your Bloglines and we’ll see each other when we see each other.
Now for some out-of-date content! Some of you may recall that several presidential administrations ago the Yarn Harlot launched her most recent book in New York City. I, along with the 500 or so bloggers who managed to post about the event within an ice age of it happening, was there. I am lucky enough to travel to New York for business every few weeks, so after the launch was announced, I planned a work trip around it and found myself a date. I also joined the New York Sit n’ Knit Meetup when said date tipped me off that the group had somehow obtained an assurance of priority seating. Pleased that whomever was approving membership requests didn’t scrutinize my home state information too carefully (though I did once meet someone who thought that Rhode Island was one of the five NYC boroughs), I RSVPed that I would attend, arrived an hour and a half early, and thereby secured three seats in the second row. I used that hour and a half to royally screw up my Go with the Flow sock.
Many have described the event already, so I will be brief. I was more impressed with Stephanie than I expected to be. I was far more impressed with her sweater than I was when I saw it on her web site. I was not entirely enamored of the knitterly audience, which I found to be a cross between a Jerry Springer-type talk show (lots of booing and hissing at the mildest prompting) and a very receptive church congregation (I don’t think anyone said quite the yarn equivalent of “praise Jesus!” but the sentiment was there). Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind audience interactivity, but some of the chatter bordered on foolish and herd-like, in my curmudgeonly opinion. The “Q&A” was even more annoying. Let it be known, people, that “question” and “testimonial” are not the same thing. Nor are “question” and “obsequious fawning.” (By contrast, “Rachel” and “humorless crank” do seem to be synonymous.) Anyway, Stephanie handled every single comment with a grace and humor that made me like her even more.
The best part of the evening, though, was my date, Minty! Minty and I had such a nice time together that I was surprised when I realized, after we had parted ways at the end of the night, that it was in fact only the second time we’d ever met in person. In my mind she had become firmly established as a plain old friend, not merely an internet acquaintance.
Minty and I kicked off the evening by taking several bad pictures of ourselves. We then moved on to knitting our squares for Warm Up America (she finished her seed stitch one in about the same amount of time it took me to knit half my garter stitch one, so as punishment for being so much faster than I am, I made her finish mine while I selfishly knit my sock). Then we went and poured out our souls for hours over edamame and sushi, then walked back to my hotel, then went up to my hotel room where we marveled at the hotel’s “pillow menu” (I was offered the choice of goose down, buckwheat, hypoallergenic, or Swedish space-age superfoam or whatever it is). Finally we forced ourselves to say good night, though I was tempted to invite her to order up the pillows of her choice and sleep over in the other bed (after some pre-bedtime knitting, of course). Maybe next time. (Does this paragraph make it sound as though Minty and I almost hooked up? Because as far as I know that wasn’t the case, but I can’t seem to write that last part of the evening without that overtone. Maybe it’s something inherent in going up to someone’s hotel room. Or maybe none of you were thinking that at all. Until now, of course.)
I am going to wrap this post up here, but with the preview that my next post will also feature Minty fairly prominently. You see, not all is happiness and light in my acquaintance with Minty. In fact, Minty-based strife is threatening to tear my family apart. I kid you not. Okay, I kid a little. But still, stay tuned.