Based on a True Sweater

Feb. 27, 2006

Well, It Was My Name First.

This is the only time I will ever blog about celebrity gossip.

This is one of those weird and irritating coincidences that cannot pass without a note. So, my name is Mandy Moore. Yes, like that Mandy Moore. I get stupid comments and questions frequently. I was 24 when she became famous, or at least when I first heard of her (from people who knew me and thought the name thing was hilrious, of course). It's weird to suddenly have your name not be your own any more. This happened several months after I got married, and I have sort of wondered if I would have hyphenated my name if I had heard of her beforehand. Lame, yes, but it actually rattled me.

Then, last week I read on a trashy gossip site that she's marrying Zach Braff. I mentioned this to Zak because it was the first time I had seen her name written out as "Amanda Moore", which of course is also my name. He said "How weird, another Mandy and Zak". I had failed to register that fact... thank goodness the spelling, at least, is different. And, of course, they don't have the same last name. But still.... well, weird.

Feb. 18, 2006

This Entry Is A Week Late

Speaking at Northern Voice didn't suck. People actually seemed interested and asked questions, and I didn't die. I met Jana of Handmaiden (!!!), and the lovely Rachael Ashe (you can also read her here), who was a co-presenter on the same panel I spoke on. Neither of us had done this sort of speaking before - it was nice to have someone else there who was as inexperienced as I was!

In case you're interested, here are the sites I used as slides:

1. Yarnageddon (...of course)
2. Indigirl (re. why I started blogging)
3. See Eunny Knit (re. blogs that offer excellent technical information)
4. Knitting Rock-Along (re. knitalongs - this one got a great reaction!)
5. Tricoteuses Sans Frontieres(re. knit-blogging charity initiatives - the numbers with this one impressed folks)
6. Oliver's Fund (re. knit-blogger community stuff)
7. Knitting Olympics (a good excuse for more impressive numbers)
8. Jodi's Weblog (re. personal experiences, people you only know online but still think of as "friends")
9. Knit and the City (re. personal experiences, moving to Vancouver and having someone to hook up with because of blogging -yay!)
10. The Boogie Knits (re. personal experiences, the painting/spinning barter Amy and I did - I made sure to wear my Saturn sweater)
11. FishyKissKnits (re. another close "real-life" friend who blogs - this relates back to the story behind slide #2 and let me have a nice, circular, personal way to end my talk.)

Phew! It went a lot better than I feared. Zak wrote a bit about it here, complete with crappy little photo. Hey wait - I could post that photo here too!

The only thing that really sucked about the day was that I had nightmares the night before (nah, I wasn't nervous at all!), so I slept in and missed Susie's presentation, which I had wanted to see. But at least we got to hang out with her and Travis later, which improves any day.

Feb. 10, 2006

Panic On The Streets Of Vancouver

Hm... I can see why the Smiths used "London" instead. It really does sound better.

Hey folks, guess what? I'm speaking on a panel at Northern Voice on Saturday! About knit blogging! AAAAH hahahaha hahahaha HAHAHAHA HAAAaaaaaaa!!!!!!!

Having reread old Life in Hell comics recently, I feel that it would be appropriate to make a joke about doing an interpretive dance to demonstrate how I feel about this speaking gig. However, I can't think of how to formulate such a joke - perhaps it doesn't work if you're not a rabbit. Instead I will post this dubious old photo of myself and hope that the my-head-is-on-fire hair and wild-eyed facial expression (humor me here) will hint at my turmoil.

And now, I will stop gibbering incoherently.

Two things:

First, thank you so much for all the awesome comments about the Saturn Sweater! Unfortunatley, there will be no pattern. I took precisely zero notes, and so much of it was ripped, reknit, re-ripped, re-reknit... and so on. It was 100% made up on the fly. The essential design elements:

- a raglan cardigan with a shallow v-neck and really long sleeves
- lots of waist shaping, worked at 8 different points around the sweater
- short-row bust darts
- 7 inches of 2x2 ribbing for the collar, and 2x2 ribbing for the button bands

There is one question from the comments I can answer, which was Deb's question about yarn substitution. I don't know of any yarn that could be substituted for this yarn, as far as weight and texture go. It's DK to worsted weight, I got about 20 sts/4 inches on a 4 mm needle, and the fabric is pretty dense. The yarn is a very springy 2-ply wool, with a bit of thick & thin action. Manos is not similar, for the following reasons: it is much thicker, it is a single ply, and it has a very different drape. Actually, having had the privilege to work with handspun yarn from 3 different spinners (Spunky Eclectic, Insubordiknit, and Lanas de Libelula), I have to conclude that nothing is as nice as handspun yarn. Nuthin'.

Secondly, have you seen this??
Knitted graffiti. Go look, it will make you happy.

Feb. 4, 2006

The Saturn Sweater

Saturn Sweater

This is the final (for now) version of the sweater I knit from the beautiful yarn that Amy King dyed and spun for me almost 2 years ago. For almost a year it languished in my closet as an ill-proportioned cardigan, which came close enough to fitting that I kept putting off the work necessary to make it just right.

While Spencer and Lisa were visiting, I pulled it out and started removing the buttons and digging out the woven-in ends. (I am all in favour of ripping, I do it frequently, but man, I hate that part!!) After they left, I removed the bound-off edge and lengthened the sweater body by an inch or two. This bit of length made the sweater look much better, but I had to be frank with myself and admit that I still wasn't happy with the overall fit.

The upper sleeves were more close-fitting than I prefer, and as a result the yoke felt too snug through the shoulders. I like more ease in the upper arm and shoulder areas than I usually find in commercial patterns (I have quite wide shoulders), which is one reason I usually don't knit sweaters from patterns. This makes it even more frustrating when a sweater I have designed and knit for myself is too tight in the shoulders. (Having said that, I've learned a lot about how I want a sweater to fit, since the I first knit this sweater.)

Saturn Sweater

I ripped the yoke, added length and width to the sleeves, and reknit the yoke. I added a wide, cozy collar, and reknit the expletive deleted button bands. Ta-da! I have a well-fitting, very warm, easy-to-wear cardigan which I adore.

Possibly the best thing about this sweater is that the combination of reds and pinks has almost preternatural powers of flattery for me. My crappy skin looks almost clear, it suits my colouring so perfectly.

I can't complain at all about spending more time with this delicious yarn. It's so varied, from meter to meter and skein to skein, that it's never boring. It's the kind of yarn that I will likely rip and re-knit over and over in coming decades as each sweater I make from it slowly wears out. It's hardy, I think it could handle it... and it would be worth it.

Saturn Sweater

The striping and colours on the back yoke of the sweater kept reminding me of alluring, brightly coloured illustrations of the planet Saturn, which intrigued me so much when I was a kid. Hence the name. (I suppose there's an obvious joke to be made about the size of the planet Saturn, and how I may look in this sweater. If you feel inclined to make this joke in the comments... don't.)

Saturn Sweater