Koigu KPM in several colors

So as my prevous post hinted, I’ve been working on a giant granny square.  I picked up this project from Joelle’s Giant Granny Square at The Purl Bee; I used their Granny Square Tutorial and Crochet Basics Tutorial to figure out to do it (with generous help from a lovely friend who works at Purl Soho, actually delivered the yarn when I needed it and some cheering up, and is generally awesome).  I’m using Koigu Premium Merino (link to Purl) a.k.a. KPM (link to Ravelry).  Having gotten some link soup out of the way, it’s time to talk about how awesome and exciting this project is.

More of Koigu KPM

First of all, it’s my first successful atttempt at learning to crochet!  I bought a book a while back and attempted to learn at Jewish supplementary summer camp even longer ago (I believe I made most of a yarmulke before getting to a part where I was supposed to use a contrasting color to spell out a name or the like and proceeded to get bored and give up) but I never managed to get quite interested enough to keep up with it.  The endless color palate of KPM and the soothing, repetitive nature of this project called to me, so I asked the aformentioned friend if she could possibly pick out a cheerful palate for me and the results were stunning. (See above pictures for how enthralled I was and am!)

3 granny square rounds

It was just a baby...

Several more rounds of granny square

You might note that it's over some schoolwork. Yeah, that's how I roll.

Of course, the first batch was not nearly enough for the full splendor one of these giant squares, and I had to return to the store for more.  It’s a special, giddy kind of fun to line up all the colors I have already and all of the colors I’m considering and sort them out to different spots and and find that perfect progression that just satisfied my color sense in exactly the right way.  It’s a different, slower type of enjoyment to see the colors layering onto each other as I crochet them on.

Koigu KPM in many colors plus my granny square at the time.

"...and you're ALL coming home with me!"

(I may have picked two more.  Um.  And I’m waiting on purples to be stocked.)

Another angle of the Koigu KPM.

I just had to get one of those blog-classic low angle faux-photographer shots. The colors told me to.

I also had what may be a first on this project; I didn’t like the way a color order was coming out so I just ripped an entire round and started over.  I didn’t have one of those emotional “THIS PROJECT IS CRAP I GIVE UP LET’S THROW IT INTO A CORNER SHALL WE” moments or anything like that.  I just pulled it out, wound it up nicely, and took some pictures to comemorate the moment.  Then I crocheted the next round.

Granny square with rewound pink color that just wasn't working there.

I thought repeating that pink would work for the next round, but the number of pinkish rounds was just too much for that spot. Off it came!

I’m starting to feel like I’m perhaps compelled to type out this much content becuase I feel awkward about putting in too many pictures without some intermediate filler.  Well, um, phooey to that.  This is a pictures post.  So there.  And if you suspect that maybe I had a little too much fun with iPhoto, well, phooey to that, too.   There’s no such thing as too much fun editing photos.  So there.

Granny square folded up into a triangle

Folded up into quarters. Looks almost edible?

A "process shot" of the granny square on my couch.

Mmm, orange rounds.

Yarn ball man stabbed by knitting needles and bleeding yarn

A good way to express your anger at unruly knitting projects?

I’ve enjoyed this image since it made the rounds of the knitterly internet some time ago.  I hope the creator will make prints available at some point.  I guess I could buy the book, but I really see this as decoration for my (imaginary, future) craft area.

Irrelevant note: apparently I can type something like jnirr into my phone and it’ll figure out that I mean knitting.  Do I really talk about it that much?  I found that out when sending this picture to myself.

knitting, knitted things, my living room and kitchen

Sharp eyes will note the scarves (knitted by me: naughty little cable scarf, 1x1 ribbed noro scarf)) draped over the throw (sadly, not knitted by me but purchased from pottery barn via eBay in a months-long hunt after seeing it on House but I'm planning on reverse-engineering it, eventually) draped, in turn, over my secondhand Ikea Poäng chair. There's also a teensy glimpse of a Quant, also knitted by me, ungracefully clumped on the seat of the chair.

I’ve been up all night.   My life has been full of more complicated and upsetting problems that usual, of the sort that I don’t and won’t talk about on the Internet in any form, which have basically put me out of commission for anything other than sleeping all day and maybe watching the occasional movie in between crying or blocking everything out.  This has been going on for the entirety of my “Spring Break” (and let’s not even mention the week before, in which I squeaked by during my last week of my rotation on nothing more than determination to not fail out and so much sleep deprivation that nothing seemed real) and finally I just couldn’t even sleep at all this past night and did incredibly useful things instead, like playing with Facebook, watching 20-minute documentaries about 30-second commercials, and starting to work through the massive YouTube archive of The Ellen Degeneres Show clips.

Yeah, well.  At least I got some knitting done.  Lately I’ve been carrying my knitting bag around with me like a security blanket, not even taking out the knitting but just…having it there.  Just in case I feel up to it.  Tonight was the first time I actually knitted for I-don’t-kn0w-how-long, though.  Oh, there is a small messy pile of calendar blocks on the other side table.  I shall do some iPhone photo magic:

calendar squares and assorted other shapes

This crappy picture was cunningly taken at arm's length so I don't have to move.

So, I did make some progress with those little guys.  I keep meaning to make a post about them showing them all off, but, you know, stuff happened.

So it’s almost 10 AM now.  (I just noticed that this blog’s time is an hour early.  Wish I knew how to fix that setting.)  I should probably just try to stay up through the day, have caffeine or whatever and try to at least make it to the afternoon and take a nap at most.  I hope I do that.  I might just sleep all day again.

Life in the past few weeks has been very disorienting but not really all that conducive to knitting.  Rotating through the ER has, as I alluded to in my last post, made my life a rather different variety of crazy and left me devoting most of my free time to sleeping.  I also spilled a drink onto my computer, which is now out of commission until it gets repaired if it turns out I can afford to repair it.  I bought the cheapest computer Staples sells so I don’t fail out of school.  I was also sick twice in the first two weeks of the rotation.  TWICE.

A sane person might take this as a sign that working with sick people every day might not be advisable, but this is what I want to do with my life and my immune system had damn well better suck it up and adjust. Maybe they’ll come up with a full-body Purell dispenser/Plasma bather that I can step in every 5 minutes to thoroughly disinfect myself.  In the meantime, I’ll go with obsessive hand-washing, a mental map of the alcohol-foam-lotion-whatever dispensers, and alcohol-swabbing everything I carry around that might survive it.

But you’re here to hear about knitting, not endless bitching about my non-knitting (so-called?) life. FEAR NOT, reader*, for I have plenty of knitting to show you today!

It should be no surprise to you that I did not score a gold medal in the Knitting Olympics. I’m glad I participated, though — it helped knock me further out of my knitting rut.  I didn’t finish, sure, but I did make some progress.

Cerus scarf scrunch

It really confuses people when I tell them this is a scarf. I think the idea of a scarf sort of appearing out of the end of a set of knitting needles and lengthening is really ingrained.

Obligatory gratuitous close-ups:

Cerus scarf close-up

I'm always surprised at how my iPhone manages decent detail.

Another angle of the Cerus scarf

I think the holding-two-strands-together thing is a cheating way to make this scarf appear even more luxurious. Well, it makes up for having to move each stitch around twice to knit it once and having to deal with all of the yarn-wrangling that comes with a K1P1 kind of pattern.

I also started a new project!

Swatch and calendar

For the perceptive, no, the swatch doesn't match the picture. I was already moving on!

I have one of those Knitting Perpetual Calendars that’s really a stitch dictionary in flippy form.  I have decided to try to knit a swatch of the stitch of the day every day on that day!  Here are my rules:

  • Knit a swatch every day, time permitting.
  • Swatches don’t have to be square.  Square can be boring.  They can be square, though!  Squares are pleasing shapes.
  • I’ll cast on however many stitches I feel like, but not too many (boring, slow) — and not too few, either.  It would be a bummer to do 80% of a stitch pattern.
  • If I don’t like today’s pattern, I don’t have to do it.  Knitting is for fun.  Not fun patterns can get made fun of and flipped past.
  • If I really want to do some different day’s pattern, that’s cool, too.
  • Stick to the stash.  If I get to the point that I’ve got a lot of these buggers and I want to do something magic with them like sew them into an odd-sized-and-shaped blanket, then maybe I can start buying yarn for it.  Until then, it’s a stash-buster.

These are what I got done on the first day (I was a little excited):

swatches, needles, a bit of keyboard

Triangle and rectangle are buddies.

I’ve since knit two more and have the yarn out for a third.  This is a special kind of satisfying.  Don’t like the stitch pattern?  Bind off.  Whatever shape I was attempting can be more unique since I ended early.  Feeling like I can’t do anything?  I just completed a whole polygon!  I’m a knitting STAR!  (Note to self: figure out how to knit a star shape.)  Knitting a whole year’s worth of these things may not happen, or I may get bored and forget about the project at some early point, or I may pick it up and put it down a lot of times, but who cares?  It’s knitting!  It’s supposed to be fun, and these bright little swatches are reminding me of it.

*On a good day, readers.

That’s right, guys, I’m participating in the Knitting Olympics. Tonight, David and I watched the open ceremonies as I cast on 555 stitches for his Cerus scarf (I’m scaling up the length a bit and compensating for finer yarn) and knit the first row.

Knitting a scarf lengthwise is weird, guys. finishing each row is an epic challenge. The scarf I just completed was done with bulky yarn and despite the ends-weaving-in nightmare, went very quickly.

the apparently miniscule amount of work I completed on the Cerus scarf tonight

555 stitches cast on plus one row = 1110 stitches. Where did they go? (Also, apologies for the webcam shot. It's not take-out-the-camera o'clock.)

So it’s official: I’m crazy. I’m going to be working all sorts of hours this upcoming week, I have one day fully off out of 7, the next weeks are no better… and I’m going to try to put thousands upon thousands of stitches into a fancy scarf for my boyfriend (perhaps I tempt fate, but it’s not a sweater).

I think that this is what the Knitting Olympics is really about.  It’s about pushing your limits in knitting and setting a challenge that really maybe shouldn’t be reachable, but showing that knitting is actually important enough to make it work.  (What?  Don’t look at me like that.  I am so very much not watching Project Runway as I type this post.  That would be silly.)

This is going to happen, though, everyone.  There’s no reason I can’t knit while studying.  I spent a stupid amount of money on a set of board review videos that I haven’t really used and should start using.  I can bribe myself with knitting to sit through watching them (or listening to them, since the set came with MP3s of all of the videos).  Getting “just one more row” done will be a lot more productive than usual, given the crazy length of the rows.  I’ll spend less time fiddling around on the internet and more time knitting and blogging about it and being resinspired to knit and blogging some more.  (Oh readership, your RSS feeds might light on fire.)  I might run out of yarn.  I’ll get more yarn.  I’m going to earn that gold medal.

I knitted during my rotation!  This is big news.  I can’t believe I made it happen.

I know, this sounds like an overreaction.  But it’s kind of a big deal for me that I pushed myself out of the rut.  I am so awful at changing habits in general so it’s really good when I can make myself do something that I’ve wanted but struggled to do.

You can basically follow the story over in the twitter box I just stuck in the sidebar.  But to be more bloggy about it, I took a lunch hour to go to the libray and do some knitting.  I wanted to find a place where I didn’t feel like too many people would be looking at me (my knitting confidence has taken a bit of a hit from my first teacher-asks-me-not-to-knit experience, which I’ll post about another time).  I went to the top floor and checked out the periphery of the library and I found the perfect knitting/napping area.  This place has reclining nap chairs (yay medical school library?) which could hardly be better for knitting if they were designed for it.  They face windows (natural light!) and are secluded from other library areas by bookcases.

My spot
The chair
Chart, I missed you.
Warm lapful of knitting (this is going to be a great throw!)
I still know how!
The sunlight was so perfect!

Enough gratuitous pictures for you?  It’s a real knitting blog, now!

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