Saturday, November 28, 2009


I have concluded that Woats prefers knitting to writing as human past-times. While both activities tend to pin the human in one place, knitting can easily be carried on over and around the cat, while the cat is forced to be Very Firm with the human that a laptop (despite the name), does not belong on the human's lap. The cat does.

This is why I have the computer balanced on the back of the couch and the cat firmly ensconced on the lap while I try to make it through another ten thousand words of the novel before Monday. It's going to be close.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Out of Excuses

Yesterday I was on the road, and considering the amount of time I spent sitting, there was no reason for me to keep falling asleep today--but when I finally got enough caffeine into my system to sustain consciousness for awhile, I decided there was going to be no more pussyfooting around. If I got nothing else done today, that colorwork sweater was going to be finished.

Well, I didn't get much else done, but:
sweater full view

I think that in the end, I made the placket neck more complicated than it needed to be. I did go with both an inner and outer facing. The result is thicker than I liked, but will allow the sweater to be worn partially unzipped without exposing the zipper or steeked edges. It also involved at various points having different sections of the facing and neck on three different needles, as well as a needle with sewing thread. As techniques go, it was neither pretty nor clever- but it did give me more or less the result I was aiming for.

Here's a view of the neck finishing.
Placket neck

Don't ask about the novel- I've been away from the computer almost all weekend. My husband and I spent a lot of our long car trip talking about it, but mostly it was fairly silly. I don't think his suggestion of a chase scene on riding lawnmowers is going to make it into this (or any) draft. The bad guys' secret lair on a submarine may have potential, however.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Small Progress

Okay, I finally did the third steek on the colorwork sweater and started knitting facings, but these teensy bits of sweater are looking like taking longer than the rest of the sweater put together. Yes, because I'm not working on them. Your point? All right, it's actually because I need the facings, the sweater and the zipper all in one place, preferably with sewing stuff, which means at home. And non-traveling projects are not getting much love.

The monkey socks are getting lots of love, but responding slowly, since they're still on 00 needles. (I'll take a picture of them Real Soon Now.)

Rumors of Top Secret Christmas Knitting can neither be confirmed nor denied at this time.

And of course the real activity that's consuming a big chunk of my at-home time and most of my brain: My steam locomotive is currently somewhere in Pennsylvania running out of coal, with the bad guys stuck on the wrong side of a flooded river. Which is a big improvement over yesterday, when it looked like the bad guys were going to shoot all the good guys and make this into a short story. (I was kind of on the fence about whether this was a good thing or not.) On the plus side, I'm still behind schedule, but I have broken 25,000 words. It's half done! Now if I can just figure out what the bad guys' actual Plan is, (as opposed to Just Being Bad), I might actually make it through this draft.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Weird Week

If I'd gotten around to posting over the weekend, the blog title would have been 'Still Thinking' with a picture of another pair of mittens and an incipient sock. Or possibly 'Who'd Have Thought Three Oak Trees Could Have So Many Leaves'.

Since then, I've settled on a plaquet neck and zipper (first zipper in a sweater, though I've used them in sewing) for the colorwork sweater, but haven't actually done anything about putting it in yet. We'll see if plan B survives contact with the enemy. I've formulated a plan for the neckline of the green Aran, and knit nothing on it. And I've had my brain eaten by Cookie A's Monkey Socks, in a bamboo/wool blend. Easy to see why they're so popular! (The part where I had to go down two needle sizes and add a pattern repeat to get something vaguely the size of my foot is not helping- I don't *mind* exactly, it's a fun knit, it looks great, but it does take longer.)

Any brain cells I had left are trying to deal with the complexity of stealing a steam locomotive (a key plot element in my novel).

And tonight I'm going to a wake for a co-worker, who died this week after a brief and very sudden illness. A very nice guy- he will be sadly missed.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


So, this morning I was thinking; there is no day so good it cannot be improved with the application of a chocolate doughnut. This probably has something to do with why (when I stopped by the grocery store for some fresh fruit to go in my lunch on the way to work this morning), I wound up at the grocery store with the Dunkin Donuts, instead of the one I usually go to. Also why I left for the grocery store without breakfast. I did make a halfhearted stab at convincing myself I'd be happy to eat a granola bar intead, but not even I really thought it would work. I find that convincing oneself of things is actually very difficult, especially if you don't believe them to begin with...the last couple of weeks really have been filled with deep thoughts, as you'll see.

After putting the colowork sweater in time out last week, I spent some time mulling over what to do with the neckline. I kind of already knew what I wanted (a placket neck) but it took some time to come to terms with it. Also, I'm still pondering zippers vs. buttons, and it's going to be fiddly and I'm not sure whether to double the facing in stockinette or do a single thickness in ribbing. So you can see I'm putting off doing that third steek there's a lot to decide. And I haven't had a chance to crunch the math to figure out what to do next with the green Aran (the pattern's for a turtleneck pullover and I'm converting it to a V-neck cardigan), so that wasn't helping. I needed simple, portable thinky knitting.

So. I started some simple socks for the Christmas box. And some mittens to use up some spare yarn left from the blue and white afghan. And slippers to use up the yarn left from the mittens. (Cogitating with bulky weight is always useful- the quick results are gratifying). And then I was still thinking so I cast on some children's mittens with another random leftover skein.
mittens and slippers and socks, oh my!

This leads my to my second philosophical truth of the day. Thinking uses up yarn.

And of course the other thing I've been doing- besides knitting, working and amusing the cat- is writing. I've been saying for several years that I wanted to do National Novel Writing Month, the first year I wasn't ludicrously overscheduled. For those who haven't heard of it, it's a program to encourage writing by motivating people to write a fifty-thousand word novel in a month. (That's actually a very short novel-- an 'average' paperback is around 100,000-150,000 words. And since the focus is on cranking out wordage, quality is not just secondary--it's irrelevant.) But while 50,000 words is short for a finished work, it's a perfectly respectable length for a first draft, which is what I'm aiming for.

So, if I'm not around quite as much this month, picture me lounging in a cafe, wearing a beret and exchanging elliptical remarks about metaphors with other writers. (Okay, sitting at home with the cat trying to get me to forget the laptop and pay attention to her while I resist the urge to go looking for another chocolate doughnut is more likely.)

And even though this is only day 5, I've made yet another exciting discovery. Sitting down and writing every day, makes words appear on the page. Who knew?