you guys, i've done a brilliant. i've answered the age-old question of shawl knitters everywhere: how the fsck do you store your collection?

earlier in the year i google-researched the subject of shawl storage and found a lot of what you'd expect: shawls folded in drawers or closets, shawls slung over coat hooks, shawls draped around wooden hangers. none of these options really worked for me, though, since my only closet is so narrow it doesn't close properly with regular-sized hangers, my heavier shawls would fall right off a peg or hook, and my dresser is full with the clothes that don't fit in the closet.

up until recently i'd simply folded my neck/shoulder covers into quarters and stacked them in a plastic bin. it was unsightly and i knew i could do better.

for a while "better" seemed like it might come in the form of a modernized quilt rack: a ladder-like fixture that could be leaned against a wall with shawls draped over its rungs. at first i considered making my own rack out of dowels and paint/sealant, but the work involved would never get done if left to me. i looked for products online that would serve a similar function and found only items that didn't match my personal style or my price range.

and then it so happened that i was heading to the nearest purveyor of scandinavian homewares for a much-needed furnishing (it was my first time and i was not prepared). i decided to browse their offerings for racks and other such items just to see.

and lo, i found this:

image (c) ikea

intended to be a towel rack (for what, your sauna? who needs so many towels on a wooden rack?), the hjÀlmaren towel holder met all my requirements as a shawl holder: it would fit the allotted space, it would accommodate the accessories in question, and it didn't look too stark or too frilly. onto the pallet cart it went.

a few wooden pegs and one strange allen wrench later, i had it together and performing its new function.

please ignore the strange imprints in the carpet, that space was recently vacated by a plastic tower storage unit, which had an unusual series of geometric supports in its base.

all the shawls fit, they can be displayed in whatever arrangement strikes my fancy, and i can see all the options available to me when getting dressed. perfect!

as to what i'll do when my shawls outnumber the available slots, well, that's a worry for another day.

so there you have it; question answered. and as for those of you who've answered this question already, how do you do it?

this week i... (summer reading edition)

image (c) harpercollins

>> ventured back into the darkness via mcquein's second book about horde creatures infested with nanobots, meridian. the good: the leadership hierarchy is gradually being developed (not just a shadow of evil to drive back) and the books' twists are actually surprising. the bad: it's still a dystopian survival story with a "complicated" romance. still worth a read, though.

image (c) marvel

>> raised my eyebrows along with everybody else at the news that the role of thor will soon be assumed by a woman. still think marvel's primarily doing it for the shock value, but hey, i'm game. what i really want to know is what the story is will be like. who is this worthy woman? what will she do with her new-found power? will she really wear that "boobs only" chest armor? we'll just have to wait and see.

image (c) hachette book group

>> plowed though 600+ pages of dreams of gods & monsters: taylor created excellently interesting, strong, glib characters that you'll wish you could go banter with (ZUZANA), and now their stories of death and doom are over. sure, a hugely important character was only introduced in the final volume (whyyyyyy?) and the romantic element often took center stage, but i'm glad i saw it through.

image (c) warner bros.

>> got my hands on a copy of the lego movie to see what all the raving was about, aaaaaand...when things moved from dumb fun to super-meta, i simply gave up. honestly, i'm still debating whether the creators were aiming for just meta or if they moved to meta^2, where they are fully aware of the tropes they employed/celebrated (and didn't subvert) and woe betide those who don't get it.

well, the frenzy of summer reading has officially ended (now that i'm out of available books in the series i'm following) and i'm left noticing how little knitting a person gets done while reading a physical book. this week alone i chose reading over knitting for three consecutive days, meaning i've got a lot to catch up on.

one goal for the weekend is to pick up one of the two neglected xmas socks and make some progress. in a handy coincidence, both socks are fairly mindless, and i've got both korra and sailor moon crystal to catch up on this weekend. maybe i'll even turn a heel, avatars and lunar princesses willing.

dark and stormy

it's tuesday night and i should be out taking an evening walk, but i'm not. i'm inside, lounging on the floor with a book, because the sky has opened up for the third or so time today and rain is pouring down. there will be no outside for me today.

might as well talk about the knitting.

xmas is reportedly happening again this year, as it has so often in the past, and there are a set number of days until its arrival (that number is 162, for the masochists curious), but i continue to blithely ignore the steady passage of time and instead knit on things for me (remember this in november, when the whining and moaning begins, okay?).

i've only been knitting on the midsummer crazy for a week and a half, but already it's seen some serious progress: the 2.25 inch ribbing is complete and the front panel's lace-and-cable chart has nearly reached its first repeat. granted, said repeat should be completed about six and a half times before i can move on to the much-commented-on yoke (we'll see how i manage), yet the prospect of repetition hasn't nauseated me completely. guess we're still in the honeymoon phase, this sweater and i.

which is not to say that all's been bliss. thus far i've had to rip back MY FIRST PATTERN ROW because i miscounted stitches, thus totally screwing my placement of holes and cables. not the kind of thing a knitter wants to fudge in the foundation. there have been a few other wobbles—missing yarn overs is a vice of mine, it seems—but nothing so dramatic as to incite blog wailing.

let's hope it stays that way. and it should, so long as i work steadily, not manically, and avoid complicated elements when my brain is weary after work. times like those are what simple socks are made for! if i'd listen to my own advice, i might just achieve perfect project balance.

and xmas might not need saving...

this week i... (tl;dr edition)

image (c) toei animation

>> floated through space and time to the early 2000s and my first exposure to sailor moon (manga) via the cosmos-like introduction to sailor moon crystal's first episode. i liked it, but i admit to having nostalgic feelings for usagi and her crew that newbies might not. that said, the show is cheesy as hell, the transformation sequence pained me a bit in parts and tuxedo mask is even more of a weirdo than ever.

>> [mild spoiler warning] caught up on a serious amount of manga that i'd fallen behind on, finishing the main story arcs of:

image (c) kodansha

my little monster, by robico. boy meets girl, girl is irritated by boy. stuff happens. they date. more stuff happens. they wed. the end. it was fun, it was irritating, it was pretty to look at, it was ridiculous. your standard high school romance with heavy doses of wacky. i've got one chapter of the "after stories" to finish, then this series is officially over for me.

image (c) enterbrain

wandering son, by takako shimura. i'm still purchasing the fantagraphics volumes of this series, but wanted to know how it ended, soooo... yeah. not sure how i feel about the "maybe it was all a story within the story" aspect suggested by the final page, but it was fun (and occasionally gut-wrenching) to follow along with the characters and see how their goals and perspectives changed throughout. and i want all the characters to have happiness in their imaginary lives, which speaks to it being a good read.

image (c) enterbrain

ran and the gray world, by aki irie. i want this series to get an awesome english release, because it is SO FUCKING GOOD. it has magic and mayhem but is genuinely different from everything you've read before. the art is awesome, the characters are fun and powerful, the plot is totally engaging, and the feels are intense. who can i get on board for a kickstarter with me?

image (c) mcmillan

>> plowed on to do yet more reading (you'd swear i worked with books or something), this time finishing leigh bardugo's shadow and bone trilogy with ruin and rising. for books with magic, war, and romance, this series did very well with tempering the mushy bits (which really weren't that mushy, trust me) with lots of one-liners and witty banter. so while some parts of the resolution were, "okay, sure, magic," the characters made it worth the read. also, the magic is badass.

image (c) yellowcosmo

>> spotted yet another shawl by yellowcosmo that is amazing and awesome and WANT. i already decided i'd need to make a positive thoughts at some point, but here we have first note, which i like even better. the bright red color isn't hurting my opinion of it any, and that lace motif is very refined without looking to frou-frou. i'm feeling the need to make another shawl settling over me slowly; i can only hope that i maintain my resolve and keep to a more modest pullover and two pairs of socks as active wips this month.

so this week? i read stuff, watched stuff, and listened to stuff. i played catch up and made plans, looking forward to the weekend. now that it's here all those plans have gone directly out the window and into the cloudscape beyond. today it might pour rain, as it has most days this week, keeping me inside or it might continue to be bright and sunny, encouraging me to go enjoy it. either way, i have plenty of things to keep me occupied, but choosing is going to be the difficult part.


since this past weekend marked america's independence day, it feels appropriate to point out that i've recently spent my time knitting items in reds and blue.

first up, the chuckleberries. after ripping all the way back to toedom last time, sock one has been slowly reknit in basic ribbing to the point of turning the heel. of course, this is nothing like the dwarven-inspired arch ribbing i depicted posts ago (that was a fail), but it'll do. this new sock is simple, stretchy, and likely to please, though pretty mindless to work on. still, the mindless aspect means that it knits up super-fast; i need to find a movie or some shows to watch so i get motivated to cast on the second toe and get phase two underway!

second, the project that received most of my weekend knitting efforts, winter rye. it might not look like much, but this humble foot enjoyed the benefits of being my long-weekend travel companion: i knit in the car, while hanging out, on the beach, during a movie, and gradually the rows added up to a few inches of progress. amazingly, this sock will hit heel-turning in about three inches—another weekend of dedicated personal attention might just bring it to the threshold of sock-hood.

and finally, the distraction project that threatens to homewreck on both socks, midsummer crazy. it's currently a mere strip of ribbing, but the magic 2.25 inch mark is approaching, heralding the end of this easy shit and the beginning of multiple charts and written instructions alongside tracking repeats of different stitch/row counts while incorporating "at the same time..." elements. it's going to be good stuff.
if anybody needs me, i'll just be here, slowly fashioning a web of fibery angst in which i will become hopelessly tangled. if/when that happens, just remind me that i signed up for this willingly.

this week i... (independence weekend edition)

>> finished not one, but two young adult(-ish) series i'd started ages ago and never got around to until now.

image (c) macmillan

three, by kristen simmons, is the final volume in the article five trilogy, all about a dystopian america governed not by the bill of rights, but a set of moral statutes that get all judgy about individuals who don't come from a "traditional" family. this volume follows the usual formula: the lead characters successfully rise up against their oppressors with the help of the biggest rebel organization's might on their side, and despite the odds, they succeed. let freedom ring. not a terrible series, but not an amazing one, either.

image (c) simon & schuster

the battle for wondla, by tony diterlizzi, wrapped up the wonder series, a world-encompassing dystopian saga about the decline and rebirth of humanity alongside a huge array of new life that came to earth from another planet. more about finding one's place in the universe than three's take down of a tyrannical government, this one led readers to the end of eva nine's journey and on three-hundred years into the future. not every resolution made a lot of sense (what exactly became of loroc?), but i give the series points for sheer uniqueness.

image (c) nickelodeon

>> started something new to balance out the two endings. yes, season three of korra has begun and i have seen the first three episodes! it's good, you guys, really good. things are heading in a very interesting direction, and there's a promising amount of intrigue from the latest jaunt to ba sing se. i can't wait to see where things are headed!

>> fell in material love with the colorstay gel envy line of nail polish from revlon. i'm not hugely passionate about manicures and polish, but occasionally it is fun to have a little color on my tips. who can resist having a little of their favorite color peeking out at the world?

so another forth if july has come and gone. i spent mine enjoying barbecue and lemonade, followed by relaxing on the beach with knitting and fireworks. lovely. it's about as hot as the surface of venus here, as you'd expect, meaning the the season of hunkering down in the ac, enjoying some chilled beverages, and reading and/or watching good geeky stuff. and conveniently enough, the new season of anime is poised to start this very weekend! new sailor moon, you guys. i can't wait.


first off, thanks go to last post's commenters for saying lovely things about the hive shawl despite my bitching about it for no good reason.

it is a lovely shawl (really, you should knit one) and it's not the pattern's fault that i disregarded my personal gauge and instead used the recommended needle size, knowing FULL-WELL i knit tightly. it's all on me. i look forward to wearing it once i've got a pin to hold it on, which should be purchased by month's end.

the take-away message of hive was clear: consider your gauge. do not ignore your personal knitting quirks and blithely believe the "most, not all" guidelines will work for you.

it's a message i intend to internalize in my next daring venture, the midsummer aran from interweave knits summer 2013.

image (c) interweave knits

okay, i may be a bit high on the crazy in leaping into this particular pattern; while beautiful, it's no secret that other knitters have found it challenging. there's lace, there're cables, there's several charts to keep track of, and apparently the yoke instructions are confusing: everything a knitter needs to go positively batshit. still, i'm doing it.

so, like a "good" knitter, i completed a decent-sized swatch using the larger sized needles, as recommended. about six inches long and two inches tall, i felt it would accurately reflect my gauge when measured. the desired gauge was 22 stitches/4 inches. my gauge was 30 stitches/4 inches.

eight entire stitches off. how that happens, i do not know. i showed the bf, he measured, got the same result. we pondered my options for a while, but ultimately it came down to this: there was no way i would be getting gauge for this sweater. 22 stitches/4 inches? maybe on a us size 10, but i wouldn't want a sweater to be that loose, especially if it's mostly lace to begin with. gauge as recommended simply wasn't happening.

this moment of clarity and acceptance meant one thing: math was needed. and herein was another moment where the bf showed his quality. math involving ratios is not my strong suit. the idea of reducing measurements by a percent makes sense in theory, but i tend to go the wrong way and wind up with something 45% larger rather than 55% smaller. not a useful superpower for when precision is needed, so it fell to the bf to save the day.

by his calculations, my gauge dictated that i would need to knit a sweater approximately 33% larger than the size i intended to make. thus, i will be attempting the 47.75 inch bust and hoping to the mathematicians of yore that everything works out.

it should work out; he did this same thing for me when i made the featherweight cardigan, and that fits so should work out; he did this same thing for me when i made the featherweight cardigan, and that fits so should work out; he did this same thing for me when i made the featherweight cardigan, and that fits so well!

all this exposition results in my latest cast on: 270 stitches on us 3 needles, which needs to be knit in k1p1 rib for over two inches.

the challenge begins.

xmas? what xmas?