Tag Archives: jim baktus

Properly Modeled Finished Projects: Part 2

After the week or so of Fall-ish weather we got here, things are now headed decidedly towards Winter. Which I really don’t mind so much. It feels a bit too early for snow, I admit, but I have new(ish) tires and brakes – also I’m a big girl now – so I can handle it. I’m trying to put off starting up the heat for as long as we can stand it. The chill has set in. It’s the point in the year where I keep my wool socks on all night. I’m sitting here drinking coffee with Aidez on over my jammies (and, of course, wool socks – today we are rockin’ the Jaywalkers) and I’m finding the chill manageable. I’m planning layers for my trip out to run errands later this morning, but sometimes this is a difficult task. I must knit more things in colors that go together. In general, I’m just very very happy that Summer’s over and I can mostly breathe again.

But you don’t come here for the weather, do you? No, if you’re like me you’re probably on the lookout for yarn pictures no matter what else you may be doing internet-side on a given day. So here, have a yarn picture:

Here’s Jim Baktus (details here) all washed and blocked and ready for his closeup. I have to say, I was not sold on this project until just about the moment we were taking these pictures. I saw the pattern when it first started making the rounds and thought it was a neat idea. It seemed like a good project for watching TV or whenever I just needed simple knitting to keep my hands busy without taxing my brain too much. Simple Knitting, of course, can become Boring Knitting very easily, which is why it took over a year and a half to finish. Fresh off the needles, this scarf did nothing for me. I thought at first it might have been that I’d had this half-finished thing in my life for far too long. But as I played around with ways to wear it, it kept slipping lower in my estimation. I could only wrap it around my neck in weird ways because it was so small and it didn’t sit across my shoulders well either. I assumed I had been too concerned with running out of yarn and just hadn’t made it big enough. It sat for a week or so before I got around to blocking it.

And, so, yes. Blocking. We all know this, right? But we forget it easily? I mean, this isn’t a lace scarf, so I wasn’t really expecting much from blocking except neatening up the stitches a bit. But it grew! It relaxed and got all secure with its identity and then suddenly, when I tried it on again, I could wrap it around my neck NOT in a weird way and I could tie it in front without strangling myself and it’s so soft and squishy and warm and I love it.

I might even love it too much. Dan caught me and the Baktus sort of, um, sharing a moment.

Vacations Are Great For Finishing Things

First a sweater,  then a pair of socks that had been languishing for too long, and now a scarf. A scarf which I started in February 2010, in fact, which makes it not quite as old as those socks were, but still older than this blog.

Finishing the socks felt so good I decided to pull something else out of the pile that had been waiting patiently for me to get interested again and finish it up before the weekend was out. Finish it I did, and then the clouds parted and the light streamed into the living room and the angels burst into song, all praising me, Distractible Knitter, for finishing things! weaving in ends! and generally being a very very very good knitter!

Or maybe my living room just gets a lot of direct sunlight in the evening.

Pattern: Baktus by Strikkelise. I’m calling this project Jim Baktus, because my brain won’t let me call it anything else.
Yarn: Koigu PPPM, 76.1 g. I got these 2 skeins in a trade and they either didn’t come with ball bands or I promptly lost them, so I’ve just been calling this color peachybutterbloodorangecarrotcheetos.
Needles: 2.75 mm KP Harmony fixed circular
Started: February 21, 2010
Finished: September 10, 2011

I do like this finishing thing whenever I finally get around to it, so I went looking through my Ravelry projects page for other old, unfinished projects. I see my oldest is the sock yarn blanket, which has to work on a different timeline from most unfinished projects, since it relies on me either creating sock yarn leftovers myself (which I can only do so quickly, though I’ve added 2 balls to the pile this week) or buying/trading for them on-line (for which I don’t always have the resources). After that, it’s the big triangular shawl in Oceania, which still needs quite a bit done, but I would really like to reclaim my paper towel stand, which is currently my yarn stand for this project. Then there are the squishy slipper socks out of my first experiment with dyeing. And that’s really all the oldoldold stuff still hanging around. Which isn’t as bad as I thought. Maybe I’ll ignore all of them and finish my Leyburns next instead.

I suppose what I should do next is wash and block Jim Baktus, but it’s keeping my neck warm at the moment, plus I’d have to do the dishes to free up the sink, so I don’t see that as being a high priority right now. And I do still need to stand in front of the mirror for a while figuring out all the different ways I can arrange this scarf and look completely awesome in it. Dan seems to like the kerchief look.

I am not too fond of the kerchief look.

Turns Out I Lied When I Said I Was Going To Read Flatland

The last time I tried to read Flatland was 8, maybe 10 years ago. I found the concept intriguing but goddamn was the execution boring. I think that copy went into the 3 or 4 boxes I gave to the library before I moved cross-country. Dan & I  picked up another copy for 50 cents at a library book sale (different library) a few years ago. Dan wasn’t familiar with it, thought it sounded interesting, and I’d managed to suppress how boring I found it. It went on the shelf and hadn’t been disturbed by either of us until I pulled it down last week.

This time through, I could handle the boredom but ohmygod the sexism started in the introduction! Apparently the author wrote this book for “all students” so that “boys” would have something interesting to read. So…yeah, I guess this wasn’t intended for me anyway. I got about 3 pages in and learned how, even in a world inhabited entirely by 2-dimensional shapes where you don’t even know what shape anyone is because all you ever see of a person is a line segment, women are still weak and need protecting and sheltering from the rain and all that fun stuff. So, ok, no third chances from me. This book doesn’t even deserve to be put in the freezer. I just plain threw it across the room and grabbed The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide instead. Trillian doesn’t seem to have much going on, but she hasn’t twisted an ankle or broken a nail yet, so she’s fine by me.

Why do we do this with books? Or is it just me? Sometimes I just keep trying, even when I know it’s wrong. When I read The Mysteries of Pittsburgh I put it down for a while around page 100 because I just wasn’t feeling it. I picked it up again a few weeks later and once I hit, like, page 102 I could not stop reading it. I think sometimes I give a book more chances than it deserves because I’m always expecting The Mysteries of Pittsburgh even though I should know better. What purpose does this serve?

But anyway. In knitting news, today I cleaned out one of my knitting baskets and found this:


I was able to extract Jim Baktus but I fear for my poor Laminaria’s life. I really don’t want to have to start again. I got the shawl itself separated, so I might just have to cut the yarn and call the big tangle a loss. I’ll have to weigh everything and see if I’ll have enough to finish if I do that, though. That’s a seriously big ball of alpaca tangled up there.

State Of The Projects

    • Giant-Size Man-Sweater: Still in need of slip-stitch crochet to hide the gap in the seam. My wrist starts to hurt when I think about crochet, so this is still languishing.
    • Baktus, 2 hats, headband for a friend, Anhinga, Toasty, Laminaria: Totally still working on these. I swear.
    • Life-Long Blanket: All sock minis and leftovers collected in one place but no more squares added. Trying not to work on this until some other stuff is cleared out, since this doesn’t have a deadline and plenty of other stuff does.
    • September Socks: Damned handsome. Not sure they’ll be done by the end of the month, but since my August socks were really my mid-August to mid-September socks, I figure I have an extra few weeks and might just have to make some ankle socks or slippers later in the year to make my quota.  This first sock really should be done by now, though. I’m about to knit the toe for the third time. I’ve made enough pairs of socks for myself at this point that I have my basic sock measurements & techniques settled, mostly cobbled together from several different patterns. On this particular sock, though, my standard foot measurement before starting the toe just didn’t cut it. My first toe, checked just before kitchenering, wouldn’t have stretched enough to accommodate my real toes, so I ripped back to the first decrease. I planned to do 2 plain rounds between decreases, but after 4 decreases it was still nowhere near as long as it should be. So, the toe came out completely and I’m putting in another half-inch or so before decreasing this time. I think the yarn is the reason the foot was too short. This is Mad Science Titanium. I don’t know if it’s that it’s an 8-ply yarn (don’t think I’ve used an 8-ply sock yarn before) but it’s definitely thicker than the sock yarns I usually use. Using my 2 mm needles over 56 stitches, like just about every other sock I’ve made for myself, I’m getting a much denser fabric. (Which I love, by the way. This yarn is so squishy and makes such a, well, damned handsome sock that I’m already dreaming of a cardigan made from this stuff.) So, I’m thinking maybe it doesn’t stretch as much as my other socks have, because the yarn is thicker or the fabric is tighter. Does that make sense? Anyway, I’m assuming it’s the yarn that’s making my stand-by sock pattern not quite work this time since I did everything else the same. Once I get this damn toe figured out, though, I’m pretty sure I’ll have my new favorite socks.


  • Drop-Stitch Scarf: A few rows when I can get to it. Not a deadline project, so it’s just something pretty I can pull out when I need cheering up.
  • Baby Cardigan & Mary-Janes: Past the yoke on the stripey baby cardigan. A few inches into the body. Lots of stockinette in 2-row stripes to get through. Thinking of finishing with ties instead of a button. Not sure yet. Started a pair mary-janes to go with last night. I’m the last person on the planet to find anything baby-related charming, but I still think these might be the cutest damn socks ever invented.
  • Baby Jean Jacket & Converse: Haven’t started the shoes yet. Back is finished up to putting the neck stitches on holders. Left front just about done.
  • July Socks: Best not discussed. I’ll get around to them eventually.
  • Shawl: Another project to pick up for a few rows here and there. No rush. The giant skein of Oceania ended up on my paper towel holder, which was the only thing in the house I could find big enough to hold it and stay in one place while I knit.
  • Cowl: Just cast on for this the other night. I cast on for Scrunchable, did the first 8 rounds in garter stitch, then tried those 8*8 cables. And decided after 2 that they were not happening. They look awfully pretty in the finished object, but I don’t think I have the patience for them right now. I took out that row, kept the garter band at the beginning, and am improvising a sort of widening garter stitch pattern, putting one more knit round before each purl ridge until I’m in the middle, then one fewer knit round between the ridges, then I’ll finish with 8 rounds of garter and hope it fits. Made to match the pretty cabley hat, which is done (except for weaving in & blocking, but that doesn’t really count).

Knotty Hat

Pattern: Knotty but Nice
Yarn: Patons Classic Wool Merino in Grey Mix
Needles: Plastic 16″ 4 mm circular. Went down a size from what the pattern called for to make a smaller size for me.
Changes made: Unintentional, I assure you. I miscrossed every cable in the row that lets the 5 individual cables finally cross over into each other. So, they’re not all as nice and entwined-like as they should be. I didn’t notice this until I was doing the crown decreases, however, so they shall stay the way they are.

And that is everything Ravelry tells me I still have in progress. Hardly seems like enough.

Knitting 8 Things At Once But Maybe Only Sometimes Finishing

Or: I’m A Process Knitter, Not A Product Knitter

Yes. So. About being a process knitter. Here are my current projects (and, of course, by “current” I only mean these are the ones I consider active right now; this isn’t actually every unfinished project I have lying around):

  1. The Giant-Size Man-Sweater for Dan: Happy to say this is coming along beautifully. I have the body up to where the sleeves are joined, and I’m 2-at-a-time magic looping the sleeves (my second socks always come out a slightly different size; that’s ok for socks, not so much for sleeves). Bulky yarn+5.5 mm needles+setting aside Sundays to knit for other people=shiny new sweater in a week or two. (Please don’t mention how he doesn’t need a bulky sweater in June. If I don’t knit bulky wooly things in summer, then I never have them when I really need them.)
  2. Anhinga: Oh, how I love this sweater and really really hope it fits me. All the pattern notes in this book about the model being 5’8″ and a size 2 aren’t helping me figure out how it’s going to fit me. I’m picturing a sweater around my knees and sleeves past my knuckles. I actually like sleeves past my knuckles. But I digress. I’ve made myself 2 sweaters in the past, both from easy raglan patterns and I did it mostly for the practice, not really caring how they fit, just that I made a sweater. This one I would like to be awesome, so I’m doing ALL the steps. I have the barest little beginnings of a gauge swatch and I’m sitting rapt in front of this series over at stash, knit, repeat. My husband’s taking my picture, I’m drawing things on graph paper. This sweater is going to fit.
  3. May socks: I’m knitting a pair a month this year. For May I’m making my sister’s birthday socks. Knit Picks Imagination, 2.5 mm needles, Yarn Harlot’s standard sock recipe. Haven’t started the second one, but I have a long weekend and I expect to finish in plenty of time.
  4. 2 scarves: A Baktus in an unknown KPPPM colorway (got it without ball bands) which I am calling peachybuttercarrotbloodoranges. And a pretty little drop-stitch deal in my first ever skein of Araucania Ranco Multy. I thought it was just too pretty for socks at first, but working this pattern, feeling the yarn-overs smooshed up tightly on the needles, I’m imagining a remarkably sturdy and unspeakably pretty pair of socks and now can’t wait to get more of this stuff.
  5. My knit night hat: Easy ribbing, slouchy, Lion Brand Wool-Ease in a blue that’ll go with everything. No rush on this one, playing with it once a week or so.

Hrm. That wasn’t 8 things. I probably need to cast on something new. Oh, wait, no: Got some multi-colored merino on the drop spindle, too.