Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Knitting Updates, and a Rattie Birthday

Filed under: Games,Knitting,Rats! — folkcat at 3:56 pm on Monday, February 18, 2008

First, a confession. There hasn’t been as much knitting as there used to be. The reason? I’ve gotten back into EverQuest after a five-year absence, and I’m enjoying it a lot. Gryphon and I played EverQuest starting from the original release, and were even beta testers for some of the expansion sets. We left when my bead store ate up so much time we couldn’t spare any to play.

But we’re back, on the Cazic-Thule server for anyone that means anything to. (Our original server was Brell Serilis, but they were merged a while back.) And the best surprise? After being away for five years, our highest level characters were still there, including my 20th level warrior, Honneur Wayfarer.

I’m also still spending time in Second Life, where I’ve got four avatars now. We no longer own land – we sold it about two months after the purchase, because of the change in Gryphon’s income. But I still enjoy creating new looks for my avatars, shopping for bargains on clothes, hair, and shoes. Shoes! The Barefoot Diva that I am in Real Life, and I’m developing a passion for well-designed, fashionable shoes in Second Life. Of course, in virtual reality the high heels don’t hurt to walk in!

Still Knitting, Though

All that being said, I have been knitting. I’ve told you precious little about it since before Christmas, I know. At the time I was planning to knit a Noragi from the book Knit Kimono. I wanted to be able to wear it in Syracuse for Christmas, but didn’t actually finish it until the first week of January.

It’s been hard to find time where Gryphon can take a good picture of me in good lighting – he’s been too busy, the weather’s been too crappy, it’s always something. So today I finally just had a go at it in the bathroom mirror. The picture isn’t great, but you can get a general idea of how it came out.

Jen's Noragi

I made a number of changes from the pattern in the book. First, the yarn I worked with had a very different gauge. So the plan became to knit a reasonable fabric, figure my gauge, then knit to the dimensions of the schematics for the pieces.

Of course, I also had to size it up for my body. This meant adding about 10 inches to the circumference of the body. Not too difficult, since all the pieces are rectangles. I also remembered to adjust so the neck opening was wider. Once I’d calculated all the new dimensions for the schematics, I was good to go.

I knit the front and back just as directed in the pattern, and to the length they specified. Three-needle bind-off at the shoulders to join them – easy-peasy.

The pattern then has you knit a long, narrow garter stitch strip to form a neckband from hem to hem all around the front opening, and sew it on. Following their scheme, the garter pattern on both body and neckband would lie horizontally.

I wanted the garter stitch on the neckband to be perpendicular to the body. That would lend more stability and help prevent stretching. To accomplish this, I picked up stitches along the front edge, all around the back of the neck, and down to the other hem, then worked garter stitch in a color pattern to match the stripes at the hem of the body.

A couple of rows into this, I realized that the collar area, with no shaping, would hug my neck and tend to bind and stretch along it. This could be uncomfortable. So I put stitch markers at the shoulder stitch on either side of the neck. On every right side row, I worked an increase on either side of that stitch on both shoulders. This gave me a pointed collar that lays down at the back of the neck, but can still be flipped up for extra warmth.

The sleeves were written to be straight garter stitch in a pattern matching the body. I wanted more movement and interest there. So I dug out that old Internet standard, the Multi-directional Scarf (MDS). Using a color sequence to match the body hem and the neckband (10 garter ridges, or 20 rows, before changing colors), I followed the MDS pattern to create a rectangle of the appropriate size. Then, for the other sleeve, I managed to make the diagonals a mirror image of the first.

The Noragi didn’t quite come out as what I expected. I was aiming for a sweater that I could layer over other garments to make a winter outerwear ensemble. I realize now that I should have made the circumference even larger for that purpose.

Also, the original pattern Noragi was knit to the length it was because the yarn they used – a cotton/rayon/linen blend – was going to stretch in wear. My yarn is 100% wool, and the final hand of the fabric is very different. So my Noragi has wound up shorter than anticipated.

But you know what? That’s okay, because this sweater has become my go-to garment when I need a sweater to wear in the house. The shorter length is perfect for sitting in my armchair. And those kimono sleeves have been declared a favorite place ever by all three of the rats! When they come out of the cage, if I’m wearing the Noragi they make a beeline for the closest sleeve, where there’s plenty of room for all three to squirm around, fluffing the space and generally enjoying the wooly goodness.

I’ve made good progress on my socks, too, but I’ll save that for next time.

Final Note

A very Happy Birthday to our girl, Lola! She turns one year old today.

Lola on her First Birthday

We don’t know exactly what day she was born. When we adopted her in mid-July last year, we were told she was five months old. When you counted back, that put her birthday right around the same time as Star’s and Sable’s, which we had placed as February 18th.

With Gryphon’s broken ribs (still paining him a lot, but he’s getting by), we’re not making as much of a fuss as we did with Star & Sable last year. Lola’s big present yesterday was that she got to drag as many old TV Guide magazine pages into the nest as she wanted to. She likes Kleenex like Sable did, but the crinkly crispness of the magazine paper gets her every time.


Comment by elspeth

February 18, 2008 @ 5:29 pm

What a gorgeous sweater! And if the rats love it, all the better!

Comment by Carol

February 18, 2008 @ 7:22 pm

Very nice Noragi! I was wondering how that was coming along, since you mentioned it a while back.

Comment by Carol

February 18, 2008 @ 8:18 pm

Ooh and forgot to say Happy Birthday Lola! Have fun with the magazine paper…and momma’s sleeves…give some kisses to daddy, he needs them right now…

Comment by sarebear

February 18, 2008 @ 10:35 pm

Jen, first of all let me say to Gryphon I hope you are mending well and resting; I’d have sent a message sooner, but all last week was a hodge-podge of doctor appointments, a death in my family, calls back and forth on funeral arrangements, and stuff. I’ve been thinking about you and hoping you have been able to rest and mend and avoid strain.

Jen, I hope you are doing well, and not running yourself ragged! I’m ok, despite this stupid flu. The man who died may have been my grandfather, but he chose not to act as one to me, so I’ve been mourning his choice, because I deserved a grandpa. It’s all confused and mixed up and anger and stuff. Kind of a wierd set of feelings associated with it. I did mean to contact you guys earlier with my concern, though.

You just may have converted me to that book, even though you made so many modifications. That’s part of the ease of such patterns anyway . . . . That’s ALOT of knitting! I don’t mean that in a rude way, I hope you don’t take it as such; it’s American Idol season and so that’s perfect for such things. I’m plugging away in little chunks at things, since I’ve been sidelined by blow after blow for awhile and I’m trying to just say hey, life happenes, get on with it and try and do. I’m trying to. With all my stuff tho it’s hard to, but I’m trying. It’s kinda funny, with all the meds I have in the morning, plus a decongestant and cough med, I’m definitely a chemical soup. Nice humidifier warm mist with vicks in a well being warmed to circulate throughout . . .

Can winter go away now, please? We had a day that was in the low 50’s, the next day it was bitter freezing cold (too cold to snow, but it was snowing anyway (must have been just warm enough in a layer just above the cold near the ground) and it was blowing sideways and I had to try and not get blown away with my umbrella like Mary Poppins as I went to school for parent-teacher conferences.

Gah, I wrote a novel. Woops. Oh, that Noragi looks so COMFY! No wonder the Ratties love to snuggle in there!

Happy Birthday Lola!

I tried the original EQ, once – it was like wading through molasses, and trying to get anywhere was like . . . I don’t know, I couldn’t get used to how primitive the system was. I can see how enjoyable it would be for those who knew it, though. I played EQ II for a time; twas fun!

Star Wars Galaxies has to be the biggest screw up in the history of MMPORG’s – they drastically revamped much of it at one point, aiming it at younger players, and pretty much ruined it. I had been gone long before then, but I heard about it.

I still might show up in an online universe w/you sometime! Just don’t know when or where!

Oh Jen, the colors in your Noragi . . . they are just stunning! Such a marvelous choice on your part; and nice job getting the MDS patterning on both sleeves to have the color changes at approximately the same places – I kind of managed that with the front and back sides of the pillow that’s been waiting to be seamed up and felted for a long time now!

I’m curious; from what you know of me, which patterns in that book do you think would best suit me? I know I can browse a few at Interweave’s site . . . .

Oh and I found a mug online t’other day, with over 30 different representations of Maneki Neko on it and thought of you instantly!

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