Monday, December 10, 2007

Airport Knitting

I had a job interview 2 weeks ago and had to spend about 6 hours on planes and in airports each way, so I decided to forgo my usual airport routine (read People magazine and eat whatever health-horror delicacy a city might provide- in this case the dreaded Kentucky "Hot Brown") and knit a Christmas present instead. I needed something small enough to work on without bothering the people sitting next to me, but complicated enough to keep my attention during the tedious hours of traveling. I found the *perfect* project, if I do say so myself.

Koolhaas side view

Pattern: Koolhaas by Jared Flood (aka every one's knitting crush, brooklyntweed), from Interweave Holiday Issue 2007
Yarn: Malabrigo in...well, in that brown color
Needles: 6 for the ribbing, 8 for the rest.

I had a lot of time to think about this project, and I have compiled a list of several lessons learned. I can't recommend Koolhaas highly enough, but here are a few things I'm glad to know for when I make it again:

Koolhaas stitch definition

1. Malabrigo is just perfect for this project. Excellent definition, perfect softness, and oh, the colors! As if I have to convince anyone of the virtues of Malabrigo...

2. Why oh why am I so impatient? I knew good and well that I should have learned how to cable without a cable needle before I left for my trip, but I just couldn't find the time to look at grumperina's tutorial (stay tuned- I've gained some sense in the meantime and am working on a project now using grumperina's advice). And I lost my cable needle, so I wrestled my way through all those freaking cables using a size 8 DPN as a cable needle. My hands hurt just thinking about it. Interestingly, just today Jen over at 14 Inches of I-Cord posted a tip about how to make things easier. If you're making Koolhaas, check it out!

3. Speaking of my aching hands, I started the hat using Clover Bamboo 16" circular needles and it was just killing me! I have a pretty high tolerance for hand strain, but all of that cabling with those sticky needles was just torture. While in Lexington, I dragged my friend Robert to a yarn shop (Rebelle, and for those who are interested- it was absolutely lovely) and promptly bought some size 8 Addi Turbos. So much better! I personally still prefer Knitpicks Options over Addis, but the improvement over the bamboo needles was well worth the $15.

4. Working on Koolhaas in public will make you feel brilliant, which is a significant bonus when you're on your way to a job interview. People were commenting on it like crazy- everyone from a 15 year boy next to me on the plane to the 85 year old woman who approached me in the airport. Just take a look at the way the decreases in the top of the hat flow perfectly with the pattern...

Koolhaas top view

Brilliant! I think my Dad will really like it, too.

I'm still chugging away at Lady Eleanor for my Mom for Christmas- I have 9 tiers left and about 10 days to finish, so I should be just fine. The problem is that I also have a pair of arm warmers, the last 25% of a sock, and a bunch of little Christmas ornaments to finish. And I can't stop thinking about what I'm going to knit in the airports during all my Christmas traveling...