Hello. I have a major case of startitis.

Is this a new project I see before me?
[Click, make real big.]
[And don't forget to click here for a close-up of the stitch.]

It's a poncho! Size 5mm needles, loads of Phil Ruban ribbon yarn in chocolat, and a few movies* so we don't tire of all that stockinette stitch. Poncho pattern from Phildar. Apparently, pants are optional but cowboy boots and hat are a necessity. Giddy-ap!

The poncho isn't for me, but for my sister, who is 18 months my junior, studied fashion design at Parson's School of Design in New York City, writes, does artsy stuff, lives in an exotic city and wears smart things such as fedora hats with her hair up tucked into a twist. She doesn't knit, but she has a fancy sewing machine that she knows how to use. [Santa? Can I have a sewing machine, too? A toy one will suffice for now.] Just the kind of person who would wear a glossy, flowing poncho with fringe. And I'm the one who's gonna knit it! Send tuiles aux amandes.

On another note, guess who wore his tweedy coat today? Today was perfect tweedy coat weather, so the kid wore his for a visit around the deuxiéme arrondissement of the city. And here he is standing by a little fountain he loves to watch whenever we pass by it. (Immediately after I took the shot of him posing, he surprised me and a few passersby by starting to dance. Right there, in front of the fountain, he did his Elvis the Pelvis impersonation. What a funny kid. He obviously associates the camera with dancing. Gee...I wonder why?)

*I knit what you see in the above photo of the poncho while watching a dubbed version of Erin Brockovich starring Julia Roberts and her Wonderbra, and The Watcher starring Keanu Reeves [why, Keanu, WHY?]. The Watcher has got to be one of the most mediocre suspense movies I have ever seen. Bet he'd love to sweep that one under the rug, wouldn't he?

Now I know why I don't knit shawls.

C'est looooooooooooong...

I'm very busy lately, but I've got lots of knitting progress to share! How about we start with my sister's poncho? The poncho has become my knitting in the evening project because other than increases at every row, knitting is just straight stockinette so I can keep my eyes on the t.v. while knitting.

The only thing is that it's getting slow. Increases are at nearly every row, so now I have more stitches on the needle than I can count and am obligated to use a long Addi Turbo needle that looks like a whip. Point protectors are a fun thing to have, but really...do we ever use them? I rarely do. But for the poncho I have to use point protectors whenever I put my work down in order to keep the stitches from falling off the needle. Yep, those endless increases are making the poncho start to go slooooooooowly. Now as I go work each row I am reminded of the scene from Como Agua Para Chocolate where Tita knits a blanket that goes for miles and miles. Next time I admire a shawl kit I'll remember the poncho and think of Tita.

I should also mention that my manner of knitting is different with the poncho. The yarn used for the poncho is Phil Ruban, a flat cotton yarn. When I swatched for the poncho I noticed that the knit stitches looked "thinner" than the purl stitches, so there was a marked difference between the knit rows and the purl rows even though my tension was even. This was happening because working the knit stitches from front to back was distorting the flat yarn, thus making my knit rows look "thin" in comparison to my purl rows. So I decided to work all my knit stitches through the back loop, and then untwist them on the wrong side by wrapping the yarn under my purl stitches. It worked! The knitting evened out and there's no difference between my knit rows and my purl rows.

I've got more to share but dinner's a-callin' and I've got some project organizing to do. This afternoon I was poking through the yarn stash in my closet and was surprised to find hidden treasures - 3 ziploc bags full of yarn for planned but forgotten projects. One of them was this lot of Phildar Legende and Phil Peluche to make this sweater for my kid [pattern is from last winter's Tricotez Calin - it's a back issue so it is no longer available at Phildar's site]. I was going to make the sweater last fall, but in my excitement over doing the tweedy jacket first the bag got shoved to the bottom of the stash pile and promptly forgotten. Oops! Finding it now felt strangely like discovering a forgotten 20 euro note in my jacket pocket.

I'm still in a shock over frogging two whole skeins' worth.

She likes me so nice, she knit me twice.

I think it's high time I finished my dear sister's sleek poncho [giddy-ap!], so I've been spending a lot of time working on it. It was too big to carry around as a portable knitting project when I went overseas to visit my family during the holidays, so it stayed behind all by its lonesome. Over a month passed without my working one single stitch on it.

When I returned from my trip I picked it up to resume work on it, and because I temporarily misplaced my brain, I decided that I had at least 50 additional (very long) rows to work before reaching the neck shaping. Just like that. How I came up with that number, I will never know. Still, a-knitting I went. However, after I worked about 30 rows (of 200+ stitches each, and increasing with each row) I thought to myself, complete with italics, "Gee...this poncho sure does look long, Tita*. Let's count the rows to make sure we have the correct number, shall we?"

So I did, and discovered that when I had left the poncho behind to hop on that plane heading overseas, I had ALREADY reached the row where the neckline shaping was to begin. I realize now that I did that on purpose, so I would remember where I had left off. Notwithstanding, I forgot. [Insert long, drawn out "duh" right here.] Moreover, I keep meticulous notes on all my projects, but it never occurred to me to write that one down. And if that weren't enough, I didn't count the rows when I got back so I could recall where I had left off, but just started knitting away like I had all the yarn in the world to knit into this poncho. If I only had a brain.

Consequence of my brain-less state: I ripped out the extra 30 rows and was promptly rewarded with two skeins of Phil Ruban. Yep. I ripped out two whole skeins. I wept as I did it.

But! I got back on track and finished the neck shaping on that piece. I'm now happily zooming along on the second piece and have only got a few more rows to go before I begin neck shaping on that one, too.

Hallelujah! It's the second piece!
[Click here for the whole enchilada.]

I'm using a row counter on this piece. Wouldn't want to pull another Como Agua Para Chocolate* long blanket stunt again.

*I mentioned this before. Remember Tita and her kilometers-long blanket? That's me and this poncho. Really, it is.

Chocolate for everyone!

Why, it's a seaming party! Chocolate for everyone!
[Click me for a really big picture.]

Seaming and fringing of the sleek chocolate poncho, a.k.a. Tita's Kilometers-Long Blanket, has commenced. As I do this, I give thanks to the knitting gods for the following:

1) My near-obsession with collecting Addi Turbo circs in all sizes and lengths. I have five size 5mm Addi circs in varying lengths, three of which are as long as whips [cracks whip]. This makes the three-needle bind-off for the shoulders - each piece over 100 stitches - so much easier.

2) My habit of buying crochet hooks when I don't need them. I love to browse La Droguerie, a.k.a. My Own Personal Crafty Mecca, and tend to use the "I think I'll buy a crochet hook" guise so I can spend hours eyeballing inside the store without looking like I'm casing it. As a result, I already have the 5.5mm and 5mm crochet hook required for finishing the neckline and making the fringe.

3) Chocolate Abuelita*. I decided to forgo my usual drink of choice for seaming - the kir royale - and am enjoying Mexican hot chocolate sprinkled with cinnamon instead. ¡Qué rico!

Thanks to the above, I will have the poncho seamed, fringed, and finished this weekend. Giddy-ap!

*Best. Chocolate. Ever.

Me. Want. Fringe.

Clint Eastwood envies me my fringe.

There's nothing more frustrating than happily fringing a chocolate-colored poncho and then RUNNING out of yarn when 3/4's through. All I needed was one extra skein. Just one, and I didn't have it. Hello! Please serve me a drink. And if it's chocolate, you'd better spike it up, slappy.

That happened on Saturday evening, and I called my local Phildar boutique on Monday to see if there was any Phil Ruban in chocolat in stock. There was not, unfortunately. My order of one measly skein of Phil Ruban comes in on Thursday morning, but I will not be going in until Saturday to pick it up. Alas, a finished poncho will have to wait a while longer.

But! What I have so far looks pretty darn neat, if you ask me. I tried on the poncho, and even in its partly-fringed state it made my husband say, "Wow!" Then he started whistling the theme music from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. The poncho is that fringe-rrific. I can't wait to finish it so I can send it to my sister.

In other news, yesterday was Mardi Gras, and there was a "carnival" at my son's school. As I do not have a finished poncho to show you, here is a gratuitous shot of my son running around in his Mardi Gras carnival costume, one of him dancing in the parade and another one of him blowing a horn and making noise with a clacker. He was the only dinosaur at the carnival. Awwwwwwww! [Thanks to Carolyn for sending the costume.]

*I will not update with an entry for a few days. My son was in the hospital this morning for a minor surgical procedure on his ears and sinuses, and had to be put under general anesthesia for it. He's just fine and back home now, but will be feeling under the weather for a few days, so I am limiting the time I spend online.

A finished poncho! Alert Tita! And clear your cache!

Why, it's a finished poncho. Giddy-ap!
[Click me and I will give you an expanded view.]
[The obligatory stand-still-like mannequin shot is here.]

Finished project! Poncho from Phildar's Spring Tendances 2003. Phil Ruban cotton ribbon yarn, color chocolat. It's definitely the yarn that makes the poncho as it is a simple design. Straight stockinette that only requires gradual increasing on nearly every row. Knit in two pieces joined at the shoulders. [A back view of the poncho is here.] The pattern originally called for 17 skeins of yarn but I used 15, as I felt that having fringe 15 inches in length might be hazardous. 5 inches seemed good, and even at that length look at how fringerrific the poncho is:

All this fringe makes me feel like a desperado.
(I even wore boots.)

This is the first poncho I've ever knit, and I must say: I love it! Before the week is out I'll be sending it to my little sister, but I miss it already and I only wore it for the pictures. What a fun thing it is to wear. If I can muster up the energy to work all that fringe again, I might make one for myself. (I'll think of Tita if I do.) Now, the customary dancing rabbit spycam shots:

P.S. Lovely greenery and western-style pebbled paths provided courtesy of the mini forest belonging to the apartment complex where I live. I think the neighbors have gotten accustomed to catching glimpses of me dancing around while wearing hand-knitted garments.