Saturday, December 20, 2008
There was just one hitch...as there always is with my knitting attempts...Hairstylist was having twins! That meant 2 baby hats, because while I could and do expect them to share one copy of the book, I couldn't very well expect them to share one hat!
I will be going home for Christmas, so I made a hair appointment for while I am there. (Hairstylist is the sweetest person in the world, she is actually coming into the shop the day after Christmas just for me! I do not deserve her! Although, granted, I do travel hundreds of miles so that she can still do my hair, so some accommodation can be expected.) I plan on giving her the baby gift then as a part-congratulations-part-Christmas present.
I ordered the book online and it has already been delivered to parents' house. I have even finished one hat. It is adorable. But I just can't seem to get around to finishing the second hat. It is worse than socks. When I knit socks I either use exciting yarn or do a fun stitch pattern. The hat is a plain, and boring, 2x2 rib, and it is solid black. I did cast on the second hat, and I even knit most of it. I am actually all the way to the decreases. I just can't get motivated. I have cast on three scarves and a sock since starting this hat, and I am running out of time.
Here's hoping for motivation or a miracle in which the hat knits itself!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Now, what to buy?
Does this mean I can finally give in and buy the hand-painted beaded silk that is over $50 a skein? (Pros: I will stop coveting and drooling every time I walk into the shop. Cons: I will still have to spend over $25 for the one skein which is not large enough to do anything with.)
Should I use it toward finally buying the yarn for the Abotanicity sweater I have been planning? (Pros: The sweater calls for a lot of sock yarn, and this would be a useful savings. Cons: The shop doesn't have enough of any one color way to make the sweater and I am not sure I can use the buyer card on special orders.)
Should I be practical and use it for needles or notions? (Pros: They have gorgeous Lantern Moon needles and Addi Turbos that are pricey. Cons: I already have a zillion needles and don't really need anymore.)
ARGH!!!! TOO MANY DECISIONS!!!!
I think it best if I just think on it for a while. Wouldn't want to do anything rash...the stash is already full of rash decisions!
I went to my LYS (Knit This, Purl That) and bought some beautiful variegated red, black, and grey wool yarn. It had some uninspiring name like color #something or other, I lost the ball band so don't remember what it was, or even what brand. I immediately renamed the yarn and the scarf "Blood and Shadows!" But, I didn't want to make just any old scarf, this was for an EVENT. It called for zip, zest, and zeitgeist. Since I have always gotten a lot of compliments on my meandering mohair scarf, I thought I would go with something like that.
After bemoaning the fact that all of my knitting books are in storage, I decided to bite the bullet and do an original design. It was only a scarf...how hard could it be? I had just made a set of coasters for the Sister, and so had mitered squares on the brain. I came up with a design that was a series of interlocked mitered squares, cast on, and merrily began knitting. Now the pattern itself was fairly easy. The only fidgety bits were when I had to cast on at the end of the rows to increase again for the next square.
There was one teensy little issue. My beautiful yarn was sock yarn, and I like really long scarves. It takes me long enough to knit socks, let alone a whole chain of socks. The scarf took forever. It was a black hole of time and effort. No matter how long I sat there and knit, it did not get any longer. Weeks passed and it still was nowhere near finished. (Confession...I worked simultaneously on another project, namely the berets and a sock, and grad school was really work intensive this quarter.) Needless to say, the scarf was NOT finished by the movie.
So, instead of wearing it TO the movie...I knit on it AT the movie. I had many hours of waiting for the film to actually start, first in line and then in the theater. Pizza thought it was hilarious that I was actually knitting, and Jester took a picture.
Once the movie was over, the rush/need/desire to finish Blood and Shadows waned considerably. If it weren't for the fact that I had to stay home from work sick one day, and have been spending a lot of time on the phone (lets hear it for hands-free that lets you chat and knit!), it still might not be done! I did finish it though, and personally think that it is quite lovely. I actually got it done in time to wear it to Berkeley's going away/graduation party. It is one of my favorites, so will not be given away...and it has good memories associated with it (the movie and the party). Not to mention the fact that everytime I wear it I think of Edward and all his wonderful vampire-ness!
Friday, November 7, 2008
First, I made one for Blondie. She has been so great ever since I moved here, truly like a sister. I told her I would make something for her, and so we went to the yarn shop. We originally planned on a scarf, but she was drawn to some alpaca wool that told her it wanted to be a beret. (She had some scarves already, but no beret.) Sadly, she has been camera shy so far...her's is deep purple and similar to Kirsten Dunst's in Elizabethtown.
Next up was my friend Berkeley, who is finishing her master's degree in engineering. I felt that she needed a congratulatory present...especially since she is 1/3 or my new rock band...but what to get her? While we were at Disneyland a few weeks ago with Blondie and Mama Liszt, she noticed the prevalence of berets. She mentioned that she would love to have one, and I pointed out that I could make that possible as her grad present. When we got back to our neck of the woods, I drove her over to Knit This, Purl That. She was noticeably overwhelmed by the variety and sheer volume of choices. She selected a lovely dk wool in variegated rainbow colors. Very South American/ethnic/Berkeley vibe yarn. So, using a pattern that I had previously used from Knit Cafe, I whipped up a beret for Berkeley.
Finally, Jester. Her birthday party was actually the night Berkeley, Blondie, and I returned from Disneyland. I had TOTALLY not had time to go shopping, the poster I planned on getting her had to be ordered online, and I was flummoxed. Then, I remembered what I was doing for Berkeley, and wrote a note on Jester's birthday card. It promised her a trip to the yarn store, a hat/scarf/or wrist warmers, and coffee. She chose a chunky merino wool blend in shades of magenta and red. She also wanted a beret. I ended up adjusting the Knit Cafe pattern to suit a much larger gauge. (In fact, I had to frog most of it when I was nearly done, and re-knit the whole thing, otherwise Jester would have been channeling Strawberry Shortcake! it was HUGE!!!)
The ironic thing is that I finished Jester's beret before I had had a chance to give Berkeley her's, so they were delivered the same Sunday morning. I ended up wearing my alpaca/silk beret to church that night, so that we could be the Beret Triplets! (Blondie was out of town, or we would have been quadruplets!)
So...Who is next? Anybody else feel the need to beret it up? Or, perhaps a more appropriate way of putting it: Voulez-vous un beret?
Friday, October 10, 2008
I worked on them during the spring grad school residency...and let me tell you, it is NOT easy to juggle circulars, yarn, and a cable needle on the bus.
I also worked on them while I had laryngitis last spring...thanks to Dad.
I am more proud of this particular pair of socks than any other pair I have ever made. In fact, I think I am more proud of them than I am of anything I have ever knit period!
Part of my pride comes from the fact that I developed the design myself. I took the pattern for the braids from my stitch-a-day calendar. I then infused it into the basic sock pattern that I got out of one of Mom's sock books. (I would give credit to the author, but I honestly don't remember...either Schurch or Bordhi...) So, while it is not an entirely original-from-scratch design, it is an original hybrid! (Kind of like rose breeders who don't try to reinvent the wheel...I cross pollinated!)
Anyway, I finished these before I moved...I think in May. Wish I had posted then. I took the pictures then.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:
Monday, October 6, 2008
Among other things, I received a beautiful ball of sock yarn in colors that reminded them, and myself, of the local area. It was GREAT yarn. Unfortunately...sometime, somewhere, between swifting it and moving...the ball band went the way of the dodo...I don't remember which amazing yarn it was...
I knew that it would be a pair of socks. I knew it needed to be a special pair of socks...more than just a 2x rib. At the same time, the variegation meant that an involved or intricate stitch pattern would be inappropriate. So, I went with a bamboo stitch. This stitch is very architectural and structured, so it shows up even through the color shifts. It is also one of my favorite stitches for scarves. (It is a simple YO, K2, PSSO, P2, repeat.)
I got to work on them during my first day of training at my new job. I worked on them diligently for WEEKS. (Granted, a pair of socks should not take WEEKS...but cut me some slack...I had a lot going on!) I had set a deadline. I had to have them done by the time I went back for graduate classes. And guess what? I actually made it! I wore them on the plane back! The end results were stunning! As is readily apparent from the pictures. (I only wish I had had the opportunity to show them to the ladies...but then, that is why I blog!)
Thursday, October 2, 2008
I went to my stash to find circular needles and yarn. Now, here's the thing, usually when I donate yarn to people's first projects, it ends up being a skein of cotton dishcloth yarn. (Big deal, I am out $1.99...) Hats and scarves are another issue. I like using the good stuff for garments...so I usually have them buy their own. But Sk8 is a boy. And boys don't exactly rush to their nearest yarn shop or craft store. So, I was going to be providing the materials. Luckily, while I do have a lot of nice and expensive yarn, I also have a bin full of not as nice yarn. Sk8 picked out some steel grey acrylic yarn...I believe it was Caron Simply Soft...but I am not sure...the ball band was lost.
We measured his head...twice. I did a gauge swatch...which is unusual for me. I cast on for him, and then sent him on his way. But we had a problem. After he had knit several inches, and it had been several months, we realized that the hat was HUGE. It would be an ideal beanie for an elephant. So, he gave it to me to "fix." This meant I ended up ripping it ALL out. (Poor Sk8...all that work...unraveled!) I ended up re-casting on, adjusting the gauge again, and finishing the beanie.
He loved it! (And, he tells people he made it...which I won't argue...even though, technically, not a single stitch in the finished beanie was knit by him.)
Saturday, May 31, 2008
For my graduate storytelling class, I decided to do a retelling of Jan Brett's story called The Mitten. The story basically consists of a little boy dropping one of his mittens, which is found by a variety of woodland animals, who all crawl inside it to warm up. When the boy finds the mitten again, it has been all stretched out since everything from a mole to a bear warmed up inside it. The joke at the end is the size diference between the boy's two mittens. I needed a visual aid, and so decided to be creative and cut the animals out of felt. Then I needed a mitten to put them in.
A normal human would have gone to the store and purchased a mitten. I am not normal. I am a knitter. I knit both mittens. I found a simple and straightforward pattern online, and made two mittens. I didn't worry about the gauge at all. I used white Lamb's Pride Bulky and size 9 needles for the big one, then Blue Sky Alpaca Silk in white on size 2 needles for the little one. The pattern was lovely, and very clear. I will have to try it sometime with real mitten yarn.
Anyway, it was a lot of work, but a lot of fun. Also, now I have a really nice visual aid should I ever actually become a children's librarian...or I could be nice and give it to my elementary school teaching sister who had The Mitten as a child.
Friday, May 30, 2008
I was walking through a yarn shop the other day and saw what to me was a HIDEOUSLY HORRID yarn. (Said fiber will go unnamed so that no one is offended and I don’t get sued by the manufacturer.) I thought to myself, “Who would buy that, what on earth would they do with it, and why would they even want to?” I kid you not, mere moments later another patron walked through the door, made a beeline for the shelf, and scooped some up. Apparently, she LOVES that yarn and uses it to make some sort of purse. (I still can’t envision that being at all attractive…) This got me thinking though about yarn personalities.
If I were to lay several balls of yarn out on a table and invite the knitters close to me to choose a skein, each would be drawn to a different fiber. This is because not every knitter likes every yarn. We are like addicts with drugs of choice. I can with almost 100% certainty predict what is going to turn on my friends:
NorCal Gal would immediately pick up something soft, probably worsted weight, machine washable, and blue.
Mom would go for a self-striping sock yarn in jewel tones, or perhaps a new color way of dishcloth yarn.
The Aunt would want something cheery, a novelty yarn that she could use in a garter stitch scarf, most likely a chunky weight.
I would look at the ball bands and pick an unusual fiber…or alpaca, anything in alpaca, and probably orange.
Princess or Prada would grab something glitzy and glam…fuzzy or sparkly…and then hand it to me since neither one knits.
This way every yarn eventually gets knit…just not by every knitter.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Not necessarily enough to open my own shop...but enough.
Every trunk, basket, and purse-not-currently-in-use has yarn in it. I also have several (smallish) tubs in my craft room closet.
But it is not my yarn stash that I am most proud of...it is my secret shelf stash of completed projects.
There are times, such as during movies or grad school lectures, when I want to knit but need to not be thinking about my knitting. At these times, I resort to a simple scarf, dishcloth, or coffee cup cozy. As a result, I have a surplus of scarves, dishcloths, and coffee cup cozies. These are all placed on the bottom shelf of the lawyer's bookcase in my bedroom. I have tissue paper affixed to the inside of the glass door so nosy visitors can't see in. This way when a gift giving occasion arises, I can go "shopping" in the stash!
One would think that this would cut down on the yarn and projects I purchase. But that is not the case. The downfall in the system is that if I remember that a gift giving occasion is on the way, I plan a special project and shop for it before I shop the stash.
Still, the stash has gotten me out of more than one jam...like when someone gives me something for Christmas when I hadn't realized we had reached the gift-exchange level in the friendship...
I highly recommend the stash...
...it goes perfectly with my enormous greeting card cache!
Sunday, May 4, 2008
The cute peach baby sweater I was avoiding frogging on can sit in the work basket a while longer. The original friend it was for is having a boy. The second friend who it could have gone to is, as of this past Monday, having a boy. A third friend/acquaintance, just announced this morning that she is also having a boy.
On the plus side, this was a GREAT excuse to buy more yarn in blues and greens…And my hairstylist is expecting…she might even be having multiples…surely one of them will be a girl…
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
About an hour after I posted my previous entry about the woeful lack of a cable needle, my father came by my condo.
He had seen my needle sitting on the table and, knowing I was stuck at home, thought I might want it. So, along with some library books my mom had checked out for me, he brought it by on his way to the office.
He noted that it appeared a little the worse for wear, since both their cat and puppy had gotten a hold of it. He offered to buy me a new one if it was ruined.
It wasn't ruined. I got a lot done on the sock...and was able to put off frogging the baby cardigan yet again!
Isn't my dad the best?
Friday, April 25, 2008
The problem: I accidentally left my cabling needle at my parents' house, thereby rendering it very difficult to work on cabled socks.
Possible Solutions (and why they won't work):
1. Use one of my other cable needles. (The socks are knit on size 2's and the cable needles I have are all 8's and larger)
2. Use a double pointed needle. (Don't own any.)
3. Buy another cable needle. (Not supposed to leave home when you have called in sick to work...besides, what if the teller wanted to ask me a question...I have NO voice.)
4. Go get my cable needle from my parents' house (Same reason as above)
So what am I going to do? Bite the bullet and do the other project I have been avoiding...frog back the baby sweater with the twisted stitches...
And then maybe work on a scarf...
Monday, April 21, 2008
I grafted the toe.
Now, the graft on the right side of the beautiful sock has purl stitches and the wrong side is knit…and it is too late to fix it…I wove and trimmed the ends before I noticed.Thinking positively: I will be able to tell the right sock from the left…unless for the sake of consistency I purposefully misgraft the second sock as well!
Saturday, April 19, 2008
I have a philosophy about hand knit socks: "If I am going to take the time to make them, people are going to be able to notice them!"
The first pair of socks I made were a variegated rainbow from Regia. I had left overs...not enough to make another pair of socks, but too much to just toss out. So, when I saw the yellow yarn, also Regia, an idea began to form in my head...I would make CRAZY socks, with rainbow stripes, heel, and toe. The problem was, I only knew how to do a flap heel, and I was concerned that that would look a little funny.
So, the yarn languished in my stash for a little over a year. Then, I discovered the joy that is a short row heel! Perfect! And thus, the Sesame Street Socks were born.
(In all honesty, I think that flap heels are more comfortable than short row heels...and I have since found sock yarns that are cozier than the Regia...but these socks were not about comfort...they were about COLOR!)
Thursday, April 17, 2008
I am sad and will miss her.
I taught her how to knit, and it was fun watching her take to it like a duck to water. (Although she refuses to learn how to purl...I am being pushed to come up with knit-stitch only projects...)
As a goodbye, we met at the Silverdale yarn shop one last time. We walked around. We squeezed the skeins. We drooled over yarn that we could not afford. We wished that we could find sock yarn in cobalt blue. (Oh wait, that was just me...) It was perfect.
I am sad and will miss her.
Did I say that already?
On the plus side, I am sending her off to Sacramento in search of new yarn shops! And when I go down there to visit her we can go to them and walk around. We can squeeze the skeins. We can drool over yarn that we cannot afford. And we can actually find sock yarn in cobalt blue!
Friday, April 11, 2008
There is nothing quite as relaxing as taking a plethora of skeins and wrapping them into little balls. Especially if you don't have a ball winder!
(And if you are a multi-tasker, you do this while listening to lectures on data standardization systems for one of your graduate courses...)
Monday, March 31, 2008
It's not as if I have one foot that is significantly larger than the other, but it seems like the second sock always takes twice as long to finish no matter how diligently I work on it.
I really want to get my current pair finished before my graduate school residency this weekend so I can pack a brand new project to take with me. I want to travel light...one project, one project only. (To get the full affect read the previous line in Sean Connery's attempt at a Russian accent!)
Friday, March 21, 2008
My Deduction: They are not putting their drinks down because I have no coasters.
Realization: The problem was not a lack of coasters, but rather a lack of coffee tables or end tables on which to put coasters.
Does anyone have a pattern for a felted table?
Addendum: I wish I had made the coaster caddy a little smaller, but I was not entirely sure what the shrinkage factor would be during felting, so I over-compensated.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
This makes 3 pairs so far.
He was the first person to ever actually commission me to knit something for him…a set of wrist warmers for his daughter.
I have had people request that I make things for them, or give me yarn and ask me to make things for them, but he was the first to actually give me cash!
I don’t particularly want to start taking a lot of commissions. One of the reasons I like to knit is that it allows me to be creative and de-stress. Deadlines and/or churning out products just doesn’t sound fun to me.
But, for the Commissioner, I will do just about anything.
(Besides…his requests are not difficult…first pair I cast on 24 stitches on size 8’s, knit in a 2x2 rib for about 6 inches, cast off 6 stitches, knit a round, cast on 6 stitches, knit for another inch and a half, cast off. This last one I did a 30 stitch cast on in a 3x2 rib just to mix things up.)
Monday, March 10, 2008
There are reasons I was an English major. Its not that I can't do math...I just prefer not to.
If I knit the scarf the way I have it written, it will be very pretty, but very short! More an elongated dishcloth than a scarf.
So...back to the drawing board.
Does anybody have a calculator?
Friday, March 7, 2008
I happily knit along, did all of the sleeve increases, and then went on to K34, CO20, K34....or rather K34, CO20, K17...since it suddenly struck me that the sleeves were going to be VERY narrow. It turns out that the DVD remote was covering a critical instruction to knit even for 6 rows after the increases were finished.
I tinked back, picked back up the cast-off stitches, and continued on my way. I knit the 6 rows even and then went to bed, planning to redo the K34, CO20, K34 row the next time I picked it up. It was late, and it was a work night.
Disaster...this morning as I picked up the sweater as I was tidying up and noticed in the warm light of the rising sun, that the stitches I had picked back up were twisted! And since I didn't notice it in the flickering light from the television the night before, the problem has grown. Instead of just tinking back a few stitches...I now will have to frog several rows!
The Dilemma: To Frog or Not to Frog
Reasons Not To:
1. It is on the back of the sweater
2. The yarn is variegated, so it isn't that noticeable.
3. Its not even that big of an error...just 20 or so twisted stitches...not a dropped stitch or hole!
4. The "error" could be viewed as creative license...what makes handknits handknits...a unique feature of this particular garment
1. It is a gift for my friend's baby
2. It is her first baby
3. If it shows in the little bit of light here in WA, think how much it will show in CA!
Needless to say, the reasons to frog, though fewer than those against, carry a lot more weight. So, I have set the kimono aside...temporarily...I will probably wait until my quarter at school ends before I pick it up again...
Besides - First Friend isn't due till this summer. I have oodles of time!
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
To be completely honest, I feel the need to confess that they are stuffed.
I got Melville at Target on an impulse. He was so wooley and soft and cute. (And a great bargain at less than $10.) I almost talked my friend into buying one too, but NorCal Gal is more practical than I am. Or rather, she is married and her husband is practical. She said he was too big. (Melville, not her husband.) Later that same day I was at Fred Meyer and saw a mini-Melville.
Same cute face, half the space. I bought one for my friend. Then, I decided that while I was at it I could always use another sheep, and thus Dewey joined the flock.
Is it technically a flock if you only have two? I would love to find a third that is either larger or smaller.
Also, it seems to me that my sheep need scarves. They are begging for hand knits. The dilemma is I am not sure what fiber to use. Would making a wool scarf for a sheep be analogous to feeding eggs to a chicken? Should I use acrylic to be safe? Perhaps a nice cotton/silk blend?
I guess I will have to sleep on it...and if I can't fall asleep, I will just count my sheep!
Monday, March 3, 2008
A lot of time.
I am often asked how long it took me to make something. This is difficult since I am constantly knitting. I knit in the car (as a passenger, not driver). I knit on my breaks at work. I knit during conversations with friends. I knit while watching television or movies. I knit at theaters before the show starts and, depending on who I am with, during the show itself. I knit while listening to professors lecture. I knit while waiting for the kettle to boil for my tea. Working on projects in spurts makes it nearly impossible to quantify the amount of time it took.
There are a few exceptions however.
Wrist Warmers: 1 Underworld movie per warmer.
Coffee Cup Cozies: 2 episodes of Monk each.
Felted Coaster Holder: 1 Sharpe movie (I love Sean Bean)
Felted Coasters: 1 lunch break each
Lace Scarf: Bus rides and breaks of one Grad School Residency.
I choose to not view knitting as a waste of time, but as a means of maximizing the time I have been given. I am going to watch the movies, I am going to listen to the lectures, I am going to go on car trips. Knitting enables me to make the time productive.
And, isn't that what a Superknitter does? Fight for truth, justice, and the American Way?
As the good American Protestant work ethic says...idle hands are the devil's tool!