Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Meet: SuperKnitter

Last week I threw a teen National Comic Book Day party at the library. One of the activities was to design your own super hero. Here is what I came up with.

Name: SuperKnitter

Powers: Advanced Knitting, Speed, Nimbleness, Accuracy with Knitting Notions (Yarn, Needles, Etc.), Extreme Intelligence

Origin of Powers: Knitting outside with metal needles, when a thunderstorm suddenly arose. The needles were struck by lightning.

Hometown: Downtown Seattle

Lair: Hidden Basement of a Local Yarn Shop

Transport: Souped-up High-Powered Orange Vespa

Gadgets: Yarn Rope, Crossbow that Shoots Double-Pointed Needles, Circular Needle Garrote

Enemies: Mothman, Crook Crochet, The Tangler

Catchphrases: You Made Me Drop A Stitch! By All the Fleeces in Scotland! Existential Yarn Boogers!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

One Sock Off and One Sock On

I grafted the toe on the first Rivendell Sock last night...

I felt a great sense of accomplishment.

I then immediately cast the second Rivendell Sock on...

Lest I be tempted to do something else.

I didn't get much done on it. (Honestly, after the first row, I got nothing done on it.) But at least now I won't merrily start another pair before this pair is finished! And all those lovely skeins of OTHER sock yarn will be a great motivation to get this pair done so I can have the needles back!

Take that Second Sock Syndrome!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Now...Or Later

I am getting a lot of work done on Les Tuileries...

It is turning out beautifully.

Although, it is a wee bit of a pain having to alternate skeins every 2 rows. (Honestly, they had the same exact dye lot on the label, and looked the same when still skeined...once they were balls though...WOW...huge difference...I'm talking a difference you could drive a Mack truck through...)

The problem is, that I am not sure that the two skeins I have are going to be sufficient for the wrap I have envisioned. If they are not, I will need to introduce a third skein into the mix, alternating it every two rows with the remainder of original skein A, and then every 2 rows with the remainder of original skein B. Which means, I will need to get it now so that I can start the intermingling as soon as possible.

But I am on a budget.

And there is always the chance that the two original skeins WILL be sufficient, in which case I will have spent 20 odd dollars for nothing. AND I will be left with little bits of left over yarn in odd dye lots...

I'll probably just cave and buy another skein...Ugh.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Get Knittin' @ the Library 4 Kids

Yesterday afternoon was the first of two kids knitting programs I am doing at the library this month. (It is a one session beginning class being offered on two different dates.)

I had 13 kids show up, ranging from 2nd-5th grade. Miss-A and 1 volunteen helped. (We wore some of my handknit socks and got to be shoeless in the library!)

It was a LOT of fun.

We provided the yarn (red heart worsted rainbow variegated acrylic), but the kids had to bring their own needles. I had had teen volunteers cut and ball the yarn during the summer. We made VERY easy garter stitch bookmarks. Still, its amazing(and endearing) how many bloopers you can make when you are 7 and have never knit before...even when it is an easy pattern!

We had one child show up with double points, so I stuck a few rubber erasers on the end. We also had one show up with size 13 or 15...so I loaned her some 7's and at the end of the program we moved her knitting onto a pencil to take home.

The kids were very patient, with themselves and with us. They waited their turn for help without whining (which I REALLY appreciated!). We quickly learned some things...kids learn better by doing, not watching. I ended up sitting behind most of them and doing hands on hands teaching. I also learned that the variegated yarn was hard to work with if you started with the blue/purple bit...the yellow made for a better beginning.

Pattern: Cast on 7 stitches. Knit every stitch in every row until you have a bookmark length. Cast off.

Next Tuesday...same thing all over again...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Progress Report

I worked on the Rivendell Sock on Thursday at the Survivor Kick-Off/Very Late Birthday Celebration. I was already to the foot with the gusset finished, so I was very comfortable working on it in the dark.

I got to within a 1/2 inch of the toe decrease, then put it away.

I got it out again Saturday night when Twilight came over to watch Big Bang Theory. There in the light of my living room I saw it...a dropped stitch...I had dropped it almost 3 inches back, and it had run for about 6 rows.

GASP! The HORROR! GASP! (Too far back to pick up...unable to frog the socks...I would have to tink...for nearly 3 inches!)

Once the hyperventilating stopped...I put it away. Worked on a garter stitch scarf.

Sunday afternoon, I got down to business. I tinked. I tinked. I tinked some more. I tinked for 2 1/2 inches, till I was close enough to pick the stitch back up.

Here is the current progress:

I would celebrate more...except I realize that in addition to the remaining 3-4 inches of this sock that I have to REknit, I have still another whole sock to knit!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

In Which I Attend ANOTHER Convention!

Belle invited me to go to a craft show with her in San Mateo yesterday.

Please note: a friend asked ME to go...I didn't drag along a friend.

Psych even volunteered to watch Ark, Fish, and Blossom so that Belle could have a much needed break.

Please note: Psych would rather supervise 6 kids under the age of ten than go to a craft show. That's saying something!

Well, we had a splendid time!

(Also, please note, that I showed extreme self control and walked away from several bolts of fabric and one particularly nice bag of cotton/silk blend yarn that was only $20 for 8 skeins...)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Great Day!

Yesterday was a great knitting day...thanks to The Client.

The Client commissioned a scarf. As a result of that commission, yesterday I:

-Got to go to my LYS and buy yarn with SOMEONE ELSE'S money!

-Was able to fill my stash card at the LYS, which means I have a nice gift certificate to use the next time I go in!

-Had the perfect amount of yarn to wind on my nostepinde while I finished listening to my audio book, "Silverfin" by Charles Higson. (When the last CD ended, the last skein was wound.)

-Got to cast on a new original design...which is always exciting! I love trying out my own stuff!

All in all...a great day!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Finally Got Around To It

When NorCalGal was in the process of moving back down to CA, she discovered a really neat little yarn shop in downtown Sacramento. She brought back some rust colored Baby Alpaca chunky yarn for me as an incentive to get me to move. (I figure her thinking was that she could lure me south with the promise of quality fibers...and apparently it worked cause here I am!)

I only had one skein, but that was ok. I had made kool-aid dyed beanies for Sister and Sis-In-Law out of chunky yarn, but never got around to making one for myself. I decided to use the alpaca instead of doing a dye job...the rust was the ideal color, and not one easily achieved with beverage powder!

I had used my swift to ball the yarn prior to the move down. I just hadn't cast on. Other projects kept cutting in the queue. (Besides, I didn't NEED a beanie...I lived in CA!)

Labor Day weekend, I took the ball with me to WA to use as a nostepinde demo. (I didn't want to take my swift, so needed a ball instead of a skein.)I impressed the aunts with my nifty notion, and got a more usable ball in the process. As long as I had it rewound, I went ahead and cast it on. It was a speedy knit, and I got it made up in a single night.

Not a needed item. Not even that impressive of an item. But still something that I can check off the to-do list, and one less ball in the stash!

(It did turn out pretty cute though...didn't it?)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

It May Be Better To Give Than Receive...

...but receiving can be nice too!

I don't know how long it has been since someone has made something for me...a while. (I think the last was my high school graduation quilt, actually.)

This doesn't bother me. I make so many things myself, that is seems almost silly to expect a handmade item. Usually people support my habits rather than duplicating them. (I love getting yarn, fabric, books, notions, gift cards, etc.)

Still...I was extremely touched when Mama L gave me this for my birthday/Christmas/anytime:

That absolutely beautiful and cozy cheeto-orange hand-crocheted afghan was made with love for me by another person.

(I would also like to point out that this was no small undertaking...the afghan is HUGE! I can wrap myself completely up in it. I watched her work on it for months!)

Thank you Mama L!

Friday, September 11, 2009

I'm Here For Research Purposes...Really!

I felt completely justified in going to the yarn shop today to browse and pet.

I have been commissioned to make a scarf for a gentleman at church. I have drawn up a design proposal, but needed to scope out what yarns were available so that I could include pricing. So, I went to Knit This Purl That...to conduct research. I looked, I took pictures of samples, I chatted with fellow knitters, and then...

The unthinkable occurred...

The world nearly stopped spinning...

I left.

Without buying anything.

(feel free to gasp in astonishment and awe! I'm still surprised I managed it!)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sometimes I Impress Myself

I took several projects with me to work on on my WA trip last weekend. Specifically: Les Tuileries, a chunky cabled beanie, the last of the Cousins Beanies...and the Rivendell socks.

I have been "working" on the Rivendell socks for over a year now. I purchased the yarn before I moved to CA. I begged my parents for the Eclectic Sole Book for my 2008 birthday. I even cast on once...only to second guess my yarn choice, rip them out, and proceed to knit several other pairs of socks instead of the Rivendells.

Finally, I decided that enough was enough. The original yarn choice was great, and I was not allowing myself to knit any other socks UNTIL I knit the Rivendells.

Truth is...I was scared of them. They have something called a "yarn cluster"...there is a ton of cabling...they REQUIRE a chart. (I can read charts, I just prefer to use written row by row directions...I am less likely to lose my place.)

Anyway...I psyched myself up and cast them on again this last weekend. With all of the driving we did, and with all of the sitting and chatting and drinking tea...I got quite a bit done.

In fact, I had the whole cuff done before the flight back to CA Tuesday morning.

Frankly...I am pretty stinking impressed with how they are turning out. That may not be a humble admission, but it is the truth!

I am proud of me.

(Since the picture was taken, I have actually finished the heel flap and picked up the gusset stitches...the rest of the sock is simple straight-forward vanilla knitting, easy, breezy, and beautiful...I'm just not thinking about the fact that I have TWO feet!)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Three Little Acorns

I have doing my best to only knit from my stash because...let's face it...it would be a whole lot easier to justify buying new yarn with my minimal amount of spare cash if I didn't have bin upon bin of yarn in my craft closet.

I had, in stash, three 98-yard skeins of Classic Elite Imagine yarn, a cotton/rayon blend that has been discontinued. I had no idea what I was going to do with it. I had originally purchased it because it was pretty and I liked to look at it. Unfortunately, I had not purchased enough to do anything with. I had two different colors and three different dye lots.

I wound it with my nostepinde. (Have I mentioned how much I love that? I love it a lot!) This was not easy since the yarn was a slippery little devil. But I still had noting to do with it.

Enter a book that I have owned for a really long time:
I was flipping through it and came to hat #6, the beach beanie...which called for "less than 150 yards of yarn." One of the versions shown said it was made out of Imagine. Lucky me!

I cast on. I knit. I was done. It was insanely fast.

I knit another, slightly smaller beanie, out of the other color. A child sized version. (Or what I hoped would be a child sized version since the pattern didn't give any other sizes and I had no child handy on which to test it.)

Then I made a third beanie, in the same size as the original, in the same color as the original.

I took the beanies to WA with me for the holiday weekend. I had two spare beanies, and handily also had two girl cousins. And we were all getting together for a family potluck on Monday.

The aunts said we looked like three little acorns.

I thought we looked splendid!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cinema Shawl

Based on the Movie Theater Dishcloth I, this shawl is a breeze! It is simple enough to work on in the dark. Also, depending on the yarn used, it is elegant enough to wear on a date night to those chilly theaters.

Cinema Shawl

Finished Size: 50" Wide, 26" Tall at Center Point

Approximately 400 yds of worsted weight yarn [I used Cascade Yarns Sierra Quatro; 80% cotton/20% merino wool; Color 93, 2 skeins]
1 - pair US size 10.5 straight needles
1 - US size 10.5 circular needle, at least 24" long (optional)

Gauge: 20 stitches = 4 inches in garter stitch

Cast on 1 stitch onto straight needles. (Switch to circular if shawl gets too wide to comfortably fit on straights.)
Row 1: Kfb (2 stitches now on needle)
Row 2: Kfb, Kfb (4 stitches now on needle)
Row 3: K1, Kfb, Kfb, K1 (6 stitches now on needle)
Row 4: K3, YO, K to end.
Repeat Row 4 until there are 250 stitches on the needle Or until shawl is size you would like and you have an even number of stitches on needle.
Border Row 1: K3, (YO, K2Tog, repeat from till last 3 stitches) YO, K3
Work 3 more rows knitting every stitch.
Cast off loosely.

Weave in ends, block lightly, wear with pride.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Spur Of The Moment

When I moved down here from WA, as previously mentioned, the church I attended gave me lovely parting gifts. In that basket, there were 2 skeins of orange Cascade Sierra Quatro [191 yds; 80% Cotton, 20% Merino].

These were causing me a bit of a dilemma because:
1. They were skeins and my swift was packed in storage.
2. There were two of them...which is too much for a scarf, and not enough for a sweater.
3. They were cotton, and the only things I ever make out of cotton are dishcloths and burp rags.

Last weekend, my nostepinde, swift, and I were able to take care of dilemma #1...leaving #2 and #3.

Fine, I thought. I will knit a set of dishcloths for myself. I should be able to get 5 or 6, and can try out some new patterns. (I also figured I would make new samples of Movie Theater Dishcloths I, II, and III that matched the blog colors better.)

I cast on Movie Theater Dishcloth I.

I started knitting.

I got to the point where I was supposed to start decreasing, and looked at what I had. It was a miniature kerchief. I had a spur of the moment thought:

What if I just kept increasing until I ran out of yarn...

...well, it turns out you get a pretty nifty shawl!

(When I decided to switch over to a shawl, I ripped it out and recast on with some changes to the cast on, needle size, etc. I will write it up with adjustments and post it next time!)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Why Yes...That Does Sound More Impressive

Brother and Sis-In-Law stopped by for a surprise visit on Sunday afternoon...and once again Brother said something amazing.

I was showing Sis-In-Law some of my yarn and patterns for current/future projects. One of these was for a shawl/vest thing knit out of lace weight. I showed Brother the yarn and told him that the garment took just shy of 1000 yards.

"Really...that's almost a mile!" (Actually...it was only about 5/8 of a mile, but close enough.)

"Really? I hadn't ever thought of that." I picked up the shawl I had just finished and told him that it had taken about 450 yards.

"Well, that's about a quarter of a mile then!"

Turns out that a mile is 1760 yards. Which I knew. I had just never connected yarn quantities with distance before.

Brother and I went through and converted some of my projects over into mileage. A sweater was a mile. A wrap was a half mile. A pair of socks is a quarter of a mile.

"You should start telling people that," Brother said. "A quarter of a mile of knitting sounds a lot more impressive."

He has a point.