Friday, December 17, 2010

Hypothetical Knitting

I have a friend, Printer, who has a screen printing business, and has done a LOT of t-shirts for me and the residence hall this year. I fear he tends to cut me a better deal than he ought to occasionally. So, because we are friends, and because he is so generous...I wanted to give him a Christmas present. The problem is, he is a bit of a tricky fellow to shop for. He doesn't have a television, he makes his own t-shirts, he doesn't collect anything, he doesn't have any real hobbies to speak of...I decided to knit something for him. The problem was determining what to knit that he would actually wear or want. So, we had the following telephone conversation:

Me: So, hypothetically, if someone were to knit something for you, would you wear it?
Him: It depends on what it is.
Me: Lets say it was hypothetically a beanie.
Him: Possibly. Would it look...crafty?
Me: Not necessarily.
Him: Yeah. I would probably wear it.
Me: Hypothetically, what color would it need to be.
Him: Something dark like black or grey.
Me: Ok.

A few nights later, we had another telephone conversation:

Him: What are you up to tonight?
Me: I'm knitting.
Him: Knitting knitting, or hypothetically knitting?
Me: Hypothetically knitting.
Him: How is it coming? Hypothetically.
Me: Hypothetically, I am really liking the pattern design I came up with.
Him: Cool.

I, hypothetically, finished the beanie and mailed it to my sister in Kentucky. (Printer also lives there, too...I put it in the same box as SNCFan's hat and scarf to save on postage.)

She delivered it to Printer before she came up to the parents' house for the holidays. Hypothetically he can wear it frequently this winter as Bowling Green is having an appallingly cold and icy December.

Apparently, he liked it, as in an unprecedented move, he actually took a picture of himself and sent it to me.

He is pondering deep hypotheses.

And it looks much better on him than it did on me.

The pattern was really easy. It is a variation on a standard 2X2 ribbed beanie that ended up in a sort of waffle pattern. It was a little less boring than a standard beanie without being fussy or girly. Heaven forbid we knit anything less than masculine! I will write it up soon and post it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Airport Eyre

I am flying back to Washington today for the holidays. (Actually...I am bouncing all over for the holidays...Canada, Oregon, etc.) This means I need airport knitting. And, I actually need more airport knitting than normal.

I plan on arriving at the airport at least an hour before my flight, then there is the nearly 2 hour flight to Vegas, then the 3 hour layover in Vegas, then the additional 2 hour flight to SeaTac, then the nearly 2 hour drive from the airport to my parents' house...which comes to roughly 10 hours of knitting...and that is just on the way there!

After much thought and deliberation, I decided my best bet was the Eyre Wrap. It requires no pattern looking, and there is no way on earth that I will finish it and need to start another project.

The Eyre Wrap is my own adaptation of the Bridesmaid Wrap in Suss Cousins' book Wedding Knits. The pattern called for a very thin yarn to be knit on very large needles. I tried it. I tried it 4 times over the past 3 years or so with different yarns. I really did not enjoy trying to knit lace on size 11 needles. What should have been a fairly brain-free knitting project (1x1 rib for forever and a day) was horrid...also, the pattern called for the sleeves to be knit flat and seamed in. As anyone who knows me may remember, I hate seaming things up! The pattern kept going back in the queue and the yarns were repurposed.

Sister gave me a craft store gift for my birthday (thank you), and I found some Caron Simply Soft in Pagoda. It was the exact color I was looking for to make a drapey wrappy cardigany thing. Since I was gonna make it up as I went, I didn't want to spend a ton on yarn...so was willing to go with an acrylic. (I have used this yarn before for experiment projects...reasonably priced and nice to work with.) When I was drawing up the design, I kept coming back to a version of the Bridesmaid Wrap. The yarn's gauge was the same as the patterns, only the yarn was thicker so it wouldn't be a pain like the lace. This wrap should look similar to the original pattern, just less airy and lacy. (And I was actually wanting a cozier wrap anyway.)

But what about the piecing? Well, thanks to Wendy Barnard and her book/blog/patterns, I am confident in my ability to pick up the sleeves from the armscye and knit them down in the round...so we will see how that goes.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Raiding the Gift Stash

On Halloween, some of my staff members decided to dress up as lumberjacks. They had boots, they had plaid shirts, they had 5 o clock shadows...they even had elastic to make fake suspenders. What did they still need? The iconic lumberjack beanie! What did I have lots of in my gift stash? The iconic lumberjack beanie!



(That battle axe that Arty AD is holding was found in the residence hall's magic closet, dubbed Narnia. Seriously...it is like Mary Poppins' carpet bag...whenever we need something, anything, we go look in Narnia...and it is ALWAYS there! Now if I could only convince Narnia to function like a yarn shop...)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Commissions and Crunches

In addition to knitting projects for my own enjoyment, I completed several commission projects this semester as well.

HeeBee Beret:
One of my Resident Assistants, HeeBee, really liked the berets that I had made for myself. She asked if I could make her one in purples and greys. Berets being nearly as fast as beanies, I agreed. I made it out of KnitPicks Imagination in Arabian Nights. She really liked it, and received a ton of compliments!

Flame Beret {Photo Pending}:
One of the people who really liked HeeBee's beret was her really good friend Flame. Flame asked if I would make her a beret as well. She picked a yarn that I had in the stash. It was a jewel tone variegated Hacho from Mirasol Peru. (The yarn has been discontinued...so I bought scads of it in various colors on clearance at Knit This Purl That...LOVE THIS YARN!!!) Flame is classically beautiful in an old Hollywood sort of way. She looked great in the beret.

Dr. and Mrs. Boss Socks:
As previously blogged, Dr. Boss commissioned a couple of pairs of socks. Things got a little hairy with both pairs because I was using a self striping yarn. I am a little uptight, and had determined that the stripes on both pairs had to match perfectly. It was a bit of a headache, but worth it in the end. Overall Mrs. Dr. Boss's socks were a breeze. Lovely football knitting. Lovely airplane knitting as well. Dr. Boss's socks, on the other hand, not as joyous.(Note to self: Man Socks take FOREVER. I thought I would never finish those boogers.) I was very concerned that I was going to run out of yarn. In the end both pairs turned out beautifully, and were appreciated by their recipients.


A Capella Beanie and Scarf {Photo Pending}:
Sister has a really good friend that I met when I was visiting out there. SNC was heading up to Chicago for a Straight No Chaser concert...I think it is about the 1000th she has gone to. Chicago = Cold. SNC knew I knit (how could she not, I was doing it constantly while I was there) and asked if I could make her a plum hat and scarf. I took a pattern that I have been developing (The Hypothetical Beanie) and converted it into a scarf pattern, and made the matching beanie. I really liked the way they turned out. Hopefully SNC did as well.

A Couple of the projects I made for others can only be called Crunches! They were last minute, looming deadline, oh no I totally need to get these done NOW!!!

Wedding Knitting {No Photo, Cause They Are Gifts}:
BFF's younger sister is getting married this next week. I had asked her months ago what her kitchen colors were so that I could knit her dishcloths. But...then I kept postponing making them. Fast forward to last week. One of my residents goes to church with BFF's parents in Houston, and had agreed to act as my own personal UPS truck. She was going to take BFF's Christmas presents home with her at the end of the semester...WHOOPS! I had less than a week to get the wedding dishcloths done! Ack! Luckily they are quick knits...I made up 2 Movie Theater Dishcloths I...finishing them the night before they had to leave town! That was cutting it a wee bit close. I hope she likes them!

Argyle Beanie:
Argyle, one of my fellow RDs, is spending part of the winter break in Washington, D.C. It gets quite cold there, and Argyle does NOT like being cold. We were standing in the main office discussing holiday plans, when he turned to me and asked me if I had any spare beanies in my gift stash, and if so how much they cost. I told him that I certainly did, and quoted him a price. He pulled out the cash and said he wanted a grey or black one. I took the cash and went back to my apartment, where to my horror I realized that the grey beanie I thought was in the stash had actually been used as an emergency birthday gift a month or so earlier. OH NO! I took money under false pretenses! Luckily for me, I had dark grey yarn languishing in my stash. I cast on a version of the Knox beanie on a Thursday afternoon, and finished it before bed that night. It was a close call though...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Completions

I have been VERY productive this semester, as mentioned previously. Here are a few of the things I have finished. (This is not a complete rundown, since some of the projects were commissions, which I will talk about tomorrow, or are Christmas gifts, which I will show you after the holiday!)

Three Towers:
A few months ago I was ordering yarn from KnitPicks and needed to spend another $3 in order to get free shipping...so I ordered a ball of Swish DK Yarn in Merriwether...a color they don't seem to have anymore. When it arrived, I realized that it was almost the same color as Sister's eyes, and decided use it to make a beret for her. I had come across a stitch pattern that looked like the Eiffel Tower. Since Sister and I visited Paris together, I thought it would be fun to try and incorporate that into my standard beret. The result? The Three Towers.

Grimm Scarf:
I had initially hoped to submit the pattern for my blood and shadows scarf to KnitPicks. Who knows? I still might. In order to do so, I needed to knit a version of it out of one of their yarns. I bought a skein of the Imagination Hand Painted Sock Yarn in Wicked Witch. I also decided that the scarf pattern needed a new name. Since the original scarf was made as an homage to vampire literature, I knew I wanted a name that was dark. At the same time, I wanted to tie the name into the fantasy nature of the yarn colourways. How handy that some of the best fairy tales were written by the Brothers Grimm. I finished the scarf while I was in Kentucky a few weeks ago.

Shrug:
I made myself a shrug out of KnitPicks Shamrock yarn in Campbell. I LOVED working with this yarn. The color changes in it kept the knitting interesting, even though the pattern was the single most brainless project I think I have ever done! The pattern was the free Lion Brand Stockinette Shrug. I've linked to it, but it may require a membership to view. It is a REALLY easy pattern. You knit a really long rectangle with ribbing at each end, and then seam up the sides. It is crazy. And I think it is very flattering. (Also, it is very warm...being Shetland wool and all...)

Clementine Cardi:
I sort of almost finished this one. But I am still mad at it. No pictures until I get to Washington.

Colton Scarf:
After I finished the Baby^3 Blanket, I had odd amounts of the various yarns left over. What to do? What to do? And then it hit me...make a version of the scarf that goes with everything! I did a 2x2 ribbed scarf, changing yarns at random points throughout. It came out beautifully. I'm giving it to BFF for Christmas so that she can match the baby! (I'm pretty sure she doesn't read the blog, so I feel perfectly safe posting it here...)I think that this is a really great way to use up the stash as well. I have lots of little teeny tiny scrap balls that are just begging to be scarfed up!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

On Becoming a Sports Fan

I can honestly say that I have attended more sporting events this semester than the rest of my life combined. And I have definitely watched more football! (I actually understand the game now!) The advantage to having so much school spirit...aside from getting paid to...was that it offered numerous opportunities to knit.

I knit at intramural games...in the stands, and on the sidelines.

I knit at ACU football games.

I knit at volleyball games.

I knit at soccer games.

After the first game or so, people stopped staring. They simply didn't notice that I was doing anything out of the ordinary. Instead, on the rare occasion I wasn't knitting, they would notice I was idle and ask where my knitting was!

So, what was the most exciting thing that happened during this strange journey into jock-dom? I got a concussion. I got a concussion without even participating

I was sitting on the bleachers at a McKinzie Skull Caps intramural football game (they are our brother hall). I saw the McKinzie RD had arrived, and decided to go say hello. I stepped sideways off the bleacher. I thought the footrest extended out a bit past the seat. I was wrong. I missed the step, landed on the side of my foot and went over backwards...hitting the back of my head (hard) on the ground. The residents I had been talking to were worried. They helped me up and asked if I was ok. Then one of their boyfriends started laughing. They stared at him, since that was not an appropriate response...till he explained, and we all started laughing. See, I had been knitting a sock. The ball of yarn was in the pocket of my hoodie, and I had the circulars in my hand. When I fell over backwards, I had instinctively lifted my hands to keep my yarn from getting dirty, and somehow managed the whole thing without even dropping a stitch. He couldn't believe that I had tried to save the knitting rather than myself. (Clearly! I mean, a gal has to have priorities. My head would heal...the sock may not have!)

I am already looking forward to next season...knitting and sports! Who would have thought they were so compatible?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Gardner Hall Intramural Knitting Team

When I came back to ACU, I decided to resurrect an old program that I had done when I was an RA here. I used to have a community service group called Team Tabitha. I taught the girls on Team Tabitha traditional domestic skills, with their first project being a service project. (We did baking, and took cookies to the firefighters in town. We did flower arrangements, and took them to nursing homes. I taught knitting, and they donated their scarves to the homeless.)

This year, I revamped the program. We created the Gardner Hall Intramural Knitting Team. I ordered team tshirts. The girls started calling our get togethers "meets". We met once a week. I taught them simple knitting, and offered them service hours if they donated their scarves to homeless ministries.

45 girls came to the first "meet". Attendance varied after that...anywhere from 3-30 residents in any given week. I started seeing girls knitting in the lobby, at football games, in the campus center. It is epic. And really, that may have been an underlying motive in starting the team. See, I don't look as strange or odd when I am constantly knitting at events around campus anymore because there are a lot of people randomly knitting. Instead of trying to blend in with the "normals"...I have proselytized...creating more "quirks".

Once the tshirts came in, guys wanted in on it. Officially I have 7 guys on the knitting team...in that they ordered shirts. I have only seen 3 actually pick up needles.

I have had residents come knock on my door at 10 o'clock at night...holding their needles and yarn tentatively in front of them, with huge eyes..."I did something wrong! Can you fix it?" I have fixed more dropped stitches and knots this semester than the previous several years combined. (The really exciting oopses happen when my lefties come to have me fix stuff.)

I have also had crocheters come to me for help, and more than a few hand sewing emergency help requests as well. I am getting quite the reputation for handiness!

So far a lot of my residents have completed their first scarves. Some have gone on to knit more for Christmas presents out of "fancy" yarns. A couple have even learned how to purl, or knit in the round. It has been, by far, the most popular hall program this semester. I can't wait till next semester to see what they come up with!


Friday, December 3, 2010

Clementine Cardigan: The Continuing Saga

Previously in posts about the Clementine Cardigan: I found a typo in the pattern, after reknitting the collar SEVERAL times. Then, I discovered that the pattern didn't call for enough yarn, and had a mini panic attack before ordering 450 more yards from KnitPicks...

And now, the rest of the story...thus far...

After ordering the supplemental yarn, I set the offending cardigan aside, and worked on something far less frustrating. A week or so later the yarn arrived, but I was still mad at the sweater, so I put the yarn on the shelf and ignored it for a while. (Which was actually kind of sad. It wasn't the sweater's fault, after all. It was the pattern designer's.)

Eventually I did pick it back up. I joined my new yarn on, and finished the body and the button bands. I picked up the stitches for the right sleeve. I knit down the sleeve. I completed the sleeve and looked at the amount of yarn I had left.

YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!! I AM NOT GOING TO HAVE ENOUGH YARN TO FINISH THE SECOND SLEEVE!!!! WHAT IS THIS THING? THE BLACK HOLE OF YARN??!!!???

At this point the entire sweater and needles and pattern went flying across the living room, and I burst into tears. I would have cursed at the sweater designer had I not been a good Christian girl. (As it is, I may have wished some horrible yarn tangles on her...)

Once again I called KnitPicks. Once again they shipped me more yarn. (Bless you KnitPicks telephone operators. You are little rays of light in a dark hole of knitting despair!)

I ordered 3 more skeins, since that is how many it would take to finish the second sleeve.

The new yarn came, and the second sleeve was finished. (By the way, please note that the pattern called for 950 yards of yarn. By the time I was finished with it I had ordered a total of 1650 yards of the Shine Worsted...and I have, exactly, 23 yards left over.)

And yet, that is not the last frustration with the sweater from...ahem...well, you know where...

I live in such a podunk little town in West Texas now, that I cannot find a single store that has 12 matching buttons to sew to this stupid thing!

Seriously?

I guess I will go button shopping when I am in WA at Christmas. Until then, I see no earthly reason why I should weave in my ends. The sweater doesn't deserve to have its ends woven in. It can just wear the tails in shame. The stinking ends can stinking wait till I'm stinking home.

I'm not even going to dignify it with a photo at this point.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Feeling Sheepish: A New Start

I have been absolutely abominable about posting blog entries the past couple of months.

I have fallen off the face of the blogosphere for far too long.

The funny thing is that I have been knitting this fall. I have been knitting oodles. I would even posit that I have knit more in the past two months than I ever have in the past. And, it isn't that I have had boring run of the mill knitting experiences. Several recent knitting incidents have involved yarn and needles being flung across the living room in frustration...

However, my new job here in TX has been slightly more stressful and time consuming than I had anticipated. By the time I finish working for the day, the mere thought of attempting to blog has been exhausting. (Ironically, it is the high stress level that has contributed to my knitting productivity. I have literally been using knitting to maintain my own sanity.)

I'm feeling sheepish about the whole situation. I need to once again make this blog a priority in my life. So today, December 1, marks my return to good behavior. I will blog. I will blog on odd dates. I will once more take up my keyboard and relate my adventures with fiber.

(This next week will be spent primarily catching you up on the past couple of months...which is actually kind of handy since the majority of my current knitting projects are Christmas surprises that I can't blog about anyway...)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Being in California for the weekend means that I can go to my "happy place"...



Knit This Purl That!

It is so nice to be home!

(Thank you Twilight for taking me, and helping me complete and then redeem my stash card!)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Packing...as usual

Normally I have a hard time packing for trips.

But for this trip to CA I am keeping it simple:

Commission socks.

That's it.

So proud of me.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fuzzy Math

I am working on the Clementine Cardigan.

The pattern calls for 912 yards of yarn.

I purchased 975 yards of yarn.

I ran out before working the button bands OR the sleeves.

What?

I immediately called KnitPicks...

(Well, maybe not immediately. I went over my math again. I threw a couple of throw pillows. I called my mom long distance to vent. THEN I called KnitPicks.)

Luckily they had some of the same dye lot still in stock.

I ordered 6 more skeins.

Which is an additional 450 yards.

I sure hope that's enough!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Commission Socks

My new boss, Dr. Boss, is a man after my own heart. A man obsessed with socks. Specifically, a man obsessed with crazy, quirky, eccentric socks. His obsession has reached the point that his wife has had to make a rule: for every new pair of socks he acquires, an old pair of socks must be disposed of.

He found out that I knit socks. He heard me wax eloquent on the joys of custom made handknit wool socks. He saw the crazy socks I have made for myself. He decided he needed socks.

Since Abilene has no yarn shop, and since the few craft stores/superstores that carry what passes for yarn do not have sock weight, I emailed him some links to online sock yarn suppliers. I did not realize what an ordeal selecting a yarn color would be for him.

In the end he decided he wanted to go with Berocco Sox, which I was going to order from Jimmy Beans Wool. But even after narrowing it down to a brand, he had a hard time narrowing it down to a color. Back and forth, back and forth...he kept changing his mind. Finally he got it down to two colors: Lancaster and Humberside. He could not decide.

That was when I had my moment of brilliance. I would make two pairs of socks...one in Lancaster for him, and one in Humberside for his wife. That way, maybe, he wouldn't have to get rid of a pair when he got the new pair...after all, she would be getting socks, too!

He went for it, and I ordered the yarn. Unfortunately the Lancaster was back ordered and has not yet arrived...the Humberside is here though, cast on, and started. Maybe I can get the Humbersides done before the Lancaster comes in. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Clementine Cardi

As I mentioned in my last post, I have started work on a version of the Brompton Cardigan out of Knit Picks Shine Worsted in Clementine. (And let me just say, this yarn is a DREAM to work with. It has amazing stitch definition, and is very soft. It doesn't dry my hands out like some yarns have a tendency to do.)

I cast on the cardigan while I was at my grandparents' house last weekend.

I cast it on, and merrily started working on the basketweave collar. I knit about 6 rows. It did not look right. At all.

I figured that I had messed up back towards the beginning. At this point it was going to be faster to rip it all out and start over than to try to frog back 5 rows.

So I ripped it all out.

I started again. This time I paid more attention and realized by the fourth row that it did not look right. At all.

I read the pattern carefully. Hmmm...if the pattern is a multiple of four, then this stitch pattern has an error in it. It appears to be written for knitting in the round, but I am knitting the collar flat. Huh.

I checked the pattern online, looking for links to any errata. Someone else had commented that the basketweave pattern appeared to be mistyped. The designer disagreed, but stated that it was basically a 2x2 rib that alternated every 3 rows.

If that is the case then the pattern WAS written wrong!

I ripped it out again, and this time IGNORED the stitch pattern and knit a 2x2 rib, alternating every 3 rows.

Success!

I don't know which was more frustrating, that the designer wouldn't admit she typed the pattern wrong...or the fact that I knew it was wrong, but kept trying it anyway.

(I have now moved on, and am trucking my way through the raglan shaping and stockinette...with fingers crossed that the remainder of the pattern is written correctly.)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Go Gnomes!

Last night was the inaugural game for my resident hall's intramural flag football team, the Gardner Gnomes.

I wore my team jersey, and took our mascot, Gnorm, over to the intramural fields. Once there I cheered on the team in my typical fashion...while knitting.

We ended up losing, but only by one touchdown. I was very proud of the team, especially since this was the first time they had ever played together. (Our first game was scheduled before we had a chance to practice, and we were pitted against a veteran team of older girls that played together last year.)

We'll win the next one!

(By the way, I am making my version of the Brompton Cardigan out of Knit Picks Shine Worsted in Clementine.)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Garfunkel in Green

I just finished a beta-tested Garfunkel scarf.

This time I used Knit One, Crochet Too's Ty-Dy Socks yarn in Panama, which I purchased while visiting Sister. I lengthened the design significantly, and changed the number and width of the ridges.

Actually, I probably made enough changes to warrant it being a new design.

I really like it. I like how the yarn knitted up. I like the ease/portability/brainlessness of the design. I like the color. I like the way it looks with my new haircut...

With the adjustments I made, Garfunkel Green can be worn like an elongated cowl...

Or it can easily be wrapped around the neck for added warmth...

Now I just need to decide if I want to write it up as a free pattern. It isn't really innovative/difficult enough to justify trying to publish it with anyone...but if I'm going to free pattern it, I really need to write up both versions, and that will take time.

If anyone REALLY wants to know the pattern before I get around to typing or formatting, just let me know. I can abbreviate/off-the-cuff it to you in an email.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Roaming

I am in College Station this weekend visiting my grandparents. (And my aunt, uncle, and cousins who live on the same piece of property...)

I love visiting them.

It is a five hour drive, which sort of stinks. If I am the driver, I can't knit. I can, on the other hand, listen to two audio books I have been wanting to "read".

Being here is GREAT. There are no expectations on me when I am here. I am not responsible for anything or anyone. I can just be. It is a wonderful feeling.

I can sit here and knit without feeling guilty. I am not shirking my duties, because I have none.

Mayhap I will finally finish the second Rivendell sock.

(Also...I heard a fun rumor that there may be a yarn shop in town...)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

C is here!

BFF had her baby! Isn't he adorable?(She did not have him on my birthday like she initially promised...but I suppose that I can forgive her!)

It was an adorable little boy, which they named "C". (If you list all of the family's first initials they are ABCDE. Pretty clever.)

However, since she was so rude as to give birth early, the lovely Baby^3 Blanket that I was making for her wasn't quite finished. I would feel bad, except I feel that it truly wasn't my fault. (Besides, she got it in the mail about a week later.)

I really did love making this blanket. You may remember that it is a very loose interpretation of a Mason-Dixon design. I had a few hiccups...I started one section with the wrong color and didn't realize it till I was halfway through the patch, for example. Luckily it was meant to be freeform, so in the end it all worked out.

I really want to make another one. Maybe a more adult version for me. Or a more planned version. It was great travel knitting. All the yarns fit into one bag, the garter stitch allowed me to look at scenery/chat with people, and it impressed people.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

It Fits!!!!

I finished the German Herringbone skirt from Wendy Bernard's Custom Knits! (I never named this project...strange...it was just the skirt...) The best part is...it fits PERFECTLY!!!!! This is the first full garment (meaning non-accessory item) that actually fits exactly the way I had envisioned in my head! Now I just need to find a cute top to wear with it.

It wasn't a simple project knit, but it wasn't difficult either. The stitch pattern required attention and counting, so I couldn't just brainlessly go at it. But it was very straightforward and well written. I made a few adjustments to the pattern, which just goes to show that I can be taught! Check gauge. Measure often. Try things on. And, despite the fact that I added several repeats of the herringbone to the skirt, I actually ended up with one entire skein of yarn leftover at the end. (Not sure what I'll do with it...I'm sure I'll think of something.)

The only truly disconcerting moment during construction occurred a couple of days ago. I had just finished the reverse stockinette rows, and moved onto the stockinette yoke. I was sitting sideways on my couch. It just so happened that I was wearing shorts, and the skirt was laying over my legs...so I got a pretty good idea of what it was going to look like on. That's when I realized the horrible truth:

The color of the yarn (harbour) was the exact same shade of teal as the veins in my legs! That's right, folks, the skirt brought out the lovely color of my circulatory system running beneath my extremely pale and translucent skin.

Not cool.

Definitely not something I ever thought I would need to worry about when selecting yarn colors though. (I think if I wear stockings though, it won't be at all noticeable...or I could just attempt to actually tan...)

Despite the color foible, it is a GREAT skirt. I am THRILLED with it...and will take more photo-shooty pictures once I find an appropriate top.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Life without a LYS

Abilene, Abilene,prettiest town I've ever seen...

...has NO YARN SHOP!!!!

Now, there are places to buy yarn in town. You can get yarn from Wal-Mart. You can get yarn from one of the two craft stores...Michaels or Hobby Lobby. However selling yarn does not a yarn shop make.

At first this was disconcerting to me. I was going to have to drive at least 2 hours into Dallas to find a "local" yarn shop. (Can one call it local when it is over 100 miles away?)

There were solutions. I adore KnitPicks. Jimmy Beans Wool is also nice. I could order yarn and have it shipped to me. I could make sure and ALWAYS find a local yarn shop to visit when I traveled. But what about when I just wanted to squeeze a skein of cashmere? Yarn shop trips are major stress busters for me!

Then I unpacked.

Hmmm...

I guess I do have a local yarn shop.



My stash!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

SuperKnitter Relocated

I have been on internet silence for about a month now. I do have a good excuse.

I have moved. 2000 some odd miles I've moved!

I was offered my dream job at the university where I earned my undergraduate degree.

So I left California for...TEXAS!!!

I now live in Middle of Nowhere, West Texas...and couldn't be happier!

I should have a lot more time on my hands, since I finally finished graduate school. When I am done with work for the day, I won't have any homework to do...what to do? what to do?

Knit, perchance?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

War Games

Every summer a lot of the kids from church go to the Northern California Florida College Camp for a week.

Every year the camp holds War Games...a version of capture the flag played with flour bombs.

Last year every person on my team, Omega, died...except for Champ. (Champ is Ark, Fish, and Blossom's 14 year old brother.)

Champ lived until the end of every round. It was amazing. He would climb trees, hide behind boulders, and just survive. He also took out more of the opposition than I think the rest of Omega combined. (And that is saying a lot, because we had some extremely athletic senior guy campers on the team.)

A while ago I promised Champ that I would knit him something, since I had knit hats for all the other boys at church. I asked him if he wanted a beanie. After some discussion we settled on something even cooler...

I made him a ski mask to wear to war games.

I think he likes it.

(I did make him promise not to hold up any 7-11's in it though.)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Smart for Once

I am currently working on the German Herringbone Skirt in Custom Knits.

There have been a few sizing issues with the other projects I have made from this book (MGM, Tilney). Please note: these issues have not in anyway diminished my love for the book!

This time I was smart. I measured it to find out what length I was getting from each repeat of the pattern. Then I multiplied that measurement by the total number of repeats the pattern called for, and added the 4.5" of the yoke. It was going to be SHORTER than I wanted...so I fixed it AHEAD OF TIME!

I know. How unusual for me.

I ended up adding an additional pattern repeat between each of the decreases. This means I SHOULD get an appropriately modest length. I will even try it on before I start the yoke.

Now my only concern is running out of yarn!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Epic Fail

ARGH!!!!

I have been knitting happily along on the Tilney Sweater...in fact, I am this close to finishing. Or, at least, I was this close to finishing.

I knew going in that I needed to lengthen the sweater(I like my sweaters a little longer than normal), so I bought an extra skein of yarn. Then, just to doubly ensure that I had enough yarn for the length, I went ahead and finished the sleeves and neck ruffle before I did the body's lower hem ribbing. I figured I would try it on before I moved the body back over from the waste yarn, and see how much longer exactly I needed to make it.

I tried it on at Blondie's house the other night. Epic Fail.

The sweater is INCHES bigger around than I need it to be.

I have no idea why this is.

I actually did a gauge swatch this time...and I got gauge.

I even made it a smaller size so that it would have negative ease...just like Wendy Bernard said to do in the lovely, well-written text.

(I have a 39" actual bust measurement...she recommended having 2-3" negative ease...so I made the size for 37"...)

I am flummoxed.

I will clearly need to unravel the majority of the work. I think I will just unravel the WHOLE THING, and reuse the yarn for a sweater vest. The yarn, while the right gauge, is...sturdier?...than I would like. Wendy's version in the book is made from an alpaca/silk blend, and mine was 100% merino. I still really want to make Tilney. I love it. I adore it. It is the reason I bought the book. I just need to find a drapier yarn to make it from.

And clearly, I need to make a MUCH smaller size, and try it on FREQUENTLY.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Twilight Knitting

I love the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyers. They have even inspired me to knit!

My parents live but a few hours from Forks, the town in which the books are set...so as part of my grad school graduation frivolity...on Monday we made a pilgrimage.

I, of course, wore the Twilight/Blood and Shadows scarf that I made.



It was a big hit. Edward liked it.



Alice liked it, too.



I am big nerd.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Beware the Blogging Knitter

While pursuing yet more fun on my graduation vacation with my parents, I found myself in the small town of La Connor, WA. It is one of those adorable towns that is full of antique shops, bakeries, and artisan galleries.

It also had a yarn shop. The yarn shop was called Jennings Yarn & Needlecraft.

It was, without a doubt, the worst yarn shop experience of my life. (And that includes the shop where staff followed me around because they thought I was going to shop lift.)

Mom, Dad, and I went in there. I was actually initially impressed. It had quite a nice selection of Noro Kureyon (although it was priced quite a bit higher than the going market rate)...not to mention quite a few inspiring luxury fibers. (Angora. I love angora.)

However...the service was abysmal. The owner/employee was standing right there at the counter when we came in. Yet, we spent a good 5-10 minutes in the shop before we were even acknowledged. (The person cannot claim that she didn't see us...I mean, Dad is 6'5"...) Once we were acknowledged, it was with a curt hello. And that only came after Mom POINTEDLY stared at the woman as we walked by the register. Another 5-10 minutes passed, and the lady finally finally left the counter and came back to the back part of the shop.

She asked: "Did you want something?"
I answered: "Nothing specific."

Rather than saying she was available to help if I had any questions, or muttering any other number of polite stock sales phrases, she wheeled on her heel and went back to the register. I was baffled. I even had to stand at the counter a moment or two before she bothered to ask if I was ready to check out.

As we walked out of the shop, Mom marveled at the utter horror that seemed to pass for customer service. I told Mom that we could take comfort in the fact that they didn't know who they were ignoring. I am a blogger. I am a knitting blogger. One should not raise the ire of a literate and proliferate knitting blogger. I would eviscerate them in online literature.

Jennings Yarn & Needlecraft is in a delightful setting, but the staff is definitely below par. The fine fibers can not begin to make up for the shabby treatment. I can find better yarn elsewhere, the same yarn at a better price elsewhere, and anything I want online. I do not have to put up with your snottiness. And no one else should either!

AVOID THIS SHOP!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Non-Post

Dear Internet,

I will be away from you today. No real blogging will get done.

Sorry,

Me

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Technology Failure

I didn't want to lug Custom Knits up here to WA with me...but I didn't have a chance to photocopy the pages I needed for the skirt I am working on.

That's fine. I have an iPhone. It has a handy dandy notepad feature. As you may recall from an earlier post, I had previously typed the pertinent parts of the pattern into my phone. And by previously, I mean over a week ago.

Epic fail.

By the time I got past the first notation for decreases, I couldn't remember whether or not the number of completed pattern repeats I had listed were cumulative. The first decrease came after seven repeats. Then I had written 10 repeats, second decrease. Did this mean that I needed to knit 10 more repeats before the decrease, or that I needed to decrease after the 10th from the cast on?

ARGH!!!

Luckily I have a tendency to overpack knitting-wise, and have other projects to work on.

Maybe I will get a chance to glance at a copy of the book at a store today or tomorrow.

If not, I just hauled 7 skeins of yarn across 2 state lines for nothing!

Friday, June 11, 2010

iGraduated

I graduated from the UW iSchool's Master of Library and Information Science Program!

To celebrate I went to my instructor, Teen Queen's, home today for an afternoon barbecue.

Several of my fellow graduates were also there.



We discussed which lectures we actually listened to, and which ones we...well...skipped, etc.

Song brought up the fact that I used to knit during all of our residencies. I replied that I knit while I was listening to lectures at home as well.

Teen Queen looked shocked!

"Did you knit during my lectures?" she asked.

"Well...yes...but only when you were talking!"

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Flight Delays

I went out of town Sunday-Tuesday. Specifically, I went to Texas. More specifically, I went to Abilene. On my way, due to late arriving planes and subsequent maintenance issues, I got stuck at DFW airport. My total layover was originally scheduled for an hour...this quickly, or actually gradually, extended to over 3 hours.

I was fine. I had knitting.

I am working on the skirt from Custom Knits. It is an easily memorizable stitch pattern, only 13 stitches and 6 rows to keep track of. Rather than take the book in my carry on, I significantly abbreviated the pattern in the notepad function on my iPhone.

As I knit away, around and around, a twenty-something guy across the row from me kept staring. I politely ignored him, and continued people watching. Eventually he caught my eye. I paused my audio book, and pulled out one of my ear buds.

"Sorry to keep staring, but what are you doing?"
"I'm knitting."
"But you aren't looking."
"It is an easy stitch pattern."
"Wow. That's cool, cause it doesn't look easy."

I smiled, and returned to my knitting and watching. A few minutes went by, and he caught my eye again. I again paused my audio book.

"So...is that going to be a sweater or something?"
"No, its a skirt." I held it up.
"I didn't know you could knit skirts."
"You can knit pretty much anything."
"But, what are those hoop things."
"They are stitch markers. They tell me where I am in the pattern. This way I don't have to count higher than 18. And the purple one tells me I am at the beginning of a new row."
"Cool. You don't mind if I keep watching you, do you?"
"Nope, I am pretty much immune to staring."

I went back to my audio book.

As time dragged on, and the delays piled up, I heard another passenger mutter to her husband: "At this rate that girl is going to be able to finish that skirt and wear it to Abilene!"

I didn't quite get it done. But I did do a LOT more than I should have been able to!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sometimes Life Gets in the Way

I didn't post on the 5th.

I know. That is HORRIBLE.

But sometimes life happens.

I am graduating on the 12th from my Masters of Library and Information Science program. I had final projects due.

I have had other life things arise suddenly that require time/energy/travel.

I can knit through it all.

I just can't always blog.

Sorry.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

FYI


It takes me approximately 1.5 episodes of NCIS (on DVD/commercial free) to knit a coffee cup cozy.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Expanding Clientele

Miss-A and I went to Starbucks this afternoon. (I know. What a shocker!)

While we were waiting for our drinks Red, the barista working the beverage line, asked Miss-A if she had made Bubbly's coffee cup cozy. Miss-A, being an honest soul, said it had been me.

Red turned to me, squealed, and started raving about how adorable it was. She said that Bubbly told her I made them for people.

I said I did, but quoted her my price. I was hesitant. It isn't a lot of money, but it isn't exactly cheap either. Would the fact that I charge be a deterrent?

Red said that the cost was not a problem. The cozy was reusable, and totally worth it. Besides, it would inspire jealousy in all who saw it.

I asked her what color she wanted. She thought for a minute, and requested oranges or rusts. She said she didn't mind a variegated cozy, but she really liked orange.

Wow. Orange. THAT is going to be SOOOO hard to find in my stash!

I found out her work schedule, and we arranged a delivery date. She offered to pay in advance, but I said she could pay when I brought it in, just in case she didn't like the color.

See! I knew this would happen! By making Bubbly a cozy, and comping it for her, I received free advertising and a whole new venue/clientele. First the baristas will buy, then maybe eventually the customers! Woo-hoo!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Few Needles Short of a Commission

On Wednesday night, Perky asked me if I could make her another (Fort) Knox beanie. This time she wanted it in black.

I thought about it, for maybe a millisecond, and agreed. They are fairly quick knits, they make for good movie/social knitting, and I had plenty of good black wool in the stash. In an impetuous moment (so out of character for me...), I told her I would have it Sunday morning.

Then I got home.

I found the yarn.

I could not find the needles.

I went through my entire bag of needles.

Then I saw them. My 16" US size 6 circular needles.

They were attached to half of a rust (Fort) Knox beanie that I had cast on a couple of weeks ago.

I had two options:

1. I could move the rust beanie over to waste yarn and recover the needles.
2. I could finish the rust beanie, and then cast on the black one.

Option 1 was probably the smarter and more practical choice.

So of course I chose option 2! (I knew in my heart of hearts that once that rust beanie was on waste yarn, it would languish in the stash...never to be heard from again.)

Luckily I knit FAST!

I finished the rust beanie Thursday night at Preach and Psych's house.

I cast on the black one Friday night.

I finished the black one Saturday night.

I even wove in the ends!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Be Kind To Your Barista Day

...actually, I have no idea if there already is such a holiday...but I am proclaiming that yesterday was "International Treat Your Starbucks Barista To A Really Nice Gift Day"!

Every time Miss-A and I walk over to the Starbucks near the library (which would be daily), the baristas comment on our lovely hand knit and felted coffee cup cozies. (You may recall the insane knit-one-for-every-coworker jag I went on last Christmas...that lasted till MLK Jr. Day?)

One barista in particular, Bubbly, has gone beyond commenting to coveting.

So, I asked her what her favorite color was.

She didn't have one, she apparently loves ALL colors.

I asked what type of colors she preferred...jewel tones, brights, rainbows, autumn.

She answered yes.

So, I just found some colorful Noro that was sitting in my coffee cup cozy scrap wool bag and knit her up a cozy.

...she offered to pay for it...but I said this first one was on me...

...she said I made her day.

In the end, isn't that what knitting is all about? Spreading warmth and joy to the masses?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Proud Moment

One of the retirees from the library branch took my Get Knittin'@ The Library: Felted Purse Edition class. Well, she finished her felted purse, and brought it by the library so that I could see it.

I am so proud. It is beautiful.

Now, in all honesty and fairness, she already knew how to knit...so I can't take a lot of credit for her creation.

However, I do like to think that I inspired and encouraged her to try something new!

I love it when students/class attendees show me what they have made!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Shop by Text

I had the following text message conversation with Miss-A on Friday:

A:Do u have any wrist or leg warmers made and ready to buy?

M: Teal legwarmers. But I can get either done in a couple days if there is a color you want.

A: How much? We need tomorrow. Just thought of it.

M: [Price]. I'll bring them to work so you can check them out.

A: Perfect. This is easier than internet shopping. Shop by text.

M: :-)

A: :)

(I took them to work. She bought them. Everybody is happy. It was all very convenient!)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Chaperon Knitting

I host the teen book and movie club at the library. The teens read the monthly scheduled book, then meet at one of the libraries to watch the film version. This provides me with a lot of time to knit "on-the-clock".

The knitting I do during the teen movies has to be even more brainless than what I typically take to the theaters. During the movie my attention is divided between the film and the behavior of dozens of teenagers.

I am shushing.

I am glaring.

I am evicting.

I am shaking my knitting needles threateningly in their general direction. (Which is usually greeted with gales of laughter, thereby defeating the purpose of my waving them in the first place!)

Well, I have finally discovered the best possible project for chaperon knitting: a patchwork baby blanket. It is all garter. All the time. And each section of the blanket is large enough that I can work on a single section for a whole film without having to change colors/pick up stitches.

It is also helping me meet a looming deadline (or birthline, as it were...) BFF is having baby number three, so I am making her/him the "Baby^3". (Get it? The blanket is cubed because it is the third baby, and it is made up of boxes! Oh, the cleverness of me!)

My design is loosely based on the "Moderne Baby Blanket" from Mason Dixon. Only loosely based, since I have changed the number of colors, the yarn gauge/needle size, and the shape/size/direction of every patch. No plan. I'm just winging it

I would show what it looks like, but that would ruin the surprise for BFF...so instead...here is a look at the yummy yarn!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Another Episode of Cuteness!

I went to Preach and Psych's house for a bible study last Monday.

Before class started, I was sitting on the floor knitting a coffee cup cozy.

Angel walked in, and asked if she could help. She wanted to knit, too.

Angel is only three years old. Barely three, in fact. Three years and 17 days.

Even I think that is a wee bit young to be entrusted with sharp pointy objects.

Still, who was I to crush her little creative instincts?

I invited her to sit in my lap and "help" me.

JoNo was there, and took this video for me, and texted it to my iPhone. I would have posted it sooner, but it took me this long to figure out how to get it off the phone and onto the computer...

video

The cutest 14 seconds ever! (She actually "helped" for quite a while.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Scissors of Doom

This weekend I took a road trip down to SoCal to spend time with some of my old friends.

I did NO knitting. (Knitting while driving is not recommended...)

On Saturday, two guys I went to high school with took me out to a Renaissance Fair in Corona. I had, shockingly, never been to one before!

One of my favorite places was the shop that sold swords. I seriously considered purchasing the hardwood broad sword. It would be so much cooler to attack intruders with a sword than the baseball bat currently residing under my bed. (It would be ideal to never have an intruder to attack in the first place, but it is generally wise to be prepared.)

There also appeared, at first glance, to be a very pretty sheathed dagger lying on the display table next to the swords. It was silver, with red "rubies" on the hilt.

But it wasn't a dagger.

Or, it wasn't only a dagger.

It was, in actuality, a pair of scissors! It has four cutting edges, all of which were very sharp!

I looked at the scissors of doom. I looked at the wooden sword. All of a sudden my baseball bat seemed like sufficient intruder protection.

I bought the scissors. They are now in my knitting bag.

Cutting yarn has never been this cool...or dangerous!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

D(one). C(omplete). Socks

I finished the Gotham socks while I was stuck at home sick on Wednesday...seeing as how I didn't have the right size needle to finish the Tilney sweater.

I think they are great!

I had never used this yarn before (Crystal Palace's Panda Superwash), and it is very cushy. I also used my new knitpicks sock needles, which were a delight as well.

The only slight issue was that the needles are very slick, and the yarn was a bit slippery. If I knit with this yarn again, I will most likely use my Susan Boyle needles which are coated with something. But, the new needles will be amazing with some of my wool sock yarns that tended to stick to the old needles.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sick Day

I called in sick to work yesterday. (We are tentatively assigning blame to either the hard boiled egg or the fresh spinach I ate the night before.)

Vodka called to see how I was doing, and asked if she could pick anything up for me.

I thought about it for a minute, but could only think of one thing...

...and somehow I figured that a 16" US size 3 circular needle was NOT what she had in mind...

...so I thanked her for the offer, but said I was ok.

Tilney's neckline and sleeves just had to wait.

Bummer.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Magazine Review: Knit 'N Style

I looked in my library's catalog to see if any of the branches subscribed to knitting magazines since my branch does not. One branch gets Interweave (yay!), and another gets a title I hadn't heard of, Knit 'N Style.

I placed holds on the two most recent issues that were available for check out. They came yesterday in the shipment.

I quickly realized WHY I hadn't heard of this magazine.No one has informed the editor or the art department that the year is 2010, not 1989.

The layout is sloppy and hard to read. Articles and features are virtually indistinguishable from the advertisements. The photos of yarns being reviewed are muddy and unappealing. Worst of all...the projects are...well...ugly. Most of the looks are dated, and the ones that even flirt with currency are made out of the least attractive yarns possible.

Quotes from myself and others who also looked at the magazine in the break room:

"Well, that is unfortunate."

"It looks like someone vomited yarn on that woman. And ugly yarn at that."

"That poor girl. She is actually a very pretty model."

"No way would a MAN ever in a million years wear that sweater. Seriously? A turtleneck with giant buttons on the side? On a guy? I think not!"

In short: I do not like this magazine. I do not recommend subscribing to it. Not only does it not meet my required 3 patterns to purchase policy*, it doesn't meet a minimal standard of graphic design aesthetics.

As my dear friend would say...it is less than ideal.

*I won't buy a book or magazine unless I can honestly say I'll make at least 3 of the patterns in it.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Innovation on the Fly

I had some yarn left over from Jester's latest beret. Since it was Cascade 220, and therefore feltable, I thought about using it to crank out a couple of coffee cup cozies.

It was very pretty yarn, with various colored plies twisted together.

I got ready to cast on my coffee cup cozy, and then my mind wandered...

...what would happen if I cast on an oversized coffee cup cozy and made it into a hat?

And thus the Java Beanie was born.

Because the stitch pattern I use on the coffee cup cozies is an offset rib, it made the decreases on this hat, well, a wee bit interesting. I actually did quite a bit of tinking and frogging as I worked on it.

Also, that very pretty yarn didn't exactly show up the actual pattern at all.

Still, it is a nice hat. And it fits well. I may try again with a solid yarn and see if I can refine the decrease process a bit. The other option would be to *gasp* try a top down hat.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sameness

I am fairly predictable when it comes to color.

My favorite color is orange.

I knit a lot of oranges/rusts/reds/browns.

When people give me yarn they tend to give me a lot of oranges/rusts/reds/browns.

The other color I knit a lot of is grey. I love grey. It doesn't show dirt like white, and it highlights stitch patterns better than black. It is elegant. It is neutral. It is classy.

I decided a few months ago that I needed to break out of my mold.

I needed to try knitting things not in oranges/rusts/reds/browns and not in grey.

So I ordered a bunch of yarn from KnitPicks. I bought yarn at my yarn shop.

...and everything I bought color coordinates.

It is all turquoise/blue/green/purple.

All of it.

(Proof of this is visible in the picture on my knitpicks package post.)

I guess if I really want to experience knitting hue variety I need to print off a picture of the color wheel and work my way around clockwise from project to project or something...

Predictability. It is a curse.