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 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 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. 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 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


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 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.

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 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 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.


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!


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...)