Saturday, December 29, 2007
Well, it means a few things, actually. First of all, it means I spent a week with family. We keep things very simple (I've had it insinuated that our version of simple is "cheap"), and this year I either made things myself or bought handmade. More the latter, actually: I find more and more that I'm particular about who I knit for, since I've made a share of things I feel are unappreciated, even if they were specifically asked for. I know that's a popular sentiment right now, and I have to hold to it: knits are not for everyone.
Please ignore that I spent a day crocheting an enormous piece of bacon for a friend who may very well never wear it. That was different. I'll get pictures eventually.
This is about Portland, and yarn. The last of which, I didn't buy any of... well, okay. One skein whose originator I'd never heard of before. It will make beautiful socks. But I did go to two stores, and spent a great deal of time contemplating shelves of fibers with a sober face.
My first stop was at Close Knit. Close Knit is by far and way my favorite yarn store*-- friendly, helpful staff (who flattered my cowl, and I'm a sucker for flattery); cozy, crowded but not impossible to maneuver; great diversity of books; the gamut of yarn.
That's where I bought the sock yarn. I can't really go into that store without buying something. Guilt factor, mostly, after taking up an hour browsing and chatting (I'm also very goal-oriented when I shop. I don't browse well. Window-shop? Hahahaha). The diversity of yarns is exciting... they carry a number of brands I don't usually see in Seattle, and range the gamut from fairly cheap to qiviut.
The other store was Knit/Purl, closer to downtown. The staff offered the usual faintly indifferent front to a young knitter; I don't find that unexpected and wouldn't have noticed except that they (gender-neutral singular) greeted my non-knitter mother who came in a bit after me. Don't get me wrong, there was no rudeness-- I'm simply not someone they expected to drop money.
Which is what the store is going for. Money, that is. By which I mean they're trying for an upscale front. I could feel it from the layout-- so spread out that the square footage felt decadent. Not many places to sit. A mechanized swift (is this a mark for or against?). Generally "upscale" yarns (Tilli Thomas, Blue Heron, some interesting Schaeffer hand-dyed, lots of cashmere, etc). Very few general standbys, and nowhere near the diversity of Close Knit.
However, when they carry a brand, they carry it very, very thoroughly. I've never seen that much Tilli Thomas, Shi Bui, or Habu Textiles in one place. That was truly impressive. I've never seen Habu steel in the flesh -err, cone- before. There were Noro colorways I hadn't known existed. They also have a nice kit collection. It's not a place that will make my regular stomping grounds, although it and I will likely cross paths again, but it was well worth the look and a good place for someone who likes diversity of colorway and doesn't mind paying for it.
Now, I actually don't have a knitting book collection. I mean, I own a book on calculating my own socks (the esteemable Cat Bordhi, of course) and the Stitch and Bitch I bought when I was a knitter in Lion Brand swaddling. There's about six magazines on top of that, and a staple-bound Norah Gaughan collection. I generally don't buy patterns unless I adore them in a way that's a little unseemly.
However. I've had a fixation with the Japanese standard of craft patterns. I've never knit off one before, but I've read through enough to find that they appeal to my mechanical aesthetics: diagrams! step by step visual tutorials! Pictures of the very skeins the pattern calls for. And did I mention diagrams?
Yeah. That's why I bought these. Now, I like the patterns as well, mind, and have a few of them slated toward people I know, but the deciding factor here was a crochet diagram that I randomly flipped to and don't actually really want to work on.
*I don't count the one I work at in this equation, as that tips scales unfairly.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Now, mind, this is one of my favorite times of year. It's just not cheap camera photography season.
So, only one picture exceptionally unpretty picture of a very lovely sock. It's one foot of Cookie A's Hedera pattern, knit in Maizy "deep rose."
I can't recommend Maizy enough. It's my favorite sock yarn to date-- a corn and nylon blend, springy and not scratchy in the slightest. That's relevant if you have picky feet like I do. I have the solitary sock on my foot as I write, because it's like warm and comfy and the slip-stitch heel I worked feels comfortably like a pillow. I won't be wearing that through soon.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
The winter edition of Knit on the Net went live today. And guess what's on the front page?
My "Limulidae" cowl and hat, as you can see.
The issue has some great patterns. I can't encourage you enough to look through it!
Also, I'd like to point out the advertisement card that Brenna kindly made for me. It has gears on it!
Ahem. I'm a little giddy today, but I'm blaming it on lunch (peppermint bark). A word about the name; I didn't choose Limulidae just to make the cowl and hat unpronounceable. That was the side-effect of the stitch pattern I modified. It's horseshoe lace, and when I think horseshoe, my mind turns to horseshoe crabs... from the family Limulidae.
Yes. I knit soft, warm, fuzzy things and name them after crustaceans. It's a little counter-intuitive.
Friday, November 30, 2007
And I would have been dead serious. I cannot be trusted around pillow mints. I don't keep them in my house because I will eat them all in a single sitting. I can't be left sitting next to a bowl full of them. If there is a bowl of them across the room from me, I will eye them like a lost puppy. If it's a bowl of peppermints, or yogurt-covered pretzels, or brightly foil-wrapped mix chocolates... eh, who cares? But pillow mints. My god.
But no, that's nothing. This, now, this is irrational coveting:
(Blue Heron Cotton Rayon Seed, left, and Mercerized Cotton, right)
I walk into these every day I'm at the store. We received more today, and I got to pet each skein as I squeezed it onto the shelf.
It's a bargain, for what it is-- the mercerized cotton, especially. But suffice to say that it is expensive, the colorways aren't often ones I'd wear on my skin, and I am not a shawl person (which is the first thing that pops into mind for the mercerized cotton, which comes in 1,000 yard skeins).
Still, I want this yarn. It is something that will sit publicly displayed on the top of my stash for years, and I still want it. More than that, I want more than just one. I want them all, even that nearly florescent lime green (it doesn't show to its full potential here) that will make me look red and sweaty even when I'm not red and sweaty.
That's all-- I just had to share.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
So, there are times when there are people in the store. This is most of the time. But this isn't about that time: this is about when there isn't.
The time when I've stocked everything that's come in. The time when I've combed out and re-wound every messy hank, chased down all the stray skeins and returned them to their cubby holes, straightened all the needle racks, moved everything we want to move, checked to see if we're low on anything and when we can get it in. The time where I sit there, with whatever store sample I'm busy working through (hint: current WIP involves one skein Keltic. Last WIP: mini-sock for the tree that's part of the holiday decor), and knit uninterrupted.
Today in particular, I was flipping through the lace volume of the reissued Harmony Guide. It's a good reference; I'm probably going to buy one of these days. But that's not what got my attention today, really.
Catherine Wheel is what got my attention.
Catherine Wheel, for the uninitiated, is a lace pattern. Basically an organic circle. Like a one-dimensional knit tumbleweed. A little bit different.
It is also -this is what made me drop my dpns- a torture device. Used in medieval Europe and Russia. The executioner would tie a person to the spokes, break their limbs with a blunt object, and then either a)leave them to die slowly of dehydration, etc, or b)kill them quickly. It's called a Catherine wheel because a Christian saint (not clear on details, just iconography from an art history class) named Catherine was, well, predictably martyred on one. My response:
b) a knitter from a bygone era just reached through time and smacked me with a stitch pattern from an era when it was acceptable to name day-to-day motifs after torture devices (admittedly, probably with religious and not macabre intentions in mind).
Still grotesque, but much more historically interesting.
But now I'm curious about how many other knitters have picked up on that. I mean, not everyone has read Geoffrey Abbott's "Execution." And not everyone should, either, especially if they're squeamish.
Monday, November 19, 2007
I'm not much for holidays these days, and less for commercialism (what's with the trees and snow and shiny lights after Halloween, shopping centers of America?), but my family still has the gift-giving tendency to an extent, and I've disgusted everyone I know by finishing my shopping early. One reason behind it: I'm avoiding all stores after Thanksgiving. Except, you know, grocery stores. And a watch store so I can finally get new watch batteries. And the one I work in, of course. But beyond that... no, not so much for shopping during the holiday season.
I'm pleased with the gifts I've arranged for the few I'm giving them to, however. Small, simple, and what I consider sustainable (for my sister-- handmade by me. For my dad-- handmade at a co-op in Zimbabwe. For my mom-- handmade from an Etsy shop). And that's it for the gifts. A few people will get cards. I'll feel guilty when people gift me. Fin. Now it's time to do some major stash-busting and finish a few sweaters. With the air so frosty today, I was desperately remembering how much I need something under my coat.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Gypsy Scarf (made from 3 skeins of N.Y. Yarns Gypsy)
Just the result of me playing with picked-up stitches; I rather like the effect. Finished it some time in October, but dallied in finding a spot to photograph it.
I spent a few minutes today mending a small tear in the pair of fingerless gloves I knit for a dear friend... going on four years ago, now, I think.
This is noteworthy to me just because they've lasted four years... the average longevity of his fingerless gloves, be they machine-knit or leather, is about 3 months. This says something about the survival threshold of handknits.
Here's to another four years.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
This is a pity, because I did have plans to show off the extremely (accidentally) slubby results of my first attempt at spinning bats I've actually carded myself. I did not do a terribly efficient job on this set-- or rather, I don't know enough about blending artificial and natural fibers in the raw to know how they react together.
And I'm also just not terribly good at spinning, partly because I've never really bothered to pick up an official book on the subject.
But that ignores that the yarn is still rather lovely (several shades of pink and lavender, with a few darker streaks and some funny white rayon bits. And glitter), and enough for a modestly sized project. I probably won't ply it-- just too bulky and irregular, except for the lengths which are the weight I was trying for (light DK).
Ah, hell. Fine. I'll go get batteries this weekend.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Hi ho, hi ho...
I probably won't make a habit of posting LYS samples here, unless they please me exceptionally. I have to say, my rendition of the Formal Boot Bag from BagSTYLE does come close-- I'm excessively proud of myself for sewing things on flat. My hand-sewing skills are not what one would consider impressive. Sure, I have my buttons down, I can yarn together a seam... and that's where I like to leave it.
So, I'm proud of myself here. It took quite a bit of time to sew that knit segment around the felted bag without making it pucker. Not only will it stay in place, but it looks passable, and the store's received several compliments on the bag. It bloats my ego every time.
Which leads to my other ego-bloating point: pattern vindication! I posted about a pair of convertible fingerless gloves awhile ago; they've been getting attention. A woman bought the pattern today, and two others signed up to take a workshop on them. My ego is now approximately double the size of my stash (fortunately ego is solider matter, or I don't know where I'd put it).
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Look at this and say it doesn't make your palms sweat. All that dirty nasty yarn naughtiness.
Counter-clockwise from the top: one Knitscene (snagged the last copy, largely from curiosity), 1,330 yds super fine alpaca, dark grey; 1 skein Nashua for swatching; a(nother) skein malabrigo lace weight in pearl. Because, well, two skeins are a project and a half. Three skeins... two projects.
Alright, I confess: all of them have purposes. And they were a bargain. So it's not all that decadent or senseless. But I felt like a march hare making off with enough yarn for a wrap and then some.
FOs sooner rather than later. I'm re-purposing my blog somewhat. I have a surprise in store, too.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Cheating, slightly: about half the bag was taken up by the mondo-skeins of Jo-Ann Sensations. I tell you, that yarn is immense like it has something to prove. There were about a dozen other skeins of various providences, re-purposed or unused or little bits of both.
So, I did a good thing; I gave to a friend and made it possible to walk to my closet.
But it had a downside: This has made it very hard to justify not buying new yarn.
Behold my latest purchase; two skeins Malabrigo lace weight, color "pearl." I've never encountered lace-weight malabrigo before, and I must say that this is very fine stuff. Soft and smooth and with lovely hints at darkness despite being such a pale colorway. I have utterly no idea what I'm doing with it yet; but more to the point, I don't care. Its loveliness defies purpose. It's like... well... a clock that's all jammed up but someone took off the cover and hung it up on the wall just to see the gears. Arrested in a stage of splendid uselessness that may some day obtain purpose.
To think that this malabrigo came about because I wanted to pick up some Noro, either for Klaralund (if I could find the pattern book as well), or for an adaptation of the obi from the Norah Gaughan collection. I went to the Weaving Works, and had the best experience there that I've had since... well... a few years, at least. They've hired a young woman about my age, and we chatted shop and our love of the above-mentioned collection. It was entirely pleasant.
In more utilitarian dimensions, I also have enough Cascade Fixation to make a nice stretchy shell/tank. I need to get to sketching that out.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Disregard the image to the left (to some extent); Anais is in fact finished, and quite lovely. I just can't get a good shot of it lying flat, so anyone interested will have to wait to see the final thing once I can pin someone down to take shots of me in it. Another post.
As you may have observed reading my previous post, I made a pair of gloves for a certain Brenna, who got the gloves by virtue of being awesome. They're based off my Trilobite gloves, but I tried a few different things-- mostly, the short row thumb gusset, of which I am absurdly proud.
This has, overall, been the cap of an absurdly crafty weekend for me-- not only did I finish Anais and seam it together, but I started two other, new projects (a gift for my sister and a skirt for myself, because I am first and foremost a selfish knitter) and banged together a earring/necklace holder from a cheap picture frame, some wire mesh, tacks and some s-hooks. It is serviceable, but I want something better to string necklaces and watches from. Ideally something I can put in plain sight, because otherwise my jewelry (actually, most of my wardrobe) disappears into a black hole of sorts. Out of sight, out of mind, truly.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
1 skein New Tweed ( 034)
Set of 5 #8/5mm dpns
1 cable needle.
Comments on re-sizing: as worked, pattern should fit average-to-large hands comfortably; the yarn stretches well width-wise. Naturally, add extra repeats of pattern in lower/upper hand as needed to gain preferred length. New Tweed has enough yardage for about 1.5" increased length per glove (I'm eyeballing this-- let me know if I'm off). Knitters with hands significantly smaller than approximately 8" around lower palm (below thumb) will want to decrease in increments of 2 sts, taken from the circumference as evenly as possible-- 4sts for 7" inches around, etc. BO 2 fewer stitches for thumb. I'll write this into the pattern eventually.
Gauge: 4.5 stitches/6 rows=1"/2.6cm
Rows 1-3: p1, k10, p1
Row 4: p1, 5LC (two stitches held in front), 5RC (two stitches held in front), p1
These four rows and 12 stitches will be repeated throughout the pattern.
The Right Glove (for all you non-mirror knitters)
CO 30 sts and divide evenly between 2 dpns. Join and purl in round for two rows.
Choose one needle to be the top of the glove, where the cable will be worked (needle a).
Set-up row for cable pattern: k1, first row of stitch pattern
Set-up row for cable pattern: *k1, p1, k10, p1, k2. Knit across remaining stitches, and continue working the stitch pattern with the k1… k2 stitches framing it on needle a.
When glove measures 1 ¾ inches/44mm long (longer for a longer cuff), work first increase row on the bottom needle, needle b:
K1, kfb, knit across to second to last st, kfb again, k1.
Work one full round in pattern, then repeat the above increase.
When glove is 3”/76mm long, work across 9 stitches on needle b, then pick up another dpn and, with it, work the last 10 stitches. This new needle will be needle c; needle b will be the thumb gusset.
Work until you reach needle b again. K7, kfb, k1. Continue in pattern as normal to the end of this round and through the next; k7, kfb, k1.
Work two more rounds in pattern as set, then (if not already done) work across needle a.
Row: K1, sl1 st knitwise. *P 9; p2 sts on needle c. Sl1 stitch knitwise, wrap st, slip back onto needle c. Turn work and knit back across all non-slipped stitches (11 total). Wrap slipped st, turn, repeat from * Next short row: BO 11 sts. Slip wrap onto needle and knit; work in pattern as set until you reach next wrapped stitch. Slip this one back onto needle b and knit, then, as if there weren’t any bound off stitches there, knit stitches from needle c onto needle b. You are now back to two needles with a nice, minimally-shaped thumb.
Continue working in pattern as set: you will have 29 stitches on your two needles now, 15 on needle a (the stitch count here never changes) and 14 on needle b. Work until glove is approximately half an inch/13 mm short of desired length, preferably ending with row 3 of cable pattern. Work two full rounds of purl. BO all stitches. Weave in ends.
CO as for right glove. When working set-up row for cable, reverse numbers of knit stitches: k2, p1, k10, p1, k1. Otherwise, work in pattern as set until:
When glove is 3”/76mm long, work across 10 stitches on needle b, then pick up another dpn and, with it, work the last 9 stitches. This new needle will be needle c; needle c will be the thumb gusset.
Work two more rounds in pattern as set, then (if not already done) work across needle a.
Row, starting on needle b: k7, sl1 st knitwise, *p2 on needle b, p9 on needle c. Sl1 st knitwise, wrap st, slip back onto needle c. Turn and work back across all non-slipped stitches (11 total). Wrap slipped st on needle b, turn, repeat from * Next short row: BO 11 stitches. Continue in pattern as written for right glove.
Monday, October 8, 2007
I'll excoriate myself anyway, with a picture of Anais stretched out on the rack so you can see every lump where the ends aren't yet woven in:
Saturday, September 29, 2007
The whole series is delightful. I'm something of a fan when it comes to the kind of knit art that gets gallery exhibits; I like peculiar shapes and strange materials and social commentary. So humor me and check out Hassan's blog and etsy.
Now then. About those projects.
To some chagrin, I've decided to quit the dreaded Vogue capecho. No matter how I play with the pentagons, it's going to be ungainly blocky in the bust, and I can't get away with wearing it. Yes, I knitted 9 of those before I figured that out... and oh, those pentagons were fun to knit. My desire to knit exciting things and my desire to wear slightly edgy, possibly even sexy things don't always mesh as well as I like to think, though. That much is clear.
I have a pair of socks on the needles. A sweater for my sister, my design. A crochet afghan. Also, today I cast on for Norah Gaughan's "Anais," in black. I like in progress photos (within reason), so you're likely to see a few if the weather humors my camera.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
In case the sizing has been distorted by how heavily I cropped down the image (wouldn't want you seeing my stash mess, would I?), that bag is about 18 inches by 24, and every bit of it is bulging with fibers. What you can't see are the hand carders I've been loaned by same said friend.*
Said friend runs a side-business of environmentally dyed yarns and roving. I stopped by her place to meet her cat and socialize when she happened to be cleaning up her apartment, and also poke through some of her store goods (I had my eye on the geoduck roving). Next thing I know, she's thrust a bag full of fiber at me and is saying, "You know, I'm just not going to use these. You comfortable with hand carders?"
Me, I respond with something like "Fiber pretty." And next thing I know, I'm packing into her mom's car with a bag almost too big around for me to carry.
There just went the last gasp of my plan to eat through my stash this year.
*Said friend's website is: http://midnightskyfibers.com/, and she has an etsy with the same name.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
I scrapped the entrelac blanket today after proving that the color combination (blue+powder blue/charcoal+tannish grey) was awful. I have faint plans for enormous scarves on the haut couture scale of uselessness.
I also taught my first formal class today, and I have to say that not only did I survive, I'm in the process of teaching two new-ish knitters how to knit gloves on two circular needles in the style of Cat Bordhi. They seem to like me! Possibly they're lying to my face, but they repeatedly mentioned that I was funny and a good teacher.
And I'm alive, did I mention that? Totally alive, even though I was so tense that the stitches on my own needles would barely lever over each other. I've never knit a fabric so tight in my life. I could sell it as body armor.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
I'm not going to tag anyone, so you're all safe, and any and all complaints can be directed to... well, me.
1) designers who dare.
2) the store I work at: http://badwomanyarn.com/
3) the fact that people there want to take my classes.
And the rest are pictorial, because I'm short of words today:
4) The complexity of lace
5) basement bargain arty (artful!) yarn
6)lace needle-tipped addi turbos:
7) .... and the versatility of string. This is hanging from my wall.
I have no idea what's going to come of it-- but I'm not good at resisting this kind of temptation, so I decided I absolutely must (this is as crucial to my continued existence as air and water, I swear) give the crazy construction a try, and not only that, but I had six skeins of black lion brand wool-ease to do it with. Because, you know, Vogue Knitting would choose lion-brand for a project.
That's the first thing changing the knitting dynamic here-- I'm knitting the size XS, but it's going to shape into a L. That's part of my grand plan, honest.
I should mention: I don't have a copy of the pattern. I'm not going to graft the pentagons onto each other during the knitting process-- I'll sew them together afterward. It's also not going to be a bolero by the time I'm done with it-- I love Gaughan's designs, but I'm too busty for boleros, and I've seen in Flickr pools that Vogue managed to photoshoot it and the model in peculiar ways. So by the time I'm done, this will be a cardigan. Probably V-necked, not sure yet. And my snowflakes are going goth.
Monday, September 10, 2007
They're finished and lovely, but I swear I can't get a decent picture of them-- I've given up trying. Just be assured that they're adorable, all right? And I'm going to have to wash this GGH wool, because itchy is something it is very good at.
I actually have a third of these socks lying around-- the cuff was far too long for me, but I only decided this when I was halfway done with the foot. I ended up decreasing the cuff length by one pattern repeat, and the foot by half a pattern repeat. Cute, and fun, but an easy pattern to drop a stitch in (also one that's not terrible fun to rip out. I hate ripping out lace).
I think I need to buy myself a pair of addi's in a size 1 or 2; these socks have been the project in the bottom of my backpack for about three months now, and I was forever misplacing single dpns in the lining of the bag. This meant a lot of cursing at work.
Friday, September 7, 2007
Sadly, it was not to be. I had a really lame accident (I lost my balance and skidded across some bricks, skinning my knee to the point of losing significant flexibility) that I can set a sort of hip spin to (I collided with a parkour guy). So I'm staying behind, and will spend the weekend consoling myself with Buffy and lots of knitting.
However....These should be making their way into one of my friends' backpacks as we speak. He will, uh, appreciate having enormous pink mittens made from some 1970s acrylic rug yarn.
This picture understates the pink by quite a bit. These things aren't salmon-colored. Oh no. Hardly. They are "folly" pink, by which the manufacturers clearly meant "That color worn solely by five-year-olds that approximates blood on snow, covered with a gleaming varnish."
It's a long story. Suffice to say that he made one too many kitten jokes and, well, kittens have mittens... so I gave him miniature mittens which he sent back (with a marionette kitten that scares me a little) with a note that they were too small.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Two skeins. That's 2x 853 yards (lawks, a whole 1706 yards!) of soft, prissy, gormless yarn that's soft, prissy, and gormless mostly because it doesn't have the constitution to knit up into things I would actually, well, knit. I'm not a big blanket/formless sweater person. I gave it a stab, I did: I produced one entirely forgettable 3-ft squared blanket for the family cats.
Aside from that, these blue and grey watermelons have been taking up stash space for a very long time, annoying me to varying degrees depending on how finicky I'm feeling when I remember I have them (they take up a lot of stash space).
Well, no longer. I was glaring at them in a fit of pique yesterday when I had a revelation: I've never knitted entrelac, and that is One of Those Things I Really Should, At Least Once.
So, an entrelac blanket it is. Let's see how many years it stays half-knitted on my floor. Cast your bets now.
Monday, September 3, 2007
Sunday, September 2, 2007
But this is really just a teaser-- this is the other pattern I said I'd be teaching a class for.
Monday, August 27, 2007
So, there's several things the world as we know it would be better off without. One of them is humankind's tendency towards cruelty against its fellows. Another is global warming. Uber-capitalism. And... double-pointed needles.
I never thought I'd say that. I used to swear by dpns. I have a (very) small fortune in them. But now it looks like I'm going to need to spend myself silly on matching pairs of circulars, because circular sock-knitting is roughly as addictive as methamphetamines. Probably cheaper in the long run, too, even at $15 a pop like most addi turbos seem to be. I am now on a circular needle rampage.
All this came about because the woman owning Bad Woman Yarns sat me in a chair with a book and told me to figure out circular sock-knitting. I was dubious... but then I learned better.
Speaking of which. I'll be teaching classes in September/early October. One will be (yes) an introduction to circular sock-knitting, and the others will be one-session workshops for gauntlet-knitting. I've been working out some patterns. So far I've finished prototypes for a big-cable gauntlet in New Tweed (prototype above), but I'm a lot more fond of the project currently on my (circular!) needles... a pair of mini-cable gauntlets that are probably going to become convertibles assuming the skein of Ultra Alpaca Light lasts long enough. It should... there's a lot of mileage out of those little skeins. The stuff feels like fleecy butter-- I love it. More on those later.
Friday, August 24, 2007
So, it looks like knitting in pink will be well behind me for awhile. I finished my Pink Monstrosity hat; the crown is stolen from Marnie MacLean's Haley's Comet hat, and the bottom, crocheted border came out of my depraved mind some time yesterday afternoon.
Fortunately, it's finished, and looks spiffy and cute, if I may say so myself. Unfortunately, it's nothing I would ever wear and I have no idea who I could possibly gift it to. But what else is a gift stash in the corner of the closet for?
Dust bunnies, of course. And the occasional giftee-less gift.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Gorgeous space. Yarn surrounds you at all angles but never actually falls off the shelf. The place looks pleasingly overstuffed, and they stock absolutely everything that's worth stocking. Lots and lots of natural fibers; unique, hand-painted/spun artisan yarns and more common stuff. Lots of books. Comfy chairs. Helpful, friendly staff. I was looking for the Norah Gaughan collection Berroco put out, and the owner offered to ship it to me if I couldn't find it here.
Good thing I'm no longer desperate for a friendly lys. I don't really want to move.
But I got the collection, as anyone who looks at this for the pictures can tell; and not only did I get the collection, I bought a completely superfluous skein of black Prairie Silk from an odds-and-ends sale bin.
But more about the book. It makes me highly excitable and forces my list of future wips even longer than it is now (and I tried looking at that thing to sober myself, and failed).
But really. I know for certain that I will be knitting Anais (Nin?). Kaiju has my sister's name on it-- and Manon just might, too. The Justina and Aune skirts will be likely once I procure some yarn that won't turn into a saggy-bottomed monstrosity. Jyri, Kaari, Kirsti, Kaino, Noemi and Chantel all have "people I knit for" potentials. Aamu, I may get some use out of with modifications... the neckline's a little intriguing.
That all sounds faintly silly. I suppose I ought to have thrown in words like "cardigan" and "obi" to make it make more sense. But I am deeply pleased to have found a book I can get so much mileage out of-- let's see how long it takes before I get distracted from it.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
After my first day of work, I stopped by the Weaving Works to treat myself to some roving. Merino/alpaca blend, so stunningly cheap I found myself wondering if something was wrong with it. I've done nothing this week (in my snatches of spare time, which have been few) except work the kinks out of my drop spindle technique. I have a lot of kinks to work out, but at least this time around it's much less bulky and much more DK.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Alright, a few ends need weaving in. And the recipient hasn't chosen buttons yet. But there is no more stockinette to be had. All said, I liked knitting this: the yarn (Bazic superwash wool) has lovely stitch definition and a good hand. The shoulders simply look gorgeous, if I may say so myself. My one grievance is the amount of yarn this thing gobbled up: I was getting stitch per stitch perfect gauge, but I went over the amount needed in the pattern by about 2000 yards... and those sleeves, I'll have you notice, are 3/4-length. I'm not sure if there was wildly different stitch height between the yarn the pattern called for and the yarn I chose, or what, but taking a commission from a friend and then telling her she needs to buy four more skeins of yarn is not my preferred way of doing social business.
Naturally, appropriate consolation came in the form of two ounces of sage green alpaca/merino blend roving.
Today I met the rest of the yarnstore staff and we planned up some classes. The head yarnmistress seemed willing to consider green knitting/yarn reclamation classes, something that makes me giddy. I'm not going to talk much about that (now, or possibly ever) because I'm not entirely certain about the protocols for dual personal/work blogs. I see fate potentially frowning upon a blog that cheerfully embraces profanity in its middle name.
And that would be dreadful.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
But at least, to my knowledge, no one has died from it so far.
Yes, yes, I know. This is neither an FO nor is it something not pink. Although it looks blue here... I perambulate too much. The story behind it is pretty blasé: the whole project is just a reckless combination of "Oh, I had this in my stash?" + "This yarn is unraveling because I scrapped it badly on three different occasions! Oh the reckless abuse of my youth!" + "Hm, Marnie MacLean has some curious hat patterns."= I'll knit Halley's Comet Hat.
Well, not quite. I already have a pink knit hat with rolled edges (this is really breaking my case against never wearing pink, isn't it?), so I'm probably going to get creative... maybe give it a scalloped lace edge adjusted from her Chapeau Marnier pattern.
Tip for knitting crown-down hats on dpns: instead of trying to balance a tiny number of stitches on a great number of needles, start with the stitches on just two dpns. It's perfectly easy to adjust to and you don't have to play wild games with your tension just to keep the needles in all the stitches. You can switch in more dpns later once you have 10-20 stitches to work with.
Oh yeah, and: I finished Buttony and have freely admitted that my eyes are bigger than my stomach (very, very big eyes indeed). I've been running around too frantically to knit in more than bites and snatches, but as soon as I get back from a weekend out -and possibly before- I'll have pictures of that, and the finished Pomatomus socks I've been picking up here and there, and, maybe, soon after that, a prototype/gift sweater.
Oh, and best of all: I'm going to start working at a new lys. Yarn, matey!
Sunday, July 29, 2007
a)It hurts my hands.
b)I don't have the right pliers for tucking in the ends.
c)casting on? A bitch.
And yet it somehow seems imminently worthwhile to get it all off my needles afterwards. I can't begin to explain that, beyond that it suggests some internalized masochistic tendencies.
Anyway, I'm casting off for the month of July. A couple days to go and I had to put this up... I mean, I had a pink theme going already, why not juice it for all its pinky goodness? It's not a color I see often in my stash, and the fact that it's been mostly accidental (note to self: more dye, less yarn) doesn't make it any less, well, pink. Now it's out of my system and with August I can start afresh... or at least with a bunch of FOs.
Monday, July 16, 2007
I think this shot is truer to life for my firstborn attempt at homespun, although the skeins still look more red-blotchy than they do to my naked eyes. It rolled into balls much nicer than I'd anticipated, given the mess I'd managed to make of one of the skeins while winding it.
I'm going to set to and make some sincere progress on a couple wips (by which I mean I have dangerous intentions of finishing something). I've been unravelling lots, and lots, and unspeakable lots, and have decided this simply must change.
Details later. In the meantime, what the heck should I do with this mottled pink stuff? As a mottled pink person, it would be unwise to knit a garment out of it, and I'm quite exhausted on accessories. The only thing to have crossed my mind so far is a pad for the back of a wooden chair. A small, peculiar pad.
Friday, July 13, 2007
It's been really hot out-- by the standards of the Pacific NW. Ambulances keep zipping past my house to pick up people who wilted in the heat. There was a heat watch advisory and emergency hydration shelters opened up in some parts of the county. It's probably not helped that we mostly don't believe in air conditioning; something we never miss except for 3-4 days out of the year.
Among all the wilting and the sweating and my fruit juice-yogurt-fruit-blender diet, I decided it would behoove me to stand over a cauldron of water and boil some yarn. At left you may admire my first effort at spinning (it's less homespun and more "thin lengths of roving"); also my first effort at dyeing. I used two packs of black cherry and one of grape, for variety (not quite variegating) which I poured in on top after the black cherry was absorbed.
In retrospect, I would have liked it darker-- should have picked up another package of black cherry.
Monday, July 2, 2007
*The ones that won't stay up unless safety-pinned to my tights. Those ones. Yeah. Live and learn.
Sunday, July 1, 2007
Given how little time I'm actually working on this, it's knitting up very quickly. I was desperately short on yarn (especially since it looks like I'll be giving this belled sleeves), and have since remedied this with a few more skeins. I was lucky-- the shop still had the same dye lot.
Of course, during that same trip, I picked up... no, please don't groan... $2/skein sock yarn from the sale bin. yarn. Forget that I absolutely do not need more yarn. I got it anyway.
But that's just a side-note to today's news: I have an interview later this month (much later) at a yarn store that's opening up. I wish myself plenty of good luck.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Sunday, June 24, 2007
And then the zipper. I'm a zipper virgin, and I turned immediately to the realm of zipper tutorials (and I found a great one which I mysteriously can't find in my folders of links now). So... the long story: I carefully whipstitched the fronts together, whipstitched on the zipper, trimmed the excess, and carefully sewed it down with matching black thread. Only to find when I turned the thing inside out that I'd committed a crime against knitting.
Yes, I had on my hands one lumpy zipper. So I cut out most of the black thread with the intention of starting over, only to discover that the acrylic I'd used (if I haven't mentioned before that it's really cheap yarn... it's really chap yarn) didn't want to peaceably return the snippets of thread. Not only that, but it seemed to have problems with being sewn in general. So I spent a few hours salvaging things, leaving it very much not to my taste.
Sigh. But it's done, and seems well-appreciated. Just in time for summer.
Maybe I'll be able to get some "on the recipient" photos. The neckline's rather lost to view right now.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
The exception to this rule is crochet lace. I've always admired the gothy steampunk things that can be done with it, so I set out and trained myself how to imitate those gothy steampunk things myself-- as evidenced by the (slightly crude and very unblocked) lace forms below. The left-hand form is a section from Asphyxiation, posted two issues back in the AntiCraft. The right is a modification when I realized that Asphyxiation is tall and intimidating enough to overwhelm my poor little neck. If anyone knows a good crochet lace site, I'd love to hear about it. I would adore a dark little Victorian choker beyond measure.
And a note: I finally put up a list of some blogs I read, mostly because I'm sick of reading them, loving them, then getting busy, forgetting them, and never finding them again. Alas. It is incomplete and will certainly be updated as I remember people.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Okay, no more pale attempts at vintage Italian mobster vernacular. If that's what it was. I will block out the growly male voice in my ear and give you the basic bent of the conversation after that:
Me: "You're going to compensate me for that much stockinette, right?"
Friend: "Err, yeah. Yeah... that was the idea."
Me: "Neat-o! Let's go buy yarn!"
I'm not all that keen on raglan, honestly, solely because they're so big and heavy that you can't really carry them around when they're on the needles, but this looks pretty cool (I am a sucker for raglan shoulders), and I think it'll be a fast knit.
Besides, this yarn is awesome to work with. A very favorable switch from lionbrand-- pretty, healthy sheen, and 100% natural. My hands can really tell, and they're appreciating it. The only thing that could make me happier would be having my friend's exact measurements.
(ahem) You can e-mail me those any time, you know.
PS, Friend: And tell me if you want it to button the left or right shoulder, because you know all about the mirror-image lefty conundrum curse. Let me know now, or it'll button over the right shoulder-- the clever knitting equivalent of sleeping with the fishes.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
But I posted a list of hopeful projects in January, and it's now halfway through the year. So what's a knitter to do?
Green vaguely signifies completed projects. The lighter the green, the less complete. Red means I've changed my mind. I've added and subtracted and changed things liberally.
- felted green lunch tote with strap
- red-and-black wide winter scarf
- wrap with leftover burgundy yarn (my design?)
- a möbius-style cowl wisp with color #204 mohair (my design)
- Mrs. Beatons with scrap purple mohair and sexy brown sheep company prairie silk
- Trellis prototypes in Peruvian alpaca (my design)
- socks with blue variegated sock yarn (pomatomus)
- socks with red variegated sock yarn (coupling?)
- more cat toys with leftover Bernat Disco (they love it-- you’d think there’s
cokecatnip in that hideous tinsel)
- finish Samus with thriftstore angora blend
- drop-stitch cardigan in blue variegated thrift-shop sweater—finish unravelling
- wide-shouldered cowl with black mohair and lime Ritratto? (my design)
- Lionbrand homespun scrap sack for cat toys
- Something not boring in the Jo-Ann simplicity mega-skein (not boring being optional; that yarn doesn’t show stitch patterns well at all)
- ScarfStyle “interlocking balloons”
- sew pockets and zipper onto Mariah
- felt burgundy purse; acquire buckles/belts for straps
- plastic garbage bag for garbage bags
- Knitty's Chapeau Marnier by Marnie MacLean in left-over burgundy yarn
- Nantucket Jacket, Norah Gaugahn, with brick red yarn
- Buttony Sweater commission with Classic Elite Bazic Wool
- Cable sweater for sister in "mushroom" Lionbrand
Monday, June 11, 2007
Sunday, June 10, 2007
A momentary distraction from my usual course of crafting: I scrounged these photos up at an antique/junk store in Fremont, from a little tabletop rack where they were all mashed in together. From left to right: soldier, WW2, presumably in Europe. There were a whole bunch of these there, single photos and groups of guys with guns, all casual, all developed in the same way, so I'm assuming by the same cameraman for the same reasons. Middle: two women on bench with lunch and palm trees. I'm hazarding it was also taken in the 1940s but that's mostly because their clothes are slightly outside of my historical forte. And the shiny third one: innards of a car. There was a note on the back, it says (sic):
"32 V8 dash. 39 V8 stearing whee and the
ribbon on the gearshift is for good luck. never hit a ditch yet!"
Anyway. I got these because I've been interested in resin-casting for jewellery, etc, lately, and the idea of a lacquered picture frame that has, ta-da, pictures on it is somewhat mesmerizing.
Okay, I also got them because they were crazy cheap and I have a mild fixation with old correspondence. Casual photos count as correspondence. Lithographs, kinda sorta. Photos with notes on them? They're the very best kind... is the note just the where and what of it? Is it addressed to friend or family? Was the note written then, or twenty, thirty, fifty years later in the hopes that the grand-kids would take them out and pour over them?
Aside from the whole morbid interest in the dead that I'm displaying here, I find a strange, vaguely nostalgic finality to that stage when your (the universal your, as it were) words end up in an antiques shop. Your likeness and your words (and a few other hand-made things) are the closest things to your identity that aren't literally you. I mean, sure, you can keep that necklace/cup/trophy in the family for 300-odd years, but it picks up the flavor of other people. Those words? Yours. That picture? You, even if no one remembers who the hell you are. So by the time pieces of you are being sold for .50 a snapshot, there's an end that's been reached. You've reached the end of your arc in the course of human memory; this is the shape and weft of life. Fin.
Friday, June 8, 2007
Just a quick pic of my next felted project. The yarn was a gift from a friend downsizing her stash, so it’s not labeled… I’m going to have to swatch like crazy before throwing this thing in the washer. I don’t care what size it’s going to be (my plans are for an over-the-shoulder belt-strap purse), but I need to reassure myself that it’s as lambswool as it feels.
Because I have a peculiar sense of humor, I thought it would be funny to contrast this (rather good-sized) project with my last FO (the sweater the size of a quarter). So I spread out a bill as a point of comparison. And… then I realized that bill was the best piece of public art I’ve seen since the awesome adobe civilization in the tree bole on campus.
Admittedly, that was only last week. But… in case you can’t see in the large photo…
Yes, Mr. Jackson. Happy to oblige.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
A sort of dark photo, one of the precious few downsides to black yarn. Hopefully the gist (tiny sweater!) is clear; this is a gift for b_zedan (http://www.bzedan.com/), who very thoughtfully gave me the miniature needles to begin with. I'm slightly abashed to call it fan art, but it really is; she does a cute comic called "Space Goth" and this is a replica of a sweater from one of the early pages.
Tiny needles. They hurt my vision so much and yet the results are so imminently worthwhile.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Pelecypoda fingerless gloves
<1 skein Elann.com Sonata color 2608 (or 100% mercerized cotton of your choice)
5 #5 dpns
CO 60 stitches and arrange evenly over 3 needles.
Working in the round, *k7, sl1, k2tog, psso; rep to until end of round.
Next round: *k6, k2tog; rep to end of round.
Knit two rounds. You have 42 stitches total; make certain they are arranged on the needles in multiples of seven.
Proceed with shell pattern:
Shell stitch variation
Round 1: *k1, yo, p1, p3tog, p1, yo, k1; repeat
Rounds 2&3: knit
Work these three reps 7 times.
Continue working the shell variation stitch another five times, EXCEPT work last 7 stitches (one repeat of shell) on the third needle in stockinette. Due to the nature of the shell stitch pattern, you will be working a total of nine consecutive knit stitches-- eight on the third needle, one on the first. After working the last set, slip 3 stitches from the third needle onto the first. Now, on your fifth needle and using the lead yarn, m5 stitches in the manner of your choosing. This needle will temporarily dangle between the third and the first needle. Join it between the shell-stitch pattern and the strip of stockinette stitches (both on the third needle) so you will be working in the round. Work five rows. Bind off thumb.
With third needle, pick up 6 stitches from inner side of thumb (what used to be the m5 stitches). Continue working body of glove as usual, in shell stitch pattern except for the 6 stitches above the thumb, until the glove reaches a desirable length ending with a knit row. Bind off all stitches and weave in ends. Block lightly if desired; I didn't. The yarn I used is just about endlessly stretchy; one with less give may require more repetitions of the shell stitch, at which point remember to cast on additional multiples of (7+3[the decrease]). Work the second glove the same way. Due to the lazy way I did the thumb gusset, the gloves are completely reversible.
It's been, well... literally since the dawning of my blog since I posted a free pattern. I had great plans to regularly post free patterns, see, but catastrophic events of my own design got in the way.
That wasn't quite meant to be a pun.
This is an effort to buck that trend. Not that it's a particularly elaborate or well-written pattern; these are just gloves I banged together during a movie marathon with a few friends. I did all the counting/rewriting afterwards. The stitch pattern is based off "small shell stitch" which you can find if you google. I've used it before but didn't actually remember how many stitches/rows the stitch is worked across. Still, I like the result. Pelecypoda (members of the shellfish family) are lacy light-weight gloves with subtle points along the bottom border.
Anyone who comes across this pattern is welcome to use it (you know the code: personal usage only, blahblahblah). Hell, if you want, write me and ask me to translate it into a real pattern. I will be obliging.
Pattern to follow, next post.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Now she wants pockets. After I get those done, I should be good to post bragging photos.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
After a long, long haul of it, I bound off the hood for a friend's Christmas present (requested a week before... so I in no way feel guilt about finishing late. This late.) Then I sewed it up.
My god. Mariah has the largest cranium on the planet, at least when she's a siz large. I went back and measured it. No... haven't done anything wrong. At least, not according to a literal interpretation of the relevant parts of the pattern:
Row 3 [RS]: BO 13 sts, k to end.
Row 4 [WS]: BO 13 sts kwise (1 k st rem on right needle after sts bound off), k1, p to last 2 sts, k2, (This row sets the 2 st garter selvedge for the hood).
Row 5 [RS]:
Row 6: [WS]: Work in patt as set.
Next Row [WS]:
Next Row [RS]: K to 1 st before marker, m1, k1, slip marker, k1, m1, k to end.
Next Row [WS]: Work in patt as set.
Work these 2 rows twice more.
Work even until work measures 14 inches from BO edge at front of hood.
Gauge? Same. Stitch count? Same. Length? Same. And yet it sticks out from the back of my head (me being about identical in height to my friend) as if I were a chitinous cast member off Aliens.
I’m rather displeased about all that. By the time I was knitting the hood, the whole sweater was too large to be portable, and my level of business did not converge often enough with my being at home to allow a generous overhead of time in which to work up all those long rows of stockinette. I’m tempted to tuck a few –say, 4- inches over on the inside to make the cowl shallower. Not sure what else to do short of unraveling the hood, decreasing an extra 20 stitches each side, and working it up again.
But damn it! What went wrong?
edit: and seriously, what's gone wrong with these fonts? I've tried to correct it three times and things are still showing up in two different fonts. I surrender.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
And allow me to present the audience with my other non-intensive recently completed project: a hulking giant scarf.
I adore mistake rib. I'd never believed *k2, p2...k2, p1 could look so fucking awesome. And yet it does, and even has the esteemed advantage of being utterly mindless. I did 95% of this scarf on the job (I'm lucky enough that one of my bosses thinks that people knitting is theurapeutic-- to her. So I knit to keep her sane).
The scarf is about 7" by 7 feet; I'd gone through my heap of scarves and realized that I didn't have any imminently practical but obscenely long scarves for thorough winter wrapping. So I remedied that with two skeins of Lionbrand worsted "mink" colored yarn, courtesy of birthday gifts from friends.
The picture's suffering a bit from a bad angle and poor lighting (although the standard for my pictures in general isn't particularly breathtakingly high); frankly, the lighting in my apartment blows and I feel silly taking photographs of scarves outdoors in May. So this will just have to cope, and be glad I cropped my face out of the thing... flourescent lighting is kinder to yarn than pale people.