Sunday, June 29, 2008

Maneki Neko

One of my blogging motifs, I know, is the amount of time I spend vexing about how I knit pranks and gifts and end up feeling that in nine out of ten instances, my effort was expected, or not appreciated, or, hell, not even understood. Another motif I'm sure everyone easily recognizes is how I then belabor the point.

neko_front_miniBut -you don't have to hold your breath!- this is not one of those cases. This is a gift for someone I know I can knit for.

This doesn't mean he's easy to knit for, mind. Not a scarf guy. Not a hat man. Socks and sweaters? I'm too lazy. This leaves me two options: fingerless gloves and cat-themed miscellany. And they have been appreciated, by which I mean worn out and worn some more, and he gets the time, and the effort, and thinks that that I did it in the first place is worth compliments years later.

The look on his face when I handed him this was deeply cheering. He's waiting to find out whether he's gotten into grad school, and the results are coming in right around his birthday, so I figure it was a gift of necessity. I don't believe in luck as a force, but well wishes are well wishes.

The pattern, by the way, is by Justine Turner, and can be found here (pdf). I worked it on 10s with bulky Armytage, carried with Merino Stripes for the stripes along the back. The accents are done in some FrogTree Alpaca (ears), Sunday Best by Reynolds (collar), and a blue single ply (fish) I think was put out by Karabella yarns but lost the label since it was scrap for a hat for my mother a few years back. The face is embroidered with cotton crochet thread. I made a few changes to the pattern, knitting the crown of the head differently, and knitting the pink panels on the ears.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

When There Are Just Too Many Choices In Life

I am the kind of person who gets annoyed in grocery stores because she's been asked to pick up a bag of chips for a party, and then soon after finds herself standing in an aisle lined wall to wall with not only twelve different brands but a hundred different flavors among them. Often this results in panic and departure without chips, followed by a trip to the tiniest gas station convenience store known in the hope that they will only have two or three varieties.

I used to think that meant I had some ingrained taboo against variety, but that's actually rather far from the case. In fact, if I don't get enough of it, I get a little rabid and start developing nervous twitches and a sudden yen to travel miles on foot.

This has been damaging my creative life recently. I multi-task as a matter of due course, so it's pretty typical for me to have two or three knitting projects and two or three active fiction pieces going all at once, and maybe a linoleum block print under the knife, too. My hobbies abound, but I'm used to it, and once one of the stories/knitting projects hit critical mass, I stop working on the others until I've finished that one.

Not right now. Oh god, not right now. My life has been stalled by too many options. My knitting queue is all a tangle. Example: the yarn I wanted to use for something of my own design would look simply splendid in another pattern, unlike the yarn that I was actually going to use in that other pattern, which is for all other practical reasons perfectly good yarn well-suited to that design, but it's just not striking me the right way even though it did two months ago when I chose it after three weeks of deliberations for that design. And, of course, that yarn would be sadly inadequate in the design I have planned. Now, take that example and multiply it by three different sweaters.

To top it off, this problem is so painfully irrelevant in the long or short of things that it's embarrassing just to admit to it.

But! I keep knitting.


Pattern: Clover
Designer: Kate Blackburn
Source: The Inside Loop
Yarn: Happy Feet
Needles: US1s

A quick and pleasant knit. I didn't have any conflicts about this one, except now that it's done, and I'm no longer certain it should be the appointed partner sock to the Fruitloops sock I finished in antique denim Claudia handpaint.

That said, it's a good pattern and was a fun knit. It should not be blamed for my indecision.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Summery Scarves

My mother is chronically cold. Always, always, always cold. Half the time I think I've inherited her base temperature, but fortunately for the rest of the time I seem to get along fairly well in normal people clothing. For the best, because otherwise I would have to knit summer scarves for two people.


Half a Haruha

Pattern: Haruha
Designer: Tikru
Source: Made by Myself
Yarn: Frog Tree Pima Cotton/Silk
Needles: US6/4mm

Since the original pattern called for fingering weight, and the yarn I used is most definitely not, I reduced the stitch pattern to just one repetition. It's a short thing, too-- only wraps around one. Anathema to my idea of a scarf, but, well, if it makes mum happy...

Edited to add: err, and here's the direct link to the English version of the pattern. Despite perusing the blog occasionally, I'd managed to blank that it's largely in Finnish.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Fall

The weekend before last, I went with a couple friends to see The Fall, which is beautiful, sometimes slightly hair-raising, and highly recommendable.

Today, I carried home a bag full of pale periwinkle/lavender Kathmandu Aran. The two are quite linked.

That said, late spring still thinks it's winter here. "June-uary" is being bandied about, and the description is not terribly far off. Right now it's dark out for the time of year (it should be light until nearly 10) and the wind's blowing hard outside the windows. I did manage to take some pictures Saturday, though, so I'd like to introduce you to the esteemed:


Pattern: Fruit Loops
Designer: Kristi Geraci
Yarn: Claudia Handpaint Fingering, Antique Jeans
Needles: US1, dpns

Right now this sock is all alone in the world. I'm feeling a little out of balance right now, so I'm going to "match" it with a sock done in a similar lace pattern but in very fiery red Happy Feet. That said, this was a nice, straight-forward, not too fussy pattern. The Claudia fuzzed a little on me, but not badly (although I had to reinforce a couple segments due to negligence). I really like the look of this sock, although the stitch pattern was repetitive enough that I probably won't knit it again, unlike, say, Fire-starter or Mad Color Weave.