Thursday, March 23, 2006

Long Time No Blog!

I haven't posted in what seems like years, so I could very well be writing this to no one by now. No matter. I will persevere.

Much knitting has happened in the last month or so. I finished my Manos sweater (blurry photo below), but haven't quite figured out how to close it. I was opposed to using buttons, so I was closing it with a kilt pin but it kept snagging on my babies when I picked them up. I ended up using a pin my aunt gave me that's a metal pea pod with pearl peas. It works perfectly.



I took a little business trip to San Francisco, which was quite inspiring. My hotel was not far from the Lotta Jansdotter store, which as you can see was surprisingly nondescript.



And quite to my dismay it was also…



Extreme disappointment. I must go again when it is open. When? How? Sometime. Somehow.

Not far from my hotel in SF was an interesting retail slash creative concept slash business. It was called Craft Gym.




It was closed when I walked by early one morning, but they have a huge loom you can see through the window and a variety of sinks and work tables and shelves with craft supplies on them. Everything you need for an invigorating craft workout.

Speaking of workouts, here's me casting on for the knitting olympics:



My project was a blue, garter-stitch cardigan sweater with pockets and an i-cord binding. I did not finish it by the closing ceremonies. And that is because I changed the rules to the knitting olympics and decided to cast on for a new project every night of the olympics rather than complete anything. I didn't wholly succeed at this, either, but I did do a lot of knitting. None of which I can remember at the moment, but perhaps I'll try to recall these projects and photograph them in the light of day. However, I can make no promises.

Now I am in a post-olympic knitting rut. I did finish the olympic cardigan (as I always say, photos to come), but I have not finished the endless socks I've been working on since late January (wouldn't you like a photo of these?). I am now not working on anything I like. So I'm starting a pair of socks from Leigh Radford's new book, One Skein Knitting. I'm doing the cabled footies. I am also going to start a new sweater using some beautiful green Araucania Nature Wool. I knit two gauge swatches—one in stockinette and one in garter—and they're drying as we speak. Building on the "success" of my Manos sweater, I am going to attempt another sweater for myself of my own design. It will be a cardigan with a tie at the neck due to my button and buttonhole aversion.

Friday, January 13, 2006

It's Never Too Late For Fuzzy Feet

Here are photos, finally, of most of the rest of my Christmas gifts.



First, a tiny glimpse of my aunt's pink fuzzy feet there in my suitcase with what looks like a dirty, balled-up disposable diaper sitting there in between them. And it might very well be. Oh, and I just noticed that the diagonal stripe scarf I knit for my mom is over there in that plastic bag in the far left corner of the suitcase. Forgive the quality of this photo. I know you're used to perfectly art-directed shots from me. This pair of fuzzy feet was knit using coral Cascade 220. I had to do MUCH shrinking of these (washer/ stewpot/washer/stewpot/dryer). I like the texture of felt I get with C220, but for slippers I prefer something bulkier…



…like Lamb's Pride Bulky, which I used for these fuzzy feet I made for my cousin. Lamb's Pride Bulky is my absolute favorite fuzzy feet felting yarn. I embellished these with what were supposed to be four-leaf clovers. Can you tell which one I did post-vino?



And finally, the socks I knit with Koigu for my mother-in-law. I started these out as two socks on two circulars, but I separated them after the heel turn. They simply weren't getting along. I found that doing the two socks on two circulars was not all that fun. It was a long, slow haul getting down to the heel flaps, which you knit one at a time.

In other news, there is a grand-opening sale at my FYS tomorrow and I found out about it by the skin of my teeth. It starts at 10am and I'm weighing the opportunity cost of being there when the doors open versus spending quality time with my children. Dare I take them?

I've also decided to knit a pair of socks per month for my friend Alli's Christmas present. I bought some self-striping yarn for her January pair, and I think I finally understand how it works. See, it doesn't matter if the color change starts and ends where you start the round, because it's a circle, see? So it can just go around and around and the color will always change in the same place even if it's not where you would change it if you were changing it yourself, see? As long as you knit consistently, that is. And I don't know what happens when you do the heel flap and pick up stitches and then have gusset decreases. Sounds like some crooked stripes could come of that. So I'm going to avoid that trap altogether and do one of those other kind of heels that I'm going to learn about from the book I just bought—Sensational Socks. Because I needed another knitting book.

Actually, I needed two more knitting books, because I had to have Handknit Holidays, too. After all, it was 50% off. And it is one gorgeous book with lots of wonderful ideas. I'm going to get a jumpstart on next year right now.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Christmas Roundup



So here's what I've been knitting for the last several weeks (minus some of the things I sent off and forgot to photograph—stay tuned for those images later). First we have the bear-iffic fuzzy feet. These were knit in Lamb's Pride bulky and when I took them out of the washer it was as though a fuzzy wild animal had gotten into the load and lost its feet. These really got hairy. It was quite horrifying. Plus they were way too big. I worked on them some more by washing them another time, then boiling them in my giant stewpot (which is pretty much exclusively used for boiling fuzzy feet). I got them down to a reasonable size and then did the embroidery. Cute, yes? They seem very Scandinavian to me. Tomorrow my friend is coming down from Seattle and I plan to give them to her as a belated Christmas gift. If I can part with them. I have been wearing them—ostensibly to shape them, but really because I love them. Must knit pair for self.




Next we have a modified cabled newsboy cap in Manos blue rainbow neutral, the most fabulous color/non-color/everycolor known to knitting man/woman/child/manchild. I knit this for someone who admired my by-the-book cabled newsboy cap. She offered to pay me to knit one for her, which was preposterous of course. I knit it as a learning experience and it worked out great. I did the brim and doubled it over so it keeps its shape but it's soft instead of stiff. I have plastic mesh in the brim of mine and I find it annoying.



And then we have my second attempt at a felted ballet slipper. The first one is simply too ugly to photograph. This slipper has a long way to go before it's working, but I'm excited about it. I'm going to knit the second one, felt it, then get to work on boiling and felting and whatever else I have to do to get them the same size (and a bit smaller). I also need to knit a thick strap to go over the upper. This will be the touch that really sells you on these slippers. Just you wait.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas Roundup Sans Images

I got most of my Christmas knitting done, but not all of it! In fact, there are some presents I still haven't started. So some people will be getting unexpected Valentine presents. That will be nice for them.

Here's a semi-complete list of all the things I knitted and finished:

Baby Cashmerino fingerless gloves
Pink fuzzy feet
Red & blue striped fuzzy feet
Brown bear fuzzy feet
Nature wool chocolate brown Clapotis

Well shoot, that doesn't seem like very many things. I still have one pair of fuzzy feet to finish (or start, if you want to get picky), and a pair of felted ballet slippers. I started the ballet slippers and made one in Manos, color number 34 (what I like to call rainbow neutral). This yarn does not seem to felt well. Plus I didn't follow the pattern because it didn't seem right. I made the slippers too deep so the foot opening was funky—like those old lady slip-on footies. Uncool. I would say this was a real waste of my beautiful beautiful Manos, but I can see exactly where things went wrong with this slipper and I know how to make it right next time. Learning experience! My goal is to make a square-ish toe and have the body of the shoe be pretty low-cut. Then I'll sew a felted strap low across the upper. If I can get these to turn out right you will ALL be wanting a pair.

I'm very happy with the way the baby cashmerino fingerless gloves turned out, so I will have to ask the recipient to wear these so I can take a photo. Forgot to do that before I gave them away.

I also made a modified newsboy cap in my favorite Manos (color number 34!) for a friend, and it turned out great. I have photos of this that I'll post later. Promise.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Unicorns Sleep on Zippered Pillowcases

For starters, I lost my blue Clapotis last week for about 18 hours. When I left the office on Wednesday I couldn't find it, but when I got in the next morning a co-worker had emailed me saying I left it in his office. He told me he would have kept it, but it made his ass look fat. So I didn't end up having to post my signs (below).




I'm in a frenzy of holiday knitting right now and I can't reveal too much about it or I'll ruin Christmas for a few people. Let's just say that the twelve lords a leapin' could all be wearing fuzzy feet this year. I have a pair felting in the washer right now in separate Donald Pliner shoe bags. I discovered that shoe bags make the perfect felting fuzz managers. Of course everyone recommends the zippered pillowcase, but have you ever seen one in real life? The existence of the zippered pillowcase is urban legend. Unicorns sleep on zippered pillowcases, OK? So I use shoe bags. And because my aunt used to sell high-end shoes, I have many many shoe bags. Chanel, Manolo, Donald Pliner, Prada. You name it.


I also knit another Clapotis in chocolate brown Araucania Nature Wool, and it is luxe. This is one of my favorite yarns, and I just discovered a whole bunch of new colors over at my FYS (favorite yarn store) on Saturday. I bought up a bunch of pear green with which I plan to make a really cool sweater. I tried drawing a sketch of it in photoshop to post here, but I lack that kind of mouse control. I also bought an entire 10-skein bundle of Manos in a color I call "rainbow blue neutral." It's kind of a blue-gray, but it has a lot of depth to it and it alludes to many other colors. It's very difficult to describe and I'm sure it won't photograph well (especially at night, which it is right now), so please use your imaginations. The reason I bought all this yarn for my own projects is because my knitting students gave me a very generous gift certificate. And although it was very generous, I still managed to spend $98 of my own money. So Christmas will have to be canceled for those of you whose presents have not been purchased yet. So sorry.

Tomorrow I will post photos of my latest knitting experiment—the diagonal stripe scarf in the round. I had emailed Alison over at the Blue Blog because she was knitting all those Harry Potter scarves as double knit/in the round. I asked her if she had a way of making the scarves diagonal like the Jilly Scarf, but with no wrong side. She said she was working on it. I think I figured out a way to do it, but it will be a stranded thing, and I'll be carrying lots of yarn along with me around the scarf (3 colors), so it will be sort of thick on the inside. We'll see if it works.

That's all for now—gotta check on the feet!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Circuitous



I have figured out how to knit two socks on two circulars (simultaneously). It's not as hard as it looks, but it is a yarn clusterfuck at times. I found an excellent tutorial at the socknitters web site. Once I figured out how to knit one sock on two circulars, it wasn't a huge leap to do two. But the set-up is very difficult, so read through these instructions slowly and carefully. And definitely master the art of one sock on two circulars before you try two. Last night I bought some Koigu in a rainbow colorway, and this is what inspired me to knit the socks simultaneously. I simply have too much Christmas knitting to do them one at a time at this point. I've never worked with Koigu and it feels really nice. I'm not sure about the color (and I'm sure you aren't either because it looks like barf in this photo). It's not my style, but I think it will be good for the recipient of this pair of socks. And it doesn't really look like barf.



And here's my second Clapotis. This is in Auracania Nature Wool, just like my first one, but this is in chocolate brown and is for a Christmas gift. I don't think I'll make this one seven feet long like I did mine. But then again, I might. Sometimes you get going on these things and you can't stop.

Monday, November 28, 2005

YARNSANE!

It's been yarnsanity around here for the last week or so. First of all, I got a gift certificate from my very kind and generous boss to the yarn store by my office, which coincidentally had a BIG 40% OFF SALE the day after Thanksgiving. I bought a bunch of Auracania Nature Wool (hand dyed) in denim blue and chocolate brown, plus some Cascade 220 in two different shades of green (for Christmas fuzzy feet). I also bought Teva Durham's Loop d Loop and Knitscene magazine. I spent my gift certificate plus $14.01 at the sale. Pretty good!

On Sunday I had a birthday-related shopping day and visited two other yarn stores. One was a brand-new store on Alberta called Close Knit. It is a very nice shop and I saw some beautiful colors of Manos there that I haven't seen elsewhere. I was pretty restrained on this trip and only bought two skeins of yarn. But you know how it is when you go to the stores. You get ideas and you have to go back.

THEN I got a 20% off coupon from yet another local yarn store -- good for 30 days from my birthday. I will get a lot of use out of this.

Man, you can't spit in this town without hitting two things: 1) a bicyclist wearing all black at night and 2) a fabulous yarn store! This has caused me to invent an array of new abbreviations, since "LYS" (local yarn store) is just not specific enough around here.

FYS = favorite yarn store (this rotates)
KYS = knittier than thou yarn store (I won't use names, but this is the one where they have tons of yarn but you can't find anything and the people are too wrapped up in their own issues to help you)
HYS = hipster yarn store (this is the one on the fringes of the trendy part of town that's run by cute young hipsters)
OYS = office yarn store (the one I go to that's near my office)
NPYS = North Portland Yarn Store (self-explanatory)
CYS = Cozy Yarn Store (the yarn store that has cute couches, dressers and armoires in which they display and store the yarn)
LCYS = Low-Ceilinged Yarn Store (a nice store with a cafe, but it has low ceilings and it's kinda dark)

And folks, I haven't even made up acronyms for any of the fine yarn stores in the suburbs because, frankly, I don't need to go there. That's how freaking spoiled we are in this town. When I started knitting again about three years ago, the only store I knew about was the KYS. In just three years, at least SIX more stores have opened. And ALL of them appear to be very successful. Can this market support as many yarn stores as it does coffee shops? Makes you wonder.

And now for some talk about knitting. I am working on a few things using my yarn purchases, plus I'm using up some yarn in my stash. I knit this poncho from Loop d Loop using Rowan Big Wool. This pattern was a breeze. It only took a couple hours to knit and I really like the design. This garment is for a one-year old whose birthday is next week. I plan to make a little yarn flower as an accessory for it. It's a little plain as it is—plus this "color" of yarn doesn't photograph well. Especially at night on my shiny floor with a flash.



And here's my third pair of fuzzy feet. This is for a certain someone whose birthday is on Wednesday. I hope she gets them in the mail before she reads this blog. I took this photo of the fuzzy feet on my desk at work about one minute before I put them in the box to ship. And yes, that is my tape.



I can't show you photos of my second pair of fuzzy feet because the person I knit them for got all fancy, took a computer class, bought a laptop, and is now out there surfing in the blogosphere. I recently learned she found this website and read about her fuzzy feet. I don't want to ruin Christmas for her by posting a photo of them, so I'll do a Christmas present roundup of all my knitted gifts on Dec. 26.