Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Wonderful and Terrible Happening

I've recently become fascinated by fabric--the kind of fabric you buy off of bolts.  I blame it on the Dollbirdies' etsy shop.  It's run by my cousin, who is an extremely talented seamstress, and I love pretty much anything she makes.  She told me that she buys a bunch of her fantastic fabric from Uberstitch's etsy shop, and once I went to their shop....

When you become a knitter, you realize how long it takes to get a garment when you create it stitch by stitch.  Sewing, which I was positive was a tremendous time drain and something I would never, ever do once I graduated from home ec., began to look pretty reasonable once I started knitting.  The fabric was already there!  All that had to be done was to put it together!  How hard could that be?

I have managed to stop myself from buying fabric.  I forced myself to remember that a) I don't own a sewing machine, b) I don't know how to sew very well at all, and c) I love knitting and reading and am happy for those hobbies to take up most of my free time.

It was tricky, because I kept coming across fantastic things like this:

Timeless Treasures, Birds and Apples, for sale here
I love that fabric more than I can say.  It makes me think of stickers I had as a kid.  I ordered something made of the fabric and tried to push it out of my mind.

I follow uberstitch's blog, not because I was going to start buying fabric, just, you know, to be sociable.  To celebrate their blog's third birthday, they held a giveaway.  I left a comment, not because I wanted to win fabric, just, you know, to give them well wishes.

Look away.  There's nothing to see here.

"To three lucky people, we are giving away a bundle of  10 inch squares, (1 each)  of all 22 fabrics in the Sweet Nothings line by  Zoe Pearn for Riley Blake Designs."

We all know where this ends up.  I'll post pictures once I receive them.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sugar Maple Socks

I finished the sugar maple socks, and I really love them.

Sugar Maple socks knit in Knitpicks' Felici  in Botany colorway

It was a simple three-row pattern, and even though the whole thing was basically ribbing it didn't feel like it took forever to knit.

I bought enough of this colorway to make two pair of socks.  My intention is to give a pair to one of my sisters for Christmas. I debated whether I would give her this pair, but it was short-lived.  When they were dry, I took them directly off the sock blockers and put them on my feet.

I have eight months to knit another pair.  No problem.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Two Year Vegiversary

Today is the second anniversary of my decision to become a vegetarian.

It's been a brilliant choice for me.  I feel it's a positive environmental, ethical, and spiritual practice.  I blather on about it here and here.  I'm not sure that there is more to say about it, but I want to mark the occasion.

To celebrate, I'm buying myself a chocolate-chip scone to eat with my lunch.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Undone by Simplicity

A friend's son recently had a baby, and I asked if they'd like a baby blanket.  They would.

The pattern is a typed piece of paper my mom gave me and is called the Rimini Blanket.  I have no idea where it came from, but it's the pattern I also use for washcloths, albeit with different sized needles and yarn.  It's knit on the bias with eyelets on the edges.  It's simple garter stitch.

Well, it should be simple.

I knit this out of Lion Brand Homespun, which is an acrylic yarn that can be thrown in the washer and dryer.  I did just that after finishing it, and when I pulled it out of the dryer, this is what I found.

I've been knitting in an obsessive fashion for the past five years.  I've knit this blanket four or five times.  I've knit lace and complicated colorwork and cables and, well, wtf?

It took a little bit of swearing and a lot of time, but I got it back to acceptability.  It's not perfect, but this blanket is going to be peed upon.  I need to let go of perfection and stick with softness, ease of care, and the good wishes I send to their family along with the blanket.

Welcome to the world, little guy!  You're worth it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

One at a Time Is Just Fine, Thank You

Besides finishing the deer mitts, I also finished a pair of socks for me.

A friend bought me 2-at-a-Time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes, and I love a lot of the patterns in there.  I've decided that I have no desire to knit socks two at a time at this point in my life, but I'm happy to knit these one at a time and know that I can branch out in the future if I change my mind.

Be Mine socks knit in Knitpicks Stroll Tonal in Gypsy colorway

I like this book so much that I've started another pair of socks from it as well.

Sugar Maple socks knit in Knitpicks Felici in Botany colorway

It's a gross oversimplification, of course, but I've found that the socks in this book are easier than some of my other books.  Cookie A is fantastic, but I have to pay attention when I knit her patterns.  I'm finding these patterns to be visually very pretty, but not tricky to knit.  It's great for knitting while watching baseball!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

She works. She sleeps. She finishes funny knitwear.

The black yarn arrived, so I was able to finish these:
Knit in Palette in Black and Chroma Fingering in Sunrise

Pretty, right?  But take a look at the front!

Yes, that is indeed a pair of gay male deer having sex on the right hand.  What could make that funnier?

Fornicating Deer Chart by Anne Rutten

The female on the left likes to watch.

Mark my words:  The recipient of these is going to howl with laughter.  The only downside is that I must wait until August to give them to her.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Origami Garter Stitch

Those garter stitch squares did actually fit together into something in addition to being a good thing to knit while stressed.  Here is what they looked like after five of them were stitched together:

Then I soaked them and blocked the heck out of them.  It took three people to figure out how the things were supposed to fold, but we did eventually get it.  (Thanks, Lynn and Andrew.)

Once I figured out a fold, I pinned it to within an inch of its life.  There are approximately four thousand layers of fabric in that little box after it's all folded and pinned, so it took a long time to dry.

I think because I was using high-quality sock yarn which is thicker and rounder than cheaper yarn, I had a harder time keeping it in its place.  I have lots more cheap yarn than I do nice yarn, so I could certainly try this again with thinner yarn.  I am not, however, convinced I can find uses for these to justify all that time seaming the squares together and folding, grunting, and pinning during blocking.

I like the concept of these.  I enjoyed knitting something that was, in essence, five squares and getting them to magically stay closed in a pinwheel shape.  I am constantly impressed by people who are able to see the possibilities in their head and then create a pattern to match that idea.  I'm glad there is room for people who wish to be creative and create new patterns and people like me who like to knit things that someone else has already had the bugs worked out.

Pinwheel Purse (ravelry link) by Frankie Brown
knit in Socks that Rock Mediumweight in Wild Irish Girlie (green variegated) 
and Socks that Rock Lightweight in Happy Go Lucky (pink)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Slow Learner

I'm going to publish this out on the Internets for all (or a good 5-6 people, anyway) to see:

When a webpage won't open on a computer, do not spend hours running various spyware scans to figure out the problem.

Change browsers and see if that helps.

Sigh.  I'm a slow learner sometimes.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Garter Stitch

People handle stress in all sorts of ways.

They go out drinking.
They exercise.
They complain.
They shop.

I'd like to recommend another option to add to the stress-relief arsenal: garter stitch.

There's something soothing about performing the same motions over and over and seeing tidy, uniform stitches as a result.*

The two small squares you see above wll be joined by three more and then theoretically be sewn and blocked into a small coin purse.  The ravelry link to the Pinwheel Purse is here.

I don't know if it's ultimately going to work, but I don't really care.  It's the monotonous, relaxing knitting that I need at this particular moment, and it's allowing me to have the illusion of control.  I may not have control over much, but I do have control over these small squares made out of scrap yarn.

That's good enough for now.

*One of these squares has a purl row in the center.  It's the only break in the garter stitch for this pattern.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Wanna See Something Frustrating?

I ran out of black yarn on the second thumb of a project and now have to order more.

Stupid colorwork.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Day Seven: Knitting and Crochet Blog Week

This is the last day of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, and today's topic is "Where you knit."

Sadly, I don't live in a city that has very good public transportation, so I am left to envy those who can knit on their commute.  I do, however, take a lunch break every day, and I have found that I consistently have 30-35 minutes to knit after eating my lunch.  I enjoy spending the time knitting, and the knowledge that I can knit after I eat keeps me packing my lunch instead of eating out most days.

Besides my lunch break, I spend a lot of time on the couch knitting.  This is especially true at this time of year.  I wrote last year about Opening Day.  I love baseball.  I believe this stems from the fact that I played softball in the Lassie League when I was very young.  I learned the rules, or at least the rules as they applied to 7-year-olds.  I still remember being shocked that a major league player could continue hitting foul balls ad infinitum.  When you're playing with young kids, it's smart to make rules that you can only foul out so many times before you were called out.  Without this rule, I might still be standing on a field waiting for an opposing player to stop hitting fouls.

Anyway, I understand baseball.  I understand the bare minimum about basketball and football that I'm required to know if I am to convince anyone I was born and raised in the Midwest, but the games don't have the same appeal baseball has.  If I'm completely honest, some of its current appeal has to be due to the fact that I can follow the game easily just by listening while watching my yarn.  If something exciting happens, chances are very, very good that there will be a replay!

I'm glad someone organized the blog party this week.  It has been fun to think about specific topics and know that others were thinking about them as well.

Happy knitting, everybody, and may the baseball season be a good one.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Day Six: Knitting and Crochet Blog Week

Today's post for Blog Week is "Something you aspire to."

When I consider what knitting skill I simultaneously want to accomplish and of which I am terribly, horribly, and completely afraid, I immediately know the answer.

I want to knit myself a gorgeous, Bohus cardigan.  With steeks.  That fits me.  And is gorgeous.  And is a sweater I will wear forever.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, click here, then choose Bohus Stickning along the top to visit one of the official sites on the subject, which is in Swiss (I think).

There's interesting history associated with these sweaters, but there's a good chance that if you cared you'd already know about it.  If you'd like to learn more, I recommend the book Poems of Color by Wendy Keele.  Bohus sweaters knit at a very fine gauge (think tiny needles and skinny yarn), and you use lots of different colors in the same row.  They're knit with fuzzy yarn so there's a halo effect and the colors blend into one another.

I personally don't love the cardigans that have the design all the way down the front, but you can knit a pullover and turn it into a cardigan.

How is this possible?  You can do this BY CUTTING YOUR KNITTING.  Seriously.  This can't be overemphasized:  You CUT YOUR KNITTING.  Cut it.  With scissors.

It boggles my mind.  I believe I will try it at some point.  I'm just not quite ready.  Until then, I will continue to visit the website and the ravelry project pages of those who have knit these, and I will be amazed.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Dear New Nephew

Dear New Nephew,

I mailed your parents a package today, but it's really for you.  When you arrive, the hospital will put you in a hat.

This hat will be unattractive.  Your aunt, because she loves you, has provided you with alternatives.

You may choose this:

I have heard that your first outfit has frogs on it, and this may be quite fetching with that.  I knit it in green because I thought the lace (lace can be very manly, don't worry) looked like trees.

KnitPicks Swish DK in Asparagus

If you prefer something different, or if you like to change outfits, I have also sent you this:

I really like this hat, and it's very stretchy and should be light and comfortable.  And soft.  Ooh, soft.

I hope you enjoy both of them.  Perhaps in return you would do a couple favors for me?
  1. I know you must be excited to see if the outside world is all you've imagined it to be.  Please, please wait until at least May 15 before you arrive.  Uncle Andrew's birthday is May 17 if you'd like to try for a day somewhere around there.  I've knit the hats, but that doesn't mean you should come early.  No. Arriving. Early. Please.
  2. I'd like you to reconsider your position on Pad Thai.  Though your mom really likes it, you have made your dislike quite clear whenever she's eaten it.  I think you should open yourself up to its deliciousness.  Even if you don't like it, perhaps you can pretend like you do.  After all, your mom has done quite a lot of work to ensure your comfort.  It's something for you to consider.
I'm looking forward to meeting you...  IN MID TO LATE MAY.  Our family's a bit crazy, but we're also full of love.

And crazy.  Did I mention that?  Oh, right.  Anyway, we love you already!

With love and wool,

Aunt Bonnie