Saturday, June 30, 2007

HSKS swag

Look what this cute little owl brought me, all the way from the opposite side of the country!



It's my HSKS package, from Channon! Just look at all the goodies she sent:



Two skeins of Claudia Hand Painted Yarns in the Sharks colorway, which is so gorgeous I gasped and said "ooooooh!" out loud when I unwrapped it; the Swirling Lace Anklets pattern from Heartstrings; Los Lobe Hose tiny sock earrings pattern, which I had never seen before and is so cute I think I might have to make about a thousand of them for a Christmas garland; pretty stitch markers from Blume's Accessories; Crystal Palace size 0 needles; blue sock-shaped point protectors, which will come in so handy when I throw my sock project into my purse every morning; Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans (I'm too scared to eat them!); a Dumbledore bookmark with Ravenclaw colored beads; and two packs of Harry Potter trading cards. Phew - I think that was all of it. Oh, and of course the wonderful drawstring bag, which will be perfect for carrying a small project. Thank you so much Channon!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Ravelry = time suck.

I completely lost track of the fact that I haven't posted in two weeks. I feel like I've been spending tons of time online in knitting-related pursuits, and I have. I guess I just haven't found time to blog in there. About two weeks ago, in a fit of boredom (or perhaps insanity), I volunteered to be a blog reader for this year's
Summer of Socks. That in itself should be no big deal, right? I just wait for emails from my 30 bloggers and write up a weekly report on their progress to go on the SOS blog. It's fun really. Well, on the same day, I also volunteered to be a yarn and pattern editor on Ravelry, which involves checking all the information on my adopted patterns and yarns, making any corrections, reporting duplicates, and entering missing information. I love it. Really, for some inexplicable reason, I love doing this kind of thing. But wow, it takes a lot of time! (Maybe because I adopted so much stuff...hmm.)

I've found some actual knitting time as well. I finished the chevron scarf, finally. It needs to block still, so I don't have a photo yet, but it looks good. I was so sick of knitting it, when I tried it on and saw that the ends fell past my waist (barely) with it wrapped once, I said "done!" and finished it off. There is so much yarn left over that I could probably get a pair of mismatched or striped toddler socks out of it, but I'm so sick of that yarn that I buried it in a stash basket where I couldn't see it anymore. It's pretty, but not my favorite thing to knit with.

I'm almost done with the cuff of my second Hedera, but again, I'm not in love with the yarn. It's Louet Gems Pearl, (which I believe the dyer of my chevron scarf yarn uses as her base, so it's pretty much the same thing) and it just gets so twisted up on itself when I use it that I am constantly in a tangle. I prefer a squishier yarn with a tighter twist, I've learned. My waving lace sock is hibernating for a little while. I like both the yarn and pattern fine, I just have so many things going. Which is of course why I started yet another sock. Hey, Summer of Socks, right? I had to cast on a new one on the first day. This one is the On Your Toes socks pattern from the summer IK, using what I think may be my favorite sock yarn, Colinette Jitterbug. I learned a Turkish or Eastern cast on for this, which, once I figured it out, went faster than a short row toe with provisional cast on, and I think it will fit just as well. I'm making the knee socks. My secret source sells Jitterbug for under $13 per skein (regular price, before the 25% sale even!), so how could I not?! (The secret source is unfortunately closing at the end of August and last I checked only had three skeins of Jitterbug left. I'm still not giving it away though.)

So with all of these socks, plus Kiri still staring at me, what do I do but cast on a sweater? Of course! Actually, I was bad, bad and stashed yarn for three! The one I've already cast on is from a Vogue Knitting from a couple of years ago, and I can't find a picture at the moment. It's a short sleeved cross-front top that's nice and drapey. I'm not using the expensive and impractical silk the pattern calls for, but instead got some King Tut mercerized cotton, which is still nice and shiny and drapey. I also got a bag of RYC Cashsoft Aran from Elann for a great price (project to be determined), and some Dream in Color Classy worsted weight (from my secret source at 25% off) for an Hourglass sweater. I chose the Wisterious colorway, which I wasn't completely sure about in the skein but after swatching I am in total love. Phew! After all that, commence yarn diet! Actually, I did math incorrectly in my head (no surprise there) and I have to go back for another skein of the Dream in Color because I'm 50 yards short. Or so. From what I've seen on Ravelry, a lot of people recommend buying extra yarn for this pattern. So, another 250 yard skein will be plenty.

No, I have no knitting photos today. The camera batteries died right after I snapped a few for Ravelry, so I can't show you anything until it charges. Except for this.



No, it isn't yarn! I do some non-knitting things too. These are some ATC's for a swap. The backgrounds were each done by a different person and I did the embellishment. Each card gets returned to the background maker. It was a wonderful idea, but a huge challenge for me. These are just six of the fourteen cards I needed to do. The others aren't done yet, and they are long, long overdue. I had a really hard time with backgrounds that were either very different from my own style or that were so lovely and textured that they seemed done already. I also am very, very sllloooooooow when it comes to this kind of thing. I'll stare at one ATC for a week or so before deciding what to do with it. Good thing I don't support myself with art.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Oh why not....

INSTRUCTIONS:
Bold for stuff you’ve done,
italics for stuff you plan to do one day, and
normal for stuff you’re not planning on doing.

Afghan/Blanket (baby)
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Baby items
Bobbles
Button holes
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Charity knitting
Continental knitting
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Darning
Designing knitted garments
Domino knitting (modular knitting)
Drop stitch patterns
Dying with plant colors
Dying yarn
Entrelac
Fair Isle knitting
Freeform knitting

Fulling/felting
Garter stitch

Gloves
Graffiti knitting
Hair accessories
Hat
Holiday related knitting
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)
I-cord
Intarsia (ugh!)

Jewelry
Kitchener BO
Knitting a gift
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine

Knitting and purling backwards
Knitting art
Knitting for a living
Knitting for pets
Knitting for preemies
Knitting in public
Knitting items for a wedding
Knitting on a loom
Knitting smocking
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Knitting to make money
Knitting with alpaca
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Knitting with banana fiber yarn

Knitting with beads
Knitting with camel yarn
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with cotton

Knitting with dog/cat hair
Knitting with DPNs
Knitting with linen
Knitting with metal wire
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Knitting with silk
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with soy yarn
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Knitting with wool
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Lace patterns
Long Tail CO
Machine knitting
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Moebius band knitting
Norwegian knitting
Olympic knitting
Participating in a KAL
Pillows
Publishing a knitting book
Purses/bags
Rug
Scarf
Shawl
Short rows
Shrug/bolero/poncho
Slip stitch patterns
Slippers
Socks: toe-up
Socks: top-down
Steeks (yikes!)
Stockinette stitch
Stuffed toys
Swatching
Sweater
Teaching a child to knit
Teaching a male how to knit
Textured knitting
Thrummed knitting
Toy/doll clothing
Tubular CO
Twisted stitch patterns
Two end knitting
Writing a pattern

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Lolly beat me to posting these, but last week I created this little mosaic of some new knitting patterns (and designer knitwear) that are inspiring me for fall:



It looks like we chose the same Norah Gaughn patterns that Berocco recently previewed. (If you click over to Flickr the mosaic has notes/credits.) I am especially excited about the Justina skirt, and I've already been looking for some yarn possibilities. I'm going to have to size it down slightly, but it doesn't look like that should be too much trouble. I'm also really liking Unmentionables from the summer Knitty, except if I knit it, I would size it down (for my apparently freaky-small hip size - I don't think I'm really unusually-sized, but knitwear designers obviously don't think people come as small as me) and knit it from the top down as a skirt rather than bloomers. The bloomers idea is cute, but I don't think I'd actually wear it. As a skirt though, this pattern has a lot of potential. I love the ruffle. I like a couple of the sock patterns in this new Knitty as well, but am kind of feeling "meh" about the tops. Most of them are not sized properly for me (I tend to fall precisely in between the XS and S), and they aren't fabulous enough that I'd want to do the math to resize them. I have the yarn in my stash for Coachella and wouldn't have to resize that one, but I'm not sure I'd wear it. I have enough in my queue anyway!

Speaking of queues, I got into Ravelry last week. It was a 4.5 week wait from the time I added my name to the list until I got the invite last Monday. I hear that there is some bitterness out in blogland about the wait time and the belief that only the "cool kids" are being invited. Here is a letter that should explain clearly that this isn't the case. If you are waiting, I sympathize; I know it's hard. It is true though that Ravelry is still in beta - it really is not ready to handle everyone who wants in quite yet. The site so far is fabulous, just as everyone else keeps saying. I am boggled at how much they have done and just how much this site can do - all for free. While you wait, you can watch the news feed, and my biggest, best suggestion is to make sure you have a Flickr account and start taking photos of your stash and projects. I wish I had been working on that while I was waiting because it's going to take forever. Without all the photos, my notebook looks pretty boring. (And I only have a fraction of my stash listed so far, photos or not.) Anyway, the wait is most definitely worth it. Playing around there has grown my queue exponentially!

HSKS Quidditch

1. Ernie MacMillan
2. Narcissa Malfoy
3. Florean Fortescue
4. Petunia
5. Bill
6. Bloody Baron
7. cat
8. a flower in his lapel
9. broomstick
10. Baggins

Linked photo scavenger hunt:

Voldemort
Lucius Malfoy
Movie 5 Poster
Dolores Umbridge
Ginny Weasley

Bonus, because I love Helena Bonham Carter:

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Once again, I have very little knitting progress to report. Actually, I did complete something (two of them!) but I need photos before I give the details. Soon, soon. As soon as I weave in the ends (how I hate doing that!) and we get some sunshine again. We had a few hot days, followed by a downpour complete with thunder and lightning (rare here) on Sunday night. It actually smelled like rain, which is very rare here since it rains so much and stays fairly damp most of the time. I grew up in a drier climate, where a week of summer heat would be broken by the relief of a thunderstorm and the smell of hot earth and concrete soaking up the rain. Here it is rare enough to inspire open doors and windows around the neighborhood, and people out on their porches, music playing softly, admiring the warm, rainy night. After that though, we are back to the usual dreary, cloud-covered skies, and no good light for photos.

I was supposed to do some sewing over the weekend. I managed to get the sewing machine out of the closet upstairs and relocate it to the floor by the kitchen table. That was the closest I got. I was supposed to make some stitch markers too. Do you think I could find those silly pink-handled needle nose pliers anywhere? Of course not! I know they are in the house somewhere and will turn up sometime, but I'm on a bit of a deadline. So do I buy another pair and make the stitch markers, or do I order some purrrrrrty ones off etsy? Decisions, decisions.

My cardigan pattern search has turned up several possibilities. What I've found, though, is that what makes for a good all-purpose layering cardi also makes for very boring knitting.



This first one is from the book Modern Classics by Louisa Harding. I'd probably want it in a solid color, charcoal or black. Can you say BORING to knit?



This next one is from Classic Knits by Erika Knight. I'm really liking this one (although, also, boring knit). Actually, I love everything about this photograph and I think I'd like to go live in it. The dress, the grey tights, the boots, the dark wood shelf full of books, the old windows, even that telescoping lamp. Yeah, I'll just go live there. Really though, I checked out this pattern at the bookstore since I don't have either of these books, and it would be quick. It uses Kid Silk Haze doubled, but I would probably sub the yarn. It occurred to me that I have six balls of Yorkshire Tweed 4 ply in lustre, which is an amazing dark emerald color, that I bought because it was on sale and I needed to spend a certain amount for free shipping, so I bought the number of balls that would take my order just to that amount but not over, yada yada. Anyway, six balls? It's really a random amount. But I wonder if I knit it at a loose gauge if I could get a little cropped, three-quarter sleeve cardi out of it? Joy, from Vintage Knits, takes 10 balls (1200 yards) of the same yarn for the smallest size. It's quite fitted, but has full length sleeves some other details that would use more yarn. Or is it just really, really wishful thinking that I could get a tiny cardi out of 720 yards of discontinued 4 ply wool?