Drive-by Posting

April 26, 2009

I think I’ve qualified for missionary status.


March FOs and Sundry

March 15, 2009

*sidles sheepishly on screen*


Been awhile, huh?

1. Things that have been accomplished so far in the month March, specifically, things that are fiber-related.

First up is something I started near the end of February, in an attempt to deal with some of the random cotton scraps littering my Minnesota mini-stash.

This neat pattern is the NunuYaya Washcloth by Jess Marks-Gale, available here for free. After I finished two of these I had the awful idea of wet-blocking them…out on our porch, where it was readily dipping below 0 degrees at night. This is the result – a star frozen solid enough to use as a shuriken.

Here’s one being propped up by the other. I don’t know exactly what yarn this is – some sort of cotton worsted from the knitting club’s grab bag.

Near the beginning of March, I went a little beret crazy. I started the River Tam, by Jessamyn Leib, as a stash-buster. I wanted to use a skein of Classic Elite Yarns Alpaca Sox that I’ve had for at least two years and I knew I didn’t want to make socks. The stash-busting was a failure – I still have enough for another hat – but I think the project was an success.

The pattern is free, and written for sport weight yarn, so I adjusted by casting on 122 stitches instead of 86. The hat is extremely versatile, you can shape it in a variety of ways, such as the beret above, or my personal favorite, below:

I loved this hat so much that I did something unusual (for me) – I knit it again, less than three days later:

The yarn for this hat has a story. Two weeks ago, I attended a class at The Yarnery, my LYS, as I had been asked if I could volunteer my experience with Japanese in a class on knitting from Japanese patterns. As a thank you, I received the ever-coveted yarn store gift certificate. I managed not to spend it that night, but my strength only held out till the following Friday knit-night. A skein which I’d had my eye on for awhile suddenly became irresistible – one of Misti International’s Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Chunky in the colorway ‘Foxtail.’

I loved everything about it – the weight, the softness, every single color…I spent the ride home on the bus petting it while my friends whispered worriedly. I spent about 3 hours looking for a beret pattern, before giving in and casting on another River Tam, this time with only 58 stitches. It took less than a day, considering the yarn weight, and I’ve worn it every day since that the weather has allowed.

2. Yesterday was Pi Day, March 14, also known as 3/14, the first three digits in pi. A groups of friends came over and one of them used his crazy from-scratch cooking skills to whip up a lemon tart and an odd apple pie. I don’t have a picture of the apple one, but the lemon tart couldn’t be missed.

Yes, that is a pi symbol made of crust in the center.

3. I’ve been playing around with a site called Inkubook. It’s intended for people who want an actual book filled with their own pictures and captions. The prices are pretty reasonable, so I’m putting one together with my photos from Japan. I’ll post when I’m done and have received it, since hopefully it will measure up to the quality I’m picturing in my head.

4. My mother and I spent two weeks chiding each other since she was convinced I hadn’t put a photo of Charlie on the blog, knitting, and I was convinced that I had. Well, she was right. I had posted my picture of Charlie knitting…in a private entry that only I could see.

So here it is:

Just to Watch it Dye

February 25, 2009

The Macalester College knitting and crochet club got together to dye yarn with Koolaid this past weekend, with almost entirely good results.

It was a fun project – two packets of lemonade flavor and two of lemon-lime, plus about 10-15 minutes in the microwave turned this bowl of yarn soup into this lovely skein:

I purposefully put a twist in the skein to get a few white spots. I have no idea what I’m going to do with it. I thought of making a hat for myself, but I definitely don’t have a scarf or mittens to match.

Quite a few interesting results, with few mishaps (some skeins got tangled), but a few odd side-effects.

Moldy hands, for one.

In other news, I did manage to churn out another FO for February.

A cat sweater, from the the pattern Cats Love Sweaters, by Christine Landry, available for free. I knit it from Plymouth Encore Colorspun, my one falling down so far on the No New Yarn Rule this year.

I usually put it on Boomer in the evenings to keep her from sitting in front of the heating vents. During the day however, I just leave the front door open while I’m here so she can lounge on our porch. Must be 70 degrees in the sun out there.

Night of the Living Lint

February 10, 2009

On Sunday, my housemates and I did something that might be considered atypical of college students – we spent an hour or so our free time cleaning the house. The previous occupants had been a little lax in that department and sporadic cries of disgust were heard throughout the house as one of us or the other expressed our disbelief at some collection of dust or crud. The stove was particularly nasty.

However, the biggest surprise came later that night when I went to move the laundry along. I hadn’t cleaned out the lint trap when I did laundry last week and decided that now would be a good time to scrape it clean.

Here’s what I found:

What’s that, you say? Could it be?

That’s right, it’s a solid centimeter of pure lint. Nobody had cleaned it out in months. Nasty. Also, fire hazard and the probable reason the dryer did such an awful job this past week.

In other news, Charlie has succumbed to the allure of knitting (pictures forthcoming), I finished a pair of mittens and a shawl, and the cat is still cute.

January Finished Objects

February 1, 2009

January is a fairly productive month for me, thanks to 14valentines, which is basically my version of Christmas knitting, with all the attendant panic, despite my “years of experience” (all three of them).

First up were the Simply Ginny socks. I had more trouble with these than I’d had with a pair of socks in a while. The yarn was on the thin side for fingering and it made the spots where I divided the stitches among the needles really obvious. Otherwise, they’re really soft and I had a lot of fun knitting socks that only took about four days total to knit. Now I just need to cut down on the time between each sock.

My biggest accomplishment this month was a set for my cousin’s second baby. I realized rather late in the game that I had knit a blanket and dress for the baby’s older sister but the new little girl had nothing.

I chose a few patterns, including Saartje’s booties, one I had done before. Very fiddly, but worth it with the right buttons. The sweater is ‘Baby Mine’ by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and the hat is the Norwegian Sweet Baby Cap by Gro. This was my first time trying out Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock and I’m fairly pleased. I think I’ll be using it for special projects that aren’t actually socks, since all of their colorways are much to pretty to cover up with shoes and jeans and my search for clear plastic sneakers has failed me.

Finally, on the last day of January, I managed to finish off a pair of mittens.

These are the Cat Mittens, designed by Jorid Linvik, available for purchase here. I took a crack at a pair of Selbuvotter about a year ago, finished one mitten and inexplicably hated the thing. It looked fine, but all I wanted to do was chew it up, throw it in the compost pile and forget the cursed thing ever existed. This time, it worked out. I think the cats might have made a difference.

14valentines started today and I’m not quite running behind. The projects for the 6th, the 10th, and the 13th are…not quite there. So join me as I panic slightly and attempt to finish a sock, a shawl, and a sweater in two weeks.

Cast (On) Party

January 1, 2009

This is everything I currently have in progress, knitting-wise. All of it has to be done by, say, February 1?

Every year, I participate in something called 14valentines on LiveJournal. It’s not a fundraiser, but rather a way for artists and writers and anyone who can think of a way to participate to raise awareness about womens’ issues. Every day for the first fourteen of February, the organizers post an essay about the issue of the day and highlight a charity focused on that issue.

Starting last year, participants provided a link to the post featuring what they had written/drawn/baked/knit/created icons and a post was made at the end of the day listing everyone’s accomplishments.

In 2007, the first year 14valentines was opened up for everybody, I decided to participate. Coming off of 4 years of high school art, I figured I’d probably draw something for each day.  Instead, a few months of procrastination later, I realized that I most definitely did not have 14 drawings worthy of being posted in the public eye. I did, however, have quite a few knitted items.

Thus, for the past two years, for the first fourteen days of February I have posted something that I have completed since the previous February. I’ve had various goals in the past, mostly focussed on topping last year’s performance. Next year I hope to show projects with a focus on charity knitting.

Anyways, show-off time:

Starting from the top and going clockwise, the first project is a pair of Simply Ginny Socks! a free pattern by Anna Peck. I’m knitting with them with Berroco‘s (vaguely) new sock yarn, Ultra Alpaca Fine, in Potting Soil. I love this yarn – it’s a little thin for a sock yarn, so I’ve switched to using size 0s and 1s, rather than the pattern’s recommended 2s and 3s.

Next is the material for a baby set for my cousin’s new baby, due in January, including booties, a hat, and a sweater in Blue Moon‘s Socks That Rock Mediumweight, in the color Oregon Clover Honey. The booties are almost done, I used Saartje’s pattern (in the right-hand column, free) because, while it’s a pretty fiddly pattern, the results are adorable. The Sweet Baby Cap (free) and the sweater, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee‘s Baby Mine (not free), haven’t been cast-on yet, but I’m not too worried about them. I have plenty of time.


Next to the baby set materials is something most of you should be familiar with – Eiffel, still unfinished, mostly because I want the darn thing to get past my waist and it’s taking more yarn than I had planned on. I had to get over to the LYS to pick up more of Jarbo Garn‘s (Swedish) Tropik, a cotton/acrylic/bamboo blend that’s working out pretty well. It doesn’t shed too much while I knit and it’s truly soft.

The black-and-white thing on the far left is one of Jorid Linvik‘s (Norwegian) Cat Mittens (not free). Jorid’s doing something neat – patterns that have many traditional Scandinavian design elements, but incorporate cats, birds, and other animals into the main part of the design. I’m using Knit PicksPalette in White and Black and they’re are going really fast, considering their complexity.

The purple thing above the mitten is the one I’m the most worried about finishing. It’s MimKnits Adamas Shawl (free) and it’s still a bit on the puny side considering the amount of time I have left. What’s really slowed me down has been adding beads to the pattern, something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, but a real time-eater. I’m using another Knit Picks yarn for this one (I’m kind of a fan), Shadow, a merino laceweight, in the Vineyard Heather.

Finally, dead center (and kind of dead-in-the-water), is the second Slippery Sock (remember?). It’s doing better know that I can cable without an extra needle, but of all of these projects, it is the one I want to work on the least. Just plain bad luck, considering how much I love the yarn, Mountain Colors Bearfoot in ‘Wilderness’, a birthday present from a friend.

That’s all for now. I’ll post again as I get closer to preparations for the spring semester and start finishing some of this pile. I hope.