29 December 2006

A little misty.

That's what I was after reading Stephanie's post about TSF. The world is lucky to have people devoted to such positive causes--I notice a lot of positive causes in the knitting blogiverse. There's TSF, Heifer International, the Dulaan project, tons that I'm sure I'm forgetting, and the smaller, more personal causes--Relays for Life, personal needs for ailing family and friends...there's so much work being done by so many people who could easily say that they haven't time for things like that.

Do you think it's because knitters can't stand to be doing only one (or thirty-seven) things at once? That we have a yen to see people properly warm (and, by extension, properly fed, cared-for, and loved)? Or is it just that wool (and silk and alpaca and tencel and bamboo and cotton and qiviut) really do make us better people than we are without them? (I know I feel most generous when I've got my paws in a pile of cushy, shiny softness--soft things make one's heart glad)

Brings me joy to be even the tiniest part of it.

Off to go play with Sinclair and maybe actually figure out this lace-weight spinning thing. It probably involves making a new drive band for the smallest & second-smallest whorls. *sigh* It's a good thing I'm filled with goodwill at the moment.

27 December 2006

Middling.

Here we are, between the holidays. And, it seems, between everything else. I'm between taking photos--we forgot to take the camera back to Pennsylvania with us for Christmas, and I forgot to take a photo of the Super Seekrit Christmas knitting. It was a brown felted pot (think clay pot without handles; that's about right). And I knit one of those crazy Fun Fur scarves for the Christmas bingo pile. (What, you don't have Christmas bingo?)

In yarny present-hood, I got the lace flyer for Sinclair (which I begged for). I was noddling with it last night and the good news is that yes, it does make very tiny yarn. The bad news is that the adjusting and the fiddling and the frequent use of a screwdriver really hinders my ability to leap into my spinning. I am forced to trod sedately. I've never been good at treading sedately. Not treadling, mind you. The treadling is quick like lightning. It's the planning that gets me. The deliberateness of wanting to spin. And now if I want to go back to my other yarn (the lilac stuff), I gots to get out the screwdriver again. I just need another wheel, is all. *ducks and runs from the lightning bolts*

My dad, without knowing what he was even looking for (he just went and looked for knitting books--didn't bother to check my Amazon wishlist or anything), gifted me with the Indomitable Yarn Harlot's Knitting Rules! and Mason-Dixon Knitting. I'd call that a success.

I was planning to ply (attempt to ply?) the teensy lacey bits of yarn from last night's adventure today, but I think that something else will have my attention today. I've got to check in on a friend who was in the hospital last night.

I hope the holidays (whichever you might celebrate, and if you're not celebrating, I hope late December is pleasant & joyful in a general way) were kind to you all, and best of luck deciding on those knitting resolutions. We've only got a few more days to pretend we'll buy less yarn and be more faithful to our projects.

20 December 2006

Holiday meme!

Borrowed from Knitting Iris.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate. Mad props if it's made with real chocolate & cream, but mostly I like the cheap-o instant mixes with the suspicious little marshmallows. I really do like those a lot.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? Always wrapped. With amusing names on the tags.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Colored! I personally appreciate people who can manage that wonderfully classy white/gold/red/green thing at the holidays, but I know I'm incapable. I loves me a gaudy tree, and I loves me some tinsel. It is sad that having a cat has thus far kept my tree tinsel-less, but I'd rather have no tinsel than a trip to the vet.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? If there were mistletoe here, we'd really never get anything done. And the few people who come to the Little Blue House probably don't want anyone here kissing them.

5. When do you put your decorations up? The minute the semester is over. This year, it was December 12. I would like to decorate the day after Thanksgiving, but life has yet to cooperate for that.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Peanut Blossoms.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? This was a recurring one: on Christmas Eve, after the church candlelight service, we'd drive around and look at the lights. As it got later in the evening, my dad would point out one of those blinking red radio tower lights, and Mom would say it was Rudolph, and we'd rush home and Mark and I would go right to sleep.

8 . When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? What do you mean, "the truth?" Hardcore believer. For life.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Nopers. Though, sometimes, we're forced to have one side of the family's Christmas celebration the Saturday before Christmas (sometimes that's very early, too, or after, depending).

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? Loudly. Our ornaments are a mish-mash of colorful glass balls I got at Pier One and castaways from both my parents & Bill's. At least 3 strings of lights. And always a star on top.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Both, sometimes. It's harder to be really excited about snow when you have to drive in it and school's never cancelled.

12. Can you ice skate? You bet your blades I can.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? This is going to sound silly, but the gifts I have loved best have always been stuffed animals. I think Cheetah is my favoritest ever, though Franco & Wolf are high up. And now that I have Sinclair, I can't help but love him. But the stuffed animals--they're the best.

14. What's your favorite thing(s) about the holidays? The lights. I love the times when you can just lie on the couch, no lights but the tree lights, and be snug for a while. I like to look at the tree and unfocus my eyes so that everything glitters in double. And I do love carols. Can't sing, but I still like to try.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Peanut Blossoms. And chocolate covered pretzels from Wolfgang Candy.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Our Christmas Eve dinner (the only time of year that there's cloth and candles on the Wendt table) and my mom's devious plans to make us hunt though half the county to get to our presents.

17. What tops your tree? A star. Always a star.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? I like the giving part. I like picking out gifts that I know people will like, and so I wish (every year) that I had started my shopping earlier.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? "Little Drummer Boy" (yes, Laura, even if it is the longest song ever) and "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear"

20. What is your favorite holiday book? Dickens' A Cricket on the Hearth. Sentimental tripe, and I love it.

21. Candy canes yuck or yum? I can eat one candy cane a year. I generally get bored with hard candy. I like the munching part.

21. What's number one on your Christmas list this year? Aside from the peace on earth & goodwill to all, there was Sinclair, and he's got. Now I'd like for Bill and I to be able to run this familial holiday gamut (you know, a dozen places in 48 hours again) without feeling like it's a gamut. I'd like to enjoy the holiday instead of being stressed out by it.

17 December 2006

Print o' the Wave Stole: Finally

She is finished! Finally. And I'll say this right away: don't look too closely--she's riddled with mistakes. As a first lace piece and as something I was trying to finish on a deadline, I just couldn't frog it back as often as I might have wanted to. I did have to do some serious tinking at times (not yet used to the teensy stitches and the fact that they don't look like much until stretched out), but it's far, far, far from perfect. The fun specs: knit in Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud, color Smoke, on size 3 Inox circs. Took me every bit of two hanks (and I had to hand-wind those bitches into balls. Much cursing done there.), and I followed Eunny's pattern & blocking advice. It's a beautiful pattern, full of all of the instructions a complete n00b like me could want.

Have some detail photos:

This is one corner, showing my cheap solution to not knowing how to deal with the curved edging--I made it into pointy scallops. Now I just have to wait until it dries, and then I'm going to run around the house, trailing it behind me like fairy wings. Now that it's blocking and almost looks like it's supposed to look, I don't hate it anymore.

My next lace adventure will be Ademas, from Knitpicks, knit in Alpaca Cloud Stream. Someday, I'll spin enough laceweight to knit Icarus. But for now, I'm going to spend some quality time with Sinclair.

15 December 2006

Super Seekrit Christmas Knitting Part 1: Vanquished

I finished one Christmas object--the only one I was absolutely certain I was going to make--and it's currently drying, next to my betta fish, Clark. (He looks like Superman--all blue and red and fierce.) But, since it's seekrit, can't take a picture. I can tell you, though, that it's a felted item made from my very own handspun. The yarn I used is a two-ply Corriedale (in natural ecru) and Dark Welsh (a very pleasingly rich dark brown) and a little bit of HelloYarn hand-dyed merino that I spun on my very first drop spindle. (It was a Babe spindle, one of those jobbies with the red plastic discs. Totally functional, very resilient to being dropped on the floor a lot while I was learning. Pictures of my new(ish) sexy Cascade to come soon.)

I love felting. I don't do it in the washing machine, since I don't usually do laundry in hot water and I don't even know if there is hot water connected to the washing machine here. I just fill up the sink with bitchin' hot water, toss in the object and some Palmolive, and scrub away. Keeps my always-cold fingers nice and toasty, I can see exactly how much shrinkage is happening, and I can see any spots that aren't felting as vigorously as the rest and correct it. Also, as someone whose life is dedicated to sitting around with my face in a book, the vigorous hand-agitation is almost like a workout. (How very, very sad.)

Since the semester has ended, I've been much more active in terms of my blogging. I'm going to try to continue this trend, but I won't be so foolish as to make promises. We've done that before, and we've always been proved terrible liars. Of course, as a fiction writer, lying is kind of a trademark skill. Interesting. At any rate, my most current fiction project (a novel) is part and parcel of this very sheepy endeavor, so it's probably in my best interest to keep alive in the Blogiverse.

As I try to do that, expect catch-up knitting & spinning photos as a vain attempt to overcompensate for my habitual prolonged absences. As part of my overcompensatory plan, have a photo of lovely flowers from my November trip to Riverside, CA. I don't know what they are, but they were growing in the courtyard of the Mission Inn. (It's just beautiful. I didn't stay there--too swanky for TA salary--but I would have liked to.) The flowers aren't knitting; they're prettier than anything I knit. Hopefully, if you're caught in the northeast and the endless winter spiral of grey, they'll cheer you up a bit.

And have a tree, too. It's ours, procured from the local boyscout troupe, and we definitely need some larger ornaments.

14 December 2006

Pictures!

It's yarn! Well, actually, it's a single, spun from the merino/tencel fiber that posed with Sinclair in the last post. My goal is to spin up those three braids into varying combinations--some plied lilac to lilac, some lilac to midnight, some midnight to the variegated, etc., and see if I can't bash a big, cozy shawl out of it. I'm not yet jumping into spinning laceweight (though I'm hoping for the lace flyer for Christmas and laceweight is one of my goals) because I've had this fiber on hand for more than a year now (waiting not-so-patiently for a spinning wheel). And this fiber said, "Make us into a big, cozy thing," when I bought it. The fact that it wanted to be anything other than held on my lap and petted quite surprised me. (That's what I would have done with it, had the fiber not instructed me to do otherwise.)

In other parts of the life, I've also been baking. You know, since it's sugar-coma time. Lookit. Cookies:

They're my favorite Christmas cookie of all time, the Peanut Blossom. They're remarkably easy to make, one batch makes 3 dozen, and it's completely easy to eat all 3 dozen in 3 days. I'll be making more of these on Saturday.

I've begun some Super Seekrit holiday knitting, a felting experiment with the first of my Sinclair-spun yarn. (You'll see that yarn when the item is finished. The fiber was leftover from the Zoo spinning presentation disaster.)

Any thoughts on giving handspun yarn as a gift? I want to make some beautiful yarn that recollects the sea (the Pacific Northwest, to be exact) for a dear friend who is just getting into knitting. Any suggestions for fiber locating? HelloYarn, my favorite (and first) fiber source, sells out so very quickly. In an ideal world, I'd do the dyeing myself, but I think one new major crafting supply (Sinclair) is enough for one holiday. I love my husband, love him for splurging on a wheel when we could definitely have put that money elsewhere, and I think I'll try to limit my "ooh! I need that!" impulse for a while. And bribe him with cookies.

10 December 2006

IMG_1246[2]


IMG_1246[2]
Originally uploaded by metallikitten12.
This is Sinclair, my brand spankin' new Ashford Traveller. He's seen posing here with the fiber we're going to dive into as soon as I post. (And because I know you'll want to know, all of this fiber is from Cloverleaf Farms, purchased last year at Rhinebeck, and the two solid braids are merino/tencel blends, and the multicolored is a merino/silk blend.)

The name? Named after my most favorite Kiwi ever, Harry Sinclair. You may know him as Isildur from Peter Jackson's masterful rendering of Lord of the Rings, but he's also a fantastic director in his own right. My favorite Harry Sinclair film is The Price of Milk.

And now we're off to spin.

04 December 2006

Stolen Time

This time is being bodily wrenched from writing two final papers (one of which is almost done but could be 12 pages of arriving at no actual point, which is a problem) that are due on Thursday. But I can't keep the excitement in.

I have a spinning wheel in the mail.

It's an Ashford Traveller.

When it arrives (I don't know if it's a he, she, or other--wouldn't know until we've officially met), there will be many pictures. And I might hyperventilate, too. This wheel is the only thing keeping me focused on the academic crap, because when it arrives, you can bet your booty that all else takes a back seat.

In other news, I finished the Print o' the Wave stole, but I may have to actually graft the join where I was a huge cheater and used a 3-needle bind-off. It's not blocked yet, but I know that corner's going to look stupid. *sigh* I didn't think I'd get to the point where I hated it, but I think I do. Hopefully we'll make up after blocking. (I hope to do the blocking when the finishing wax is soaking into the new wheel. Wouldn't want to get wax on the fiber, you know.)

You notice, of course, how the stole was in no way finished for Writing By Degrees? I got over that loss, because WBD was a huge success. I'm still trying to catch up with life after it, but it was fantabulous. Knitting writers, I hope to see you there next year.

I promise photos next week.

04 October 2006

What a horrid dream, or: why too much stress + knitting can be bad news

As posted earlier, I'm trying to finish Print O' the Wave by the 19th of October. And the edging is taking 1, 000 hours. And I have a Spanish exam coming up. Of course, that means that my dreams were plagued by failed knitting of epic proportions. I submit for your consideration this dream:


I dreamt that I had finished the stole (and was most ecstatic in my REM-land about this) and began the blocking process. That means the stole needs to soak for a while, and so I put my delicious ball of silvery-gray lacey goodness into the sink to soak. Upon returning, I find that my entire piece had turned fuschia (which is distinctly not gray and is as close to a color nightmare as could happen to this knitter), but in my dream I found that interesting despite the shock. And so I progressed to my bed (which will serve to block said stole when it's actually finished in real life) to set upon it with pins and patience, only to find that the stole had felted. It looked something like this, which is Amy's lovely felting project (picture it more fuschia, though). And it had felted from merino wool to silk. And was sheer, even see-through. Which would have been beautiful nonetheless (and I would have rejoiced at the magic sink and magic water)--except the dream-stole was the size of a handkerchief.


The horror! The horror!

29 September 2006

Jeebus.

It's been a long time. A really long time. I'm surprised they haven't kicked me out of the blogiverse, actually. Perhaps self-imposed exile is enough?


Though I obviously haven't been blogging, I have been knitting. In fact, I've been working on my first foray into knitted lace. I started with Eunny's amazingly wonderful Print O' the Wave Stole. I'm knitting it in KnitPicks Alpaca Cloud (what beautiful yarn and what suffering to hand-wind 440 yards of yarn at a time...). Yarn and pattern in my hands, of course, is probably massacreeing Eunny's lovely pattern, but this is a first attempt. And I am one of those knitters who can let a mistake go. Probably because my eyes aren't trained enough to really see them...we'll see when it's blocked. At the moment, I'm working the border (which seems to take a thousand years--I've been working on the border since the beginning of September), so the whole stole is a balled-up wad of smoky softness. But completely unidentifiable as lace just yet.


The original plan for this lace project was Holly having something beautiful and impressive to wrap about her at a very swanky wedding we went to on September 2. On September 1, I was just finishing the center panel. I didn't even get through the eyelet border before the end of the wedding weekend. *sigh* It really would have been perfect, too. My new goal is to get the stole finished by October 19, so that I can wear it to Writing By Degrees--BU's annual graduate-student run, globally-attended creative writers' conference. I'm one of this year's 3 co-directors, so I have to introduce one of our keynote speakers (which terrifies me). I'm hoping that finished lace around my shoulders (which will be freezing because Binghamton is already under frost advisory and it's not yet October) will give me a bit more social grace and eloquence. When I'm nervous, I'm Miss Malapromism. That's death to an English major. At the Ph.D. level. Which is me. *facepalm* So cross your fingers and say a prayer for me, yeah?

Even as I scramble to finish the lace, I wish, however, to start more lace. I bought the Ademas pattern from KnitPicks when I bought the yarn (if you're going to place an order, might as well be worth it...). I want to start it! But no. Finish one thing. Also, I've got to finish a baby blanket for a friend who's expecting. I dislike knitting baby items in public--people always assume it's for myself. Thank you, but no. For the love of God, NO! I want to hang a sign around my neck that says, "It's going to be a gift. Shut up."

I should go knit instead of blogging.

I should actually blog instead of intending to.

I should do so many things.


18 July 2006

Don't Look at the Leper Hippies.

That was the general reaction, it seemed, to the spinning demo weekend. To give some context, since we have a petting yard full of sheep and an alpaca and a llama, I volunteered to do a weekend-long spinning demonstration at the zoo. The director adored the idea and let me buy some fiber for the public to try spinning and such. This is how the weekend turned out:

In a zoo, packed with people (especially on Saturday for Ice Cream Safari), where the whole idea of the place is to go and look at things, I spent two days being decidedly and deliberately ignored. I could see people not looking anywhere near the gazebo I was in. The gazebo is a foot off of the main path, not near any animal displays, centrally placed between the ticket booth and the gift shop, and I had set up a table with fiber samples for the petting and information, a blanket full of spindles for trying, and hung the scarf and mittens set I was raffling up in a central location and in an attractive manner. I had a clear and informative explanation of the raffle typed and held in a picture frame. I had a schedule of events clearly posted. On Sunday, I even made colorful signs saying "Win Me!" and "Please Touch!". Out of 2 days and something like 600 people or more (we had buses of people come), I sold 10 raffle tickets to a total of 6 people (one nice man basically bought tickets out of sheer goodness rather than any interest whatsoever in the knitted goods). That's $10 of donations for the Zoo. It disgusts me. And I'm going to hold the prize and try this thing again, I think, regardless of how unscrupulous it is.

I ran a finger-knitting bracelet-making workshop both days. Probably 10 kids made bracelets (for free, out of yarn from my own knitting stash, including some very nice and flashy bits that were very popular). A few of their parents comprised the other raffle tickets, bought out of a sense of obligation for the bracelets. Maybe a dozen people both days actually stopped and checked out the table full of fiber and endured some information and demonstration. Mostly people averted their eyes and walked more quickly. I don't understand it. Case in point: On Sunday, Bill was the excellent Bill he is and came to fetch me lunch (Saturday I couldn't leave my stuff and wasn't willing to tear down and set up again to run to the top of the zoo and fetch foods, so I made do with a granola bar). While he sat with me for a while, a woman he works with passed by with her husband and child (probably 2 or 3). He said hello and waved and she waved back. And kept going. On Monday at work, she asked if he usually hung out at the zoo, and he explained that he was there with his wife. Who was the one he was standing with. To which she replied, "Yeah, what was she doing?" If you hadn't turned your eyes to the pavement and run away, you would know!. I don't exactly mind that a lot of people didn't stop and get the whole spiel or buy raffle tickets. (I'm hurt, but I think I'll survive.) It was the fact that so many people absolutely refused to look even in that direction. I'm not a scary-looking person. I have a very encouraging and cheerful customer-service voice (which I used all day and wanted to gag) that many of you know from listening to me order pizza. I wasn't selling insurance or religion or even really selling anything. I saved the raffle reminder until the very, very end of speaking (hoping people would READ THE SIGN themselves). I just don't understand. Lots of people have no interest in the fiber arts, I know, but even more people don't even know what the fiber arts are. Aren't people just a little curious about something they've probably never seen done before? It really makes me want to cry. Especially as someone who has always been the kid who wants approval.

I don't think I blossomed any leprous sores over the weekend. I didn't smell. And I had a whole bunch of soft, fluffy stuff I was begging people to pet and basically destroy. I called out gently to some, especially with little kids, who might like to know what the alpaca feels like since he's not part of the petting zoo. Or little ones who looked too little to go into the petting yard. Feel the sheep without getting stepped on. I invited people to try out the spindles. I asked people if they wanted to make bracelets. I did everything I knew how to do, and still no one really bothered.

I did have one guy who has probably already ordered his learn-to-spin kit and one little girl (whose dad is a prof in the geology department at BU, oddly enough) who had an absolute knack for it, but that's really about it. (Said girl's mother has an Ashford wheel and Kiwi fleeces from a trip they made for prof-dad's research, but girl never spun before. It's in her blood.) The problem is that this wasn't exactly about spreading the spinning love so much as it was a way to do something nice for the zoo, and it bloody well crashed and burned.

*sigh*

03 June 2006

Holly Has Too Been Knitting!

She just hasn't been doing anything else. Well, she has been playing We Love Katamari, too (for the PlayStation 2), thanks to an excellent friend who probably finds it amusing that the game has eaten my life. The good thing is that too much video games = buggy eyes, so I have to take breaks to knit because things don't swirl or flash while I'm knitting. Usually. So I do have some progress to show y'all!

Right there is the back of Vigdis, all finished (except the ends-weaving, of course) in all its cozy glory. It's almost 4 feet long, so finishing that up two nights ago (it's been between 85 & 95 degrees here since Memorial weekend) was warm work. Then again, before this week, I think the last time that I was warm was probably the previous August (the week before our wedding was particularly sticky). So I'm not really complaining.

Below: A little close-up action.










Since the back is finished and I was feeling brave, I decided to cast on for the left front panel of Vigdis. Except, you see, there is no left front panel for Vigdis. The pattern is a pullover. But I don't like pullovers, especially not one so long as this will be. I'm taking that cliched ol' bull by the horns and making my own front (I have never done such a thing before--sure, I whacked out an ice-cream pint cozy without a pattern a few months ago, but that took all of an hour and a half. This will take me weeks, and it's Important Knitting.). Own front means changing the knotwork, too, so I'm using a narrower set of S-hitches that will face each other over a button band. Thusly:

I've also decided that I need a sock on the needles, too, so I started up a regular old sock, toe-up, as described in the previous post, and I'm using a little yarnover lace pattern on the top of the foot and up the leg (when I get to the fabled leg, of course. The sock-knitting, when compared to my tunic sweater on US 11s, she is the slow.). The sock, in homage to the Yarn Harlot and the Sock of Fame, here poses with the always-lovely Holly Golightly. It's hard to photograph a black sock.






Can't see the pattern for anything, but I'll try another background when there's more progress. Probably a picture of me wearing the sock over a white sock so you can see the holey bits.

Just before Memorial Day I finished the Venezia "A Little Lace" pattern and gave the scarf to my mum (a late Mother's Day gift). Sadly, I gave it away before I took the picture, but you can imagine. It's just longer than the half-knit piece in the picture on the sidebar. You have good imaginations. I know you can do it.

In spinning news, I'm nearing the end of my Hello Yarn roving, and am preparing to break into the gorgeous fluff I got at Rhinebeck last fall. For that, I was hoping to have a spinning wheel, but alas, with renovations happening all over this house, there's no wheel in my near future. I am compromising with a featherweight drop spindle because I want some laceweight yarn from that lovely fluff I bought. (Pictures coming soon, promise.) What spindle? I'm really hoping for a Cascade spindle, the Shasta. Why hoping, you say? Because my birthday was 2 months ago, and in true form, my brother just asked me what I want(ed) for my birthday. What he wanted was a list from Cabela's (the camping/hunting/fishing outfitters)--he didn't "like" my Amazon wishlist (our family does this: "I don't like what's on your list. What else do you want?"). So I put together a list from Cabela's of things I wouldn't mind having (like a headlamp for knitting in dim places! one of those neat thermometers with a cord like Alton Brown uses!), but I also sent him a link to the Bellweather's list of Cascade spindles. With a note (and a phonecall) that said spindle was what I really wanted. I don't know what he decided yet. I'm hoping it's the spindle; otherwise, I'll place the order myself and that will inevitably include more fiber or some other bits of sheepy goodness that I ought not get right now.

And his birthday is in a week. I have no idea what to get him. I'd like to take him to a Binghamton Mets game & out for some excellent food, but the odds of getting him the 180 miles north to Bingo aren't good. Any suggestions for a late twenty-something who doesn't read much, not very into music, has given up collecting movies in favor of rental, and hasn't got much in the way of hobbies? He golfs and fishes, but he's got all the equipment he needs for those things.


11 May 2006

Startitis What?

Still too lazy to fight with Digicam. The difficulty is that this computer is so anciently slow that it takes me several minutes just to get through to this update page (I exaggerate not), so the process of uploading photos is gargantuan.


Since it's spring and I'm one paper and 40 portfolios-worth of grading away from summer freedom, I've decided to start a new project, one that I can work on while walking (the very long back of Vigdis, what with its bigness and cably goodness, is not that kind of project). And I've had that black and white Sockenwolle lying about. So I'm embarking upon my first set of toe-up socks (only second pair overall). I've cast on this morning, following Denise's Toe-Up Sock tutorial. I don't know who Denise is, but thank you, if you're out there, for great instructions! I've not decided what to do about the body of the sock yet. I'm fighting between a regular ribbing and something with a bit more bite to it. Just don't know. At the moment, I'm working most on yoking my anti-numbers brain into remembering how many rows I increased in and when I'm on a decrease row and when not. I ought to get a row counter in a big way.

This project may become car-knitting for the weekend, too, since we have a trip to near Philly on Saturday.

And I was probably supposed to leave for school half an hour ago, so this is me, signing off.

12 April 2006

Spring Knitty!

I keep meaning to update, but now the Spring Knitty issue is up, and I can't tear myself away long enough to fight with the digital camera just now. I will say that I've been making slow (very slow) but sure progress on the back of Vigdis. I think I'm going to miss my window for wearing it as a spring jacket (as in, missing my window by several months, really), but I still like the yarn and I love the pattern more every day. One thing I can't seem to get the hang of is cabling without a cable needle. I've tried it a few times on Vigdis, since it's cable city, but I lose stitches, things get pulled wonky...it's a mess. So I keep on with my curvy cable needle and wish it were quicker, but I really do like the security of knowing that those stitches aren't going anywhere.

I have the urge to knit ice cream pint cozies. I probably ought to put that on a set of DPNs and use it as TV knitting or walking knitting since Vigdis requires my attention fully and completely every other row. I have some sock yarn, but I want to make some pretty patterned socks this time and I haven't the energy to fuss with a new pattern and Vigdis at the same time. I keep flirting with the Jaywalker socks, but I don't know. I'm not sure if the yarn I chose would look nice with the pattern or not...it's that black and white Sockenwolle a few posts down. I'm open for suggestions if anyone has any.

Also: baseball season has started. I think that will help me a great deal in knitting progress, not so much in progress with the end of the semester.

One last thing: Amy's new yarn store, Make 1 Yarn Studio, makes me want to move to Canada...not that I didn't want to move to Canada before, but this makes me want to move to that side of Canada. You know, where it's really cold. Did you ever see such a beautiful yarn store? Such awesome-sounding events?

27 February 2006

+1 Hat

I finished the +1 Hat for my friend (my pseudo-Olympic knitting) last weekend. It's taken me more than a week to photograph it, but hopefully I'll get it to the P.O. bythe end of the week.

Perhaps it's in tribute to the late, great Don Knotts that my camera hand is indeed like The Shakiest Gun in the West. Blur-tastic, so my photos are.

It's knit in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran...curses to the yardage on those wee balls, curses! The gray bits are Andean Silk from Knitpicks.

Life is settling down a little bit now--only two more rounds of student conferences to go before Spring Break. And boy am I ever ready for Spring Break--heading to Georgia for a few days to visit with family. I have to start a set of socks or something so I have suitable travel knitting. Vigdis is a bit too fiddly for me to want to travel with cable needle and book and post-it notes and extra balls of yarn and such. Socks travel most easily. Of course, I also have to read Leslie Marmon Silko's Almanac of the Dead, which is nearly 800 pages of "you don't have time to knit," and grade 40 creative writing portfolios in that week, too. This being a full-time student and a full-time teacher at the same time is a bit ridiculous.




18 February 2006

Oh, We are Ashamed!

It's been very nearly a month (will be, tomorrow) since I've updated. Not for lack of desire to do so, though. Graduate school dug its claws in, and dug in hard. This is why I'm not an Olympian. *sigh* It's an awesome idea, though, and you wonderful peoples are doing such ambitious projects! Adrian has her lovely Highland Norsk, Colleen the modified Spring Breeze Top, Stephanie the Hardangervidda (which looks quite dangerous), and 4,000 more have their projects!

I'm an Olympian in spirit, though--I've been watching a lot of the Olympics (who knew curling was so addictive?), and working on a knit hat for a friend of mine in med school. I was lucky enough to stumble across one ball of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in Evergreen in the bargain bin of my LYS, Spin a Yarn. I'm (hopefully) stretching it into full hat length--in her Dublin Beanie pattern, Kel over at y(e)arn noted that the Cashmerino can end up a few yards short--by knitting the ribbed bottom (which folds up) in some Gray Knitpicks Alpaca Silk leftover from the Under the Hoodie. I'm getting ready to do the decreases at the top of the hat, so we'll see how my gamble pays off.

I'm still working, very slowly, on Vigdis. It's knitting I can't do if I want to pay attention to other things, so that leaves me without a whole lot of opportunity there. I am, however, skipping town for Spring Break in a few weeks, so hopefully I can get a good portion of the back done.

And now it's time to read. Because I'm an English major and that's all I'm allowed to do.

19 January 2006

We Got Yarn (and a Caribbean Amphibian)

Kermit, who has a lovely singing voice, is displaying the new yarns! That's 11 skeins of Nova, color 890, and 2 skeins of Sockenwolle, color 190. I wish I had some knitting progress to show, but I don't. I did cast on and knit the first 13 rows of Vigdis, but I didn't like the tension (cast-on was too loose, actually, and looked ridiculous underneath all of those lovely cables), so I frogged it.

I'm actually thinking of monkeying around with the gauge (probably a mistake); I'm not sure I really want my Vigdis to be as bulky as its measurements claim it will be. I'm thinking of this as more of a spring/fall coat than a couch-cozy (I have a polarfleece body bag/Penguin Wuzzie for that). I might jump down a needle size. I also want to exchange the pullover for the zippered on/off, which requires that I squirrel around with the whole front of the pattern. What I thought I would do is omit the big cable (that would be identical to the back of Vigdis) and substitute running S-hitches and put the zipper between them. Since there isn't a whole lot of body shaping going on, I'm hoping there will be little bloodshed involved.

In Shapely-Tank land, knitting is progressing. I'm not sure what to make of Turino Silk. I don't think I like it, actually, and that rather makes me sad. I do know that knitting with that yarn is absolute hell on my shoulder and wrists. Why is this? It's knitting up at the appropriate gauge, it's not actually that tight on the needles, but working with it is just sucking the life right out of me. But I want that tank-top, dammit, so I'm sticking with it. The best part of this yarn is that it's nearly impossible to split (that doesn't mean I haven't, but not often).

Does anyone ever find that the colors you most like to wear are the colors you least like to knit with? I'm a black/gray/blue girl (and I've never had a chance to knit anything blue! It's criminal! ...this is mostly because there are certain blues that are not okay, and I don't trust my computer's ability to show me the color of blue the yarn would actually be--it's too risky), but knitting with the gray Turino is dreadfully dull. I really love working with the pastel Venezia (A Little Lace, in the sidebar), but I will not wear those colors. That absolutely must be a gift. *shudder* They're very Easter-eggy. The lovely Nova yarn, which is a touch warmer in person than in the photo above, will be just right for a spring/fall warm cozy that I will love. But I think that knitting that much beige may just kill me. Black yarn makes me buggy-eyed. But that's my favorite color of all to wear!

Why must I be so perverse?

11 January 2006

The Chullo, She is Done!


See, I even added a pom-pom! (I, too, have a problem with "pom-pon," and so I add an m at the end. If that's wrong, I don't want to be right!)

At first I thought it would be too tight, not so much that if I put it on it would never come off, but if I put it on, what little effort I put into my hair would be for naught. Blocking completely solved that problem! A bit of a drenching and some pins, et voila! Hat that pops right on and right off the ol' bean.

I am still not entirely sure how I ended up with a hat in black (normal for Holly), gray (normal for Holly), and red-pink (WTF, captain?). I think it's because the red-pink yarn (it's kind of variegated, very shimmery, and completely impossible for a camera-ignoramus like me to photograph properly) both seduced me with its shinyness and its convenient availability in the ol' stash, right on top. And, I have no blue yarn. Which is heinous. I don't know how that happened, but I have no blue yarn (except for two skeins of some crazy Fun Fur that I don't know what to do with). Must remedy.

In other yarn-tastic news, the yarn for Vigdis has shipped! I decided to go with a yarn called Nova, from Sirdar, in a color that I hope will be a nice, soft light brown, like the color of dry wood. I have little faith in my monitor's ability to show color properly, especially looking at that picture of the hat (the gray is not very gray at all, though I think I'm blaming that one on the camera and the operator of said camera). At any rate, as long as color #890 isn't orange or yellow, we're in business. The most beautiful thing: Nova was on sale (in the discontinued yarn bin) at Carodan Farm. That place, it is magic: friendly, affordable, nice selection even when the yarn is way cheap. I got the yarn to knit Cleo (from Knitty, Summer '03, picture to be in FO's eventually) from them, too, also on sale. (As someone living on a TA stipend, there is no yarn but yarn on sale.)

In the stash, I had 5 balls of Plymouth Turino Silk in color 07 (a tweedy gray flecked with black) that I bought at a yarn store in Cumberland, MD, a year ago, that I had no idea what to do with. So I searched and searched until I remembered the Shapely Tank Top pattern from White Lies Designs. I check the yardage, swatch away, and booya! I have a home for my yarn. I'm interested to see how that turns out. Progress to come as soon as there's more than a few rows of garter stitch, yeah?

08 January 2006

Viking Knitting

I was on Amazon ordering a birthday gift for a friend, and I splurged (as you do). I justify this action by the fact that I didn't get one single bit of knitting swag for Christmas. Anyway, I decided that I needed Elsebeth Lavold's Viking Patterns for Knitting. Not only does that book fuel my love for all things medieval and older, it also has wonderful historical context, amazing patterns and charts, and it has prompted me to get over my irrational fear of charts. As a result, I knit up two of the knotwork charts just to get the hang of reading them.

We have, from bottom to top, knit in leftover Wool-Ease from the Newsboy cap, the happiness sign woven through a ring, the S-Hitch from Ardre with Cables, and also a bit of spinning (not done yesterday but I wanted to post it and I had the camera out) done on a Babe spindle from gorgeous Hello Yarn merino top.

And the cat found the picture pile to look mighty comfy:

Anyway, all of this knitting and such was to give me impetus and courage to start a new project. I have decided on Vigdis, from Viking Patterns. Now I have to decide on a yarn. It was knit in Rowan Chunky Tweed, but I doubt that said yarn is within my budget. Any suggestions for a cheaper, similar yarn that would also make the cables pop?

04 January 2006

What's a KnitBlog without a cat?

This is Hrunting (middle name Danger, last name Stupid). My dear, sweet, only-sometimes-evil Hrunting is just thrilled with my new toy, isn't she? She's 8 months old, and, surprisingly enough, usually lets the yarny things alone in favor of rending the curtains and wallpaper. And crumpled balls of paper.

Photobucket

This is a test post from Photobucket.com

Trial Run and Introductions

Have never worked with a blogging system in HTML before, so please bear with me.

The blog title comes from a (hackneyed) Scots Gaelic translation of "knitting needles made of holly," which combines my name and two of my favorite obsessions: knitting and the British Isles. I am a student working on my Ph.D. in English with a creative disseration in fiction, living in New York's southern tier and trying to cope with the snow. As a native Pennsylvanian, one would expect that I would be used to snow, but even after nearly 24 years, that is not the case.

Knitting to come soon--as soon as I figure out how to bend HTML to my wily will.