29 December 2006
First, and most importantly, thank you all for your kind words re: my knitting and (more importantly) the mid-winter blues. I know there's lots of 'debate' out there about the line between knitting and the personal, and I appreciate all your support. It's nice being home and tomorrow, I head to Boston for my annual new-years-meet-up with my five best gal-pals from college. I think that will do wonders to refresh my spirit. The last few weeks have caused me to think, quite a bit, and for now I'll say that the new year promises some substantial changes. More on that as things settle themselves.
In the meantime, my holiday knitting is still slowly finding its way to recipients.
I knit this scarf for my brother (who, to my amazement, patiently posed for pictures on Christmas night).
Pattern: My own (sand stitch with a slip-stitch border -- it looks so tidy!)
Yarn: Knit picks Merino Style in "Nutmeg" (or, as Theresa says, whatever they're calling beige these days)
Needles: Lantern Moon, US 8 straights
And speaking of holiday knits, when we were babies, my mom knit these (monster) stockings for us. Santa still struggles to fill them every year (lots of underwear, oranges, and toothpaste over the years!).
More knitting to come as gifts are given... I hope you all had wonderful holidays and, if you don't hear from me before then, a wonderful New Year!
22 December 2006
LOOK! I knit something!
One Endpaper Mitt, at long last (sorry about the flashiness of this photo... nighttime pics suck).
The outside looks depressingly amateurish, pre-blocking. But the inside? I love the inside.
I also love the way you can see where I switched which color I held in my left hand (I knit continental).
Other things to love? Tubular cast on. HUGE pain in the ass to do, but damn, it looks good. And so stretchy.
In life, there are things that make me wonder -- like those mushrooms that will kill you if you cook them for 30 minutes, but won't if you cook them for 45. Or those fish that are part poisonous and part edible. After these mushrooms and fish killed one person, who decided to try again, but cook it longer? And coconuts. Who was the first person who tried to get into a coconut to see if there was something worth eating in there? I feel the same way about the tubular bind off. What sick mind thought that trying that combination of weaving and stitching might turn into a good bind off? It mystifies me. But I love it, despite its finicky-ness. It looks pretty.
So, moral of the story -- the first mit is... well... a bit of an ugly duckling. But I learned a bit. And maybe blocking will help. And perhaps, just perhaps, the second will be lovelier.
I also frogged the fingerless mitts from the last post and reknit them. They were gifted today, along with the "hippie hat" I knit over the summer, and were well received. I forgot my camera, but Julie promised me a photoshoot after the holidays.
On a more personal note, thanks for your patience with the sporadic blogging and e-mail-returning. I've been having a rough go of it this winter and my enthusiasm for knitting (and, right now, everything else) is waning (the lack of knitting mojo isn't helping). I'm facing the reality of another dark winter alone here. I didn't mind so much last year -- I was distracted by a heartwrenching breakup, a need for serious life re-evaluation, and a new place. But this year... I guess this year, it's getting to me. And dissertation writing is a hard thing to do when your closest support network is an hour's drive away. I've got some decisions to make, and I'm finding it a bit rough at the moment. I usually love this time of year and the mid-winter blues don't normally set in until the end of January. Apparently, my blues are a bit precocious this year. I'm trying to knit through it and am teasing myself with a sweater's worth of malabrigo that I bought a few months ago and will turn into a cozy sweater for me (once I've finished my gift knitting). Going home for Christmas (tomorrow) should help too.
I close with a photo from the hike I took last week. I've got to enjoy this 60 degree weather while it lasts!
18 December 2006
Thanks! Knitting to come. And hopefully a pattern for the blue socks.
16 December 2006
Fingerless gloves for a friend. I ran out of yarn. Again. I just don't have the strength to frog two things in one day.
You'd think an FO would make me feel better.
Pattern: My own (losely based on Minty's Anastasia socks)
Yarn: Knitpicks Gloss in "dusk"
Needles: Inox US 1.5 (2.5 mm) dpns
Thoughts: Well... I love the idea of these socks. I'm not loving the Gloss so much right now. It shows every. single. mistake. Really. It makes me feel like I can't knit to save my life. (see the uneveness below? Yeah. That's on the TOP of one foot. After blocking. Ugh).
But the pattern? I knit the first of these on the flight to Hawaii. Despite a minor setback, I finished the second several days ago. I love that the mirror each other. I love the continuation of the eyelet spiral onto the heel flap (this was Jenfee's suggestion... she's smart). I think they're sexy (well, sexy as far as handknit socks go).
Here's to hoping my mojo comes back soon. I've got a week to get a lot of Christmas knitting done. Not to mention that thing they call a dissertation...
15 December 2006
No matter how I try to talk myself out of it, I'm acknowledging that this sock is just too big -- I took gauge again and again and again, and I was spot on. And now that I've turned the heel and tried it on, it's too big and suddenly I'm getting 7 st/in instead of 8. Grrrr... I can't believe I have to rip it out, but I do. sigh.
Beauty: Koigu. This is my first Koigu experience. I may never knit with another sock yarn again. It's so silky. It flows through my fingers. And the colors? There's no sunlight today to do the subtle variation, the flecks of color, justice.
Frustration: At times like this, when I go on large shopping adventures and suddenly become a consumer for the sake of perfect gift giving, I am always reminded of the people who don't have this luxury. This has particularly been an issue the last two holiday seasons, as I live in a very economically depressed region. Reading the Yarn Harlot today (and I know most of us do, so pardon me if I'm being redundant), I was further reminded how even the most disadvantaged Americans (and Canadians) are often so much better off than those who live elsewhere... it's sobering.
Beauty: Yet another lovely thing that comes from Canada (like Koigu, that is), Harlot has put out a challenge to the knitting community -- her goal? To double the amount donated to Doctors Without Borders by the knitting community. She expresses this goal in ways infinitely more articulate than my own. If you've not been over there to read her blog entry for today, you should. And then donate. I did. I'll be buying no yarn in the month of January (goodness knows, I've got enough) and donated what I spend the average month. It's just a good thing to do.
14 December 2006
Pattern: My own, if you want to call it a pattern
Yarn: Knitpicks Andean Treasure in "Sunset"
Needles: Bryspun US 5 dpns
Thoughts: Andean Treasure. Yum.
The reason I've been MIA for a while is that last weekend, my friends Julie, Shawn and Mia killed the two hogs they've been raising for the last six or seven months. For the veggies out there, I'm sorry for the brutality of that sentence, but this is a way of life down here. I went out to Kentucky early on Friday to help out and stayed the whole weekend. I took a TON of pictures... it was a really incredible experience and one that I was infinitely glad to have been a part of. I have so much respect for the way of life here, and feel that now that I've participated in this process, I can eat meat (or at least pork) with a sense of responsibility. I want to put a slideshow up on Flickr with descriptions for people who are interested in how it works, but I'm still trying to find a way to do that without grossing out people who don't want to be grossed out. Some of the photos are, admittedly, pretty hard to look at. In the meantime, I'll leave you with this:
This is the sun, finally coming over the mountains (around 9:30 or 10 a.m.) on Saturday morning, filtering through the trees and the smoke from the fire under the water barrels (you need A LOT of hot water). It was really cold Saturday morning. When we got up at 6 to start the fires, it was 5 degrees. By the time the sun hit, it was only around 25. But it was a beautiful morning (handknit socks came in very handy... I wore two pairs!).
08 December 2006
Evidently, they were a big hit, because they were worn. A lot.
I took them back from mom when I was home for Thanksgiving in the hopes that I could repair them, but I have no idea how to go about doing this. Any advice? These were knit with a regular heel flap, and although the flap itself is in great shape (as are the toes and the rest of the sole), the bottom of the heel is a complete disaster. I have plenty of yarn leftover from both socks... Is there a way to repair this? I've never really understood how darning worked, but I wonder if that is a remedy for this situation or if the holes are just too big. Can I snip the old yarn where I turned the heel (keeping the heel flap and somehow preserving those stitches) and knit a new heel? Help!
07 December 2006
Sorry to post twice in one day, but my friend Jennifer (in the middle there) has, after much harrassing, poking and prodding, finally started her own knitting blog today. Y'all should go check it out.
And for those of you who remember the picture of the cutest lamb ever, that photo was taken by my friend Greg, on the left. This photo is, obviously, from Hawaii. One of the best parts of the trip was hanging out with the two of them. They're two of my best friends and we all live so far apart these days (Greg's still in Chile, Jenfee just moved back to Philly, and I'm still here in the mountains). Have I mentioned recently how much I love the internet?
Is this your first colorwork project? If it isn't, what was your first, and has it survived the test of time?
I've worked in color before. In fact, my very first sweater, completed in late winter of 2005, was a fairisle sweater (I'm nothing if not ambitious). I'm proud to say that my first sweater is not only wearable, it's actually quite a nice sweater. Don't get me wrong, there are things I'd change (like have more than one inch of ribbing at the bottom, add an inch or so to the sleeves -- I have monkey long arms! -- and knit another decrease or two in the yoke so the collar is closer). But all in all, it's a great sweater. In fact, I'm wearing it today (please notice the snow in this picture -- it's our first this year and I'm pretty excited about it!)
What are your projects for this knitalong?
Well, I've already started Eunny's Endpaper Mitts.
I also plan on making these (I've bought the pattern and I've got a box of Knitpicks Palette on the way!).
You may recall, I was once tempted by the Telemark Ski sweater, but now that I've seen other pictures of it, I'm not sure. I also have a love/hate relationship with Telemark (is anyone happy with how that's wearing? It seems so harsh).
I'm also pretty sure there's at least another pair of fairisle socks in my future... We'll see.
06 December 2006
Pattern: modified Fetchings
Yarn: Knitpicks Swish, in "wisteria"
Needles: Brittany, US 5 dpns
A tiny booty, with leftover yarn. The pattern is from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I thought I would give it a go, although there are no newborn babies in my life right now (and no promise of newborn babies in the near future -- I'm sure I just jinxed something or someone by saying that). Conclusion -- it's so cute, it makes me crave babies. And the double knitting for the foot is absolute genius.
If you are not related to me, nor think you're gonna get a handknitted gift from me this Christmas, you can click on the photo for another recent FO.
I also to post a "thank you" for this, my new wallet.
Some of you might recall that on my September trip to Philly, my purse (and wallet. and iPod) was stolen. I've been using a hand-me-down wallet from my mom since then, in the hopes that I could replace the wallet I had lost. In October, my friend Julie went out to Portland for an old time music gathering and while there, she replaced my wallet for me. It's made by Queen Bee Creations (the same people who made my old wallet) and I love it.
Lastly, the sky was pretty incredible when I went out to take pictures today. It smells and looks like snow, but it's not cold enough.
And, icing on the cake, my Christmas cactus is blooming.
04 December 2006
Pattern: Conwy socks, from Knitting on the Road
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, in "watercolor"
Needles: Knitpicks dpns, US 0
Completed: 3 December 2006
Thoughts: Well, I messed up the pattern from the get-go by using US 0s. Too small to make a substantial sock. So I modified the number of decreases and the heel gusset so they weren't too small (although I had originally intended them for me, I am now gifting them to a smaller footed friend. Me: 1, Christmas: 0). I love the pattern -- looks complicated, knits up easily. And the yarn? Well, the striping obscures the pattern a leetle bit, but I love the colors, love the yarn, especially love the fabric it makes (so dry, almost crunchy-squishy -- that's a good thing). That said, it's gonna be a while before I use 0s again. My hands hurt.
In other news, I feeling very proud of myself. I used to just let mistakes go -- I was a spur-of-the-moment, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants knitter. I'm not sure what happened in the last few weeks, but something's changed. Yesterday, I was using lifelines. Today, I did this:
I spent half an hour tediously ripping down eight rows to correct a mistake I made doing a seedstitch panel. Not only did I do it once, I did it four times (in seedstitch, you mess up one stitch, you mess up all that follow. sheesh). Honestly, the mistake was barely noticeable. But the second I noticed it, I couldn't let it go. It looks so much better.
I leave you with a gratuituous kitten shot:
This is Phoebe (and the first picture I've gotten of her since she was a kitten that really looks like her, and not generic black cat), literally wrapped up in her favorite toy. It's a feather bob with a bell attatched with elastic string to a plastic stick. She loves it. She loves it when I shake it and run around with it, and she loves to just carry it around in her mouth, dragging the stick after her. It's really cute.
I stole/borrowed this meme and filled it out without letting myself think too hard about my answers. It's a quick and dirty way to get to know people, and I like it.
It’s Only Words
1. Yourself: crazy
2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend (spouse): nonexistant
3. Your hair: curly
4. Your mother: organized
5. Your father: keeperofanswers
6. Your favorite item: moomoo
7. Your dream last night: forgotten
8. Your favorite drink: coffeewhiskey (that's one word, right?)
9. Your dream car: '63mustangconvertible
10. The room you are in: study
11. Your ex: loved
12. Your fear: falling
13. What you want to be in 10 years? happy
14. Who you hung out with last night? hankandphoebe
15. What you’re not? patient
16. Muffins: blueberry
17. One of Your Wish List Items: winderandswift
18. Time: ablessing
19. The last thing you did: sneeze
20. What you are wearing: pjs
21. Your favorite weather: crisp
22. Your favorite book: atreegrowsinbrooklyn
23. The last thing you ate: nutella
24. Your life: good
25. Your mood: sleepy
26. Your best friend: thoughtful
27. What are you thinking about right now? inoneword?!?
28. Your car: green
29. What are you doing at the moment? this (duh)
30. Your summer: musical
31. Your relationship status: lonely
32. What is on your TV? nothing
33. What is the weather like? cold
34. When is the last time you laughed? tonight
03 December 2006
Pattern: Squirrel and Oak Mittens, from Hello Yarn
Yarn: Knitpicks Wool of the Andes, in Chocolate and Fern (I think)
Needles: Brittany dpns, US 5
Begun: uhhh..... not sure (some time during the grant-writing-hell)
Completed: 2 December 2006
Thoughts: I really enjoyed this pattern, although they are a little small (I should have measured my row gauge) and I could not, for the life of me, do the thumb in the fair isle pattern. You'll see that I "cheated" and made solid color thumbs.
These things don't really bother me. I intended these to be an exercise in stranded knitting, and I learned a lot. My tension is a little wonky -- blocking might fix that, but it got cold here suddenly and I just decided to wear them with out blocking. I modified the date at the top -- 2007, baby. I like the idea of imbedding the mittens in time, even if they aren't necessarily of heirloom quality. All in all, I'm pleased with them. I like knitting mittens. I see many more in my future.
I've been working on a pair of Christmas socks that are of my own invention. I took sketchy notes on the first sock, which I finished on the plane to Hawaii. Today, after finishing my Conwy socks (to be debuted tomorrow, when they are dry), I sat down to plug out the second of these new beauties. I knit six inches down the ankle to the heel flap when I noticed something was wrong. Yep. I forgot that I did ankle decreases on the first sock. I have to rip out everything I did today, plus some of the knitting I did before, to add these decreases. The frustration is overwhelming. I fought the urge to scream, folded them quietly, and put them out of sight. I'll return to them later this week.
The poor bush outside my front door. It was so confused by the warm weather we've been having that it's started to bloom. I bet those buds are not happy with the 35 degree weather that arrived with me from the North!
Look closely at this picture. See those dark threads hanging down the front of my knitting? Guess what that is? A lifeline. Yep, I finally learned my lesson and used a lifeline. I'm making up a pattern, and I wasn't sure if my "experiment" was gonna work. So I ran a lifeline through figuring I could rip back if I failed. Glad I did. The experiment did indeed fail. Frustration-free, I ripped back and kept right on knitting. Hurrah!
02 December 2006
- my paper went extremely, extremely well. I felt very confident and comfortable reading it, I felt strong in my ideas and my arguments and, as a result, it was very well received. Thank you to all of you who asked!
- Hawaii is a truly incredibly place. I took almost 400 pictures while there and won't bore/tease you with them. There are some up on flickr though. The weather was beautiful, the water crystal clear, the flowers obscenely pink... it was paradise. I'm glad my friends and I got out of Honolulu though. We rented a car and drove around the coast of Oahu. That was my favorite part of the whole trip. Well, that and snorkling. It was a much, much needed vacation and I have returned feeling very sane (for me).
- Being able to justify yarn purchases because of Christmas? Priceless. I finally invested in some Koigu for a Christmas present. I can't wait to knit with it.
- Lots of days on vacation does not mean lots of knitting, apparenlty. I couldn't even manage to get a full pair of socks completed for November's Sock-a-Month. Damn.
- Hopefully tomorrow, I'll have FOs to post. Squirrel and Oak mittens are done (I wore them today on a long walk... cozy!), I finished a sock of my own design on the plane and need to get the second one OTN. Conwy's will hopefully soon be complete, as well as a scarf for a prof who wrote me a last minute recommendation. Stay tuned for more.
I feel weird about blogging, it's been so long. I'm very out of touch with everyone else, as I didn't read blogs the whole time I was away. But hopefully I'll be caught up soon. I hope everyone ate too much this Thanksgiving and is buckling down for winter. Seems like it's coming with a vengeance this year!