Monday, April 28, 2008

Once Upon a Time

Three women set out on a quest to see the funniest knitting writer in the land. They drove for hours through strange lands to the far away kingdom of Northampton to a magical palace filled with yarn. During their trek they encountered strange and wonderful things, such as a bat on the side of a building:

They made their way through hordes and hordes of knitters but managed to find seats in the kingdom's theater where the Fair Lady of Knitting Humor spoke:

After they trekked back in hordes to the magical palace of yarn and fiber to meet her Highness (one gentleman exclaimed "Goodness me!" as the spectacularly large group crossed the street in one giant mass), where the lovely Lady Beth graciously held my sock and the book (with a Kinneared Harlot in the background):

The Lady Harlot herself (at which point I gave up trying to hide my picture-taking)

A lovely time was had by all. It was a day of merry-making, laughter, and the purchasing of yarn (although not too much, as the esteemed New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival is two weeks henceforth, and I wisheth to purchase much there).

The gracious Harlot even humbled herself to have a picture taken with me, and I was honored to hold her royal sock:

And we lived happily ever after, in houses that runneth over with yarn.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Spring Cleaning

I have sort of a mish-mash of pictures for you this week.

My new boots for spring (they were on sale!):

The cat helping me knit:

A new Chaos for Leo, since the first one was too small (my aunt suggested I save it for someone else, so I didn't frog it):
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease in grey, 4 balls for two sweaters (the largest and second-to-largest sizes)
Needles: Handmade Peace Fleece needles, US Size 7 and US Size 8 straight needles; also an Inox 24" circular US Size 7 for the neck band
Modifications: I worked fewer rows on the neck band--on the first one the neck opening seemed small, so I thought if I did fewer rows it might give a little more room. I think it looks good that way. I worked 1x1 rib for four rows after the pickup row and then bound off on the fifth row.

Closeup of the neck and pattern:

Action shots to follow (also of him wearing the Trellis cardigan I knit for his last birthday, which I apparently failed to take any pictures of)

I finally knit the beret from Greetings From Knit Cafe--I've been hoarding this yarn for almost a year now. The only other thing I have to do is make a felted flower to pin on it.

Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca and Silk in light green, 1 skein
Source: Patternworks
Needles: Addi Turbo US Size 4 16" circular, Susan Bates aluminum US Size 4 dpns
Modifications: None

My tribute to Cyndi Lauper:
The Pretty Lace Handwarmers from Whitney over at the Purl Bee (her little pom pom socks might have to be next--I told you, I'm addicted)
Yarn: Something from Lorna's Laces. It came from the free bin when I worked at Patternworks
Needles: Susan Bates aluminum US Size 5 (I really need to invest in wooden needles in sizes I don't have--it will make my knitting life much more pleasant)
Modifications: None

This was the result of another "I need spring to be here NOW" impulse:

Kate Gilbert's Strawberry Clutch from the Spring 2007 issue of Knitscene
Yarn: Cascade 220, one skein each of red and green, and some yellow wool of unknown origins for the seeds (another Patternworks free bin score)
Source: Stash! (although I had to buy another skein of the red since my stash skein was small)
Needles: Addi Turbo US Size 13 24" circular
Modifications: I chose to duplicate stitch the seeds on rather than do intarsia since my intarsia isn't all that great. I did some intarsia where the leaves come in, but after a couple of rows I did all one color and then went back to duplicate stitch the appropriate pattern.

I really need to get back to working on the Secret of the Stole II, but lately I've needed small quick things to do at school (and to keep me sane). It just requires too much concentration, so once this semester is over I'll bring it out again. I also lost a pair of kneesocks that I wanted to frog because they are a little too big and they are a great school/bus project. I don't usually lose things, and I've never actually lost a handknitted item before. I never even lost mittens as a kid! Oh well. I'm 90% sure they are somewhere in my room, so they'll have to turn up sometime.
In more exciting news, next Sunday I will be at the Yarn Harlot event at Webs with Susan and Beth! Since the NH Sheep and Wool festival is just a few weeks away, I can't go crazy, but there will definitely be some stash enhancement.
One step forward, two steps back.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Flowers and Yarn

Since spring didn't seem to be coming anytime soon, and everything around here is a variation of brown or grey, I decided to make my own flowers:

(back left shoulder)

(left side hem)

Full sweater shot (there are a couple of flowers at the right hem also) (yes, that is the chaos that is my room)

I got this beautiful J. Crew cashmere sweater at the Salvation Army a year or so ago, and I didn't realize that it had moth holes in it until I got home. That probably wouldn't have stopped me from buying it, since it is cashmere and it was three dollars, and I figured I could fix it somehow. It sat in the mending pile for a long time, while I bought several packages of beads and designs floated around my head. Then I found a great pattern in the book Craftivity (which I highly recommend--please consider buying it from your local independent bookstore) for embellishing moth-holed sweaters by doing a button hole stitch around them. This is brilliant because it looks cool and prevents the hole from getting any bigger. Since I couldn't seem to understand the stitch the way it was explained in Craftivity I turned to my mom's copy of The Encyclopedia of Stitchery. After I did the button hole stitches, I just freehand stitched the beads on to look like flowers and stems. I just made it up as I went along, but I'm really happy with how it came out.

And this is some yarn that I made. Just like the Harlot, (Susan and I are going to see her at Webs on April 28th! Yay!) this Tuesday was for spinning. It was very random; I got annoyed at this ball of roving that kept rolling out of the bag onto the floor so I spun it up. There is about 60 yards, I have no idea what weight (probably heavy worsted), and I spun it on my drop spindle. I was frustrated when I started because I got out my spinning books and tried to do what they said and my yarn didn't look like theirs. So I just did it my own weird way, wet-blocked it on the niddy noddy, and it came out pretty good. I'm realizing I should just accept that this is the way that I spin and that's okay. However, I do think I'm going to buy Start Spinning sometime in the near future, since I've heard very good things about it.
Knitting? Oh, there has been knitting. There are projects that are very nearly done (a beret in Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca and Silk, the Strawberry Clutch from the Spring 2007 Knitscene), there was a big frog session (a Jaywalker sock that was complete--and I couldn't pull it over my ankle), and there is a toddler sweater in the works. Although it is getting to be that point in the semester when there is a lot of work I should have started earlier (but I am very close to finishing my career in academia, so why change now? And really, it wouldn't change much.) and I just have to knit to keep my head. So either there will be lots of finished things or not many at all. As usual.