Saturday, January 20, 2007

Busy like a bee

I promised myself I'd update here at least once a week, and now you see it's been two. In the meantime, I've placed a rather nice order from KnitPicks, gotten some progress in on the Clapotis (which really ought to be finished by now, don't you think?), and started a Swing Thing from MagKnits for a birthday present.

The Swing Thing has occupied all my knitting time, since it involves a deadline (the 2-year-old's birthday party, a week from today). I would guess I'm perhaps 40% finished with it, and I think as long as I keep up the good work, gold star, I might get it done in time.

I'm making it of KnitPicks Swish Superwash in Wisteria, which turns out to be rather more red of a purple than I had anticipated. I also bought a pair of Addi Turbos. I've spent years reading all the fawning over these needles and felt sure I'd hate them; I'm a Swallow Casein girl, myself, but those are impossible to find now. At any rate, I tried the Addis, and sure enough, I'm a convert. It's so... fast! The yarn is nice and sproingy, too, which makes this project really a nice dose of tactile satisfaction. Good thing, because I hate knitting stockinette in great swaths.

I am proud of myself for making such progress on my knitting. Last time, I think the most I ever finished was a few inches of a Starmore Aran sweater. This time I'm well on my way. Even if I think I am going to rip out the Central Park hoodie in favor of the Rogue....

One thing I'm not enjoying is the stress of knitting to a deadline. I need to have the Swing Thing done within the week, and I'm sure I can do it. Right after that, though, I need to start and finish a DS case for the Craftster swap I'm doing, and I am not at all confident that it will come out the way I want it to. I want to start on it now but I'm still hunting down some of the yarn I need. So I'll just set it on the back burner and hope, eh?

Oh - and I absolutely have not had time to use my spinning wheel. It makes me sad. I'll have to make time this week. You know, in between packing boxes and knitting and trying to read for fun, and cleaning, and. The usual that we all have to deal with once we become adults. Then again, I can eat ice cream for breakfast if I want to, so it's not all bad, is it?

Thursday, January 4, 2007

My Baby Spinning Wheel

In news that's sure to keep me from getting much knitting done, my spinning wheel showed up, unfinished and unassembled, on Tuesday. I ordered it from The Woolery last week; it's a Kromski Mazurka. I've wanted this wheel since the last time I was actually spinning yarn, mostly because I think it's really attractive. Thing is, I never really cared for any of the factory finish colors, but I know from experience that I'm not so great at finishing wood. Somehow it always ends up splotchy. This is probably due to lack of skill and/or lack of patience, I'm not sure which.

Lucky me, I've got a gunsmith for a fiance, and he knows how to apply finish to wood. So we went to Rockler to pick up some supplies. I ended up choosing good old "make it look good" Minwax in a color called "Gunstock"; whatever, it's a nice reddish brown. Not too red, not too brown. I also spent some time admiring the purpleheart available there, along with a few other exotic woods, which I plan to force Zack to use to make me things like a yarn swift and knitting needles.

Last night he applied the first coat of finish to the wheel, and it looks even nicer than I'd expected. There are a couple of different woods used in the Mazurka, though, and they're taking the stain up differently. It still looks quite nice to me. Audrey tried to help with the finishing by standing outside the door of the spare room and meowing at full lung capacity. Sadly for her, I think she's ditzy enough without breathing in paint fumes, so she had to stay outside. Zack will do another coat tomorrow, then hopefully seal it on Saturday so I can do some spinning on Sunday. As you might imagine, it's killing me to have a spinning! wheel! sitting upstairs in pieces.

You may notice, however, that it's sunning itself dry on the Sunday New York Times; it's that kind of wheel. No name, yet, but soon. I'll have to do some spinning first - I don't even know what sex it is yet. Can't tell until I give it a good run through its paces, don't you know.

New Year, New Knitting

I'm still working on my Clapotis, and in fact have not made a tremendous amount of progress on it. I'm not sure why; perhaps because it's kind of boring to work on. And yet I find I'm not quite good enough at knitting by feel to keep my eyes on the TV while working on any project....

At any rate, I was going to make myself get halfway through the Clapotis before I started a new project, but that's not going to happen. The DS Case Swap over at Craftster gives me a good excuse. Swaps have become crazy popular since I was last a part of the craft corner of the Internet. I hope this one goes well. I have lots of ideas but I think I'm probably going to go with the old NES character 8-bit intarsia design thing this time around. This means I get to buy more new and exciting yarn, and that I can probably even justify a few new sets of needles (got to have the right size, you know). I think for something that sees as much use as a DS case is likely to, I'm going to go with a cotton or microfiber yarn so it can be washed easily. Plus it seems like static-laden wool might not be the best choice.

I'm also planning to start a project, probably the Alpine Scarf, for the Victorian Lace-Along. I have some KnitPicks Alpaca Cloud in, I think, Horizon, which was going to be used for the Butterfly dress, but I decided I don't like the color for something that large.

It's good to know that my knitting is just as scatterbrained as the rest of my existence.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Post-Christmas Lack of Knitting

I stayed up until about 6am on Christmas trying to finish everyone's gifts; in a ~totally unexpected~ turn of events, this did not happen. In spite of the fact that this is solely related to poor planning, I have gone into a pique and not picked up the needles since. I think perhaps tomorrow I will start in again on my Clapotis (yes, yes, I'm making one). I'm into the straight section, and could probably finish it by this time next week if I tried. I'm still rather a slow knitter. I'm using Noro Silver Thaw in color #9. Here's what I have so far, with yarn scrap markers and all.

The Silver Thaw is super soft and I think I'm going to pick some up from the Webs clearance section in color #3 to make a felted laptop case for my PowerBook.

You like that stockinette curl on the end there? Yeah, me too. I can't wait to drop stitches, although this yarn is sticky enough that I think I'm going to have to pick them all through. Huzzah!

One thing I love about knitting is that it makes me feel all domestic. You'd think I was a nesting pregnant woman, or something - my favorite thing is to get dinner started, then sit down, knit, and wait for my man to come home. What happened to me?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

PONY HAIR Lace Headband

Pattern: Molly's Headband, free Interweave Knits pattern in Sweet Somethings collection
Yarn: Luxurious Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Grey Heather, not very much yardage at all
Needles: Swallow Casein dpns / 3.75mm, US5
N'at: I didn't even weave in the ends. There is no n'at.

I am not, normally, a headband sort of person. I have thin, fine hair that parts of its own accord no matter how much shellac I apply, so headbands that are skinny look stupid on me, and the wide ones usually result in a strange protrusion on the back of my head. However, this lovely design with its I-cord ties really does work; it's wide enough that the part doesn't show, and I don't look like a blobby alien from behind. It, like the Panta, makes a good neckwarmer when I get tired of wearing it all up on my head.

This really only took a matter of hours to knit, and I love it so much I have started five or six other headbands with lace patterns. It's a fun way to knit lace that has a fairly short repeat. I prefer a slipped-stitch edge to the garter stitch used here, but hey.

And no, fine, none of the other headbands are finished yet. They will be as soon as I can pick one I like and stick with it, see it through, help it grow into a lovely butterfly. Right? Right. Mark that one down on the Uberlist: Finish 17 headbands-in-progress.

Note: My hair does not usually look like that. It was kind of greasy and I tried to make it look fashionable for my from-above self portrait.


Pattern: there weren't no pattern
Yarn: Reynolds Lopi, selected by Zack for boringness of color
Needles: Icky plastic dpns and icky aluminum or some such metal 16" circular / 6mm, US10
N'at: One paperclip as stitch marker, the trusty old yarn needle

I wanted to knit something for Zack; I would've made a sweater since, due to the fact that we are engaged, I have no fear of the Sweater Curse. Thing is, apparently he doesn't wear sweaters, preferring instead to complain about being cold. I do not turn the heat up; I will convert him one of these days to sweater-wearing. (I don't understand not liking sweaters. My favorite season of the year is the Time When Sweaters are Worn.)

Anyway, it's a simple K2P2 rib, done for about seven or eight inches, and then I started the decreases, which I believe were every eight stitches or something vaguely symmetrical. It turned out hatlike, which is all I could ask for, since I was winging it and hadn't made a hat in some time. Zack claims to like it; I am not sure if this is just because he wants not to have his access to sex restricted (I would not actually do this). The major complaint is that it lets the wind through a little too much. I am a loose knitter but chose to blame the needle size; I also figure that since Lopi felts if you look at it funny, this problem will resolve itself soon enough on a sweaty head.

LOVE LIFE Glovelike Devices

Pattern: Knucks / Knitty Summer 2006
Yarn: unknown possible wool from stash, plus Dale Ull for the embroidery
Needles: Swallow Casein dpns and spectacular tiny Clover plastic circular for socks / 3.75mm, US5
N'at: I used a keyring and a free ring sizer for stitch markers here. Also, obvieusement, my cheap and old yarn needle. Nothing new was purchased in the making of this FO.

So this pair of Knucks marked my return to knitting anything of import. (I made a Panta first, but it's kind of hideous and made of purple Homespun and I only wear it in the house to keep my head warm, so let's pretend it doesn't exist, OK?) I saw them and fell in love with them and pictured in my head this utterly neat and perfectly finished pair of fingerless gloves, complete with clever message.

Given my rusty knitting skillz, these didn't take nearly as long as I thought they might. In fact, there is a third one in existence, which was supposed to be the first of a pair for my wonderful future husband; alas, I ran out of yarn, and haven't really had the heart to frog it out and start over with something that exists in adequate quantity.*

If you look closely, which you can't do with the photo, you will notice that there are gaps and general ugliness in the finishing of these. Still, they're warm, and handy, and I like them. However, I will personally punch the next person who asks if I didn't mean to put "HATE" on the left glove. I will use the hand labelled "LOVE" to deliver the blow, of course.

I will definitely be making more of these, just as soon as I free the dpns up from the other project they're working on. Or I could just buy more dpns. Hm, hm. My only complaint is that they are a little awkward to wear for things like knitting or typing, as they do hold my fingers rather far apart and I'm clumsy enough to begin with. And yes, I am cheapenvironmentally friendly enough that I require additional hand warmth in my home. They work fantastically well for being able to retrieve my bus pass from my coat pocket, though.


* For this, read "I started too many other projects and kinda forgot this was in the bottom of the basket."