Friday, December 30, 2005

So, um...hi?

Well, I got this job see....

And actually, I'm knitting way more, because I work in a call center and they don't care what I'm doing with my hands while I'm on hold. So, while my output is waaaaay up, my blogput is waaaay down.

But! I plan to do better. For really and for truly.

In an effort to make it look like I really do knit, I present a picture of knits past. I finished (and by finished I mean did everything but weave in the 90 blue million ends) this poncho a goodly while ago. The pattern is from a Knitters during their "We're not as cool as we used to be, but we don't yet suck as hard as we're gonna" era.

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Friday, September 02, 2005

"Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises."

The above quote is from Elizabeth Zimmerman, the grand dame of the knitting world. If you aren't familiar with her, I'm given to understand her book Knitting Without Tears was pivotal during the rennaissance of knitting. All of which is, of course, beside the point. For the people caught in the aftermath of Katrina, I offer prayers. For those volunteering their time, money, energy, or food, I give thanks. If you have any resources available, I encourage you to help. The Red Cross is one reputable agency. I'm sure that there are others.

In light of the tragedy that others are suffering, talking about knitting seems pretty trivial......but there you are. I imagine that knitting and other fiber arts have had a place in history during tragic times. Not only is the act of knitting comforting, the supplies needed few and easily obtained, but the end result is one that typifies love and comfort.

I've been making some fair progress on the Featherweight Fantasy shawl. I'm using 100% mercerized cotton, Sinfonia, in a variegated green. I was nervous about using the variegation for lace—a chancy business at the best of times, but this seems to have worked fairly well. The original pattern calls for 4 repeats of a 70 row lace pattern. After completing 2 repeats I decided that, as I am not a tiny person, 4 repeats would be entirely too short. The lace pattern itself is a directional tear drop shape. If you look at the photograph in the magazine, they only show you half of the shawl. That's because, gentle readers, if you make the shawl the way that they suggest, half of the tear drops are standing on their heads.

This is one repeat of the lace design. See the pretty tear drop? I think this lace needs to be knit in reds — its got a flame thing going on.

The upshot of all of this is that I'm modifying the pattern as follows: I will be making six full repeats, rather than four. Further, I've done three repeats and transferred it over to a secondary set of needles. I'm working on the second set of three repeats now, and I intend to graft them together at the center back. That way all my little tear drops will be pointing the same way when I wear it. What's that you say? I don't know how to graft something? A mere inconvenience that I'm sure I'll not find insurmountable.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Really Cunning Plans Revealed!

So, I sent my friend Jess an email. An innocent, sweet little email. "Hey, go check out this group!" I say. Just try one. You'll like it! The first one's free!

Mwahahahaha! my evil plot to spread The Mystery Shawl across Middle Tennessee is proceeding nicely. She posted about it in her LJ, and now more people are interested! Mwaha! Mwaha! Mwahahhaaaaaa.....

er, sorry.

Lost control for a minute there.

In other news, I haven't actually started knitting it myself yet. I'm still debating over yarn. I've got some burgundy merino stashed that I'm considering.

In still yet more other news, I started working on the Featherweight Fantasy stole from Knitter's 42 -- why no, I haven't finished the Mystery Stole, or the Kerry Shawl. Why do you ask?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

New Picture, Old FO

Seems like I mentioned that I made a Fair Isle dice bag a month or so back. I now have proof!

The pattern is taken from a bag in Interweave Knits from the 90s. I haven't got it in front of me, so I can't be more specific.

Its lined, and has a zipper. I used Knitpicks' Wool of the Andes. I highly recommend this site—I've loved everything I've ordered from them, and the prices are incredible.

Oh, and for the record, I rock.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Hi honey, I'm home!

After a long exile, I've finally returned to the promised land internet. While my hands have not been idle while I've been away, I have no pictures, alas, to share.

Note to self: begin master plan to take over the world, thereby insuring the acquisition of a digital camera.

  • Slytherin scarf — remains unfinished, but sports a jaunty 11 stripes
  • Mystery stole — dead in the proverbial water. I need to either give it up as a bad job or get back to it. Yeah, one of those.
  • Kerry Shawl — I have actually made some pretty significant progress here. I've done around 80 rows and have about 400 stitches (increased from the original 8).
I keep fantasizing about starting a new project, but I'm trying to make myself behave and finish some of these first. Below is a list of projects I'm either seriously considering, have starting buying yarn for, or am just lusting after.

  • Ravenclaw sweater for Rhi — have acquired some yarn, and begun gauge swatching.
  • Flower Basket Shawl from Interweave Knits — it'd sure be pretty in Alpaca cloud.....
  • Irish Diamond Shawl from Oberle's Folk Shawls — this is like a real grown up pattern. Knitpicks has a new line of merino lace weight.
  • Featherweight Fantasy from Knitters #42 — Despite its somewhat ridiculous name, this shawl/stole/scarf/thing is both pretty, and reasonably gauged. I'm seriously considering this one.
  • Lace Wrap from Fall '05 Vogue Knitting — not what you'd call a real original name....but the pattern is gorgeous. Its made in cashmere, but I'm betting that the aforementioned Knitpicks laceweight merino would do just fine.
Since its already mid-August, I'm willing to bet that not a lot of this is going to get done 'tween now and Christmas. Or possibly ever. I may seriously consider working on Rhi's sweater while she's at school and surprising her for Christmas. Hmmm..... I was going to make her some school clothes anyhow, so I've a perfect excuse to measure her.....

Must ponder further.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

DPN Case

I recently acquired several new sets of DPNs, so I decided that I need a case for them. I used some groovy Art Nouveau fabric that would do oddly in a quilt, and a nice coordinating fabric for the inside. The best part of this: it took only a few hours, is completely finished, and was made from my stash. Didn't buy a thing new for it.

On to the pictures!

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The case rolled up.

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The outside (the white is paper on the table to show contrast)

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And the inside, complete with DPNs

Go me!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Mystery Stole Clue #2 (revisited)

Melanie posted clue #3 for the Mystery Stole today. I've gotten it printed out, but I haven't sat down with it yet. I only have 5-6" so far, but I'm assured that Clue Numero Three-o is the one with all the goods.

Mystery Stole Clue 2 Posted by Hello

(Editorial note: My Jim loves me! I have pictures!)

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Mystery Stole Clue #2

I'm just sure that these posts would be more interesting if I had pictures.

I finished up the second clue for the Mystery Stole last night. It was only 6 rows long—which I must confess struck me as rather odd, but hey, I just work here.

Knitting with lace weight yarn is an entirely different aesthetic experience than knitting in fingering or worsted weight. I realize that this insight is neither original nor profound, but there you go.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Silly Knitter

Rhiannon came home from the library the other day with news that a knitting group meets there on Tuesdays from 4-6. She really, really wanted to go, so I took her. We both had a pretty good time. I helped her get started on a Kool Wool scarf (not perhaps the very best choice of yarns, but she loves the color, and we already had it.) Anyway, I taught her how to Purl yesterday and she took to it immediately. So, she's making a scarf in stockinette, with garter stitch borders. I'm a proud mommy.

In other news, I'm a goober. I decided that I felt like working on lace, and I won't get another clue for my Mystery Stole until Friday. I've got about 1600 yards of a cinammon color (again. I own other colors of yarn, I swear.) worsted weight yarn. Its Plymouth Encore color 1922, if anybody cares. Anyway, I pulled out Martha Waterman's Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls and Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls and started hunting. There are two shawls in the Oberle book I want to knit, but they both call for 2200 yards, and I decided that if I'm going to make an heirloom lace shawl I'm gonn by golly do it in 100% natural fiber. The Plymouth Encore is an acrylic/wool blend.

So, I started the "Kerry Blue Square Shawl" from the Waterman book yesterday. I'm such a ninny.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Mystery Stole Clue #1

I finished the first clue for the Mystery Stole last night. I would have been done much earlier, but I had to spend most of the weekend being responsible and doing something else. Once I was done I went and looked at some of the pictures that other folks posted of their first clue. I think that its at least possible that I did something wrong, but I made an aesthetically pleasing fabric, so I'm-a leave it be.

These updates would be far more interesting, methinks, if I could post pictures.

Curse you Aquascum!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Update sans photos

Well, now that Koren has moved out, she's taken her Clie with her (the hussy), so I can't provide pictures. Happily, my Jim has graciously caved in to my incessant whining offered to let me use his camera. So I'll not be pictureless forever.

I've started lots of projects and finished a few since last I updated.

The Weasley sweater (as previously reported) is done, done done!

I also started, and finished if you can believe it, a fair aisle dice bag. Its lined, got a zipper, and everything. This is me, being proud. I used Wool of the Andes from Knitpicks because I wanted to try it out. I have to say that Knitpicks is all that and a bag of chips too. I highly recommend. Anyway, pictures of said dice bag will be forthcoming.

I finished up a truly hideous little sweater vest for Rowan that I started during the same era of quilting that saw the birth of Morgan's color block sweater. He adores it. Go figure.

I've also started Knitty's Branching Out. Me and every other knitter in the blogosphere. Baaaaaa. I'm using Sinfonia (a sportweight mercerized cotton) in a lovely cinamon color. Its a nice carry along project, although for some reason I seem unable to memorize the lace pattern. I do have my handy-dandy knitting journal though, so all is well.

In other news, I've decided to join a "Mystery Stole Knit Along". There's a Yahoo group and each piece of the pattern is given in installments. Seems like a groovy concept, and I can use my Alpaca Cloud for it. I'm using the Autumn colorway. I'm sensing a trend in the colors I like.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Weasley is Our King!

I decided right after I finished up Morgan's last sweater, that I needed to make one for Rowan. Alas, the tiger sweater I knitted him when he was 2 is now entirely, officially too small.

Rowan: I want to wear my sweater!
Me: Honey, this sweater is too small for you.
R: It is? My tiger one?
M: Yeah, its just too little.
R: Will you knit me a new one?

At this point you have to imagine a winsome 3 1/2 year old boy doing "the cute trick" that Dot Warner was so famous for.

Me: Oh god! Not the eyes! They're too cute! Aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhhh!!!!!

(Okay, that didn't happen.)

Me: What kind of sweater do you want?
Rowan: A BIG one!

I decided that he needed a Weasley sweater after I noticed how much like Ron Weasley he looked in a photo I took of him and his sister.

"Ron" being hugged by some insane child in a funny hat Posted by Hello

Soooo....... On Friday, April 8 I cast on the back. At 2:00 a.m. on Saturday the 16th I bound off the neck. (Too tight, I might add. I fixed it after I got some sleep.) The point is, folks, I made an entire sweater in just over a week. 8 days. A sweater.

Go me.

And here it is:

A Very Weasley Sweater Posted by Hello

And modeled by its handsome and dashing new owner:

Weasley is Our King Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Bad Blogger!

I've been a naughty blogger, and haven't posted in something like two weeks. I'm sure that my audience of ... um... actually no one, has really missed me.

My current projects are (since I know you are dying to know):

  • Weasley sweater for Rowan -- I've the back finished and am about half-way through the front. The "R" is coming along nicely.
  • Slytherin scarf -- I have not worked on this since the Ostara gathering. It will be difficult to finish if I don't ever actually pick it up.
  • Funky Mork from Ork Socks, er, armwarmer... erm.... things -- Okay, so here's the deal. I'm plugging away on my first sock with this groovy Rainbowedy sock fabric (that looks as though Mork would totally wear. Possibly on his head.) I am close to turning the heel and I pulled them on my foot to check 'em out. I learned that a) I have ginourmous fat ankles and b) funky rainbowedy rib looks kinda sucky all pulled out. At this point I have two options. Wait, no I have three options. Option the First: I finish the socks and give them to some person with slenderer ankles than I. Sarah or Rhiannon come to mind. Option the Second: I turn them into funky fingerless gloves. Option the Third: I bury them under an oak tree in the park (see Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's At Knit's End: Meditations For Women Who Knit Too Much -- Review to be forthcoming).
  • Athena's Cords -- There's a whole long story behind this, and I might even tell it one day. Suffice it to say, what I've got so far, I'll be frogging and trying something different.
  • Cable Sweater -- Yup, I'm actually trying to make myself a sweater. Its a cabled deal, knit from the top down. It may be a magnificent and terrible failure. We shall see.
  • Mitered Poncho -- Using "Red Heart Symphony" yarn. The pattern's fairly groovy, the yarn is soft, but still acrylic. I am developing serious yarn snob tendencies, folks.

I know I've a few other things "on needles" but since I'm not actively carrying them around, nor pretending to knit them, I'm not counting them here.

Right now I'm primarily working on the Weasley sweater, and (since I started it last Friday) feel fairly confident that I'll be not only finishing it, but finishing it soon. After that, its back to the poncho, or maybe the sock/arm/appendage coverings. Or not.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2005

    Book Review: The Knitting Goddess

    The Knitting Goddess by Deborah Bergman Posted by Hello

    This is in many ways, an excellent book. I wouldn’t recommend it as “the only knitting book you’ll ever need” or even as a good primer for new knitters. However, for knitters who already are familiar with the craft and who find in their creativity a spiritual outlet, this book is lovely.

    Bergman has chosen several female figures from mythology and dubbed them “Knitting Goddesses.” Most of them were neither goddesses – like Ariadne and Arachne, nor knitting, but they do all have a strong connection to fiber-craft. Many of the women are spinners or weavers. Each chapter is devoted to one of these mythological figures, and as her story is told, lessons about knitting are taught. Each chapter also includes a project to make that goes along with the story. The lack of photographs is frustrating. Bergman’s website does include pictures of the projects, but it would have done better to include them in the book itself.

    All in all the framework is quite lovely. Some of her retellings are a little too altered from the original to entirely suit me (blame my Classical Studies minor), but the overall affect is quite enjoyable.

    There is one particular passage that held quite a bit of meaning for me. In her chapter on “Isis, Red Magic, and a Warm Stole With Wings” she talks about the need for a woman to knit with red yarn.

    It became apparent that as I knitted yarn, I was also naturally knitting myself together and also nurturing myself with one of the most appropriate metaphors, and also physical realities, that I could have chosen for myself. I was not only knitting together a garment, but also the seen and the unseen, the solid and the evanescent, the conscious and the unconscious and the light and the dark in myself.

    And by then I was knitting red. (Bergman 31)

    Red thread or yarn—physical, literal, red yarn, and it has to be red—helps to retrieve souls, and memories and energy. (38)

    Red thread or yarn is a tremendous ally for those women who are in transition, finding lost pieces, giving any kind of birth, or needing protection of any kind. Working with or wearing something made of red yarn, preferably hand spun or dyed, and, if at all possible, worked by one’s own hands, is a tremendous ally when moving from one level to the next. (39)

    The concept and process of knitting as a spiritual exercise to help you grow, become more and other than you are, is extremely appealing to me. Whenever you participate in the act of creating something it is a kind of magic. Using that magic to create yourself, while simultaneously creating a knitted object as solid evidence of that change or creation strikes me as being an extremely powerful way to work magic. It appeals to me as a woman, a crafter and as a priestess.
    Bergman, Deborah. The Knitting Goddess: Finding the Heart and Soul of Knitting Through Instruction. New York: Hyperion, 2000.

    Thursday, March 17, 2005

    Another promised picture

    I didn't take the picture in black and white...honest.

    The shawl is a dark foresty green. I still haven't blocked it. The bluey one I made Rhiannon definately turned out better. Alas.

    Faroese Style Homespun Shawl Posted by Hello

    Apologies for not posting the pictures together, I am still learning Blogger, and seem to be challenged today.

    Promised Pictures

    Here's the picture I promised of Morgan's new hat. It started life as a sweater, but it found new purpose on Morgan's head.

    There's a lesson in that.


    The Hat That Was Once A Sweater Posted by Hello

    Thursday, March 10, 2005

    I did it! I did it! Uh hunh, uh hunh, uh hunh

    Since my last update I've actually finished three things.

    Rhiannon's shawl was finished last Friday evening at Hermione's coming of age ritual. It is exactly like mine, except that it is a) blue-ish and b) attractive. I don't know why mine didn't turn out as well, but I'm registering a formal protest. Pics will be forthcoming, I promise.

    Yesterday, I finished the sweater that my beautiful and talented daughter is modeling below. I actually began it around two years ago (during the first phase of my knitting obsession.) I finished it entirely, up to the neck, and then I put it away and wandered off. I am not entirely sure why, lest it be that the neck is stupid. Two years ago, I didn't have the knitting chutzpah to change a pattern if I didn't like it. Yesterday, I got it out and encountered my first issue. I had the sweater, I had the yarn, I had the needles. I had the pattern. What I did not have was a clear memory of what size I was knitting it in. Happily, there were stitches on a stitch holder at the back of the neck that I could count, and determine the size. Then did issue number two arise. The neck is stupid.

    Not one to be conquered by the same inanimate object twice, I put it down and went and whined to my good friend Jess. My knitting confidence thus restored, I went back to the sweater mines with the newly formed motto: Directions are for Sissies!

    That's right folks, I just picked up stitches, made a command design decision and vwa-olee, its a sweater.

    Morgan sporting her new Color Block Sweater Posted by Hello

    And then (you thought I was through, didn't you?) and then, I picked up another sweater that I had abandoned and started to work on it while watching geek TV. I quickly came to two conclusions. The first: intarsia was invented by satan, because he hates us and wants us to suffer. The second: I picked the wrong damn yarn for that sweater. Happily, Koren, who is brilliant, said "Its the right width for a hat. Just decrease it and stitch it up the side." We quickly confered over the numbers and lo! It was a hat. And it was good. And pretty damn cute, if I do say so myself. And I do.

    I'll get pictures of the hat up as well.

    Tuesday, March 01, 2005

    Being Sick Sucks

    I got nothin' much to say, 'cept bein' sick sucks.


    I've nearly finished Nan's shawl (that's Rhiannon to the uninitiated), and I've four entire stripes, out of nineteen, done on my Slytherin scarf. I've approximately six inches worth of a cabled band for the halter top I'm designing knitted, and I haven't touched the DNA cable scarf in two weeks.

    That's all the news that's fit to print.


    Friday, February 25, 2005

    I'm being abducted by aliens

    Blogger and I are not getting on very well today. This'll make the third time I've tried to write about this.

    Okay, the whole premise of today's entry is about my apparent inability to actually finish any damn thing. (Including, it would seem, writing about it.) I was going to tell you all about how in 2002 and 2003 I started really knitting and racked up several gazillion half finished things. Then I got bored and wandered off.

    I started quilting again, and very quickly amassed another kilo-gazillion of UFOs or UnFinished Objects. I did finish some things, but not nearly so many as I started. Anyway, I'd decided I'd had enough, declared Tuesdays to be UFO day (no working on new projects) and started to make some headway. I worked on Rowan's castle quilt

    Rowan's Castle Quilt (1 block of 20) Posted by Hello

    I worked on Morgan's grandmother's fan quilt. I finished a baby quilt for Rhiannon's father's new baby. . . . .

    And then I started knitting again.

    I love knitting. I do. I love quilting as well. They both satisfy my creative urges, and I truly believe in my heart of hearts that if I keep at it I can be good. You know, not just "that doesn't suck" but actually good.

    Now, to be fair to me, I picked up and finished a shawl I'd started over a year ago. It turned out pretty well, and Rhi wants me to knit her one. So, currently I'm working on a Slytherin scarf, a DNA cable scarf in heathery grey, and a shawl for Rhiannon's birthday. Lest I accidentally finish one of those, I'm also contemplating making myself a halter top based on the pattern found here. I watched geek TV and made swatches last night.

    Sometimes I really get on my nerves.

    Sunday, February 20, 2005

    Faroese Style Homespun Shawl

    Somehow that sounds like it ought to be oxymoronic. You'd think that "Faroese" and "Homespun" wouldn't hang out together in the same sentence. "Prairie" goes with "Homespun", ya know?

    Oh well, I didn't name the pattern I just knitted it. Blame the magazine Cast On (Spring 2004, pg. 44) and "The Lion Brand Design Team" —whoever they may be.

    Unfortunately, I'm kinda camera impaired at the mooment, but I can assure you its lovely green. I'm a little disappointed in it, but I'm given to understand that lace looks like poop until you've blocked it, so I'm not consigning it to utter ickdom yet.

    ETA: The husband says he likes it, the daughter says she wants it, and I finished it in 5 days. Go me! Woot!

    Friday, February 18, 2005

    A Very Woolly Discipline

    Hermione Granger, whom we all know is the cleverest witch of her age, has little use for divination. Possibly it was Professor Trelawney's vague mutterings (which were often interupted with sharp interjections promising doom, doom, DOOM!), or perhaps it is simply too imprecise for Hermione's highly logical mind. Arithmancy is clearly a more intellectual, more advanced, more tidy discipline.

    What, I hear you asking*, does that have to do with knitting? Why, gentle reader, nothing of course! Or at least not much. The idea for the name of this blog came from the phrase Hermione used to dismiss Divination as a magical art, a "woolly discipline". If I have one besetting sin, it is my love of language, puns and playing on words. Knitting, too, is a woolly discipline.

    Now that I've played with the idea for a while, I'm finding myself fantasizing about using knitting as a form of divination. Are mistakes made, that must be ripped out, portentious? How does one read the twists and turns of an aran cable pattern? What does "yo k2tog" tell us about the future?

    Yeah, okay..... now I'm just being silly.

    * actually I made that up—I don't really believe that anyone is reading this.


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