Friday, November 30, 2007

FO like whoa

(The title only works if you say "foe" instead of "eff oh," which I don't, but still I am a fan of the rhyme).

This was a quick little knit, started (as I said) on my journey home for Thanksgiving, nearly finished on the plane, but then put on hold when I fell asleep somewhere over Montana. I finished it the next day.

As modeled by the lovely roommate, who graciously allowed me to put her face on the internet without even questioning whether it would be used for porn (don't worry, I won't.)

Berrocco Ultra Alpaca, in what I think is "Pea Soup Mix." (Ew! Who names a yarn color after soup?) Note, of course, that the reason I know the color is from looking at the website, because I lost the ball band about a year ago. 50% wool, 50% alpaca.

My own pattern: cast on 35 stitches (I think), knit in mistake rib until the yarn's almost gone, bind off. I guesstimated pretty well this time--I only had about three yards left when I bound off. 200 or so yards made for a pretty short scarf, not long enough to wrap around my neck, but it blocked out pretty nicely. There are a few scallops along the edges where I pinned it out, but I'm not too bothered. Certainly not enough to re-block it. Ah, the advantages of not being a perfectionist.

And isn't the heathered color nice? I would definitely use this yarn again--it was lovely. Not quite as soft as some other alpaca yarn, but I'm sure that was because of the wool content, and it was great to work with. I think perhaps I have a little bit of a bias against a company that produces an excess of novelty yarn, but to each his own, I suppose.

Now, if you're reading this blog and you get this scarf for Christmas, act surprised, OK?

Mittens for me!

After some consideration, I've decided I'm definitely a "process" knitter...I really enjoy knitting and planning and futzing, but after the knitting is done if I give it away/it looks goofy I'm not too fussed.

Which is why I'm so pleased that my long blabbed-about mittens actually worked! I've talked about these before, I know, but now you get the promised photoshoot, and it's not even at 2 a.m.

In all their glory:

Closeup of the flip top, v2 (ripped out the first version because it rolled, reknit in k1p1, bound off. Does it count as a provisional cast-on if I didn't mean for it to be provisional?)

Closeup of the fingertips--dear God, that was a lot of ends to weave in.

Also, can you tell I'm finally figuring out how to use macro mode?

I've gotten a lot of use out of these already--they're warm, practical, and I love the colors.

And they're pretty cute! Don't you think?

Sorry, I couldn't resist. Thanks to my darling roommate for taking the pictures!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Procrastination Nation

I desperately want to be knitting right now, but I'm supposed to be writing a paper on West African influences in the blues. So, naturally, I'm ...blogging.

Some time ago, I'd bought two skeins of Cascade Pastaza in this lovely green, wonderful and warm and fuzzy. They seemed destined to keep my hands warm--especially when paired with the leftover Brown Sheep Handpaint Originals that I'd used to make mittens for my mom last year.

I'd loved the convertible gloves I made for a friend last year, so much so that I was tempted to keep them for myself, so sometime this fall, the yarn went from this:

To this (nasty rolling hem on the fliptop mitten part--bad mitten!)

Ripped out (note to self: they do not lie when they say that ripping mohair is a Big Fat Pain), reknit with k1p1 ribbing: much better.

"Fall-Colored Flip-Tops," pattern: my own, with generous help from Ann Budd and her wonderful book. Cascade Pastaza, colorway#huhIwonderwherethatballbandwent. About 1 1/2 skeins, I would imagine. Scraps of Brown Sheep Handpaint Originals in colorway...damn it. It's really pretty, though, really shiny with a nice halo.

Better photos coming soon.

Also, this was spectacularly awesome: on the plane on the way home for Thanksgiving break, I sat in a row that looked like this:

No joke. One mistake-rib scarf (me), one shawl (lady #1), and one cabled sock (lady #2). Incredible (not so much for the guy between me and lady #1, who had to put up with my leaning over his lap to talk to them. Ah well).

Sunday, November 25, 2007

break time = knitting time

A week at home, a week away from school, a week not doing all the homework I'd planned to (big surprise)...a week knitting/dying/playing like mad. A week with no wireless at home, alas, so I didn't post like I'd planned...but here is a brief summary of the week's activities.

1) dying project #1, soon to be a Christmas present
2) dying project #2 (my favorite), now in the process of becoming:
3) gloves for an as-yet-undetermined recipient. Let's just say that whoever I draw for Secret Santa this year had better have women's size medium hands.
4) Manos hat, started as "dumb TV knitting." This is about the eighteenth project I've tried with this yarn--nothing has seemed quite right. I hope this works, because godammit if I have to rip one more time I might consider knitting a noose. Bonus points to the yarn for holding up really well, though.
5) Swatch for a Big Ambitious Project still in the planning stages--my first try at fancy cables! More on that later.
6) Yarn destined to become a similar swatch for the same project--again, you'll see soon.
7) Alpaca mistake-rib scarf--started on the train to New York last Sunday, finished in my living room Monday evening. Need to weave in the ends still, but hooray! A Christmas present for...someone.
8) School-colors headband, almost finished but then derailed by an unfortunate blocking accident (no, really). You can't see it in the picture, but let's just say white yarn + blue dye that bleeds = disaster. Still deciding whether I really want to fix it or if I have better things to do.
9) More dying experiments, little mini-skeins--definitely less than 50 yards each. To be incorporated in some kind of gift? Alternatively, to be carried around and petted. That works too.

Still working on my blogging/photographing skills--I'm envious of all the beautifully photographed blogs I see, because it seems like I have to take about a million pictures like this:

to get one like this:

Ah well. In the meantime, though, because I am getting better--look at the pretty Manos!

The purple on the left is the swatch for the Big Project. I'm still undecided about the combination of heathered yarn and fancy cables--I know they don't show up that well, but they do in some lights, plus maybe I want to go for the subtle look. Hmmm. The project's intended recipient did like the swatch a lot when asked, though (unsuspecting of my true motives), and especially liked the colors...we'll see.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

fall knits

Well, fall speeds right along chez Rita--I study, I write music, I play music, and I don't knit as much as I'd like. The math test is over, though, thank god. Did my self-imposed knitting moratorium hold out? Erm. Hey look here, it's a mitten glitten!

Cascade Pastaza, Brown Sheep Handpaint Originals. My own semi-ripped-off-from Ann Budd "pattern," as always. The idea is that these will be fingerless gloves with a mitten top, and the top of each finger will be in the Handpaint Originals, leftover from the mittens I made my mom last year. The first one is actually finished already, but I'm too lazy to go fetch my camera.

Aren't the colors pretty?

Nonrelatedly, here's the yarn I dyed awhile ago, and from which my blog header picture comes. Wow, this is a spectacularly blurry picture. I didn't realize that. You get the idea.

Brown Sheep (mmm, my favorite) Lamb's Pride Bulky, about 9/10ths of a skein leftover from another project. I found some old jars of paste food coloring from ca. 1970 that had hardened into chunks. I dumped the blue and a little purple in a pot of boiling water, added some vinegar (how much? Oh, you know, a bit. We're not real scientific around here), and cooked until the water was clear. The dye clearly wasn't distributed through the water evenly, and I think I had way too much dye for the amount of yarn I had (less than 4 oz.) but I really like the results:
Aren't the colors nice?

In other, non-knitting news, I got some sad news this week.

Calvin, December 15, 2005--November 11, 2007

Rest in peace, buddy. I hope you have lots of sheep to play with--you would like sheep.