Friday, January 18, 2008

I hate scarves

That's a lie. I don't hate scarves. I love scarves. I wear them all the time.

But I don't like knitting them. I don't like knitting the same freaking thing row after row after soul-shattering row (or pattern repeat after pattern repeat). True, they're good mindless knitting, but let's face it, I have the attention span of a cricket. If I'm knitting an accessory, I'm all about the hats or mittens--at least then, there's some shaping or a thumb gusset or SOMETHING to keep my attention.

Anyway. So the point of all this is that I'm making a scarf. I wanted something long and soft and warm--I thought it rather a shame that the only hand-knit scarf I have is That Damn Orange Scarf, of which we will not speak right now except to say that it is orange and enormous and I hate it.

I had a skein of the blue/green/purple handdyed left (see previous post), but I was sort of sick of it. I also had a skein of sort of coral-colored Lamb's Pride worsted (the same base yarn as the other handdyed and evidently my drug of choice) lying around, so I made some little mini-skeins (tiny, like seriously ten yards) and whipped out a couple of swatches:

Clockwise from top left: swatch for Giant Project, which I will discuss later; practicing some lace; two different swatches for the scarf, and an experiment for a felted puppy collar. (The last was rejected because the puppy evidently would rather thrash around in distress and frantically claw at his neck than wear a collar.)

Because of the pinky-salmony-coral base color of the undyed skein, I figured some kind of warm colors would be good. I also had, at my disposal, some red, yellow, and blue food coloring and not much else, so I made one swatch that was half red, half purple (from the blue food coloring on pink yarn) and one that was half red, half orange (yellow coloring) (I am awfully inventive sometimes. It's because I'm broke).

Anyway, after dying, drying, and swatching, I decided that the red/orange combo was a little too childish, and came up with this:

Feather and fan pattern, two repeats of an 18-st pattern repeat. I'm alternating two rows each of the two different colors, and I think it's going to come out pretty OK. I like my scarves long, which of course is going to make this project even more mindnumbingly boring when I get tired of it and still have three feet to go, but I figure I'll just go until I run out of yarn and call it good.

I like it!

Monday, January 14, 2008

back at it

...and by "it" I mean dreaming of knitting when I'm supposed to be doing homework/choosing classes/applying for jobs/other useful things. Right now I'm obsessed with Lyra's hat from the Golden Compass movie; the best pattern I've found online is this. It looks pretty simple, so I think I might modify it for a smaller gauge. But oh, can you imagine how lovely and warm it would be in big fat chunky alpaca, like Misti Alpaca? Mmmm.

Although, actually...what about this?

(the yarn in the middle)

It's Lamb's Pride Bulky, and held double it would probably be chunky enough for this hat. And if not, or if I don't like how it looks, I could always modify the pattern to fit my gauge. Acutally, let's face it, that's probably what I'm going to do anyway.

In the meantime...oh right, school. Excuse me.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Hat Hair

Remember the hat for my brother, last seen as a ball of yarn in this post? I finished it! He liked it a lot, enough to wear it, although evidently not enough to show his face in a picture. This is good for showing off the top, though.

I really liked the way the striping turned out, and I even think the pooling at the top is kind of cool. I used about half a skein of Araucania Nature Wool in some unknown teenage-boy friendly color. I used my trusty Clover size 6 16" circular, but were I to do it again, I might use a 5 or even a 4--this is a pretty light worsted, and the fabric was a little thinner than I might have liked.

It matches my dad's, too, with his initials on the inside.

Here's another one, too, whipped out using most of a skein of Donegal Tweed. Imagine it not on me, but on a curly-headed male. I think he'll like it.

Although, you know, I think I've had enough of these quick little accessories, fun though they are. How about a sweater? When I saw the Gathered Pullover (scroll down), I fell immediately in love, and today I gave in and got the yarn for it: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted, in Denim. Soft and squishy and delightful.

Oh boy oh boy oh boy.

Monday, January 7, 2008

...and received:

My family knows me well! Check it out:

My dad is the BEST. He gave me these two skeins of alpaca from Purple Crayon Ranch (no website) a small ranch here in the valley. I've met Lisi and petted her alpacas, so this gift of local fiber would be special enough, but he also included a card saying he'd bought a Knitting Basket from Heifer International, two sheep and two llamas, given to families in need. I couldn't ask for a better gift.

(for the yarn, I have in mind something with colorwork, maybe, like these. Hindered, of course, by my total lack of experience with colorwork, but we'll ignore that for the time being. For now, let it percolate in my stash).

From my mom, a fabulous thrift-store haul. Clockwise from left: two balls of mystery wool (handspun? maybe?), a big fat ball of Trekking, in a lovely color, mystery fall-colored fuzzy (mohair? a blend?), and Donegal Tweed. The last has already found a new form, as a hat (2x2 rib, very simple, not particularly blogworthy although we'll see), but for now the rest are just for me to pet.

Some good references to have, and some inspiration. From the Interweave book, I have this dream of making the Weekend Getaway Satchel. I'm fully aware that this is pure fantasy. It's intarsia, it's freaking huge, and it takes about a million balls of yarn. ...but isn't it purty?

And finally...look what Santa brought! (ballwinder included, not pictured). Oh man oh man oh man.

I, um, kind of rewound a bunch of balls already in my stash, just because it's so much fun. Hooray!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Holidays 2007: Part I

Handmade Christmas: Gifts Given

Ysolda's Urchin, for Mom. Still haven't woven in ends, because still haven't totally finished it, because recipient has yet to make up her mind what she wants on the top. "A bobble!, actually, a button. Or ooh, a pompom..." Lesson learned: next time, decide for her. Modifications: added more stitches in the center panel to make it bigger and floppier.
Materials: a little less than one skein of Manos del Uruguay, knit flat on crappy size 10 circs bought in Spain.

Little drawstring bags, for a friend. Scrap fabric, ribbons, a sewing machine. Superfast.

Hat for dad, just as requested (seen here blocking on a jar of rice in my room). Last seen in the "two balls of yarn and holy crap Christmas is in two days" stage, but completed on Christmas Eve.

Hat: inside detail (his initials). Recipient has not removed hat since Christmas morning, except to sleep or shower, which I take to be a success.
Pattern: my own; knit in the round on Clover size 6 circ, sewn-up hem with initials duplicate-stitched inside. Two-ish balls of Debbie Bliss merino aran, which I would use again in an instant; it's amazingly soft and drapes so nicely. It was a little splitty, but that's mostly/entirely because I knit most of the body while watching Juno in the theater, so I was distracted by trying to knit/eat popcorn/adore Michael Cera at the same time.

Earrings, for a different friend. She loved them. Hooray!

Bracelet, for my aunt. I love beaded gifts. They are FAST.

Earrings for mom (whose birthday, two days before Christmas, necessitates the making of multiple gifts).

Glove for my aunt, last seen half-completed. Also well-received!

Finally, my favorite present EVER. His name is Toby, and he's small fuzzy and of indeterminate parentage. He enjoys chewing on yarn. More pictures to come. (Also, see my dad in his hat? Hooray!)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

the 2007 round-up...

...will be coming later. As will discussion of: Christmas presents, both given and received, dying, knitting, designing, and other break-related activities. Right now, however, I am going to bed.

In the meantime, however, totally gratuitous and not at all related to knitting...look what Santa picked out for himself brought!

All together: Aawwwwwww.