Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bye Bye July!

Tuesday and Wednesday got away from me this week, bloggingly speaking. In other news a lot of knitting has been going on around here, as well as other home maintaining endeavors. [Side Note: Mom, if you're going to hit all of the sprinklers, please let me mow the lawn instead. Or put that bum I call a brother to work.]

I have been working away on my Quidditch sweater and I'm up to the armhole decreases on the back now. Yay! The stripes match up from the back to the front, which had me concerned. (By "concerned" I mean "I didn't think about that until I had already completed both stripes on the back part and the idea hit me like a lightning-bolt of panic.")

I decided to enter the scarf 'competition' in the ravelympics and I'd like to use the yarn I harvested from an old sweater. I have to pick a pattern pretty soon here if I'm going to swatch before the event kicks off, but I don't know what I'm in the mood to knit. What would my hands (and the yarn in question) like to work on in a mad dash of 17 days from start to finish?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ravelympics 2008

I'm very interested in participating in the Ravelympics 2008 knit party going on over at Ravelry! I just don't know what event to pick...
Afghan Marathon
Amigurumi-n-Toys Toss
Baby Dressage
Bag-n-Tote Backstroke
Balance Beads
Cable Steeplechase
Colorwork Cross-Country
Cowl Jump
Designers Discus
Fantasy DecKnitathalon
Felted Freestyle
Free-For-All Freestyle
Fleece to Finished Fencing
Glove Decathlon
Gift Knits Pentathlon
Hand-Dyed Hurdles
Handspun Heptathalon
Hat Dash
Holiday Handball
Home-Stuff Hammerthrow
Itsy Bitsy Bikini Breaststroke
Laceweight Long Jump
Mitten Medley
Pets Pommel Horse
Scarf Stroke
Shawl Relay
Sock Put
Sweater Sprint
Synchronized Flirty Skirts
Vest Vault
WIPs Wrestling

As you can see, there are many many things that might pique my interest. At the moment I'm thinking of a scarf/shawl project that would be a gift. And that falls under 3 events, maybe more. It might be laceweight, it could have cables, and matching mittens or gloves would be great.

I'm going to ponder this some more.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

One quarter of a sweater

This is the front of the quidditch style sweater I'm making for myself.

I like the Plymouth encore worsted a lot! It's a step up from the
cheapo acrilics that I like to use when trying new things/learning but
it's not expensive at all. It's got just enough wool to be warm and
soft without being hard to care for or causing me to have an allergic
reaction! Yay! Must keep knitting!

Friday, July 25, 2008

How about fully clothed blogging?

Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @

"I'm thinking of trying new things."
[Other guy disrobes]
"I mean like knitting."
"Naked knitting?"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sweater Carnage! (not for those who get squeamish about that sort of thing)

I found an old sweater in the "Stuff We're Sending to Goodwill" bag that my mom no longer wants/wears/loves. It was coming apart a little along one of the seams and lo and behold, there were actual sweater construction methods employed in the making of this sweater! Which means that sweater destruction methods (rip, rip, rip!) can be used to reclaim the yarn.

I really liked the look and feel of the sweater (its made out of a varitable zoo of animal fibers) so I decided to inflict some sweater carnage and harvest the yarn for my own purposes. I'll spare you the pictures because this sort of thing can be unsettling (and because I didn't take any).

The sweater came apart with remarkable ease and the yarn is quite lovely. It's rather thin, only a fine 3-ply and I have oodles of it now. It takes a whole lot of fine yarn to make a sweater apparently. [Side Note: I lost some yarn to the carnage. Not much. Just when I missed the seam and cut through the working yarn. Idiot. I kept these short strands because they could come in handy later for strategic seaming purposes.]

I doubt that this yarn will be reincarnated back into sweater form (because there is a bit less of it now and the original was a bit snug to begin with). This reclaimed yarn hasn't decided what it wants to be yet, so it will hang out in the stash for a bit. [Side Note: 'Stash' is a bit of a joke. It's just the odds and ends of left over yarn I've accumulated. I buy what I'm going to knit with and then I start as soon as the yarn is legally in my possession. What I really have is a large WIP collection.]

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Justification Plz?

I wanted a rugby style sweater, cardinal and gold with USC pride in every stitch, to wear to homecoming this year. I have hoodies and jackets and my Gryffindor SC scarf, but my jerseys are getting worn out. And they have acquired a beer smell that won't come out.

[Side Note: My mom tossed them in the wash just before the Stanford game last year. Their first washing since the National Title. Collective gasp anyone? Her argument was "I can't even wash the smell out, how can you possibly belive that I washed the 'luck' out?!?". Coincidence? I think NOT.]

Besides, ol' #11 and #5 have long since moved on to NFL careers, but haven't reached the epic status that allows alums to wear #34 around.
It's ok though because I am coping with my Paranoid Sweater Phobia quite well and ordered yarn from Webs for the project. It's the Quidditch Sweater from Charmed Knits (because the more I knit, the more I love this book cover to cover). $34 including shipping and I will have a great sweater by November-ish. {Insert plot twist here}

But then I found this:

For the low low price of $27.99! And it got me to thinking. Yes, dangerous 'thinking'. Even with shipping, it comes out the same as the yarn + notions and involves Zero work on my part. I never should have signed up for the damn e-newsletter at Whimsic Alley.
>:~[ (That's my scowling Snape smiley, haha)
Yes, I'm still making my sweater, believing that it will be far superior to the mass produced model in quality, durability, and warmth. And because denial isn't just a river in Egypt anymore.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Just because I can ...

... doesn't mean I will.

I saw these knitted pillow covers in a catalog for a store (new to my area) called West Elm. My immediate thought was "I could knit that." And I very well could. But I'm not going to. Because I don't need (or particularly desire) these pillows. It's just nice to see that knitty things can make it in this post-modern loft-style hipsters catalog. :-)

P.S. They have a bazillion other things that I do really want and definitely can't knit. Like a desk chair.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Olive this hat!

I love puns. They're witty and cheesy and they pop into my head all the time. When I saw the cute Olive hat on The Blue Blog the other day I chuckled to myself at the cleverness. Then I realized that I have olive green yarn lying around from a yarn project my mom started in about 1975. [Side Note: My mom doesn't knit but I think she did a reasonable crochet impersonation on a throw blanket for my grandparents. (I've never seen it, probably because it was made of olive green, Brady Bunch kitchen orange, and brown.) Also, my mom has forgotten how to crochet since then, I've asked.]

I pulled out my trusty hat pattern and made a size small hat in under a few hours out of the old olive acrylic. It's too bad the ancient acrylic makes my forehead itch like it's made of steel wool. This will need a lining, which I've never done on a hand knit hat (just a store bought one). No rush though, it's JULY.

I used duplicate stitch to put the pimento on (and stitched around it to even out the border). Sometimes it looks like a green hat with a red dot, but if you get the right perspective it looks just like a manzanilla olive. My dad got the joke right away, "Oh, is that a cocktail olive hat? Olive it! Haha get it?" yes dad, I get it ;-)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Practice Sweater is actually finished. No really this time.

Yeah, I know I've hyped this sweater waaay too much. But it's a personal victory. Yay me! [Side Note: My camera has stopped being 'difficult' and has begun an all out mutiny. Sorry for the lacking picture quality.]
And this is the neckline that gave me so much grief. Sure, it looks harmless now ...

It's not invisible if you make it out of red yarn.

As I've added more knitting content to my Google.reader I've noticed all of the wonderful lacy things that people come up with. Fancy shawls, scarves, and even socks. The thought of knitting them conjured up images of dental floss yarn and toothpick size knitting needles though, so I was content to just admire the work of others for a long time.

Then I started paging through Charmed Knits (I was looking for good instruction on how to finish the neck of my Practice Sweater, and the Quidditch Sweater method worked well) and came across the Invisibility Shawl which mentions that it's an easy project to learn lacework on. Also I would get to solidify my ability to perform the Provisional Cast-On. It was a win-win really. AND I used the red sock yarn that I have hanging around from my One Red Sock. (It's definitely not getting a mate now.)

Yes, I know that it isn't exactly 'invisible' when I go and make it out of RED sock weight yarn.

I am absolutely enamored with lace construction now. [Side Note: It uses BIG needles. Huh.] There are only a few repeats left to do before it reaches the 40" size mentioned in the pattern (plus the finished edge) so clearly I'm falling down on the blogging in order to knit. Talk about your vicious circles huh?

Really, all the progress on this came as I sat in Jury Duty. 5 hours of uninterrupted knitting time before they called my number. I was actually concerned that I would finish it there in the smelly, hot waiting area before they got to me! I didn't bring anything to read and my iPhone was low on battery (and nary an outlet in sight). This could have quickly deteriorated into a lesser known circle of Dante Alighieri's hell construct, so I did what any rational person would do and I knit slower. [Knitted more slowly ... knitted slower ... knit slowly ... where's my 6th grade English teacher when I need her?]

Has it really been that long?

The days seem to slip by so quickly between blog posts! It's not like I'm short on things to blog about either; I started my first piece of lace work (now just a few repeats from being finished), I finished the neckline on that pesky practice sweater (it turned out just great once I stopped being a spaz about it), I made a pun into a hat, I ordered some yarn from Webbs, and I worked on the Never-Ending Afghan. I'm going to write about all of these things in detail right away. As soon as I can take some pictures. It's dark now.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

"Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?" - George Carlin (RIP)

They only shrink if you put them in the dryer afterwards ;-)
[Side Note: Never ever try to put a sheep in a dryer. Ever.]
**EDIT** For all of you who find your way here through google, looking for an actual answer to this question: It takes very hot water to relax wool fibers and then cause them to contract (shrink) and rain just doesn't reach those temperatures. Also, sheep don't get terribly wet anyways because their wool is coated with greasy skin secretions (lanolin). For more information, check out wikipedia.