Monday, October 29, 2007

Hello, hello!

I have taken to the very grad school pursuit of eating lunch in a locally owned coffee shop near campus. The WiFi is slightly spotty, but I make do. I have yet to find the perfect equilibrium of Awesome Chairs combined with Accessible Plug For Charger (I need at least an hour and a half for my plugless afternoon lecture), but I am here nonetheless. Perhaps me 'n' the blog will see a little more of each other.

This weekend was a good one for knitting. I did a little Violets here and there, but the main progress made involved deciding how big I actually wanted to make it. I think my mom likes slightly small shawls, while I tend toward giant blankets you can wrap yourself in :P Given that Violets has a wide band of edging around the sides, it's not very easy for me to envision how big the finished project will be. Still, between matching it up to a larger sample over at Sow's Ear and having a little discussion with TChemGrrl, I decided to go with 24 eyelet stamps across the top (you enlarge the pattern in increments of three, and the smallest size has 18). I just finished the 21-eyelet iteration, so it's 24 more long rows (8 rows per iteration) to go of the very simple eyelet pattern. Still, though, I always get motivated when I have the end in sight, so I'm very excited to be moving on.

Violets will be my mom's Christmas present. In terms of other holiday planning, my cousin's wife Khrisla found me on Facebook a few weeks back. She has an Etsy shop, and she has been promoting a campaign to buy handmade this holiday season. Given that I am a poor grad student with an overabundance of yarn lying around, I've decided to jump on the bandwagon and either make stuff (for my immediate family) or buy stuff from artisans. I have a lot of friends who make stuff, and I LOVE the hunt for just the right unique little presents, so I think this will be very fun.


In terms of other stuff, I've decided to make Koolhaas for my brother. I love the hat and wanted to make it for someone, especially myself, but I think it will be great for my brother. He has that sort of style (in addition to a shavey head), and he loves the Team Zissou hat that I made him a few years ago. Now, of course I did not end up getting the yarn out of my stash (cheeky stash-plumper...) but I did pick up a wonderful skein of Dream In Color superwash worsted in a semi-solid color called Gothic Rose. (I'd link to the site, but their version is so washed out that it looks pink. It's more like a nice winey color; my gentleman friend pronounced it Fit For A Boy Hat). I think it'll work really well. The only thing I'm a bit concerned about is that a 16-inch unstretched hat seems a bit small for a person with a ginormous melon like myself and, I imagine, my brother. (Okay, more like an orange on a toothpick...)

The Team Zissou hat was made out of plain old Lion Wool. Knowing him, his likely method of cleaning is simply to never wash it, ever, but as he is Lead Fish Guy at a large Whole Foods, I imagine that washing would be nice sometime.

As for my dad... well, that vest is no closer to any stage of starting or completion, but who knows. Sow's Ear has just startd carrying Lamb's Pride Superwash, though, and I love how they're heathered. Somehow the Cascade 220 Superwash colors I see are always so bright and almost primary; I like a little more depth. So his stuff is still out to lunch. Oy.

I'll work on what I have, though, and I am hopeful that the recipients will like them.

Random note for later: I LOVE the Refined Aran from the new IK (not out yet).

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Sunday, October 21, 2007


I love how, in looking over my past blog posts, a good half of the titles have something to do with the fact that I'm either apologizing for my blog absence or simply acknowledging that I am still alive. (I think the rest are complaining about something. Way to be, Mads.)

It is a lazy, lovely Sunday morning, and the sun is out after a dreadfully grody week full of almost-rain and too much wind. Lots of TV knitting took place huddled on my couch :P Yesterday, however, was a perfect fall day. I spent the afternoon out and about, but I think I knit about two rows on Violets by the River while waiting for my bf to finish something on the computer. I THINK I've completed all I need to do for the center section; I'm supposed to end up with 18 little lacy stamps across. Of course, I am not sure if this is big enough -- I like things slightly larger, and I seriously have no concept of gauge. Swatching does jack squat for me and I typically end up way smaller than I should be.

So who knows. I'll stretch it out on my circ (I think it's 29") and maybe pin it out a little. Who knows how big the border will be, either.

I think I should probably do at least two more :P

As for Shedir, it continues apace with one notable change. I switched yarns to a skein of brilliantly teal Cascade 220 I've had lying around since late 2004. It's been frogged a couple times, I think :P The reason was slightly goofy. The Ultra Alpaca was indeed nice, but I realized that it's my mom's favorite color (she likes light, dusky, slate-y greens) and I should probably save it for something for her, since I didn't particularly care what color something was for me. The teal is pretty decent but I'm beginning to wonder if the cables will stand out enoguh with such a deep color. Still, it seems to be okay. I'm a couple rows into the first pattern repeat.

Got the 2007 IK Holiday Gifts issue, and all I can say is WHOA, what a winner! So many great projects, and they're all new. I have to say that I did a bit of public whining with last year's issue, seeing as so many of the projects had been recycled from other IK issues and books. Now, I don't own too many of the books, but I had most of those magazines, so I was a bit perturbed at the lack of new content.

No problem this year! There's a great variety, some of which may tempt me into making some things I normally wouldn't. I LOVE the Koolhaas hat (in fact, I wanted to make that instead of Shedir, but whatevs), and there are a couple pairs of socks that might actually tempt me to pick up the ol' dpns again. That's saying something.

Finally, Ravelry continues to enthrall me. I am always finding new ideas, new tidbits of info, and new (old) friends. What an awesome resource.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

It's a small world after all...

No need to thank me for getting that song in your head now. Here's a fix: "Yellow Submarine."

So I was bumming around on the internet the other day and looking for some new knitting blogs to read. There are a couple ways I can do that; one of them is looking at the sidebars of other blogs I currently read. Anyways, I was reading Jessimuhka Knits because I know the aforementioned Jessimuhka from a LiveJournal community we both frequent. So I was looking at her blogroll, and I see that she is friends with someone whose name looks a little familiar. Long story short, it happens to be my cousin P.'s wife, C., and she and Jessimuhka hang out in a knitting group together. In San Diego. (I haven't seen either C. or P. since my grandma's birthday in 2004, and I've heard news from them only slightly more frequently.)

So. I log on to Ravelry and see that C. is on there too, so I send her a message. She is surprised but happy to hear from me. She says she won't have much time to knit for a while, though, as she and P. are expecting a baby girl. Next week.


So that makes [counts on fingers...] four baby sweaters I need by next Monday.

I ripped out my Sidewinders on my third attempt because the increases looked so incredibly awful. The instructions said to use a bar increase, whereas I always just increase with a kfb or pfb for everything, but the bar increase left giant holes. I wouldn't have minded quite so much (hey, at least they look vaguely intentional if they're symmetrical) except that the decreases on the other side of the toe REALLY made it look wonky. Back to the ballwinder it went.

(The intended recipient ended up having her surgery and doing just fine, so that's good news.)

I knit furiously on Violets by the River while sitting through two quarters of putrid football at a sports bar last Saturday when I should have been studying for a midterm. (I think the ferocity came from the need to escape brain freeze. I'd like to take this opportunity to mention that I also successfully broke up my Sunday study session by mentioning my plan to use yarn in the corn maze next week.) Just a couple more quick iterations of the main motif across the top and I'll switch the the Feather and Fan along the edges. I'll have to pin it out a bit first, though, to see if it merits a slightly larger adaptation.

Started in on Shedir for myself in a dusky green Berroco Ultra Alpaca because I need a winter hat and, well, I felt like knitting last night but was too lazy to go out to get Violets out of the car :P

My laziness knows no bounds.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Everything's gone mad!

No knitting in, like, forever. That's what grad school will do to you. The nerve!

After a break of a month or so, I picked up my Violets By The River shawl the other day and did a couple more iterations of the (very simple) pattern. I'm probably about halfway through the main body of the shawl, though the edging is pretty substantial. I'm taking notes for someone in a colloquium I'm doing, so what would otherwise be prime knitting time isn't happening then (though it's no bother). I'm still trying to find my comfort zone, figuring out places to hang out between classes and the like, and when to check e-mail and when to read and when to do all that good stuff, so it's been a while.

Happily, I've loaded up my TiVO with some good stuff, so I'll at least have some quality fodder for watching TV while knitting. In addition, it turns out that a couple of my new friends from class are knitters too, so I'll probably get together with them every so often and have something other to talk about than just "OMG, what's the difference between inter-item and item-total validity?"

Yep, it's just that fun.


I know this is a cop-out since, hey, I actually have it and am not using it, but still. I BOUGHT A NEW CAMERA. It is very tiny indeed, and my camera geek friends are mildly jealous of it but helped me make a great choice. It's a Canon PowerShot SD850. This blog will not be quite as boring anymore. Really!

Of course, I have nothing but half-finished FOs to show. There are a couple of car trips coming up, though, so I will hopefully get some good time in on those.

In other news, I took a trip to the WI Sheep and Wool Festival. It was awesome, and I bought some patterns and a wonderful Merging Colors mitered scarf kit in the Cape Cod colorway (yeah, big surprise -- blue and green again), as well as some blue and green (OKAY OKAY I have a problem) soysilk for TChemGrrl to spin for me. Yay! Of course, now I can't FIND my patterns, but as I live in a very small apartment, I'm sure they'll turn up. One, in particular, should be just gorgeous; it's a long stole with a simple pattern in the middle and nice ends. It could be very luxurious indeed. I want 1200 yards of some sort of silk or sheeny something-something in a fingering weight with tone on tone coloring; I'm thinking something nice and deep and jewel-y. I was thinking of the American Beauty colorway of Tilli Tomas Pure and Simple (you can't see, but it has some more wine-y and ruby tones mixed in), but
HELLO, that's like 80 bucks, and right now my loyalty card money is over at the Sow's Ear, not Lakeside (where they carry TT). Still, if Sow's Ear gets a new shipment of Handmaiden Sea Silk (I was thinking of Midnight), I might just be forced to go with that. Boy, wouldn't that be tough?

Finally, I would just like to say that I have purchased non-blue and green yarn recently, so there. I got some Malabrigo Laceweight in some kind of magenta-with-a-little-green colorway, which I'm planning to use for the Flared Lace Smoke Ring... someday.

No, really, I'll totally get to it. After the three baby sweaters in my queue...

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