29 October 2007

FROGGED! or The Scarf That Would NOT be Knit

In the same spirit of exercising the long languishing project prevalent through out the internets these days, I too have finally frogged something that's been 'in progress' for far too long.

Let me tell you the story of the Bias Mohair Cable Scarf.

The year was 2004 and the winter fashion accessory of the year was the bias knit scarf. I was especially enamoured with a particular Banana Republic bright pink striped specimen. So I grab the large ball of aqua mohair out of my mom's lovely huge stash of yarn and started my own cabled creation. Making it all up as I went along, loving the resulting scarf that sprang from the needles.

Sadly the one ball was not enough. And mid scarf I headed to my local yarn purveyor and favourite knitting guru to have her suggest a suitable substitute to continue on with the scarf. The replacement was Patons Divine I had gone through my extensive striping phase and was now into large blocks of colour so had no issue with starting in the new colour halfway through the scarf. Of the possible colour choices available for instant gratification, the best choice was white. So off I went with the new yarn to continue to work on my fabulous scarf.

However, I somehow managed to get the one freak ball of Divine that was bigger than it should have been. This made my usually pleasant knitting time into horrible struggles between yarn and needle. There was horrible yarn vs. aluminum squeaking and a general malaise. The yarn store was more than willing to exchange the yarn as it was clearly defective to be sent back to the manufacturer, but I would not be defeated! I kept going for almost a foot before finally setting the scarf aside for other less frustrating projects. Years have gone by and still it sat in my knitting basket taunting me to pick up the sticks and continue on with the torturous project.

Finally, reading the stories of others who are exorcising their own knitting demons, I decided that now was the time for action! I frogged the whole thing! Two lovely innocent looking yarn cakes are all that remain of the devilish scarf that would not be knit. And I plan to continue with the idea of a bias knit scarf out of the lovely even tempered mohair. Just a much narrower trimmer version of it's predecessor.

As for the devilish Divine? It is destined to become a prim and adorable Cloud Bolero, a Christmas present for a cousin who's brother requested a knitted shark. She's girly enough to love it fully, including the yarn that it's made from.

I like how this turned into a scary knitting ghost story midway through the post. Happy Hallowe'en kiddies!

27 October 2007

Where'd I put that extra ball?

I'm this close to finishing up my Adult Suprise Jacket. All I need is that last ball of Noro Silk Garden that I swore I had kicking around. But now I can't find it. I may have to get all drastic and completely go through my tub 'o' yarn to find it. Yargh! I swear it's around here somewhere! Maybe I'll have to suck it up and go buy another ball. Ugh. Not too worried about dye lots as there's tons of colours going on that always shift.

In other news I've begun to work on the mittens for the No More Humdrum Mitten Swap. My partner asked for autumnal colours so I am going to town (as you can see). That's just the cuff. I've worked into the body of the mitten, but think I may have to tweak the colour selection and transitions. They aren't singing to me in the same way that they are in the cuff.

24 October 2007

A Parcel of Patterns

More treats from my Secret Pal. I could really get used to these daily mini-spoilings. Sure the big parcels are fun, but the bigger they are, the more time in between them.

Three fabulous patterns complete with page protectors and everything! One of these days I'm going to have to head to Bureau-en-gros to get me some page protectors and a binder to organise the rest of my pattern collection.

Two fabulous sock patterns and a super fun felted knitting bag. I'm so happy I just found a Knitty article that discusses Felting without a washing machine and I get to try needle felting too!

Thanks Pal! And I think I better get knitting me some socks.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention. I'm currently concentrating most of my knit time to finally finishing up the Adult Surprise Jacket. I'm a half a sleeve away from weaving in ends and shopping for buttons.

23 October 2007

Sent Separately, Arrive Together

My Secret Pal told me s/he had sent me a couple of things in the mail. Canada Post works in mysterious days, both little parcels arrived in today's mail.

Here's the goodies:

Some very nice earrings. It would seem that my Pal is a fan of Big Earrings, not just a Big Fan of earrings. These are hands down the biggest earrings I own. But they're great! I think I can handle them.

And a super fun Hallowe'en Package full of those fun mini plastic spiders and some great skull stitch markers. They have a great texture. Reminds me of what sugar skulls would be like, only smaller.

Thanks Pal, I quite enjoy!

21 October 2007

Another Kind of Crafty

I really don't need more crafty endeavours to fill up my time these days, but I found myself with a spare sock when I finally finished with the Teeny Tiny Socks. While questioning the possible uses of an itty bitty sock, Melanie, a knit nite friend, invited me over for an afternoon of crafting using her huge store of supplies and mad skillz to make cards.

So I took a break from some PowerPoint madness I'm working on to go hang and get crafty in NDG. Melanie and her husband Jeff have a great apartment near Monkland. She grossly undersold her collection of card making supplies. All sorts of papers, stamps, stamp pads, gromits, brads, markers. It was card making paradise!

We spent the afternoon chatting, playing with cards, making itty bitty socks, and eating home made cookies (super yummy). It was too much fun. So much fun in fact that she invited me to play board games with her and Jeff, AND stay for super yummy home made soup (I didn't think there was too much nutmeg). A very enjoyable Saturday. One of my most eventful for quite a while.

Thanks so much for having me over, but watch out Melanie, I may become a regular!

19 October 2007

Link a Dink a Bottle of Ink

Too much knitting related internet surfing is making me want to buy lots of things. But I'm trying to be good and work with what I've got at the moment rather than let myself go wild. So I'm going to share the things that are making me drool at the moment. Don't blame me if you are suddenly inspired to melt your credit card.

Crochet Me by Kim Werker
Projects that I like in this book are many. I love the great things done with crochet, especially the Cocoon Market Bag. I know this is the year of the super eco, reusable, knit/crocheted market bag, but this is the first one that has actually tempted me to make one.

200 Crochet Blocks by Jan Eaton
To help support my sudden desire for a granny square afghan. I have visions of over sized blocks becoming a topper for my bed. Winter is coming soon (but hopefully not too quickly).

Interweave Crochet - Fall Issue
In this issue, I'm completely in love with the Seaside Coat. Partly because I love the idea of crocheting and felting such professional looking outer wear, partly because it's a very similar style and colour coat to one that I already own and love. Really I just need to subscribe to this magazine already as there's always something in there that I desperately want to make.

The Happy Hooker by Debbie Stoller
Not only will it add to my Stitch 'n' Bitch library, it's got some good technical information on crocheting. I know all the stuff so far has been crochet related. That's because it's seriously under represented in my craft library and I'm intrigued to work more with a hook since discovering I can make more things than 60's related Hallowe'en costumes.

Doodle Stitching by Aimee Ray
I've been looking at embroidery for months. Slowly I've been accumulating the required supplies and amassing a library of inspiration. I'm working through ideas in my head before putting needle to fabric. I like the kitsch value of using old embroidery patterns and some of the cool ways embroidery is being used to be more than little rosebuds on little girls pinafor dresses. This would be a great addition to the internal brainstorming. One of these days I'll put down my wool and pick up some floss. Mark my words.

Oh and to lighten the mood (and again so I don't lose track of these fun things), here's some fabulous craftiness that the internets have provided me.

Cross Stitch Minipops by Ruby Khan
These are too too too awesome for words. I want all my favourite bands and cast of characters translated from pixel to cross stitch, framed and hanging in my hallway.

Crazy Awesome Crocheted Thingmes by Nicole Gastonguay
Who doesn't want their tv dinner to be smiling up at them as they dig in?

18 October 2007

Knitting Daisies

I like it when knitting shows up in movies and on tv. I was recently very pleasantly surprised to see knitting on one of the new fall tv shows that I enjoy, Pushing Daisies,* has character that knits when nervous. Emerson Cod, the PI, starts knitting in the second episode in response to the dead girl being not dead anymore.

The actor isn't a very good knitter, but not completely hopeless.

Cod's recent finished pieces, a lovely sweater vest and gun cosies.

In the middle of the action, a knitting needle saves the day!

In the end, he continues to knit.

He finishes up with some money cosies.

I quite enjoy the super cuteness of this show. Especially when they add fun character traits like knitting. The best part was having a knitting partner without needing to leave the house.

* An ABC show that airs on CTV here in Canadia.

17 October 2007

Your Tuque Should Always Match Your Socks

Pattern: Interwoven Cable Hat by Amy O'Dell
Modifications: For gauge. I kept the cable section the same.
Materials: 1/2 skein Fleece Artist Sea Wool
Start Date: October 5, 2007
Finished By: October 13, 2007

I like to use all parts of the skein. This hat is made from yarn leftover from my Secret Knitting Socks and also using a pattern provided by my Secret Pal. I adapted the pattern to use the smaller gauge yarn, but kept the cable section the same width. The cable totally reminds me of the medallion from the Never Ending Story. Something I will always think of when I wear it.

The sea wool works really well for cables. As you can see, the cable section pops up quite nicely with good definition without any need to twist stitches. I didn't twist any stitches because a. I'm not exactly sure which stitches should get twisted and b. I hear it's tough on the wrists to work a lot of twisted stitch.

One challenging bit using this pattern with a thinner gauge yarn was working the top decreases. First I worked the decreases as described and found that I had created a rather odd puffed top tuque. So I ripped it out, figured out how many decreases per round were in the original pattern and then adapted that for my new gauge. The pattern includes specific instructions for decreasing the cable section over a specific number of rows, so I worked the cable as usual until I had that many rows left over in my decreases.

This is much easier to do than I just described. In the pattern the first decrease round has you purl 7 in between decreases, so when I was down to 7 stitches in between decreases, I started following the pattern's decrease rounds. Before that I was only doing decreases on the main part of the hat, not on the cable section.

Here you can see the resulting decreases. The hat still kind of puffs a bit at the top, which I'm not wild about, but I can deal with it.

I'll be well dressed when the snow eventually comes. But here's to hoping it stays far away for a long time like last year.

11 October 2007

Postal Post

Just when I was trying to think of what I should write about today my subject came to me, quite literally, in the post. Another package from my Secret Pal! I was able to contain my excitement enough to take pictures while I tore it open.

My Pal knows me so well to put all the stamps on in a creative manner. I'm starting to think they're purposely posed for pictures.

Nicely staged with the note on top. Look, another two rental + mircowave popcorn coupon! I know what I'm doing this weekend...

Look at all the good stuff in there. This package is definitely brought to you by the letter S. There's S scrabble tile earrings, an S shaped post it pad (not to mention the Swedish Berries). I love fun monogrammed stuff like that! My other S jewelry is a ring made out of a keyboard key, so the earrings fit right in!

Oh and Swedish Berries! Yummers (though they are already gone). Fun felt patches that I'm going to have to find something to sew onto. Some lovely Hawaii souvenirs and some episodes of "The Sarah Jane Adventures," I'm curious to see what TV thinks a Sarah Jane should be/do. Lovely sheepie things, one of which is already at home on my fridge. And who really has enough lip balm in their life? I know I sure don't! I don't think I've had berry flavoured Blistex since I was 8 and it's exactly as I remember it, Berry-licious!

And do you see the size of that crochet hook?!?!? It's almost rude! I think I know what project my Pal plans for me to do with it. I already have some bulky yarn from her and she sent me a crocheted slouchy beret pattern, so you may see one pop up here one of these days.

Thanks Pal!

9 October 2007

Teeny Tiny Socks

I got the kit for these earrings in the post last week and neglected to knit them or even thank my Secret Pal for sending it to me. I've been a bad spoilee! But a digital kick in the pants (well really an inquiry of whether I'd received the treat) got me to dig out some variegated sock yarn, cast on and knit these little socks.

Pattern: Los Lobe Hose by Carol Breitner
Materials: Regia Superwash Sockwool (unsure about colors, I don't read German) from local yarn store.
Start Date: October 9, 2007
Finished By: October 9, 2007

The brown stripes happen to work with my hair colour. What a happy accident.

The pattern suggests cutting two lengths with matching variegation so that the stripes on both socks match, but this particular yarn doesn't work really well for that. The colour sequences do repeat, but the lengths of each colour vary enough to throw any plans for matching socks out of wack. I ended up knitting an extra sock that was supposed to match with the first one I made, but it didn't. Rather than having an almost matched pair, I opted to celebrate variety and use the two differently striped ones. That way one of the socks doesn't look 'wrong.'

So does anyone want a solo tiny sock to make into a pin?

8 October 2007

The Improbability of Knitting

It's nice to see knitting appear in pop culture. I get the same level of enjoyment as I do from when Canada is mentioned in US tv shows. Even if they're making fun, I still enjoy the mention. My favourite use of knitting in film also happens to be in a film I really enjoy. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is exactly my sense of humour and is a pretty great translation of the book into film format.

I heart the animations that go along with the book's descriptions throughout the film and really fell in love with the knitted scene after the second use of the Heart of Gold's Infinite Improbability Drive. Here are some pics if you haven't seen the film (which should be done at once).

The ship as is exits hyperspace travel using the Infinite Improbability drive.

Knitted version of all the characters and the interior of the ship. I love the attention to detail.

Here Arthur is being sick into a waste bin. Please note the ribbing and cabling on the columns and the knitted portrait of Zephod in the background.

As the ship regains 'Normality' the transition from knitted dolls to real people begins. Note the real bathrobe.

But the vomit in the bin remains yarn and Arthur pulls the last bit of yarn out of his mouth. I luv it!

That last bit of the scene really adds that extra level of smarts to the comedy that is true to the books. This is the sort of visual gag that makes me really love the movies. It's like an inside joke just between me and the filmmakers.

Maybe the film isn't a faithful translation of all events of the book to the screen, but Douglas Adams changed the story each time it was told. From the original radio shows, tv series, and books. It then follows that the movie would be it's own entity still. There are those who criticise editing Douglas Adams, but a death can't be helped. I would rather editing by someone else than losing the project entirely.

Oh and I'd love to have a knitted Marvin one day.

6 October 2007

Now I can start something new

Pattern: Squirrely Swedish Mittens by Elli Stubenrauch
Adaptations: Using Hello Yarn's inclusion of Swedish Twisted Cast on. Working on 2.00 mm needles to create a smaller gauge to adapt for my hands.
Materials: Briggs & Little Sport in Washed White and Pink and Tongue River Sock Yarn in Sheep's Brown
Start Date: June 17, 2007
Finished By: October 6, 2007

I may not be ready for winter, but now my hands will be. The right hand mitten has some interesting stitches from my bout of tired social knitting at the Monkland meetup, but it didn't bother me enough to rip back and fix it.

The mittens are not exactly like the pattern. I took inspiration from Hello Yarn's interpretation and I changed it up a bit myself as well. I left in the 'trees' and tried 3 colours at once (not fun, but manageable for a short amount of time). In the end this section looks more like acorns, which doesn't really bother me. Squirrels need something to eat.

In the middle of knitting these I had inspiration for a whole other colour combination. So there may just be another pair in my future. Or maybe it will be deers instead of squirrels. Who knows?

EDIT: These are my mittens (wasn't sure that I made that clear). It's nice to knit for others, but it's just as nice to knit for me.

5 October 2007

Out of the Basket

And onto the couch.

Pattern: Stripy Throw — Simple Crochet
Adaptations: Doubled all rows to create bigger stripes
Materials: Briggs & Little Heritage in Washed White, Scarlet, Navy Blue and Light Blue
Start Date: Fall 2004
Finished By: Still going.

Blame it on too much cutting with an exacto knife. Blame it on the sad projects staring up at me through Ravelry. Blame it on a chilly apartment while watching tv one night this week and not wanting to turn the heat on just yet. Blame it on what you will, but this blanket is on the go once more!

A wee bit of history for this 3 year old project. I graduated University in the spring of 2004. I then got a job at my University after a month or so and woke up one Saturday morning to my brother bursting into my room exclaiming that my Dad found a Mini for sale in the paper for an affordable price. I am NOT a morning person. It usually takes me at least an hour to properly wake up and be coherent. But this REM interruption worked better than a triple espresso ever could.

Long story short. The three of us headed down to check out the car. I test drove it, as did my Dad. Some serious impulse shopping kick set in and the wheels were in motion for my first Major purchase as a working adult. I love that car still and would buy another Mini in a heart beat. They are too too too much fun to drive!

This blanket was started to live in my back seat to be a seat warmer in the winter (leather gets REAL cold)/cargo blanket for when the back seat would be folded down. I even worked in a gap for the seatbelt! The colours were selected to go with the lovely yellow exterior and are somewhat reminiscent of other Mini colours of the time. But I didn't finish it in time to use in the car before selling it to my parents so that I could afford my London adventure.

The nice thing about selling my car to my parents is that I get to drive it when I go home. It's like getting to visit the dog at the farm after it got sent away.

I'm pretty far along, but have plenty of yarn to go through still. I'll keep chugging as long as the yarn holds out. If fall ever shows up, I'll have a finished blanket in no time!

4 October 2007

These aren't my socks

Pattern: Striped Sports Socks with i-cord bind off
Yarn: Briggs & Little Sport, Sheep's Grey and Royal Blue
Start: Mid July 2007
End: October 1, 2007

They belong so someone much taller than me. Hopefully they'll still be knee-highs (or something close) on her. Next need to stick them in an envelope and send them away.

Well, you readers fulfilled your end of the bargain and commented, so I'll do my part and post more. Most surprising is that I've got subscribers....WHOT?!?! That's kind of crazy to me. This may make my posts a little more coherent and stick to one (ish) topic. So today is some finished socks.

Oh and I understand those of you who are non-blog commentors. I generally don't comment on people's blogs that I read all the time. But I'm going to endeavour to comment more as well as post more.

3 October 2007

ahem hem hem.

I've been told I don't blog frequently enough.

WHOT?!?!??! Really? There are people that read this thing?

I know my mom doesn't cause I haven't told her about it. I know my Secret Pal does as s/he's always up on the comment spam (which is much appreciated). I dunno, I post when I feel there's something knit-worthy (aren't I SO hilarious?) that needs recording in some way. Um. I could blog more.

BUT I ask one thing. Comment please. I really have no clue how many people actually read this thing other than those few that have commented. I'm not asking for brilliance (cause I sure ain't giving it). Even just a 'You should post something today!' works for me or a 'That colour looks like crap on you' or even an update on how many more inches your sock is. Silly random movie/tv show/book quotes or trivia is welcome too. I dunno.

I'll post more if you comment, sound fair?

[this message is brought to you by knit nite sillyness on Monkland. Sometimes tired turns into quite silly quite quickly. Now I'm off to bed]