27 September 2007

Black Holes and YOU

Hello, (insert your name here). It's been a while since we last chatted. I wish I could say I've missed you, but a certain knitting community's website has been calling to me at every spare moment, sucking me in like a giant cosmic vacuum of death. I think there needs to be a warning from the Surgeon General on the Ravelry home page:
WARNING: Excessive use of this website may impair your ability to clean your place of residence, feed your family, and in general communicate with actual people in real time.
Get on the waiting list if you dare...

24 September 2007

All we like sheep

I received my invitation to Ravelry this morning. What a nice way to start a Monday morning, seeing the unofficial Knitting Knerd Golden Ticket in my inbox. Squee! In what little time I've been on the website this afternoon, I can tell this has the potential to suck up every spare (and not-so-spare) moment. It's the Perfect Storm for crafty procrastinators: you can itemize yarn/books/patterns you've amassed, projects you plan on starting, UFO's and FO's - all in freakish and geekish detail. Sooo many hours could be spent here just entering my own stuff, let alone checking out everyone else's. I have found my people. I am home.

21 September 2007

I feel knitty

I love fall - the colors, the scents, the temperature, everything. The contrast of a wool sweater warming your body and crisp air reddening your cheeks just makes my heart flutter. And, like clockwork, every year when it reaches this point of perfect knitting weather I think to myself, "Yikes - I only have (insert number) weeks to get my holiday knitting done! What have I been doing all this time without a project or three in process?" Mid-December will once again find me pledging to start holiday projects earlier next year to avoid mega-dosing on espresso, keep stress low, enjoy the season, blah, blah, blah. Here we go again...

I have a personal goal to use as much stash yarn as I can in the creation of holiday giftage this year. It will be a bit of a trick, in that a good chunk of the stash consists of "fibers of questionable synthetic origin" purchased early on in my knitting rebirth. You may think, "How
environmentally responsible of Meema, to avoid unnecessary purchasing and use resources already available." Though it may be true (patting myself on the back under my compact fluorescent lighting), I am leaning in this direction for other reasons as well: an attempt at not going pocketbook-crazy-come-holiday-time (a family affliction), compounded by being without my employee discount for the first time in years... I quit RH last week. Once the Fest is done at the end of September, Saturdays will be my own. I don't recall when I last had that day of the week available for personal use. Ah, freedom!

OK, so back to the season of knitting: I finished Kidlet's future sweater. It's lovely, albeit bigger than she is at 32 months. Once the ends weave themselves in and someone blocks it into shape, I'll post photos. I'm now whipping out some de rigeur dishcloths for J's housewarming. She closed on the house yesterday and is moving to a new apartment, so a set of cheery dishcloths seemed à propos. Sugar & Cream cotton, just like Mom's.
I'm ready to start Kerry's Renaissance stockings, but seem to have misplaced his measurements. I'll measure him again tomorrow. I was saddened to see the Hand Knit Hose posting is no longer accessible. It apparently has fallen off the Internet and can't get up. Here is another site of promise: 16th Century Stockings. I received my order of Swish DK from KnitPicks, and what yummy yarn it is! For Kerry, I envision the entire foot needing a reinforcing sock thread, and maybe doubled at the toe and heel. I'm excited to start these and amalgam a pattern from several sources.

18 September 2007

Sisters are forever

There were times when this was the last thing I wanted to hear; we fought like two wet cats in our youth. The passing years have served our relationship well, though. I would not trade my little sister for anything. She is my forever friend - and not in the cheesy yearbook-signing kind of way.

I love ya, 'Ness. Happy birthday!!

12 September 2007

Knit much?

This is the first lesson week of the new school year. I'm seeing a pretty good return rate from last year's studio, and new contracts are coming in fairly well so far. I always love the fall, getting back into a regular schedule after a relaxed summer existence. Me Taurus. Me like structure.

The only down side: my knitting has been temporarily preempted by studio administration and the nasty cold/allergy crud I brought home from the Fest this weekend. I have tried snuggling into bed at a fairly early-for-me-but-reasonable-for-everyone-else hour with my knitting and a Lime & Violet podcast, but I end up crashing after about 30 stitches. Hmm - maybe I need more sleep.

Happy New Year!

08 September 2007

It's all about being pretty

As superficial as it sounds, sometimes it's true. And it's even better when it can be functional at the same time.

I happened to be showing my mother the KnitPicks website tonight (I had just ordered Kerry's sock yarn this afternoon), and they have JUST introduced - wait for it... keep waiting... almost there... wooden tips for their Options needle system. And not just any old wooden tips - oh, no. Beautiful, colorful, multi-layered beechwood tips. And matching DPN's to boot. They are as lovely as hand-painted sock yarn. I squealed with Mom - it was a bonding moment, revealing my geeky proclivity.

Now I'm torn. I have loved the flexibility and many cable lengths of my Denise Interchangeable Needles, but yowza, these are head-turners. And I do like the points on these bad boys. Fie on you, KnitPicks! ;-)

05 September 2007

And we're back.

School has started. I am shocked at how quickly the summer slipped away from me. Tomorrow and Friday I travel to the high schools to beat the drums of private voice study, and shape a studio for the year. Short presentations in each choir period mean a fair amount of down time, which for me means knitting all day! Woo hoo! We'll have to see how much of the sweater can manifest itself by Friday afternoon.

Yup, still on Tater's Cotton Cardi. Yup, still looking for Kerry's RenFest sock yarn. I did strike it rich on Monday night, though, and found a cached pseudo-posting of Donna Flood Kenton's Hand Knit Hose pattern. I've had it bookmarked forever, but when I went to pull it up recently, the URL was no longer valid. So if you are interested in period hand-knit stockings, have a look.

04 September 2007

Decisions, decisions

After consulting various parties, the sweater will be completed and put away until it's closer to fitting Kidlet (I only have about 3 inches to go on the body). I have some KnitPicks Shine in Orchid and Green Apple that would suit the sweater. I had originally purchased it for a specific pattern, but for the life of me, I can't remember what that could have been. I've got to start writing things down - oh, I am.

I need to put in a plug for KnitPicks. They are an amazing yarn source! They purchase directly from the fiber mills, avoiding the distributor middle-man, thereby providing a great selection of product at fractions of large label costs. I've used them for several projects, especially where the yarn quantity or fiber would be cost prohibitive. They are one of the few yarn vendors in my favorites list.

Another yarn obsessive thing I've been partaking of lately is podcasts. I only wish I had learned sooner that you don't need an iPod to listen! It surprised me that there are so many specifically knitting podcasts out there, and they are the perfect thing to listent to as you knit. It's almost like sitting in a stitch-and-bitch, but whenever and wherever you want. I have developed a few favorites:
Lime & Violet, Knitters Uncensored, Cast On, KnitPicks Podcast, and Stash and Burn. Check them out.

03 September 2007

You crazy lovebirds!

On this night 41 years ago, a red-headed Norwegian farm boy and an exotic (for southern MN) Mexican-German nursing student were wed. Lucky for me.

Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad. I love you.

02 September 2007

Satisfying an uncooperative muse

I have been attempting a fitting of Kidlet's WIP sweater for several weeks, but have been met at every turn with the unflappable stubbornness of a two-and-a-half-year-old's desire to do everything but what is asked of them. Sigh. She finally relented the other day during her post-nap viewing of Arthur. The body is a bit generous, but that was planned; I hate to see hand knitted garments get two months of use, then packed away. It's true, you know, how they grow like weeds. The one thing I was saddened by is the arm length. If the pattern sizing is a foretaste of her growth to come, we are in for an arm-stretching couple of years. Wow.

(BTW, I am now a backwards knitting diva. :-D )

Since this discovery, I have not been motivated to keep knitting on the body length of the sweater. I'm trying to decide whether I should leave as is and cuff the entire lace end of the sleeves back, rip the arms back and reknit shorter, or frog the whole sweater and go down a size. Another sigh.

So, to distract myself, I took up some leftover Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran (from last year's Fetching phase), and started free knitting an iPod cover. Tricky, trying to leave spaces for the rectangular display screen and round navi wheel. It's not an eyesore, and it certainly feels delicious, but I need to swatch and play with the shaping of the decreases and increases. Now I'm whipping out an I-cord lanyard for it - completely brainless, and I can't seem to do it for more than 15 minutes at a time.

Another project I have stewing in my head is a pair of Renaissance stockings for Kerry, one of the men I work with at the Ren Fest. He is currently wearing a pair of black hand-knit wool socks that are about five inches shy of the desired height. I chided him about his short stockings, and he shared that they had been knee height, but he had laundered - and dried - them by machine once or twice. As his residential status is never predictable and hand laundering is not always possible, I thought I could make him a pair in superwash merino. I've been thinging out pattern possibilities and trolling for sport or DK superwash wool. With the excitement of the sock craze, the knitosphere is full of lovely and tempting hand-painted and self-patterning choices. It is not easy to find yarn for socks in plain, solid colors these days. The quest continues.