Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Magic of Felting

A quick post from lovely Somerville, where I've been clearing my belongings out of a basement, and dumping them or sending them westward. It's been mentally scarring, so let's see something I finished before I left the West Coast.

Here's a Felted Bowl, pre felting:

The yarn is Manos, the pattern is from One Skein.
Here it is, post-felting:

I like how the unevenness of the yarn looks after felting, although the purple seems to have lost some of it's vibrancy. I may have enough yarn left for a tiny matching bowl, but I didn't bring it with me on my trip--it'll have to wait until next year!! Happy New Year!

The Swirlies! The Swirlies!

I made a lot of progress on the first Anemoi Mitten over the weekend, at the expense of a few other projects. I did put them aside for a couple of days to work on other things, partly to decide whether or not I really like the pattern in this yarn. Any thoughts? I'm not so thrilled with the amount of cream in the pattern on the back of the hand, and the ribbing is a little tighter than I'd like. On the plus side, the variegation looks good--a little less stripey than on the cuff, and both yarns are soft. Hopefully I'll be able to stretch out the cuff a little when I block these. Maybe I should have realized ahead of time that I should have gone up to a size 1 needle for the cuff since I'm using a 2 for the hand itself.

Here's the palm of the hand, with my hand in it. I know that the fit looks a little strange, but it's because the stitch holder interferes with getting my thumb all the way through the thumb hole. I like the mix of brown to white better on the palm and thumb than on the back. The pattern for the mittens is pretty easy to follow, although it's awfully long and there's so much detail that I've found myself flipping around a lot. The charts are great, though, and I like the whole thumb gusset thing. I'm flying to Boston tomorrow (hopefully), so I should have a good long time to work on these, or maybe on something a little less thought-intensive.
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Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Here's the evidence that I am actually working on my Christmas cards, o.k.? More than half have been mailed, and the rest should go out tomorrow if all goes according to plan. Not that it usually goes according to plan, but it could, I suppose.
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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas from Gretel and Frieda, and Carrie (not pictured)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

This is Why Your Christmas Card is Late

I know, I know, there's always an excuse for late cards, but this year my plans have gone particularly awry. I've been participating in the Who Wouldn't Love a Handknitted Gift? knitalong, and have finished 9 Christmas gifts out of a target of 8. And I've been working a lot more than I expected, and I never factor in the lack of evening time when holiday events start piling up. And now, this:

Earlier this week I received the brown skein of Bittersweet from Sundara Yarn, and I had to wind it and start knitting Eunny Jang's Anemoi Mittens immediately. Immediately! They aren't a gift (so far), they aren't a Christmas-related project, but I've had my eye on them since the pattern came out and I really wanted to see how they'd look in Bittersweet. I expected the Bittersweet to be more plum colored, but it's really a rich dark brown. On the corrugated ribbing, it looks almost like chenille, I like it a lot so far. The cream yarn is Dale of Norway Baby Ull from my stash--I didn't want to wait to go to a yarn store to get something fancier.

However, a small problem with the thumb gusset, between the pink stitch markers:

There should be a cream line framing running up the right side, and there isn't, so I have ripped back to the beginning of the gusset. Booooooo! It might not have been 100% necessary to rip back that far, but I'd rather not make a big mistake right at the beginning of the project, especially after all the time it took to knit the ribbing. (edited to note: there were more mistakes in the first couple of rows, so it's good I ripped back). I will only work on these a little more this (early) morning--seriously, I need to get cracking on those cards (maybe 1/3 have been sent), before it becomes embarrassing to send them out at all.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Glimmer Twins

I just finished these (Un)matched beaded wristlets, and I can decide whether to give them away as a Christmas gift yet. The pattern is One of Susanna's, the yarn is a fingering weight merino. I believe that Gretel (a/k/a "Little Stinky") chewed up the label, and I can't remember the name of the yarn. The needles were small US#1 circulars (though they are knit flat), with extremely pointy tips. I started these as a gift, and they may yet end up a gift, but there is a high probability that I will wear them to see El Vez tomorrow--you can't tell me that they aren't a perfect fit for a trip to see the Mexican Elvis. It took a long, long time to string all the beads for these wristlets, and the beading needle took a toll on my hands. However, the knitting itself was straightforward, and I learned the three needle bind off, and I'll probably end up making another pair--this time, really for myself!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Dormant Work In Progress - Corkscrew Scarf

This is a corkscrew scarf that I started last winter, it was meant to be finished in plenty of time for a March birthday. The pattern (now misplaced) was from a yarn store in Seattle that has since closed, and the yarn is ggh Soft-Kid, in a lovely yellowy green. I stopped working on it when the yarn got snagged in a zipper, and I had to break it--it's a terrible reason to stop working on something. I've since learned that I'm probably allergic to mohair, although I don't remember that this particular yarn caused any reaction. Maybe once the Christmas rush is over I can pick this up again--March is just around the corner (again).
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Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Seat of My Pants

The power came back on last night, so I'm back on the knitting / holiday prep wagon. No knitting photos right now, in case any of the recipients are keeping current on the blog. Tomorrow I may work on some as yet undesignated gifts, or gifts for non-blog-aware recipients, will post more then. However, I'm increasingly alarmed at how far behind I've fallen, and can't really figure out quite how it happened.
In non-knitting news, I decided to check out the Ikea sale today. I've been working at home a fair amount recently, and the chair I've been using is terrible--it's meant for a kitchen table, and is on the verge of breaking. So I checked out the office chairs, and there was one that was 50% off in one fabric. The fabric was a blue denim, which seemed o.k. based on the model that was mounted up on the wall. So I get the chair (and nothing else, which was pretty amazing), take it home, open the box, and see for the first time the BACK of the chair:
You would think that they might have made this a little more obvious, maybe by facing the butt of this chair out? The pockets are real, the tag says "IKEA". Reminds me of the car my prom date bought when he was in college--one bought with full knowledge of all of it's denim features.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Mayday, Mayday, Tree Down!

I took the dogs on a walk this afternoon, and took some photos of the storm damage at our local park. There are tons of branches down all over the neighborhood, and one of the big trees at the park is snapped in half. It's almost 7pm on Friday, and we still have no power or heat, and it's expected to drop below freezing tonight. It isn't all that bad, just really inconvenient, but I'll start whining for real if all weekend is like this. I've got tons of stuff to do, holiday knitting, holiday carts, plus a lot of work work. Also, per the lower right photo, I've got to fix (or supervise my assistant as she fixes) our backyard gate. As you can see, that gate will no longer keep the dachshunds in the yard!
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Feels like a snow day . . . but much windy-er

The Seattle area was hit overnight with a huge wind / rainstorm, and long story short I'm sitting at a coffeeshop with free Wi-Fi downloading work files so that if we get power back I can get some work done. Our house is relatively fine, although the storm door's window on the back porch is totally shattered from knocking against things all night. Our office is closed because there is no power, but I was able to zip in and get my laptop this morning. The park that my cubicle overlooks has lost a number of giant douglas fir trees, I should have brought my camera!

The upside is that I will likely spend more time knitting than web-surfing this weekend, but the downside is that I am dangerously behind at work already. Boooooooo!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Item One: Rock ... Item Two: Art Item ... Three: Me Skull

Item One: Jonathan Richman is the greatest. I saw him this evening at the Tractor Tavern, after a 12 hour work day and fighting a monsoon to get to Ballard. As soon as he started playing, everything seemed better. Note to A____ M____: note the Elsa Dorfman on the Wiki page. You and J____ are just like him!

Item Two: Compliments of Cinetrix, check out some Knitting as Art. I know that my knitting is merely Craft, but I love that there are people who can make it Art.

Item Three: A hat that I made for the Meathead KAL is an alternate to be included in a book. I know you won't believe me if I just tell you that, so check it my green hat with skull here. I think that means that I can't give it away for X-mas, but luckily I have several more skulls and also plenty more yarn. Very exciting!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Yummmm . . . Soft Serve . . . .

I finished a couple of Christmas gifts this weekend, but I can't reveal any except this one. A friend that I worked with during my grad school internship recently had a baby. She doesn't know about this blog yet, don't tell her!

The pattern is (not surprisingly) called Soft Serve, and the yarn is called Color Baby. It's an Australian merino wool--very soft. I knit it on US#3 dpns, started it on Saturday and finished it on Sunday. I love that the curlicue on top is tied down, the faster to whip it off of a baby's head.

Here's how it looks when it's laid out flat--it's very long. It scrunches up a lot when sitting upright, and should do the same on the baby's head.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Stranded Colorwork KAL

I've signed up for the Stranded Colorwork KAL, which I will try to get serious about either as a part of my holiday knitting, or after it's finished. Here are the opening questions, and my answers:

What are your projects for this knitalong?
I'm planning to make a We Call Them Pirates hat--my brother wants one for Christmas, but I'm not sure if I can finish it by then. And for myself, I'd like to try a pair of Anemoi Mittens.

Is this your first colorwork project?

If it isn't, what was your first, and has it survived the test of time?
I've started a lot of things, but have only finished a few and I've never been totally satisfied with the evenness of the actual stranding. I think that the first thing I tried (and finished) was a toddler cardigan that had a yoke with lots of colors. I gave it to a friend who lived far from me for her daughter, and I don't think that I ever heard whether or not it held up--this must have been 10 years ago, at least. Really, I can hardly even remember what it looked liked. I think I used brown sheep bulky, with charcoal as the main color and a bunch of leftover colors on the yoke.

Swatch It Out!

On Tuesday evening, I took a great class with Leigh Radford at Hilltop Yarn, based on the creativity exercises in her great book Alterknits. I wasn't really sure what it was going to be like, or if I'd like it, but it was really cool. Leigh brought lots of projects with her and talked about the design process, and how one idea leads to another. Then we did some experimenting by knitting with unusual materials--the purple swatch above is wide tulle stripes, and I knit another (not pictured) swatch with needles made from long nails. There were a couple of other exercises, the top swatch was about swatching with different colors. Once I wrap up some of this holiday knitting (assuming I ever do!), I'd like to try more of these color swatches. And I'd like to get my grubby paws on some of her new Silk Gelato, it's pricey but really really cool--one of the samples Leigh brought with her was the Cable Clutch, and I'd love to make it. I suppose I could cut and tie my own silk fabric, but it would take a lot of time--time I'd rather spend knitting.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Holiday Craftacular

In the spirit of full disclosure, I only made the yo-yos in the upper left hand corner, everything else was purchased at the Phinney Ridge Winter Festival. The dolls were from my all-time favorite craft booth, Thursday's Child. I buy a gnome every year, and this year I bought the other doll for my youngest niece. The Santa makeup pouch is from Diane Macrae of Venue Ballard. Last year I bought a goldfish purse that she made, and she had a lot of great things this year, too. I have got to start sewing with vinyl!! Posted by Picasa

Another Meathead . . . this time with skull!

Meathead Skull
Originally uploaded by Sissyvette.
It's been a frustrating project weekend so far, with some work on a few projects but not a lot of progress--too much time spent in the car, or spacing out, etc. The obvious antidote is another Meathead hat, started and finished in a few hours. The yarn is Lamb's Pride Bulky, in the Old Sage color. The tiny skull is one that I knit in October, with the intention of making Halloween cards. I only finished maybe four of the skulls (there's always next year!), but I thought that this would make a good embellishment. The skull pattern comes from the pirate hat pattern from Hello Yarn, if I remember correctly. I like the pointy-ness of this meathead more than the other one I made--I translated the pattern from knit flat to knit in the round, and I think that I didn't continue to decrease quite high enough. This one couldn't get any pointier, at least not with two strands of bulky yarn and giant US15 DPNs. Seriously, those needles make me feel like I'm knitting with logs, but I love them because they have sparkly tips. A question--do you think the shape of this hat is too girly for a teenage boy? I have a few candidates in mind for the hat, my 17 year old nephew is one of them. I suppose I could make him the same hat with a little less point, right? I'm a little out of touch about what the kids are wearing these days, at least the boys.