Thursday, February 17, 2011

Finishuary - the gift hats

Alright, so it's the middle of the night, but the fiancee isn't home yet and I'm having a break through. That's worth recording, right? So I actually got out  my camera and made an attempt at lighting so I could take a picture.

BUT FIRST! The finished cowl (it is Finishuary, after all, and I have been talking about the fact that it's done for something like a week now)(almost)

So here is the Cowl for M. in all its glory. It is was done in Zauberball (teal and black) in the Spirogyra arm warmer pattern from knitty. I simply adapted the pattern to being on bigger yarn/needles and being the circumference of a cowl.

And now - the break through!

Ok Ok, it doesn't look like much now, but IF YOU ONLY KNEW what I'd been through with this hat!

Here's the back story: I had a best friend about 6 years ago - we were best friends for a long time. We were best friends through her stint in the peace corps, her wedding, my various break ups etc. Now, I wasn't her only "Best Friend" - but we were very close.  However, I went into grad school - then she had a baby and moved 45 minutes away - then I moved an hour away - then she moved to north carolina - then I had a hectic work schedule....etc. etc. Long story short, I love her as much as ever, and I feel like she loves me the same, but we're farther apart than we used to be. (And by that I mean, I no longer spend EVERY WEEKEND) watching home improvement shows and crafting with her. She has closer friends to her, no doubt, in proximity and in emotion - and I've grown as a person and am looking to start my family soon (ish) (don't get any ideas). But I still care, and I have some things to send her (FROM LAST FEBRUARY) which I've been sitting on.


Well....first it was because of her husband. I love the man - he's a gem. But I made him a devil ear beanie and he kind of ruined it and I kind of didn't get around to making a replacement and he really wants one. I kept saying I'd get to it, but I never did. Then - 3 or 4 months ago she posted something online about needing hats for her family from her knitter friends.  I ran out and bought colors I knew she liked and would look good on her and her kids in a nice sport weight(ish) cotton (she's allergic to animal fibres). Then I started getting my house and re-enacting for fair, and I kind of let it go. After all, one of her other best friends, Fluffy, is an amazing knitter and seems to be able to churn stuff out even faster than me! (I don't know how she does it!) Surely she would have done it already, and nicer than I could. What good would my hats be anyway?

But it's me, so I wound one of the balls and cast on. But it looked like crap. And I know she's of the larger head variety, so I was having trouble with sizing (I am of the smaller-head variety). And then I couldn't decide on a stitch pattern. I have literally started and ripped this hat back 4 times at least - probably more like 6. Then I gave up and started it into a blanket - figuring that at least she could use the throw in her house.

But then there was tonight. Remember how I'm getting married? Well, I hit a dress snafu. The original plan turned out to cost about 4K (and I just can't spend that). So, I was looking at other options. I did not ask her to sew it. She's an amazing seamstress, but she's also got two small kids and is in grad school. I decided on my own that it wasn't worth her time and didn't ask her. But she volunteered regardless and sent me to where I could find the patterns I was interested in - figured out how we could do it and make it fit long distance, and was overall perfect.

She always is. Let me tell you - if you ever get arrested, need to come up with a plan, or just need someone to make you smile, it's her.  (and any plan where you loose your hat is bad plan).(Did I mention that, until we got gummed up in buying a house, we were going to get married on her wedding anniversary?)

While I don't know what's going to happen with The Dress, it made me think of how I've been sitting on this box, unable to send it, but unable to move forward on the hat-turned-blanket. So, I came home after working a little late and did some math, pulled up several patterns online and in books for reference for stitch count, and decided on my own pattern after trying several different types of six stitch cables while working on the hat. That's right, I practically swatched for her - That's love! So, in the picture above, you have the 4 failed hats and 1 failed blanket turned into 1 successful hat. I'm proud of myself and I'm thinking I may even get to send that box after all. If doing these hats further puts the nail in my wedding shawl coffin - I won't regret them. Maybe I'll make a honeymoon shawl instead.

All I know is that she gave me the peace of mind I needed while I was panicking, like she always does. She was there to support me, like always, and she'll love the hats I make and treat them right, just like everything else I knit for her. She is, after all, in some of the very first pictures on this blog.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Finishuary continued!

So, these pictures are a little late - I finished this stuff last week (If you'd believe it!) That's one cowl in progress up there. Very nice! It's the spirogyra pattern (you can find it on knitty and ravelry) but adapted to a cowl size. The yarn is Zauberball. It's lovely, and a follow-up to a set of wrist warmers that I made for the same woman last year - or was that 2 year ago. Secretly, it's already done, but I don't have a finished pic of it that's decent, so you get what you pay for - what I already had in my phone. :)

And what is this?  This is an adorable pair of non-preemie baby booties! Aren't they cute? The yarn used for these came from the knitmore girls (thanks!) and was given to me Christmas before last as a gift. It was a very awesome gift, too. It was two clear paint cans, one full of sock scraps that said "Proto Bebeh Socks" and an empty one that said "Finished Bebeh Socks." This was for my preemie sock knitting kick. I have already filled up the empty can, but my sock stash, plus extra they gave me after that means that I still have the equivalent of two of the paint cans of yarn left to knit. In the case of these booties and the ones below, I am taking a break from preemie socks and instead knitting booties in an attempt to get some of my friends to have kids.

What can I say? I think they'd be good parents.

And, really, with booties like this, you kind of have to be a rad parent. Right?

What else? Well, I am trying to use Finishuary to finish some squares for a blanket that I've been working on for a few years. It is my longest UFO, but I don't have all the squares I already made - I think there was somewhere between 13 and 20. My goal is to get 5 done in the month of Feburary. I have an ENTIRE BOX of yarn for this blanket - or at least I used to.

Oh, and wedding planning. There are no words. I kinda just want someone else to do it for me. Any takers?

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Check out my WEAVE!

So....I did promise some pictures of my first weaving project, and I'm not one to promise without delivering.  Luckily, my Feff Jasmin helped me out by taking some pictures in her amazing sort of way. You can thank her for the pictures in this post (no really, you can, she's on ravelry as cuteknitter).

First, though, a little run-down!

I learned how to weave last year right after the last day of CNCH (a weaving convention that happened after Stitches West in the exact same convention center) (I am so lucky to live in San Jose!). My Fiance's friend from childhood, Selah, is an awesome weaver, and she graciously spent her evening teaching me how to warp my table loom and explained to me some of the things I could do. Before then, I'd never touched a loom - had never passed a shuttle through threads, and could barely remember what a warp was - and why the heck would I need a leash stick?! Well, since that FATEFUL NIGHT, I have been working slowly but steadily on that scarf.  And, on Saturday, I had the pleasure of taking it off the loom and wearing it for the first time.

I admit - there was some trepedation. This was my first weaving project and I had some big obstacles come up that I was too junior in the craft to deal with extremely well. For example: my warp was noro - a single ply. It broke in a few places, and in one place it broke over and over again. Also, my tension was not uniform (although it was pretty damn close). And, well, I also didn't really understand what I was doing,so I was learning on the fly through trial and error of how the fabric reacted. No doubt, I made some really silly mistakes - but all I saw when I put it on was beauty. I was so tickled that I made this on a loom, something I never thought I'd ever do. I wore it proudly the rest of the day and have worn it to work all week. It kinda makes me wish the weather weren't turning warm again......well, not really, but almost. 

Now I am faced with a dillema. How long and how many ends do I make my next warp which is in a completely different yarn, a silky blue fingering weight? Oh well, I guess I'll figure something out - 'cause I want to weave something else now!

And now, your weaving pr0n:
I don't know what I was thinking in this picture, it's half sass and half head-covering like my ancestors. I can't help but think I should have had my tarot cards out and been offering to tell people's future. Come here, chil. Come close to me, look at the weaving and tell me what you see......


   Ahhhh, this is more like it. See that silky smooth warp? Look at that sweet, soft weft. Actually, I kind of look like I'm marking it like a cat. Mee-ow!

Alright, this one is my favorite for obvious reasons (like me not wearing a bizzarre expression and the fact taht I have it the scarf spread out accross me so you can see what it actually looks like! All in all, this turned out better than I thought it would. Pretty darn spiffy for a first project, if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Sweet Sweater Triumph!

Who's got a sassy pose and an awesome sweater? This girl!

You know what that is up there? That, my friends, is a tangled yoke! You can't tell from this picture, so I'll have to take a few more - but the vintage buttons on that sweater are big flat pearly dreams with little squiggles on them much like the sideways cable on the yoke of the sweater. This sweater was a triumph for a couple of reasons - 1, because my Feff and I decided we were too smart for the pattern, we ended up doing something funky that caused me to have to rip back after I had one button band down. Then I ripped and re-did. I put on both button bands (the Feff might have picked up the button bands for me because I am LAZY), sewed the ribbon backing, and put on the buttons. I tried it on and............disaster.


You know what happened? The collar was too loose! Aauuuugh! That collar puckering was what I had to rip out in the first place. It was like a 3 little bears moment: This collar is too tight, this collar is too loose! Oh what could I do? My sweater was ruined RUINED! And I had already spent so much time on the button bands and the buttons. Crap.

But wait! I have been knitting since I was 7 - I understand how knitting works, more or less. I could tell from the fit of the sweater that all it needed was fewer stitches on the collar and smaller needles. But how could I fix the collar with the botton bands intact? With scissors, that's how. So, there are a couple of ways to fix something like this that I can think of that don't include undoing the button bands. The one I choose was to open the collar and unravel it down, leaving the button bands intact, but now longer than the sweater fronts. I then picked up the stitches. But the needle was too big. So....I ran out to my car and pulled the needles out of super secret project x. I ran back in and put all the stitches on that nice little size 1 hiya hiya. (I love hiya hiyas). Then, I went to start knitting and ......promptly snapped my needle. WHAT?

So.....I grabbed the pair of sock that I was working on for myself and knitted them onto the broken needle, thus freeing up their needle. Then I used that needle to do the garter rib for the collar, taking in stitches every 15 stitches accross. Then I turned and did the same. On rows 3 and 4 I switched to taking in stithces every 10. Simultaneously, I also made sure to knit  the button bands into the ends of my rows - thereby securing them back to the collar of the sweater. The bind off row, I also knitted some of the stitches together, to make sure the collar continued to cinch in.

The result? Can you tell by my smile below that I like my new sweater?
All of the surgery was worth it. I am going to wear the ever-living-heck out of this sweater. (and it is totally going to Stitches if it's not a million degrees)

Thanks to Agent J for the Awesome photo work!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

January 2011 Roundup!

 What did I make in January 2011? (*Note, not all items were STARTED in January 2011)
  • 2 pairs of booties (as far as I can remember, there may have been more)
  • 1 Baby Hat (Aviatrix pattern - with modification of a big fucking cabbage rose of dooooom!)
  • 1 Pair of socks for my Mom for next Christmas (yes, you read that right)
  • 1 Pair of Tardis socks for a friend to give to another friend.
  • 1 Shawl  (Rowan - "Purity")
  • 1 Cowl ("Good Luck Cowl" - pictured in an earlier post
  • Plied 1 braid of Pigeon Roof in blue
  • Spun 8 oz of assorted Crown Mountain singles (Atlantis and???)
  • 1 Giraffe stuffed animal (featured in an earlier post)
I think that's all I finished in Jan.......the spinning isn't all done - but I consider plying to be a finished stage because I may leave them that way. The blue was plied, it is amazing!

And here's the selfish to non-selfish ratio for finished knitted items for the month: 1/7, or 14% selfish and 86% non-selfish.
  • 7 items for someone else
  • 1 item for me

Now, how about some pictures of things I made this month that were not shown before?

The usual baby booties in wool left overs - these, I believe, are going to be donated to the hospital

The Second Pair of Booties - in raw silk, designed by me for R&D, who have a wool allergy issue

The baby hat! Made in Organic Cotton for R&D. Used the Aviatrix pattern and made a huge cabbage rose to sass it up!


Socks for my Mumzie! These are so weird. The yarn has 3 distinct color-ways in it. Totally random. But the skiens are so generous that I am now working on a pair for me.

 The Purity Shawl from Rowan. Modeled on it's lovely new owner, Ph. It's a ton of  gater stitch lace. It was originally supposed to be selfish, but it really belonged to her.

The Tardis Socks! These have been making the rounds on the internet. This was a stretch for me as I haven't done colorwork in the round in a long time - and I'm not the best at any sort of embroidery. But I actually did ok! (PS - this cascade sock yarn was AMAZING)

And here are the Crown Mountain Singles I spun.


And the Pigeon Roof laceweight that I plied


Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Ability takes more than a fancy gadget

See that? That's my fancy new camera! All of those great projects I did in January that I haven't posted pictures of are in there! Just one little problem..............the cords are in safe in the box at home and my work computer has no port for the memory card. D'Oh!

So, my lovelies, you will all have to wait until I:
1. Get home
2. Find the box with the cords
3. Get the wherewithal to do a transfer of the pictures

Now, let's make no mistake - I may have an awesome camera from my fantastic fiancee. I may have taken a bunch of pictures with it already. It might have lots of bells and whistles. My best friend may be a photographer extrordinaire..........(extraneous ellipses!)............ BUT I am really really bad at taking pi-chers. I tell you this, my friend, not as a way to denigrate or belittle myself, but as a warning.I'm setting expectations. Afterall, look at that amazing little camera! With a tool like that, some of my friends could win an award - me....well, I still have trouble keeping the camera still or my thumb out of the shot. 

Consider yourself warned.

And now on to some knitting content! I just started the heel flap of a pair of socks for myself this morning! Woooo-hooo! I've decided that I need to have at least 14 pairs of hand knit socks (hopefully more) in order to be able to use only those and not have to supplement with other, lesser socks. I'm not sure how many pairs I have, but I am at least 68.3% sure I don't have 14 pairs yet. So, the socks-for-me campaign has commenced. I am also thinking about launching a sweaters-for-me campaign. I may have reached my limit of selfless knitting for the time being. I just want to have some things that I knit that I also get to keep, you know? If this sounds selfish, I'll politely wait until after I post the stats from January before allowing you to submit your final opinion.

~ Miss K

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

This is what currently bothers me....

Alright, I just wrote a long post about finding out I have frenemies and how sad that makes me. It was long and melancholy and far too detailed for anything made public.

So I deleted it.

Instead, I offer you something short and sweet:

I'm sitting outside working this afternoon, the sun is shining, the birds are singing (yes, I live in California). My fiancee is in India safe and sound, coming home in just 10 days. I have people staying over to keep me company (and keep me safe), a job I like well enough, and a hobby that fulfills me. I have amazingly wonderful friends who are also incredibly intelligent. I bought a house and I'm getting married.

And I have a snuggly kitty who sleeps next to me purring at night.

My life does not suck. Perspective: Achieved.