Thursday, September 29, 2005

Secret Pal Goodies!

Check this out:

It's a lovely package with all sorts of treats from my wonderful Secret Pal! There are two balls of Rowan Kidsilk Haze in dark pink. I adore this addictive yarn! Even if you didn't knit it, you could always admire it from afar, or, if you're really really lonely, pet it for companionship. There was an assertively self-described "mug mug mug mug" and a box of English breakfast tea...hmm, would the English mug object if I had this for non-English non-breakfasts?? The Hobnobs are so yummy. I'd never had them before, but oatmeal and chocolate are a pretty delicious combination. Thanks a million, Secret Pal!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Proof (this is the one without Gwenyth)

Here's my progress on the sweater for Jack the Bulldog:

Yes, I know, the "G" came out short and fat but it still looks like a "G" so that's close enough for my less-than-exacting standards. Plus, I know what I did wrong (you might want to skip the next paragraph if you don't want the gory details).

**start sweater rant**
When I plotted out the pattern for the sweater back, I used knitters graphing paper and I decided to turn the paper sideways. In a misguided attempt at efficiency, I thought it would be better to have the pattern on one sheet. This was OK for just having the number and color of stitches on hand (yes, I swatched, and washed the swatch, and counted the stitches per row and stitches per inch, and made many calculations on a spreadsheet, and even did some geometry involving pi), but where things went awry was when I traced the "G" shape onto the pattern. It dawned on me at about row 15 or so that since knitting graph paper has rectangles, not squares, if you turn the paper, the proportions change. Anything drawn directly on the paper, like my letter G, would be distorted. Thankfully, the dimensions for the sweater back itself are right, since I calculated the number of stitches I'd need from the swatch.
**end sweater rant**

In other news, here's a purse I was making before I got the yarn for Jack.

It was moving right along, but I lost a stitch and got discouraged (furry yarn + size two needles = temporary blindness). It's back on track now though.

And here are a couple of kerchiefs for the Lombardi knitting event next week:

My aunt asked me if I was knitting a bikini and she looked very relieved when I said no (me + bikini = permanent blindness). In yet another misguided attempt at efficiency (see sweater rant above, if you dare!), I decided to knit two at the same time on long circular needles, using one strand from each end of a ball of King Tut cotton. Apart from the intermittent tangling of strands, this has worked out well... except of course that's it's taking twice as long to finish! For now I'll console myself with the thought that I'll have not one, but two finished objects when I (eventually) finish.

I am so looking forward to Stitches East this weekend! I'm taking a gauge class and spending more than I should on knitterly things. I'm bringing a copy of my SP6 spoilee's questionnaire, so I can do some proper spoiling. Speaking of SP6, my pal is such a dear! She emailed me again to make sure I wasn't feeling neglected. No worries, Secret Pal! I feel very well-cared for :)

Friday, September 16, 2005

SP6 Questionnaire

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?

Not at all. I use both natural and synthetic. I've found that some acrylic (even 100% acrylic) can be quite nice, very soft and easy to work with. And you can't beat the price and low maintenance (i.e. I can give someone a knitted gift and not worry about seeing them walk around in an accidentally-felted scarf!). On the other hand, I'd never turn down natural fibers, which are so beautiful and comforting.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?

Nope, I just knit.

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)

No allergies, though I'm kind of sensitive to fragrances. It's kind of hard to explain. For example, I like the smell of roses, but only when it's coming from a rose, and not from somewhere it shouldn't. Ditto for food smells too (*drool*). Lemons smell lovely to me, but lemon-scented cleaners make me want to gag.

4. How long have you been knitting?

I learned to knit about ten years ago, though I didn't really get into it until last year. Now, of course, I'm practically obsessed!!

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

Yes, I do have an Amazon list. It's full of random nonknitting-related books so dunno if that would be of interest.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

(see number 3)

7. Do you have a sweet tooth?

Yes!!! Love love love chocolate! I like to bake and I get a lot of satisfaction sharing what I make. Not a fan of cherries, mint or marzipan, though, so I guess I'll never be a pastry chef (*sigh*).

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?

I've dabbled a little in decoupage. It's messy, but kind of therapeutic, in a grade-school art class, tiny bits of paper, and very sticky fingers sort of way.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I like lots of different kinds of music. "Eclectic" might be the right word to describe my taste. I like some of what I think is classified as Modern Rock (Barenaked Ladies, Ben Folds Five, Radiohead),folkish/indie things (Patty Griffin, Ben Harper, Billy Bragg) and classical choral works (Rutter, Brahms). My computer does play MP3s and I love mixes.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?

I really love green, though since I really started knitting again, I've gained an appreciation for many different colors. They've kind of grown on me.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I live with my parents, a dog and a bird. The latter two shed periodically, but I love them all anyway.

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)

Um, I dunno really, maybe joining a choir? Or even just learning music properly. That would be nice.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?

I like Debbie Bliss yarns (cashmerino aran is soooo soft) and Noro (the colors are just fabulous!)

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

I have issues with ribbon yarn. I like the way they look but it seems to take a lot of effort to keep them from getting all twisted. Maybe I'm doing something wrong?

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?

Scarves, since they're fast and fairly easy.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

I do a lot of scarves, mostly because I'm impatient and they don't take too long.

17. What are you knitting right now?

I'm working on a dog sweater for a certain famous pooch, along with a bunch of smaller items, like kercheifs and doggie toys, for a knitting event at work. I'd post a link, but the Arts and Humanities program at work doesn't have a web page. But if you right click here, you can download a pretty poster.

18. What do you think about ponchos?

They're nice, though I prefer wraps.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?

Circular all the way! I find them to be really versatile. More importantly, they're compact and reduce the risk of injury (along with any possible lawsuits) while knitting on the subway. I have two sets of boye needlemasters that pretty much keep me up to my ears in works-in-progress.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

I've never used wooden needles before. Of the needles I've knitted with, I prefer aluminum to plastic.

21. Are you a sock knitter?

Um, technically, I've knitted one single sock. I cast on for the other sock and have left the whole bundle, needles and all, in my stash (oh for shame!). My SP5 gave me some lovely sock yarn, too, and I have yet to play with it (again, the shame!).

22. How did you learn to knit?

The first time around, I taught myself from a book. This time around, I get patterns and inspiration from the internet and from a knitting group at work.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?

The endless afghan is now about six months old. Is there any hope for this poor blanket??? Plus, I'd like to retrieve the needles it's on ;)

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?

I like turtles. A lot.

25. What is your favorite holiday?

The entire stretch between Thanksgiving and New Year's is my favorite time of the year. I'm already looking forward to turkey day!

26. Is there anything that you collect?

I have an embarrassingly large collection of turtle-ware: figurines, stickers, books, keychains, turtle-shaped things of mysterious origin and unknown function, etc. I may get around to documenting them some day.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

I did get a copy of the fall interweave knits (I was surprised found it at Walmart, which I love to frequent, despite their being evil and all that) and liked it quite a bit. But I don't subscribe to anything knitterly.

28. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on?

Knitting Over the Edge looks really nice (yes, I fall for pretty book covers).

29. Any patterns you have been coveting, but haven't bought for one reason or another??

I've been eyeing Elizabeth I from Knitpicks.

Monday, September 05, 2005

SP goodies

Thank you, Leah! You're the best! What can I say? The sock says it all: I'm just totally spoiled! I love the yarn - and you even wound the sock yarn for me! I can't wait to cast on for both these patterns. My current projects bin is getting pretty crowded, but I don't mind one bit :) I really appreciate the ruler. It'll come in handy when I take the gauge class at Stitches East later this month. I think it's kinda neat to have knitting "homework". Many thanks, Secret Pal, for all the lovely gifts and notes you've sent over the summer!