Wednesday, December 31, 2008

One Foot at a Time

I've been learning to ice skate. It's been a real slog. I am the first to admit that I'm a craptastically bad skater. It took weeks and weeks before I could cross the (short!) side of the rink without having a major psychological meltdown. I normally shun all unnecessary physical activities, particularly risky ones. Oh, and did I mention my feet are always either completely frozen or in total agony?

So my choice of activity doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Even with all that though, for whatever reason, I really like skating. Let's see, what are its good points...It's cold, and I really like the cold. There's a rink near my house, at least in the winter time. I get to watch them Zamboni by moonlight at the Sculpture Garden Ice Rink.
Well, I guess I could watch that even if I weren't skating. But then I'd probably miss out on the Santa-driven zamboni at the indoor rink.

Maybe it's a process thing, all the little steps and the repetition. It's like knitting, only way, way, way more painful. There's a lot less falling down and getting up with knitting. As I mentioned last post, the first knee high is done, and I'm none the worse for wear for it. Here's a more complete photo, to show its ginormousness:
Sorry for the Weldon's-like fold. I couldn't get it to fit in the shot neatly and still have some detail left in the picture. The second no purl monkey is also half done.
One bruised foot at a time.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Over the River

We went to Jersey for Christmas. It had snowed there a few days earlier, so it was a white one.
There was the usual endless amount of food and lots of presents. The Filipino way is to open them at midnight, which meant we were pretty much done by Christmas morning. So we decided to be really ecumenical and go to the movies (Tale of Despereaux - not worth it, I'd say read the book instead) and order Chinese food. There was also the second annual Sock Reunion Photo.
This year, I had at least half a pair of socks to wear. Hooray for one warm foot!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Mixed Messages

I was glad to finally see one of the controversial atheist posters on the metro the other day. I completely agree with the message. However, the ad itself looked a bit cheesy. The slogan is good. It's a new twist on a popular tune, but I was really hoping for a cleverer, slicker presentation. Come on, a shrugging santa and snowflakes? I just know they could have come up with a more coherent overall look. Where's Don Draper when you need him? It's a great product. It just needs the right sales pitch.

I went to Union Station for the Norwegian Christmas festivities. I got to see Jinann, proud member of the Sons of Norway (I dare you to ask her about Leif Ericson) and head viking at the sweater table at the Norwegian Bazaar. I got to see the Christmas tree from Norway:
They grow a fine tree in Norway, don't you think? There are US and Norwegian flags strung from top to bottom all the way around, like a Maypole, only it's cold outside. Apparently, there's also a toy train setup somewhere there - it is a train station after all - just for the holidays, but unfortunately, I missed it.

I finished the first green no purl monkey and started on its mate. The Heart & Sole sock is coming along too.
There have been no color mishaps thus far, but these are knee-highs (hence its general enormousness) which I'm guessing will require 2 balls of yarn per sock, so there will be plenty of opportunities for disappointment and self-recrimination. Stay tuned for more frustrated rantings.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Hoya Knitsa

I went to the Georgetown/American game on Saturday, thanks to some free tickets from work. They were certainly much better seats than I could have gotten on my own (not that I'm much of a hoops person, but if I had been looking for tickets, I'd have probably ended up in the lower stratosphere).This is the 1x1 ribbing of a st st sock I started just for the occasion. Being the glutton for punishment that I am, I'm using more of the much disparaged Heart & Sole. I'm thinking it was temporary insanity that made me use it, or maybe it was just what I had lying around when I needed to start an easy sock.

I met the mascot (the human version - there's a real dog version too).
The student cheering sections were impressively well organized, and pretty full too, considering it's exam time.
Apparently, there's a dress code (gray shirts mandatory, wigs and face paint optional), synchronized polyphonic chanting, and arm movements, clapping and hopping. It was exhausting just watching them.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Thank You SP!

A very big THANK YOU!!! to my Secret Pal, who sent me this:Isn't this the cutest box ever? And inside were all these wonderful goodies:
I *heart* knit picks yarn! It's their bare yarn, ready to be hand-dyed. My pal also sent Kool-Aid for dyeing, and Reeses for snacking (ok, that last one isn't really yarn related, but still essential for the holidays!)

Thanks again, SP!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Out of the Oven

The crazy baking session is done. Here are the results:
It was exhausting, as always, but in the end, there were 14 kinds, as planned. Starting at the top row, going from left to right:
  1. chocolate chip cookies
  2. fudge with pecans
  3. cinnamon apple struedel bars
  4. no-bake chocolate peanut butter cookies
  5. caramel heavenlies
  6. lemon bars
  7. wedding cookies
  8. apple mini-muffins
  9. marble brownies
  10. dulce de leche bars
  11. white chocolate fudge
  12. pecan pie bars
  13. apricot crescents
  14. peanut butter cookies
We did have one mishap.
The doggie + one pan of hot lemon bars = one big mess. Oh well, once the little one's singed paws were cleaned up, he was a little shaken, but otherwise ok (he fared much better than the lemon bars, as you can see).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It Begins

I started a sock using the No-Purl Monkey pattern, with Thank Ewe sock yarn. This poor yarn has had a few false starts already, but I think this combination is a keeper.

In other news, it's baking time.
I'll see you on the other side...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Mostly Matching

The stripy socks are done.It's just a generic top-down stocking stitch sock. The yarn is Red Heart Heart & Sole, a self-patterning wool/nylon fingering with aloe. It's nice to knit with and the price is right (around $4 per ball at the local big box craft place, even less if you have a coupon). I was quite disappointed by the inconsistent dye job though. Compare the two heels:
These were knit from two separate balls from the same dyelot, but one ball has long sections that were fainter in color. Because I really like the matchy look with such busy color patterns, I'm careful to get the color sections to line up. It's usually easy enough with machine-dyed yarns. Imagine my surprise to find the colors varying from ball to ball, and even within each ball! That's an *ARGH* followed by a *sigh.* I'll stick to Garnstudio Fabel. It's about the same price, without the non-matchy heartbreak. *sniffle*

In happier knitting news, here are some tassel-less earflap hats:
This is Katia Nordic, with odds and ends I had lying around used for the single crochet trim. I would have put tassels on (yay tassels!), but there wasn't much yarn left in either skein. I have another full skein left in each color, so mittens maybe?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Two by Two

I made a scarf with some bargain Noro I snagged on the last day of the Stitches market. Remember the twined knitting cuff on the wee little Stitches sweater? Well I couldn't get enough so there's a twined edge on this too.
Mmmm, squishy... There is the twist problem with this twining technique though, and I was especially wary of it given that Kureyon is a single without all that much twist. There was the very real possibility that the portion of the strand I was working with would become untwisted and break. As I knit the row, the yarn would feel a little bit looser, so after each row, I'd untwist by pulling each of the strands in opposite directions with the work dangling in between. The scarf (for the end of the scarf, I pinned it up into a bundle with my circs) would spin and release that built up twist.

I'm also working on some self-patterning socks. I knit on the first sock while waiting to voteIt took more than two hours to get through the line, so I got a lot done. The sock also went to Stitches with me.
Now my sock knows how to vote and how to escape from a flaming marc train. Clever sock!

After the first sock, my much loved 9" Hiya Hiya circs were drafted into service for the Stitches Bohus class. Now that the colorwork portion is done, I get my needle back.For the Bohus, I'm trying to decide whether to just do some ribbing and call it a cuff, or join a different fingering yarn and make a sock. What do you think? Socks or wrist warmers?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Secret Pal 13

Hi Secret Pal! Here's my questionnaire.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Stitches East

I was in Baltimore for Stitches East this past weekend. I usually only go for a day or two. This year, I went a little overboard and signed up for 4 days worth of yarny goodness. I took three classes. The first was the Danish night shirt with Vivian Hoxbro. The nightshirt is a single-color undershirt, where texture stitches are used to create motifs much like color is used in stranded knitting. Here's my sample star.
There are purls, twisted stitches, and 2 stitch (one by one) cables worked without a cable needle. If you look at the first set of left-leaning cables (the left side of the bottom right point of the star), you'll see I had some problems at the beginning. There's texture work on both sides, which was both a little confusing and kinda tiring (no rest rows for you!). But I figured it out eventually and the next set of points were much better. I especially like the tight vertical columns of twisted stitches. I'm not a big fan of twisted rib in general, but I think here it's a nice effect.

On Friday, I had an all-day Bohus class with Susanna Hansson. A million strands of thin yarn? On tiny needles? With the odd purl thrown in for fun? Hell yeah, you bet I'm in!
I had some concerns initially about gauge, or more accurately, needle size. I knit loose and usually go down two needle sizes automatically. So in general, for me, fingering is size 0 US for 7-8 st/in. I heard Bohus was teeny, so I wondered what that meant (my teeny? normal people's teeny?), cuz I own 4/0 needles, but I don't really wanna use 'em, ya know? (That's mostly the double point aversion talking, but there's also some fear of multiple finger pricks.) But I shouldn't have worried. I ended up using double zeros for the ribbed cuff and zeros for the colorwork. It helped that the yarn was a fine fingering weight, plus stranding causes tightening anyway. The toughest part of the exercise turned out to be purling continental, something I don't do very often. I usually do fair isle two handed, so I can actually pick knit stitches when I have to. There's no purling in fair isle, though, hence the rough times working on some of the purl rows.

Susanna brought Bohus garments from her collection and lent us white gloves so we could handle them.
They were all beautiful, and in great condition too. That shouldn't be surprising, considering both the craftsmanship that went into them and the high prices they were sold for. Here's some detail of the colorwork and label.
The depth you get from the purl stitches is really amazing. Now I'm really itching for my own bohus sweater. But no, I should finish the little Blue Shimmer wristlet/sock top kit first. Then I can think about a bigger kit.

On Saturday and Sunday, I was in the Danish Skra-Trojer (no, I can't pronounce it) sweater workshop with Beth Brown Reinsel. The sweater in question is a bit of an oddity. It was knit in two colors and in two drastically different weights, a white fingering and a blue worsted. Beth said it was most likely a matter of necessity; the knitter used whatever she had on hand. She also pointed out that yarn dominance in stranding could be used to your advantage to make one yarn more pronounced. The star pattern is Norwegian influence. In terms of construction, the body is knit in the round from the bottom and then split into separate front and back for the tops, which are then knit flat (more continental purling ugh). Here's as far as I got in two days.
Pretty cool, huh? My progress would be a bit more impressive if these pieces weren't so small. They're about right for a smallish teddy bear. Check out the cuff on the sleeve on the right. It's done in twined (aka two-end) knitting, which I really took too. It's somehow both stretchy and solid. The downside is the strands get twisty as hell while you're working.

Between classes, there was the Stitches market. Let's just say I was at the door when it opened on Thursday and had to be shooed out when it closed on Sunday. You can probably fill in the rest.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Thank You Sharon!

A very very very belated THANK YOU to my lovely secret pal, Sharon, who showered me with yarn and candy and made me feel super special! Her was the awesome reveal package she sent:
I promptly ate the chocolate and decided to use the pretty red Moira yarn - along with a skein of handpainted mohair excavated from the depths of my stash (I'm guessing it's from MDSW '07) - for an fuzzy autumn scarf with badly woven-in ends:
Thank you so much, Sharon!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Please Standby

I got back from SOAR on Sunday with some new fiber and a nasty cold. That's not all, of course, but I'm going to hold off on a full post until my head clears. In the meantime (and apropos to nothing, since that's sort of how my mind's working today) here's some mitten knitting at the Caps preseason game against Philadelphia. Woohoo, knitting in the Phonebooth!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thanks Secret Pal!

My Secret Pal strikes again! Actually, she struck on Friday, but I have been very bad about timely thank you posts. But here it is at last. My dear pal sent me a fantastic package full of yarn and candy and oh so many other goodies too! The yarn was Brown Sheep Worsted in two great colors, Knit Picks Essential Tweed sock yarn, and Jaeger Trinity, which is nice and cool to the touch. I think it would make a lovely lacy scarf. The candies were a neat mix of gummy peaches, Twix, a giant Kit Kat (the British kind even - does my pal know me or what?) , cute little whistle rings, and a Yorkie bar (it says "It's not for Girls" on the back, but we'll just see about that!) There was also a wee little leather purse with a pretty bird and flower design, 4 adorable sheep stitch markers, and a pattern for "Los Lobe Hose." Isn't that too funny? They're these little hand knit sock earrings, just the thing for sock leftovers!

Thank you so much, Secret Pal! You've been super thoughtful and generous!

Thank you so much, Secret Pal! I love all my presents!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Feast and Finished Objects

Mom, Erica and I went to the Maryland Renaissance Festival the day after the hurricane leftovers blew by (I know, it's been that long since I last posted). I hadn't been in ages and was surprised by how much the fair had grown. They had the usual mimes on stilts
and guys in kilts:
but there was also an expanded selection of foods on sticks:That's Erica at the cheesecake booth. She share it with us, but none of us liked it. I went with the classic, Steak on a Stake.

We missed the joust that day. Bummer. They did have some cirque du soleil-like action going on though.

I've been knitting, and even finishing some thing, don't ya know. The sweetheart pullover is done and on its way to its new owner.
The long Fabel socks I started at the Redskins game are also done.
They're pretty much as matchy-matchy as I could make them. I used about 2.75 balls of yarn.

The silk Best Friend Scarf had been blocked.
The colors aren't really this harsh in real life, though they are quite clownish. I should wear it to the next Renaissance fair.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

i heart small knits

The bad thing about baby knits is I tend to put off starting them: oh, the baby won't arrive for months! Then the night before the baby shower, I end up diving deep deep deep into the stash, desperately trying to find enough balls of thickish superwash gender-neutral anything that I can magically turn into something adorable. On the upside, however, baby knits are teeny and super duper cute.

The first is for a sweater and the second is for a blanket. They're for two different babies, who I hope are in no hurry to receive handknits.

In other news, the Borg have taken over fortune cookies.
And the lottery too, apparently. Be afraid people!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Adventures in Babysitting

Jersey Twins were in town for the 3rd Annual Escape from Jersey Mama. They had a few forays into unorthodox summer vacation activities, like ice skating
and safe-cracking

Apart from that though, it was mostly summer things. We went to the Howard County Fair featuring punk rock chickens
important information about horse diseases,
massive vegetation,
opportunities for indigestion
and dizzyness,
and the promise of woolly things to come
The fleeces were all covered with plastic, so no fleece petting :( But the Sheep and Wool 2009 flyers were out :)

We got a chance to see a Redskins preseason game. Jersey Girl opted out. Jersey Boy came along and was interested for all of about 20 minutes. I don't think he actually knew the rules, so I can see how it would be confusing.
I started a sock on the way to the game and knit on it throughout.
This is Garnstudio Fabel, my all time favorite self-fair isling sock yarn. As you can see, this is my current commuter sock, so it's grown quite a bit.
I'm also working on another Best Friend Scarf, this time in very colorful handdyed silk.
This is yarn from my spoiler from quite a few Secret Pals ago. It's super nice to knit with and the colors knit up beautifully together. I could get used to this kind of luxury he he he!