Knit it, Violet!
Finished objects, works in progress, and lots of rambling about two sticks and some string...
Thursday, August 24, 2006
  it's been awhile...
i haven't posted in awhile, but that's not because i haven't been knitting. in fact, i've just had too much to blog about!! plus, i've gone back to school. this is my second year of college, and i'm a total nerd, so of course i love it. i've also started having meetings about work (we start next week. i work at an after school program for k-6th grades, have i mentioned that?) and i've just been busy...

speaking of back to school, have you seen the Seasonal Fair Isle Vests over at knitpicks?? Crayons and Chalkboard is the cuuuutest thing i have seen in my life. seriously, go look at it! i can think of a certain toddler who will be starting kindergarden in a few years (hint, i knit a vest for him already) who i would love to knit this for. i can handle fine gauge fair isle, no sweat, but maybe in the next two years i'll get knitterly enough for steeks? stay tuned...

have i mentioned i'm knitting a branching out

it'll look good when it's blocked, i swear!! it's in knitpicks shimmer (if you scroll down to my last knitpicks purchase, you'll see it in skein form) and when it's done i'll get a picture which actually shows how beautiful the color is. this is going to be a christmas present, but i can't disclose for whom, or i assure you fate will have it that they'll stumble upon the blog. i can't keep my own secrets at all. i've been trying to do a repeat a day on this thing, and i was suprised how error free i'd been. lifelines? pfft, i don't need lifelines for this! Yes, the knitting gods punished me, and instead of kniting a nice, relaxing, no-sweat repeat, i spent an hour tinking back today. lesson learned.

i've also started Kellen's christmas present:

yes, i will continue until it's a true-blue swatch, not my usual close-enough crap. i can't disclose anything about the pattern at this time, but stay tuned...although, who am i kidding? i already told him it's a sweater. and i was SO very badly wanting it to be a surprise. ugh. you see, i was measuring him (which i've done a million times. he knows what it's like to be with a Knitter. i measure him everytime i stumble upon a decent men's pattern. if i ever wrote down his measurements, i wouldn't have this problem, but that's not how i work) anyway, there i was, my purple measuring tape in hand, and he lifts his arms (see, he knows the drill) and i say, loudly, dumbly, "I need to measure you for your sweater.
"my sweater?" he asks, quietly. i think he may have thought twice before saying anything. he knew i was trying to keep it a secret, and i think he didn't want to burst my bubble. DAMMIT. i have such a hard time surprising him with anything! because in addtion to being my boyfriend of 4 years, he's also my best friend, so i always want to gush to him about whatever i'm going to surprise him with. thus, ruining the surprise. i really should talk to my girlfriends more. anyway, that's the begining of kellen's christmas sweater.

i also got a score of vintage kniting booklets from thrift stores last week:
all of them are campy and wonderful, but the most useful is the "handknits for men." in addtion to all the really handsome, very...uh..."cheerful" male models, there are a lot of great sweater patterns, including some handsome arans, and simple pullover and cardigan patterns for 3 different yarn weights. very customizable. very handy.

now, my current knitting dilemma. you may remember i was thinking about making my grandmother the branching out for christmas? in fact, that's why i chose the turquoise splendor, because it's her color. well...i changed my mind. i want my grandmother's present to be really perfect. because, really, she's a perfect grandma. i'm torn between two knits. Ene's scarf, from Scarf Style and Knitty's Starsky.. Ene's scarf is an estonian lace triangle shawl (do a quick google image seach, if you'd like) and starsky is a cabled cardigan. i HATE the pictures of starsky. with a passion. but that's a side note. the sweater is beautiful. Starsky is knit out of bulky yarn, and i'd have to find a suitable, machine washable substitution, since my grandma has pretty severe arthritis and doesn't need to be handwashing heavy wool. i think i'd probably go with wool ease bulky, which, although a lot cheaper than other yarns, would still make the sweater cost about $50. still, it's my grandma. i have no problem taking a little longer paying off my student loans for her.

she'd probably get more use out of starsky than an estonian lace shawl (Really, who wears shawls? they're gorgeous and i'd LOVE to knit one, but not even my grandmothers are really, truly shawl wearers.) but Ene is so beautiful. i'd love to give her something intricate (maybe not to an experienced lace knitter, but my grandma would agree with me) and beautiful, even if it only sits on the back of her chair. plus, i could easily find a great knitpicks yarn for this, since you don't really need to wash something that sits on the back of your chair. so it would be affordable.

both would probably take me an equal time to knit.

so...impressive, affordable, but less practical, or more expensive, still impressive, and more usable. what should i do??

and, finally, Jodie i received my scarf from you! it's SO beautiful, and so ME. the colors, the pattern, everything is perfect. i wore it on my first chilly day back to school. thank you so much! i'll get a picture when i look less terrible. thank you! (jodie was my one skein secret pal, and a wonderful one at that!)

if you read this whole thing, you deserve a metal. <3
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
kellen and i just got back from our trip to portland, which was a lot of fun and of course included a trip to a yarn store!

but more on that later. look what i just finished up:

this is the first half of the cabled footies from One Skein. i'm making them for my one skein secret pal, so i was nervous about posting them here, but when i send them i'll be revealing my identity, so i guess it's okay. i love the pattern, but i'm not overly pleased with how this one turned out. maybe it's because i'm sending them to another knitter, so i feel self-conscious. but eeep! looking at the little line of twisted stictches which are SO GLARINGLY OBVIOUS in the picture makes me want to stuff it in the garbage can. ugh...maybe the second one will be better and redeem the pair. anyway, they're out of a gorgeous cascade 220 colorway. purple with a blue haze and was my first time working with cascade 220 (i usually felt with lamb's pride) and although it was a little splitty for my taste, i liked it. but more on that when i finish the pair.

so, the yarn store! we went to Close Knit in portland. it was about 18 miles away from the hotel but took us almost an hour to get there because we got lost. we got there like 10 minutes before they were supposed to close, and i was so overwhelmed. it was beautiful! a cozy little shop filled with ammmmmazing yarns that i've only ever read other knitters gushing about. but of course, because i didn't want to hold up their closing, i was trying to browse quickly, and forgot all my "to knit" projects, so i didn't shop very efficiently. the lorna's laces damn near killed me but all i could think was beautiful socks for myself, so i resisted. i was trying to think chrismas presents, but not being very successful. here's what i ended up walking out with:

the new issue of knit simple, Scarf Style (so many present ideas in this one!), two skeins of yummy suri merino, which will be a gift, and some superwash cascade 220, that'll be some cabled footies for christmas. oh, and two 1" buttons. (you might call them badges or pins, if you're not punkrock.)

here's a closer look:

the one on the left has a pink plaid background and a cute little alpaca drawing, and the one on the right says I <3 (alpaca). too cute!

the owner of the shop was also really, really nice, enthusiastic and fun. i mean, i love my lys, but it's nice to visit others once in awhile.

since i finished the footie, it feels like i have nothing on the needles, because i'm currently not working on any socks. that's right folks, for the first time since i started knitting socks, i have no socks on the needles.

i better go wind some sock yarn...
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
  knitting against breast cancer
A while back, i happened upon a link to the Think Pink Challenge. their goal is to collect 1,000 pink scarves by the end of september, to distribute to women facing breast cancer.

my profile says i'm a crafty girl with feminist values, and my deep concern for women's health, reproductive and otherwise, is one of those values. breast cancer affects so many women, and research is so grossly underfunded, and environmental degredation committed by large companies has lead to a huge increase in breast cancer in recent years. the challenge is put together by Soulful Knitting Ministries, but if you're not a religious person, please don't let that put you off. For me, knitting this scarf was an act of love, but it was also very much a protest.

the end of september is coming really quickly, but we can all knit scarves. garter stitch on size 15's is still taking time to think about breast cancer survivors, and those who lost the fight. i know there are only like, five people who read my blog, but hey, that's six scarves from us, right? and that's worth something.

details: some acrylic worsted from the bottom of the stash, size 6 needles. based on the double cable scarf from One Skein, but i omitted the ribbing in the middle of the scarf because i was running out of yarn. it's really more of a scarflet, but i plan on whipping out another, longer scarf in the coming weeks too. my first attempt at cabling, and i'm hooked!
Monday, August 07, 2006
  thanks OSSP!
my one skein secret pal sent me this GREAT regia sock yarn! it's such a beautiful color. i normally don't buy myself anything with orange, but i loooove it paired with the pink. now i'll i have to do is decide which pattern i want to use this for!
thanks, OSSP! i'm sorry it took so long to post about it. i just picked it up from the old address a few days ago, and my vacation has turned me into a total slob. but i love it!
Saturday, August 05, 2006
  finished my alpaca!
i finished my alpaca yesterday!

isn't he handsome? bev galeskas is a total genius in my book. the shaping on this guy is amazing, and was totally easy. i would have had him finished a long time ago, had i not needed to wait for more yarn to come in the mail.

Details: yarn is KnitPicks Wool of The Andes in Snickerdoodle, and Pallete in Nutmeg. it took a little over one skein of the WOTA, and about half a ball of Pallete. Now, i know it may be a fiber faux pa to make an alpaca out of wool, but i'm on a budget, and if i'm buying alpaca, it better be for something i can wear and, seven days a week. Plus, it gives him character, right?

size US 10.5 needles, straight for the body, and dpns for the little ears and tail. i'm affectionately calling him PacaPacaPaca, because i'm creativce with names like that.

he was my first attempt at felting in a laundromat. and let me tell you, DON'T DO IT! i'm so used to being able to control everything on the washing machine, set it back for more time, etc. he hadn't felted (in my experience, WOTA takes a bit of time to felt, definitely more than lamb's pride) and when i went to check on him again, the spin cycle was already half way done! wha? and i couldn't sent it back for more time, and i didn't want to shell out close to another $4 for another hot wash. plus, you couldnt control agitation on the machines there. so all i got for $3.75 and 45 minutes of my time was a soggy, hardly felted alpaca.

soooo.... since i had to have him in to the fair by today (the felting adventure happened thursday) and there was no chance of me getting to my mom's to use her machine, i felted by hand. this made me really nervous because i've never had a hand felting success. but, we're fortunate to have REALLY HOT tap water (i know that the difference between hot and REALLY HOT when you're felting is supposed to be insignificant, but still, it gave me a little more hope) so i downloaded a knitting podcast and got to work. luckily, he felted beautifully, and he's now at the fair, ready to be shown with these guys:

sorry for the hideous lighting, we were hurrying out the door and it was the best i could snap. i also put in luke's vest and my recycled silk purse. this was the first year i didn't qualify as a novice, so we'll see how i do.

other than that, i've been enjoying my time off. i'm knitting a scarf for a chairty project (i'll post about that later, since i think it deserves it's own post), listening to Cast On, and reading The Shop On Blossom Street which is the book that came before A Good Yarn, which i mentioned a few posts back. again, sorta cheesy "women's fiction" and totally formulated (uh, unlikely group gets together to knit, it seems rocky at first, they grow to touch each other's lives...) bascially the same as the other book, just with different names and slightly different details. but hey, it's summer and i read anything i can get my hands on.

so, that's it for now. happy stitching!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006
  no work=more knit
i haven't posted in awhile, partially because i just liked seeing my rant at the top of my blog, but mostly because things have been crazy busy at work, and i've been dilligently working on some craft swaps. but now i have a few weeks off work, and infinite time to knit!!

so guess what i finished yesterday?

Kellen's Storm Socks!! finalllllly! i started these bad boys when? May 23, that's when! i think they took longer than any other socks i knit, and they didn't even have a fancy pants pattern! it's because i made them too big to begin with, and ignored the problem until i finished the gusset decreases...and then frogged them because i was running out of yarn and knitpicks discontinued that colorway. other adventures with this sock include getting my needles stuck in some gum that i had spit in a wrapper and stuffed in my purse (i'm such a smart knitter, let me tell ya) and bending one of my needles at a 90 degree angle during a knit-in-bed session.

an observant blog reader, or just one who isn't blind, will notice that the stripes do not line up. this is because i made every effort to get them to line up. i was so pleased when i finally found the damn part of the color repeat for the second sock (you'll see that they both start out with the same color, that i just cast on and knit away. when i finished the ribbing, i held it up to compare to the other sock...and realized that on the second sock, i was knitting from the center of the yarn...and on the first one i knit from the outside. so the stripes are opposite. i could have ripped out, yes, but i knew if i did that, i risked stuffing the sock down the couch and telling kellen i didn't know what socks he thought i was making him. the knitting gods just do not want me to make perfect socks for my life partner, ever. maybe it's to prove his patience and acceptance of me, and all my mismatched striped flaws? yeah, i'll tell myself that.

specs: yarn is knitpicks simple stripes in storm. 2 balls made a pair of Men Size 10 socks with a wee bit left over. US size 1 needles, but honestly, i think i'll use 0s when i knit with the other simple stripes i have. i'm not a loose knitter (ha ha) but i'd like my socks to be a little more tightly knit.

so i'm starting to realize i'm a wee bit addicted to knitting kellen socks.

this is my latest knitpicks order (well, most of it, you'll see...) the green is Essential, and it's going to become the Almost Argyle socks for kellen (speaking of...i can't remember where i stuffed that pattern. oops). the gorgeous varigated is from their Memories line, called Hawaii. i think it'll turn into pomatamouses for me, and the gorgeous lace weight? that's Shimmer in Turquoise Splendor. i cast on a Branching Out in this, hopefully for my grandmother's birthday, but i don't know if the pattern suits her best. so we'll see where that goes.

i've also been working on a fiber trends felted alpaca. i can't wait for this little guy to be finished. i love him already. although i can't help the sick feeling that i'm knitting a skinned alpaca right now. i'm waiting for more wool of the andes to come in the mail...and it better come today because he needs to be finished, felted, and dried by saturday for the fair! yes, i'm a nerd, i put my knitting in the fair. but hey, at least this way i can say i'm an Award Winning Knitter, right? even if it was only second and third place in the novice catagory at the county fair. ;)

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Location: up in the redwoods, California, United States

violet is a crafty girl with feminist values. knitting is her main squeeze, but she also flirts with sewing, embroidery, mosaics, jewelry making, block printing, and polymer clay. she's also been known to cook and garden. she loves a good thrift shop, teapots, and her boyfriend kellen.

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