Sunday, January 27, 2008

2 FOs in 24 hours

I finished two projects, one last night and one this morning! One is the sweater I was test knitting, so no pictures there. I'm just happy to be done with the thing!

The other FO is the Endpaper Mittens! Yay! Almost a whole week before they had to be done for the Skeins Her Way contest!

So, here's the pic:

Pattern: Endpaper Mitts by Eunny Jang
Yarn: Malabrigo Lace Weight Double Plied
Needles: US 2
Mods: Did not use smaller needles for ribbing
Other: If I were to do these again with the Malabrigo lace I would go up one more size needle... they came out much smaller than they should have, but then again, I have pretty small hands, apparently! They fit, but it's a tight fit.

In celebration of finishing both these projects that have languished on the needles for way to long, and the finishing of the 2 papers required to continue in the program, I cast on new socks! I'm not a huge sock person, but I've been craving the whole making sock thing for a while. One of my Project Spectrum goals is to design at least one pattern per colour/element and to (hopefully) have it incorporate a texture / pattern or something that evokes the element. So, I'm getting started a little early, but I need something to knit!

Friday, January 25, 2008


Timida*! My roommate has wanted a cat for a while, and I happen to like having an animal around, so we went down to the SPCA and adopted her. She's more the roomies than mine, but she's pretty much equally affectionate with both of us. And boy is she ever an affectionate cat! OK, back to work for me...

*Timida might mean shy in Spanish, but she's anything but! She's a bit freaked out by new people, but once she gets to know you she won't leave you alone!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

1/2 way there!

I finished the first endpaper mitt yesterday afternoon. Now there's just one more to go and I'll complete my goal for the end of January. The 2nd has been cast on but is just barely past the ribbing. I'm also trying to finish up a paper by tomorrow night, so there probably won't be a whole lot more done on these before next week.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Happy (belated) Blogaversary...

Warning: long-winded, sans-photo post ahead...

Oops. Yesterday was the 1 year mark since I started this blog. Not since I started blogging, mind you, but that is a different story.

For those of you who might not know, I started knitting a long time before blogging. In fact, long before there were blogs. I don't remember the exact moment in which I took up the needles for the first time, but I was definitely under 10 years old. Taught the basics mostly by my mom, and I didn't make much except maybe a couple of short scarves and a pair of Paton's two needle mittens much like the ones pictured here. In fact, I'm pretty sure that if I dug around in my parent's laundry room I'd still be able to find them.

I stopped knitting for a while, and took it up again early in undergrad. That lasted a year or two and then I stopped again, until last Sept (2006) when I started my PhD in the States. I was pretty much determined that it wasn't going to be like my year in Spain and I was going to do things to meet lots of interesting people. So, I looked through the Hopkins groups and came upon the "Cast offs". So I took up knitting again. This time it's stuck, I think... partly because the of people I've met, and partly because there are so many great sources and patterns out there now. Things that I would make and actually wear proudly! Things that I would spend equal amounts of money or more on in a store and now I can make it myself! Oh, and it also is one of the only relaxing parts of my grad student life. I find that if I'm knitting while reading I can sit still for far longer.

OK, enough of the backstory... here are the "highlights" of the last year of my knitblogging:

Jan: 18, new blog begins, 31, first post about the sweater-vest from hell!! Seriously, this thing would be a pain in my side for the next 6 months.

Feb: 5, I publish my first pattern, 9, join Secret Pal 10, 20, update on the sweater-vest from hell... so close, yet so far away...

March: 24, taking part in "graknitti"

April: 1, Flash Your Stash (sad to say it hasn't decreased much since then...), 29, my fav lys reopens in a bigger and (much) better space

June: 2, naughty knitting for my friend's bachellorrette party

July: 4, finished my first big lace project, 9, 2nd free pattern (lacey rib anklets), 19, the vest reappears, 20, float weaving tutorial

August: 23, the vest appears to be done... although less than perfect, however, this is how it will stay. For now.

September: 4, my ravelry invite finally arrives (which would explain why I haven't gotten nearly enough done this past semester...)

October: 24, finished the Wheat Ear Cable Yoke, the garment I am most proud of so far

November: 24, open my etsy shop with my first pattern, 30, finish the mittens that will become my second pattern for sale

December: lots of gift knitting little posting.

And that's pretty much wraps up a year of knitting and blogging. I'm participating in Project Spectrum 3 this year and I already have a few thoughts on what I'm going to do in that. It starts Feb. 1 so there's still time to sign up if you're interested!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

hey! look! over there...

it's someone else's knitting! I asked for volunteers to test knit my heroes scarf (pattern available in my etsy shop) and Sheryl, aka Nonsequitur (ravelry link) was one of many who volunteered. She was also the first (as far as I know, only) to finish.

So, here's her version of the heroes scarf:

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


OK, so I have a couple of UFOs left over from 2007. (Endpaper mitts and Cinnabar scarf, respectively... note that both links are from October and neither has progressed much - if at all - since). Christmas knitting took priority somewhere around Nov. 1 and other than the few quick things I've done with what supplies I've had here, I haven't done a lot of knitting for myself. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on my mood) they were left behind for Christmas break. So they're languishing, half way down the eastern coast, while I'm vacationing (if you can call it that when there is snow on the ground) up here in Canada. The one thing I did bring with me is a monstrosity of a test-knit, which, of course, cannot be shown here before the pattern comes out.

The point of all my ramblings? Skeins Her Way is holding a finish a UFO contest, which is the perfect excuse for me to finish at least one of these by the end of the month. The only catch is that I won't be state-side again until the 20th of January (next Sunday for those who are counting) and thus will have less time with which one I choose to do. And because I'm me, I'm choosing the harder knit. I'm going to finish the Endpaper Mitts (which are currently stalled out at the thumb hole of the first mitt) by the end of January. I'm saving the Cinnabar Scarf for the first round of Project Spectrum: Elements, which just happens to be fire.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I whipped up these baby booties, mostly yesterday, to give to a friend of Dr. BF's who delivered on Friday. Her partner called yesterday to invite us to come visit, which we will do over the next day or two. She and the baby (who is a girl, but yet to be named, I believe) are doing very well.

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Pure Silk (about a 1/4 skein, left over from the latest wristwarmers) + a small bit of Rowan Damask for the ties.
Pattern: Angel Booties (click the link in the righthand sidebar to download)
Needles: US 5 / 3.75mm
Mods: Many... Only ribbed the cuff; worked on 2 circs instead of dpns; added the bow.

In other news, I also finished up one of my papers today and sent it off. I don't really know how I feel about it, except relieved to some extent that it is gone. I always seem to come out of writing papers in a daze, unable to recall exactly what it is I wrote about. Sometimes I go back later on and re-read them and think "Seriously, did I write this?" I completely blank out on them... it's very weird, although I have heard other grad students say the same thing.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

the old stand-by

I think everyone has a "stand-by" pattern - the one you go to when you don't know what else to do. Mine seems to be the Hand/Wrist Warmers from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I actually lost one of the first ones I ever made about a month ago and haven't had the time/inclination to replace them since. But, here I am in Canada, in a balmy +5C (40-ish F for those south of the border) and I don't really need my alpaca/wool mittens, but I could use something on my hands. And since all that yarn came back to me and I don't know what to do with it, I decided to make myself a luxurious set of wrist warmers out of Debbie Bliss Pure Silk.

Unfortunately I can't seem to get a picture of them that is decent both in colour and stitch definition so here are two. The first shows the colour fairly well, the second stitch definition.

I have one full one done, and about a 1/4 of the second. These usually only take a matter of hours, but I have actually been doing a little bit of that pesky school work too...

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

You can always tell

when it's time to write end of term papers. My knitting / blogging productivity goes through the roof, while I attempt to justify my procrastination. I mean, knitting is productive, right? Just not the stuff I should be producing. And this is my 2nd post today... and 5th of the month. Sick, considering I only posted 7 times total for the entire month of December.

So today I decided against keeping the hat and have put it up for sale in my etsy shop. I have a hard time deciding how much to ask for knitted goods. Part of me feels that they should be worth more, because of the time and handmade-ness of it all. But part of me knows that I wouldn't be able to justify spending, say, $50 on a hat. But then again, there are people out there (mind you, I don't know many of them) who would spend that, and more... so you see my dilemma.

In any case, here are the new and improved (which never made sense to me as a slogan - how can something be both new AND improved? - but that's a discussion for another day) pictures of what I'm calling the "Anti-Gauge-Swatch Hat".

These are better, although the lighting still wasn't the greatest. It's been very grey here... and the high was 14C (which is somewhere close to 60F) today. Weird, very weird for January.

Since then I've started a pair of wristwarmers in Debbie Bliss Pure Silk. I know, sickly luxurious to make wristwarmers out of silk, but I didn't know what to do with the skein, and I needed to knit something, anything so I decided to make my old standard. Especially since I lost one of my favs (the first pair of these I ever made, too!) about a month ago.

Project Spectrum

I've joined Project Spectrum 3: Elements... have you?

Monday, January 7, 2008

this just in

It took several false starts but when I finally figured out an easier way to get the right number of stitches (gauge swatch? what's that again? I suppose I could do one, but that would just my life easier! And who wants that?? *le sigh*) this hat only took a few hours total. I haven't decided whether I want to keep it (it is in my colours) or possibly sell it in my etsy shop. I've been thinking about doing that (the selling of knitted items that is) for a while, and I've already got a couple of patterns listed (as you can see in the side bar) AND I can't really wear/keep/find people I like enough to knit for, for ALL the things I want to knit. Could I? I mean, have you seen my ravelry queue? (and yes, I do know all about the copyright laws and not selling things from other people's patterns... let's just say that that queue could be 10 times that size if I could put in an entry for each project that I am designing in my head...)

Anywho, the point of the post was the hat, so here it is in all it's low-lit, mac photo booth glory (clearly if it was to be put up for sale I would take better, day time pictures...):

Pattern: in my head (possibly to be written down in the future... want to experiment with it in different gauges first.)
Yarn: Rowan Damask
Needles: 2 US size 5 / 3.75mm circs
Recipient: Undecided (me or etsy shop...)
Other: Nada.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Book Review: Handmade Style Series

So I should be writing papers for school right now, but I'm just not feeling the inspiration. Dr. BF's mom came to visit for the day yesterday and we ran around to a bunch of shops, including the giant crafty warehouse, and a big book store. Keep in mind that I had already that morning purchased 3 crafty books from amazon... but I won't get to look at those until I get back to the States in a couple of weeks anyway, so that's besides the point. So I got a few pairs of needles (including the elusive (in the States anyway) 7.0mm & 7.5mm) at the crafty ware house and a set of 3 books in the handmade style series from the bookstore. (They were 3 for $30... how could I resist?!)

So I present here, a review of the handmade style series Crochet, Felt, and Sew (which I couldn't find a link for, even on the site of the store that I bought it in....). Book reviews are like school work, right?

First Up: Crochet

I bought the crochet one because despite the fact that I have crocheted a hat before (and still have it... and was still wearing it last winter because I hadn't knitted myself a decent one...) I'm not very well versed in the world of crochet. Part of the turnoff for me is the strange differences in terminology. Double Crochet in England and Canada means something completely different than DC in the US. If you don't know where the pattern is from you could run into some serious trouble. This book is clearly English style crochet, but gives a very clear definition of both terminologies and where they interchange. It also has some great edgings and seaming tips at the beginning.

Some patterns that caught my eye at first glance:

The beaded cuff. (Not so much of a choker person myself, but the bracelet is quite cute and despite it's size, fairly understated given the colour choice. I might not make this exact cuff but I will probably use some of the techniques for attaching beads to things).

Beaded Door Curtain. I know it's kind of cliché and 1960's (and then again mid '90s) but we have a big window on the door to our back porch (ok so it's a wooden fire escape, but serves much the same purpose) and I think that this would look pretty cool and with the right beads catch the light nicely. Not to be used as a room divider/entrance, I promise. (Even if as a teenager I would have died to have one...)

Filigree Drawstring Bag. I just think it's pretty. And hard. Not for my first (in about 6 years) crochet project.

Next up: Felt. Not a lot of the actual patterns caught my eye, so much as the idea of felting wool batting. There are so many pretty handdyed batts on etsy that I would buy if I knew what to do with them. I don't spin and right now I don't have the time or the space to learn. But felting batts would be possible.

A sample project from the book:
Champagne cooler. Don't know if I'll actually ever make one, but it was one of the prettier patterns (to my eye... some of the colour combos in this book just weren't my thing).

And finally: Sew. I would really like to sew properly, with a nice machine, but again, time, space and, well, money are all factors here. This book focuses more on sewing skills to finish projects, such as cross stitch and adding a nice hem, by hand. I wanted this one especially, to help improve my finishing skills on knitted items. Lots of people tell me I knit beautifully, but sometimes my sewing/finishing skills are lacking. Which is why I prefer to knit sweaters entirely in the round, usually, but some patterns just can't be adapted.

Potential project:
Buttons. Take some cheapy buttons (the kind with the extra bit at the back for sewing on) and make them pretty with material and embroidery. Duh... but I might never have thought of it on my own. There are a couple of other things in here that I would like to try too, but this one was the cutest, most "duh"-inspiring for me.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone! No real resolutions around here, except maybe the usual work harder at school (yeah, gotta get right on that this afternoon actually...), try to be nicer in general and all that stuff. And I was going to sign up for yoga, etc at the gym at school this semester, but I don't like making that sort of stuff a "resolution" because I am invariable disappointed when I don't do it. Although I do plan to. Anyway...

There has been some knitting going on since the mad dash to the finished Christmas Knitting line. I made another Bear for the Mother Bear Project, unfortunately this is the only picture I have of him:

I named him Bernard, probably because the main character from "Black Books" had gotten into my subconscious after watching all 3 seasons with Dr. BF the week before. In any case, I think that Bernard is an eclectic bear, and I very much hope that he will be well loved by the child who receives him. He was sent to Lovelyarns in this state, to be stuffed, sewn up and sent off to Africa.

I can't show off any of the other knitting that I've been doing because it is a sweater I am test knitting for a yarn company. And it's quite a headache, let me tell you. I'm just glad that the yarn is such a nice one that I don't mind working with it. I've done the main part of the torso (in the round, thank goodness), the back and one side of the front. I just can't wait for this thing to be done!

So, instead of new knitting, I'll show you some old knitting... but stuff that's new here! I knit these last April for my SP. Unfortunately she never got the 2nd or 3rd package I sent her and the 2nd one never came back to me. The 3rd one, however, did. In fact, it came back to Canada (where I am currently for break until the 20th of Jan) and has been sitting, waiting for me at Dr. BF's apartment ever since.

These mice are from Stitch n Bitch Nation's catwarming set. I knit them out of Berroco Ultra Alpaca remnants that I had from old projects. They were (obviously) supposed to be for SP's cat.

And the rest is the yarn b00ty I had bought her. Trust me when I say that I attempted to contact this pal several times. I sent her many emails and also emailed the coordinator of the swap who in turn attempted to contact her several times. According to the post office there were several attempted deliveries too. So now it's my yarn b00ty, although I feel a bit weird about it.

1 skein Rowan Damask

1 skein Koigu KPM

and 1 skein Debbie Bliss Pure Silk.