Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

mom's painting mitts, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

That's me, waving good bye to 2008, in one of the "painting mitts" I made for my mom. She saw my fingerless gloves and said "hey, those would be great for painting!", so I rifled through the left overs from my christmas knitting and improvised these (I only had straights in an appropriate size so I had to seam them...). They only took a couple hours for each one and she loves them. So much so that I didn't get a picture of the pair (and they were reveresed in colour and striping sequencing...), but I'm glad she likes them!

As I was thinking about this post earlier today, I almost wanted to title it "Good Riddance 2008"... but in reality, 2008 wasn't that bad of a year. It wasn't always great, but I learned a lot and I think I've grown a lot as a person. With that in mind, I have some New Year's resolutions that I really do hope to stick to.

1. Get back to hot yoga. I loved it all summer, and yes, it is expensive, but it's so very, very worth it. I was still going to the gym for part of the semester (until I got that horrendous cold in November and lost my voice, etc) but it's not the same.
2. Better eating habits. We (the roommate and I) were both tired and over-worked and didn't cook at home very much at all. So, less eating out, more cooking at home and choosing healthier options.
3. Better working habits. I'm an awful procrastinator. And by awful I mean I'm really good at it. REALLY good at it. But I'm going to try and get into the habit of working on a regular (i.e. daily!!) basis. Ok, maybe not on weekends.......
4. Become less clumsy. I know, this isn't necessarily something I can change about myself, but maybe it's just being more aware. This one came to me this morning when I was still half asleep and poured boiling hot coffee on my hand, instead of in my cup.

That's it for now. I don't usually go in for resolutions 'cause I figure most people break them by February... but if I sign up for (and pay the big $$) hot yoga I will go, 'cause after a week of feeling like death, you feel AMAZING and I found when I was doing that I was eating better 'cause it helps with the not feeling like garbage. And maybe, just maybe, it will also help me get into a routine so that I work every day too. The spilling of hot coffee on the hands is an entirely different story. I'll probably always be a bit of a klutz...

So, good bye 2008. You weren't always that good to me, but I learned from you and I'd like to think I'm a better person for it. But I'm still hoping 2009 will be an improvement on you!

Happy New Year everyone. May 2009 bring joy, happiness, health and prosperity to you all.

Monday, December 29, 2008

so now what?

twisted flowers, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

Christmas knitting is over and done with, although I have been asked and will eventually put together a pattern for the mittens I made for my cousins. So back to selfish knitting for me!

Above are Cookie A's Twisted Flower Socks that I'm working on in Malabrigo's new sock yarn (deliciousness) in the colour Lettuce. This photo is a couple weeks old... I started them and then realized holiday knitting needed to take priority! By now they're another repeat ahead and I'm ready to start the heel. They're a bit fiddly and slow going and my hands actually hurt after a while on them 'cause I'm cabling without a cable needle (and that is rare for me), but I love them... they'll be beautiful when they're done but don't count on it being anytime soon!

Also on the needles (and waiting patiently for me to come back tomorrow... although they may need more patience then that...) are Boyfriend socks (for me, since there is no bf to give them to!) and the cleopatra wrap. I haven't touched either in months and I'm not sure I'm feeling them now either. What I reaaaaally want to do is turn some of the beautiful malabrigo I have into sweaters...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to all...

Dickensian couple, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

Or Chanukah / Kwanza / Festivus / Whatever you choose to celebrate.

These are the dickensian mice I made for my parents' tree. Upon inspection they appear to be a *bit* bigger than expected, but cute nonetheless. And the closeups:

Dickensian mousette
Mrs. Dickens

Dickensian Mouse
Mr. Dickens

From Alan Dart's Dickensian Mice leaflet
Yarns: various scraps of dk/sport weight
Needles: US3 / 3.25mm

Sunday, December 21, 2008

snowed in

Caitlin's first sock!, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

That's my little sister, making her first pair of socks! If you look closely, there is already a completed sock under her arm and she's working on the cuff of the second. Other than the grafting, it was a relatively painless process for both of us! And it fits relatively well! A little big on her but she plans to wear them under boots anyway. I think if I keep teaching socks at the store I might see if we can have them do worsted weight socks on size US 5s, like Caitlin is doing here... it just seemed like it was much less painful for her than it has been for previous students...

Friday, December 19, 2008

charlie brown hat

charlie brown hat, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

Another fairly quick knit. Started Tuesday, finished last night. Knit in part in the very early morning yesterday while waiting for my ridiculously early flight home. Flying at 6am is cheaper... but getting up at 3:00 for the shuttle van is horrendous. But thank goodness my flight was yesterday 'cause today is what the news people are cutely calling "Snowmageddon". That's right. It's like Armageddon but instead of the fires of hell we're getting a repeat of the ice-age:

Yes, that's a house in the background. And yes, there is a street in between. No, it has not been plowed yet. They canceled school today, which around here is a huge deal. And the sky is only that grey because of the ridiculous amount of snow falling from the it.

So the hat will probably be much needed and much appreciated for a boy from Paris who probably hasn't seen this much snow, potentially ever. I like the colours - reminds me of charlie brown. :)

charlie brown hat

Pattern: Heavily modified version of the Hot head pattern from the original Stitch n' Bitch book.
Yarn: Bouton D'or Laika (black) and 3 colours of Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky
Needles: US 11
Mods: Knit in the round to avoid seaming, different striping sequence, different decreases, less rounds.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

best idea ever

Uncle Charlie's Hat, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

So the bulky knit hats was pretty much the best idea ever for Christmas prezzies. This one is for my uncle, who is visiting us this Christmas. It's super big on me, thus the rolled brim, but I'm hoping it will fit him.

Pattern: Cabled Hat of Awesomeness (Rav link)
Yarn: Bouton d'Or Laika, slightly more than 2 skeins
Needles: US 11
Time: about 2.5 hours. For reals.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Help save handmade toys

I Took The Handmade Pledge!

This year I'm attempting to do it handmade. I've knitted a bunch of presents, as the last 4 days worth of posts shows, and those I haven't made myself have been purchased locally and are handmade, or on, and, obviously, are handmade. Being someone who handmakes a lot of stuff, this is probably more important to me than most, but if you haven't before, please check out etsy, but don't blame me if your bank account is a lot smaller by the time you get back here! There's one exception to my handmade rule for this Christmas, but that's because I never know what to do for my dad! (Dad's are HARD to shop / knit for, right?!)

The US government, in an attempt to rectify the situation that happened about a year ago with all those toys from China that had ridiculously high lead levels, is working on legislation to make all toy manufacturers test their products for lead. Great, right? Well, for those large corporate toy manufacturers who save billions of dollars producing their toys in 3rd World Countries, sure. But what about the people who sell one or two toys a month on etsy or at county fairs? They cannot afford the $150 - $4000 it would take to test each product.

To learn more about this you can visit:
Help Save Handmade Toys from the CPSIA on facebook
The Handmade Toy Alliance
Or, Sign the Petition.

Here is a copy of the letter I wrote when I signed the petition. Please feel free to copy and paste it or write a version of your own.

I believe that it is important for North American governments to protect children from the dangers of lead poisoning, especially from large corporations importing cheaply made toys from countries that will manufacture large quantities under suspect conditions. However, handmade toys, especially those made in Canada and the US, from natural products such as wood and cotton and previous tested products such as yarn - for handknit or crocheted items - should be exempt from such costly procedures. Think of all the people who hand make one or two items to sell at county-fairs or on websites such as who simply could not afford to test products for $150 - $4000 when they potentially only sell one or two items a month, usually for far less than $100. These are people who are trying to supplement their income or are working for the simple pleasure a hand made item brings to a child.

Please provide exemptions for items made at home, especially those using natural / pretested materials.

Thank you,
Your Name Here

And now back to your regularly, unpolitical, scheduled knitting.

chunky yarn + big needles = fast hats

Gigi's Hat, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

I should just quit school and knit full time. I just enjoy it so much more most days. I doubt it could compete to pay the bills though, even as meager as a grad student's stipend is. Le sigh.

Anyways, another quick hat to give as a Christmas present. Again, Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky (less than one skein), to match the first pair of mittens.

Pattern: Robin's Egg Blue Hat
Needles: US 10
Extras: Buttons left over from my Buttony Cardi... Finding the right button(s) for this was probably the hardest part of the whole thing. I went to a couple of antique stores near my house and picked up a few things but nothing was quite right. Fortunately I had these (and a few others...) at home and I tried a few combinations and the consensus - between myself and my roommate - was that these were the best.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

another one bites the dust

toto's hat, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

Another day, another present done! This is Urchin in Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky. Matches the mittens made previously and going to the same recipient. I love this hat so much I want to keep it. Instead I think I'll probably end up making myself various versions of it. But definitely one in Baby Alpaca. Sooooo soooooft.

Pattern: Urchin, as previously mentioned.
Needles: 7mm (no US equivalent)
Yarn: Delicious Baby Alpaca...

Also recently knit but previously unblogged:

piernas carisimas

"Piernas CarĂ­simas" - Super expensive legs in the English. Cascade Venezia Worsted (1 and 1/10 skein) + Trendsetter's Dune (2.5 skeins) made these somewhat pricey but oh so beautiful... and warm. Ridiculously warm. Wanna see more?

piernas carisimas

Pattern: Modified version of leg warmers from Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Needles: US 9
Yarn: Cascade Venezia Worsted and Trendsetter Dune

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Booyeah Santa!

Toto's Mittens, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

Mittens for the other cousin, started AND finished yesterday. How's that for knitting under pressure? However, I realized that these ones are a fair bit longer than the first pair and fit a lot better (see what happens when you don't bother to use patterns??) so I'm going to re-do the tops of the first pair later today.

Yarn: Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky
Needles: US 8 DPNs
Pattern: From my brain

Friday, December 12, 2008

Yes, Virigina, I am Christmas knitting

mittens, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

So I started these mittens back in October (where has the time gone?!) and they were completely finished except for weaving in the ends, etc on the second one. They will be given to one of my cousins who is visiting from France. The pattern is my own, using a colourwork chart from the Vogue Stitchionaries. I'll be making a second pair and (time granting) matching hats. I haven't decided what colour work to do on the second pair, which will have the beige as the main colour and the white and orange as complimentary colours.

There has been other knitting, but it's all selfish, and that's not the spirit of the season... so from now until Christmas hopefully I'll be able to showcase all the other things I'm going to knit for people! (Yes, I know how many days there are left until Christmas... I have a slight case of knitters denial...)