Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Shape of Things to Come

20 skeins of Koigu KPM. Destined to become a punk rock Babette during my knitting group's upcoming Summer of Crochet Love CAL. Is there anything more beautiful?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Welcome Spring

Note: This post includes a spoiler of the latest Mythos Club sock yarn.

Spring in southern California is pretty darn tasty.

The foothills where we live are verdant, the air is redolent with citrus and jasmine, and the bees are working overtime on the sage and thyme blossoms.

Even my physical therapist has gotten into the spirit and given me a hot pink splint.

Spring has also brought my 45th birthday and some requisite knitting loot...

Clockwise from top: Sock Innovation, Luxury One-Skein Wonders,
Koigu KPM (thanks, Ellen!), Sundara Silk Lace (thanks, Annette!), and Simply Needlefelt

...and the latest installment of the Mythos Yarn Club, Persephone, in Chakra, a scrumptious new merino/cashmere/nylon base from Melanie's Lotus Yarns.

Enough time has passed for a noticeable improvement finger-wise; though it's gonna take a long time for it to heal completely, I'm once again knitting. My tension is wonky, so I've mostly been knitting on some holiday felting projects. Spring fever must be going around, though, because I cannot wait to get going on Ishbel - using last month's Mythos yarn, Astarte - and Miriam Felton's Cleopatra Wrap - using the luscious Sundara Silk Lace in Ruby Port shown above. And yes, with the damage I did to the digit, it truly feels like a blessing from the goddesses that I'm once again knittin' and purlin'.

Hope you have something heavenly on your needles, too. Happy spring!

On the turntable: Indie pop freakout! The Veils ~ Sun Gangs / Imperial Teen ~ The Hair the TV the Baby and the Band / Eugenius ~ Oomalama

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hat Trick

In a quirky life moment, this past winter Tom was approached by a guy in Iowa about a job. It was this close to happening; at the eleventh hour Tom's bosses here countered with an offer we couldn't refuse, though, and we ended up staying put. Tom did fly out to Waverly, Iowa, and interview however, and before he went I decided he needed a hat to keep him warm. So I knit him seven. You know, just in case.

The winner of the bunch turned out to be Alex Zorn's Hot Head from the first Stitch 'n' Bitch.

It fits Tom to a tee, and, knit out of humble Lamb's Pride Bulky, is a cheap, quick project. He liked the first - knit in the hot rod flame colors as the pattern suggests - so much that I made him a true blue second. (Rav project page here.)

Third up is Brenda Zuk's Seaman's Cap.

For it I used some Elsebeth Lavold Classic AL nabbed on sale from Webs. As alpaca does, it made a super soft, super warm hat which has seen lots of use on chilly mornings. (Rav project page here.)

Fourth up is Jen Showalter's Samaras Hat.

Knit with some of my fave yarn, Lotus Yarns Nirvana Worsted in Fascination Street (black with deep purple flecks). This basic hat sports a deep ribbed brim. (Rav project page here.)

Fifth up is Angelina Fagan's Pro Bono.

The yarn, Classic Elite Ariosa, is super delish, but grew too much after its bath, resulting in a hat a tad too big for even Tom's 24" noggin. (Who swatches for hats?) This one's a do-over on a smaller needle. (Rav project page here.)

Sixth up is Staceyjoy Elkin's Marsan Watchcap.

This one was tricky. First, the pattern runs way small. Way. After a couple of false starts I checked my gauge, was spot on, and went ahead with a 97-stitch cast on...ending up with a hat that barely fit my 20.5" head. Huh. Second, and I feel like a big baby saying so, the twisted ribbing hurt my hands. The pattern itself is simple, and has a cool spiral decrease crown, so I want to try it again - when I'm not feeling wimpy - on a larger needle with more stitches. (Rav project page here.)

Seventh and last is Whitney Van Nes's Whitney's 70's Ski Hat.

*Sigh.* I adjusted the numbers up for Tom's big head. Shouldn't have. Negative ease kicked my ass, resulting in a humongous failure.

See the cashmere lining?

This one's also a do-over when we get our ski chalet in the Alps. (Rav project page here.)

* * *

The finger is still fucked, still painful. I popped into the doc this morning for confirmation of this fact, and the tech who x-rayed me was some crazy drummer who riffed on how he kept breaking his digits on his snare drum. I kept my witty retorts to myself, and hope I never do something this stupid again. Next week physical therapy (probably) starts. Man, do you have any idea how much I wish I'd broken my middle finger instead?

On the turntable: Chris Isaak ~ Mr. Lucky

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Accidents Will Happen

If you're me, that means you'll slam the car door on your finger.

Doesn't look too bad, does it? Well, trust me when I say this is the G-rated photo, because under the band-aid things are ugly. The bone at the tippy top is fractured, the rest of the finger squished, and I'm out of knitting commission for at least a month. Boo.

The upside is that I'm bored out of my gourd already, which will hopefully mean catching up on blogging and project photo taking for Ravelry. I haven't been doing much of either because I was on a knitting tear the last couple of months. You know the rush, right? Gauge was spot on! Projects were working out! I was casting on and finishing with equal fervor! I was in the zone, and enjoying every minute.

A highlight of this productivity was Malabrigo March 2009 over at the Malabrigo Junkies Ravelry group. I joined in on the fun by participating in four KALs for Cherry Garcia, Dean Street Hat, Forest Canopy Shawl, and Just Enough Ruffles. In some fluke I finished all four projects in ten days, which must be a personal best for pokey me.

Pattern: Just Enough Ruffles (MM09 #1) - my Rav page here
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Olive - 1.5 skeins
Needles: US 9 32" and 40" Knit Picks Options circs
Mods: None
Rating: ****

I knit this pattern to 1) practice short rows and 2) knit lengthwise, something I rarely do because usually I don't like how the cast-on edge looks. I'm happy with how it turned out, and see this as a go-to pattern whenever I need a quick gift.

Pattern: Dean (Winchester*) Hat (MM09 #2) - my Rav page here
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Chestnut - 1 skein
Needles: US 6 and 7 16" circs
Size: Adult Small/96 stitches
Mods: None
Rating: *****

Love the mock cables, which look harder than they are. Hate the fact that I flubbed and added an extra knit row on one repeat...and didn't catch it until I'd bound off and taken this photo. Oh, well, I'll definitely be knitting this pattern again. Best part? This pattern includes two brim options (rolled and ribbed), three sizes (child, adult small, adult large) and two yarn options (worsted or bulky), making it very usable.

*In a total spazzy fangrrl moment, I knit in a colorway that matches Dean Winchester's t-shirt.

Pattern: Cherry Garcia (MM09 #3) - my Rav page here
Yarn: Malabrigo Chunky in Vaa - 1 skein
Needles: US 11 16" circs
Mods: Only two cables as I ran short of yarn
Rating: ***

This was the project where I conquered my loose ribbing/cabling. I practiced a tip I read on page 11 of Melissa Leapman's Continuous Cables to tighten up my last always wonky knit stitch before a purl stitch. (The tip is to wrap the first purl stitch the opposite way you normally do, twisting the stitch and tightening things up nicely. On the next row you untwist the stitch and repeat.) The tip worked like a charm, and my ribbing should be sexier from now on.

Pattern: Forest Canopy Shawl (MM09 #4) - my Rav page here
Yarn: Malabrigo Silky Merino in Blackberry - 2 skeins
Needles: US 8 29" Bryspun circs
Finished Dimensions: 53" x 22"
Mods: None
Rating: *****

Each year for the past four years I've knit my Mom a shawl. (Past years include Flower Basket, Gothic Leaf, and Hanami.) This year I presented her with Forest Canopy. It's my personal fave of my MM09 projects. The pattern is easily memorized, knits up quickly, and the yarn...well, this was my first time using Silky Merino, and I can't rave about the yarn enough. It's a delight to knit: the silk glows, the merino adds plumpness to the stitches, and it's just all over rustic and yummy. This one was a sheer delight from start to finish.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Life Is Short

Lux Interior, frontman for the Cramps and the Grand Poobah of Psychobilly, passed away yesterday. He, along with wife Poison Ivy and a parade of other musicians, made a generation of punks' hips swivel and senses delight to their lo-fi sleaze-o-rama garage sound.

RIP, Lux. Hope you've found a new kind of kick.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Bring it.

Now that the carols are sung, the presents unwrapped, and the fruitcake crumbs swept up, we all turn our pretty little heads towards a new year. I'm not big on year-end ruminations or new year resolutions; what's done is done, and we all know resolutions are about as helpful as an umbrella in the face of a tsunami. I am, however, all for fun, and that's what I wish each and every one of you for the coming year.

However, before moving on I suppose I should put the final nail in the Mission: Possible 2008 coffin. Okay, I gotta admit it: MP08 was tough. I don't do well with enforced rules - I'm a rebel, dammit - and at times it smacked of "gotta do" instead of "wanna do." But I persevered, and succeeded. Of my 12 goals, I finished 'em all. And knit a bunch of other stuff, too.

1. Gift spinning wheel, books, and fiber to Patty.
2. Felt one pair, and Plasti Dip soles of three pairs of felted slippers.
3. Finish Gothic Leaf Stole. (4 skeins of Euroflax Sportweight in Eggplant)
4. Finish Cobblestone. (16 balls of Queensland Kathmandu Aran Tweed)
5. Finish Shedir. (1-2 balls of Rowan Calmer in Coffee Bean)
6. Crochet baby blanket out of Rowan All Seasons Cotton. (11 balls in Citron, Giddy, Lime Leaf and Remote)
7. Crochet another baby blanket. (1 skein of Koigu KPM and 5 skeins Shibui Sock)
8. Use up some Malabrigo Worsted. (3 skeins - 2 Tamarind Cowls and a Celtic Cable Neckwarmer in Bijou Blue and Black)
9. Knit Unoriginal Hat. (1 skein STR Leticia in Hard Rock)
10. Use up some Lamb’s Pride Worsted. (4 skeins - 3 Berry Bags in Orange You Glad, Limeade Lemon Drop, and a tad of Old Sage; Marsan Watchcap in Brite Blue)
11. Knit a Stacked Eyelet Cowl. (1 skein of Lotus Yarns Nirvana in Blood Flowers)
12. Knit two Yarn Harlot One Row Scarves. (4 balls Artfibers Kyoto in lime and teal)

So that's done then. And now my thoughts turn to becoming a loose woman. Beginning tomorrow, my knitting group and I are gonna do a Feel Like a Floozy KAL for the first week of January. Each day we're gonna cast on a project (or two or three). No guilt, no worrying about last names, just reckless casting on. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? Please join us!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Sunny Delight

Pattern: Berry Bag by Nguyen Le (my Ravelry link here)
Yarn: Lamb's Pride Worsted in Lemon Drop, Limeade and Orange You Glad - 1 skein each; a tad of Old Sage
Needles: US 11 24" circs and dpns
Mods: None
Rating: Easy peasy lemon squeezy

Remember Mission Possible: 2008? 12 finished projects in 12 months? Or else? As the year end approaches, I've dusted off my MP:08 project list, amended it to better reflect what I'm knitting now instead of what I thought I'd be knitting now a year ago (this is allowed, so I'm not cheating), and re-attacked it with relish. Trying to stay true to the idea behind it, I've chosen a couple of projects using deep stash, which for me means yarn that's been hanging around unused for two years.

These sweet bags are the first of the two projects. Way back in the winter of 2006 Tom bought me a bunch of Lamb's Pride Worsted in single skein colors. Ostensibly it was to be using making a slew of Jess Hutch toys. Only one problem: I hadn't realized I find knitting toys fiddly. (And by fiddly I mean I'd rather stick US 1 needles into my eyes than make them.) So. It has sat unused. Until I tripped over this pattern on etsy. (Kinda expensive at $8, but I didn't feel like chasing down the Interweave Felts issue it's in; I was not to be deterred in my destashing.) It's, like, the best felt pattern ever.

+ Single skein stashbuster.
+ Quick. I knit and felted a bag a night over three nights, and the leaves took a half hour tops.
+Perfect holiday gift.
+ Cute. They measure 8" round after felting, which falls into the "small is cute" category. Perfect size for holding your sock WIPs.

I chose scurvy deterrent colors, in celebration of the citrus trees in our backyard, but any color combo would work. Mix it up with crocheted or felted flowers instead of the leaves. Omit decoration and go for minimal. Just make this bag. You'll be berry glad you did.