Renaissance II: Rise of the Book Nerd

23 04 2012

I like to pretend that I’m not flying my book nerd flag all the time, but let’s be honest. I read, constantly, either on my Kindle or by taking advantage of that awesome double dose audible subscription I got when my husband bought his fifth gun. This, in turn, tends to creep into my knitting, sometimes subtly. Perhaps no one was looking, but I did really do a three series shawl set for Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. Miss it? That would be Northern Lights (after the UK title of The Golden Compass), The Subtle Clothilde (the second book always makes me think of fresh blood), and The Amber Aeslight.

I bring this up because this particular post will highlight two (three if I’m being honest) projects inspired by books in one way or another. The first one isn’t so subtle because, well, there’s a freaking mockingjay pin right in the picture. Unless you have been hiding under a rock from the mass marketing campaign, you will likely recognize this as a tribute (haha) to Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games Trilogy. Much like His Dark Materials, I’ll probably make a project for each book, and I already have the socks for Catching Fire planned. This pair is called Katniss, and is the pattern Paraphernalia by Taina Anttila. I knit them in Have You Any Wool Luxe Sock in Blackened.

katniss 1

Continuing chronologically, my next project has nothing to do with books, and everything to do with spreading the knitting love from time to time, this time to my husband’s feet. These were supposed to be done for Christmas. I missed terribly, and finished them on my birthday instead, a mere three months and some days late. Oops? Men’s socks are boring. It’s true. Most men don’t want fancy pants socks in dazzling colors, so hello 500 yards of 3×1 ribbing. These are ostensibly based on Melissa Morgan-Oakes‘s The Classic Sock, but I did fiddle with the gauge. The yarn is Knit Picks Felici in Marsh.

marsh socks 1

After this I intended to continue smashing out lingering WIPs, but then remember that birthday? It totally came with a Willie Nelson concert, and I needed some simple road knitting, so I cast on for Iris by Rebecca Danger. I’ve knit Iris for the shop before, but this one I intended to keep as a little knitting mascot. The yarn is Lorna’s Laces Green Line Worsted in (ahem) Twilight. Please do not ask me to explain my dark and twisty relationship with Stephenie Meyer’s work, but I think Alia (Ha! Book reference #5, Children of Dune, in this case though, the TV miniseries) said it best, “I love you. I hate you. I will never forgive you,” which reminds me–there were also Dune socks.

iris twilight 1

After that, I really did finish up a big WIP. I received the yarn for Umaro by Jared Flood as a 2011 birthday present from my friends. How much yarn you ask? Like 2868 yards of Cascade Eco Wool in colorway 8010. That’s a lot of knitting although I did use it held double. I loooove this blanket. If I’m at home, it’s with me. How much do I love it? So much that you’re getting two pictures, which I almost never do. The second is of the chair that’s supposed to be its permanent location, if you could, you know, pry it out of my hands. I do have some tips on my project page if anyone is planning on knitting it.

umaro 1

umaro 4

That brings us to the last project for this post, which unlike The Hunger Games socks, is a little more subtle, assuming you can call giant zombified whales subtle. I loved Mira Grant‘s Feed and Deadline. She has some of the most solid world-building I’ve ever read. She’s thought of pretty much everything that would come from living in a post-zombie world. One of the more interesting (and fresher) aspects of the story is that conversion to zombiehood is caused by a virus that affects all mammals. Any mammal over 40lbs can undergo conversion. This includes dogs, cows, and the occasional moose….oh, and whales. There is a passing mention of the Sea World incident, and one of the characters imagines an ocean haunted by zombie blue whales. Freaky. I cannot say how much the first book got under my skin, but I seriously read it right after Christmas, and I still think about it on a near daily basis. Read these now. Thank you.

Oh right, the socks. Both colors are from Lorna’s Laces Solemate line, the main color is Natural and the contrast color is Zombie BBQ. The sock pattern is Swedish Fish by SpillyJane, and the whales are adapted from Kate Gagnon Osborn‘s Whale Watch Hat.

zombie whales 8

zombie whales 4

P.S. The third book Blackout is out in less than a month. I can hardly wait.





Renaissance

22 04 2012

Okay, perhaps “renaissance” is a tad dramatic, but it’s absolutely revitalizing to occasionally just let loose creatively. Instead of expecting anything on a deadline, I’ve been knitting whatever I’ve felt like, and it’s been marvelous. I’ve been more excited to get at my knitting than I can recall in the last year.

One thing I’m doing just for me is Beekeeper, AKA the hexipuffing madness of the beekeeper’s quilt by tiny owl knits. While I’ve been collecting bits and bobs for this at will since October, I haven’t had too much of chance to work on it. So I knit up my entire Wollmeise lot and some KPPPM. I plan to do some more after I finish my now giant to-do list.

beekeeper wip 4

This is my hexipuffing basket. That’s yarn, US 4 24″ circulars, US 4 DPNs, one F hook, stuffing and a golf ball, and a pen and notepad to keep track of my yardage. The cute little notepad is from wit & whistle. The basket is vintage and belonged to my grandmother.

beekeeper wip 4 5

After I finished playing with that for a while, I threw myself into another sample knit for Rose Beck. This time it was a lovely gray shawl called Stucco, and knit in Baah! Sonoma in Black Baccara.

stucco 2

I then took a good look at my stash and decided to knit up some lingering worsted single skeins. I started with some handspun done for me by Wendi of Restless Prairie Farms, and worked it up in a cowl. The bfl roving was dyed by Pigeonroof Studios in a lovely colorway called Summer Twilight. I knit it into Stephen West‘s Purl Ridge Scarf.

summer twilight cowl 1

This is March we’re talking about here, so my next two projects were done in honor of Malabrigo March. I had long been intending to knit tiny owl knitsorchids and fairy lights, so I made the hat in Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Pearl, and I think it turned out just beautifully.

orchids and fl

I also knit a cowl I had been intending to knit for ages, Thermis by Kris Knits, also in Malabrigo Merino Worsted, this time in Applewood. I do have to admit that I was greatly helped in adapting the pattern by the lovely and detailed notes of raveler saraem.

thermis applewood 2.

Speaking of ravelers, my next project was influenced by my friend Syl, who suggested that I might enjoy trying Zuzu’s Petals by Carina Spencer because she had been knitting them like an addict. I tried it, and it turned out that I did like it. My version was knit in The Plucky Knitter Worsted Merino in Impression.

zuzu impression 3

The last of my single-skein projects was another hat. This one I found at random via Ravelry’s pattern search and just fell in love with. The pattern is Chelsea Market Hat by Caryl Pierre, which I knit in Madelinetosh tosh merino in Rose. I followed the pattern as written with the exception of adding an extra repeat to it in lieu of blocking. I love this hat so much that I would wear it constantly if it were appropriate for April in Texas, which it is not.

chelsea market hat 2

And that’s seven projects, which is as good a stopping point as any, so I guess we’ll pick up next time with Renaissance II: Rise of the Book Nerd.





October November December January

21 04 2012

Haha, I love/hate Twilight, so I couldn’t help but go with the ridiculous New Moon reference, and the months almost even line up, but no I wasn’t mooning over some boy. Holy crap, did the shop take off for the holiday season (continuing into post-Christmas secondary sales for the device sleeves). I stopped sleeping so I could churn out item after item, and it was awesome. It also means that I did very little personal knitting for me or for other people, so for this four-month period, I have six projects.

I’ll always be a fan of giant, chunky self-gratification projects, so I was delighted to knit up this cowl for my bff Susan. She purchased the yarn on our annual pilgrimage to the DFW Fiber Fest with the express intent of dyeing it. It is Cascade Lana Grande, which is super bulky, and she dyed it in coffee. The pattern is from Malabrigo Book 3 (NOM!), specifically Rasta Neckwarmer by Breean Elyse Miller.

mocha cowl 1

My next knit was also Susan’s fault. She knew this lady who was having a baby who needed a sweater, so I knit up this delicious little baby sweater, which is Baby Kina by Muriela. The yarn is in the now defunct Sanguine Gryphon Bugga in Shelob (Point Mutation). I did the 3M size and used just under half a skein.

baby kina bugga 1

My next project is a Christmas commission, but I’m listing it here because it predates the shop, and it’s for a dear friend. Bettye occasionally requests knits from me, and this year she asked for red mittens. After some digging, I found this amazing vintage pattern from 1953. The yarn is (of course?) Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Vermillion.

bettye christmas 2011 wip

Sofia’s birthday is in November, so that means that it was time for her annual sweater. She actually picked the same cardigan pattern as last year, but this time in pink. I had some trouble with the yoke stretching, so this year, I used non-superwash yarn, and knit it in the same size, and it fits perfectly. She wears it as often as I’ll let her. The yarn is Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Dusty, and the pattern is Tiny Tea Leaves by Melissa LaBarre.

tiny tea leaves 2011 3

Whoa! Next up Christmas gift knitting! I did very, very little of this in 2011. Really there were two, this hat and some very late socks for my husband. I knit this one for my mother-in-law. The pattern is Crooked Paths, also by Melissa LaBarre. The yarn is Madelinetosh MCN Worsted in Fragrant.

fragrant paths 2

So I finished the hat on December 8, and my next piece of personal knitting was started…January 14, nice little gap there, and really the only thing that drew me out of shop knitting was that Rose needed a sample knit, so I didn’t even knit it for me. I knit the large version of her Stacked Columns Shawl in the utterly delightful The Plucky Knitter Superwash Merino Worsted in Honey Wilkes. I’ve wanted to use this colorway for a long time and it was everything I could have hoped for.

stc 6

And with that, we’ll pick up next at the end of February. The shop finally slowed down in the middle of February, and I took a knitting break for about a week, and then went on to a wonderful, reinvigorating bout of personal knitting. So believe me when I say the next post will be called Renaissance.





State Fair of Texas

21 04 2012

The response to that last post was pretty stinky, so I decided to follow my bliss, which is to be honest, mostly not blogging. As I’ve said before, I’d rather be knitting. Seriously. Typing, unlike say reading or listening to audiobooks, occupies my hands and prevents me from knitting. This is my work desk, by the way, with my faithful Kindle and headphones.

I like books

I woke up this morning though and realized I felt like writing. Hooray. So, without further ado…the State Fair of Texas post.

I have to admit that I had truly intended to do all kinds of preparation work for the state fair, but then the shop took off, and I was just trying to cram in some time on it, so in the end I only knit one project specifically for the fair, which means that I’ve posted most of this before, but, you know, not with ribbons.

First up the honorable mentions. I got one for this lovely hat that I loved when I knit, which is why I submitted it. The pattern is Toorie by Carina Spencer and was knitted in madelinetosh tosh merino in norway spruce.

2011 Texas State Fair 5

I also got a fine HM for Original Design, for the Cabled Kindle Sleeve. This particular one was knit in Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Molly.

2011 Texas State Fair 4

I received third place ribbons for two submissions.

One was in the toy category for the only item I made specifically for the fair, Daphne and Delilah by Rebecca Danger in luxurious MCN worsted. Both colors came from indie dyers now on hiatus, but in the hopes that they will find dyeing in their futures again, the blue is Femme Fatale Fibers Venus Worsted in Alice Goes to Wonderland and the orange is Have You Any Wool Luxe Worsted in Spice. Since I haven’t shared this particular project before, I’m including a non-fair picture. I’d also like to add that this is for sale locally at Alley Cat Collective.

d and d sf 1

2011 Texas State Fair 2

My other third was in the rather competive Shawl category. I submitted a shawl I knit for Rose Beck, Forgotten Garden, which I’ve already talked about here. Much to my annoyance, they displayed it backwards. You can’t really tell in my awesome glass-reflected picture, but that is purl bumps out.

2011 Texas State Fair 3

My big ribbon was a second place in the Sock category. This one cracks me up, because I truly selected these socks for submission because they were the only unworn pair I had with no mistakes in them. I have to admit that if I’m knitting a pair of socks for myself and I make a mistake, I usually fudge it because they’re socks, and who will ever know? It turns out that if it’s for a fair submission, then the judges will know.

I didn’t even like this pair initially as I mentioned in the original post about them. Moreover, I have a “only a husband could take a picture this bad” photograph to accompany them. I hope you will now understand why I almost never have modeled shots. Really, you couldn’t have told me to fix my bangs? Or that I was flushed from the ubiquitous Texas midday heat?

2011 Texas State Fair 1

This was a fun experience, but I don’t know that I would do it again. In a State Fair of Texas thread on Ravelry, the oldtimers kept using the phrase “big bag of ribbons” to refer to their victories, and really if all I’m going to get from this is a giant plastic bag of ribbons and some bragging rights, I think I can safely pass. Oh, and I did get some blue ribbons from the much less prestigious Texas-Oklahoma State Fair. So that counts, right?





Patterns, right?

12 12 2011

The below picture has nothing to do with this post. It’s there because it’s my shop stash of Malabrigo, and it just gives me joy to look at it.

mal stack 2

Nor is this the long-promised post about my State Fair entries. Why not? Well, I was feeling that guilty feeling I get when I haven’t updated my blog in a while, and I decided that maybe I’d go ahead and type it up. Seriously, the pictures have been on flickr for over a month. The blog certainly has been on my mind. I was thinking about taking more of a micro approach. Part of the reason I dread doing this is that all those links to the pattern, pattern designer, yarn, colorway, project on Ravelry, etc. take time. I think my standard entry has something like 25-30 links. Maybe I would procrastinate less, if there was less to do per entry, and maybe you would like to hear from me more often.

Then I took a look at my stats, and all the hits are on the patterns, which make sense, I suppose. I could try to make the blog more pattern-focused. I have two older patterns that I released on PDF that I could transcribe here, assuming that there’s a group of people who for some reason love patterns on websites and eschew the PDF as a pattern format. I will also make a sincere, if misguided commitment to try to release a new pattern by the end of January. The last one I was hatching is dead in the water, but that doesn’t mean that I’m completely out of ideas. I have a couple of toy patterns I could do,  and I have a few ideas for other things. I’m asking for some feedback here. Why are you subscribed? Do you care what I’m knitting or are you just hoping I’ll release a new pattern? I’d love some thoughts as I consider the future of this blog.

Besides that, would anyone like to guess what I’ve been up to? If you said knitting, you’ve guessed correctly. I’m happy to say that my only pending shop order is holding on yarn, and that everything else is complete, including the Christmas presents I’m knitting for friends and family. Or that would be true if you don’t count the fact that I’ve yet to start my husband’s Christmas socks. Really, I’m casting on as soon as I’m done here. So drop me a comment and let me know what you’d like to see.

Thanks!





In which I catch up on knitting for other people, mostly

19 10 2011

This took a little longer than I anticipated. I had hoped to have a Texas State Fair post done first, but I have so far been thwarted on my attempts to go there, so there are no pictures to accompany that post. I do hope nothing comes up to prevent me this time, because this is the last weekend for it. For now, I suppose I can cover my knitting in the rest of August and September, which was primarily me catching up on my knitting for other people. I did birthday presents and baby gifts, and a couple of other things.

First up is Susan’s Magical Unicorn. She saw this in a book, Ana Paula Rimoli‘s Amigurumi Toy Box, and loved it, so I promised it for her birthday, and I’m proud to say that I even finished it in time for her birthday party. It was crocheted in Hobby Lobby I Love This Cotton.

susans unicorn 2

The next project I completed was late, but it wasn’t my fault! I thought I had three weeks yet to finish it, but Luke decided to come early, and I don’t mind so much because his gift is really intended for winter rather than September. I knit him a Gift Wrap Romper and Bonnet from the talented Carina Spencer. His version was knit in Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Rich Chocolate and Continental.

gift wrapping 5

After that I decided to take a  little break and knit a self-gratification project in bulky yarn. I chose Anne Kuo Lukito‘s Whitter Hat, which was published in Knitscene, Fall 2011. I have to add that I actually purchased this magazine for another pattern Speer Cap, which is from Rose! I was so excited that I’m sure the cashier at Hastings thought I was a little weird as I shoved it at her and declared, “This is my friend! I sample knit for her”! Anyway, my version of the hat was knit in Malabrigo Chunky in Olive, and it was less instant than I imagined for a couple of reasons. First, I hated the cast-on so much that I ripped back from finished to replace it with long-tail, and second, I didn’t have proper buttons for it, and I refuse to buy them when they’re not on sale, but after three weeks of sitting around, it’s now complete.

whittier hat 2

I know you’re thinking, “Where’s the off-center self-portrait shot?” Not to worry, I have that one too.

whittier hat 3

In the meantime, I worked on another birthday present, this one inexcusably late. The good news is that Abbie didn’t seem to expect them on any sort of deadline. For her I knit a pair of rainbow socks in the ever fun Knit Picks Felici sock yarn. The pattern in this project is technically stockinette, but it’s linked to Cookie A‘s BFF because I wanted the precise counts for Abbie’s shoe size without having to do the math myself, and that worked just fine.

abbies rainbow socks 3

Having wrapped those up, I launched right into my next project, which was really fun. I mentioned in the last post that I’ve been trading with Catrina for handspun. Well, it was time to pay up. One of the things that we had agreed on is that I would take some of her worsted handspun partials and knit them into tiny mittens for Smitten by Emily Ivey. Oh wow, did I loooooove this project. They were fast and fun and so cute. I actually considered asking for more handspun so that I would have an excuse to knit her more.

smitten 1

As to what I received for my knitting work, the answer is some absolutely gorgeous n-plied Becoming Art Fingering MCN in Midnight Mountain. I can’t wait to get my needles into this….but what’s that? Yeah, it’s time for Christmas knitting again. See you in January, handspun.

becoming art mcn handspun midnight mtn

That finishes up this post, but I do hope to be back next week with the one about the State Fair, and barring that, a little WIP update. Someone may have been bitten (stung?) by the beekeeper bug.





Still here!

29 09 2011

Here we are again. I’ve been absent, and as to what I’ve been up to…it’s the usual–knitting. I do love knitting, so even when I’m not blogging, it carries on. Now as to why I haven’t been blogging, well, that’s a longer story. I spent most of July and a little bit of August focus on knitting for the etsy shop and selling locally at The Alley Cat Collective and the Farmers’ Market, and then when I decided to focus less on the shop, I spent time catching up on birthday presents and knits for other people. Then came September, and for the first time in a while, I just knit for me, doing whatever I felt like doing, so I have some finished projects and about 6 WIPS. Good times.  The month and a half shop focus means that I haven’t done all that much that I can share, but I do have a few FOs to share, and I plan to do at least one post about the Texas State Fair.

Let’s dig in. I made a Kindle sleeve at the beginning of June for Bettye’s birthday because she got a Kindle. It also came with a gift card and an offer of unlimited technical support, although she didn’t need that for so long as she picked it up pretty quickly. This one was knit in Mal Worsted in Apricot.

kindle sleeve apricot 3

I then crocheted a birthday present for her son, Robert. I wanted to make him something cool, and it ended up being a little late because it took me a while to find an idea I liked, but I finally settled on amigurumis of his family based on the patterns of Lucy Ravenscar with hair from a tutorial by Geek Central Station. They were knit in Hobby Lobby I Love This Cotton and used embroidery floss for hair. I think they went over pretty well, until the dog ate off Robert’s eye. I’m not that upset because, well, who can be angry at a corgi?

rob fam 3

I finished up my knitting in June with Cookie A ‘s BFF socks.  My version was called Pen Pals because it was knit out of my local Tally yarn from vacation, TurtleDove Yarns Pigeon Sock. This was my last successful attempt to participate in the Cookie A Knit. Sock. Love KAL. Oh well.

bff socks 3

I know three FOs in a month is a pretty low count for me. The rest of the time was spent on the shop, so I guess I’ll blog a little about what I learned from that. Let’s see it was fun to see other people enjoy my knits and to see my work going as far as Australia. I enjoyed the actual knitting, and I had fun just following my bliss as far as what to knit next. The best part? Building up my stock of “shop” yarn, by which I mean a fat stack of Malabrigo Worsted. Dreamy. The worst part? The utter lack of personal knitting time. I’ve finished two projects using yarn out of my personal stash in the last four months. Ouch, and I’ve decided to do Stashdown this next quarter. The Farmers’ Market was a delightful way to meet people, but I’m done with it for the year, so I’m now dealing with the much less hectic business through Alley Cat and the etsy shop, and a few Christmas orders. I hope this will allow me to find a better balance between my different types of knitting.

For this section, I’m including a picture of Sammie the Sailor, which I knit for no better reason than I was feeling nautical. He was knit in Malabrigo Worsted in Natural and Marine, from Rebecca Danger‘s Sammie the Sock Monster pattern.

sammie sailor 1

I did knit one non-shop item in July, but I think it will fit better in a later post, so I’m moving on to August, in which I started by doing a pattern sample for Rose. You  know I had to fit one in there, right? This time it was her Strands of Pearls Shawlette in Twisted Fiber Art Playful in Weimaraner and Squoosh Fiberarts Sock in Mocha Kiss. The shawl was a fun knit, but I was really disappointed by the ultimate fate of this shawl, which is to say that it was cruelly lost forever in the US mail system. Thanks, post office. I’m so paranoid now that I’m still adding delivery confirmation to every shipment I send.

sps 3

I think I will wind this post up with one other knit for Rose, and when I say Rose, I mean rather more directly for her, because her birthday is in August. Fellow Rose test-knitter Catrina came up with a brilliant idea. She would spin some yarn and I would knit it into cozy socks for Rose, and even better another tester Jennifer would dye the fiber, so we each did a little bit, and came up with this pair of socks for her.

rose sock 2

The upside/downside (trust me, it’s both) is that Catrina is now spinning for me too. I was already having issues NOT buying fiber, which is hilarious since I don’t spin, and now that I have a spinner on tap, well let’s say I’m in trouble. Here’s what I’ve already stashed from her hands. The first is PRS Superwash Merino in Malarkey and the second is limegreenjelly MCN in Jungle Boogie, both in fingering weight. Gorgeous!

prs merino malarkey 2lgj mcn jungle boogie 1

See you soon; I pinkie swear.








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