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.





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?





Finishing May, featuring something unexpected.

14 06 2011

I’ve been a bad, bad blogger. No, I didn’t post twice in May, and we’re nearly halfway through June. I truly meant to get in another before the end of the month, but my needles were busy, and my photography had not been done, so it just didn’t happen. Where did we leave off all the way back in May? Hmm.

Okay, I had to look, but now I know. It was with an unfinished pair of Mona. I actually had to bribe myself to finish them. Ridiculous I know, but the pattern was the perfect balance of too challenging to coast and too simple to be interesting. Also the color was…uninspiring. I finally did finish them, and then handed them off to Susan to dye. She did them in an overdye of copper, and they are so much prettier now. Here’s the before and after; project details are in the previous post.

mona 3
mona copper 1

Sexy, huh? The sad part is that these were pretty much the death of my involvement in the Knit. Sock. Love. KAL. Oh well. After I finished them, I knit my reward project which are a pair of Caprica Anklets.  The socks are named after the colorway, which are from the 2011 line of Knit Picks Felici. The pattern is ostensibly Pom Pom Peds by Purl Soho, but I really just used it as a jumping off point. I changed the cast on, ribbing, and heel, and I couldn’t even tell you what the pattern called for on the toe. I love these things, so much in fact, that I knit another pair the same month in a skein of Afternoon (the black contrast color is Stroll), and I’m eyeing a skein of Tiki for the same. It’s finally a way to experience all the joy of Felici at half the cost.

caprica anklet 1
afternoon and blk anklets 1

After I finished the Caprica socks, only one thing could possible happen….more knitting for Rose. I truly can’t say no when it comes to her, and she needed a new design knit. This time it was a shawl inspired by Kate Middleton’s grocery shopping attire. She sent me some lovely (and color similar) madtosh pashmina in boxwood to knit her version, which she cleverly decided to call CopyKat. There are better (read: modeled) pictures on her blog. This one used 720 yards and took me eight days to knit.

copykat 1

copykat 3

Then Rose did something shocking. She gave me a vacation. Then I did some shocking things, like cleaning my house and finishing books that weren’t being read to me. I so truly appreciate that audio books allow me to “read” and knit, but it is vastly more satisfying to read a book myself. I spent 5 days working on one of the Afternoon socks. Awesome vacation. After that I started in on Rebecca Danger‘s Greta the Cat for Sofia. Ever since she realized that Knit Picks had rainbow yarn (their Chroma line, Lollipop in Worsted used here), she’s been begging for a rainbow cat. She loves him, and has named him Mr. Cat.
rainbow cat 1

I spent the last part of May making Ida’s Kitchen by Kirsten Kapur, three times. That wasn’t, mind you, the original plan. I was just going to knit one, but then I had plenty of yarn left over when I finished the first, so I knit a second, and then I still has more, so I need a child-sized version. All three hats were knit in Knit Picks Stroll Sport although the colors were switched around to suit the available yarn. I actually only had 3.5 skeins, having split the yarn with another knitter, so my best guess is that one could get five adult hats out of 7 skeins if one were forced to buy that much to have the full variety of colors. The first photograph is the hat knitted to match the colors in the original sample.

idas kitchen 1
idas kitchen 2

That carries us into June, and actually there aren’t any FOs in June, because I’ve spent the last week and a half updating the etsy shop. There are plenty of new monsters and animals from Danger Crafts, and few more device cases. I have about four more things I plan to add, two of which are already half knit, and then I plan to do a couple of pieces for the Texas State Fair. One of them is somewhat intricate, so that may fill out the rest of the month.  We’ll see. Oh, and I have a pattern idea hatching. It’s only a concept right now, but maybe something will come of it.

In the shop:

kindle sleeve bp 3kindle sleeve blk 1penelope bw 3chunk herbert





And now for something only a little different…

11 05 2011

When I said I broke my pattern for April, I think only meant a little bit. I did do something completely new, but it still broke down into shop knitting, knitting for Rose, and personal knitting (mostly socks).

I started the month by doing a little etsy update. I knit Rebecca Danger‘s new monkey pattern, Jerry the Musical Monkey, which was fun.

monkey blue 1

I also knit a Penelope, more monster chunks, and some chirps, and I added a few more device sleeves.

penelope purplechubby chicks

After all that was completed, I knit the toe on the second Wanderer sock. Yes, that’s really all I had leftover from March, but I got all manner of distracted by irresistible monkey knitting. These are Cookie A‘s Thelonious, which was one of the March/April K.S.L. KAL selections. They were knit in The Plucky Knitter MCN Fingering in Wanderer, which was a birthday present from my friend Karen.  

wanderer 2

I then settled into a nice, big sample shawl for Rose, Forgotten Garden in Biscotte & Cie La Douce in Cherry Baby. My version was the large size, coming in at about 550 yards. I think the shawl is complex and beautiful, and I’m very pleased with it. It took me a solid week of knitting, after which I did another small shop update.

forgotten garden 7forgotten garden 3

I think I mentioned the auction for Japan last month? I also donated knitting services for a pair of socks, so I next knit a pair of Tyro by Huan-Hua Chye  in Wool Candy Macaron MCN in Cordial, which was fun. I did convert them to top-down and I used an eye of partridge heel.

cordial tyro 3

I decided that at this point in the month I wasn’t likely to finish the April/May K.S.L. KAL socks, so I CO the cuff for Cookie A‘s Mona so that they would count for May. My socks are knit in JulieSpins MN400 Merino/Nylon in Bold Wood Darker. I have to admit that this picture is prettier than the actual sock, so I’ll also share an in-progress photo from May as well. I’m planning on having Susan over-dye them.

mona wipmona 2

I then started a BIG project, which was an actual adult sweater (incredibly rare for me) for Rose. She wanted to rotate some of her stash, but can only do very limited knitting at the moment, so I, perhaps foolhardily, volunteered to try even though I’m not really a garment knitter. After a little discussion, we settled on Goodale by Cecily Glowik MacDonald  in Sundara Sport Merino in Arabian Nights. It’s finished as of this blog posting, so even though it’s really a May FO, I’ll post all the pictures now. I did a couple of adaptations; Rose wanted a longer body and 3/4 sleeves, so she gave me the measurements, and I did the math to make those changes. Hopefully it all went well. It’s on its way to her now. The second picture is of the top post-finishing; Rose is sewing on the buttons, so that’s the button loop held on with a needle.

goodale wip 5goodale 1

April really was a delightful and interesting knitting month, and I’m looking forward to seeing what May brings (is it flowers?).





Feb Finished, Finally.

5 03 2011

I couldn’t resist the alliteration, but really two posts isn’t all that bad. Let’s see I finished off last time with a pattern from the talented Rebecca Danger, and that’s exactly where I intend to pick back up, because I can’t stay away from her patterns. She recently released Louie the Lovebot through Knit Picks’ IDP. I tried to resist, truly I did, but it was entirely futile, so I gave in and knit a happy little Valentine’s Day lovebot, which my daughter claimed before I had even finished the first part. The pattern calls for the heart to be done with intarsia in the round, but after two mangled attempts, I gave up and did it in duplicate stitch, and I like how it looks. My daughter named her Purple Glove.

love robot 2

I also knit the iPad Sleeve for the giveaway in Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Red Mahogany per Susan’s request. It took me a little longer to get to her than I would have liked, but I’m happy to have been able to do it for her.

cabled ipad sleeve g 1

The reason for the delay on her sleeve was that my father-in-law passed away on the 19th after being admitted to the hospital via the ER on the 14th. In this time of loss, it is truly a wonderful thing to see how many genuine and generous people I have in my life. There were casseroles and meals, people to watch my daughter while I sat with my husband at the hospital, and some truly special people who did nothing more than listen. While I will try to spread around my love and appreciation to everyone that was so supportive, I’d like to particularly thank Abbie right here, who in addition to putting up with and feeding my wild toddler, has gone out of her way to support me personally (notice all the times I thank her for her photography?), and how do knitter’s thank people? With knitting of course, so I made her a pair of SpillyJane‘s new mittens, Camilla. I actually selected the yarn for her pair based on how much she raved about the socks that came from the same skein, which is Dyed in the Wool Handmade Seasocks in Siren. The contrast color is Knit Picks Stroll in Cocoa.

camilla 2

So what’s been missing here? Socks. Oh, sweet socks, victims of my lack of time. I love the Cookie A Knit. Sock. Love. KAL, but I failed in February. Fortunately, it’s a two month KAL, so I can redeem myself by completing them in March. The Feb selections were In and Out and Marlinda.

I finished one In and Out sock in See Jayne Knit Superwash Wool-Nylon Sock Yarn in Crushed Blackberries.

in and out 2

And I knit part of a leg for my Marilinda in SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love Sock in Riptide. The yarn, by the way, is fantastic. It’s the nicest merino/nylon blend I’ve ever worked with.

marilinda wip

Whew…I think that covers it.  I did a bit more knitting for the shop, but I think there were only two things that were notable. I knit a brown and pink baby blanket…

baby blanket

And another chunk. Okay, so you would think that chunks at this point aren’t that impressive, but I have a special place in my heart this one. Introducing Miserable Mavis, the emo chunk.

miserable mavis

Here’s to a hopefully productive March.





Right Past February

3 03 2011

I think I said that I wasn’t going to post less than twice a month anymore, to prevent a build up of FOs, and while I did that last month, I cheated a bit with the whole giveaway thing. For good or ill though, this February (always my least favorite month of the year) was pretty slow for knitting. I started up the month by finishing up the knitting to stock my etsy shop. Most of it was pretty straightforward, but I was particularly liked the Elementary Cowl I made.

elementary cowl 1

After that, I worked on the Case of the Mondays pattern, knitting it twice while I tinkered with the pattern. I also knit a couple of items for my friend Syl as part of a swap. I have to admit that I think the swap was unfair because I got to knit her a Feather Duster by Susan Lawrence in utterly delicious madtosh pashmina in Molly Ringwald. It was dreamy, and I called it Pretty in Pink.

pretty in pink 2

Also, per her request, I threw in a Bonus Baby Hat.

bonus baby hat

Oh, and while I’m thinking about knitting for other people, I can now share the shawl that was still under wraps in January.  I knit a sample for roseiarose for her Be Mine Collection, which is focused on pretty simplicity. I have to admit that this was a very relaxing knit. Violets are Blue was knit in Schaefer Yarn Company Anne in Bluebells.

violets l 7

Rose likes to keep me busy, and by that I mean ears deep in knitting (and don’t think for a second I don’t love it!), so I also did a sample knit for her in February. This time on her pattern, Falling Water Slouchy Hat. My version was knit in Squoosh Ultra Worsted in Hazy Violets. The photos were provided by Abbie.

fwh 4

She was also kind enough to patronize my shop, so I was delighted to make a Kindle sleeve for her in tosh merino and to make her a Daphne and Delilah out of MCN. It was my first time using yarn from Hermosa Fiber Company, so that was a real delight as well.

kindle sleeve mr 1

dandd r 1

While I was thinking that this had been a light month, it occurs to me now that I’m wrong, so very wrong, so I will need to wrap this up in a couple of days in a second post. Whoops.








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