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.

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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?).





Marching On

30 04 2011

So here we are with the second half of March. I’m beginning to feel like perhaps I was in a knitting rut, because the second half of March looks like the first half. That said, I shook things up a little in April, so it’s not an issue!

I started the second part of March with another hat. This wasn’t so much because I needed a break, but rather because I liked the hat and wanted to knit it, and I need a travel project that was heavy on the stockinette. While this hat has a creative design the part in the middle is just plain ol’ knitting. The pattern is Toorie by Carina Spence and was knitted in madelinetosh tosh merino in norway spruce. This color is fantastic on me. If I ever knit a sweater for myself, it will be in this colorway.

toorie 1

I followed that up with another knit for Rose; this time a cowl. The pattern is Cocoon Me, which is also written for a long cowl and a shawlette, and was knit in Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Cognac. I chose not to block mine at all because I loved the texture and was worried about flattening it.

cocoon cowl 2

I rounded out the month with mostly personal knitting. I finished up my lingering KAL project, Marilinda (see project details in this post). I don’t love the fit on these. The intricate design meant that they were less flexible than other socks I’ve knit. You can see on the right foot how the socks bag around my toes, which makes them lovely, but not too practical.

marilinda 5

After knitting on tiny needles, I wanted to switch things up, so I pulled out my US 15s (10 mm), and knit a giant scarf, an Instant Gratification Scarf by Cyn, and they are instant gratification; I’m knitting these for Christmas presents this year. That is to say that I knit half a giant scarf, depending on how you look at it. Gina and I each took one skein of Susan’s Malabrigo Aquarella in Paysandu, and knit different scarves, and then we grafted them together; the project is called Gemini. The result was surprisingly fun. You would really have to look at it to notice that it’s really two scarves. As of note, this picture is only my scarf.

gemini 3

My last project of the month, I knit for no better reason than to please myself. It does happen from time to time. I first got this idea when I saw it on Wit’s project page. One of my main complaints about this generation (Spring 2010) of Knit Picks Felici is that there wasn’t enough variation between the stripes. On Positively Pink and Matador, they were nearly indistinguishable, but here was an idea that took that problem and ran with it. After experimenting, I decided to make my stripes even rather than have them change with the colorways, and I really like how it came out. I plan to do another version with Afternoon from the latest set (Spring 2011) of colorways.

el matador 1

That’s another month finished out! I’ll cover April soon, as in I’m going to go write it now, and post it in a few days. 🙂





I’d rather be knitting…

30 04 2011

should have been the subtitle of this blog. Why am I such a bad blogger? Because given the choice between, spending 20-30 minutes pounding away on the keyboard and selecting pictures, I’d rather be knitting. Rather than thinking of this as a betrayal to the blog, I’d like to think of it as a serious commitment to my knitting. All that said, the reasons I decided I needed a blog in the fist place are all still valid, so here we are at the end of April, and it’s time to play catch-up again. Worse, I’ll fully admit that I haven’t even thought about designing another pattern and don’t even have anything in the works. Maybe soon?

So where does that leave us? It’s time to do finished objects from March and now April. As to how my knitting time has panned out, I divide it between knitting for the shop, knitting for Rose, and personal knitting (primarily the Cookie A. Knit. Sock. Love. KAL).

Picking up where I left off last time, I have a combination project. While they qualified for the KAL, the primary reason I knit these was as a gift for Claire’s birthday. These are Cookie A‘s Monkey knit in Crystal Palace Yarns Panda Silk Solid in 3003/Strawberry Cream. I think Claire liked them, so I’ll call this one good.

claire's monkey 1

After finishing those, I worked on another sample knit for Rose, this time the delectable Sugared Violets. It was knit in some gorgeous Yarn Chef Minestrone in Afternoon Tea, and was delightfully easy with all the stockinette. I love the attractive crescent shape.

svs 1

I then knit a hat. I find hats are pretty much the perfect breaks between larger projects. Sometimes when I’m feeling frustrated with something more complicated, I’ll knit a hat just for the fun of it. Anyway, this particular hat is Norie by Gundrun Johnston and was knit in Sundara Sport Merino in Glacier, which was my first time using this base. I felt that the yarn had at little less of that inner light (stunning gleam?) I associate with Sundara, but I’m knitting another project in it right now that has that shine, so it was probably just the colorway.

norie sundara

I then dived back into the sock KAL, this time knitting the other In and Out sock that I didn’t have time to squeeze into February (see details in the previous post). The socks are pretty, but I’m still not a fan of the base.

in and out 4

I’ll round out this post with a Kindle Sleeve. I think I could knit these in my sleep at this point, so what’s so special about a Kindle Sleeve? Well, a couple of things. First, I upgraded on the yarn on this one; it was knit in madelinetosh tosh merino in ink. Second, it was for an auction to benefit Japan. I’m very proud to say it raised $70.

kindle sleeve japan 3

To honor my two post per month commitment (it’s 4/30 after all), this will be followed directly by a second post covering the remainder of March.





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.





Selfish, selfish knitting

31 01 2011

January is my favorite selfish knitting time because I’m basically decompressing after six months of knitting for other people nearly exclusively. I knit whatever I feel like for as long as I feel like. It’s the only time of the year I cast on five or six projects (1-2 is normal) and swap between them as the mood strikes me. I love January, but I’ll admit by mid-February I begin to again crave my normal knitting discipline since that’s how I actually get things done. So how have I spent this January? I’ve knit two shawls and four pairs of socks. I’m mad for socks right now. Cookie A released a new book Knit. Sock. Love. and I have wholeheartedly signed onto the KAL group on Ravelry.

My first finished project for 2011 is for that knit-along, a pair of Pointelle, knit on US 1/2.25mm and US 1.5/2.5mm. The yarn was a lovely skein of Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga in Sandworm. Being a Dune nerd, I named my project Shai-Hulud. I love, love these socks.

Shai-Hulud 4

Shai-Hulud 5

After that I cast on some socks with a skein of my birthday yarn that has been sitting around since May. I purchased a couple of skeins of MCN light fingering yarn in a base called Kashmir from The Woolen Rabbit. This colorway is called Blue Moon, and I’m knitting Anne Hanson‘s French Quarter Sock in it on US 0/2.0mm and US 1/2.25mm, so I named the project Blue Moon over the French Quarter.

bmofq wip 2

I’ll admit to only knitting the first sock in the third pair, because I wanted to make sure that I would have enough yarn for the fourth pair. Having determined that, I knit the whole fourth pair first, and then came back to finish this pair of Blackrose Socks by Suzi Anvin. I knit Blackrose on US 1/2.25mm  in my very first skein of Tri’Coterie, some BFL SW in True Blood.

blackrose 2

blackrose 1

So what pair of socks had me so excited that I knit a whole sock to be able to get to them? That would be OMGWTFBBQ. I managed to get a single skein of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Multi in Zombie BBQ in destash, and then used the red True Blood for heels, toe, and cuff. They’re simple toe-up with an afterthought heel, and I like them. A  lot.

omgwtfbbq 2

omgwtfbbq 1

Before I got back to the Blackrose socks, I decided to tackle another project that I had been working on intermittently. I’d started a Clockwork by Stephen West, using a combination of handspun given to me by my friend Laura and a skein of The Plucky Knitter Silk/Merino 50/50 435 in Funny Affair with Tiffany’s that I had detangled after a death strike by someone’s 15-month-old chocolate lab. Given the yarn’s near-death experience, I decided to call the project Minutes to Midnight. It was knit on US 5 -/3.75mm. I don’t know how well the two yarns work together, but I had to do something to cover the post-frogging fuzziness of the silk yarn.

minutes to midnight 2

I have had a few other things in the work, but I’m not able to share all of them now, so that’s it for now!