Saturday, July 19, 2008

A post that has no pictures, because I am lazy

So I don't think I ever told the story of why, exactly, I learned to knit. A big part of it is that my friend Henry (not to be confused with my brother Henry) is, like, the king of knitting in public. And I've always been one of those girls who's happiest with some string, or yarn, or embroidery floss to mess with. I'm, like, the queen of friendship bracelets, the half-hitch kind, the braided kind, the macramé kind . . . Also I'm a big fan of gimp keychains.

When I was about 12 or 13 (I think), I bought myself a spindle at a silent auction (it came with some good-for-beginners roving), and a braid of roving in very pretty colors from the people (Mielke's Farm) who donated the spindle kit to the silent auction.

Time goes by. I occasionally make yarn, but don't have anything to do with it, don't ever set it, etc. It tends to bounce away on the floor of my room and get nasty. At some point in this time period, the roving braid bounces away on my floor and gets all nasty, but there is still good-quality roving around.

Fast-forward to this past April: I'm poking around in my unorganized boxes of vaguely-defined "craft stuff" and come across my spindle and some roving, and I'm having a struggle with unhealthy eating and so need something to do with my hands, so I start spinning instead of munching as I watch The West Wing on DVD. (I'm two episodes into the 6th season . . . and Josh/Donna is my OTP!!) And I realized that clearly I needed to learn how to do something with all this yarn.

So I went to the bookstore and baught a Klutz knitting kit, which completely sucks and I do not recommend it. And then I got totally sucked in. Very very fast. Not in that I've knit a lot of things, but I have read a ridiculous number of books from the library on the topic and I'm totally absorbed by the internet part of things. And I knit. Also.

I was going to talk about my Continued Adventures in Spinning, but I don't really fel like it . . . I'm going to makes some deviled eggs! Hooray!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Look at me, ma! No hands!

That was a lie. I totally use my hands to type.

Moving on: When I read fibery parents' blogs, I get so jealous of all those talented children of fibery people . . . soooooo jealous . . . I mean, I did teach myself to spin when I was 12, but I didn’t know how to do anything with yarn except weave, and I didn’t have a loom, and it wasn’t like there was a person in my house who, you know, encouraged me . . . (Prompted by this post. Fun blog, go click.)

But! I am going to catch up with my photos. Especialy since instead of blogging yesterday, I *totally* knit some more. I even finished a project! Wove in the ends! Completed all necessary sewing!

[break to go take a shower 'cause I feel groaty]

And, of course, that "shower break" grew to include lunch, dance class, biking in the heat, close-to-collapsing, knitting, listening to NPR, deciding not to go to SNB, making plans to go to Milwaukee, so on and so forth etc. But! I have returned at long last. And I do need to go to bed early, because I have to leave so early for going to Milwaukee, but first I thought I would honor a request and talk about my alpaca hat. (Also I am Raveling it . . . the Raveling of my projects is woefully--woefully, I say--behind. But, eh.)

So, while I was on vacation, I thought I might prop up the local economy (& so on & so forth etc) and also partake of some retail therapy by finding an LYS. So I asked around on the Western Michigan Ravelry group and was referred to Sit & Knit: A Yarn Café. So one Sunday, I decided I didn't want a long beach day due to the fact that I was still recovering from a sunburn received on Friday. And so I got in the minivan and drove down to New Buffalo, and after accidentally driving to the New Buffalo public beach (why would I want that, when I have semiprivate beach access just a few miles up the lake?), I found the store.

And, well, this store is totally made of awesome. It turns out that on Sundays there is a knitting group (which I didn't go to the next Sunday because I wanted one last beach day), and so there were all these wonderful ladies ranging in age from young mother to retiree, and the owner was really nice, and her husband makes free lattes. And I knew I wanted to make a hat, because the night before some of my friends had had a sleepover on the beach, but being out-of-the-loop as I am, I was unprepared for sleeping and unprepared for how cold that night was going to get, and ended up going up about 2:15. And I was like, in case of any more cold, late nights, I want a hat! (As it turned out, the rest of my late nights that week were fairly balmy. But still, I now have a handknit hat, which is not to be sneezed at.

my cabled alpaca hat

Project: Purple squooshy hat [Ravelry link]
Pattern: Chunky Cabled Beanie
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Chunky, color 2030

me in my cabled alpaca hat

I tried to take pictures of myself in this hat in my backyard. It took a while. I have many pictures that weren't good enough but that I liked enough to put on flikr anyhow. Onward, ever onward . . .

me in my cabled alpaca hat

This hat, by the way, is the first thing I ever knit with cables--I had a pretty good idea how to do it in theory, but it was nice to have the LYS's owner show me how.

me in my cabled alpaca hat

Anyhow, to continue the Saga of the Hat: I at long last settled on the absolutely amazing purple chunky baby alpaca, but being on vacation, I had no patterns with me, and no internet--so the owner (Kim) very nicely used her Magical Powers of Google to find me a pattern. And then I sat down and started to knit! I had several inches done before it was time to leave--I now totally understand the hipster obsession with fat yarns! You finish so quickly! Even if this was just, you know, size-10 needles, and not fatter than my thumb. (I wonder what needle size my thumb is? I could use a caliper to find the diameter in millimeters . . .) Not that this is in any way interfering with my current love affair with sport-weight hemp . . . a topic for a later post or five.

me in my cabled alpaca hat


I wear a large hat size, & so had to knit a few extra inches at the top so I didn't look like an idiot. Actually, I did all the decreases, broke the yarn, wore the hat, realized I looked like a fool, and had to rip out all the decreases. Have you ever tried to rip out decreases in bulky alpaca? Bulky alpaca likes to stay decreased. The fibers all intermingle from the different loops and so on. But I persevered, and now have an awesome warm hat. (Disadvantage: I have an awesome hat that for some reason smells strongly of meat. I really have no idea how this happened. The yarn smelled amazing when I bought it, but I think I'm going to wash it before next time I head to the beach.)

By the way, the reason I rushed to finish was so that it would have taken me only 1 day--which would have been cool, in some way. But then all that ripping-back and redoing of the crown meant it took, um, 3? I think. I never know what day it is when it's a beach day . . .

Also, I changed the k2togs on the cable panels to ssk, & if I were to do the pattern again, I would use ssks for all knit decreases.

Also, due to my inability to count the fact that I like closely-crossed cables, I crossed them every four rows instead of every five. And, ok, I can count. In fact, I'm so good at counting (and knitting-reading) that I get cocky & underemploy stitch markers & row counters & so on--a habit that will get me in trouble once I conquer, you know, knitted garments . . . But I didn't know which row was the cable row. And now I know that the cable row is not in the twist--it is the flat row beyond the twist.

I leave you with a note of caution--when you put your things in the grass, sometimes they get gross things on them.

a gross thing on my hat!

So always remember to check your alpaca for gross things!

me in my cabled alpaca hat

(I can't believe I didn't put makeup on before taking pictures of myself . . .)

Up next: Hemp! (probably)

Monday, July 14, 2008

I'm back from my vaycaaaaaaaaaayshun!

So I have a confession to make. I just got back from a week-and-a-half-long beach vacation, which involved copious amounts of knitting. I didn't really have access to blogging facilities while I was there (in Michigan, by the way), by which I mean internet. But my Big Blogging Sin? I didn't bring my camera. I didn't forget it; I deliberately didn't bring it. See, last year, I broke my camera by dropping it in the sand. The brokenness of the camera is clearly demonstrated by this picture of a cute guy I hooked up with:

So this year, when I was packing, I thought, "I won't bring my camera, I'll just break it." As I was knitting in the car, I realized my terrible mistake--how in the world would I document my travels? Revelation! I would borrow my dad's camera! However, none of the pictures I took are of my knitting. I got no pictures of me knitting on the beach. No pictures of me knitting in this super awesome knitting shop. No pictures of my friend Alexis (well, my friend Justin's girlfriend Alexis) crocheting at the beach. That girl, by the way, is highly impressive; she taught herself to crochet while on vacation, then showed no compunction about bringing fuzzy yarn to the beach (I get sand in everything; I brought 100% hemp & dishcloth cotton). She even brought it to a bonfire! Also she was crocheting while we were playing Monopoly, but that was at her (her boyfriend's family's, but whatever) cottage, so it wasn't like she had brought it with her.

The main point is this: I have no pictures of me knitting in a bikini while ideally positioned to deepen my tan. No pictures of white sand and turquoise waves and clicking needles. No pictures of knitting that coincidentally happen to include shirtless attractive men between the ages of 16 and 21 in the background. (Although I did take a few pictures of said men on my dad's camera . .. I'll post them when he gets home, as penance. Also as eye candy.)

But! I got home yesterday, to some three-week-old pictures on my camera:

my knitting bag

My knitting bag all ready to head out to SnB.

my knitting bag

Note especially the Australia wallet being used as a DPN holder.

an unfinished sock

And this, my friends, is an unfinished sock. It is a Sock with a Saga . . . but the saga must wait, for I have manymany pictures to blog!

For you see, my camera was not the only thing I came home to. I also came home to some lovely orders I'd been expecting.

Harmony options

My Harmony options, for one thing.

pretty roving

Also this lovely roving from nerdclub2000, colorway Ravenclaw with silver and bronze (customized). It's maybe not quite as "bronze-y" as I'd expected, based on pictures of other rovings she's done, and the longer I look at it, the less it reminds me of Harry Potter and the more I look at it the more it reminds me of my high school's colors.

But I wasn't sure I wanted something super Ravenclaw-y in any case, I just like the idea of blue & silver & bronze. Anyhow, we'll see how this spins up . . . I think I may have to dig right in!

I do have more pictures to blog, but I have been on the computer far too long & my mom is now home from work. So you will see some FO pics & a few WIP pics of things I knitted on vacation someday soon--but not quite yet.

If you comment, I will love you forever, and probably post again sooner . . .