Monday, October 24, 2011

Moving Shop

Hello everyone! Sorry for two weeks of radio silence; I have been moving over to a new blog! From here on out, I will be blogging at Anti-Quotidian. I hope to "see" you there!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mad as a...

As soon as fall peeks around the corner, the first thing I want to knit is a hat. A little hat, to ward off the gentle morning chill and keep my ears from getting cold (oh, how I hate it when my ears are cold). In the Phoenix area, this reflex is perhaps maladaptive: last week's flirtation with 70s has been shoved aside this week for what I hope is the area's last fling with triple digits.

But I am still in hat mode. I finished the Vega beret, but my initial attempt to block it tam-style turned out slightly wonky. Actually very wonky, and the wonkiness was only made apparent by the FO photo shoot images. So alack, everyone will have to wait for the next round of temperate weather to see the results of my attempt to Knit American.

The hat theme continues, however: Querido received for his birthday a Sun Devils Hat!

Specs! Pattern: Bonnet 20, available on Ravelry
Yarn: Cascade Eco Alpaca in light gray, Blue Sky Alpacas Melange in Currant and Saffron
Needles: size 3 and 4 dpns
Mods: at 48 sts, began decreasing for crown every row for a traditional beanie shape, rather than the design's intended point.

After a few false starts resulting from my Gauge Issues, this pattern knitted up wonderfully quickly, and the yarn is oh-so-ever-so soft. The idea is that my dear one, a hard core Sun Devils fan, can wear the hat to football games. You never know, there might be a freak snowstorm in Tempe one Saturday night. It would be irresponsible not to prepare for such a contingency. And as a backup plan, he can wear it out of town, and be wonderfully visible in a snowdrift...or at the center of a crowd of fans of some other PAC-12 team. Erm.

I would like to point out that this hat also used very little yarn, a smidge more than 110 yards, so I now have maroon and gold yarn in my stash. In other words, varsity colored yarn in my stash. Enough for at least two more hats. Such is the madness of knitters with romantic attachments.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Welcome Fall

Yesterday, a stiff south wind blew a storm through the valley. We got a nice, heavy soaking, and this morning the air was cool and clean. Fall is finally here, and it is glorious.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Proof

Knitting is happening. I swear it. I know; anyone who has been following along has been expecting a status report on my quest to Knit American, or at least, some evidence that I have been knitting, not just eating.

 

 

So here is exhibit A: sleeves, knitted in New York City. They will eventually belong to an Owls sweater. The success of my Lyttelton has stoked my ambition to knit more Kate Davies designs.

 

 

Exhibit B: a Brandywine Shawl. Chart 1 of this shawl did not click. I was reading the directions rote, not giving myself the opportunity to really watch the pattern unfold row to row. Upon hitting Chart 2, I finally did, figured out the flow of the pattern, and it took off. A large garter stitch center section helped move things along. If homework in the form of virtual repositories does not get messy as it did last week, more knitty posts will follow anon!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Home Again

I should have given you all fair warning that blog silence might be coming; I was positive I'd have time to blog on the road. Clearly not, so let's catch up a bit!
Mousie and I traveled east, spending time in NYC and Ocean City, NJ.
We saw knitbombing in Chelsea,
took a ferry to see the Statue of Liberty,
drank lots and lots of coffee,
saw Broadway shows on Broadway (!)
visited the New York Public Library (gasp!)
played in the Atlantic,
and came home with lots of Schriver's candy.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Improvising

As summer's bounty starts to fade, the amount of iffy fruit in the fridge is rising. I seized on a smoothie as the perfect way to use up some of this waning produce without having to think to hard about how it looked in the package, and was really warming to the idea of a peach-raspberry-strawberry combo when I discovered we were out of yogurt.



So I had to do some creative substitution. Oh, darn!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Calloo, Callay



This morning I woke up to rain. Oh frabjuous day! I needed this break from the heat, the sun, the muggy air, and more sun.

Don't palm trees look nice against a backdrop of clouds?

The morning had a very back-to-school feel: me, tromping through the rain with a fresh haircut, wearing stiff jeans and yet-to-be scuffed sneakers. Fingers crossed this the beginning of the end of a frumious summer.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

:)



They say happiness can't be bought, but for the cost of peanuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, coconut flakes, and chocolate chips, I am pretty darn happy.

Monday, August 29, 2011

In Which I Throw Technique to the Wind



I am officially obsessed with my Vega beret.

The project began with a bit of trepidation: first the mathy acrobatics involved in getting gauge. I always need to go up a needle size for everything (use a 6?), but ribbing is usually knitted on needles 1 size smaller than the body of the project (use a 5!), but the ribbing on Vega is rawther snug to begin with (5 not working!), so I ended up going up to a size 6 needle.

With size 6 needles, the yarn finally felt right, so I sped through the ribbing with renewed confidence.

Then it was time for the Fair Isle. I will admit, it had not occurred to me until that point that I don't really do colorwork. A quick scroll through the blog archives will bear this out: I am largely a monochrome knitter, with occasional forays into (gasp!) striping.

So I stared at the pattern's little Fair Isle chart for a minute, wondered whether I should hit Google, and then remembered: I am me. Every single knitting technique I know I have learned from a combination of reading books & articles and ample fudging. Some time, in the distant past, I had done Fair Isle. I thought about it and sort of began to remember. Then I fudged the rest, and amazingly, my hat is looking quite a lot like the ones in Jared Flood's pictures.

And I simply adore it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Unexpected Diversions

After a break so short that I didn't even get to wash my backpack, we are back to school. Over the weekend, however, Querido and I spent the weekend in a place I never thought I'd go: Las Vegas.

Mousie came along, too!



(muchisimas gracias, Querido, for helping Mousie pose just about everywhere we went)

The city was and was not at all like I expected. Expected: lots of people with little taste and less modesty. Unexpected: resort-style hotels.




The primary purpose of the visit was to see Adele, who is absolutely fabulous live, and such a sweet, engaging performer.

Although Mousie opted out of coming along to the concert, she did take every opportunity to pose with the (unexpected) artworks which were sprinkled around just about everywhere.





We saw the sights, ate a lovely dinner, perused the wares at the best store ever, and wham bang, the weekend was over and now it's back to the grindstone.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Good things in a Small Package



I simply love getting things in the mail. (We've discussed this before). The anticipation, the package, the return address to someplace far away with a name that evokes far-off hills, and sheep, and people in sweaters wrapping bouncy skeins of wool in cream-colored places and sending it to the far corners of the country (in this case, Portland, ME)



And then there's the opening. Yep, that's a Brooklyn Tweed logo. And a Brooklyn Tweed thank-you note.



For the purchase of Brooklyn Tweed yarn. (a treat for my completing a reviled and feared task: submitting job apps).



Here we begin Part One of my quest to Knit American. The seed of this idea was planted a few years ago with Blue Garter's praise of the wools of the Pacific Northwest. Crafting is yet another arena where consumers can use their purchasing power to guide the modes of production into sustainable channels, and have a lot of fun doing it. There are not really any wools truly local to where I live now, but buying yarns produced in my own country, or even on my side of the Mississippi, is a lot more local than buying yarn from half the world away. The idea of "Knitting American" expanded a bit with my joining a yarn CSA. And then both Quince & Co. and Shelter yarns hit the market. The idea became a PLAN: sample the yarns of a selection of companies that produce yarn in the US from American wool, make a vote for American shepherds and mills, and see how they compare to yarns spun who-knows-where out of wool sourced from who-knows-where.

As you can see, I'm starting slow, with a hat. But I have heard good things about Beaverslide Dry Goods' sales, and there are some sweater-dresses in Modern Top-Down Knitting that put me in mind of Quince and Co.'s aesthetic...

The beauty of knittinglessness is that it never lasts long.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Betwixt and Between

The only issue I have with finishing a big project like Lyttelton Brown is that it leaves me without anything to knit. If this weekend had not been the death throes of the semester (aka finals), I might have gone stash diving, emptying out half the bags in the stash tote and flipping through my magazines until something clicked.

Alack, that will have to wait. Looking for backup plans, I thought I could work on the Brandywine Shawl I've had on the needles for a month now.



No go. This is my first bottom-up shawl, and the pattern has yet to "click." In other words, I have to be sitting without distractions, only the shawl, its pattern, and me, to be able to get anywhere with it. Currently, not an option.

Then I thought I could knit Urchin, which has been on my Ravelry queue since 2009, with the lumpy red handspun that I have been storing for a similar length of time.



The pattern is easy, and bulky knits up so quick, it's insane. Perfect, until I reached the halfway and ran out of yarn. The semester will be over in just two more days, but I don't know how much more of this knittinglessness I can stand.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

No-Fail



This weekend, Querido y I retreated up north to escape the muggy heat of the Valley. I brought along the nearly-but-not-quite-finished Lyttelton Brown as my only light sweater.

This was another opportunity to test my favorite sweater-finishing strategy: bring it along as the only sweater on a trip where I'm sure to need a sweater. Sure enough, the weather was deliciously cool and rainy, just the weather for a little sweater. And the morning after we arrived, I had a finished sweater!



Pattern: Lyttelton, by Kate Davies
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Eucool, 5 skeins
Size: Small [1]
Mods: Crocheted the side seams instead of backstitching them; otherwise knitted to pattern.



As with any big project, I had some initial angst. Another little sweater knit with a plant fiber yarn went horribly wrong about 2 years ago, so I was leery of the eucalyptus/wool blend Eucool. Happy day, the ratio of wool to eucalyptus was high, and although the yarn was a trifle stiff, but nothing so awful as when I tried working with pure linen.

The pattern, too, worried me a bit: a single size of sweater fits a human size range of several inches. And it's knitted as just a single piece with minimal shaping--I was fully prepared for another disappointing little-sweater experience. But at the moment of truth--trying it on--it fit! Even after wearing it all that day, there were still no gaps, no falling off of shoulders...

I officially (heart) Kate Davies.

Credit where credit is due: Muchisimas gracias to Querido, for being my on-location photographer. He may soon regret doing such a good job of it ;)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hello Lyttelton



Look what's back on the needles: the Lyttelton that I started what feels like ages ago!



My apologies to Kate Davies: I disregarded the instructions to backstitch the side seams together, opting instead to crochet them together. My logic was that the crochet seam would be just as firm as the backstitch, with the bonus of me having my sanity after its completion. And it worked!

I am now happily on to the sleeve edgings, which cinch in the ends of the sleeves, giving them a dainty little puff. Not very well visible in the image above, but I swear, it's there!

After stepping back from knitting to make the neverending Modern Vintage Potholder, returning to simple, unadorned ribbing is glorious.

Monday, July 18, 2011

New Week, With Red Shoes



Of late, there has been something about Mondays that necessitates wearing red shoes.

Yes, with a green purse. Criticize not: it's a Namaste bag.

These are not red shoes worn in a desperate attempt to make the week survivable, but red shoes worn in triumph, for I have conquered the festering mess that was my corner of the universe.

Behold:



Clean dog on clean rug next to comforter waiting to be put atop clean sheets.

I will not subject anyone to a blow-by-blow account of my day spent cleaning, but suffice to say that not only can you see the surface of my desk, you can walk up to it without tripping over anything and put things in the drawers without having to ram them shut afterwards.

The bliss!

My knitting got a good ordering, too. Among the items cleared out of the desk drawer was a size 5 circular. When was the last time I used a size 5 circular? January. Some odds of skeins joined the circular in their proper home, and, better still, I finished off my latest never-ending project:




Yes, my latest never-ending project was a potholder. What should have taken 2 days, max, took me 2 1/2 weeks. The pattern, Modern Vintage Potholder by Maryse Roudier, was the essence of simplicity: 9 rounds, 2 sides, smack them together and voila you have a elegant little household accessory.

That's how it might work for you. I, on the other hand, have a wonky little household accessory: On one side, the sections fan out in tidy little pie-shaped sections, on the other, they pinwheel. The rumpling, which no amount of blocking will flatten out, is the result of the two sides being different sizes (different mistake than caused the pinwheeling).

It was agonizing. It would not allow itself to be finished. And yet, I really want to make another.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

One Down



1. My second Haruni, called Silver Leaves for the obvious reasons, is completed, blocked, and gifted.

2. In spite of my ridiculous mistake, resulting in a border of single leaves where pairs should have been, it was a quick knit.

3. Knitting the body was faster the second time around. The looped i-cord border was not.

4. My room is still overflowing with yarn.

5. I am knitting another shawl.

Monday, June 27, 2011

New Shoes!



I have Fluevogs.

Not quite sure how they have not yet made an appearance on the blog. I have wanted a pair for ages, and finally got the opportunity to visit a store at the end of last month. Time elapsed between browsing around chockablock shop and buying a happy-birthday-to-me gift: half an hour.

These shoes are absolutely fabulous: comfortable, fun, and sturdy. They have not transformed me into an adorable Scottish designer or a hip Canadian designer, but while I'm waiting on that to happen, I can at least wear them to get my week off to a good start!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Diversionary Tactics



Friday evening, I realized my knitting had taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Where I should have been knitting pairs of lace leaves, I was knitting single leaves.

*gnashes teeth*

So--rather than dwell on a foolish mistake that is entirely my own fault, not the fault of a poorly written pattern, or uncooperative yarn, or any other uncontrollable factor, let's look at a pretty building!

The building above is the Luhrs Tower, which beats out both the Securities Building and the Old Courthouse as my favorite building downtown. The color! The ribbing! The way the blazing hot afternoon sun makes the stucco look like stone! Being able to see a building like that every morning almost makes up for losing a week's worth of knitting.

Not that I'm dwelling on that.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Shawl, Fast



Confronted with loads of laceweight yarn, I have taken the only rational recourse and started knitting shawls.

This is a new Haruni, in one of the *wince* three skeins of Silky Alpaca I picked up at So Much Yarn. The pattern is much more intuitive the second time around, and I am already halfway done!

Seeing beautiful examples of Estonian-style shawls with nupps and Shetland lace made me seriously consider doing something epically intricate and beautiful...but then I considered the facts that a) I intend this shawl to be gifted at the end of the month and b) Silky Alpaca comes in 460-yard skeins, not enough for a *big* shawl...or yarn-eating nupps.

So here I am with another Haruni. I have to say, near-instant gratification is pretty gratifying.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer Socks!

With all this yarn, what am I knitting?

The socks I began in Seattle are traveling around in my purse. In the past week or so, I've been lucky enough to see three movies and be the passenger on several long car trips, so these socks have gotten a lot of attention. Sock the first is finished, and sock the second is in the home stretch!



(I need to practice my car photography skills)

The yarn is Crystal Palace Mini Mochi in color 104, "Fern Rainbow," purchased at Sierra Vista's ├╝ber-craft shop, The Squirrel's Nest. The fiber content (wool with a dab of nylon), construction (one ply, a little prone to splitting), and color (bichrome, long repeats) are all very similar to Skacel's Zauberball, which I used to make a pink-and-plum pair of Oak Ribbed Socks last summer.



Which would explain why I unwittingly chose the exact same pattern for my Mini Mochi socks. My Zauberball socks are fantastic--warm without being stifling, wooly without being scritchy--so I have high hopes my Seattle Socks will be the same!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Share Time!

After coming home from Seattle with so much yarn from so much yarn, I had to get creative. The Dream in Color Smooshy has been stuffed in a bag is helping one of my purses keep its shape while being stored. Two of the skeins of Silky Alpaca Lace are in the process of fueling my shawl kick. In spite of that, there's no way the remaining skeins are going to fit in the Yarn Tote.

And what do I find on the doorstep after work one afternoon?



My latest CSA share from Vermont Grand View Farm. This is the third year I've participated in it. The past two years' shares gave me the Pimlico Shrug, with a few skeins to spare.

I believe the sensible reaction would have been to cry out in duress at the prospect of having more yarn than I could possibly store until I can find the time to turn it into a finished project.



So what do I do? Open it, squoosh it (Kim's yarns are quite squooshy), smile at how she always packs in a little treat (gift cards this year) and start planning a cream-and gray striped raglan pullover with a little placket along one of the raglan seams.

Friday, June 3, 2011

In Motion!

Good news: I am out of my knitty funk! The body of the neverending summer bolero is off the needles, and there are two new projects in the works and skimming along.

Here's how it happened:



Mousie and I, with Querido & Co., took a train tip. Oh, how I love trains. If the private shower wasn't in the same cubicle as the shower and the windows actually opened, they would be pure heaven. I brought along a pair of Oak Ribbed Socks to knit on, and it was just the thing. No documentation, but I have high hopes of showing off a finished pair by next week...



We delighted in the cool, rainy-ness of the Pacific Northwest... (that's Portland's Union Station, under a fine drizzle)



And the complement of elegant old buildings in our destination of Seattle.



I made the mistake of taking Querido, who is not at all good at reasoning me out of buying yarn, to So Much Yarn, and, big surprise, I came back with so much yarn. Three skeins of the fabled Dream in Color Smooshy, plus three more of Classic Elite's Silky Alpaca Lace... I am feeling a shawl kick coming on.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Running in Place



This has been a madly busy week. I have been running in circles, trying to catch up on a million things on this, my one week of summer break. But be it knitting, professional development, or writing, everything is in the same infuriating state of partial completion it was at the beginning of the week. Take my current knitting project: that photo was taken on Monday. I have been knitting on the project daily, but lo--today, it looks *exactly* the same.

*irk*



All else having failed, I know I can look up on my ride home and see the Old County Courthouse, with its flower medallions and stone eagles under the windows. Huzzah for Historic Places!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Pets



On my commute, I am lucky that the bus comes off the highway well before the area around where I actually work. As it wends its way through the narrow streets one-way streets of downtown, I get to see some of the the best of the city before we swing west and traverse some of its worst.

Tucked among the modern mid-century concrete, steel, and glass monoliths are some lovely old buildings (old for being located in the capital of a state that has yet to celebrate its centennial). Out of these, I have my pets--the buildings I look up from my homework/reading/knitting to see as we pass, to make sure they're still there, safe and sound.

My first pet, pictured above, is the Securities Building. The picture is awful. It obscures the beauty of the bricks, which are all different shades of red, gray, and gold mixed together, and obliterates the delicate dimensionality of the ornamental stonework. Such are the trials of bus photography. At the risk of being considered totally insane by my fellow commuters, I may try to do better with that.

In the meantime, check out this beautiful post by Felix of the Domestic Soundscape on Reading's brickmaking history!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Six Months to the Day



That is how long it took me to complete my third Icarus.

I am not sure how I managed to work Haruni--a pattern I'd never completed before--in a month, without a single setback, while this shawl--a pattern I know well--was one setback after the next. I will not ponder that one too deeply; I'm just glad it's done and I can move onto something new! Want to check out the specs? They're Raveled here.

Friday, April 1, 2011

No Joke



Jars of baby food, lined up behind the bench at the bus stop. I would've guessed that they were some sort of April Fool's prank, except they first appeared on Wednesday.

First in a tidy row...



Then Thursday, less so...



And this morning, jumbled every-which-way...



I have to wonder: why baby food? Why at my relatively little-used bus stop? Why all lined up? And will they be there Monday?