Thursday, October 26, 2006

i've entered a new era of crafting: baby things. it's creeping me out and making me feel more girly than ever before, all at the same time.

my cousin is pregnant with a girl due at the end of Feb. she's the first one from my generation, so naturally we're all really freaking excited.
my mom called yesterday about the family tradition blanket. i was at the craft store yesterday anyway (in search of yarn needles, which i did finally manage to hunt down) and so i picked up the necessary supplies: floss, needles, and whatever that hoop is called that holds the embrodery tight. i should get my square in the mail tomorrow, and i'll bang that out and get it sent back home.

of course, i had to look at yarn while i was at the craft store (especially because it was all 25% off). i'm pretty much a yarn snob, but some projects are actually more appropriately done in acrylic-wool blend yarn (like, perhaps, baby things that are going to need to be washed one million times). anyway, i'm totally going to spoil this kid rotten with hand-knitted items because: (1) they are smaller and faster to complete, (2) the home-made-ness factor is always cute on kids, (3) small children have no choice but to wear ridiculous things (like, say, hats made to look like berry tarts), and (4) i can learn how to do new things without committing to the larger scale items.

so, i'm starting with the obvious: traditional baby booties and a winter hat... which i anticipate starting on this afternoon.

which brings me to my next point: the reason that something else can go on the needles this afternoon is because the IHS is oh-so-close to being finished. i've got 50 pattern repeats at the moment, and enough yarn for 2 more, at the most. i had been moderately worried that it wouldn't be long enough (my dad, the recipient, is a tall guy), but i think it's going to be just fine.
i also officially finished the fingerless gloves last night, and they are already being enjoyed by the recipient. i forgot to take a finished picture, but i can probably nab one of her wearing them.

i might man-up and go to SnB tonight. it's in cap hill, where i will be for work anyway. i should really stop being an antisocial knitter.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

two small snafus yesterday:

i was knitting on the bus (one might think i would be afraid to do anything on the bus other than hold on for dear life after last weeks fall on my tailbone... but one would have to know that i never learn lessons as quickly as might be prudent). somehow i managed to drop a stitch right in a cable row of the IHS. luckily, i realized it right quick in the next row, and had the problem solved with only a moderate amount of frogging necessary.

have i mentioned that i'm a law student? well, i am. a 3L, to be exact. a 3L with a post-graduation job, wireless internet in the classroom, and an addiction to knitting websites. no matter that the Multi-State Professional Responsibility Exam is in less than 2 short weeks, after the first hour of class, i was fully engrossed in knitting website bliss. About 45 minutes later, the law school gods sought revenge for my inattention: in a classroom of about 125 people, my chair spontaneously collapsed from underneath me. all 250 eyes turned toward me, and the professor stopped class to ask if "everything's okay back there?" i sheepishly picked myself up off the ground, trying to stop laughing, and moved to a new chair, where i went immediately back to looking at knitting websites.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

there is only ONE good thing about being stuck in the Detroit airport for over 10 hours on Sunday: lots of knitting progress on the IHS. I'm on my final (4th) skein of cotton angora, which means that the end is in sight.

also, while I was gone, my yarn for the deep v argyle vest came. i'm not sure how i feel about the brown. the color is called "cinnamon". the vest i have envisioned is more chocolate in color. luckily, i have to practice fair isle and i need to make a substantial swatch anyway, so i have time to think about how the colors look together. i may just throw the cinnamon in the stash and go in search of something else.

Friday, October 20, 2006

i hit the jackpot at the LYS yesterday! I went to a location that I've never been to before (Stitch DC in Capital Hill), and was thrilled to find that it is triple the size of the shop that I've been to before (the location in Georgetown, where I always feel like I'm in someones way...because I always AM in someones way).

anyway... I found US size 11 47" addi turbos! i was convinced that i would have to special order it, but by some miracle they had exactly one in stock! i suppose this means that i have no more excuses for ignoring the sweater i am supposed to be making for my sister. It's done using magic loop, which I have not done before, and so far, I completely hate it. I convinced myself that a large part of the problem is my 32" needle. If I can't do it on this 47", then me and magic loop were just not meant to be and my sister is just going to have to settle for another design.

i also picked up some yarn for the steeking in the deep v argyle vest - a wool/mohair blend, as recommended. hopefully the merino that i ordered for it online will arrive soon and i can get to work! AND - i bought sock yarn. I refuse to be intimidated by those tiny dpns any longer. besides, it's socktober, after all. the IHS is going well.

I've just started my second skein of yarn, so I'm officially 1/4 of the way finished.

gratuitous close-up of the sock yarn
IHS progress
my new supplies :-)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

first of all, here are the (nearly) finished fingerless gloves. i swear that i tried to buy yarn needles today to no avail (sometimes my LYS is miserably understocked).

later in the evening, i was digging through my stash (which is in desperate need of some organizing) when i found some beautiful debbie bliss cotton angora that i bought on sale last spring, and had completely forgotten about.
i immediately cast on for my IHS and went to town. perfecto!

about two cable rows through i got the crazy idea to try to teach myself english style knitting. a couple rows and numerous twisted stitches later, i decided that a boring swatch of no importance would be a better way to learn. i've got to practice before trying the two-handed fair isle method for the deep v argyle vest! creepy desire to try new things aside, i'm pleased with the IHS so far. there is great stitch definition, and the cotton angora feels lovely. now, if only it would stop being 80 degrees in DC and start being appropriate scarf wearing weather!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

i am almost finished with the darn fingerless gloves that i started eons ago for a friend. this has taught me an important lesson about promising to knit things for friends: it is much better if you knit something without their knowledge, that way, if you take an enternity to finish it, they are none the wiser.
somehow, i've lost all my yarn needles (*shocking* when you consider i picked up and moved all of my belongings no less than 3 times this summer), so i can't weave in the ends until i rectify that situation. i took some pics last night, and will get them uploaded post haste.
unfortunately, the yumminess of alpaca seems to be a challenge to capture in photograph, even on my fancy new camera - i think in large part because the color is dark grey, which hides the stitch definition.

yesterday, i did two exciting things:

(1) finally bought the deep v argyle vest pattern from eunny. many things about the pattern are somewhere between moderately and extremely terrifying (including, but not limited to: (a) the fact that i've never done fair isle - don't worry, i'm going to practice first, and (b) the STEEKS - um, i'm sorry, you want me to cut my precious knitting?!? CUT?!?). however, i am confident that i'm up to the challenge, especially with eunny's painstakingly detailed and fantastically illustrated directions - seriously, if you've ever thought about buying this pattern - DO IT, it's amazing. it's probably the best $5.25 i've ever spent on on a pattern. i think i've settled on a chocolate and winter white color combo - doesn't that just sound devine? i can't wait to start!!

(2) signed up for the irish hiking scarf knit along. i actually had started the IHS the day prior with some crappy stash yarn, but i decided that i just can't do it with this blahhh acrylic. after working with the alpaca on those fingerless gloves, it feels like sandpaper. i also cannot bring myself to throw yarn away (despite the fact that this stuff clearly came out of some closet in my mother's house and was not even purchased by me in the first place), so back into the stash it goes. i'm ordering something yummy instead (merino, perhaps?) and doing it properly.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The cold is starting to set in to Washington, DC once again. My friend has started nagging about her half-finished fingerless gloves. My stash is growing. I've got a brand-spanking new digital camera, that's begging for an excuse to take lots of wool-filled pictures. I've become completely disinterested in school and am looking for any means of procrastination.

It's clear that there is knitting to be done, my friends! A LOT of knitting to be done.

Before I start waxing poetic about my half-finished projects and getting giddy about new patterns, it seems appropriate to start from the beginning.

The beginning, it turns out, was a very long time ago. My first yarn experiences were at the side of my grandmother, Lilian, who taught me to crochet at as soon as I could reasonably hold a crochet needle. My first attempts were granny squares. They were tight, uneven, unseemly, and generally useless, but my grandma was delighted all the same. It was something special that she and I shared - I was the only grandchild willing to even try my hand at the craft.

My grandmother crocheted blankets ad naseum: comforters, throws, and even matching pillow covers. She used cheap acrylic yarn in bold, clashing, mismatched colors. She crocheted my sister and I matching (yet, somehow, distinct) comforters in bold yellow, red, blue, and green which we proudly displayed for years, and still find their home in my parents linen closet. The throw blankets that she crocheted are still my dads favorites, and you can still find him asleep in his lazy chair underneath one on any given evening, despite the fact that they are frayed, worn out, and clearly out of place in the otherwise well-decorated and modern living room.

My grandmother also crocheted delicate, beautiful lace. The table cloth that she made for my mother is stunning, and is considered so precious and irreplacable, that it is housed under a clear plastic cover when it is displayed in our dining room.

Under my grandmother's influence, I decided to crochet a blanket as soon as I had mastered the double crochet. I set out to make the biggest granny square in the world. I picked pastel colors, and when one color ran out, I started a new skein hapharzardly, buying more yarn as I went along. Somewhere along the way, I ran out of steam, and the half-finished blanket was put aside in favor of other hobbies. A year or so later, I picked it back up with renewed fervor before once again getting side-tracked, and so it went.
The gaps in time and skill level, in combination with the different yarn textures chosen practically guarenteed the uneven guage that resulted. The little girl decision-making guarenteed the awkwardly mismatched colors.
Eventually, age, self-awareness, and good sense caught up with me and I realized that this was one ugly blanket. This time, it went - still unfinished - into the closet for good.

Years later, in college, I was poor but blessed with more good friends than anyone deserves. This combination lead me to pick up the crochet needle once again, to churn out a gaggle of scarves for my closest friends for the holidays. Of course, I took on more yarn than I could handle and spent many late nights ignorning my school work and crocheting like a mad woman. Eventually, I enlisted the help of my mother (who had never crocheted much in my presence - she was more of a needlepoint woman - but had long ago mastered the craft sufficienly to make a scarf with the best of 'em) and between us, we finished more scarves that holiday season than I care to remember.

After the scarf debaucle, I was in no hurry to pick up the yarn again any time soon. It was not until I graduated and started law school that I gave another thought to picking up the needle(s) again. I moved to Washington DC, and was living with friends from college in the 'burbs. Law school, as one might imagine, was horrible, and in the evenings I wanted nothing more but to sit and vegetate on the couch - which I did frequently. One of my roommates also enjoyed a good vegetation session on the couch, but she always brought her knitting needles along.
I was immediately intrigued by this two-needle craft, but skeptical. One needle was hard enough, thankyouverymuch. I dragged out my crochet needle, and made an obligatory scarf with some old yarn.

My intrigue did not go unnoticed. That year for my birthday, my roommate Erin bought me my very first set of knitting needles and some wonderfully chunky yarn to learn on. She taught me how to cast on, knit stitch, and cast off. I was off and running!

About a year later, having created numerous knit scarves, I was craving something more.
I found the online knitting world, and I was immediately completely obsessed. I taught myself how to purl. I taught myself how to increase and decrease. I frogged. I learned new cast-on techniques. I learned how to cable. I frogged a lot. I found my very own LYS. I learned how to knit in the round on circs and dpns. I learned the lingo. I frogged a lot more.

In January, 2006 I made, and then subsequently kept a New Years resolution: enough scarves - I was knitting a sweater come hell or high water! Hell quite nearly came many times over, but I finished that sweater (and moreover: it fits, looks beautiful, and feels devine). I crossed the line between casual i-knit-flat-rectangular-items and fanatical i-knit-a-wearable-garment. Oh, the joy! Knitting world, I have arrived!

Now, nearly a year later, my obsession with knitting has not subsided. Moreover, my narcasistic tendencies have led me to believe that you, dear reader, want to hear about my knitting obsession!

I still consider myself a "beginner" knitter with much to learn (although with the stuborness to attempt any "expert" difficult pattern out there, if I like it enough). This blog may, indeed, include more failure than triumph. But I'm pretty okay with that. If you are too, I hope you stop back every now and then.