Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I have to tell you: I'm a bad sister.

am i the only one in the world who hates magic loop? because, i have to tell you... i hate it. with passion.
i have started a sweater for my sister so many times now that it boggles the mind. i have tried everything. i bought the most enormously long size 11 addi turbo needles ever created. i practice. i cast on. i get frustrated. i throw the damn thing in the corner and pretend that it doesn't exist. i feel guilty. i start over. i'm going on a hunt for f-ing size 11 dpns because i've truely had it.

my poor sister... she is 22 years old, living at home, doing social work with juvenile sex offenders (and you think your job sucks?), and to top it off i cannot for the life of me finish this damn sweater. i started it over a year ago. it was supposed to be for her 22nd birthday. if i don't give the poor girl a knitted finished object sometime soon, she may disown me permanently.

and it gets worse...

despite the apparent sweater disaster, i decided to knit her a second gift for her graduation (last may). would you believe that this lovely unfinished cable knit purse also haunts my dreams? let me tell you, it does. this time, it's not the knitting. the knitting has be finished for eons. no, it's the finishing. i'll admit it: i'm a crappy sewer. but, man... this takes crappy to a new level. it shouldn't be that difficult. i fold my rectangle of knitting in half, sew up the sides, attach the lining, and attach the whole damn thing to the circular handles. right-o. you should see this thing. i'll take a picture, but it's embarassing, so try not to judge me. the purse doesn't open. the sewing is sloppy and uneven.
i have to rip out all of the sewing and start over again.

in conclusion, you should be glad that i am not your sister.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Pretty good knitting progress happening here - the fingerless gloves will be completed tonight (mark my words!) and I may even do the finishing right away (instead of waiting an eternity, like usual).
Pictures to come later this evening, or tomorrow morning at the latest.

A few other things happening in my knitting world:

(1) You've heard about the Blue Moon Fiber Arts bank disaster, right? Well, prior to this nonsense, I knew very little (okay, almost nothing) about the Rockin Sock Club. But, me being... well, easily angered on behalf of the fiber-loving world, as soon as I read about it I felt immediately compelled to put myself on the waitlist for the Rockin Sock Club. A bit of time passed, spots opened up, I shelled out $200+ (let's not talk about it), and now I'm a proud Rockin Sock Club member. Nevermind that I've never in my life knit a sock. For that kind of money, I damn well am about to become the most awesome sock knitter in the history of the world. I got the first email newsletter today, and the first shipment goes out sometime the week of Feb 26th.

(2) The Law Revue show cast is knitter-heavy. I love it. Tonight I'm going to try to get some pictures of all my happy little knitter friends to show you.

(3) I had to order a book for a paper I'm writing (okay, so, I probably really don't need the book, but I'm a nerd and I find myself suddenly incredibly interested in the Iran Hostage Crisis) from Amazon. Well, obviously I was going to order something else so that I qualified for super saver shipping. I, uh, ordered two somethings: Scarf Style (one quick skim through confirms that I love it already) and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's Yarn Harlot: the Secret Life of a Knitter. These books arrived last night. It is now 7pm, and I had a full day of law school. I am on page 107 of the Yarn Harlot book because it is freaking hilarious.

Now, I'm giving Amanda a little bit of a shout-out here, because as far as I can tell, she's the only one reading my blog (i'm pretty okay with that. my sources tell me that the average readership of any blog is a whopping 1 person, so i'm right on par). This just means that I get to give my one reader a lot of attention and answer her comment in full.
I've never worked with Araucania Yarns, but I went to the website and they certainly look lovely. As far as picking a project, here's my suggestion: if you haven't fully explored the online knitting world, this would be a good time to do so. There are an absolute plethora of beautiful patterns available online for free. From my 30 seconds of googling, it seems like Pehuen is a cotton worsted weight yarn. That's good news because worsted weight is pretty universal - you could make almost anything out of it!

Where to start, you ask? Here are a few of my favorite places to look for patterns:
Knitty (check out the "archive" for patterns from past issues - they are categorized by type of item and also by difficulty level)
Mag Knits (same deal as above)

in terms of suggestions for what to knit, I think it depends greatly on how much of this yarn you have.
only one skein? this fingerless mitt pattern is a big hit in the knitting world, or try this head wrap. or, learn how to knit mittens on dpns (double pointed needles) with this super-easy mitten pattern!
a few skeins to work with? jazz up the boring scarf experience with some cables and the irish hiking scarf or natty. or try this short-row scarf (the pattern calls for bulky weight, but you will get a slightly narrower version by using worsted weight - luckily with a scarf, gauge is hardly important)

another good place to look for free patterns online is at some of the online yarn shops like or - these retailers offer some free patterns to try to entice you into buying their yarns.

whatever you decide to knit, don't forget to tell me how it goes!

as for "how i got so good".... egad! you should see what some people can knit! i'm an adventurous intermediate knitter, at best, and almost completely self-taught (but thanks to Erin for getting me started!). to be honest, the thing that i love the most about knitting is learning new things, and i'm a bit "competitive". i use a lot of online tutorials (try: - they have awesome videos) and i try a lot of new things. sometimes, i get in over my head, but sometimes i surprise myself.

i am about to take a knitting plunge, though. i'm going to take a class. Michael Del Vecchio (of Knitting With Balls) lives in DC (he's in my knitting group!) and teaches a lace knitting class at Knit Happens. I think I'm going to sign up because I recently fell head over heals with lace, but I may have finally reached the point where teaching myself becomes counter productive; good old fashioned lessons are in order, I think!

wow, this is too long. i'll try to make it less boring by adding some pictures when i get home later!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Okay, to make up for my recent slacking, this post is going to extra amazing (I promise!)

First and formost: A FO!
May I present - Branching Out!
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran (possibly my favorite yarn in the world), colour: 300602, 3 skeins

Needles: US size 10, straight (some kind of wood, I have no idea because they were free...)
Pattern Modifications: none, except that I used heavier yarn and larger needles to make a more substantial scarf.

Notes: this is my very first lace project, ever. i adore it. the pattern was super easy, but interesting enough that I didn't want to gouge my eyes out or anything. i used a lifeline, because as a new lace knitter, i realized extremely quickly that i am too dumb to be able to fix mistakes.
Thanks to the lifeline, I am happy to say that this is a 100% mistake-free knit!

I particularly enjoyed blocking this scarf. Having never knitted lace before, I was kind of amazed at the awesome-ness of the blocking transformation. Here's a picture of the scarf half-blocked and half-not-blocked (it was so long that I had to block it in two stages):

This is a gift for my best friend, which is a good thing, because if it were for anyone else, I swear I'd keep it! It's officially ready to go :-)

Okay, next up: fingerless gloves for my roommate, Sam! I finished the knitting on the first glove, and am working on the second. I'm using this fingerless glove pattern, which I'm enjoying a lot. They look small, but they stretch a lot (I had Sam, who is a pretty big guy, try this one on and it fits just fine), which means that this pattern would fit almost any adult.

Sam picked the yarn himself (brave boy - I sent him into the LYS by himself with a paper that said "two 50g skeins of sport weight yarn"). It's Blue Sky Alpacas sport weight, which I adore knitting because it is gloriously soft. I'm knitting them with US size 5 addi dpns.

Onward! (I told you this was gonna be a good one!)
I'm still awaiting news on the birth of my soon-to-be second cousin. In the meantime, I've been slowly (painstakingly slowly, really) frogging my very first crocheted item. It's a blanket that is one enormous granny square, and you can read the whole story here, in my very first post. anyway, it's made out of acrylic, which is good for... oh, nothing... except baby items! also, this baby is being named after my grandma, and so I have this feeling like I need to take the yarn given to me by my grandma (who is, i imagine, smiling down from heaven) and use it to make one million baby items.

My plan is to knit a few things to send as a "welcome to the family" gift when she is born. Since that could be any moment, I should probably kick it into gear!

Okie. Now, I mentioned in my last post that I had been bad and ordered a lot of yarn. Well, lest you think I was exagerating:

Starting in the back row, left to right: 4 skeins of knitpicks crayon (probably for a baby sweater), 12 skeins of Shetland Aran (possibly for Stasky), 3 skeins of Debbie Bliss Cotton Angora (lord knows, but I love this stuff), 6 skeins of Debbie Bliss merino dk (maybe a substitute for the brown in the Deep V Vest i've been planning, 12 skeins (in two different colorways) of Peruvian Baby Silk (no clue, but it's cheap, and I wanted to try it)
row 2: 4 skeins (in two colorways) of knitpicks Palette (probably for some mitts), 4 skeins of knitpicks merino style (also a possible substitution for the Deep V)
row 3: 8 skeins of knitpicks gloss (knitty's thermal)