Archive for January, 2008

Getting Projects Done…

Well, I haven’t fulfilled my sock itch yet, but I did buy some lovely orange Koigu yarn that is destined to become biking socks! For some reason, I feel a little reluctant to actually cast on. I always feel a little intimidated casting on for a new project – especially with yarn as thin as this. It’s like part of me already senses the hours of work ahead of me and balks a little. So, for now,  I’ve mostly been squishing the yarn and appreciating it in cake form.

I did promise myself that before casting on for socks I had to finish one of my other works in progress. I kept to my word and finished my 2nd Hurry-Up-Spring Armwarmer, to go with the first one that I made a year ago!

I guess my knitting has improved because the 2nd one felt much easier to knit and I didn’t mess up on the placement of the thumb like I did the first. However, I realized halfway through that I must have been using a larger needle size than I did on my first armwarmer (either that or my hands have learned to relax considerably) because the stitches looked much bigger. But I wasn’t willing to rip back so I plunged ahead and finished the thing anyway. Now, seeing them side by side, I can see that they are, indeed, two different sizes. Fortunately, it’s not as noticeable when I’m actually wearing them. It’s just that one feels a little more snug than the other.

Anyway, I’m just glad they’re done with.

I have to say that Noro is now one of my favorite yarns… at first I deemed it to be too scratchy and rough, but it really does soften up when knit, and when I wore my armwarmers around one day they felt cozy and warm and not scratchy at all. And the colors are just lovely. I’m already wondering what my next Noro project might be…

I also finished a quickie project the other night – a neck-warmer. My friend Feaver sent me a link online to a shop that sold neckwarmers and commented on how it’d be cool to learn to make one. I agreed, and decided to try one out. It’s basically just a really short scarf, so it flew off my needles.

Speaking of needles, I actually started this project as an excuse to try out my new Lantern Moon rosewood needles that my friend Cecily got for me! They are the most amazing knitting needles I have worked with. I thought I was happy with bamboo… until now! Thanks, Cecily!!

Anyway, I digress. Here’s my finished neckwarmer which I made using Bernat Alpaca Natural Blends Yarn:

I love Alpaca yarn and was excited to see a “cheapie” yarn with Alpaca fiber at my local Michaels. But even though it feels soft to the touch, it’s incredibly itchy against my neck…

Itchy or not, I love the idea of this cozy little neckwarmer, so I’m already planning to make another. This time in orange, and in a much softer yarn: Cascade Yarns Baby Alpaca Chunky. Yum!

Cascade Yarns Baby Alpaca Chunky

I’ll let you know how it turns out!

January 26, 2008 at 2:22 am Leave a comment

Sock Itch…

I have an urge suddenly to knit socks. I made one single sock about a year ago, with crappy yarn, just to prove I could learn how, and my interest in socks waned after that. I finished about 75% of the second sock but then let it sink to the bottom of my “project basket”.

Now I suddenly want to knit socks again, only I want to knit yummy socks with nice yarn. But part of me wonders if this will be folly. Surely, second sock syndrome will hit me again and I won’t be motivated to finish what I start. And, let’s say that I do finish… well, in that case, can I be sure I would even WEAR said socks? I’ve found that of all the hats and scarves and sweaters I’ve made, I’ve never actually worn any of them other than for project photos. And I’m worried that if I make nice socks that I’ll feel like my feet are unworthy of wearing them, or I’d be too paranoid about getting them dirty.

So I’m going to try and come up with a compromise for myself. First, I need to finish the crappy sock set I started a year ago and be done with it so it’s not at the back of my mind. Secondly, I need to finish my second Hurry Up Spring arm-warmer to prove I can, indeed, finish a pair of something.

Then maybe I’ll allow myself to dabble with socks again.

I have way too many unfinished projects that are starting to gang up on me and demand attention even though I’d like to forget some of them exist. Mainly, my mom’s never-ending-scarf that I started well over a year ago and failed to give her at Christmas 2006 and again at Christmas 2007. It’s becoming the bane of my existence. Just row after row after row of k1p1 ribbing. It’s like pulling teeth. And I still have one more skein of yarn to use up. Will it ever end?!

About a month ago I almost snapped and decided to frog the whole thing, all 4 feet of it, and make a NEW scarf with a nice lace pattern that would keep me entertained. Thankfully my husband intervened and told me in no uncertain terms that I was crazy for even considering it. So I have to keep going. And going…

My husband is currently out of town at the moment and while he’s away, I decided to knit him some nice fingerless “Beer Gloves” from the book Son of Stich’N Bitch.  Again, I started the project simply because I’ve never done gloves before and wanted to learn how. (Even though, when I showed my husband the pattern a couple weeks back, he said they looked like hobo gloves and he doesn’t understand dressing like a hobo, especially since we have so many real-life hobos living on our street at any given time). I just pretended I didn’t hear him and when he left town, I  went ahead and started on the gloves anyway, certain that he would come back home and fall in love them at first sight.

Well, the more I work on the first glove, the less I think this is likely. The more I knit, the more the thing seems to grow and sag. I mean… the ring finger opening shouldn’t be wider than the thumb opening, right? And the palm seems so long it’s beginning to look more like toe-less socks, rather than fingerless gloves. Let’s not mention the huge ladders running up the sides due to my first attempt at knitting in the round on two circulars. And, why do I keep insisting on knitting with this Plymouth baby alpaca dk yarn even though everything I’ve made with it to date has been a disaster?

Even so… I’m gonna keep going. Well… I’ll finish one at least.

January 11, 2008 at 2:20 am Leave a comment

Bike Cozy Time!

So I got a new orange bike recently and I can’t fight the urge to decorate it with woodgrain patterns. For me, the color orange and 70’s style woodgrain go hand in hand. If they made them, I would certainly have a woodgrain patterned bike saddle, and handlebars….but they don’t. I even looked for a woodgrain top-tube pad but I couldn’t find one of those either.

I then realized I’d have to make one myself.

My first instinct was to look through my stash of cheap yarn and see if I had anything that looked “woodgrainy”. I found 4 contenders and crocheted up 4 swatches. In the past, I’ve both knit and crocheted bike cozies, and I’ve found that the crochet cozies are a little more snug and durable than the knitted version.

Swatches

Well, as you can see none of these 4 swatches looks much like woodgrain (especially the bottom right swatch, but the colors enticed me and I was just curious to see what it would look like as a swatch!).

So my next step was to look online and see if there were any woodgrain knitting or crochet patterns. Once again, I came up empty-handed. So I figured I could use some graph paper and make up my own pattern. And that’s what I did!

Woodgrain pattern

Recently, while working on my Seabird Bag (from Andean Folk Knits) which has some little birds and multi-colored patterns going on throughout, the tangling and twisting yarn each time I changed colors was driving me up the wall. After each row I found myself spending several minutes untwisting the balls of yarn before proceeding to the next row. Madness!

Monedero Pajaro del Mar (seabird bag)

So, halfway through that bag, I taught myself to knit with two colors at once with one color in each hand, one hand doing continental style knitting, and the other doing english style knitting. After some intitial awkwardness, I got the hang of it and the rest of the bag just flew off my needles! Now I actually think I like Fair Isle knitting!

Anyway, I think if I didn’t learn to do the two-handed thing, this woodgrain project would have driven me crazy with all the yarn twisting. But it went by really fast, and I’m pleased with how it turned out!


I’m still not convinced it really looks like a woodgrain pattern…(Already someone has mistaken it for tiger-stripes.) I’m not sure what more I’d have to do to make it look undeniably like woodgrain but this is a start!

And lastly, here it is in action!

January 9, 2008 at 2:17 am Leave a comment

Long Time No Write!

So I haven’t updated this blog in a long, long time – but a TON of things have been going on! First of all – and the biggest thing- is that my husband and I moved to California! We’re living in Venice, only a mile from the beach! It’s such a different lifestyle than NY, I was really worried I would hate it…. but to be honest, I’m enjoying it quite a bit! I do miss being near my family, and I miss autumn and changing leaves and the way the air smells right before it snows… but I can’t complain about the weather here! At first I was bummed because I didn’t think I’d be able to make any more warm scarves or hats, but there have certainly been some chilly nights that have called for some extra layers!

Secondly, my workload has increased considerably. I’ve taken on another comics-related job in addition to my main gig, so my schedule has become MUCH more hectic! Unfortunately, that means less time for crafting… which sucks because I have so many things I want to make: sweaters, socks, hats, gifts, Blythe clothes, amigurumi… the list goes on and on!

However, I have managed to complete a couple projects since I ‘ve moved: I finished my Cobweb scarf, my Jolly Roger Sweater, and I completed a project from Twinkle’s Book of Big City Knits! I also completed the seabird bag from Andean Folk Knits and several Blythe outfits for my own dolls as well as swaps I’ve participated in!

Here are some pics of my FOs!

Oh, and back to life in California, I’ve made some friends including the talented and inspiring Cecily Keim, co-author of Teach Yourself Visually Crocheting! She’s always introducing me to new, fabulous yarn and has the most lovely crocheted swatches that look good enough to eat! I can’t stop geeking out over the fact that her patterns appear in magazines, including the coveted Interweave Crochet! I feel like I can learn a LOT from Cecily about crochet!

Anyway, along with her and my husband, and a couple other pals, we’ve created a sort of weekly crafting club or get-together called “Craftonite” where we meet up, eat, drink, and make stuff! And we’ve had such a good time doing it, we’ve were inspired to apply for a table at Felt Club this past November, and we got in! Woo! We also made a Craftonite website! There’s not much on it yet, but we’re planning on opening an etsy store at some point. Anyway, Felt club was quite a success! We sold crocheted amigurumi budgie buddies, Cecily sold lovely snowflake ornaments, and my husband and I sold our Dollar Dreadfulswhich are short stories inspired by the original dime novels. Oh, we also had prints and buttons and I sold my knitting comic ashcan! We were all worried about getting enough stuff done to fill up a table, but we actually had almost TOO much stuff to fit on a table. It was a fun day!

In other news, I recently got into Ravelry. I haven’t had much time to play around with it yet, but I’m really looking forward to using it to organize all my projects and yarn! There’s nothing I love more than organizing chaos, so that will be fun!

As far as Blythe goes, ever since getting my first doll, Lemony, back at the beginning of the year, I’ve become hopelessly addicted! I’ve now got 7 dolls!!! I used to say that 3 was my limit. But now I’m thinking maybe 9 or 10  is a good cut-off point. I don’t want to get TOO many because then I won’t have enough time to  play with them all, but they’re all so unique and they all have their own personalities that I can’t resist! I’m really excited about knitting and crocheting more things for them because I want to update their wardrobes with something other than Barbie clothes, and because making little hats and sweaters is so quick and satisfying! I want to get back to sewing as well, but I haven’t yet unpacked my sewing machine. I do have a little crafting room in our new place (um, more like a converted closet!), but it’s a bit of a train wreck at the moment! One day it’ll be very cool!

Anyway, that’s the general update. I’ll try to post more often about the various projects I’m actually working on. (Right now, I’m tackling my first pair of knitted gloves! Yikes!) And now that I have a shiny new bike I keep wanting to adorn it with a cool bike cozy! Stay tuned!

January 5, 2008 at 2:15 am Leave a comment


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