Friday, November 30, 2007

Finished & Gifted

The Fetching mitts I was working on before Thanksgiving were done and wrapped up in time to give them to my friend when she arrived from Boston. We're both very happy with them. She didn't bring them camping with us, which is fine by me, because now they are still nice and new for her!

Pattern: Fetching, from Knitty, Summer 06
Yarn: Cascade 220 Heathers in Garnet, leftover from the Minimalist (Ravelry link)
Needles: Inherited aluminum dpns, size 6 or so

Notes: Great, fun pattern. I'll knit a pair up for myself one of these days. I have a pair of elbow-length fingerless gloves, and the length is just so annoying for long-sleeved shirts and jackets.

I did four repeats of the cable on each wrist, and the cables are all going the same way. The pattern has the cables mirroring each other on each hand, but I think that's a bit much. I don't like having to figure out whether a mitten is for my left hand or right hand.

These photos were taken at 7 am before taking Shannon to the airport. That would explain the silliness, but Shannon and I are silly like this all the time. She's a wonderful friend!

On a non-Fetching related topic, I just learned I have several lurking blog readers! It's always fun to know who shows up and reads, since without any comments, I have no idea whether anyone is actually reading! I mean, I have BlogStats to tell me, but that's just not the same.

So, c'mon guys (Dad, Melissa, I know you're out there!), leave a comment, even if just to say hi!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Epic Tale of an LYS

I'm in the library, where I am supposed to be studying (my Contracts book is actually open in front of me) but I've been so neglectful of this blog! I don't expect to have much time, or sanity, to post until finals end (just before Christmas), but I will try not to abandon you totally.

I have a wonderful LYS story to share. Every year for Thanksgiving, I get together with a dozen or so of my family of friends from a fantastic summer job. This year, we camped in Redwoods National Park in northern CA. Five of us drove down from Portland, in a fantastic camper van (Jimmy) and food to feed 18 people for five days.

We stopped for gas in Grant's Pass, at a station that just happened to be next door to a knitting shop! While we were filling up, I thought I'd just pop over and see what the shop had to offer. My friend Becca came too.

Walking in the door, we were greeted by a large table covered (covered) in knitted objects, finished, and in various stages of progress. In the next room was all the yarn and in the third room, the patterns and needles, etc. The four women in the shop immediately started talking about how wonderful it was to see teenagers (teenagers!) knitting.

I was wearing my recently finished So-Called Scarf (FO post to come), and the women picked up on that. The owner of the shop asked me what stitch it was, and I told her the name of the pattern. this is where the story gets crazy. This woman (Susan) started to berate me about how knitting is an ancient art, handing down through the generations and we do a disservice to our ancestors if we abandon the stitches for patterns. And, if we use patterns, we don't actually learn the principles of knitting and don't actually know how to knit. Plus, we're evolutionarily at the top of the chain because we know how to use tools, and what are you doing, using double-pointed needles for socks?! Didn't anyone ever teach you the magic loop?! Or using two circs?! Or just two double-pointed needles?! This is blasphemy. You aren't using your tools correctly, you have no place on the evolutionary scale!!

At this point, Becca and I are just looking sideways at each other and trying to gauge how quickly we can escape.

The UPS man comes, and Susan starts to jump up and down (jump up and down) out of excitement, splitting her pants in the process. We have no idea what was in the box.

She comes back to us and asks what we're making and buying. I'm not buying anything, but I've inspired Becca to take up knitting again. She selects some sport weight alpaca, and asks the owner what needles she should get. We get another lecture about tools, and gauge, and then she asks me if I'm a "flicker" or if I "manage my line in my right hand." I have no idea what she's talking about. She makes me knit a round on a sock she has lying out on the table, and determines that since I hold my working yarn in my right hand, I am not a flicker (continental style, I suppose) and am therefore not a knitting snob.

Since Becca wants to make wristwarmers, the selection of needles was a long process, complete with Susan pulling out pattern books. We finally convinced her that since Becca hasn't knit in a long time, she will be knitting them flat and then seaming them, so regular old circular needles will be just fine, and no pattern, cables, or short rows are necessary.

Susan then begins to try to explain to Becca how to cast on, and we tell her that I will be helping her in the van, and we don't need a knitting lesson right now, thank you. However, when she learns I do a long-tail cast on (which apparently isn't even a true long-tail cast on, but it's what my mother taught me, so I'm totally carrying on the tradition of my ancestors, lady), she freaks out. She makes me learn some crazy "Dorothy's cast-on" for socks, which she says will blow my mind. (I'm mildly impressed, but I'm not unhappy with my regular cast-on, so I'll keep using it. Plus, I can't remember this mind-blowing cast-on.)

Mike has since finished filling up the van and come into the store, trying to get us to leave, but he can't handle Susan's craziness and immediately rushes back to the van. Susan is in the process of telling us that it is too bad Becca and I aren't named Susan that that we don't have another friend named Susan with us, because when there are five Susans in the store, there is an automatic "Five Susans" Sale of 10% off.

Finally, Becca gets to pay for her yarn (without a 5-Susan-discount) and needles, and then we begin the process of winding the skein into a ball. Susan again rails against big-city snobby yarn stores that make you pay to have your skein wound (I've never encountered one of those), which again, leads to a discussion of yarn-snobbery.

With the skein safely wound and the yarn paid for, we try to make our escape. The last straw comes when Susan runs off to start the water boiling so Becca can boil the cable of her needles so it's pliable. Finally, we tell Susan we actually have four more hours of driving to do have three people waiting in the car for us, and really, we don't have time for her to boil water for us!!!

We make our escape and make plans for an extensive blog post. And that, my friends, is the story of the Knitting Beehive in Grant's Pass, OR. If you ever go, make sure to bring your four friends named Susan.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Giving Season

I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to the Thanksgiving break. Let's not talk about the quiz I have to get through in Constitutional Law to actually get to break.

For the past several Thanksgivings, my family of friends has gotten together to camp and celebrate Thanksgiving together. I joined the fray last year in Big Bend, in Texas, and this year we are all traipsing out to Redwoods National Park in northern California. Three friends are flying into Portland this weekend and we're driving down on Wednesday. (Classes? What classes?)

Yesterday, I remembered one of the friends, who is flying in Sunday, asked me to make her a pair of wrist-warmers for the trip. Yikes! I pulled out the devastated skein if Cascade 220 from my Minimalist and deftly untangled it, wound it into a ball and cast on for Fetching. By about 10 pm last night, I had 2" completed.

I worked on it over breakfast this morning, and while waiting for my carpool. When I got home, I raced against the setting sun to try and bind off before the light disappeared for a good picture. Clearly, the sun beat me. But not by much! **ETA: I changed the photo, because this one is better. And more accurate of my life!

I used Elizabeth Zimmerman's Sewn Cast-Off for both the top and the thumb (finished after this picture was taken) for extra stretchiness. I really like these, and I think I may have to make myself a pair. But after I get through my list of gifts.

Also exciting was receiving an Urban Outfitters catalog in the mail. I usually just shop online, in the sale section, because I'm not crazy enough to spend $98 on a t-shirt that looks like it came from Goodwill.

However, they do usually have very cute and hip things, and I do live in Hipster City, USA. What drew my eye tonight was this lovely sweater. It looks simple enough, and I'll be trolling Craftster and Ravelry for a knock-off pattern written by someone far more talented than I. (Than me?)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Knitty, not Witty.

This is just weird. Milk? In yarn? I'm not convinced.

Moving on.

I finished a commissioned piece! Claudia, a kick-ass, radical, genius, and inspirational friend from undergrad, requested a mug coozy of her own, after seeing the one I made for Katie. Now her hands can stay nice and warm, but not scalding, and she can move one step closer to a sustainable life, free of unnecessary paper-mug-holder-things. (Although let's not get into a discussion about the sustainability of acrylic yarn, svp.)

I couldn't find any paper mugs to model this coozy for me, so I used a pint glass from our alma mater. If I were as witty as Claudia, I'd say something witty here to end the post. Unfortunately, I can only help you out with knitty things. If you're looking for witty things, go read Claudia's blog.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fan Girl

Today I went out for coffee. I expected I would get to the cafe before the person I was meeting, so I brought along some knitting. Halfway there, I realized I was wearing my awesome knitting t-shirt and my Minimalist Cardigan. Luckily, I got to the cafe second, so I didn't have to face the decision of whether to be Knitting Girl, wearing a knitting t-shirt, wearing a handknit, and knitting, all at once.

We sat outside and a guy walked by asking for change. We told him we didn't have any (which was true) and he walked away. As he left, he remarked that he liked my sweater. Perhaps in a moment of TMI, I said, "Thanks! I made it!" (I don't know if any of you feel the need to tell everyone who remarks on something you happened to have made that you made it! but I do. Probably because I'm so shocked I actually like something I made enough to wear it.) He turned around and looked more closely at my sweater. Then he said it really needed a button. Or maybe a zipper, which are really simple to install, you know. Then he asked if the seaming was the hardest part. I said yes, and he said it looked like I had messed up on the shoulders (which, technically, I did). They just didn't look right. He then proceeded to talk about how matching a straight line to a circle is hard, because of physics and equal and opposite reactions. Eventually he walked away, revealing he wasn't wearing any underwear and was in dire need of a belt.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Two for you, one for me

In the midst of my many small holiday projects, I started a new scarf for myself. It's My So-Called Scarf, out of some yarn I got in Berkeley, back at the Great-Yarn-and-Fabric-Binge of 2007. I originally got the yarn with a hat in mind for Mike, but he was disdainful of the brown / blue blend, so the yarn has languished in my stash, moving across California and then up the coast to Oregon.

Unfortunately, it looks like 100m (2 balls) are just not going to be enough. So far, I've got 12" of scarf. I'm already through the first ball. I just don't think a 2-foot scarf will cut it.

I'm using US 10.5 (6.5mm) needles, instead of the 11s called for in the pattern, and the fabric is really dense. I could rip back and go up a few needle sizes, or Mike has suggested making it into a neck-warmer, which might actually be a good idea for biking through the winter.

The stitch is great though. It's really rhythmic, and I got into a nice groove while watching Viva Las Vegas last night.

I've got a commissioned gift FO to share, but I just put it in the mail yesterday and it has to make its way all the way across the country to DC. And I don't even know if it had enough postage to make it. Let me know, Claudia, so I can share it with the world!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Extreme Makeover

I'm trying out a new layout.

What do you think?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Craziest of Gangs

Me and my friends on our way to the Halloween party. Let me give you the rundown.
A Dinosaur. (Down in front) A Battery (of the pair salt & battery... assault & battery!). A To-do list. The Right to Arm Bears. A Giraffe. A jellyfish.

We were in front of Burger King, waiting for the bus, entertaining the patrons.
And a close-up of the giraffe, which won first prize at the costume contest! Mike spent all day being crafty and sewing up his costume. He started at 9 am with a sheet and ended up with this at 3 pm.