Wednesday, November 26, 2008

yes, please!


Yarn. Sheep. Needles.

I love knitting!

Actually, considering how much I claim to love knitting, I don't really do much of it. Perhaps what is more accurate, then, is that I love READING about knitting and examining patterns of knitted objects and thinking about what would be fun to knit.

On the cold, snowy night that was Monday I busted out the sweater I affectionately call my Barney sweater. It is the first sweater that I made, and it's VERY amusing. I began knitting because I get sick of having to buy menswear in order to have the sleeves come to the proper place on my arm. Case in point -- the following picture is of me wearing an elbow-length shirt.I didn't know much at all about sweater construction or how to translate a pattern from a bunch of instructions on a piece of paper to the concept of a finished garment. And I guess that is why I decided to add a couple inches to the sleeve pattern's instructions. I don't precisely know why I thought I needed to excitedly begin my first sweater following the largest size on the pattern, but I am guessing it had something to do with the combination of not understanding the concept of ease, not knowing my body measurements, and not shopping for clothes much and thus not knowing my size.

These two decisions proved to be mistakes.

The result was a very large, very acrylic, very purple sweater that has very long sleeves.I'm not able to capture a picture of myself showing just how huge this sweater is, but I'll tell you this: if I roll the sleeves up 3 inches, the sleeves still come down to the knuckle on my thumb. This is in large part because the sleeves are joined to the body of the sweater a good 5 to 6 inches away from my flesh. I suppose that if I were going for oversized, this would be a PERFECT sweater. However, that was NOT what I was going for.

Despite my rather disastrous first sweater experience, I have gone on to make several more, and all fit me quite wonderfully, thanks. Good lesson the first time!

While sitting in Big Barney on Monday, I pulled out an Interweave Knits issue and read an article about Kate Gilbert. Let me put in that what I was supposed to be doing was working on the black socks I'm hoping to have done by mid-December (neither have made it past the heel yet...ergh!). If I would actually take up my knitting even half of the time I spend reading, dreaming, and plotting about knitting, I would have SO much knitwear...! Despite the small number in the Projects-Finished column of my mental spreadsheet-o-progress, I was surprised to find how many of her designs I have in fact knitted. I was also amazed at how many are on my list of things I want to knit. I then decided that I really like Kate Gilbert. Or at least her designs. I'm sure she's awesome, too, but I haven't really ever met her.

A bit more time-wasting led me to the new webzine she and friends have recently begun over at Twist Collective. Yeah. I am eating it up. I like so much about this project. I like most of the projects and love about 75% of them (this is a very large number for me...I am often convinced to buy a magazine if I can find 2 projects I would consider making). I love the graphics - the styling in the photos, the illustrations, the fact that there are multiple angles of garments so we can really see what they look like. I love the articles. I love the fact that it's paperless. And I love the advertisements for Good Things like yarn CSAs and giving small-business loans to women in Honduras. The 'zine isn't perfect, but it has a lot, lot, lot for me to love!

And with that...I think I'll go figure out what yarn I would like to use to make A Cardigan for Arwen.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

finally...some (mostly) fo's!

Nothing inspires me to knit more than the following combination: cold weather, Christmas being on its way, and Harry Potter.

After a long hiatus from productive knitting, I seem to be back in the swing of things. It's chilly here - below-freezing weather 24 hours a day. I finally decided that it was cold enough to turn on the heater. Prior, I had been keeping warm with lots of layers and blankets and slippers and heated beverages. AND this:I'd like to say "AND these," being that typically items that go on one's hands are made in pairs. But I have only made one. And I haven't even really finished it - the pattern calls for some crochet I didn't even take the time to weave in the yarn ends.'s not on needles anymore, and it's wearable. And it's REALLY WARM.

This is actually the left-hand mitt (...yes, I'm wearing it on my right hand...) from the Buffalo Girl pattern in the Interweave Knits Summer 2005 issue. Yeah, I've had that sitting around for a while... This is the mitt that I started four times because I would continually mess up the lace pattern. There's one part of the pattern (the thumb gusset) that I either don't understand or is written incorrectly and had to make up some instructions to get through. All's well that ends well: there is room enough for a thumb, and the thing isn't falling apart. The published instructions should be fine for the right-hand mitt, so I've really done all of the dirty work. ...I just need to start mitt two. This guy is ultra soft and warm thanks to its construction in Frog Tree alpaca. I didn't use nearly as much of the yarn as I thought I would, so I may even have enough to make the companion cowl neck-warmer. Suppose I'll leave that until after the second mitt, though.

So - one item done. What else...

Well, I zoned out of the Harry Potter world for a while and missed a bunch of the news. For one, I missed the fact that there is Harry Potter-inspired sock yarn to be had! I stumbled upon some while browsing a yarn store on my birthday. I actually thought that it must have been for sale for a long time because the choices that were left seemed kind of weird to me, but it seems that Tonks, Dumbledore, Hedwig, Lupin, Harry and Ron (together and separate), and Draco are indeed the choices. I was hoping to find a Hermione...and I felt kind of bad that my favorite colorway was indeed Draco. Anyhow, I also missed the fact that the next movie's release date was significantly changed and is not going to be out anytime very soon. I had told myself I would knit up a Hufflepuff scarf for the movie's release using some black and yellow yarn I've had sitting around for a long time. Then I found out the movie would be coming out in the summer and I decided that I should just knit the scarf anyhow. It's not done yet (and has actually been tossed aside...), but it's coming along. I'm using Alison's "HiP" pattern.
Simple and small seems to have been working, so I also cranked out a little sweater.I need to sew it together, but it's mostly ready to be gifted to someone to use as a Christmas ornament. If I can get my act together (a.k.a. organize my time in such a way that I can get a lot of knitting time in between now and December 25), I intend to have a sweater for several friends using this pattern based off of one from Joelle Hoverson's Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

And in the meantime...some socks!What I end up doing with these will depend a lot on how quickly I can finish them and at what point I run out of yarn. I really like these socks - I'm using some Cherry Tree Hill superwash merino that I got from Ruth's sale and following a slightly-modified version of a toe-up pattern from Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks. One sock is being made with yarn coming from the outside of the ball of yarn, the other with yarn from the inside. Most of the sock yarn I have worked with has been self-patterning, and I can't do the inside/outside thing to have two socks going at once that end up matching...but it's kind of nice to do with these particular guys. And I LOVE KNITTING SOCKS!!!! They make a great companion while standing in line for 90 minutes at the polling place on Election Day.

So, that's what I've been doing. Among other things. Like visiting Niagara Falls with Not Joe and another pal (not pictured).