Thursday, January 31, 2008

My hypothetical TV boyfriend

Thought it'd be Jim Halpert, but this guy's cool too. ;-)

Making plastic bags out of plastic bags, and Girl beers

So last night Heidi and I went over to Amy's house for a craft night. Originally we were going to have a lot more people and were going to mostly crochet, but it ended up being just a cozy four of us, first making chocolate and cheese fondues, with these cool mini beers to wash it down (which we nicknamed Girl Beer because women tend to sip). They were so cute!
Here, I had two going.

Then we began a craft that Heidi developed. It's simple and Green: ironing plastic bags so they become these sheets of well, plastic. They end up thick, thin, colorful, holey, or whatever you can come up with. Then you can make these sheets into bookcovers, bags, wallets, whatever. It was a challenge for me because I often follow patterns and directions, using my own creativity when the directions tell me to (e.g. picking yarn colors). Heidi and Amy take more risks in crafting (maybe elsewhere, I don't know. jk). They design. They sit down with needles and yarn and sometimes blank paper and make things up as they go. It was a nice challenge for me. Metaphorically speaking, when Heidi was making the fondue cheese, I hovered over her uncomfortably watching her make the "recipe." "How much garlic did you just put in?" "I don't know, I just put some in." Here are some pics of us:

Me, Heidi, and Tanya, sorting through some bags and designing.

Me, ironing a CVS bag.

Heidi, revealing her creation (we used vellum paper)

Amy's wallet, made from a green produce bag fused on top of a black shopping bag, the kind you get from the liquor store.

Here, I had transferred an image from a clear bag onto some other bags.

My CVS bag. I don't know how I'll use this one yet.

Next craft night I might be showing everyone how to crochet rugs out of fabric...stay tuned!

Happy Knitting!

p.s. ISO 1 US2 5" Brittany double-pointed needle that I left on the metro. It's probably near one of the forward-facing seats. in the middle of the car. Yes I know I can knit with only 4 needles, but it's the principle of the thing. Who am I kidding, someone is probably using it as a toothpick right now. "Ooh, what a nice toothpick! So smooth." grrr.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Vareigated yarn is like burritos

So this past week I ended up knitting in groups every night this week. People at my internship thought I was crazy. Tuesday and Thursday at Adega's Wine Cellar in Silver Spring, and Wednesday and Friday at A Tangled Skein in Hyattsville. Friday night was my favorite. It was their one year anniversary and they have a lot to celebrate. Their store and staff are just charming and they seem to be doing well. The night included food and a 20% discount from 9pm to 12am (continuing through the weekend). We arrived at seven and were given bags for the stuff we wanted to hold on to until nine. I spent more than half an hour just feeling up yarns, after of course making a bee-line to the Denise Interchangable Sets. I nabbed a blue one. I then picked up a Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Multi, which I had been on my list to buy that night. I'll be making Breeze, some ankle socks from Knitty that only require 194 yards of sock yarn. Then a while later I ended up scrapping the Clapotis idea I had planned on and just shopping on impulse. I got some Trekking Handart for a lace scarf and a checkbook cover from 101 Designer One Skein Wonders, and Plymouth Sockotta for socks. I also discovered, behind the coat rack with 20 coats piled on top, heaven. It's by Araucania, a yarn brand that I had written off as "not for me" after the Nature Cotton disasters. I had this cotton by them that I had bought at Woolwinders in Rockville for a cable poncho, back when I was newer to knitting. It turned out unexciting about 2 feet in and I frogged it. I tried this yarn for several other projects and was also unexcited. Now I'm on the verge of finishing a log cabin bathmat from Mason Dixon Knitting with it, and I really like it. AAAAAnyway, the Araucania Ranco Multi that I bought that night at A Tangled Skein is just beautiful...beautiful. It reminds me of tye dye or batik. Seriously. I don't even want to knit it; I'm scared that it might be one of those yarns that looks better unknit. It's like they painted on the dye and then lightly wiped some off, like white washing. It almost looks heathered. It's dimensional. And my favorite part is that there are so many colors that go really well together, and it looks randomized, but the colors never seem to blend together and turn into brown. They just stay there. I'm looking at it now...within 2 inches there is a bit of green, blue, lilac, pink, and purple. And they all just stay there. It's like a Chipotle burrito. I took my brother's advice and had them mix it up before rolling it, and I could still taste each element separately in one bite. I got the new Baja Fresh burrito the other day (I swear no matter what I try there, I only end up really liking the chicken quesadilla and pico de gallo, which are awesome), which I think is trying to compete with the Chipotle burrito, and it just had this one taste, like everything is blended together to an overall taste and no ingredient stands out. And it was mostly beans. It's like brown. Whereas the Chipotle burrito is red and blue and yellow and green and purple and orange and as many colors as they have available in that assembly line. So this yarn is my Chicken Fajita Burrito from Chipotle with all my fixins, not the ho-hum new Nacho Burrito from Baja Fresh.

I hope that made sense.

So we really had fun that night. I ended up staying until midnight with making a sock with the new Noro Kureyon sock yarn and having great conversation. We were so tired and contemplated just dumping the walls of yarn onto the floor and using it as a giant, squishy, colorful mattress. I called the Malabrigo (which I really need to buy and knit with one of these days) as my pillow. But then we realized that the store's employees might be mad. Jennifer allegedly spent a good part of Tuesday tidying up the yarn before we dug through it like a dog in a trash can looking for a pizza slice crust on Friday. Sorry, Jen.

So this week I will most likely finish up at least the bottom edge of the Jeanie shawl, the bathmat, and at least one pair of the fingerless mitts I started while sorting my clean laundry (I was sitting right next to my knitting books and quickly lost interest in folding and sorting clothes. They are still just sitting there as I write this). I'll also work on my new swirly scarf in my Tuesday knitting group and my Noro socks on the metro. (I also got one set each of Brittany size 0, 1, and 2 sock DPN's [in above pic] that night. They are fab! So much lighter and shorter than my $1.99 Boye metal ones. Great for the purse.)

I will also frequently fondle and gaze at the Araucania yarn. Who needs a boyfriend when I have this? (Amy don't get worried I'm not serious)

Happy Knitting!

p.s. If a Baja Fresh employee is reading this, my apologies, I really do like your quesadillas and pico de gallo.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Making progress on my WIP's

Ok, so my wips are under control. Here look:

My Coachella is finished, although I'm terrified of blocking it because it might stretch out. It fits perfectly now (that little shadow on the bottom is not a miskate, but a fat roll).

I turned the cowl into a hat. It was tricky decreasing with 2x2 ribs, but I figured out a way:

decrease row 1: K2, P2, K2, P2TOG
2, 4, 6, 8, 10: K the K's and P the P's
3: K2, P2, K1, SSK
Rotate so first stitch is last stitch, after knitting it
5: K1, P2, K1, K2TOG
7: K1, P2, K2TOG
9: K1, P2TOG, K1
11: K1, K2TOG
12: K2TOG

This creates an effect of one rib staying still while everything else kind of feeds into it.
I probably didn't invent it, but hey, at least i figured it out all by myself!

My washcloths are finished, although I ran out of yarn in the last 2 inches on the blue one, so it's on pause, but officially finished. The blue one says, "Live to Knit" now that I've knitted it almost all the way.

My sparkly camisole that I started a 57 years ago is finished (and itchy). I frogged the triangle shawl with the yarn of death (I hate this yarn), but then started the Absorba bathmat from Mason Dixon knitting since the yarn is all cotton, and am almost done!I knit a lot since this picture. Yay four skeins outta here, and it looks great.

Most importantly, I am progressing nicely on the Jeanie shawl. I have paused (and restarted and paused and restarted and paused) the regular part to work on the bottom edge prematurely, where you are supposed to work a reversible cable sideways whilst attaching it to the shawl's bottom au meme temps. Sorry the French just slips out sometimes.

Happy Knitting!

p.s. the Jeanie Knit-a-Long group on Ravelry has really come in handy!

p.p.s. check out my new knitting box. I had this box from Ikea with removable walls just lying around with nothing to do with it. It ended up being a great box for knitting supplies! And it's like $5 or something.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


I am out of control--I counted my wips last night--8! 8!?! I need to seriously finish some. I know 8 is nothing compared to some of you. Here are my 8, in choronological order from when I started them: Sparkly camisole (formerly hibernating, 95% done), Monkey socks (80% done), Coachella halter top (90% done), Jeanie shawl (15% done), Noro Iro cowl (50% done), Triangle shawl (10% done), Mancala Mia board (10% done), Knit to Live/Live to Knit washcloths (45% done). Four of these I started or (re-started after hibernation) in the past few days.

% done does not correspond to amount of time need to finish. For example, I could finish the last 50% of the cowl faster than the last 20% of the socks. Jeanie is going to be finished probably months from now.
This long weekend I plan on finishing at least Coachella, the cowl, the washcloths, and the camisole. I will update you shortly. I tried on Coachella and realized I have matured a bit as a knitter: The pattern says, "knit it stockinette until 19.25" or until desired length minus .75"" 19.25" was branded into my brain. I then tried it on when about an inch away from being done, putting my finger at the projected end and thought, yeah, that length will be ok. I can't wait to be done. Then I thought, wait, I KNOW I like my shirts on the longer side. I want to like this. The top fits perfectly, so this top has the potential of being an oft-worn garment. I don't need the instant gratification of being done. I'm only done once, I'll have this shirt for a while. So, I decided to knit (gasp!) four more inches. It's stst in the round, please, I'll be finished in an hour (I'm an idealist at times).

Happy Knitting!

p.s. I JUST found out (thank you Stephanie Paerl-McPhee) that whenever I hear someone talking about EZ's pi shawl, they are not saying pie shawl. I had reasoned before that hey, a pie is round, maybe that's what she meant. Yeah I can be slow, like when I had realized much later than others that the frappucino meant 'frozen cappucino.'

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Knitting in circles

The past week I had a knitting circle marathon. Thursday night I met with a small group at Adega's in Silver Spring, Tuesday night also at Adega but with a huger group than usual! Amy helped me with a pattern and brought all the yarn samples she got from TNNA and we all felt them up. There were a few new people there too. It was so fun. Then I went with a new tuesday night knitter (Heidi) on Wednesday to A Tangled Skein in Hyattsville for their Sit and Stitch. They were super nice. When I told them I was going to buy something to begin knitting there, they were surprised! Then we all had a cake for an employee's birthday and sang for her. It was a great time. My purchases? Lamb's Pride Worsted for the felted Mancala Mia from, Here is the pic from the pattern, which you can find at Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn that I saw Jennifer knitting with on Tuesday. It looks awesome, I don't even want to knit it, just snuggle with it at night, but am also anxious to see how the colors turn out. I think I will just do stockinette since the yarn will speak for itself. I was scared, though, when Jennifer and Heidi both are knitting it on size zero! They both added, though, that they are loose knitters. So tonight I am speeding along with my Monkey socks so I can begin on this sock yarn (I only have one set of US2 dpn's). Here is the first one I finished:I hope to have another productive knitting week. This is my last week before the new semester.

Happy knitting!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Shawl issues...then pleasant surprise!

This past week I have come pretty far on my current wips, and didn't start any new ones! yay. I'm about 2 inches from being able to decrease for the toe of my blue 2x2 ribbed socks. I'm working on the instep of the first monkey sock. I'm at the midpoint of the Coachella halter, and have worked about 2 inches of the shawl. Of all of these projects, the 2 inches of shawl took the most time! Sounds weird, but just look at it: And I had a pleasant surprise. Some one commented on the shawl in Ravelry! I had written in the comments section my woes in starting the shawl:

1/7 Noon Ok, I haven’t actually started it. To be frank, I am terrified of this pattern. Eek! I swear I’ll start it today.

1/7 4:00 Started with figure-eight-like provisional cast on. this cast on is easy!

1/7 6:00 Finished second row. This sucks. Way loose. I’m taking it all out, then going to the mailbox to see if my stephanie pearl-mcphee books have come in. (they didn’t)

1/7 6:10 Did crochet-chain-pickup-in-backloop provisional cast on. :-)

1/7 8:30 Finished row 4. Seriously. Switched to project with more instant gratification while persuading myself that this shawl will be a process rather than product knitting project, because I’ll be working of this for a long while…

Then, I got the comment:

Don’t give up - once you get into the pattern a bit it’s really quite straight forward, and can even be fast knitting. This is just ribbing, with a regular pattern of inserting and dropping stitches, just to keep it interesting. I do strongly recommend using at least two kinds of stitch markers to identify the different chart sections, and to identify which stitches inside the chart get dropped. Hope you have fun!

It was so nice. Thinking it was just another knitter who had recently finished the project, I clicked on her name to see her profile, and it was the pattern's designer! I was like, Wow, she is so cool for not only looking to see who is making the shawl, but offering help and reassurance. I thanked her and kinda felt bad for showing my struggle with the pattern. I hadn't included the fact that I loved the pattern so much that I immediately ordered the yarn online minutes after seeing it the day that that Knitty issue came out. So I responded:

hey–i’ve gotten to the first two rows of cable and then the first drop stitch round–you’re right–it’s a lot easier than it looks (which is good when showing it off). I can’t believe this is your first pattern! it is so detailed for a first pattern. good job!

And she wrote back:

Thanks! I hope you continue to have fun with it. There’s only 6 rows between each cable, and each cable is an inch, so it does actually grow quite quickly, even if sometimes it might look as if i there is a long way still to go. Keep having fun! :-)

It really is a good pattern, and I will enjoy knitting it. Here is the pattern if you want to make it too!

happy knitting!

p.s. my SPM books came in!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Weekend knitting marathon

Ok, so I didn't make all of my goals, but I consider my weekend a success. On Friday, I finished the cat bed by the end of The Price is Right, and James loves it.. I put it in the closet for him. Then I finished the octopus from Knit 1 magazine. I saved my favorite for last: the multidirectional scarf, which I didn't finish until Saturday at like noon. My mom wants it. Sorry, mom. I hardcore worked on the 2 socks on 2 circs while visiting my grandparents, and turned the heel into the wee hours of Sunday morning. Then I finished the instep decreases by Sunday afternoon while watching I Love Lucy. I was happy how far I got and stopped to work on Knitty's Monkey socks. So, I was a sock knitter this weekend like I planned to be, but I didn't finish either. However, I'm happy how far I got and am going to start two new Knitty projects tomorrow: Coachella (for which I bought some Plymouth cotton yarn on Saturday at Knit and Stitch = Bliss in Bethesda) and Breeze, a reversible cable drop stitch shawl. I practiced the reversible cables--how cool is this?On Friday I got two things in the mail that will probably eat up substantial knitting time in the near future:


happy knitting!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

I am a knitting machine

Inspired by my best friend's amazing self-control, I vow to finish all of my wips before starting another. Like a good social worker, here are my short-term goals:

I will finish the stuffed octopus, the multidirectional scarf,and the cat bed by tomorrow (Friday) night. It is good that I have just decided to adjust the cat bed's measurements to substantially smaller.

Then this weekend, I will be a sock knitter. Then I will be wip free. Ahh, a blank slate...

By that time I will probably have received my social work licensing exam study guide. :-/

Happy knitting!