Friday, February 29, 2008

Eventful day alone

I had a very eventful day, although spent mostly alone. I got a free McSkillet burrito with my medium drink purchase, which they offered to celebrate leap year. In class I began having a sharp pain in my upper back (which has been hurting all week) when taking a deep breath. The people behind me must have thought I had tourette's or something. I went to the walk-in clinic at 1pm, and TWO HOURS LATER walked out with scripts for prescription-strength ibuprofen and a muscle relaxer. On the bright side, however, I was pleased to hear that there is no way I can be paralyzed from the neck down when breathing in. Also, I got a lot of knitting done and took a little nap while waiting for the doctor (who, like my dentist, is MY AGE) to come into the exam room.

On my way home, I got off the metro a few stops after I was supposed to so I could go to Target in Wheaton Plaza. I needed a skillet. I'm tired of dividing what I need to cook between 2 99-cent Ikea frying pans. I got a T-Fal skillet with lid for only $28!! Nice.... Well, I'd have to say that Target was the last store I visited. I went into a hundred others, but was a good little shopper--I only spent $ at Target on the skillet, a large mixing bowl, and some hoop earrings, and at American Eagle on sweatpants and 2 necklaces. Sounds like a lot, but besides the skillet, nothing was more than $12. I took a walking break and stopped at the food court for a Popeye's 2-piece meal. The mashed potatoes were yum. I was sooooooooooo tired and finally got home at 7. I went back out to pick up the scripts, which were way less expensive than I had expected them to be. Yay. So it was a fun day, if you are easily amused like me.

Now I'm watching House and am about to make it a night. Gotta catch up on major lack of sleep from this week. After a bowl of cereal maybe...

Happy knitting!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Magazines, glue, tea, and strawberries

Last night was craft nite. At Adega's on Tuesday we realized that we have been doing projects centered around reusing objects, so we decided to continue the tradition. We took some magazines and cut pages into long triangles, then wrapped them around toothpicks using a little glue (I was using a little too much at one point, cursing with all my might when I couldn't even get it off my toothpick). These are Amy's beads. And mine:They turned out ok, but we found there was little room to change it up, so they got a little boring. But, they were still fun nonetheless. We concluded by making containers with which to bring our new beads home. Heidi: Tanya:Heidi:It gave us an idea for next week: origami! We'll probably use the magazines again to go with our reusing theme.

During the earlier eating portion of our night, we had fresh fruit thanks to Heidi, some leftover trifle from my Sunday knitting thing, and some yummy tea from South Africa. Selma decided with her silly self to plop some fruit pieces into her tea. We were in stitches (no pun intended), especially when she opened her mouth to talk and a strawberry fell out and into her tea. You had to be there.

Also, I dwindled my wips from 9 to 7. I finished the Bloody Stupid Johnson, which turned out GREAT, and frogged my hat that I had based on the my so-called scarf. I also have progressed on my "tea time" tacky-chic teapot cozy.
Happy knitting (and reusing)!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Lazy sunday knitting

Today Ali and another college friend, Jon, met at my place for some lazy Sunday knitting. They are both new knitters so I was excited to share what I've learned and see how much they have progressed. Turns out Jon is a "knitting genius" (so termed Ali) so I didn't need to help much there. Like me, he learns best on his own by reading books and watching videos on the Internet. His second scarf was Palindrome (with reversible cables) and he discovered a form of double knitting without knowing it already existed! I digress...

We sat down to knit straight away, and after 30 minutes or so we were like, oh yeah, the food. Jon and I both made sinfully delicious treats that I knew Ali would feel guilty about eating, so I decided to not tell her the full story when encouraging her to try them. Jon made chocolate and Kahlua trifles,
And I made the butter cookies from Weekend Knitting, whose recipe needless to say calls for one pound of butter. Delish. Ali had one cookie and stopped eating the trifle when she tasted the alcohol (to be fair to Ali, I called her later and she said that she downed the trifle after her volleyball game). And guess what she brought? Carrots. This one "baby" carrot wasn't much of a baby.So for the knitting. I am almost done my Bloody Stupid Johnson, I'm just decreasing the crown. I love this yarn!
John is making a Palindrome hat to go with his Palindrome scarf, but he got way frustrated. When we were chatting earlier in the afternoon he said something many new knitters say and I quote, "I just don't see the point of starting something else. Just finish what you have and then start something new." Well halfway up the crown, the hat went away and out came a new project. So there!
Ali was just finishing her first project, the classic 2x2 ribbed scarf. She put it down here to do some Internet surfing. The following is her cast off edge. Only two inches left of the yarn! She held up the scarf and one half looked like it was knitted on 2 needle sizes smaller. She said, "this is where you told me I was knitting too tight! So I knit looser for the second half!" At least it's consistently two sizes. And I commend her for being able to adapt like that. People say that once you have a certain tension, it's your own. And she just changed it at will.Then with her newly finished scarf in tow, Ali joined us in our new project, the little cat. Jon brought over the pattern and thought it'd be cool if we all made one. Ali had started her scarf so long ago that she claimed to have forgotten how to cast-on. Then she looked down at her hands and they were just casting on like they were independent from her body! The little cat is a nice knitting party project since it's so little and isn't very complicated. Knitters of all experience levels can appreciate it. Also, it's a good beginner project because it calls for (optional) color change, basic increasing and decreasing, short rows, seaming (we whip stitched), and (optional) embroidery. You can find for it directions here: Knitted Kitty

And speaking of cats, James came over to help, but fell asleep from boredom. The no opposable thumbs thing held him back I guess.
So we popped in Amelie and knitted our hearts out. I know, I know. Subtitles. But keep in mind we have all watched this movie aplenty and therefore have the plot and several lines memorized, so it didn't affect us or our knitting much. Ali left for a volleyball game and Jon and I finished the cats, switching to Cirque du Soleil after exhausting the Amelie special features DVD. We ended up finishing the cats, but with a little disappointment. There was a lot of, "If I made it again, I would have..." But, we agreed that they still came out cute. Jon's is the black and gray one and mine is the brown one.
Shadow liked them too. I'll keep it away from him in the springtime, if you know what I mean.

So onto my current wips. I have so many projects on my needles right now!
  • Jeanie shawl which is borderline hibernating b/c I rarely work on it anymore
  • My so-called scarf
  • My so-called hat which I'm making up as I go along
  • Halcyon lacy scarf
  • Wavy ribbed scarf
  • Socks which I did work on today on the metro on my way to Takoma Park for the farmer's market and Now&Then, which is enchanting, as is the awesome beading store next door
  • Crocheted lacy scarf that I am contract knitting for Amy
  • Tacky-chic my-first-fairisle tea cozy
  • Felted Mancala board
So yeah, knitting. It's fun. I'm tired.

Happy knitting, people!

Saturday, February 23, 2008


I love cables like a lot of people, so when I saw a cabled headband on one of the employees at A Tangled Skein, I just had to try to make it. It was the night of their first anniversary party (which was a blast) and I took a visual of it with hopes of using up some of my Noro Kureyon, of which I had several golf-ball sized balls. I refuse to throw away the least amount of this yarn, which I think is magic (yeah, yeah it has knots whatever). I won't even throw away a yard. I used one yard for a sea shell necklace the other day--just threaded some Kureyon right through the shell's natural hole.Anyway, this headband will always remind me of that store--I will remember that fun night when I was inspired to make it, and that I can always go there to get my Kureyon fix (they have more than I knew existed). This is why I named this headband "tangled," also because of my love for cables, which look to me like colorful i-cord ropes that are elegantly tangled into beautiful knots.
19" long, not including ties, 1.25" wide

Noro Kureyon [100% wool; 110 yards/101 meters per 50g skein]; color: #209; 1 skein
1 set(s) US 7/4.5mm straight needles
cable needle

tapestry needle

1.25" wide in cable pattern
22 sts and 26 rows in st st

C8F: Slip next 4 stitches onto cable needle, hold in front of work, knit next 4 stitches, then knit the 4 stitches off the cable needle (since there are no stitches on the sides of the cable, the cable needle can sometimes sneak to the back of the work by accident)
C8B: Slip next 4 stitches onto cable needle, hold in back of work, knit next 4 stitches, then knit the 4 stitches off the cable needle

Cable Pattern:
Row 1: purl all sts
Row 2: knit all sts
Row 3: purl all sts
Row 4: C8F, k4
Row 5: purl all sts
Row 6: knit all sts
Row 7: purl all sts
Row 8: k4, C8B

Cabled Headband:
CO 2 with a 12" tail
Row 1: kfb, kfb (4 sts)
Row 2: purl all sts
Row 3: knit all sts
Row 4: purl all sts
Row 5: k1, m1, k4, m1, k1 (6 sts)
Row 6 - 8: repeat rows 2 - 4
Row 9: k1, m1, k6, m1, k1 (8 sts)
Row 10 - 12: repeat rows 2 - 4
Row 13: k1, m1, k8, m1, k1 (10 sts)
Row 14 - 16: repeat rows 2 - 4
Row 17: k1, m1, k10, m1, k1 (12 sts)
Row 18 - 20: repeat rows 2 - 4
Row 21: knit all sts
Row 22 - 117: work cable pattern 12 times
Row 118 - 120: repeat rows 2 - 4
Row 121: ssk, k8, k2tog (10 sts)
Row 122 - 124: repeat rows 2 - 4
Row 125: ssk, k6, k2tog (8 sts)
Row 126 - 128: repeat rows 2 - 4
Row 129: ssk, k4, k2tog (6 sts)
Row 130 - 132: repeat rows 2 - 4
Row 133: ssk, k2, k2tog (4 sts)
Row 134 - 136: repeat rows 2 - 4
Row 137: ssk, k2tog, psso (1 st)
Break yarn and pull through last stitch, making a knot

Cut 2 pieces of yarn about 24" each.
For both pieces follow these steps: thread yarn onto tapestry needle and insert through a single stitch on one of the ends

Pull yarn halfway through until there are three 12" strands hanging down, two from this 24" piece and one from the yarn tail from the cast on or bind off (depending which side you are on).
Tie into a knot. Braid pretty tightly, and then tie a knot.

No ends to weave in! Block if desired.

Happy Knitting!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Craft nite has some new kids

Craft nite was really fun last night. Right before, Heidi texted me to ask whether I wanted to stop at A Tangled Skein beforehand. uh, YES. I never pass on a trip to a yarn shop. I was good, however...I didn't buy anything! Heidi, on the other hand, well....

she dropped some dough, yo!

We still got there early and guiltily let ourselves in while Amy was putting Jay to bed. Heidi made this awesome salad with tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzerella balls, and homemade vinagrette. It was great. It went well with my chardonnay.
I heart basil. And then like clockwork, we all picked up our yarn and either a hook or some needles and got to business. Tanya started (and eventually finished) a revealing crocheted hoodie for her daughter's webkins cat. Heidi started on a scarf for her boss with her new beautiful squishy yarn (I think Sublime, an awesome yet inexpensive merino/cashmere/silk blend).Ester (who Amy was teaching to crochet) continued on her crochet chain that had been as long as her apartment and then learned a stitch or two.
Amy also taught Lisa to crochet that night, first sans needle. Don't ask me how.Amy said something about some contest and then a whole bunch of tipsy shrieking and a run to the basement later we were on the floor with these magnetic words. We were starting the Interweave Knitting Daily's March contest for which you take their fiber magnetized poetry set and make a poem (March is poetry month). The winner gets a set of handmade custom mittens with their poem on it, and it will also be made into a pattern on Knitting Daily's website.

Then we looked up and saw how fast Heidi had progressed on her scarf. Damn girl! She knits fast. I love to watch her hands knit. It's like opening up a sewing machine and watching all the parts move around and just make something, so fast and exact.

Very stretchy.

Then as the night dwindled down, I stopped on my fairisle tacky-chic tea cozy and started on my first contract project! Amy needed a scarf made for a design she's working on. I can't show a picture yet, needless to say.

I hope to not blog as infrequent as I am doing so now, but I have just started school again. Plus, having like nine projects going, I like to spend as much time as possible knitting, which is why we're all here in the first place, right?

Happy Knitting!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A crafty week

So in addition to craftnite, I generally had a really crafty week!

Sunday: I used some of the plastic made from last week's craftnite to make a much-needed checkbook.Monday: I got to play around with different art media in Art Therapy class.

Tuesday: I got my first knitting callus!!! It's on my left pointer finger, where I push the right needle through the stitch. It's tiny now, but I have high hopes.Friday and Saturday: I picked up some new Spring knitting and crochet magazines and a Vogue book. The cover design on the one in the bottom left corner is by Amy! Yay! Looks like a good sweater vest for work, now that I'm all into work clothes.Friday: I rearranged my apartment last night, and with inspiration from Heidi, separated my books my color--for ARTISTIC effect, NOT because I have OCD (when my mom and brother saw it, they assumed the latter and giggled)Saturday (today): Mom provided transportation and nutritional replenishment on my crafting errands. We went to AC Moore for oil and chalk pastels for an Art Therapy class project, and I also picked up some quilting fabric squares for crochet hook holders that I can make now that I fixed my sewing machine. Then later we went to A Tangled Skein for some more Brown Sheep for my Mancala board. I also picked up the new Interweave Knits (love it! see above pic), Ann Budd's Knitter's Yarn Requirement Guide, a set of US 1.5 sock DPNS, and...CONFUSION. My mom and I were both drawn to this yarn, so I came with a win-win solution. Since she is more let's say...financially established...than I (hey, I'm a student), I suggested that I make her something with it. So that way I'll still get to work with it. Then in a few months maybe I'll get some of my own.

Speaking of that...I want to share a non-knitting-adventure item: I did something scary/exciting this week. I began the process of getting my social work license. I very well could be a licensed generalist social worker adult before the end of the semester. Eeeeek! Yet, awesome. :-)

Happy Knitting!

p.s. I apologize for my blurry camera. It's old. I need a new one. It's on my birthday list! ;-) ;-)

p.p.s . I just got my other cat from my mom's house, so now both are living with me. Isn't Shadow cute? Sometimes he sits like this, with his legs stretched out to the back. :-)

Fabric Cutting Olympics

So this week's craftnite project was crocheted rugs out of fabric strips. Above is my rolled-up fabric strips. I love the colors together. I got the idea for this rag rug from Quick Crochet, Huge Hooks, and showed the gals how to cut a sheet of fabric into a long strip. I had made a rug like this before--see my ravelry projects page. After some cheese and crackers and s'mores, we began. As an aside: Not having a sterno for the s'more setup, we tried three ways to melt the marshmallow:

attempt 1 - tealight :-(
attempt 2 - gas stove :-(attempt 3 - put entire s'more in the microwave and heat for 8 seconds (no, not 7 or 9) :-) :-)

Then we began cutting fabric. We never ended up actually crocheting, our huge blue crochet hooks waiting optimistically on the sidelines. Sorry, huge blue crochet hooks. :-( Cutting all the fabric takes a long time! This is Heidi rolling her perfectly cut fabric into a ball. Amy, Tanya, Heidi
Me, rolling my very un-neatly-cut-but-that's-how-I-wanted-it-I-swear pumpkin colored cotton into a ball.

Here 's how to cut fabric into one long strip:

Step one: With fabric folded in half (if you buy it from a fabric store, it will already come this way), and folded edge at the bottom, cut from bottom to top, stopping one inch from the end. Tip: If your fabric is more than 1/2 yard, it's easier to cut like ten or so of these slits, then stopping and doing the remaining steps. I don't know why it's easier, maybe warping issues, maybe boredom issues, but I recommend it.
Step two: Cut through to the end at first slit, only on the top layer. Step three: Continuing to work only on the top layer, skip one slit, cut through the next, and so on. These are like U-turns in the fabric; they allow a rectangle to become one strip more or less.
Step four: Move the top U-turns out of the way and begin making U-turns on the bottom layer. BUT, don't start by cutting through the first slit as before; start with the second and then cut through every other as before.

Step five: Roll it up! And continue until you have as much fabric strips as you want. I did 2 yards of each color.

NOTE: You are likely to cut wrong the first time and end up with closed loops of fabric (if you don't know what I mean, you'll see). But as in knitting and crocheting, even those experienced in this method will make mistakes. Don't worry. Because of all these chunky U-turns, knots where you have tied shorter strips together will not really show up, especially if you end up single crocheting with it.

Happy Kn....Crocheting!