Sunday, March 30, 2008

A colorful weekend

So this weekend I was seemingly embedded in color. On Saturday I went to Red Lobster with my mom and brother and shot some pics of the interactive fountain in downtown Silver Spring:
And the stairs:
Oh and here's a pic from Petsmart of a giant dog and a teeny dog getting haircuts right next to each other. I just thought it was funny.
Then Ali and I went to McGinty's for 80s night. So fun.
On Sunday I went to the Homespun Yarn Party at the Takoma Park Rec Center. On the way over I saw some great houses with pretty gardening:
And here is the yarn party. It was soooooo busy at first. This is later in the afternoon:Here is Amy's booth. She was selling some patterns.
This was the tri-merchant Loop/ Sanguine Gryphon/ Dragonfly Fiber Designs booth. They were right next to Amy's booth. Here are some Sanguine Gryphon yarns. I really wanted to take a pic of Loop's roving, especially the ones with sparkles, but I think she sold them all before I got my camera to them.

Here are some rovings from Woolarina.
My favorite were the kits with roving, a drop spindle, and directions. I really wanna learn to spin, and this kit seemed perfect for me. Alas, I had no time...

These were some sock yarns from Crash Into Ewe:

This was one of my favorites, Storm Moon Knits:
Such vibrant colors! I spent tiiiiime at this booth. And what I also loved is that the same colorways were available in each weight.

MOM - if you are reading this, stop here!

Here are my purchases:
I went a little ummm...overboard. But I did get a lot of great yarns. In that I decided before entering that I would only buy ONE skein, I realized later the reason why people bring only cash to yarn festivals. This was like a mini Maryland Sheep and Wool for me. I realized my weaknesses when seeing awesome yarn!

So in sum, here are my purchases (see my Ravelry page for the colorways):

At Storm Moon Knits I got 1 bulky and 2 sock weights. I just had to get the one with this neon yellow color.

At Dragonfly fiber designs I didn't do much thinking. I bought on impulse. But I am still super happy with my results: One bulky, one lace, and one awesome neon sock weight. I decided to make Amy's crocheted shawl pattern with this red lacewieght in the middle, for my mom for mother's day. We figured out that I can make 4 of the shawls out of the one skein!

I was "done" at this point when I called Heidi to inform her of all the green yarns here. She was returning from Florida this day and wasn't able to attend. I asked her if I could pick her up anything and she gave me a budget and said, "surprise me." I was in HEAVEN! I got her some Storm Moon Knits because she also loves vibrant vibrant color, and then Amy suggested that I go over to Spirit Trail Fiberworks. I thought I had seen everything until I went over to that booth! It must have been hidden by a wall of people before, which is probable after seeing her yarns. While picking up a skein for Heidi, I also got myself two more:I also picked up some patterns from Amy and a signed KnitSpeak book by Andrea Berman Price. I'm gonna use it to teach knitting to others. We talked about how often it's good to have multiple ways to explain a technique on hand since everyone learns differently. Also, she'll be posting a free pattern on the above website for a felted bag in which the book fits perfectly. Good stuff.

So overall it was a good day, good people, good yarn, lots of colors!

Happy Knitting!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I passed!

So I passed my social work licensing exam, and you know what that means--more knitting! Well, not to say that last weekend when I should have been studying my ass off I took frequent knitting breaks...well, I guess then I should rephrase it that I'll have more time for knitting without guilt. Here is a pic of my study area, which was frequently abandoned for knitting:Here are some FO's from this week:

the Easter egg, which is a little bigger than called for since I used different yarn and needles.the It Ain't Plain, Jane scarf, directions for which can be found on Dorothy's blog.I was disappointed that after blocking that it was quite flat and not squishy anymore. I used Malabrigo. But the hole was really looking weird before blocking and now it doesn't.

It was the first time I did 1x1 cables and I didn't feel like using a cable needle, and I've always wanted to try cabling without a cable needle. It was difficult at first, but I came up with a cool method that is similar to my favorite kind of stitch: the decrease. I didn't look up how to do cables this way, and I think this is probably and already-known method, but I will blog about it just in case. Excuse the blurriness; I was on the train:

So for a C2B, which is what this pattern calls for, here is what it looked like before: Then, as if to K2Tog, slip the next two stitches. I've also seen this as "Slip the next two stitches tog as if to knit"This is what it should look like after slipping. See how already the 2nd stitch is in front of the first?Now slip each stitch back on the left needle, one at a time and knitwise, so the stitch will sit properly on the needle.
This is after one stitch is slipped: And then slipping the other:
Both done:So essentially you have just rearranged them. Now just knit as usual:
To do a C2F, slip the next two stitches one at a time as if to SSK:Then slip them knitwise at the same time back on the left needle. In an SSK, this is where you would knit them together, but here you are just slipping.Now that they are rearranged, just knit them in their new order:Done!
I was showing my dentist, another 20something knitter, and she was like, no cable needle? you are crazy! I hope this mini lesson encourages new knitters to try it, since you are never really letting any of the stitches go, the results of which (the stitches dropping all the way down) scare most. Don't even ask me how to do this for wider cables, but Heidi does it, so ask her...

Oh yeah and after my exam I went up to my mom's work to meet with a family friend who is a social worker and is very knowledgeable about and connected in the field. Anyway, my mom works in Kensington, so you KNOW I had to go to Inez's Stitchery. I bought myself a present for passing my exam and such: Handpainted yarn!

I got Brown Sheep Handpaint Originals which is 70% mohair and 30% wool:
And the ever-popular Mountain Colors in their 4/8's wool, which is 100% wool. yum.The nice ladies working there asked me what I was going to use it for. Stash enhancement. Wow now I KNOW I'm a real knitter...

I also got one of those I-cord making things, as well as three used books from a neighboring store, my favorite of which is Essential Papers on Narcissism, which includes essays from Freud, Reich, Kohut, Kernberg, and others. Awesome.

Ok, so you know you're a knitter/crocheter when you see it everywhere. I walk by these circles daily on the way to the metro. I usually just look at the rectangle tiles around them that look like stockinette stitch, but then after doing that damn egg and dissecting that damn hacky sack, I saw this circle as a resource for how to increase in order to make a knitted or crocheted circle. We'll see after I count if it's accurate.

Ok, so I just counted them, and here are the results:
in Row 1: there is 1 stitch (duh)
Row 2: 8
Row 3: 16 (increase 8, seems accurate so far)
Row 4: 26 (increase 10, hmm, seems a little odd, but i'll go with it)
Row 5: 34 (increase 8, ok, I think this is not the best...)
Row 6: 42 (increase 8, yeah, these blocks aren't the same size...yet I go on)
Row 7: 51 (increase 9, what?!)
Row 8: 60 (increase 9, yeah this method is not working)

My conclusions: good in theory, but the bricks aren't identical, so it doesn't work. Just read EZ...

Happy knitting!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Dissection of a hacky sack

So on Saturday when I should have been studying for the social work licensing exam I decided to dissect a hacky sack that I had swiped from my brother (with post-swiping permission). I did this for a few reasons. First, my brother is 19 years old and like most, succumbed to gender socialization (yay I'm using my psych degree). In other words, he will "never" knit or crochet because "that's for girls." So when I told him that hacky sacks are crocheted, he suddenly became tentatively interested. Occasionally I catch him watching me knit or crochet and he'll ask me questions like, "what are all those orange plastic circles for?" He will then prepare himself to answer my inevitable question, "do you want me to show you how to knit?," with an immediate, "no." The second reason I wanted to unravel (pun intended) the mystery is for my own curiosity. Also, it will give me another gifting option for someone who claims to only need one scarf, one hat, and nary an electronic gadget cover.

So, on to the dissection:

This is what the hacky sack looked like. My mom bought him a case of them from Oriental Trading one birthday. This is after removing the insides and turning it inside-out. It is fair-isled. I had never realized that you could fair-isle crochet too. Makes sense, though.
This is what was inside. A plastic bag with little plastic pellets. I think the pellets are recycled. Kudos to the manufacturer, although the hacky sacks are probably made by 12-year-olds in China.
This is after taking out the black part, which was was not fun to undo. Why did the decreased and increased sections have to be black? It made it difficult to document construction at first, but I got the hang of it. Interestingly, the increases and decreases were not done at even increments. It was fun to unravel the colored portions, though. Almost done...hey this looks like a yarmulke for a cabbage patch kid.When the increases became even, it ended up being a septagon (is that a word?). You can tell evening had reached night. My guilt for not studying was ever-growing at this point.The aftermath:I was thinking about re-crocheting this with these little balls of 3-ply (embroidery floss?) Then I came back to reality. I popped these in an envelope and mailed it to my brother with the following note: "Betcha can't guess what this is?" I felt like one of those psychotic killers on Law and Order who mails trophies from their killings to the police. Also, I am worried that the USPS will bring in dogs to sniff it after feeling the plastic pellets through the envelope.

Stay tuned for a pattern.

Happy knitting!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Spring!

So last night was craftnite and we had a pretty chill night. Heidi and I stopped at Whole Foods to get some grub. I snapped a pic of the produce section.
This week for food we had mini shortbread cookies, chocolate, fritos, and chile con queso and chips from whole foods. Yum yum.
Selma liked how my new camera chirps when I turn it on and barks when it takes the picture; she wanted me to make it bark again, hence this cute pic of her:
Honey is a tiny, old cat. I call her a little old lady.
We had quite a packed house. Hillary, Lisa, and Amy.
as well as Heidi and Rebecca. I was planted in that hole between them.

Heidi was using her amazing ability to create things on the fly. This is a crocheted top. She swore that that tiny little thing fit her andIt did!
Ha-ha. It looks great so far. Can't wait to see it done. Then I'll try to convince her to post it on her blog as her first published pattern. As for me, I am just dying to finish this teapot cozy for a functional reason: I just want to keep my tea warm! I am almost finished. The striped part on the top is the lining. This is from the new Vogue book, "On the go: Quick gifts." I don't think this qualifies as quick or able to be "on the go," really. But it's still cool. By the second set of 72 french knot strawberry seeds, I ended up really liking to do them.
We talked about scary yarn shop owners, past traumas (e.g. my broken arms), and the new Interweave Crochet that I picked up today. Amy was a little disappointed that I didn't bring it since...ahem ahem...She's in it! I swear I decided not to bring it because I assumed she would have been the first one out to get it. Apparently the place I bought it put it out a little early. They included one of her patterns from the book, Crochet Me. There are all kinds of awesome patterns in this issue. There are several garments which actually seem to fit quite well. I have been skeptical in the past that crochet was a good tool with which to make garments because it doesn't drape as well, but Amy and some recent patterns I've seen have proven to me otherwise. Of the 20 patterns, almost half are garments. Disproving crochet's bad rap, one pattern at a time... I really wanna make the cover design!

And as I was walking home this afternoon of the first day of Spring; early from my internship because it was a half-day, daydreaming of planting myself in front of my Netflicked Lost Season 1 and this damn teapot cozy lining, I saw for the first time this year's bulbs coming up. The blurriness of the blossoms is from the windy windy winds, which made it not feel like Spring so much. It's ok, it will come.
Happy knitting!