twist and shout

Because I just never shut up

Good hat gone bad (or, I hate this hat…) May 29, 2009

Filed under: knitting — kathy @ 10:22 am

The Koolhaas Hat. By the indomitable Jared Flood. To be fair, it’s a super-de-duper cool hat. I guess it should be called the Coolhaas.

The demon hat

The demon hat

Yes, yes. I know all about why it’s named Koolhaas–its orgins in architecture. Blah, blah, blah.

But coolness aside, quite simply, this hat is an incubus. 

You know, I’ve been knitting on and off for nearly 40 years. I can’t even believe it’s that long! Yikes.

Anyway, I am a fairly (and only fairly) confident knitter. I say fairly because it’ll take lots of internal debate and many changes of mind before I’ll jump in and change a pattern. No, my BFF Meg is infinitely more confident about things like waist shaping and changing a boring old straight sleeve to a graceful bell. And she’s been doing brave stuff like that from the day she began knitting. I admire that kind of bravery. But show mea cardigan that might benefit from a lil’ old bust dart (and lord knows I could use a bust dart in everything I knit for myself) and my WIPgoes into a holding pattern until I decide I can handle the skills to do it.

But I digress.

My point is, this hat didn’t look like something that would haunt my dreams. Sure it has cables. Lots and lots of cables. But oh my goddess!

The accused.

The accused.

All I wanted to do was make a birthday present for Captain Romance.  Just a little hat to cover his ears when he goes hiking.

I was a good girl. I shopped my stash. I poured over the posts (there are nearly 3400 of these hats marching through the project lists on Ravelry–forget the 3000 queued.) (No, I did not read all 3400–but I did read all those made of my beloved Mmmmalabrigo, my yarn chosen from my stash). The hats were gorgeous. I even asked for and got help from a fellow Raveler who was an expert making these hats–she had at least 4 in her finished projects–before I started. I was hooked, er, set on making this for Capt. R. since I knew he’d love the geometric pattern.

Now let me also say that I know better than to use 2-toned yarn with a pattern. Yes, I realize the pattern would show up better in a solid. But I did see a Koolhaas in Stonechat (what I’m using), and it was fabbbb! And I was determined to use up some stash yarn.

So, after casting on and doing the ribbing, I started the pattern with much excitement and anticipation. ARRRRRRRRGH!

In my entire life, I’ve never made anything so fiddlely and annoying as this hat!!  While extremely inventive, I cannot tell you how soul-eating it is to make the 2-stitch cables every 2 rows. Not to mention moving the row marker back and forth one stitch at the ends of pattern rows 6 and 8.

Okay, yes, I did start out by using a cable needle. Then I quickly found all the posts on how to cable without a needle and taught myself how to do this. Again. I recall learning this when I was in college, but, well I don’t have to say how long ago that was.

Anyway. Someone please tell me why I had absolutely no problem getting this trick to work on the rows where the cables were only knit in the back loops, but on the knit in the back/purl rows, I had funny lumpy strands of yarn on the back. I know you can’t see the back.

But this was a gift. TINK.

This is a humongous pain in the a** to tink.

Tried again.  Still the same problem. TINK.Followed the written out directions word for word in complete silence–no tv, no music. Still not right. TINK!!!!

Now my Malabrigo is beginning to have that soft, halo kind of look that it gets after a few wearings. And I’m not talking about the row I’m knitting, ’cause that’d be easy to fix. Just cut the yarn and use fresh. Nope. It’s all the yarn below this row that’s getting fuzzy, because I’m holding onto it so tightly as I’m passing the stitches from needle to needle.

I’m starting to think I need to call the guys from Paranormal State to come bring me an exorcist…

 

I’m knitting as fast as I can May 21, 2009

Filed under: knitting — kathy @ 11:28 am
I would think, as old as am (okay, I’m not that old), that I would’ve learned a thing or two about pacing myself. However, the fact that I just cast on not two, not three, but five new knitting projects at the same time, makes me really wonder about my thought processes.

Maybe it has something to do with this rotten perimenopausal thing… It might have something to do with the fact that it’s really tough for me to justify the acquisition of any more yarn until I make a dent in the stuff I have already.

What I truly feel it is, though, is that I just have a bunch of things I’d really like to make. And by-the-way, there are worse UFO offenders out there than I am about to come. I have seen a few “project galleries” on Rav that have twenty or more projects like, 20% under way, so call me capricious, but here I go…

Project #1 Something Rum Raisin

Project #1 Something Rum Raisin

I’ve had the Misti Pima Silk yarn for this Something Red cardi since last August. I need the sweater. I want to make it.

It’s actually going fairly quickly; I’m at the point where I can place the sleeve stitches on holders while I make the body. Surely the ribbing will slow me down a wee bit, since I purl weirdly, but on the other hand, once I get into the rhythm of ribbing, I’m okay. With any luck, I’ll have this finished in a few weeks.

 Next up, is this delightful Biscuit Blanket, which I’m making as a shower gift. I actually have to make three of these, so I suspect I’ll have totally memorized the pattern by the time I start the second one.  And the KnitPicks new Simply Cotton Yarn is really delightful to use. It’s every bit as nice to knit with as Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton, a wonderful price, and so soft to the touch I’d like to make a cardi for my kiddo.

Project #2 Biscuit Blanket in KnitPicks Cotton--yum!

Project #2 Biscuit Blanket in KnitPicks Cotton--yum!

And this little Biscuit Blanket was the perfect project to use with my brand new knitting goodie:

A "stitched by jessalu" box bag

A "stitched by jessalu" box bag

 A sweet JessaLu Box Bag covered in delightful little bunnies!
Love it! It’s just the perfect size for little projects like socks and small shawls and such. Check them out at www.jessalu.etsy.com I think my ziploc “project bags” are a thing of the past. I want more!
So, this brings me to my next three projects which I actually have yet to “cast on,” however, I was planning on casting on #3 this evening. Nice and light colored, perfect for knitting in my “dismally dark in the evening” house. Can’t wait, ’cause I’ve been dying to use this silk yarn since it arrived here last fall.  And after I made Canopy Shawl last month and gave it to my darling Mother for her birthday, I realized that not only can I do lace, but I wanted to make on for all my BFFs, including my own self!
Project #3 Leafy Canopy Shawl in Handmaiden Tussah Silk

Project #3 Leafy Canopy Shawl in Handmaiden Tussah Silk

The next two projects are for my Bug. I have to make these now, ’cause if I don’t she’ll be too big to fit in them, ’cause I have just enough yarn in my stash to make ’em. That said, I’ll have to swatch for these before I get going. That will part of my Memorial Day activities.

I think I’m gonna be busy this weekend!

Project #4 The Ballet Tee for my Bug

Project #4 The Ballet Tee for my Bug

Project #5 Cap Sleeve Tee

Project #5 Cap Sleeve Tee

 

On my toes May 11, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — kathy @ 9:36 am

It’s Monday, and a with a busy week of spring cleaning, writing,  photography, costume-making (yes, costumes in May. My daughter’s school has a thing about re-enactment field trips. This one will turn them all into Miwok Indians…), jewelry-making and knitting ahead, I just want to say, hooray! I finished my socks!

Saucy Rubies Socks

Saucy Rubies Socks

Here, I thought I’d finish them in Florida. I guess in some ways you could call me an optimist. In other ways, you could call me overbooked. Hmm.

A bit embarassing that it took 6 months to make a pair of socks. It’s a bit like childbirth though. I mean, after it’s all over, you forget what you went through and want to do it all over again.Seriously though, it’s a great pattern and fabulous yarn. I’ll definitely make another pair…when, who knows. 

I just swatched for my Something Red Sweater. Suspiciously on gauge for the same size needles as pattern.  Ususally I go down one or two sizes right off the bat. I think part of what’s happening is that I know this yarn could stretch out, and so I’m purposely knitting tighter.

I also think I’ve been a wee bit tense lately and my knitting is exemplifying this.

Well, I’ll either go with the swatch recommendation, or go down a needle size and have a gin and tonic.

 

Yarn stalking May 9, 2009

Filed under: knitting — kathy @ 4:24 pm

Okay, someone please tell me what the heck is wrong with me.

I have spent nearly 3 hours on the prowl for more yarn. Not writing (sure, I did that for a couple of hours, but all it took was a “quick break” to check my email, and I found some lame excuse to “just take a peek” to see if something I’ve been looking for is in stock), not knitting (which is really sad because I have, like, 17 rows left on my second saucy sock before I graft it. Not to mention, I have 2 or 3 projects I’d like to swatch and start…). Why the heck am I wasting time stalking yarn?

Further, I have many gorgeous, glorious yarns of varied shades and fibers waiting patiently in their cozy tubs for me to pluck them out and cast them on. I mean really, really gorgeous.  Yarns that I was willing to forgo all sorts of personal necessities to have. 

Perhaps it is because the yarn in question seems to be so unobtainable that scoring it would be a major accomplishment. With bragging rights, too.

One of the first yarns that made me nuts like this was Handmaiden Sea Silk.

Glorious Handmaiden Sea Silk in Nova Scotia

Glorious Handmaiden Sea Silk in Nova Scotia

It wasn’t that tough to track. I found it here and there online, which is where I ultimately scored this loverly skein–I think at ColorSong. However, while trying to figure out which colorway I would choose, I encountered a delicious-to-the-touch skein at a local yarn shop and allowed myself to be talked into a colorway which I (I must admit now) despised. I was so anxious to knit with this yarn that I comforted myself by deciding I’d knit a giftie for someone with it. The yarn itself was a joy to use, but I still have trouble looking at it. Don’t know if I’ll ever finish it. Drats. I no longer go to this LYS in protest to pushy salespeople.

Next on my list of big game: Malabrigo Sock.

Malabrigo Sock in nearly impossible to find Archangel

Malabrigo Sock in nearly impossible to find Archangel

I was a knitter possessed until I had a skein (or 3) safely tucked away. Here’s my favorite colorway: Archangel.

This will become a little shoulder shawl, or something like that. I couldn’t bear to walk on it. And yes, everything they say about how it feels it is true. Heaven.
So, my latest obsession is something called Bugga Sock Yarn (superwash merino and cashmere with a smidge of nylon) by a gifted yarn artist who goes by the name of The Sanguine Gryphon. I’ll bet you’ve heard of this rare fiber…but if you haven’t, you should know it’s named Bugga because it’s colors are based on insects. Now I do not like insects, but, how cool is that? And the colors really are amazing. The color I think I covet most is Red Spotted Purple Butterfly, although I’d take Blue Morpho, or Tomato Frog.  Impossible to find! And what makes me most crazy is that I passed up a skein of this stuff this summer while on a yarn adventure in the beautiful middle of practically nowhere with my cuz Laurie. This store, called The Fold in Marengo, IL  had absolutely fabulous yarns, patterns, and a surprising selection of rovings (lots of lux fibers like yak and cashmere) which would make any spinner drool. Luckily I am not yet a spinner or I’d be in serious trouble. Check them out here: http://www.thefoldatmc.net/
Anyway, I actually had my hands on this stuff and put it down.
Sigh.
The one that got away…
 

Stash Justification May 2, 2009

Filed under: knitting — kathy @ 11:58 am
Handmaiden Tussah Silk

Handmaiden Tussah Silk

Stash  n. 1. a store or cache of money or valuables. 2. something hidden away.

What a wonderful word, Stash. It even feels nice in the mouth…stash. I think the person who thought to use this word to describe our fiber collections was wise beyond words, so my thanks to you, oh clever fellow yarn carresser!
Brooks Farm Duet

Brooks Farm Duet

And the stash itself, well, what can I say? When I think of my stash various thoughts and feelings come to mind: happiness, guilt, desire, my deep love of plastic tubs, and, oh god, I wish this house had a basement so that everything that’s taking up valuable yarn storage space in my closets could be put down there.

The thing that is most overwhelming to me, though, is the sense of what all this luscious, yarny goodness has the potential to become. Not just socks or a shawl, but instead, something to keep my DDs toes cozy, or the dramatic entrance I’ll be able to make in my “Gail” shawl of Handmaiden SeaSilk at my friend’s fundraiser.

The exquisite Gail Shawl by MaweLucy/Jane Araujo

The exquisite Gail Shawl by MaweLucy/Jane Araujo

Furthermore, no skein must be what it was purchased to become. (And yes, I do buy yarn with specific projects in mind.) For instance, one skein of exquisite, hand dyed Miss Babs Yummy sock yarn might be made, forthrightly, into socks. But it could also find itself knitted into a pair of Genmaicha fingerless gloves, or even a lacy Forest Canopy Shawl. And Malabrigo, sigh, what can’t you make with MMMalabrigo? Choices, I love choices.

And boy do I have choices, as I discovered while recently updating my Ravelry Stash (that wonderfully, evilly addictive Ravelry! My savior and my undoing). Looking at the piles on the floor and couch, all around me, in fact, I realized I had a lot of yarn. More than I thought I had. Honestly, I seem to have a worse problem with mass accumulation of fibery goodness than most knitters, but not the worst case I’ve seen. Even so, sheesh, there really was a lot. And I love every single skein in there with all my heart. I guess I must admit I am a bonifide yarnaholic.

An amuse bouche of my yarny goodness

An amuse bouche of my yarny goodness

Believe me, I know there are conflicting schools of thought on these things. One thing I know for sure, I will never be (even if I gave it all away and started fresh–which ain’t gonna happen, so don’t even ask! LOL) the kind of knitter who buys yarn just enough for one or two projects at a time, and then sits down, makes that project, and isn’t even tempted to buy anything else until she finishes that project. And yes, this rare kind of knitter does indeed exist. I have a very good friend who has self control like this. Not because she can’t spend money on yarn. No siree. Simply because she just isn’t inclined to become swayed by the odd hank or two of cashmere the color of a stormy sky that’s wimpering beside the register at our LYS. Not until she finishes what she’s working on. She doesn’t need it, she tells me. Doesn’t need it?
Delightful Miss Babs Yummy Superwash Sock in Violets

Delightful Miss Babs Yummy Superwash Sock in Violets

Well, God bless her, I say. I wish I could be a little more like her. And like a little shoulder angel, she does keep me in line. However, I’m gonna choose one of my BFFs like Laura or Meg to go with me to any Stitches Events, that’s for dang sure.

That rant all said, with the

Malabrigo Vaa

Malabrigo Vaa

way the economy’s been going, and my jewelry business feeling the sag in spending, I must say I have a comfort in knowing that no matter what, even if I can’t justify (or afford) stalking another skein of Malabrigo,  there’s yarn waiting for me in the guest room closet. Soft and saturated with colors that make my heart sing and my hands happy, it’s there. Waiting to be used for entertainment, relaxation, and let us not forget, clothing.

Yay for my stash! I think I’ll go pet it.

 

 
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