Monday, May 31, 2010

Coming up in just two weeks....!

For those Northways - World Wide Knit in Public Day - Event NOT knitting exclusive!

12 * June * 2010

Join us as we knit with hundreds of other knitters around the world on the same day! Come share your enthusiasm, projects, food and laughter as we all come together and knit in public!

Where: Kitty Pozer Garden, 3999 University Dr., Fairfax VA 22030

When: June 12th 10am to 2pm

Bring: Chair, Picnic blanket, Hat, Sunscreen, Snacks to Share & Your Project!

A special thanks to our local area yarn shops for their support by donating goodie bags to be raffled:

Fibre Space (Alexandria, VA)
Uniquities Yarn Shop (Vienna, VA)
Old Town Needlecrafts (Manassas, VA)
Natures Yarns (Fairfax, VA)
With Yarn In Front (Centreville, VA)

Spread the word and help us all spread the love for our crafts!

Event hosted by: Angelica Sauceda creator and organizer of Knit Together Fairfax

Friday, May 28, 2010

This isn't the "I finished my tea cozy" post because I haven't.

Okay, so, my mother works with a nice woman. (I've actually met her; she is, in fact, quite nice.) This woman has a hat, which my mother covets. The woman nicely loaned my mother the hat, so she could make one just like it.

Y'all know what that means as well as I do, right?

So, here's my schematic of the Very Nice Hat, and the photos I took so I could work from it:

Yes, I can read it, and it makes sense to me.

The Hat

7 honeycombs per vertical panel
4 per the horizontal on top

OMG. Thermal Undewear Stitch.
Remember how I said I'd never use it?
Clearly I was wrong.
This is NOT k1p1 rib. Sigh.

Brim is knit separately in garter stitch
and stitched on.

Twisted rib - definitely a design choice

definitely 3 border stitches

Top is just sewn
I should be able to k2tog as I go.

Well, there you have it: I need to create this hat. I've already done two tests-and-frogs. At first, I thought there was subtle sloping on the neckband - but there isn't, it's jut the cast off. And somehow I missed that there were two buttons (yeah, you'd think I'd look at the pictures after not seeing them for eight hours, right? No. Not me.)... and what I got doesn't have the same feel, at all. So the twisted rib is actually pretty important!

I got through one repeat of the first honeycomb rows twice - the first time, I tried a 1-over-6, and it looked OK, but not right, so tried traditional 1-over-4, and that's not it either. I'm gonna need better pictures, or more time wiht the hat. I'll be frogging everything again, and starting over... and there's got to be a way I can fit this into one of my HPKCHC classes!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

We direct your attention to...

Cool item of the week from months ago - someone on one of the blogs I read (and I read lots of blogs... and I'm not sure it was one I stumbled upon, or one of my regulars, so if it was you, speak up so I can link you!) finished some lovely little slippers, and put the *cutest* little pawprint things on the bottom to give them traction. They're Regia Sock Stoppers.Aren't they cute?

Nifty thing of a few weeks ago: Heels by Number, pointed out by Helen a while back.

Best Real-Life MacGuyver I: While researching how to wash house windows properly (thank you, This Old House!), I found something I'd like to find. LIFESAVING TOOL: Window washer Jan Demczur used an Ettore squeegee to free himself and five others from an elevator shaft in the World Trade Center during the September 11 attacks. The blade was lost, but Demczur's squeegee handle is now enshrined at the Smithsonian. I think that particular squeegee handle would be something interesting to see. (Cousin dearest, I'm looking at YOU to find this object and photograph it for posterity - or at least find it so I can go see it, too.)

Nifty thing this week, found over on the Mason Dixon knitblog: The Clover Pom Pom Maker! I want some!! (There's one that makes HEART SHAPED pom poms!!)

(Turns out Clover has lots of useful videos, here.)

Nifty thing for next month: I get to take classes with these guys!

You can tell I don't really have any knitting progress to report, can't you. Drat. I was hoping the pom-pom maker video would distract you....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cute Goose Alert

We interrupt this knitting/craft blog to give you photos of these two sets of adorable goslings (looks like some about two weeks old, some about a month old) taken this past Sunday at a Shell station somewhere in Virginia.

Oh, the CUTENESS!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Have You Seen These Needles?

So, on the way south on Sunday, I wandered into a Michael's to get some yarn needles with eyes big enough to deal with Hometown USA super-bulky yarn. While I did, in fact, get yarn needles, I also found these:

Boye is now doing premium "rosewood" needles. They're not showing up on the site yet...; hopefully that will get fixed. I mean, if I'm the only one who ever sees these? Maybe they're a Michael's Exclusive. I bet they're not, though - in which case HELLO, BOYE MARKETING DEPARTMENT, WAKE UP!! Maybe they're already phased out - Boye's facebook page doesn't even mention them, and this is a premium-level product for them. Anyone heard of them? No? Well, I'm not surprised - for a little bit more, you can get Lantern Moon needles, which are easier to work with (IMHO), and I actually had trouble using the crochet hook. I'm wondering where the design breakdown is? (Granted, I was using cotton - but that's my usual test for wooden needles. Rather like jelly yarn is the test for metal needles.) If you've seen these anywhere - or tried them - let me know!!

Anyway, back to why I needed the yarn needles in the first place: I made a baby Giant Flying Happy Bunny.

It's much smaller than the original Giant Flying Happy Bunny, but it's still cute.

Monday, May 24, 2010

It's a HAT TRICK!!

I scored three goals for Quidditch on Saturday (well, I finished the hats mostly *before* last week's horrific allergic reaction; I was able to post late Saturday, when I was actually able to stay awake for a few hours. Posting date is what really counts). Most of my energy at the end of the week was spent on Pom Pom creation. I'd never done Actual Pom Poms before, and for the most part, they turned out all right, except for this one, which I somehow managed to not tie off properly (which became evident Later):

Here are the three finished critters, in order of appearance:

And here are all three:

And finally, here they are on their new owners, who really like them!

A Trio of Men Who Ain't Afraid of Anything

Friday, May 21, 2010

Long-ago project #1994-3

Out sick again today, just not having any luck on the allergy front. Yesterday was a big game of “stump the doctor”; today is resting, Saturday is More Doctor. Sigh.

Since I’m mostly not doing anything of note, I discovered an ancient project of mine:

This tissue box cover was lovingly crafted for my mom years and years ago in the middle of most of my Macroeconomics lectures in B-school out west. (I did a cross-stitched 23rd Psalm for my grandmother in Statistics; I did half an Arcadian Angel that still isn’t done in Marketing. My professors figured out pretty quickly that yes, I COULD stitch and still pay attention!

More knitting (hopefully) on Monday, when I (also hopefully) feel better. Really looking forward to the no-pollen season of "winter" now...!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

May Charms assignment done and turned in!

So, Giant Happy Flying Bunny progressed over the past week. Since I've knitted so many starter wings that when I finally got something I liked, I was shocked into working on another project entirely for a couple of days. (Hey, it happens!) Here he (?) is *last* Wednesday, when I'd managed to cast on the right wing and started to figure out how I was going to construct it.

Can I just say that this would've been MUCH easier if I'd done the wings, THEN assembled the rabbit? I mean, I can make it work, and it'll look fine - it just would've been easier if the instructions hadn't been "knit across, increasing two at wing joint every other RS row, turn rabbit every row, untangle yarn from left wing frame every six stitches, from right wing frame every eight stitches".

And it ended up not working. Once I was near the end of the wing, the frame just wasn't strong enough. So, the left wing will be frogged, and the new, tinier Right Wing will take over.

Except even that doesn't work... so I end up ripping the wing frame out of the rabbit entirely, and knitting frameless wings. Which, the way I'm doing it, actually involves knitting two wings, then carefully stitching them together, right-sides-facing-out. (This could totally be my Potions homework, but It Must Be For Charms.) Here's two wing bits:

Here's a finished wing:

And here, finally, is my completed Giant Happy Flying Bunny!

And, just for fun, here's the turning-in post that goes with it:

When Good Charms Go Not-So-Well
A Very Happy Accident

Maxwell's Magical Maxim #498: Be sure to clearly visualize the result of your spell; failing to do so can result in some unintended consequences.

Maxwell's Magical Maxim #15: Think first, talk later.
Practical Application:

Accidentally (or purposely, without thinking things through clearly first) uttering "Avi-no, lapi-no, dracon-ifors!" while simultaneously picturing a canary, a rabbit, and a small, white dragon violates both these Maxims and results in a Canary-yellow happy Bunny with white Dragon wings.


As holding the Giant Happy Flying Bunny actually elevates the spirits and allows one's mind to calm (in three trials on younger family members), I have decided that the Giant Happy Flying Bunny incantation is actually a new development, and a remedy is not required. (I believe the Muggles say "it's a feature, not a bug" - which is somewhat confusing, as this is clearly a bunny, not an insect, even if it does have wings.)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fun things I found to share

Spiffy New Thing for all the stitchers out there (you know who you are): Kniterdone of Meet me in the Dayroom fame pointed out the new Stitching 'n' Junk podcast, which is a hoot. Clicky on the picture to listen, free!

You can also subscribe through iTunes (which is what I did). it's kicky, it's offbeat, it's fun, and hey - you can listen and stitch at the same time!

As long as we're discussing Spiffy New Things, I spotted this at A.C. Moore weekend-before-last:

Yep, Debbie Stoller, of Stitch 'n' Bitch fame (TAKE THAT, people in NYC who tried to TM the phrase! Ain't gonna hold up!), has her own line of yarn. Read all about it on the StitchNationYarn site! Looks like the Full O Sheep is a good felting yarn; I'm sure there will be a felting class (or, hey, a felting O.W.L.) in my future at HPKCHC, so I'll keep that in mind. But yay, Debbie! Yarn!!

Also, added this to my library: Shirley Paden's Knitwear Design Workshop: The Comprehensive Guide to Handknits. Wowza, this is a great resource - and it's spiral-bound, so it actually lies flat!! (I'm all about spiral-binding. I took the spines off of most of my sheet music complilations & spiral-bound them so I could actually put them on the music rack and play. Spiral-binding is a wonderful, wonderful thing.)

If I hadn't already known about this book, I'd have picked it up on the basis of the sweater on the cover alone! However, I found out about it from The World's Best Knitting Video Podcast, Let'sKnit2Gether. If you're not already watching it, you should check it out!!

Okay, that's enough fun new stuff for this week....!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

And the O.W.L. has begun!

There was some knitting this weekend, but it sure wasn't on Saturday. I missed most of Saturday. Friday night, though, I was able to get earflaps on the three Jayne hats. And yes, they're hanging off my exercise bike. They're not on the seat, so it doesn't really hurt anything!!

I was hoping I get them done by the end of the weekend - preferably BEFORE my 3pm-on-Sunday Girasole Crash Course at Fibre Space, because, suddenly, I have a whole BLANKET to knit, half of which must be done by the end of June!!

Speaking of, the Jared Flood class at Fibre Space was FANTASTIC!! He's a great teacher, and we learned a lot of cool stuff in our two-hour workshop. For one, I need never have a hole in the crown of my colorwork hats/circular shawls EVER AGAIN. For two, I can spit-splice now, and I have faith it'll actually work. For three, I HAS A SIGNED PATTERN. Wheeee! I got to see THE Girasole (pronounced gir-ah-SO-lay, evidently; I've been saying it wrong):

That's my yarn in the lower left, so you know I was actually THERE and close enough to touch it!

By the time I was in the car on the way home, I had a pretty good start on my O.W.L. The center, of course, goes pretty quickly; we'll see how much it slows down by the time I'm on Chart D - which is waaaay the heck in the future, evidently.

At the end of the weekend, which for me was Monday night (due to the Being Sick thing, which I'm pretty sure I wasn't at the workshop, or I'd not have gone), I had worked through over half of Chart C and had switched up from my 16" circs to my 24" circs. I'm going to try to wait until I've got the 640 stitches at the end of Chart D before I switch up to the 36" needles. Anyway, here's that really cool Girasole Tracker I found. It's an Excel spreadsheet, and tells you how far in you are at the end of any given row:

... which means I have a whopping 12.4% of the shawl done. YIKES! It's been a lot of knitting already; I guess this really IS an O.W.L.-worthy project!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Knowing when it's time to let go...

Home sick today, as most of my officemates prefer "people sneezing violently and nigh-continuously" to be "not in the office". Which has nothing to do with today's post, but hey, achoo.

Today really needed to be the last Master's Monday before I mail my package, which has to be back the first week of June. It's not going to be; I'm letting it go.

It has become abundantly clear over the last month that I'm not going to finish before the one-year deadline, even though I could, if I pushed it. It's just not worth the stress right now. When I'm barely getting to work most days (please, oh please, let next year be the LOWEST allergy season on record!!), and spend most of the weekend flattened by my shots (for example: I don't really remember Saturday. I slept through it.), what little spare energy I have is going to be spent knitting/stitching/quilting cute, small, trivial things that it doesn't *matter* if I finish (HPKCHC is fun, but NONE of it is mandatory. If I finish things, great; if not, no biggie), and most of the actual energy is spent on "waking up" and "making sure the family is fed/clothed" sorts of things. When "spare time for fun" is generally "four hours Sunday afternoon", that cuts into the Doing Big Things.

Now, the allergy thing won't last forever; I'm near the end of the Actual Treatment (although it's taking a bit longer than anyone really expected), and will go on maintenance - plus, WINTER. Love winter. Always been my favorite season... and I've gotten to spend a winter without a heater in this house. I STILL love winter. With the winter, there should be more time, energy, and, yes, knitting. As TKGA will be putting out *new* Masters Standards in July (debuting at the conference - I'm still going!), I figure I'll send for my packet sometime in 2011, once I've seen how folks are doing with it. I still plan to get Level 1 at some point (which we'll call "2011" for now).

Why I know this is a good thing for me? The sheer relief I felt when I decided to just let it go, not worrying about making the deadline, and not stressing about this thing I was allegedly doing for fun. I'll get back to it, but for now, it's best that I just .... let it go.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Everybody's out at the Quidditch Pitch...!

First a wave ::waves!:: at the HPKCHC folks who have been dropping by. Nice to see y'all! Now, on to the regularly-scheduled post...

Tomorrow (Saturday) is the HPKCHC "Hats Off" Quidditch challenge. I'm first alternate - meaning I have the sticks & string to make lots of hats, but our first-stringer will probably be OK & rack up lots of points for the Slytherin firsties. All my Quidditch points will have to come from my First Aid (that's the First Year team name) work, and for regular Quidditch, the team theme is "Warmth".
"Whether we provide physical warmth for those who can’t get it, like babies, homeless, or animals in cold cages, or warmth of the heart for friends, children, or soldiers away from home, we aim to give warmth where the world leaves us cold!"
So, remember that yarn I showed you last Friday? It's turning into Jayne Hats (link to Paula's pattern, which seems to give the best result, here). Veronica at Fibre Space looked at me like I was a bit nuts (and she sees a LOT of knitting crazy) for getting three sets of size 10.5 DPNs... but, as you will see, I needed all three sets.

First, I had to ball up all the yarn. There were misadventures (and a couple of hideous tangles) before I learned to estimate "about half" and cut the yarn and wind a new tiny ball. (The yarn is doubled for this pattern, and it gives it *just* the right look.)

Now, on to the Why. The "why" of needing three sets is because I have a combination of "selective forgetfulness" and "cleaning frenzy" as disads (and along with "nearsightedness" and "bad knees", this is enough to get me some pretty cool superpowers). By Monday afternoon, I'd run completely out of un-patterend hat to knit, so I had to find the pattern.

But I didn't.

I kept knitting and knitting. As a result, I managed to start the green/Earth hat (cast on, k1p1 rib, knit 9 rows, change colors, knit 9 rows), since having done it once, I knew that much of the pattern. Since I had yarn for two other hats, started the blue/Water one. By the time I was up to the point I'd gotten on the green hat, I still hadn't found/printed the pattern, so I started the orange/Fire one. (Note: every time I work on the real Jayne Hat, I sneeze. The colorway of the orange is "Pollen", and I swear, they must've used some to get that rich, incredibly authentic color - or I'm so allergic that even touching something CALLED "Pollen" is enough to set me off. I shudder to contemplate "Horsie Kisses" yarn; may it never come to be.)

Tuesday, I finally remembered to get the pattern again, so was able to keep going on the Jayne hat, and then the green hat, except I messed up somewhere and had to frog everything past the 9th-second-green row and re-knit it. So, Wednesday morning, here we are:

Three hats, fifteen needles... what could possibly go wrong?

Wednesday night, I had the hat part of the Jayne and green hats, finished the blue hat, and blocked 'em all.

Blocking Three-for-All!

I want the hat part to look pretty good, but the earflaps must remain goofy, thus they will remain unblocked. Thursday morning, they were Much Much drier than they had been, but needed to stay at their drying stations (aka the paper towel racks that are scattered around the house):

green/Earth Hat

blue/Water Hat

Jayne Hat
(Even though it's the Fire Hat, it's THE Jayne Hat.)

Couldn't work on them on Thusday during the day. I was just hoping they'd be dry enough to knit ear-flaps for Thursday night, but no. Couldn't work on them today either - they're still not dry, but they're closer. I figure the fun knitting during CBS Sunday Morning will be all about the ear flaps!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's another bunny - and it's HAPPY!

Well, here's everything I finished & turned in my first week at Hogwarts:

The book cover was for History of Magic, the Bunny Nuggets were for Defense Against the Dark Arts, the Hair Flower Elastic was for Herbology, and the fingerless mitts were for Ancient Runes.

The next class I'll probably have done is Charms, for which I'm making a Giant Happy Flying Bunny. I assembled the actual rabbit, and got the Happy Face stitched on him, over the weekend:

... but as you can see, it only has a wing frame assembly, not actual wings as yet:

Happy Bunny - but no actual wings yet.

Hopefully, it'll have wings soon, so I can turn it in, what with my O.W.L. exam starting on Sunday!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bunnies... bunnies... it must be BUNNIES!

I think the Bunny Nuggets assignment is my favorite. Here's the writeup, and the cute-cute photos:

Good morning, Professor! This is CraftyGryphon, First Year Slytherin, turning in her DADA assignment!

I snuck (sneaked?) into the Hufflepuff Common Room, and in the thirteenth comment on the thirteenth page, I discovered YellowRaincoat (Rav link). In her queue, I found - and promptly fell in love with - Bunny Nuggets! (I mean - just saying "Bunny Nuggets" is a happy thing!)

The pattern, by Danger*Crafts, states:
"Bunny Nuggets are interesting little creatures that always, always travel in packs of at least three. Caught by themselves, they are often confused and disoriented, and run in circles squeaking until another nugget can be located."
As the little critters are pack animals, knitting a single Bunny Nugget was clearly out of the question, so I present here my little pack of (relatively) tame Bunny Nuggets. From left to right, they are Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and …. Hamish. Hamish has a bit of an independent streak - I'm not certain whether it's because he's the only boy in the pack (at least… I think he's a boy? I'm not sure how to tell), or because he's just, well, Hamish.

(There's one in every pack.)