Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holly-daze!

I have a handful of Christmas knitting to show you guys, but I'll handle that when I get back to Portland and on to my own computer. It was all very well received, and I am quite pleased :-) I'll have to show you the drop-dead amazing yarn that Travis gave me, as well. I got a handful of delightful crafty books, including Laura Irwin's book, Boutique Knits, which is lovely (I'm all about supporting local designers anyway - good karma, after all- but it ain't hard when they put out beautiful and innovative stuff like this.) It seems like everything I got this year was both wonderful and needed, and I couldn't be more pleased.

I'd like to say that I took lots of wonderful snowy Christmasy pictures to post, but I didn't. I baked a ton of tasty things and wrapped a bunch of pretty presents and took NO pictures. What is wrong with me? Dear, dear.

I am waiting to hear whether or not I'll be helping run a few knitting-related workshops during Paideia (ie, "special fun workshop time" at my college). I've got almost a month until school starts again, and all sorts of lofty plans surrounding recycled sweaters, food coloring, and thesis writing. Hooray! I also just applied for a job at an excellent LYS...cross your fingers for me. (Harder! Til they hurt!) Since I only have one class in addition to my thesis this semester (well, and PE) I actually have time for a super-part-time job and this would be so perfect I could explode.

Now I am going to go eat cookies and read knitting magazines. Holidays rock.

Monday, December 15, 2008

But he's so cute...



On the left, exhibit A: Rocky. My Dog.
On the right (on the couch arm), exhibit B: Socks that I am knitting.

If you would be so kind, please follow with your eyes the strand of yarn emerging from the socks, until you get to exhibit C, "Where the hell is my skein of Noro?"


Sigh. Seriously. EVERY time I get up, the very SECOND I get up, if I leave any trace of my knitting on the couch, he is ON it. Nevermind that he has a pillow that he sleeps on, on the other side, or that my knitting often has dpns poking out of it (and lets not even bring up the bed I made him that he ignores, or the towel he has stolen and keeps in the closet so that he has somewhere comfortable to wait while I'm in the shower.) I am getting better about putting everything on the arm of the couch, but sometimes I just want to grab a drink of water or something without rearranging everything.

Dogs are weird.

(Perhaps this picture more accurately reveals his true nature and intentions.)

The ugliest, and also awesomest things ever.



It is cold here, and I have particularly...wimpy extremities, temperaturewise. I was missing the sheepskin slippers I had as a kid. The answer was obviously thrummed slippers. Et, voila!

I am not going to write up a pattern since these are far from perfect (though very sufficient) but I will give you a vague outline, because they are SO COZY and your feet want them, trust me. When they wear out, I'll make a better pair, and write that one down maybe.


-Start with a bulky, wool yarn. I used Ironstone Harmony. Also, you need a bunch of unspun wool. Use whatever needles work best.

-To thrum, knit a little wad of wool along with your stitch (I am stupid and just knitted the wad of wool, fairisle style, which make it extra tricky. Way to look up directions ahead of time, Alex.) Here is a good link: Hello Yarn on Thrumming

-Cast on very few stitches and increase kind of like you would for a top down hat...about 6-8 stitches every other row. When it gets big enough to go around your feet comfortably, stop increasing.

-Thrum as you please- I did every 5 stitches, every 5 rows (staggered)...but I wish I'd done more, they are not as wooly inside as I would've liked. I wanted 'em REAL wooly. Ideally they'd be wooly enough that the insides would felt up nicely over time and leave the slippers a bit sturdier than they are now...they are pretty floppy at the moment.

-When you get up to your ankle, bind off a bit less than third of the stitches (I did 8, for 30 stitches total, and 6 might have been preferable) and keep working, flat now.

-When the flat part is long enough to wrap your heel in, split the stitches in half and do a 3 needle bind off (on the inside.) And now make another. Hooray!!


I also would recommend sewing a leather sole on, these are REALLY slippery and I don't want to be liable for any horrible accidents.

(aside: hahahah...the word verification for this post (they make me prove I'm not a robot every time) is "sperm". Nice one, blogger.)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It snowed.



I am a Michigan girl. Snow is no big deal for me. However, snow IS a big deal for Portland, especially this early in the season. Travis had the day off work. Our apartment parking lot/driveway is unplowed and unsalted, and extremely icy. No real idea if they'll do anything about it, and it's not supposed to warm up very soon. We live down the hill from the main road, which I'm sure IS plowed, but I just don't feel very good about trying to get up to it. There are no grocery stores within walking distance, and as we are the "buy little and often" sorts, that is a bad thing. I'm dangerously low on soy milk and dog food. I have an exams on Wednesday and Thursday mornings and a flight at 6 am Friday (current prediction- freezing rain).

So...snow kind of sucks. I really hope it warms up, or at least stops snowing so Portland's Only Salt Truck can catch up.

But it certainly is pretty.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I got some new toys.



Can you guess what they are? I'll give you a hint- those were in skein form an hour ago.

The funny (or sad, maybe, I don't know) thing is that I don't even like how yarn cakes look. I much prefer handwound balls. But I'm getting dangerously close to a time when Selling-On-Etsy-To-Pay-Da-Billz might become a reality and I feel like I should embrace crafting efficiency in all it's forms. And it's kind of fun. Really, aesthetics only really matter when it's all knit up or when it's in the hank at the store and you're trying to figure out if you want to blow a bunch of money on it.

Plus you can stack these like bricks and make yarn forts.
It's annoying not to be able to post pictures of all the stuff I've been finishing (secret Christmas stuff!) but at least there's this:



I'm having a horrible time trying to get good pictures lately...it's so ridiculously gray and the apartment is too cluttered to give me good surfaces to shoot on anyway. Probably my own fault.

Anyway, that's the yarn from the greenish batt you saw earlier. I knitted it (and it's ugly little sister, spun from the same materials before blending- seen below) into the ugliest hat in the world. It will probably be unknit as soon as I can figure out what else to do with it. The ugly-little-sister yarn is probably destined to being used for gift wrapping or something, there's not much of it and it's pretty ugly.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Topographie!




Remember that secret pile of Malabrigo? Yeah it was for this. They wanted a boy version. I'm not terribly thrilled with the way the guy's version turned out, I like the green one much better, but it ain't bad ;-) I think I just like the sparse texture better than the all-over texture. Oh Colinette, you temptress.



Anyway, find it Here

And here is a picture of Aaron looking soooper serious.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Step 12: Go buy more yarn!

Well folks, it's been a long, hard road (maybe) but you made it here (or will, someday, maybe... I definitely haven't.) Your stash is gone and you are free. Go nuts. Just not TOO nuts or you'll have to start all over again. I, for one, am going to consider actually picking a project BEFORE the yarn. But we'll see. Relevant pictures to follow in approximately 27billion years when I finish knitting up what I've got now.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Step 11: Use up the last little bits

Honestly you'll probably end up throwing most of the little leftover pieces away, but do your best. They make good stuffing for toys, and if they're wool, you can give them to the birds to use in their nests (please don't give them acrylic or cotton, it gets cold once it's wet and the poor birdies will freeze to death.) Or hook a rug or something.

Other stuff:


Cat toys/felt balls
Same process, but necklace!
A bunch of ideas on another blog
And some more
Patchwork Amigurumi
Flowers!
Bird ball thing
Uses for sock yarn

Friday, December 5, 2008

Step 10: Knit your scraps

So now you have to use the scraps - time to be inventive. Striped projects are your friend! Small projects too. Make bracelets, make change purses, make rings!

Here are a few patterns that might be useful, but remember, if you have enough of anything in a particular weight, you can do a larger project, just striped instead of solid. Very easy that way.


Scrap Happy Scarf (There's a crochet version too)
Felted Noro Scrap Bag
Mini Mitten Ornaments
Oh Balls!
Scrap Happy Celebration Hat
Knitted Ornaments
Scrappy Stripey Scarf
Easter Eggs
Thrifty Critter
Band Cuffs
Pin cushion


There are a ton more. Do a pattern search on Ravelry for "Scraps" or "Stripes" and a lot will come up...

Good luck!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Step 9: Take stock of your scraps

(I am still on 7 and will be there for approximately ever, but let's keep pushing on anyway.)

Remember that box of scraps? You should have been adding to it this whole time. Now it's time to figure out what you've got.

Sort your little scrappy balls by color, weight, fiber...whatever you think is useful. You may want to grab a niddy-noddy and figure out what kind of yardage you have in these little balls, or you can just wing it. Whatever. Just sort and paw through and see what you've got, similar to step 3, only with a little baby version of your previous stash.

Whee!



Why didn't anyone tell me drum carding was this fun?? It's like finger painting, but instead of paint, it's wool. And instead of paper, it's millions of tiny razor sharp knives. And instead of getting paint on your fingers, you cover them in tiny wounds.


...this bandaid makes it hard to type. But still, carding is fun.

(click here to see what that stuff used to look like.)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Step 8: Re-evaluate

I wish I could provide you guys pictures for these last steps but I am so far away from doing them that it's ridiculous.

Anyway- once you knit up all the projects you have assigned, put all your scraps back in that scrap bin/bag that I mentioned a long time ago, and whip out the rest of your unused yarn. Hopefully you've been saving patterns for this day, and you're ready to re-assign. This time, start googling and Ravelry-ing to see if you can find the perfect use for it, if you don't have one handy. If you can't find a purpose for it, consider ditching it. Seriously. If you really can't find anything you'd like to use it for, what are the chances that this magical perfect project will show up anytime in the future? Give it to someone who wants it more.

So yes. Re-assign, and knit that stuff too. When you're done with this, all you should have left is scraps, and we'll deal with those next.

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