Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A beautiful thing



Let no one say that I haven't done my part for our nation's children.




If they want to say that I'm gluttonous and unhealthy....well, you'll probably have to let them get away with that. (But to be fair, that's a year's supply, and they're mostly in the freezer now. I'm not THAT bad...)


Also, some pretty stuff:







I'm very out of practice, things aren't much coming out even. I'm ok with it, though. The roving is Abstract Fiber's "Chartreuse", from Abundant Yarn & Dyeworks. I seem to be crazy about this color combination lately, even though it's kind of a weird one (see my Twistini Mahayana Flying Gloves. Of course, they're just different enough that they don't quite match each other. Phooey.)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Finally- The Maelstrom Beret!

Yay my testers finished and found no problems so... here ya go! The much-asked-about Maelstrom beret.










(this picture makes me giggle. I am all serious business about berets and dogs.)

I made two versions, obviously. The purple one has different decreases, which didn't work out so well...so try to ignore the lumpiness in the back, if you can see it. I wear the yellow one almost every day, it is excellent.

Find it in the shop, or on Ravelry.

Or:

(the fine print: Your purchase of this pattern constitutes your agreement to use this pattern only for personal, non-profit use without specific written permission from the designer (just email me!) Items made from this pattern may not be sold without permission, nor may the pattern itself be copied, sold, or distributed in any way. You may print one copy for personal use but may not print multiples to distribute, nor may you share the digital file with others. Thanks guys!)

If you need to contact me with questions, my email address is presentsknits@gmail.com - please email instead of commenting since it's much easier for me to reply that way! Thanks!

Friday, February 20, 2009

The story of Peckles

The first thing I thought this morning, when I woke up, was that I had lost the ability to parse language. I heard someone talking, but it didn't sound like words, English or otherwise. It sounded like...warbling...almost like a chicken. But it stopped, and I chalked it up to a semi-dream state, and laid there for a while thinking about going back to sleep, and how annoying it will be to own a rooster (Travis's interest in farming has recently come back with a fury. I'm down as long as it's in New Mexico, and there are alpacas.) Eventually I got up and wandered out of the bedroom.

"Uh... did you hear a chicken?"

Ok, good, so I didn't have some kind of aphasia. Whew. And yes, I had heard a chicken.

A few minutes later, we heard it again, louder. I looked out all the windows, thinking someone might have on in the parking lot or something. No go.

About an hour later, we go to take the dog for a walk.


And there was Peckles, approximately 8 feet from our door. On the third floor. How does a chicken even get to the third floor?



Turns out, Peckles has the unusual gift of chicken flight. After taking a bunch of glamor shots, I tried to feed him some cereal and accidentally scared him into a tree, some respectable distance away.




Here I must clarify: we do not live in the country. I have no IDEA how far away the nearest farm is. While we're technically outside of Portland (just barely) we're still in a relatively urban-ish area. Yeah, there are trees, and we live on a "lake", but we're still pretty much in downtown Milwaukie.

W.T.F.

Travis thinks it's an omen that he's on the right path, farmingwise (if this is correct, does my scaring it away by trying to feed it mean that I will try to help but accidentally crush his dreams? Probably.) I think it's the Ghost of Chickens Past, the first of three livestock-based entities that will visit in order to show us the folly of our ways and set us on a righteous path, possibly one of a vegetarian persuasion.

I hope not, I like chicken. And the durn thing flew away before teaching me much of anything.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My dining area looks like a middle school science lab

So I got an exciting package today.



Clockwise from 6 o'clock, sort of:

- Labels (for labeling dye jars)
- Goggles (for not going blind)
- Turkey basters (for the squirting of dyestuffs)
- Crazy all-in-one measuring spoon (for measuring dye powder)
- Dust masks (for not poisoning myself)
- Eye droppers (for smaller scale squirting of dyestuffs)
- Painters Tape (for clearly marking the dyeing materials so Travis doesn't cook with them)
- Plastic bowls (theoretically for soaking yarn but they are smaller than expected, so we'll see. Always nice to have bowls.)
- Sexy black latex gloves (because I am too badass for regular ones)
- A bunch of plastic jars (for mixing/storing dye)
- Super cool beaker (for mixing large amounts of colors)
- Yes those are pee cups (for mixing small amounts of colors)
- Cocktail spoon (for mixing dyes/shoveling yarn out of pots)
- Thermometer (oo, celcius.)



I now have everything I need to dye, except for, um...space and time. Dammit. And a vegetable steamer, but I can do without for now.

Oh well, it's too cold outside to hang around mixing dyes anyway.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Whew

I retook/edited/posted all the pictures for the yarn listings. Much better, though they're darker than I'd like (and this was in direct sunlight, too. Me and my camera need to have a serious chat.)



One of my favorites...Too bad (not really) this one sold before I could get it's new picture up ;-)

The Reinyarnations are up now too, all except for one, which I've lost my yardage notes on and have to re-measure. Oh, and Wormapple, 'cause it's mine. Bwahahaha.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Aww yay


(please excuse the horribly colored night time photo. Sigh.)

So my Valentine's swap angel package got here today (right on time) and it is super lovely :-) Highlights include: handdyed yarn (very much my color, too), home-brewed lotion (oh god do I need it), cozy felty mittens, and some chocolate bars I haven't tried yet (including a white one, oh joy of joys!!) The dog is pretty fond of the crazy chicken-slice treats, the scraps will be added to my ever-growing pile of sock yarn scraps (I will HAVE that barn raising quilt one of these days! Or someone will, anyway) and that tide pen would've come in handy last week when I exploded peanut sauce all over my pants :-P (a klutz's best friend, no?)

Hooray! Thank you Valentine angel person! (Would that make them a cupid?)

Happy Valentine's Day!

So... I lied about that pattern being up today. I decided it needed test knitting, to make sure I'd typed up the decreases correctly. But I'll get it up as soon as I can. Meanwhile, to distract you: the most adorable white chocolate duckling ever, and his sad demise. Also, a side of heart-waffles.










I feel terrible about it, but he was so delicious....

P.S. Some of that food-coloring-dyed yarn is in the shop now. I need to reshoot a few more (really, I should do all of them.) In any case they are pretty cheap on account of their food-coloring-ness and my intense fear that five years down the road they may have faded a tiny, tiny bit.

Tweet Tweet




For some reason, I have a twitter now. It's on the sidebar to your right. Please don't ask why, because I don't have a good reason. But if you ever thought "Gee, I wish I could know way too much about what Alex is doing right now", you are golden.

I realize that comic got cut off but I'm not reformatting my whole blog so it shows up... sooo...just click it and you'll see the ghost of the last panel or something.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Pssst- Portlanders!!

Twisted just got a big shipment of Malabrigo yesterday (I should know, I spent my whole shift playing with reskeining and shelving it. Mmmmm what fun.) A lot more colors of the worsted, some lace and Silky Merino, and most excitingly....



Oh my freaking God it is beautiful. (That's Aquarella- they've got Gruesa too, which is similar but semi-solid.)

I don't really know what I'm going to do with it, but it was too pretty to pass up. I wish they would do the worsted in these crazy watercolored colorways.

And some other pictures, just for kicks...


Some handspun, I think it's wool and tussah... The roving was aptly named "Seattle".


Claudia's Handpainted = <3 More details on this one once I finish it.


It is gray and nasty as usual and I'm having a hell of a time getting decent pictures. These aren't bad, but the pictures I'm trying to take for the hat pattern that will be up later today or tomorrow are sort of terrible. They come out dark, and when I fix them they look kind of grainy. I AM USING ALL THE NATURAL LIGHT THIS PLACE HAS TO OFFER. ARRRG. As much as I like the rain.... I think I'm going to move to the southwest one of these days.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mail Call!

I've been waiting for a bunch of packages, and a few of them had the good manners to turn up today. Hooray!



I ordered a handful of base yarns to test out...unfortunately they came unlabelled. The two small skeins are Louet Gems, I know that much. The other two are Cherry Tree Hill Supersock and Sockittome, but I don't know which is which. I'm trying to enlist Ravelry dyers to help me identify them. Blah.



And here is my beautiful pyramid-o-toxins. Can't actually use them until my big order of safety gear and separate utensils comes in, and I still need to find an old pot. But still exciting! Dharma Trading sent me a free silk scarf since it was my first order (that white thing in the corner). I've got to say, based on this experience I seriously recommend them...they shipped the same day and it got here literally about two days after I ordered. The yarn above was ordered a little over a week ago. Mail is weird, everything always seems to show up at once.

In other funness, my yarn tags came from Moo:



All this means several things.

1. The food-dyed stuff you saw before will probably be in the etsy shop soon (all but the stuff I really really love and can't part with.)

2. I got the sock yarn to play with but I'll probably be mostly doing the Reinyarnations for a while, but this time, with real dyes. Yippee! Assuming I can pull this off in my closet sized kitchen. It might have to wait til we move.


Ok, I guess only two things. But still. Neat!

Monday, February 9, 2009

I've always relied on the kindness of strangers...

Actually that is extremely untrue. I've always been skeptical of the kindness of strangers, at least since the "don't take candy from the nice man, he probably wants to kidnap and murder you" talks back in first grade. But sometimes, strangers impress me.

For example: My swap partner has officially flaked (sometimes my skepticism is very, very founded.) However, a bunch of nice people who have already sent their swap gifts have stepped up to cover the void left by the handful of Flakey McFarters, and so I will get a package (or several small packages from different people) after all. And that is very nice of them :-)

And another: A while ago, somebody messaged me on Ravelry saying they'd seen on a wishlist in the RAK (random acts of kindness) group that I was collecting scraps of Malabrigo (for colorwork and other small projects). She promised to poke through her collection and send a few things my way. I'd all but forgotten about this offer until this showed up at my door today:



Holy friggin crap! That's not "a few scraps", that's a big ole' box of Christmas!



Some of them are practically whole skeins. Wild. Only the dog was around to see my face, but I'm sure it was hilarious.

In any case, I now feel terribly behind on my RAK-ing. I'll have to go through some wishlists tonight so I can pay it forward. But also, since this yarn was free, any and all patterns I make with it will be free as well (though I can't promise I'll use it all for designing... there's a pattern or two I've got my eye on.) So keep an eye out. Malabrigo fun for all! Wooo!

I am a bit worried about my Moo cards, though... anyone know if post from England is slow these days?

Goin' Pro. Ish.

I just ordered everything I need to do acid dyeing (except pots, which I'll get at a thrift store.) Feels good ;-)

(psst: www.sciplus.com is pretty much awesome. Especially if you sorta geek out over middle school science lab materials. I bought a beaker!!!)

Now if only my kitchen was twice as big.

Pattern- Rhoda Armwarmers!

I sat on this pattern a long time because I couldn't remember whether or not I mailed it off to a magazine... turns out I didn't. Oops.


(excuse the fact that one is all twisted... I think I wanted to show off the edge, but it just looks lazy in retrospect.)







They're pretty easy, with a neato construction and a fit-as-you-go approach that means you can make them any size or length with very little fuss and pretty much zero math. They look great in self striping yarns, but a solid or varigated would also be interesting in a more subtle sort of way...and of course you can add whatever striping or patterning you want. These are done in Rowan Tapestry (two balls, though you might not end up using the second if you make them small), but I made a pretty cool smaller pair out of some rainbow SWTC Karaoke (which, sadly, I don't have any good pictures of. There is a very bad picture here.)

Available as always in the etsy shop or via Ravelry:


See the pattern page on Rav here: Rhoda!

(the fine print: Your purchase of this pattern constitutes your agreement to use this pattern only for personal, non-profit use without specific written permission from the designer (just email me!) Items made from this pattern may not be sold without permission, nor may the pattern itself be copied, sold, or distributed in any way. You may print one copy for personal use but may not print multiples to distribute, nor may you share the digital file with others. Thanks guys!)

If you need to contact me with questions, my email address is presentsknits@gmail.com - please email instead of commenting since it's much easier for me to reply that way! Thanks!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Socks? Socks!!






I'm quite satisfied, though I think I need to learn some new heels and toes next time. They are cozy and pretty and yay.

Also, check out these wonky bluejays we have here:




They look like normal blue jays that have had their heads dipped in ink. And perhaps some tail feathers blue'd. I've been meaning to get a picture for a while now.


Also, I made this thing, because I can't help clicking stuff like this and making one



Like? Much? Really? Huh.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Bunny Ears

So I caved a while back and bought some of that handspun angora that Malabrigo puts out. You don't get much yardage for the money, but it is just so damn pretty.

And, having lost my favorite pair of rabbit fur (vintage, ok??) earmuffs.... I made these.




I thought that I had a brilliant plan that would negate the need for a chin tie, but unfortunately they just do not sit tight enough without one. I can't tell if they're cute or intensely stupid looking.

Anyway...if it seems like there is an interest I'll write up the pattern. Otherwise, you can just laugh at me :-)




Meanwhile, I've resolved to do more spinning. I've been neglecting it because knitting is much easier to pick up for a few minutes here and there, but I miss it.

So here is some baby camel. A tricky fleece, but so worth it, and I don't particularly mind the unevenness. I didn't have very much though, so I don't know what I'll do with it, besides replace a camel bracelet/cuff thing that I lost a year or so ago.



More to come, I hope.

Cali-forn-i-ayy

So several months ago I went to Napa and San Francisco. And it took me forever to edit the pictures. And it has taken me even longer to remember to mention it. But I am remembering now.

The bulk of the photos can be seen here, but here are a few I particularly like.









Fun! Wine! Yay!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Attack of the Socktopus!*

(And not the cute kind, either.)




I, unlike seemingly the rest of the knitting world, actually LIKE dpns. I like working with a jumble of dainty little needles. I like how they look, and their lack of tentacle-like cords. I rarely poke myself. But I thought it was time to learn, for learnings sake, some other ways of making small diameter objects. I already know (a slightly messy form of) magic loop, having stumbled upon it myself years ago in order to finish hats without the correct size dpn. It is messy because I don't keep super long needles around, and so I use a size 16, and usually divide the mess into three parts instead of two, but the same principles apply. It's alright for finishing hats but involves much too much reshuffling of stitches for me to want to do it for a entire sock.

So I thought I'd try the two circ method, the main draw of which is the fact that I can knit two things at the same time, thus eliminating second sock (or glove, or whatever) syndrome and being sure not to run out of yarn. I wanted to try it with one thing, first, though, so I moved this sock over from it's dpns for a trial run:



(These have been in the works for a while, but they keep getting bumped for new projects. The red is Madelinetosh in Ox Blood, the orange is Koigu, and the green is Jitterbug. I like semisolid jewel tones, can you tell?)

I have to say, even though it's still more needle-shuffling and tentacle-wrangling than I prefer, it IS decreasing the ladders between needles that I normally have some trace of (I'm pretty good about it, especially at larger gauges, but they still turn up in socks just a tad. Especially in ribbing.) Also more portable, possibly, since it's much harder for stitches to fall off a 24 inch circ.

So then I decided to try the two-fer.



For some reason my other size 7 Addi's are missing, so my first problem is probably the over-coiled piece of crap plastic cord that I'm dealing with, but I had a hellish time casting on. I think in the future, if I continue doing this, I'll cast on with dpns and then slip them onto the needles in the proper configuration. Now that I've got a couple inches, it's much smoother. Working from opposite ends of a centerpull ball has the benefit of, well, one ball...but it's a bit tangly. Might use two next time. Hmm.

I'm torn. It was a pain in the ass to set up, and I don't really think it's going any faster, and there's a hell of a lot of needle-juggling... BUT BOTH ARE HAPPENING AT THE SAME TIME!

Maybe the answer is to get two sets of dpns and alternate. I don't know.


In other news: Look, Travis finished his scarf!



Awww. He left that wad at the end there (he'd cast on too many and we ditched them early on) for some sort of sentimental reasons. Otherwise it's a damn good garter stitch scarf. He caught all his mistakes as he made them, and either fixed them himself or brought them to me. Looks a lot better than my first :-/

And speaking of Travis, his dear parents sent us some gorgeous bowls in a neat little split shoebox thingy which I have appropriated in order to finally complete my mini-bar masterpiece on the mantel



I kept saying I was going to get a spicerack for them, but it hasn't happened. The shadowbox effect is nice though. Ahem.





*Strictly speaking, it cannot be a socktopus, since the acid yellow thingies are destined to be legwarmers. But we are not speaking strictly.

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