Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Better lighting, cuter object

Look, I'm knitting myself a pair of booties! (This does fit my foot.) (Probably should've put something else in the shot for scale, but at this rate, I'll be modelling the pair before long.)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I'm a sole, man

I'm sure the larger-than-average-footed among you will feel me when I say that "one size fits all" patterns for footwear make me a little nervous.

(Sorry for the terrible low-light photo, but I just finished the knitting and I simply had to show you today!) (Yes, I'm also reading today -- and finding that garter stitch on straight needles was nice and easy to pick up and put down between chapters of Law in the Domains of Culture.)

Anyway, the pattern is the Purl Bee's Mary Jane Slippers, and I'm using Moda Dea Washable Wool in "real teal" (not that fake kind, no sir). The pattern calls for 3.75mm needles, and I went up to 4.0mm due to previously mentioned large-footedness. Of course the garter stitch stretches hugely, so hopefully these will fit. And soon. 'Cause my feet are cold. (It's snowing today. Sigh.)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

On "repurposing"

I'm sure glad we bought this stationary bike a couple years ago. I honestly don't know where else I'd dry all my socks.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Just stuff

Wanting to check in but too lazy to come up with a proper post -- like, with photos 'n' stuff -- I thought I'd just ramble a bit.

How are you? I'm starting to get a little weary of winter. There's just been so much snow this year. Lots of it is just ice now, which means I have to concentrate more while walking down the street than while reading cultural theory. Don't even get me started on the potholes.

I'm still not reading as fast as I should, but I'm on the verge of setting some hard deadlines, since I want to be done with comps by the beginning of June. (Nadia asked, "What is a comps?" Read this.) Even though June seems impossibly far away, I know it is actually fast approaching, so I need to buckle down for reals.

As for crafty endeavors, I have a few things on the go. My Gilmore Vest is ABR (all but ribbing) -- the body is seamed together, and it just needs a bit of 1-by-1 ribbing around the armholes and the deep V-neck. (Progress photos are here on Ravelry.) I've stalled on my Swallowtail Shawl. To finish, I only have to knit the peaked edging, but it seems so small, and I have tons of yarn left, so I started thinking about adding an extra repeat of Lily of the Valley, and then I just put it all down. (I wish I'd remembered Minty's modifications earlier, since I would've added more of the bud lace pattern, but I don't fancy ripping back that much laceweight wool/silk at this point.) So I need to either finish it or calculate the adjustments needed to add another border. Umm... what else? I have two unbloggable crochet projects at the moment, but one will be blogged soon. Both can be seen on Ravelry in the meantime, here and here. Oh yeah, also, I've finished one Wallpaper Mitten (which can be seen in its unblocked glory here on Ravelry). (Hmmm, perhaps the title of this post should have been "Nothing to see here -- go straight to Ravelry.")

I've queued several variations of Mary Jane-style slippers on -- wait for it -- Ravelry, but Ingrid's new slippers definitely have me leaning toward the Purl Bee version now.

Besides adorable slippers, maybe a new desktop pattern will perk up these late February days. Here are some lovely free ones, via a link at Frenchy's Finds. Some other links I've bookmarked lately: Mariko's recipe for red velvet cupcakes; step-by-step instructions for controlled felting in a washing machine (because I'm the only knitter left on earth who has never felted something, and frankly it's because I'm a little scared); Martha Stewart's instructions for a lovely angora scarf made from teeny granny squares; and the ReadyMade video on how to re-upholster a dining room chair. Just in case you're looking for something to do.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I can get back to work now

You know what's really fast? Crochet. Crochet is really fast.

I don't really know how to do it, though. Sure, I made a pair of mittens, but the texture of my mittens is not the same as that of the mittens in the actual pattern I used! It's like setting out to knit a seed-stitch scarf and ending up with ribbing -- it's fine and it works, but... huh? What happened?

What I think happened is that I was half-double-crocheting into just the front half of each stitch, when I probably should have been going under the whole loop. (Make sense?) The mitts are not worked in a continuous spiral, but rather in one round, then you stop and turn and go back around, and so on. So the inside and outside are identical, and there's an extra-holey "seam." Anyway, I don't really know what I'm talking about... I don't have a handle on crochet vocabulary.

Once I got to attaching the thumbs, I abandoned the pattern and just winged it. One thing I like about crochet is that it is very sculptural, and you can see what you're "building" as you go. I knew I didn't just want the thumbs sticking out from the hands, so I tried to "build" a different shape, more like a knitted mitt with a thumb gusset. Oh, and I did get the ribbing at the bottom right, so I did understand fpdc and bpdc correctly.

So there you go: quick (but certainly not windproof) mittens. They're cute. Because of the crochet look, I actually think of them more as hand cozies than mittens.

OK, no more excuses. My reading list and the bathtub are calling to me...

Monday, February 11, 2008

A cry for help

Desire to crochet cute mittens has completely eclipsed desire to ever finish Ph.D. Send help.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Review: Twelve Months of Knitting

I like this book, and the more I look at it, the more I like it. Designer Joanne Yordanou offers three designs for each month of the year; of the 36 projects, most are garments for adults, from January's snowflake-motif Cross Country Ski Sweater to a bikini in March, to August's summer shawl, to the Evening Festivities Cardigan in December. Non-wearables include a lace bookmark and a felted bag (April), cotton placemats (July), and cute felted Turtle Dove Xmas ornaments. There are also two kids' sweaters (sized for ages 2 to 10) and one fancy Fair Isle dog sweater.

I certainly don't like everything in the book, but the things I like, I really like. Also, I appreciate that a good variety of yarns (and yarn weights) are suggested, many of them relatively affordable and/or easy to find (e.g., Patons Classic). Fans of Manos del Uruguay will find six projects to knit. There's even a calendar to help you plan your knitting, based on "general timelines for completion," which may or may not be useful. (The Doggy Doodle sweater will take you two weeks to knit, so don't wait till your dog absolutely needs it!)

Again, I must complain about the absence of cable charts. Don't people want their cable projects charted? I know I do. There are several cabled garments in this book, and some look rather elaborate, yet none includes a chart. I can't imagine it saves that much space to describe the stitch patterns in text rather than to provide a chart. Honestly, people.

(What do you think about the lack of charts? Do you care?)

Anyhoo, it's a pretty good book. Definitely worth checking your local library catalog, and maybe worth buying if you like the pictures above. Here, I'll show you my favourite project (will I ever knit a vest like this?):

Speaking of vests, I've almost finished knitting the front of a Gilmore Vest -- the back is finished, too. I'm using teal wool, thrifted and previously blogged here. So far, so good. It's really wonderful yarn, and once the 40 (!) rows of 1-by-1 ribbing (!) are done, it's a quick knit.

OK, I arbitrarily declare the book giveaway over! I'll be sending both Erika Knight (I just typed "Erika Knit") books to crafty Nova Scotian blogger Ingrid -- just as soon as I make a little copy of that herringbone chart, that is. Thanks for entering and telling me about your knits. Boy, we're sure knitting a lot of stuff! I'll be back later today with another book review, but this time I'm keeping the book for myself. :)

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Review x 2: Classic/Glamour Knits at Home


These two new books by designer Erika Knight are ... fine. I give them a resounding ... meh.

On the plus side, each contains very pretty photos of 15 projects: pillows, throws, pillows, slippers, pillows, and a few other things. On the minus side, however, these pretty photos don't always show enough, and schematics are provided for only a couple of projects. For example, CKaH includes a pattern for a lace throw made from 10 balls of Kidsilk Haze; it measures five feet square and is worked in four pieces, plus an edging; yet there are neither charts nor a photo of the whole throw, so the project requires quite a leap of faith by the knitter.

For me, each book contains just one excellent must-have design: the Jacquard Cushion shown on the cover of GKaH and the Houndstooth Cushion in CKaH (both with charts). Overall, though, neither is a must-have book for me. That's why I'm going to give them away. They're nice, and other bloggers like them, but they're just not for me. Would you like them both? Just leave a comment telling me what you're knitting right now, or why you feel the need for a dozen pillow patterns, or who you want to win Project Runway -- whatever you like, as long as it's more than just "send me the books!" I'll draw a name sometime next week. See you then!