Friday, July 28, 2006

I apologise in advance.

The other night I was lying in bed, trying to fall asleep, and my brain was doing its usual merry skip from topic to unrelated topic. (This may lead you to believe that I am a lateral thinker. I am not. Speaking of which, I really must do a sudoku puzzle sometime soon.)

The following is the product of said attempt to fall asleep:

What author writes sordid, true-life tales of scarf knitting gone horribly wrong, complete with tell-all photos?

Truman Clapotis.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Hail, Arachne!

*insert fanfare with ancient Greek instruments here*

You eight-legged vixen, you. Yes, I saw the backwards knitting article in the latest Knitty. I even printed it off. But it was so long and involved that I didn't get beyond a cursory skim.

So I know it was your doing tonight when I idly picked up my Knitter's Handbook to see if it had anything pithy to say about Continental knitting -- and instead came across a simple, two-step explanation for knitting in reverse. My head filled with a chorus of singing muses, and I raised my voice aloud in your praise and cried: "This is fucking brilliant!!!"

I prostrate myself at your spidery feet in gratitude.
Oh look - you're wearing little handknitted spider socks.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Yarn squirrel goes nuts

"You know, Soho," I said to myself, "perhaps you're stuck in a self-perpetuating cycle. You don't post that often because your posts are large and time-consuming. But they're likely large and time-consuming because you don't post that often."

"Curious thought," I replied. "Perhaps I'll think about that after I've made this large, time-consuming post."

I thought about calling myself a yarn rat, given that I'm stellar at packing it away (more on that in a moment), but then decided yarnsquirrel sounded far more amusing. And appropriate. I go squirrelly over yarn, and it's getting kinda silly. And disturbing. What long winter looms on my horizon that I must procure everything for every project right now, even though I can't possibly get through all that I've got any time soon? Hmmm. Time for some yarn psychology. And maybe some addiction counselling.

Oh, but I am dire today. Here's some lightness and good stuff as an antidote.

I organised my yarn, for one thing. Picked up a bunch of clear plastic zippy cases in a couple of sizes from Romni, and managed to tidy away most of the yarn cornucopia spilling from the baskets around my knitting chair. I'm in a (good-sized) bachelor apartment, so it's made a huge difference - things are looking far less dishevelled. While I'm definitely satisfied, I'm also alarmed by the appearance of my (narrow) broom closet, which is now piled chest-high with knitting and spinning supplies. Some folks have skeletons; I've got yarn. Which is, I suppose, something of a skeleton. *note to self: consider the possibility of knitting a skeleton out of yarn. Oh look - here's something that comes close.

Finished stuff! Finished stuff!

About a week ago, I finished the hemp tank top. Highly pleased - my first real non-extremity garment that isn't a shawl! Looks great lying flat. Less so on the body, but not unwearable. This is what I get for gaining weight and having a relatively giant chest in comparison with my back. Fits fine in front, but is rather wrinkly around the sides. Must learn more about shaping of garments so I can deviate more easily from the pattern.

Also finished the green Tropicana socks for Ms. Laura. They look pretty good - didn't get a pic, I'm afraid - but the heel instructions were doofus-y. Why oh why oh why would the designer instruct one to put one's short-row heel (hee - typed 'hell') wraps on spare needles on either side, so you're knitting with two needles, and the stitches you've already wrapped are hanging out on two more? Comment est'ce qu'on dit: loose freaking heel seams en francais? I hope they fit her. Laura ominously declared: "I will make them fit." She displayed an eerie level of determination.

And today, oh sweet today now recently, oh sweet recently, I finished my very own summer hat like the one I knitted earlier this year. It took about a week. I knew right off that the base was going to be green, but thought I'd stretch my boundaries and accent it with cream and rose pink. I didn't get far before I realised it would have the effect of making me appear as though I were wearing a salmon-and-cress sandwich on my head. WRONG. Happily, I'd messed up the gauge, so had to start again - and back I went to my usual colour palette: black and purple accents. It looks pretty good, I think.

As previously mentioned, I've been doing Freestyle Fridays at Lettuce Knit with Laura. Here's the product - my first needly stab at Fair Isle. It's the kerchief from Loop-d-Loop, knit in Rowan Handknit Cotton. Kinda Hallowe'en meets Christmas, don't'cha think? People will think I'm a runaway elf. I think next time, I'm going to go for purple, black, red, silvery grey, etc.

t's boom bag is proceeding apace.

Here's the sock yarn I didn't buy at the Lettuce Leap party.

I also went spankaloid for the Lace Wings shawl (see #5 in the link) worn by its creatrix to the YarnHarlot's birthday pardy. Yes, I sed 'pardy'. It's a lovely design, knit out of one skein of Handmaiden sea silk - which seems to excite people (see pattern in close-up shot).

And I went a little mad on a couple of other purchases too. Some Handmaiden Ottawa, which I would like to make into their new short pencil skirt - assuming I can get the pattern...and some Fleece Artist Wild and Woolly (the muppety stuff in my splendid sofa afghan [on hold due to the summer heattm], which I will one day make into a muppet in scarf form.

I also purchased a set of Denise needles - and am confounded. The sizing is crazy, in that the mm measurements are bizarre. For example, say I'm looking for a U.S. size 9 needle (which is 5.5 mm). In the Denise set, it's 5.2 mm. Size 6 is 4.2 mm. Size 10.5 : 6.3 mm. Hmph. Weird, weird, weird. I'm sure they'll work wonderfully, but my precision-oriented self gets all uptight contemplating the use of an off-size needle. When I want a size 9, dang it, all is not right with the world unless I know in my little heart that the needles are 5.5 mm. Knowing it's off is akin to fingers going down my mental chalkboard, or perhaps a mental mosquito.

I've also decided to take on some charity knitting. Knit-o-Matic is distributing donated yarn for knitters to turn into winter gear for Street Knit. You can drop off finished items at Knit-o, the Knit Café and the Naked Sheep. If you're game, it's a good cause.

As a parting amusement, I recently found a fascinating book by a guy that makes custom sock creatures out of people's old sox. The gallery...oh, the gallery. I am still mighty fond of LickLick after 2 weeks of admiration, but man, there are a lot of competitors for his spot at the top of the heap.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Photoless Philanderings

As per usu' (pr. 'yooj'), my wee little brain is spinning with all the goings-on. Where to start, where to start? We're photo-less for now, but piccies will eventually follow.

Hokay: Last weekend, t and I hightailed it to Romni to select yarn for the felted boom bag in the latest Knitscene (I mean, who can say no to 20% absolutely everything - sale or otherwise - all July??). We were initially thinking along the same lines as the colours in the mag, but as is wont to happen, t ended up going in a whole 'nother direction, so his swanky satchel will be a gorgeous, deep violet tweed with a moss green overlay (both Tahki Donegal Tweed). I'm having to re-calculate the number of stitches, as of course the gauge is different from the original yarn. So far, so good. Ninety-seven rounds of stocking stitch, though. Twelve down. Eep.

While there, I snaggled some Rowan handknit cotton for my Fair Isle experiment - I'm doing Lettuce Knit's Freestyle Fridays with the Divine Laura, who knows a whole lotta everything. FI's normally done in wool and in the round, but hey - I'm a glutton for sucker-punishment.

I was trying to figure out why one of the Romni staff was so familiar to me. t thought so too. We wracked our brains - and then I realised: she used to bartend at the Velvet Underground Goth Night on Thursdays! Weird. And then...I started to wonder if I was crazy, or if it was also, as I suspected, the rather reknowned Robin Melanson. Hmmm.

Wednesday I forewent (hee - foregoed) the knitting meetup in favour of the combination Lettuce Knit's Sudden Move to New Digs/Amy Knitty's Leap Party. I did not buy sock yarn. Socks That Rock I never do. Socks That Rock I am a model of restraint. Socks That Rock Dined with Sandi and Jacquie and marvelled at the number of knitters that turned out for the grand celebration.

Wed the new Knitty also came out. I didn't swoon over the Knucks pattern at first, but over the last few days it has sneaked its way into my head and grasped my brain in its (And of course they spell out 'KNIT MITT'.) Mel and I have been coming up with some alternatives to the not-bad list developed by the Knucks crew. A sampling:

MEDI EVIL (or EVAL, if you're a purist...I was also thinking today that MISE RERE would be good)
SOCK YARN (dunno where the inspiration for that came from)
YARN SL*T (or perhaps SOCK SL*T?)
GAMR NERD (that would be moi)
TEJA DORA (a word for 'knitter' in Spanish - technically 'weaver')
FAIR ISLE (for a FI glove, of course)
KNIT TAH! (methinks I need a pair of these - ooh...there's a good one: METH INKS)

I, however, have decided for now to go with ILLU MIN8 . I have grand plans. Did I mention that I used to embroider? I will say no more for now. *claps hands with sinister glee*

Friday was the first Freestyle Fri, and o' course I left me' gear chez moi (the yarn, that is). So I picked up a couple of balls of something-or-other and some cheap sock yarn in a beautiful green, and learned to knit Fair Isle! Go me! Probby a good thing I started on something else so I can get the mangling out of the way before attempting my kerchief.

Today I met up with me' mum for a knit at the Second Cup...and we ended up at Romni. She'd never been before, so you can imagine what her experience was like. She was literally speechless -- and that rarely happens. I actually did not buy sock yarn this time -- for real! I picked up a couple more skeins for t's bag, a couple of Rowan handknit cotton skeins for a sunhat, and some Rowan felted tweed for some knucks! And I even exercised restraint: I put back three of the six balls I grabbed. It darn near killed me, but I managed. And the goth bartendrix extraordinaire is Robin Melanson! She recognises me from Velvet. Her younger sister used to hang out with my friend Phil. Go figure. And how cool is that - that a designer I admire used to serve me drinks? This town is full of knitting greatness, I tell ya'.