Friday, January 07, 2011

My little sister is 18!

While I've not been blogging, my little sister went and turned 18 in October. I can hardly believe it. She's the first person I've known from baby to adult, and it's making me feel really old.

I'm not really sure what the kids are into these days, but I'm pretty sure my sister likes crazy socks. Us? Related? Apparently she never matches them, which is where the resemblance ends. Well, she'll probably have to wear these as a pair, since knitted socks are so much thicker. Oh but then maybe she'd wear different thickness socks as well as different patterns and lengths...shudder....I need to stop thinking about that. I would probably gnaw my own ankle off if I tried that.

Anyway, socks.

Courtney's socks

This is yarn I got in Switzerland, at the department store. One of the many wonderful things about Europe is that you can buy yarn at the department store. And the really amazing thing is that it is good quality yarn. Most of it is wool, there is superwash or not, it is available in solid colors, and most of the sock yarn comes with reinforcing. Amazing. This is some Opal sock yarn from Co-op City (apparently the "City" makes a difference - regular Co-op sadly does not have yarn.)

In Summary:

Yarn: Opal Sock Yarn, I lost the ball band, but typical wool/nylon sock blend with bonus! reinforcing
Needles: Size US 1 dpn
Pattern: K2 p2 ribbed cuff, k6 p2 ribbed leg, typical heel flap, typical toe
Time: A few weeks, lazily, in Europe
Cost: Not telling as it's a gift, but less than one would expect

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


Yes, while I was away, I went to Europe. Sorry about not telling you that. A certain gentleman I like I lot has the misfortune to live in Switzerland, and I went to visit him. It was in part a working trip, I had thesis writing to do, but I also did all the things one has to do in Europe.

I climbed to the top of a cathedral. This was more exercise I'd had since ...the last time I climbed to the top of a cathedral. The staircases are narrow and winding, and the tops of them tend to be really high up.
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This is Geneva, Switzerland.
Geneva from the cathedral

We also visited Manchester, England, where I bought all the knitting magazines. There are a lot of knitting magazines in the UK, did you know that? I will not be telling you how much I spent or how much the resulting stack weighed.
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I saw a cathedral there too, but you weren't allowed to climb it.
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Since I apparently can't go anywhere without poking at my dislike of heights, we also went up on the Manchester Eye, a slightly smaller version of the London one. I was totally fine with it. Really.
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I drank lots of coffee.
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And my wool-dar led me to barge that was also a knitting shop.

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The nice lady let me in, even though it was closed. She was a knitter, and she and her husband, a photographer, live on the barge and travel up and down the river selling knitted goods and photographs. I bought a hat.
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And I saw my friend Mika, who I had promised a "wooly hat" a long time ago.
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This is the Quantoid Hat from the Fall 2010 Knitscene. I think I bought the issue solely for how cool this hat was. It did not disappoint.

In summary:

Yarn: Some superwash wool I got from Stitches, 1 skein medium blue, 1 skein light blue
Pattern: Quantoid Hat from Fall 2010 Knitscene
Needles: Size 5 (3.75 mm) 16" circ, Size 6 (4 mm) 16" circ, Size 6 (4 mm) dpn
Time: A little more than a flight to Switzerland via a long layover in Canada
Cost: About $16, you count yarn used and not purchased. I have enough left over to easily make a contrasting one, if not the same hat again.

Oh, and we took cutesy pictures of ourselves. We're kind of disgusting.

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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

O Hai, Blog

It's been a while. I keep meaning to dig into this thing and fix the slightly screwed up template, but since that's not going to happen just yet, I'm going to start posting anyway.

While I have not been blogging, I have been knitting. And sewing. And traveling. And all sorts of other things. Like, um, writing my thesis. But that will be done very soon! And I will go back to showing you the things I make.

Duncan is looking in my computer for pictures for you.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Someone I know from the Internet does something cool

Someone I know as another knitter from the internet also has a super cool career in her real life. Kayla Renee Dyches (nee Bodiford) makes hula hoops look cool.

I have absolutely no idea how she does it. I was never even able to get the hula hoop to go around me more than twice.

Did I mention she also spins around in the air like an acrobat?

Seriously cool stuff. If I lived anywhere near the Savannah, Georgia, I would so be signing up for lessons. Not that I would look anywhere as near as graceful doing it, but I could certainly break my neck trying.

Gratuitous linking.
Riot Hooping (warning: loud intro)
More videos (youtube)
Modelling info

Er, sorry about the videos going off the screen weird. I keep meaning to up date my template on this and never getting around to it. Links have better videos.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Not Knitting

This is not knitting. It's not even crochet.
But in a way, it is inspired by knitting.
It's also inspired by Project Runway. I am Project Runway junkie. The current season is not enough, I have even been watching the seasons I missed on DVD.
I keep watching Project Runway wishing I could do that, wanting to come up with fabulous dresses. And in my fantasy world, I even run off to fashion school. Or at least take a class at the sewing store.
But that's not how I learned to knit, and I'm awfully good at knitting these days. (Sadly, Project Runway: Knitting would be fairly boring to watch.) In fact, I'm self-taught (-1 point in the Project Runway fantasy game). Nope. I started with scarves. Horrible, acrylic scarves with lots of holes in them, that had approximately the same number of stitches on each row, give or take five.
And then I made slightly better scarves, and maybe a hat or two. I gave people weirdly shaped clothing for Christmas. I made mistakes, I took on projects way over my head, and I improved slowly. I kept trying something just a little bit harder, and I didn't start with minuscule lace. I started with really bad worsted weight acrylic. I wasn't scared of it, I didn't worry that I'd never be able to knit an Alice Starmore sweater.
I'm a little bit ahead on the sewing front. I sewed when I was a kid, I even made a whole dress at one point. I can sew a straight line. I have a nifty new sewing machine that does embroidery. It's time to sew.
When I have sewn before, I have run into some problems with fitting. If you just buy a pattern, and pick a size and follow it, it's going to fit about as well as an item off the rack, which in my case is generally not well. The whole point of sewing, as the whole point of knitting, is to find something that fits perfectly, and blindly following a pattern is not going to do that for me. I need to learn how to fit things properly. But first, I need to make ugly acrylic scarves. That is to say, I need to start with something simple where I can make a few mistakes when it comes to exact dimensions.
Luckily, Jo-Anne Fabrics has these really simple little kits. They whole pattern is printed onto about a yard of cotton. You cut it out, try to interpret the directions, and sew it together.
And you wind up with this.

Or this.

The first are called Stash Sacks. They're simple little drawstring cases. The smallest two have appliques on the front. The kit came with 5 or 6 appliques, I only liked these two. I've saved the others for future purposes (because I am a pack rat and save nearly everything), but I'm pretty happy with the big on as is. And the best part is that I'll actually use them. I think they're perfect for packing in luggage. The smallest one is about the right size for some jewelry, maybe. The biggest one might be big enough to hold some dirty clothes. The middle one is damn cute, and I'm sure I'll find a purpose for it. But it's great, I'll actually use them. And they're obnoxious colors and prints that I actually love. I would buy things like these.
The second is a "reversible" tote, that has obviously immediately become a knitting bag. I put reversible in quotes, because it's sewn inside out, and turned through a small opening, which is then slip-stitched shut. I am not so great at slip stitching, it would appear, so that side will probably remain as lining.

I'm really happy with these. Luckily the patterns are pretty straight forward, and I can see how the pieces is fit together. The directions sound like they were written in Italian, translated into Russian, translated again into Japanese, and then finally into English. Actually, I think they just assume a bit more sewing knowledge than I have, which seems like a bad move on what is clearly a beginner kit. But I have made useful things!
Expect more sewing from me in the future, but with far less details than the knitting. Really, it's just an excuse to show pretty pictures.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Jaywalkers, Take 2

These are the first socks I've knit twice*. Here are the first pair, some of the oldest socks I own.

These are the first Jaywalkers, which were the third pair of socks I ever knit. I mostly knit them in Japan, in fact, so I always have fond memories of them.

Me in Japan.

Those Jaywalkers are totally in progress in my bag in those pictures.
They're some of my favorites and I wear them all the time. I love the variegated yarn in the Jaywalker pattern, but I kept seeing ones online where people had used self-striping yarns and got a cute chevron affect. I decided I wanted some too.

I got this yarn at Stitches....2008? Not last year, but some time ago. Maybe even the year before, who knows? But it sat in my stash wanting to become Jaywalkers.
Like the last pair, I subbed in an eye of partridge heel, because I think the peaks really go well with the peaks in the Jaywalker pattern.

For some reason, when you have a yarn and a project already picked out for each other, it almost seems like it's a real project. And when it's a real project and you're not working on it, it seems like a UFO.
So anyway. Cute chevron Jaywalkers. It's not like I like this colorway or anything.

* By that I mean the first actual pattern. Sure, I've made basic 2x2 rib socks or plain stockinette socks plenty of times, but this is the first time I've actually played by someone else's rules twice.

In Summary:
Pattern: Jaywalkers by Grumperina
Yarn: I'm pretty sure it's a German yarn like Schoeller and Stahl, but I lost the ball band. It's definitely 75% superwash with 25% nylon
Needles: US Size 1 (2.25mm) dpn
Time: A few weeks of intermittent work
Cost: Around $10

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Exchange Bag

I'm a big fan of Debbie Stoller. When I first got the Happy Hooker book, I went on a major crochet spree. I think this was before I started blogging. This was back in Indiana, in fact, so a rather long time ago. Anyway, I made like 6 patterns from that book in a row. And then, for some reason, I got stuck on this one.

So, I just decided to go with it. I don't know if I followed the pattern exactly, I don't really care. I've got a cute little bag out of it.

I'm a big fan of this yarn, which I never would have found out about without the book. It's Hilos la Espiga, which is basically polyester twine. It's pretty water-resistant, so great for a bag, and it's really not annoying on your hands when you knit, as I feared it would be. I think it would make a great market bag. It comes in a lot of really brilliant colors.

In summary:
Pattern: Exchange Bag from the Happy Hooker (Stitch and Bitch Crochet)
Yarn: Hilos la Espiga in bright green
Needles: A crochet hook appropriate for worsted weight yarn
Time: Several years, in fact, but most of that was in jail. I think you could do it easily in a week or two, if you can read a crochet pattern better than I can.
Cost: Under $20, I'm sure