Friday, June 08, 2012

Start 'Em Young?

In one of her many books and/or blog posts, the Yarn Harlot wrote, years ago, about the belief that knitted items somehow "soak up" the vibes that surround them while being knit. This is sort of the idea behind prayer/comfort shawls and really, all items we make for dear friends and family. Steph said something about how this worried her, though, because there was often a lot of frustration and cursing surrounding her knitting, and she didn't want that to be transferred to the recipient, haha.

Along those lines, I felt the need to notify my friend J that her soon-to-be-born daughter might have an unexplainable obsession with Viking vampires. Not only are the repeats of her blanket-in-progress marked with True Blood stitch markers--one seen on Wednesday and also here
--but also I've been working on it while watching my brand new Season 4 DVDs. I don't have HBO, so I'm perpetually a year behind, waiting on the DVDs, but it does have the benefit of letting me watch everything at once, usually over the course of a week. So, if it's true that knits can soak up their surroundings, this little girl is destined to be a True Blood fan! (But only when she's old enough!)

Monday, June 04, 2012

Signature Needles...Again!

I was going to take some updated WIP pictures when I got home from work, but I went to Zumba instead. So I'll share an update on how I feel about the Signature circulars my aunt got me for graduation. Short version? Still love 'em! Longer version? They're great needles. You can tell they're well made, and I appreciate that. The tips aren't quite as revolutionary anymore as they were when they were first introduced (other companies have improved theirs to match), but they're just right, in my opinion. The way the cable swivels at the join to the needle tips is kind of the best ever. One tiny little annoyance? I'm used to knitting with the Knit Picks interchangeables, which have the small key hole in the tips. You can use that hole to string a lifeline while knitting by threading your lifeline yarn through the hole and then knitting as usual. It gets pulled along through all your stitches, easy-peasy. Since the Signatures are fixed, they don't have that key hole, so you have to string your lifelines by hand:
Lila Shawl--Lifeline
Tiny, tiny, beyond minuscule annoyance, but something I've noted.

I'm through the three repeats of Chart A on that shawl (the Lila pattern) and still have a good bit to go. I have to finish it in about two weeks...wish me luck!

Friday, June 01, 2012

Fair Isle/Stranded Knitting

I've never been much for colorwork beyond basic intarsia and some duplicate stitch, I think just because of my personal style. So I've never done proper Fair Isle or stranded knitting. Well, now I have a very good reason to learn! I received my swap package yesterday for the Ravelry Odd Ducks Harry Potter Spells & Potions swap (Odd Ducks is the name of the Rav group), and let me tell you, it is amazing! Here's an overview of everything: HP Spells & Potions Mosaic
Each individual gift had a character card with a quote that tied to the present--how perfect!

 One of the more impressive gifts, based on amount of work as well as sheer awesomeness, is this scarf: Hermione's Scarf
It's a perfect replica of the one Hermione wears in the later films, and I love it so much! What's extra cool is that my spoiler sent along the ball bands from the yarn that she used to knit it, which means that I can match the colors exactly and make the matching mittens--awesome! But since I want them to look as great as the scarf, I feel like I ought to practice stranded knitting first on some easier projects. Any suggestions?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Dear Future Sister (In Law)

This is how much I love you:
Oh that's right, I am crocheting for you, for your graduation present. Not my favorite, but the best way to make what you want--so it's worth it!

It's strange...I've known how to crochet for probably six or seven years now, but I always choose knitting when possible. Crochet seems rougher on my wrists, and slower. What's your preference, and why?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Shiny New Needles!

Look what my awesome aunt got me for graduation:
Signature Needles
Two Signature circulars, in US 4 and US 7, my two most-used sizes!

They're even custom engraved:
Signature Needles
How cool is that?!?

She emailed me a few weeks ago with a link to the Signature website wondering if I would want a pair or, YES PLEASE. There are so many options, so I sent her back a range of what I'd want/use for each, and she picked two combinations that are perfect!

I'm already transferring one of my WIPs over to the 7s:
Signature Needles

You can kind of see the difference between the (red) Signatures and the (silver) KP Options, although it's more obvious in person. Now don't get me wrong, the Options are great needles, but the Stiletto tips on the Signatures are longer, narrower, and pointier without being sharp on the end, so they won't hurt your fingers. Love 'em!!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

FO: Soon-To-Be-Newlyweds Dishcloths

My brother is getting married this June. Last weekend, I went to a bridal shower for his fiancee, my FSIL, who's adorable. And also about to finish up school at the Naval Academy and be commissioned into the US Marine Corps. Which means that they won't be able to live together after they get married for awhile. So I made them matching sets of dishcloths:
Dishcloths for S&A

Each set has the six same cloths. Brother took brown, and future-sister took green.
Dishcloths for S&A
That way, when they use them, they can think of the other person and how they have the matching piece.

I listed each of the stitch patterns on the Rav project page, and you can see them all here:
Dishcloths for S&A
Mostly my standards, all good and scrubby.

Lastly, all packaged up, unwrapped so they'd make it through airport security:
Dishcloths for S&A

Monday, May 14, 2012


I cast on for my Kaylee's Parasol Socks in the airport early Saturday morning. Four plane flights later (two out and two back), I've got this:
Kaylee's Parasol Socks

I...don't think I've ever knit that fast. In total it's probably only six or seven hours of knitting, and a good bit of that time I was reading while I knit, so not going as fast as possible. Where did all of that come from?!

I didn't know how the colorway would knit up, as I'm the first to actually make something with it, so I was incredibly charmed to see that the colors are spiraling around the sock:
Kaylee's Parasol Socks

Why so charmed? Because that's exactly what they do in the actual parasol:

Friday, May 11, 2012

Endings & Beginnings

Two years ago I started a pair of Monkey socks in my FFtC Jasper yarn. See, it was really clever, because at the time, Jackson Rathbone, the actor who plays Jasper in the Twilight films, was in a band called 100 Monkeys. Well I was only knitting 2, so I called the project 100 (-98) Monkeys and was quite chuffed. But then they pooled, terribly:



Yeah, that's the same sock. You almost can't even tell, looking at the different sides. I knew I'd never be happy with them, and that I ought to frog them, but I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Until today, when I wound the yarn for another Perfectly Cleverly Named Project, Kaylee's Parasol Socks, and needed the needles:

Kaylee's Parasol Socks

Get it? The yarn is Kaylee's Parasol, from Firefly, in Schmutzerella's Comfy (MCN) base, and the pattern is called Parasol Socks, with wee lace umbrellas on the leg. I'll cast on tomorrow (well, later today)--so excited!

Here's a better picture of the yarn, from back when I got it and wasn't in a hurry to get pictures before the sun set:
Kaylee's Parasol

(I still haven't technically frogged the Monkeys, because tonight has been super busy--which is why this is technically posting on Saturday morning, not Friday night--and so I decided it wasn't a good use of my time. I'll get to them...eventually...)

Monday, May 07, 2012

Fan-tastic Dishcloths

I talked about dishcloths a bit on Friday, and thought that today I'd show off one of my favorite things you can do with them: knit fandom-related motifs and know that they will still get used! If I send someone a fannish accessory, item of clothing, or piece of jewelry, there's no way to know if they will actually wear it. For example, even though I love Doctor Who, I wouldn't wear 90% of the Who shirts that pop up on the daily tee websites. They are cute, and I chuckle, but they're not my style. But will I use a Who dishcloth? Absolutely! They are great for including in swap packages, too, as a fun little extra handmade. Here are some that I made last year for two different packages as part of the Odd Ducks Doctor Who swap on Ravelry.

Don't Blink Washcloth
Don't Blink

because the
Weeping Angel Washcloth
Weeping Angels

have the
TARDIS Washcloth
Phone Box!

Those all went into one box, because the phrases went together nicely (a reference to the episode Blink), and then another box got just a Weeping Angel because the recipient is a big fan:
Don't Blink!
Aren't they fun?

One of my favorite fannish dishcloth designers is holynarf on Ravelry. Her designs are mostly Doctor Who, but there are some Firefly and general geeky designs as well, and they are all free patterns, which is excellent!

Friday, May 04, 2012

Multipurpose Knitting

I knit a lot of dishcloths. That links to a set of 25+ different dishcloth projects, many of them with multiple cloths. And those are just the ones I bothered to add to my Rav projects! Many of them I give away (they are great useful gifts, for babies and grown-ups alike), and the rest I keep around to, y'know, wash my dishes. They're cheap and easy to make (though you can experiment with harder patterns if you want), gentle on china and cookware, and sanitary, because I grab a new one every time I do dishes and toss 'em in the laundry after.

This morning, when I was packing my lunch, I was trying to figure out how to transport a hard-boiled egg to school without cracking the shell or squishing it. I had a plastic container that was just a little too big, and I didn't want the egg bouncing around. I needed a good cushion, and I was pondering possible solutions while standing right in front of the dishcloth voilĂ !
Clean dishcloth to the rescue! My egg made it safe and sound and was very much enjoyed with lunch.

If you're wondering, the pattern is a small version of the Mason-Dixon Knitting Baby Genius Burp Cloth, and it's great for scrubbing dishes because of the raised lines on the front:
It's my go-to dishcloth pattern!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Baby Blankets

*insert generic "I haven't blogged in forever" paragraph, with the current excuse being "I wrote and defended a 250 page astrophysics Ph.D. thesis"*

As is traditional for the late-20s/early-30s age group, it seems like everyone I know is having a baby these days. It brings me great joy because I can't have one of my own yet, so I just knit for (and occasionally borrow) the ones that belong to my friends. Here are two blankets I've finished recently that I was very pleased with:

Hazel's Blanket
Hazel's Blanket
Full details on the Rav project page.

I bought the yarn (KnitPicks Swish, my favorite baby yarn!) a long time ago because I knew the colorway would match Hazel's bedding nicely, but then I went through about 14,000 different patterns searching for the perfect one. I almost started a few different ones, and I almost designed one from (mostly) scratch, but then this Zig Zag Baby Blanket showed up in one of Threadpanda's Friday Finds posts and I instantly fell in love with it! I knit the pattern as written, and it turned out a bit narrower/longer than I would have liked, but that mostly blocked out. If I knit it again, I'll probably add another repeat of the stitch pattern to make it wider. I got to deliver this blanket in person, which was pretty great.

Hazel's Blanket
Isn't she wee and precious?

Ava's Blanket
Ava's Blanket
Full details on the Rav project page.

My fourth pinwheel blanket, and almost certainly not my last. They are so easy but they look so nice when finished, they're good for both boys and girls, and you can play with colors however you want. Love love love this pattern!

Ava's Blanket

Ava hasn't arrived yet, but will soon, and hopefully then her mom and dad will send me some modeled shots!

I have two more blankets in the planning stages. The yarn has been acquired for one, and excavated from the stash for the other, so hopefully I'll be able to pick patterns and get going on those soon!