Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Felting Covers Over a Multitude of Sins

Hi again! I hope you are all doing well. I have been both busy and sick so I haven't posted recently but I'll treat you to a few pictures today and then if I have a chance tonight I'll update further. To start off, MY WRAP IS COMING ALONG! Yes, the wrap that caused me such heartache when I had to do lace-ic surgery (haha, I find my own jokes funny) to fix my mistake a few rows previous. The wrap that has about a billion stitches and a billion more rows. Yes, that one. It is coming along! I can see the diamond pattern now and know I am actually making progress! But no, I have no pictures yet. I'll try to take care of that tonight for you. Until then, feast your eyes on my sister's projects. Yes, Melody's purse is coming along nicely (she has more done than in the picture) but is on hiatus while she focuses on getting her art projects done by their due date this Friday (yes, Melody, I know you are reading this...GET BACK TO WORK!!!) :-) Ah, sisterly love. Now, Melody's purse carries with it an interesting twist. Since she is putting green stripes up the corners this would generally be done as intarsia. However, she can say been there, done that, very very slow and tedious. So, we decided we'd try an unorthodox method and see how that went. Well, though we can't yet see the finished product we can say without a doubt that so far it is much faster. Instead of working the whole body of the purse in the round she is working the purse section by section (back and forth on dpns) up to the desired height. After all the sections are completed she will go back and take a tapestry needle and seam the sections together as if she had knit them. We figure that if it is seamed correctly it should come out just fine, especially since in this case she will be felting the bag afterwards. Felting covers over a multitude of sins. Speaking of felting, I have almost finished my felted bag as well. Strap and body are done. I just need to connect them and felt, dry, and walah!

Melody's purse (w/ bobbins, b/f scrapping the intarsia idea):
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Close-up of the yarn used for my soon-to-be-felted bag. Cascade 128 Rust Tweed. Gorgeous.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

That's all folks! Have a grand day!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Pride Cometh Before a Fall

Hey there! I apologize for not posting any pics Friday night. My brother and sister spent the night and I spent time with them instead of with the camera. When I do get my pics uploaded you will see not only my (meager) work but my sister's as well. She is doing awesome and she only started knitting a few months ago. Her first project was a nice blue hat in stockinette with a garter ribbing on the edge. That just needs a few more rows and it will be completed. She is now working on a belt in three parts. This means that she knits it in three parts, each part consisting of a 6 st garter stitch row worked as long as she wants the belt to be. She will then weave the three strands in and out of each other to achieve the look she's going for. This will be a loose belt that drapes slightly over the hips. Her other project, coming along well, is a purse that will soon be felted. Get this. She is doing intarsia. The purse is pink and green with a green stripe at the bottom and then green running up the corners. It is so cute and her stitches are so even! I have a picture of this so as soon as I can upload it you will see just how awesome it is!

As for my projects, I have nothing monumental to show for my efforts right now. Remember how pride comes before a fall? Well, I think I may have been priding myself too much on my growing knitting ability. Now, realizing that you're becoming a pretty good knitter with some nice skills is ok. It's taking that next step to the "I'm cool, look at me" plateau (scratch that, insert "cliff") that is the problem. And that's where all the frustrations of the last few weeks come in. I had been going along knitting up all sorts of interesting things, getting more confident of my ability level, etc etc etc. THEN...suddenly...someone opened Pandora's yarn stash box and out flew the Evil Knit Fairy (click here for a sample evil knit fairy). Yes, there is such a thing. You don't want to ever encounter this little beast. This furry little 18-fingered (all the better for holding needles with!) creature took it upon him/her self to inflict all manner of confusion, frustration, infuriatingly slow progress, dropped LACE stitches, bad yarn matches, and so on and so forth, upon me these past few parchingly dry knitting weeks. Overwhelmed? Yes, exactly. So was (am?) I. Let me paint a little picture for you:

RED WRAP w/ double-stranded KnitPicks Red Hat fingering weight wool:
Abbie very happy to receive new yarn from Knitpicks. Yarn for red wrap. Yay.
Abbie sets in to begin wonderful project.
Abbie swatches two or three times before settling on the guage she thinks she likes.
Abbie re-writes pattern to accomodate different yarn and guage.
Abbie is successful (yay!)
Abbie begins pattern, has trouble with eyelash yarn getting in the way of all the stitches.
Abbie works about 4 rows of this awfully long pattern she has created. Looks down. Realizes that the yo's in the last two sections were off by two stitches. Why? Abbie forgot to insert the appropriate yo's two rows back. No big deal, Abbie can go back in and dig that offending area up and re-work it. Or can she? That is the question of two days. No, maybe three days. Yes, it took Abbie FOREVER to correctly (did I say correctly? I meant satisfactorily) fix those mistakes. Finally, Abbie can move on.
Abbie continues on and, victoriously, decides to NOT knit the eyelash yarn in every 6 rows but to instead just work the pattern with the wool and then, after completion, go back and weave the eyelash yarn in as desired. This will eliminate all the bothersome interference in the pattern. Good thinking, Abbie.
For all that, Abbie is still on row 6 of an at-least-150-row wrap. (Insert big sigh here).

BOOT SOCKS for Hubby w/ Opal Blue & White self-striping yarn:
Abbie decided to try a few new techniques. Such as toe-up. Such as on one circular. Such as two socks on one circular needle. Such as a male-sized sock. Such as adapting a pattern for a large woman's foot. Such as...not screaming and ripping out all her hair when she realizes that this is a much, much MUCH bigger feat than anticipated.
Abbie decides she can do it (and probably can when she stops being frustrated).
Abbie makes guage, compares to pattern, re-writes pattern to fit husband's foot, is satisfied.
Abbie contentedly curls up on futon, watches TV with husband, begins toe-up according to directions laid out next to her.
Abbie realizes two hours later that this has taken quite a long time to get just one toe up and running (hahaha), meaning, 8 rows on the needles. Yes, well, it's just because she hasn't done this before. Once she gets it down it will go faster.
Next day. Abbie starts toe of second sock. Toe goes faster than yesterday. Progress slows when Abbie realizes that the working yarn is on the inside of the circ, not on the needle. Wouldn't be a problem except that there is another toe on the needles so the cord can't be pulled through to reach the needle on the other side. Stitches transfered to a dpn, then transferred back to the circ in the correct orientation. Correct orientation? I meant INcorrect orientation. Again. More transfer of stitches to dpns, circs, blah blah blah. Who needs to know how long this has gone on? Abbie has stopped and is seriously considering joining a circus instead of knitting. Much safer and her skills could actually be used. I think it is clear to all (especially husband and sister who have had to endure much talk about this) that Abbie's skills lie less in the area of manipulating beautiful fibres into beautiful handknits and more in the area of being a side-show freak. This is evidenced by many things including how her hair looks when she wakes up in the morning, her frequent outbursts of song, emitting high-pitched noises at random intervals evidently for the purpose of releasing energy, and ... but I digress. Suffice it to say that Abbie's resume has been submitted - on a global level - to all hiring circuses.

2 PAIRS SOCKS for Cousins w/ Knitpicks Hydrangea and Zinnia merino wool:
Abbie becomes overwhelmed with last two items. Confidence is plummeting and Abbie is not so sure that starting two new socks at this point is wise, let alone possible. Balls of yarn could be seen flying through the air should this project be undertaken in Abbie's current mental state.

BATHROOM MAT w/ hideous (source unknown and unidentifiable) yarn from 50s:
Abbie makes 1/3 progress before running out of yarn. Discovers that yarn market is so well-developed now that it is hard to find any more yarn in same or different colors to match the hideousness of the first color. Not wanting to buy nice yarn to finish a project she will walk on, Abbie waits to find awful yarn in bulky weight. Once she is able to overcome herself and face the light of day she may venture into a thrift shop and descend like a hawk on its prey if she sees anything useful (meaning she would never use it for anything other than to wipe her cat's butt or, in this case, to make a bathroom mat from). Progress currently suspended.

HAT for Aunt, to match poncho, w/leftover yarn from poncho:
Abbie decides it would be nice to make hat for aunt to match completed poncho. Nice thought. Should be enough yarn. Wasn't enough yarn. Looked through stash and found color very close, almost indistinguishable. Decided to try technique of one row old color, one row new, and so on until old was used up and colors are so well meshed that the naked eye is tricked. Abbie's brain was tricked to think this would work. Top of hat looks dirty. Abbie must rip, wait for new (hopefully matching) yarn to arrive. Progress temporarily suspended.

Now, I hope you understand I could continue on for a while. These pictures of woe are not alone. No, no, they have siblings. It seems that the sayings "When it rains it pours", "Multiply like rabbits", and so on, really do apply to woolish things like knitting. So, in light of all this trauma (oh yeah, added to the above issues is my belief that about two people read my blog: my sister and one other person. Now, while this would not normally cause distress since this blog is a creative outlet for me and a journal for my knitting, when one thing goes wrong for me I have this little disease called "Snowballing" and it basically means that everything must be wrong if one thing is. For example: I feel ugly one day. This a) must mean I really am ugly, b) my husband must be faking his love for me, c) everyone must be laughing at me behind my back, d) my cat bites my leg not because he wants food but actually because I am ugly, e) The stock market is plummeting because I am ugly, f) we haven't saved enough money to buy a dog yet because I am ugly, g) my knitting all sucks too, h) I can't keep in touch with all my old friends so I'm a horrible person, i) good knitters don't have this many issues with their projects so I must not be a good knitter, j) it's nice and sunny now but it will probably rain when I walk out the door...because I'm ugly, k) and oh yeah, my blog sucks and I only have two readers. See how this insidious disease progresses?) if I get my nerves back, calm my knitting hormones, work out my problems and continue on then you will see another post, hopefully soon. If, on the other hand, one of the circuses likes my resume, you may still see posts here but they will be of a slightly different nature.

Hope your knitting is faring better.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Hi again! Just a quick note before I present an actual post later on tonight (with pictures!):

Christine, you commented that you are going to Yarn Garden this weekend. Would you mind asking for Tammy whether or not they give yarn discounts for charity knitting projects done for non-local charities such as Children in Common (CIC), etc? They are giving a 20% discount on yarn for Portland Rescue Mission charity knitting and it would be interesting to know if that extends further.

By the way, I would be happy to meet you there Sunday if you would like. We can meet and knit for a while. Tammy, Melody, Jenni, Patti, are you interested in meeting? Jenni and Patti, I don't even know if you're in the area. Where do you live? Eva, I would ask you but of course I know that it might be a bit of a flight for you!!

Talk to you all later tonight. Pictures and updates on projects should appear tonight.

Until then, may you have a splendiferous day!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Knitting: Luxury, Art Form, or Necessity?

Hello, Hello, Hello!

So I think I found a pattern (see below) for the Dale of Norway sweater that BJ wants. I found it on Bea Ellis' Adult Single Patterns website. Now to use up the yarn I have so I can buy more!

Image hosting by Photobucket

That out of the way, here is a great expose of something about which I have long thought: knitting, which is now largely a hobby and luxury, used to be a necessity. My thoughts on this topic align pretty well with Lene's so I will refrain from gracing you with them. Yes, I know, I hear your groans of agony. Don't worry, soon I'll come up with something achingly beautiful for you to ponder. Just wait...

Charity Knitting Opportunitites

I found this in the What's New section of the Yarn Garden website:

Charity Knitting in the Sipperie! Our customers have brought to our attention two service organizations in Portland that are asking for help. Portland Rescue Mission is in dire need of warm hats and socks and the volunteers at Veterans Hospital say they are in need of large lap robes for their wheelchair bound patients. If you can help out, we have a sign up sheet and will give you free patterns and a 20% discount on your purchases for these charities. Helping hands make warm hearts!We’ll have a staff member available to help out with yarn selection, patterns and any knitting questions. Plan on joining us to share our talents and enrich the lives of those in need.
Just thought those of you in the Portland Metro area might be interested. I also added a CHARITY KNITTING Opportunity section in the sidebar for those of you interested in helping others through doing what you love!

Monday, April 03, 2006

And Lo and Behold, she's alive!

Wonders never cease! I am alive and well and another tidbit has been posted!

Hope everyone had a great weekend. Mine was nice and relaxed. I started a few projects (got my yarn from Knitpicks!!) and visited with Julie, my friend who had her wedding pics posted here. Our husbands were going on a "boys" camping trip so we (and my sister, Melody) hung out and did girl things such as visit yarn shops, knit, sip coffee, watch Just Like Heaven off pay per view (I don't usually pay for movies but hey, when you and the girls are going to hang out and watch movies it just makes more sense to not run to the video store and, at least in my case, forget to return the movie for so long that I end up paying the cost of the pay per view at least 2-3 times over.)

Pictures of my new projects will be posted tonight. Until then, tata!

By the way, Christine suggested a bunch of us getting together and going to the Yarn Garden Retreat. Anyone else interested?! It will be at McMenamins Grand Lodge Oct 20-22. We could all meet beforehand and get to know each other then carpool down together and already have friends there!