Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Throwing Up My Hands in Despair

Brain overload from work has caused me to punk out on the toe-up sock knitting attempts when I return home in the evenings. I will resume all efforts to beat this technique like the bully I am. For the time being, I will remain content with the knowledge that I can begin a pair of BFF socks with Dee's yarn. I searched for patterns that I thought were worthy of her pretty hand-dyed stuffs and finally settled on this one. These will be made in honor of our one-year 'anniversary' after I finish her gift project.

Knitty has an online survey for those of you who like to give feedback to sites we often use.

Oh, and the pictured yarn? This is the lovely kid mohair/merino/nylon concoction I received as a gift. I couldn't do the purple/smoke gray colors justice in the photo, but I plan to try when I decide to make something out of it. Too bad the yarn doesn't have any gauge suggestions on the ball band. I think I will cheat and call the store to find out.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Project: Beanie

Originally uploaded by craftytails
Although I received a number of helpful messages regarding toe-up socks, I found myself in a lot of social situations this weekend. This was not conducive to focusing on a new technique, so I decided to start knitting the first round of beanies for this year's Christmas party. I know I have plenty of time, but I don't wish to be caught with my trousers down. Again.

This is a mindless, but effective stash-busting project. I have ridiculous amounts of Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride worsted weight yarn in many different colors. I bought them on compulsion every time I saw a something I liked. They will now be dedicated to a large number of beanies and felted goodies. I still have a backlog of requested items, but I should get the bulk of the miscellaneous knitting out of the way as soon as possible. I am not sure if anyone wants mittens, so I will probably throw a few into the box to see if they get snatched up. If not, I can always donate to charity. I am really looking forward to using leftover scraps for striped hats, bags and pillows in order to get my stash down to a reasonable amount. My sock yarn has been consolidated into two small bins for easy access if I feel the need.

To Do List in no particular order:
  • Charcoal Gray Scarf (Kevin)
  • Brown Hat (Mark)
  • Cream Scarf (Jee)
  • Black Scarf (Joe)
  • Red Socks (Wendy)
  • Bearded Toque (Eli)
  • Black Socks (Joshua)
  • Soviet Republic Hat (Antimere)
  • Surprise Project (Andy)
  • Surprise Project (Taliesin)
  • Durrow Sweater (Chris)
  • Surprise Project (Dee)
  • Wednesday, May 21, 2008

    Sock Club Goodness and Subsequent Peril

    I can't help feeling guilty. I have so much of Dee's yarn and not one pair of socks has been knitted yet. Determined to rectify this travesty, I attempted to start The Firestarter pattern. Accustomed to knitting from the top down, the provisional cast on with short row toe is completely daunting. After viewing numerous online tutorials, I have given up and begged for help. I typically have a tough time learning from pictures if I don't understand how the construction works. Embarrassing, yes.

    The first installment of her club is pictured here, in the Mascot colorway. Although I think this richly deserves a pair of Monkeys or Jaywalkers, I am determined to work from the toe up. It seems that every time I feel comfortable with my crafty prowess, a different technique knocks me sideways. This is enough of an annoyance to beat a pattern into submission. A fair and reasonable response, I think.

    This week, I was able to nearly finish a new stash-busting pattern. Photos will be posted forthwith, once blocking has been completed and a button affixed.

    In "real" life, my muscles ache and my brain is crying, "Uncle!" Red wine helps slightly, but the pork medallions and jasmine rice cooked by my partner in crime are a greater asset. Speaking of which, he went to Los Angeles with only one request: "If you see locally hand-dyed or hand-spun yarn, pick it up!" I was not disappointed. If we don't end up working out, he is ruined for all non-crafty women. They will never understand his intimate knowledge of worsted weight kid mohair/merino blended yarn that has been dyed to perfection. Horrified, they will ask him to stop asking for hand-knitted superwash socks. In honor of his crafty awareness, I finally bought yarn for his Christmas sweater. This is a scary leap, but one that is well-deserved. I plan to make this in a heathered medium brown. Never will he read this journal and never will he understand that I am a complete process-knitter. I feel a sense of loss every time I finish a project. I only make a point to do so in order to start on the next thing. The sweater? I am dying to make such a simply constructed project. He loves classic design with a slight twist, so I will let him think this is about the final object, OK?

    And the rest of the Christmas gifts? I have a plan. Aside from the items I have promised, I will knit whatever I want throughout the year. This can be hats, scarves, gloves, toys or something completely frivolous. At the yearly Christmas party, I will bring a box full of knitted stuff and ask people to pick what they want. This will end up being far more meaningful and personal than a giftcard at a chain store.

    Wednesday, May 14, 2008

    Roll That Beautiful Nerd Footage!

    Evil Router
    Originally uploaded by craftytails
    I am stuck again with The Cat. He is the epitome of evil amongst gorgeous orange tabby cats. Fraught with anger, he often lavishes me with "tooth kisses". My stalkee says this is called "biting" in most households. If this is true, why would it be red? Everyone knows this is the color of love.

    Less disturbing, but equally addictive (like cats!), the lovely Dee has managed to oversell her membership of sock clubs. Look and weep, fiber enthusiasts!

    Craft-related, I made the angry plush router a few holidays ago for my friend Mel, who brilliantly writes cat snark. This is an underrated form of entertainment, if you ask me. Knowing she is a technical guru, I made something I understood, which is an evil wireless connection. And yes, I think of these stupid projects when I am not thinking about work. It doesn't happen often these days.

    I want to take a moment to speak about my soon-to-be-roommate. She is intelligent, kind, responsible and beautiful (inside and out). I have spent the last ten years thinking I was incompatible with someone in my home, and I simply didn't pick the right people. Cheers to the redhead who brings the sarcasm like it's going out of style and having a sewing machine of her own.

    In case this post was too cat-centric, I want to publicly state that I am militant pro-bunny. All animals are adorable, but rabbits are exceptional.

    Thursday, May 8, 2008

    Cleaning and a Reboot

    Plush Gyoza
    Originally uploaded by craftytails
    The donation stash-busting brought a few lovelies to light today. You see, I took vacation days from work for the first time in a few years. Yes, years. I am bewildered by the amount of time I have been able to devote to crafty pursuits and general internet stalking, all things considered. I began to falter in both areas, so a few days off will do a lot of good for my craft room (and for terrorizing friends).

    The craft room. This is a maelstrom of abandoned projects and shows my pack rat tendencies to a hideous degree. Thankfully, I have found a series of new projects which will de-stash a good portion of my other goodies. Fabric. Felt. Paper. No item is safe.

    For the first time, I have a couple of days to devote to clearing out items I will never, ever use. This has been a weird trip through old memories believed to never resurface. Found objects include postcards culled for my mail art hobby during my life in New York. Some recollections were pleasant; some were painful. I felt a strong yearning to turn back the clock and start over. Deep down I don't really want this, as I learned an incredible amount about myself during the self-enforced isolation. The collections of found objects are a statement and help me remember the person I used to be. (I know this has been completely cheesy, but it is nearly midnight and red wine has been my loyal companion for the evening.)

    Now, to the crafty part of the post. The plush pot stickers were sewn a few years ago before knitting took over my spare time. A friend of mine asked me to bring my hand-sewn items over so she could look at them. I lack sewing skills and thought this was a good way to make my mistakes look intentional. The tops of the dumplings are a simple running stitch which is pulled tightly to create a ridge. Most people already know this technique, but I felt clever at the time, OK? I have embarked on a new project which will clear out buttons, paper, miniatures, sewing supplies and anything else that suits the theme. I cannot wait to start! An afternoon with my laser printer should start the ball rolling, I think. (For those of you unaware, never use inkjet printers for craft projects that require glue or painting, at least for the projects we have started. These types of prints are water-soluble and will bleed like crazy. Joshua and I discovered our tactical error when making refrigerator magnets a few years ago. Bad times.)

    Since I have a few days to myself, new photos will be taken of finished knitterly stuffs. Today was overcast and dismal, prohibiting good pictures. If tomorrow has better weather, I will photograph a few more items to post.

    Wednesday, May 7, 2008

    Yarn Donation Ideas Needed

    Nearly three years have passed since I began knitting and the stash has grown to embarrassing proportions. I have many skeins of yarn that have been picked up at thrift stores or given to me. Since I am moving next month and need to purge the stash, I am looking for places to donate the yarn. Any ideas?