Monday, October 10, 2011

Twinkle, Twinkle

Hi there.

I've been making stars. I was thinking I wanted to make some Christmas ornaments for gifts this year, and decided I wanted to understand how stars work.

The six-pointed red and green one is a pattern called Star with Hearts that I found on ravelry. I used red and green mohair that's been in my stash for several years on US2s. The pattern was really well done, but I didn't really enjoy the process very much.

Then I started thinking that I might be able to adapt it to make a five pointed star using the same principals. Hey, as it turns out, I'm kind of brilliant and it worked. The five-pointed star was knit on US8s, with some acrylic worsted weight I've been trying to get rid of.
It's not perfect, because I'm bad at picking up stitches, and I need to make an adjustment to the body, but I think I understand what I need to do. I might, in fact, try again today and see if I can improve the design.

Apparently, my dog enjoys this star as much as I do. She kept trying to pick it up while I was taking pictures, and she finally got a hold of it while my attention was focused elsewhere. see:

<3 uhlissa (and tiny dog)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A blog post by Ambrrr! Who is not dead!

Guten tag, everybody!

So somehow I am still around? I don't know. I have no good reasons/excuses/panicked thoughts that would explain my extended absence. I get distracted, and then I go do other things. Knitting-wise I mainly post my projects on my Ravelry page, so if you can access that hurrah! Life-wise I am still unemployed (although at one point I was working three part-time jobs at once; that was crazy) and still sad about it. I was in California from March to July looking for something out on the West Coast but NOPE. So if you know of someone who needs a knitting intern architect, I am your lady.

Mainly life-wise I have been taken over by the BBC series Sherlock. Have you watched Sherlock? If you haven't just stop right now and go look it up on Netflix. I'll wait.

OK, are you doing it? Have you done it? Good.

THIS SERIES, GUYS. I love it so much. I'm trying not to talk about it until Uhlissa has seen it also (AGAIN, it is ON NETFLIX INSTANT, just three 90 minute episodes so far) so I'll just say that everything about it makes me super happy.


This hat is one of the few things I've actually knit recently. The other things are still waiting to be photographed. (I have never been good at pictures, have I?) My pal Sam likes Firefly, and so do I, so I made this for him. Then I took this picture when we went to a rodeo in California! Crazy times.

OK, I'mma go get some knitting done. Actually, I ripped off my fingernail last night, so knitting might have to wait a bit. But I'mma go do SOMETHING.

LOVE, Ambrrr (and a llama)
(Llamas have fur that we use in knitting sometimes, right?)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Here We Go Again

So, ya, I disappeared for a year and a half. But, I've just moved back to Oklahoma and have lots of time for knitting and blog updating, so be prepared to see some beautiful new work.

I'm on a mission to make all my second socks that I've been putting off. Last night I finished a pattern called Fawkes (which can be found on Ravelry). I knit the first sock Jan/Feb 2010.
I just knit the second one in six days. Boredom really can inspire productivity as far as knitting goes.

I'm pretty happy with the results. They're knit in Knit Picks Imagination in the color Frog Prince on circular #2s. I don't really like the color, but that's what I get for ordering yarn off the internet. Actually, I've never been disappointed with any knit picks yarn before, but this color just wasn't what I was expecting. I loved working with the yarn, and the result is a super comfy pair of socks. the pattern is great. Highly recommended.

I just realized the only projects I've completed in the past year haven't been documented. Expect another post in the next couple of days. The wind here has been crazy, so I can't take anything outside to photograph at the moment.

<3 uhlissa

Monday, February 1, 2010

So, Once Again I'm Sorry

I'm fairly certain we don' t have any readers, but I'm going to apologize anyways. First, I apologize for doubting your existence in case someone does actually read this, and secondly I apologize for the serious lack of updates. You'll hear no excuses from me. I know it's unacceptable, and will attempt to rectify my slacker nature regarding posting.

Now, onto the good stuff.

For Christmas, I finished my mom's Glynis socks. They turned out wonderfully and it was really hard to wrap them up and hand them over. As I mentioned in my last post, this pattern is great, but there is a mistake printed in the book. Definitely check out the errata on the Interweave site (link above). I knit these using the magic loop method on 2s with Knit Picks stroll. I love the color, which I believe is called "Sparkle." Overall, I loved the pattern even though it was a bit of the challenge, and the yarn was great to work with. My mom was so excited to receive these. She constantly is telling everyone how great hand knit socks are, so I think just about all of our family members have asked for some socks.

The only other Christmas present I managed to make this year was for my brother. I make him something every year. I try to make something useful, such as gloves or scarves. He doesn't like useless stuff, but I ignored that and decided to make him a toy this year. As a native Texan, he's loved armadillos his whole life. I found this (sorry, ravelry only link) pattern and immediately knew I had to make it. He was a blast to make, and I'm now on the lookout for other cute toys. I believe I knit his body and appendages on 2.5 dpns. His shell was knit with 8s. His body is made out of Bernat Bamboo. The pattern called for another Bernat natural blend that I couldn't find. The bamboo actually worked out perfectly. He's very soft and cuddly! His shell is Bernat Alpaca. The eyes were the most challenging part of the whole project. The pattern linked to a great tutorial. The method sounds a little crazy, but the results are ideal.

I was in Dallas for a wedding at the beginning of January. Every trip to Dallas means a visit to Hobby Lobby. By far my favorite large chain craft store, I miss it dearly when I'm here in Arizona. So, anyways, a trip to Hobby Lobby led me to pick up some fuzzy Yarn Bee Surprise. I'd been wanting a mindless knit, and immediately cast on for a simple garter stitch scarf. I made it a bit too wide, so even using every yard of the skein, the final result is a bit too short, but I think it works well tucked into my coat. It was knit on 10 1/2s for a super, super quick, instant gratification sort of project. The width I randomly chose worked really well with the self-striping nature of the yarn and it's very cozy. Super satisfied with the result, and the skein I bought in a different color is going to very quickly become a very similar, if slightly narrower, scarf.

So, I've had a skein of Manos del Uruguay sitting around for very close to four years. It was sitting on my table tempting me a couple of weeks ago, and I finally decided on a pattern for it. I chose the Big Blue Beret. I love the pattern, though I made some pretty severe changes in the decreasing. The pattern tells you to knit for about 8" before beginning to decrease. I knit about 5" and then decreased very gradually for a few inches. I used the last scraps of yarn to make the pom pom because I firmly believe that all hats are better off with pompoms.

I've got a couple of different sock projects on the needles right now, but I'll save those for sharing later when I have something worth showing off.

In other exciting knit news, if you're on ravelry, I just got asked permission to have a photo of one of my projects used on a pattern page. I'm really psyched about it. Check out the Toasty Twisty scarf pattern here on ravelry.

Again, I apologize for our extended absence. I hope no one missed us too much. I might promise to not disappear again, but you know what? I feel like we'd never succeed in that mission.

<3 uhlissa

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Socks and Such

As usual, Ambrrr ahed both of them within a two week time span, which is pretty impressive for me. Not only did I knit relatively quickly, I knit bothnd I have both proven to be exceptionally good at slacking off about posting. But luckily, there has been knitting progress made, and now the inspiration to post has finally struck me.

First off, I finished my Aquaphobias. I mentioned them in my last post. They've become my favorite socks. Super comfy, though something's vaguely wrong with the cuff. It's a little bit loose, but because of the strength of the rest of the sock, they don't sag down at all. I finis socks without taking a break in between. I made a lot of progress on these while knitting at the bar. They were a great conversation starter since they're so bold and fun.

I bought Cookie's book Sock Innovation and immediately started a project the moment the book arrived. I chose Glynis and used Knit Picks Stroll in Sprinkle Heather. I had a little trouble in the beginning with the stitch pattern. There are a lot of K3tog and SSSKs. Once I got the hang though, it was decently easy to understand. If you're knitting this project, definitely check out the errata on the Interweave site. There's a typo in the gusset (which I didn't come across, since I substituted a short row heel), and one in the 8th row of the foot, which if you don't catch disrupts the number of stitches you have at the end of the row. I love the result, but have decided to be generous and gift these to my mom for Christmas.

The only other thing I've finished recently was a beer cozy. One of my friends asked me if I thought I could knit one. I took the challenge and found a pattern. I adapted it a bit. I used US7s and Lion Brand Wool-Ease, and made the body in seed stitch. The recipient was pretty psyched about it, and I was pretty happy with the result. It was a very quick knit, and I'm thinking about knitting a few more in different colors and patterns for Christmas gifts.

Right now I'm knitting some more fingerless gloves. I knit a pair last year for my brother, and my dad was envious. So, this week while I'm in Tulsa for Thanksgiving I'm trying to his pair finished up. It's going very quickly when I sit down and work on it. When I finish them, I'll go into more details about the adjustments I made to the pattern.

Well, that's about all folks. I talked to the lovely Ambrrr earlier this afternoon and if she follows through on her word, she'll be updating soon too.

Happy Thanksgiving week to everyone who celebrates this great glutinous holiday. Looking forward to all the turkey and mashed potatoes and the food coma that will be sure to follow.

<3 uhlissa

Friday, September 11, 2009

Summer, where did you go?

So, every time I'm pretty determined to update more frequently, I end up disappearing instead. I haven't knitted too much this summer. When it's over 100 out every day, cozying up to a ball of wool isn't the most appealing of ideas. Despite the desert heat, I managed to knock a few projects out.

1. Shawl. My grandmother's birthday was at the end of July and a big family gathering in California was planned. My mother told me that my grandmother would be very appreciative of something hand knit and suggested a shawl. An unfortunate turn of events canceled the California plans, and ended with a hospital visit in Nevada instead. I managed to finish the shawl in time, and she loved it. Unfortunately, because (as usual) I cut it so close, there are no finished pictures. Only the very beginning was documented. It's a basic stockinette shawl with some garter stitch edges and a futile attempt at lace at the ends. It's Lion Brand Homespun because it was the only thing I could find in the colors my grandmother for some reason adores.

2. Whitney's Pillow. Around my birthday my good friend learned to quilt and embroider and made me an amazing pillow. I decided to repay the favor for her birthday, though I decided to not learn any new crafts, since I already feel like I have too many. I tried first to do some color work and include a heart on one side and a big "W" on the other. The heart looked acceptable, but the W was a mess, and I tore out everything. I ended up just knitting a pillow case plain in the round, stitching on some felt hearts and sewing it shut around a pillow form. Not my greatest moment, but the recipient seemed appreciative.

3. Bad at Color Work Pillow. After my failed attempt at color work on the first pillow, I decided to try again. I had a vision in my head, and a hell of a lot of free time, since I was stranded at my family's house in rural Oklahoma. The colors weren't exactly what I wanted, and there are some serious issues with the color work, but from far away it still looks pretty cool.

4. Twisty scarf. While I was in Nevada, I taught my little cousin to knit. Her mother (my aunt) has been asking me for a scarf for a very long time. After seeing them, I decided I should probably actually do it. I found this great reversible pattern and started knitting. It's not as thick as necessary for the recipient who lives in Ohio, but I'm so in love with it, that I'm making this one for myself. It's knit with Country, which is pretty nice to knit with. I'm planning on making this very long and wearing it the minute it gets below seventy here in the desert. (I'll take pictures when I get some more progress made).

5. Aquaphobia socks. While stranded in Oklahoma, I entertained myself with online shopping, including a visit to Knit Picks. When I finally returned to the Old Pueblo, I had a bunch of yarn waiting for me, including a hank of Stroll in the colorway Cartoons. Not usually my color palette, but I love it sooooo much. It took a while to find a pattern to compliment the yarn, and I finally settled on Aquaphobia. I've knit one sock, and it is glorious. Knitting on 1s for the first time wasn't as bad as I expected. I'm being surprisingly good and have actually cast on the second sock instead of starting the other projects I have planned for the rest of my knit picks purchase.

So, that's what I've been up to since I posted last near the end of July. I'm supposed to be cleaning and rearranging the house I just moved into a few weeks before my almost-month stuck in OK, but I've been distracted by yarn and the internet.

I hope everyone's read Ambrr's last few posts. I don't get quite as philosophical as she does, but I definitely encourage some introspection on our own knitting habits.

What's everyone out there on the interweb been knitting this summer? Any grand plans for fall? My goal is to find a job, and actually knit the pairs for all my lonely socks.

<3 uhlissa

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Let's talk about socks, baby

(I refuse to believe I'm not the first blogger to come up with that subject line.)

ANYHOO, I was just thinking about how strangely divisive socks are in the knitting community. There are those who hate them and would never even think about knitting a pair, and there are those who can't imagine actually buying a sock from a retail store when they can make their own. The latter group has divisions of its own - DPNs vs Magic Loop vs Two Circs, fiber wars, the works. Socks is a crazy subject.

I am the Switzerland of socks.

I've been knitting off and on since I was 8, really getting back into the craft in high school and college. By the time I was 19/20 I'd made potholders (both on purpose and accidental), sweaters (ok, just the one huge one), scarves, hats, fingerless gloves, lots of things. But I'd never made a sock. Until the Knitty of Winter 2006, when a pattern called Monkey caught my eye.

I was awestruck, both by the beautiful pattern and colorful designer/model Cookie. If I made this pair of socks, would I too become as hip, knowledgeable and supremely well coiffed as Ms. A? Short answer: No. Longer answer: HELL no, idiot! But I WOULD become fascinated with an item of clothing I'd never thought to make before. My first pair of Monkeys was knit in Knit Picks Memories, and because I knew pretty much nothing about yarn (haha, still don't) they felted after a few washings and were unwearable. But I was hooked.

That first pair was knit on DPNS, and I continued to use them until I found out about Magic Loop, which I regarded as some kind of miracle magic. Non knitters seemed to feel the same way, staring at me like I was creating clothing out of thin air. I don't recall having trouble turning a heel (which seems to be the main complaint of the anti-sock group); when I got confused Ravelry and the internet had abundant amounts of information regarding the caring, keeping and knitting of socks.

I became the Switzerland of socks when I realized that people became very, very particular about the way you knit your toe toasters. I say (as they say in Switerland*) do what you gotta do. Hate knitting socks? Then don't, dude. That's cool with me. Love socks only on DPNs? More power to you! Magic Loop's the only way? As long as you don't strangle me with your circ we are fine. Knitting is knitting is knitting, so as long as there's fiber in your hands and needles in your closet (or something like that) we are all on the planet Knitting Nerd, capiche?

I know that there are lots more Switzerlands (Switzerlii?) in the socks community. I say be proud! If not, come on in, there is cocoa and cheese and very nice knives and clocks.

- Love love AMBRRR (who promises some photos soon, as soon as the bees stop scaring me out of the backyard)

*This is a lie.