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.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Say Whaaaaaat?

It's amazing! I'M ALIVE!

Yes, dear readers, contrary to popular belief I am not hidden away in a bunker somewhere so Uhlissa can take over the blagh. No, no, the truth is much sadder - I am graduated, unemployed and sad. D:

But I HAVE been knitting a little! Mostly my attention is divided between:

- a present for a cute couple I know, half of which I worked with at the Tulane Regional Urban Design Center. Is this all an insidious plan to steal their adorable mini Dachshund? Maybe. I can say no more.
- a shrug that used to be my February Lady Sweater and is currently a Little Peacock Shrug (although my inability to read the pattern properly means I'll probably be frogging it to make something else soon).
- a Montego Bay scarf that I cast on and knit one pattern repeat of approximately... a month ago. I didn't even put it up on Ravelry, that's how much attention I've paid to it.
- An Amineko crocheted cat for my little cousin out of some yarn I've got hanging around. I have not worked on it for a month and a half. (Rav Pattern Link)

So clearly the blagh isn't the only thing suffering from my ADD. Job searching takes up a lot of my time too, as does all the crying and sitting in the fetal position. You know, busy times.

As if I didn't have enough to think about and do I've started hula hooping to loose weight. It's extremely fun, and if you listen to music time passes like you wouldn't believe. I just started yesterday and I am going to have bruises, let me tell you.

OK, off to look at patterns for the Noro sock yarn Uhlissa bought me for my birthday last year. Wheeeeeee!

- Love love AMBRRR

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Jaywalkers = done!

So, in my last post, I spent a lot of time talking about my Jaywalkers. In the past couple of days I got inspired and determined to finish them. Today I rode my bike to my favorite bar/pizza place and finished up the foot. When I got home this afternoon, I finished the toe. I'm very happy with the result. They are super comfy, and I look forward to weather where socks are appropriate (probably months from now). Arizona, 103 degrees and bike riding don't really lend themselves to hand knits, but I usually ignore that and knit as much as I can anyways. I do however, have the definite sunburn to prove I love being outside even in this ridiculous heat.

Also, dear readers, comment and encourage Ambrr to update. My text message pleas are apparently falling on deaf ears, and I am very anxious to see all the glorious things I know she's been working on.

<3 uhlissa

Friday, June 19, 2009

I Pretty Much Only Knit Socks

In case y'all didn't see, I just updated my last post (three months later....) with some pictures. And that motivated to post again. Ready to catch up on four months of knitting?

1. Jaywalkers. One day in March, on my way home from lunch I decided I had earned a treat. I stopped by my LYS (Kiwi Knitting) and bought some Crystal Palace Panda Superwash. It's this really cool mauve color, with bright orange and blue and green and yellow. I decided I'd finally try out the infamous Jaywalker (ravelry link) pattern. The yarn is a little bit splitty, but otherwise feels amazing. The pattern is so easy to memorize, which makes this pattern very transportable. The only adjustment I made while knitting was to make the leg several inches shorter than called for. A few weeks ago I was in Kentucky visiting my brother, and I got invited to a craft night, where I cast on the second sock. Everyone was really impressed, which is always a great feeling. In the past week I turned the heel on the second sock and will hopefully get them done pretty soon.

2. Juggling balls. My friend Amy has always really like the juggling balls I knit myself, and requested some for her birthday. Of course I obliged. I think I made them out of some magenta Vanna's Choice.

3. Kindness socks. I finally decided to learn how to do magic loop socks. It's amazing, and I'm trying to never go back to dpns. I ordered some Knit Picks needles and this Essential yarn (colorway is Fruit punch, which makes me smile). It took me a while to find a pattern that was simple enough to learn magic loop on, and looked pretty good in the yarn. I stumbled upon this pattern via ravelry. Like my Jaywalkers, I shortened the leg. I don't really like the toe that the pattern calls for, but I did it anyway. If I were to make another pair, I'd definitely change it up. This was also my first experience with a three needle bind off. Loved it! Might incorporate it into more of my knitting. I haven't started the second sock, but plan to once I finish my jaywalker and maybe the pomatomus I haven't mentioned yet....

4. Pomatomus. I have been in love with this pattern for as long as I can remember, and finally developed the courage to try it out. I bought the yarn at a Christmas sale in December at the Stitchworks in Tulsa. It's Plymouth Happy Feet, which has quickly become one of my favorite sock yarns. The subtle color changes make this sock so sexy. I don't know why, but the word "sexy" just constantly comes to mind when I'm looking at this sock. I'm absolutley in love, though it's taking forever, and after two and a half months I'm just now turning the heel on the first one. Oh well, it will be completed, it will have a mate, and they will be glorious.

I also want to give dear ambrr a shout out for the best birthday present ever, which I've been meaning to blog about. Of course she bought me yarn, but not just any yarn. Dream in Color Smooshy, which is wonderful, and I mostly just cuddle with it. I think it will become Blackrose socks, but I'm open to other pattern suggestions.

Once again it is summertime, and I have endless free time. Hopefully the knitting and blog-updating will both increase. What's on your needles this summer?

<3 uhlissssa

Monday, March 16, 2009

We're Baaaccckkk!


I'm well aware that we have been silent for a very, very extended period of time. Unfortunately, neither Ambrrr or I have been off having amazing adventures. Ambrrr's working on her thesis, and I'm struggling through grad school. Also, the fact that we live more than a thousand miles apart has apparently had some effect on our blogging. But, we're currently in the same city! (on Spring Break for me) and have been inspired to fill you in on what's been going on, knitwise anyway.

This summer I was knitting like a fiend, and updating pretty well. In August I moved to Arizona to work on my masters, and school has stolen all the time I used to spend doing things that make me happy. Despite being incredibly busy, I was able to get a few projects knocked out.

I might be missing a few items, but I'm not even in the same state as all my FOs, so we'll just have to hope I get them all in. And apparently I don't have pictures of most of these readily available, so bear with me until later in the week when I'm home and can fix that.

Wedding Shrug. My uncle got married in October, outside in Northern California. I had a perfect dress, but it was going to be far too cold, so I knit myself a shrug. I used the "Posh Wedding Shrug" pattern, knit with Bernat Alpaca in a slightly off-white color. The yarn made it very soft and cozy, but was a little too fuzzy and kept leaving fiber on everyone. Being the amazing procrastinator that I am, my brother was driving us to the wedding, and in the valet line I was sewing in the loose ends. Unfortunately, I wasn't completely done (I hadn't managed to get the lace edge or the ribbons done), but it looked pretty good. I was actually the flower girl (a dream come true!) so all eyes were on me, and I was overly conscious of how unfinished I must look, but I got a lot of compliments, especially from other knitters. I've been meaning to finish the last few details, but keep getting distracted by other activities.

Every year I knit my brother a christmas present. He's a very practical guy and hates useless junk. A few years back I had knit him fingerless gloves. He destroyed or lost them in some way, so I made replacements. I decided to go all out and use sock yarn and a really fine gauge to hopefully inspire him to take care of them. I used this pattern for inspiration and some math help on the fingers, but a lot of it, I just kind of winged. I used Red Heart Heart & Sole sock yarn. as usual, I needed to find a yarn I didn't think he could destroy, and I was interested to try this stuff out. It was surprisingly nice to knit with. I was nervous about the size of the first one, and waited until I was back in Tulsa for Christmas and had my dad try it on. It fit perfectly, so I cast on the second. Then my dad demanded a pair, which I barely started after the first pair was completed. I want to make some for myself.

About two weeks ago, I decided to cast on my second Charade sock. Yes, it's been almost a year since the first one was completed. I only knit about an inch before my life caught back up with me. Luckily, spring break is here, and I've been sitting in New Orleans enjoying my break and knitting non-stop. In the past four days I've knit almost the entire sock. All I have left is the toe. I'm in love with the pattern, and the yarn (my first Koigu experience). I can't wait to have the sock done today so I can wear them soon.

<3 uhlissa