Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Christmas in July?

I've got this crazy idea stuck in my head that I want to do a Christmas swap. Well, what I really want to do is participate in a Christmas swap, but as the sign ups for the 2009 Christmas Swap on Rav are currently "on hold," whatever that means, it looks like I might need to take the reins and host a swap myself (unless you can suggest another one??), an idea I find both exciting and terrifying.

So, I've been mulling it over. But what I haven't come up with is something to make this theoretical swap a little different than your run of the mill "ship knitting stuff to a stranger" swap. I also don't think I have wide enough readership to draw in an appropriate number of swappers, which is also a concern, although smaller swaps do allow for more personalized interaction. In theory.

But I just wanted to let you guys know I'm thinking about it. In case you want to
a. volunteer to host a Christmas swap so I don't have to;
b. express your desire to sign up for this completely undeveloped, as-yet fictional swap immediately; or
c. talk me out of hosting a swap, as it's a variety of torture no one in his or her right mind would ever voluntarily submit to.

One week 'til I leave for Belize. The good news is, I have a hotel room and won't have to sleep on the beach. The bad news is, due to incompetence, obliviousness, vacation time, and staff turnover, nearly everything else related to our workshop is up in the air. At least my presentations are done. I just need to talk someone else into giving them for me. Ugh, public speaking . . .

Thursday, July 9, 2009

good old fashioned fun

One of these days I'm going to go back and count how many of these blog entries I start with an apology. On second thought, maybe not, that sounds depressing. Anyway, yes, it's true, I'm apologizing for lack of blogging yet again. I've just been super busy at work preparing for a workshop (I leave for Belize on the 21st!), as well as taking care of personal stuff (securing a place to live not inhabited by my mother) and primarily knitting on the Modern Baby Blanket, which, while I expect it will eventually be pretty, is boring--all garter stitch, all the time.

I do have a few knitting updates. First, I've finished and stuffed Elefante's body, but without legs or a head, it just looks like an over-large hacky sack:

I'm nervous about attaching the legs, I want him to look all snuggly and adorable, not lopsided or stricken with gout.

I've also cast on for Delphine. It's not knitting up as fast as I'd hoped because even though it's knit in the round, it's got plenty of purl stitches. I don't have much to show for my efforts yet:

I will admit up front, I did not do a gauge swatch for this project. Why? Well, gauge swatching for knitting in the round is a pain in the arse. Also, I decided the model in the photos looked about my size (hardy har har). And finally, I'm knitting in cotton, so if it's too big, I can shrink it. If it's too small . . . well, it's lace, it should stretch. Yes, I'm well aware that this is a bad plan. But I'm embracing it nonetheless. Remind me I said this when I'm giving this to one of my pregnant friends for her child, or shipping it to Nepal for the Abominable Snowman.

The Frog Tree Pima Silk . . . I don't love it, I have to say. I've used Cascade Pima Silk in the past and it was lovely and soft. This is not lovely and soft. It's also very splitty. I guess we'll see what happens after it's washed. Hopefully it will be more comfortable to wear than to knit with.

And now, some randomness. I spent Independence Day weekend in Colonial Williamsburg, which was quite lovely (minus the FIVE hour drive back to DC, a trip that should top out at 2.5 hours).

Here I am pouting after I found out that the peanut soup I've been dying to try since my last trip to Williamsburg when the Kings Arms Tavern was closed is made with chicken stock, and therefore not vegetarian friendly:

I did keep an eye out for any knitting-related fun to share with you all--afterall this was colonial times, knitting was all the rage.

There was a spinning, weaving and dyeing shop:

where i learned about how colonial Americans used stale pee to set the dye. Lovely thought, huh? Apparently they don't stick with that particular technique in the reproduction, I can't imagine why.

I also saw some adorable sheep, but I must've forgotten my camera that day. Well, you all know what sheep look like, I assume.

There were drop spindle, scarf, and hat kits in the shops--all ugly and overpriced--as well as scratchy, plain handknit hats selling for $30, and bizarrely made in New Zealand--how authentic. And I saw one of the character actors knitting a sock on the front stoop of a house, though I decided against harassing her for a picture.

And finally, but disappointingly, I found this:

The sign says "Leicester long wool yarn $22." The colors were quite nice, but there was no mention of yarn weight or put up. Was this $22 for a pair of socks' worth of fingering weight, or $22 for a few yards of some indeterminate, useless weight? No clue. And it was scratchy, so I held off.

The worst part of the trip was that I brought no actual knitting with me to DO. So yes, I was forced to waste those miserable 5 hours in the car staring out the window. Never again.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Secret Pal 14 questionnaire!!!

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely not like?
I love most natural yarns, though pure cotton is a little rough on the hands. For summer knitting, I love cotton/bamboo blends and for winter, any soft wool or blends with wool, alpaca, silk, etc. Generally avoid synthetics. Love malabrigo, manos del Uruguay, Knit Picks merino style, and love to try new sock yarns.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
Good question. My interchangeable circs from Knit Picks are in their cozy binder, but my DPNs and other circs are a real mess all over the place.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I’ve been knitting for about 2 and 1/2 years; I taught myself with some books and online videos. I guess I would be intermediate.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Loopy Ewe

5. What’s your favorite scent?
Hmmmm, it really depends on the time of year. When it’s warm I love lilac and beachy smells; when it’s cool, baked goods.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
I certainly do! I especially like milk chocolate, caramels, and other rich candies. But I hate everything flavored orange.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
Nope, no spinning. I occasionally draw and paint, rarely scrapbook. One of these days I’ll learn to crochet.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I like all kinds of music, everything from Miles Davis to Bing Crosby to the Beatles to Nirvana to the Killers to Amy Winehouse to Shakira. Just about everything but country. I’m definitely MP3 compatible.

9. What’s your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can’t stand?
I love blues and greens and dark reds and purples. I’m not a fan of neon brights, and no orange, unless it’s Orioles-related ;-)

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I have three very spoiled cats, no kids.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
All except ponchos

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Oh, anything, when the mood strikes. but generally wearables, I’m not big on dishcloths or random tchotchkes that sit around collecting dust

13. What are you knitting right now?
Let’s see . . . a pair of socks, a baby blanket, a baby stuffed animal, a summer top and I’ve got a vest sort of on hold on the needles as well.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Of course!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I rarely use straights anymore, definitely circs, aluminum or bamboo

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Yes, both

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
Sheesh, I don’t even want to think about it. Probably a Foliage hat I started and got lost on and need to rip out and start over. It’s from last October

18. What is your favorite holiday? What winter holiday do you observe?
I LOVE Christmas, though I’m also quite fond of Halloween

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Matryoshka (Russian nesting dolls), Beatles LPs and paper/silk fans, when I can find them. And yarn. ;)

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I’d love to get some of the Norah Gaughan volumes, the 2nd Mason Dixon knitting book, and any Brooklyn Tweed or KnitSpot patterns. I subscribe to Interweave; I had a Yarn Forward electronic subscription, but it *POOF* disappeared shortly after I signed up and since I’m between houses right now, I haven’t looked into the hard copy subscription.

21. Are there any new techniques you’d like to learn?
I’d like to learn fair isle the right way—I’ve muddled my way through a few easy projects. Also steeking. and magic loop.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
I am a (very slow but well-intentioned) sock knitter. I don’t know about the measurements, and since I’m at work and don’t need people thinking I’m weirder than they already do (as I whip out a ruler and start measuring my feet at my desk . . . ) I’ll just say I wear a size 7.5 shoe.

23. When is your birthday?
October 15

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what’s your ID?