Wednesday, August 31, 2011

You give me fever

To say it's been busy here is a bit of an understatement. You might've heard about the surprise earthquake. And perhaps the visit from our good friend Irene. I'm hoping we can make it through the week without any other unexpected guests.

(And I just want to clear up a misconception--there's been a lot of Internet mockery of East Coast-ers for panicking about what was ultimately a mild earthquake. So I'd just like you to keep a couple of things in mind:
1. I'd say 95% of the people who experienced last week's earthquake had never experienced an earthquake before in their entire lives--so it wasn't "Oh praise Jesus, an earthquake!!"; it was "Oh, dear God, WHAT IS THAT?"
2. If you've never experienced an earthquake before, live in an area that rarely experiences earthquakes, and that area happens to be Washington, D.C., when the building starts rattling and the lights start swinging, you don't think earthquake. You think terrorism. Bombs. Buildings collapsing. That's enough to panic anyone.
3. Our infrastructure wasn't designed to withstand earthquakes; even a relatively mild tremor could've caused significant damage, though, thankfully, it appears that wasn't the case.
4. Imagine how Los Angeles would react if it found itself unexpectedly buried under 3 feet of snow.)

In the wake of those disasters, I seem to have come down with some kind of fever.

It's . . .

Hexapuff Fever!


It's taken the knitting-verse by storm, and I'm afraid I've caught it.

In case you're living snugly under a rock and are unaware, Hexapuffs are the tiny hexagons of knitty goodness that comprise the Beekeeper's Quilt. This thing is bound to take me years to complete, but the individual puffs are portable and can be made with scrap yarn, so it's an easy project to add to over time.

The hexagons could not be easier to knit, but I keep doing the most absurd things to mess them up. Once I managed to do the 3-needle bind off without binding off--I just the stitches together and then stared blankly at my needles wondering why I still had live stitches.

Another time I knit the puff and bound off without stuffing it.

What can I say, over-complicating easy knitting is my thing. Apparently.


Today is the last day of the stoma cover drive--I'll share the last batch of covers and announce prize winners later this week!

Mom has been thrilled to receive these covers--she's still quite unhappy with her appearance after the surgery (she's very swollen and also, you know, has a hole in her neck), so she wouldn't permit me to take any pictures of her parading around in her new neck wardrobe, but rest assured, she's overjoyed with your gifts!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Stoma Covers: Gallery II

I have some more great stoma covers to show you guys, from Lynn, Pauline and Carrie!





You are all amazing, my mom's stoma cover wardrobe is just gorgeous!

I've also got a photo of the scarflet I knit up for my mom that I mentioned in a previous post (If you have strong powers of observation, you'll note that I took the photos of the last cover and this one IN the car, on the way to deliver them to my mom. Because I, um, don't plan ahead.):

Don't forget, I've extended the deadline for this contest to AUGUST 31, so you still have about 10 days to knit something up and get it in the mail. And I've got some good news: we have another prize! The lovely Betty has offered to donate a skein of Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd's Wool to the prize mix, so we're up to 4 prizes.
Also, several crafters have pointed out an important omission on my part--I forgot to mention that my mom's name is Mary--and a card addressed to "Kristen's mom" doesn't have quite the same ring to it. So, there you go.

(My dad's name is Joseph. But no, no baby brothers named Jesus.)

Finally, you might notice that I finally got my act together to create a little badge for this project, over there on the right-hand sidebar. Feel free to use on your blog or wherever--the original file can be found here on flickr.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Rant

I'm just popping onto my willing little Internet soapbox for a minute here to cybernetically take a Miss Peg Aloi to task. I'm unhappy with this opinion piece, and I'm sure, once you read it, you will be too.

Go ahead, I'll wait.

Ok, ready?

It's not so much that I take issue with her categorizing knitting as weak, and not "badass" enough (although, I do--who made her the "badass" police? I bet she wouldn't feel that way if I stabbed her with a knitting needle.).

What's really aggravating me here is that she's missing the entire point of feminism. It's sailed right over her head.

Feminism isn't about women behaving like men. It never was. It's about women having the same right as men to choose how they behave.

It's about women knitting because they want to, and not because they have to. Ditto for baking cupcakes and growing heirloom tomatoes and homeschooling their kids. And having jobs, playing with guns, riding motorcycles and burning their bras.

It's about the ability to create your own life and not have it thrust upon you.

And here's Peg Aloi, unleashing her rallying cry for a reinvigoration of feminism by . . . yelling at us for making the "wrong" choice?

Gee, that sounds familiar.

Friday, August 12, 2011

FO Friday (note: not a weekly, biweekly or even monthly feature)

Something very exciting happened to me recently, and I simply must share with you guys.

Jordana Paige commented on my knitting.

Jordana Paige! My knitting!

Let me backtrack a bit to share my theory of knitwear designers. I figure, there are 2 kinds: beginners like me who release a pattern and then spend the next week and a half checking Ravelry every day to see how many hearts it has; and veterans who are old pros at designing, and far too busy creating new designs and generally being awesome to obsess over their patterns on Ravelry as if they're babies in some kind of Parents Magazine photo contest. That's the category I think Jordana fits into. Hundreds of people have knit her patterns, how could she find time to look at all that?

But, she must make time, because she commented on my recently finished Delysia Camisole!


Pattern: Jordana's Paige's Delysia Camisole, from Brave New Knits
Yarn: Brooks Farm Solo Silk, approx 700 yards
Sz: 34"
Rav link

Knitting-wise, this is an easy pattern--start at the top with the lace border, then knit miles and miles of stockinette with eyelets every 4th row, then 4 inches of ribbing (I only did 3), and that's the whole body. It was almost too easy (if a little tedious--I couldn't just knit stockinette mindlessly because of the eyelets, I had to pay enough attention to space them correctly, which made things move a little more slowly; also, the yarn is sport weight. Sixteen inches of almost plain stockinette in sport weight . . . )

The straps are knit in looooong strips, and attached to the body by weaving a ribbon through the eyelets.

The ribbon was, by far, the hardest part.

Made more difficult by the fact that I knew in my heart of hearts I should've done 18 repeats for each strap and, instead, only did 17. And even worse, I didn't block them to the correct length before attaching them.

I don't know why I insist on making my life so unnecessarily taxing.

There was, well, a bit of cursing, a lot of de-ribboning, and some freaking out when, yes, I found the cat sleeping on my camisole while it was blocking.

(I have a photo somewhere.)

But, at the end of the day, it all worked out. The bind off is a leeeeeetle tight, but not worth ripping out and redoing.


I've picked out an upcoming special occasion to wear this one--wool camisoles are tricky to time. Far too hot in the summer, and you'd freeze in the winter, so fall should be the peak time for this one.

(p.s. Jordana said it was "pretty!")

Monday, August 8, 2011

Stuff my cat is on

Sometimes I think about starting a blog in the spirit of Stuff on My Cat, only it would be Stuff My Cat is On. And that "stuff" would be my knitting:





(Yes, she's using a ball of yarn as a pillow!)


I know--I just KNOW--if I actually knit something specifically for her to lay on, she'd ignore it completely.

(And before anyone asks, the craft room / office / second bedroom happens to be where one of two litterpans is kept, which is why I cannot shut her out--well, I could, but the resulting mess just wouldn't be worth it.)
Now that you've had a good chuckle at my expense, I have good news to share--mom is home from the hospital! She has lots of recovering left to do, but at least she can do it in her own bed.

And she still needs those covers, so keep crafting--in fact, I've decided to extend the deadline for the contest to August 31. So, if you were toying with the idea of making a cover, but didn't think you'd get it in before the deadline, you've now got two extra weeks! I whipped up an Anthro-inspired Scarflet in exactly one day (I even went down to DK weight yarn), so if you want an entry into this contest, rest assured it really won't take much crafting time to earn one!

Friday, August 5, 2011

When will I ever use this in real life?

Remember asking that about math? Not adding and subtracting, obviously, but equations. Percentages. Geometry. Graphing. Once they started adding letters (and requiring calculators that cost more than a car), I was toast. Not really, I guess, I made it all the way through pre-Calc with reasonable grades, but math was never easy again, and I dropped it as soon as I could.

(Actually, I liked Geometry, the logic of angles and shapes spoke to me. I remember a very specific class where the teacher put a so-called diagram up on the overhead, but it resembled nothing so much as a blob of ink, causing us all to giggle as she tried to teach us while repeatedly referencing said meaningless blob, ultimately leading her to pitch a huge fit. I want to feel bad for her now, but we were a rather well-behaved group of advanced math students in a stuffy all-girls Catholic school, so a few giggles about blobs on the overhead are barely a blip on the radar given all of the atrocious behavior she could've been experiencing as a teacher.)

(Do they still have overhead projectors?)

It turns out, though, that you need math as a knitter. At least, if you're concerned about your clothes actually fitting. No quadratic equations or anything, but a few basics. If your gauge is x stitches per inch, and you want your garment to be Y inches wide, you'll need to cast on X x Y stitches. Decreasing, ie, subtracting evenly across a row of stitches. Counting.  I was ok with all of that. The idea of doing math was scary, but in practice, it was doable.

But now, trying to design, I'm finding the need for even MORE math.

I don't like it.

Math for making different sizes. Math for adding cables. Math for switching stitch patterns. Math. Math. Math.

My head is spinning a little bit, as I try to design a pair of socks. This could take a while.

In the meantime, I've finished two pair of socks someone else spent hours fretting over designing.


Pattern: Boyfriend socks, sz medium
Yarn: Malabrigo sock in Cordovan
Rav link

You may recognize these because I started knitting them last July. Oops. I guess I got distracted.

Oh well, better late than never, right?

Easy, straightforward pattern, short row heel, cabled without a cable needle as usual. I made the cuffs extra long as that's what El Peruano prefers, and ta da:

Sadly, I did not love the Malabrigo sock. Too thin for my taste, I feel like these will wear out quickly. (El Peruano has been instructed to never, EVER put these in the laundry; let's see how long it takes him to forget.

This yarn is more my style:


Pattern: Diamonds and Cables socks, from Wendy Johnson's Toe-up Socks for Everybody
Yarn: Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! in Lubber Grasshopper
Rav link

The trickiest part of this sock was a difficult cable in the middle--slip 2 stitches to the cable needle, hold in back; knit 1 stitch through the back loop from the left-hand needle; slip left-most stitch from cable needle back to the left hand needle, purl; k last stitch on cable needle through the back loop.

Since I refuse to use a cable needle unless absolutely necessary, trying to use one for this cross really slowed me down at first (mostly the bit about not dropping anything while slipping those stitches around). Once I reached a suitable level of totally-fed-up, I decided to put all my brain power into figuring out how to do it without the cable needle, and I'm happy to say, I succeeded: follow the standard technique for cabling sans needle, then, after slipping both stitches back to the left needle, purl into the second stitch, then knit into the back of the first stitch, drop both from needle.

I know, not rocket science, but I'm still proud. I figured something out without Google-ing.

These socks were the last completed for a personal challenge I established in May to knit 8 socks by the end of July (3 complete pair and 2 singles). And I'm happy to say, I did it! Eight socks in 3 months!

Now I've got 4 new pair of socks snuggled up in my knitwear drawer, waiting for me to wear them once the weather turns cool.

Today's high: only 88!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Gallery 1: Stoma covers!

I'm not going to natter on today, I'm just going to post the photos of the amazing stoma covers I've received from ClumsyKnitter, Tia and Linda, and let them speak for themselves:









Impressive, huh? A million thanks to these knitters for these gorgeous covers, and a reminder to all that we still have a little over 2 weeks in this drive, so get those stoma covers to me, and earn your chance to win a prize--maybe WOLLMEISE!