Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pattern: 17th Street

 While most people try to burn off all their extra Thanksgiving calories by taking hikes or riding bikes, I put my weekend efforts into something a little less cardio intensive, but hopefully equally rewarding.

A new pattern!


Pattern: 17th Street
Project page
Yarn: 250-300 yds DK weight (I used Pigeonroof Studios Cassiopeia DK)
Needles: US sz 6
Sizes: small/medium - 7.5" hand circumference; medium/large - 8.5" hand circumference

These gloves have been in the works for a few months, though the idea for them came to me much earlier in the year. Back when I was still living in Maryland and riding the subway into D.C., I spotted another commuter in a darling coat with ruffles on the outside of the forearm. I thought something similar would be cute on gloves, but couldn't quite figure out how to put them together. Fortunately, I managed to puzzle out my idea over the course of the year, and my gloves came to life.


The cuffs on these are knit flat, with an i-cord edge at the bottom. Stitches are picked up around the opposite edge and joined to work in the round. From there on, it's a fairly straightforward glove, with just a hint of detail in the column of eyelet stitches on the finger. Buttons on the cuffs allow for opening and closing, so you can tuck your shirt sleeves in and fasten the cuffs over them--extra warm!


This is the first pattern I'm offering for sale on Ravelry! I've priced it at $3.99, but I've got a special deal for my blog readers--enter the coupon code LPK11 to receive $1 off the purchase price, through December 4. This promo will hopefully work automatically if you click right here! Or, if I've screwed that up, you can enter the code during checkout.


Thanks as always to each of your for your continued support of both my blog and my design aspirations!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanks, Gracias, Merci

Tomorrow I will have a house full of relatives (well, ok, just my mom, dad and sister), and be frantically trying to time all of the dinner dishes to be ready at the exact same time, so I'll take a few minutes today to tell you what I'm thankful for.

My husband--even when he asks me crazy things like, "Will the kitchen tell me when it's ready?"
(No, dear, I don't think the kitchen is going to tell you anything. Ever.)

My dad--for being a rock for our family

My mom--thankful she's still with us after a difficult year

My sister--for helping me deal with my crazy mom

My friends--I don't get to see them as often as I would like, but I never laugh more than when we're all together

My kitties--a constant source of amusement and tummy snuggles (well, occasionally)


The Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup, and Hufflepuff House--an amazingly rewarding and uplifting online community to be a part of

The Big Bang Theory--it's never not funny (Bazinga!)

Pumpkin--is there anything it can't do?


Lip balm--I can't imagine life without it

You--my readers. Thank you so much for caring about what I have to say, it's wonderful to know there are people out there listening. You guys are full of win.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Slow slog (now with crappy iPhone photos!)

I've been working on this project seemingly forever. For. Ev. Er.

(Sandlot!!! No? Hmmmmm.)

It all started when we bought the Hunter Trunk.

I'd been in love with this coffee table / storage trunk for at least a year when we finally bought it, and after some annoyances with Crate and Barrel's inability to foresee that we wouldn't want a trunk with a giant crack down one side (nor would we be willing to haul the broken thing back and pick up a new, supposedly undamaged piece of furniture), I was proud to call it mine.

The real selling point is the built in storage--3 different sections open up, so you can throw all kinds of crap in there.

I had visions of filling at least one compartment with cozy, fluffy, snuggly blankets, to be pulled out with exuberant joy the instant a chill was in the air. (Or the air conditioning was turned up too high.)

The problem was, we didn't own any cozy, fluffly, snuggly blankets. We had a couple of ratty old fleece blankets, and that was it.

So I decided, of course, that I would make the cozy, fluffy, snuggly blankets.

I would just try to block out that little voice in my head saying, "But that will take forever. For. Ev. Er!"

I perused blanket patterns on Ravelry, queuing a few here and there, and finally settling on the coziest, fluffiest, snuggliest looking one, Jared Flood's Umaro. I knew it was the right one because I could practically feel the yarn squishing between my fingers in the photos. Also, super bulky yarn and large needles meant it would be a much better bet than something knit in DK weight, which would take forever x infinity to finish.

Pattern in hand, I set about finding the right yarn--Jared used Cascade Lana Grande, but 12 balls of yarn at $7/each was more than I was willing to spend.

(Sometimes I find the logic I use in making yarn purchases baffling--I'm absolutely contemplating buying 5 skeins of madelinetosh pashmina for Alana Dakos' Wildflower Cardigan, which will run me well over $100, but $80 for a much larger blanket is somehow out of the question. I might be crazy.)

I settled on one of WEBS in-house yarns, Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky--a more reasonable $5/ball with slightly more yardage, and includes a smidge of alpaca for a lovely halo and extra snuggliness.

Finally, I was ready to whip out my blanket--of course it wouldn't take long, I was using yarn as thick as a horse's tail, and needles with a diameter rivaling white board markers. Easy peasy. Piece of cake. (Or "piece of pie," as CP sometimes says; yes, he also says "easy as cake." I know, we should have a sitcom.)

I started out with size 15 needles, but quickly had to give them up. They felt horribly unwieldy, I couldn't get any kind of rhythm going--mostly I wanted to throw the whole project against the wall, which isn't the most productive way to get a blanket. Unfortunately.

After hemming and hawing for a few days, I moved down to size 13 needles, which felt slightly more sane, and added an extra pattern repeat to make up for any size discrepancy.

(Seriously, I want this thing big enough to fit my bed.)

And so I've been knitting.

And knitting.

And knitting.

It just seems to be taking . . . what's the word? Oh, I know--FOREVER! I'm not enjoying it. I will enjoy the blanket, but I'm not enjoying the process. I knit a row, set it down, move to another project, force myself back to the blanket, knit another row, lather, rinse, repeat. I make bargains with myself: OK, 6 rows on the blanket and then you can work on your Dahlia Cardigan. 6 rows on the blanket, and you can play on Pinterest. 6 rows on the blanket and you can book that Alaskan cruise!

Today, though, I'm happy to report that I'm finally halfway done. And you know, it does take up most of my bed:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Catching up

I seem to have finally managed to catch up on the every day life stuff after our lovely vineyard wedding and subsequent relaxing Jamaica trip (the thank you notes are even written! Though, not mailed.), so now I can get back to the fun stuff, like rambling about knitting.

I promised you guys a post/review about the class I took at Rhinebeck, Norwegian Cutting Techniques.

I signed up for this class because I wanted to learn about steeking. Last year, I started a Deep V Argyle Vest, and while I'm still not done knitting it, I might someday actually finish it, and when that day comes, I want to be prepared for cutting it open and watching its metaphorical guts spill onto the floor.

(Or, my couch. I don't sit on the floor while knitting.)

Now, it's entirely possible that I wasn't paying close attention when I signed up, but as I recall, the information available about the exact topics covered at that point was minimal. It said "cutting techniques," I foolishly assumed we would cover a number of techniques.

Which is why I was a smidge disappointed to show up for class and realize it was only going to address machine stitching.

I don't own a sewing machine.

(And frankly, if you do already own a sewing machine, I'm not sure you need a whole class to learn how to use it to do steeks--sew 2 lines of stitches, cut between them, voila!)

Still, I tried to keep an open mind--it's not like I couldn't buy a sewing machine if it seemed like it would be useful. Although learning to use a sewing machine would probably be a prerequisite.

I had done my homework, knitting a small baby-sized pullover and sleeves, so I was ready to learn.

The class consisted of about 14 students (two of whom apparently signed up for no conceivable reason, because they spent the whole class yapping instead of listening to the instructor, and generally being a distraction. I guess that's your choice, but what a waste of $70. And also, rude.).

The instructor showed us various samples of her steeking work (lovely!), and then set up the machine so we could start stitching. The assumption seemed to be that we would already know how to use a sewing machine, which of course I didn't. So I opted to wait at the back of line while watching other people tackle the monster.

When my turn came, I managed to sew 2 very crooked lines onto my sweater, in the general vicinity of the areas I had marked, and then deftly sliced it open--exhilarating. And of course, as predicted, the machine stitches held the raw edges together, so no unraveling. I worked on picking up stitches for the placket and then--the class was over.

The instructor gave us a brief overview of how we might go about steeking the armholes and attaching the sleeves at home--presumably with my non-existent sewing machine--but when asked if she could provide some kind of written instructions for the 86 steps she had glossed over in 5 minutes, she directed us to her book.

Um, no thanks.

So to sum up, I could not recommend this particular class, because the time allotted was not sufficient to allow students to actually learn all the steps, which is presumably the point (the instructor said several times she would prefer a longer class, so I assume this was the festival organizers' decision and not hers). It's especially not worth your time if you don't own (or have access to) and know how to use a sewing machine. And if you do, my completely uninformed opinion is that you don't need this class.

But that said, I've never taken a knitting class before in my life, and I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet other knitters, look at their work, and interact with an instructor. The class itself didn't do much for me, but made the idea of taking classes in general much more appealing. Next Sunday, I'll be taking a "design with confidence" workshop with Cirilia Rose, and I can't wait!

And now . . . animals!







Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Home again, home again

Jiggity jig.

Yes, I've made it back from Jamaica. I'm not tan. At all. But I am rested, relaxed, and ready to KNIT ALL THE THINGS in November.

We'll see how that plan goes.

As you saw in my last post, I was a smidge busy in October, getting ready to marry a wonderful man. As I posted about before, my Ravelry ID and design pseudonym, MediaPeruana, means half Peruvian, a nod to my shameful adoption of a heritage not at all my own--hubby was born and raised in Lima. He moved to the U.S. about 11 years ago, and now we share a happy, culturally mixed up household. Sometimes this means I get to eat tasty Peruvian food, like ceviche and pisco sours. Sometimes it means hubby will wake up in the middle of the night and tell me he has acid and I'll have absolutely no idea what on earth he's talking about (heartburn, apparently). Sometimes it means acting as an interpreter during family events. It means all of my in-laws live in another country (which I'm sure many readers can appreciate), and we take amazing vacations in order to visit them.

So to sum up, it's pretty spectacular.


(Hubby shall henceforth be known on this blog as CompletamentePeruano--or CP, because let's face it, that's a lot of letters to type).

But, onto the knitting front: October wasn't a great month for new knitting, as I worked to finish 2 new designs--a pair of gloves and a pair of socks. Here's just a sneak peak:



(I'm aware that these aren't the world's greatest photos; learning to use my new camera is also on my Fall to-do list.)

With the actual knitting for these projects more-or-less done, in November I hope to have more time for knitting Christmas gifts and the Dahlia Cardigan, which I delusionally hope to have done in time to wear for Thanksgiving dinner--which I'm also hosting this year! How does a nearly-vegetarian cook a turkey? We're going to find out!