Tuesday, November 24, 2015

And Miles to Go

I'm infatuated with the Philosopher's Wool method of woven colorwork.  Infatuated doesn't even begin to cover my exact feelings for it.  So here I am, after mastering the effortless memorization of the four individual stitches, I am now trying to master the execution of them.  

My right hand refuses to get with the program, and my left hand is resentful and angry.  I'm a continental knitter, and extremely ambidextrous in my non-knitting life to boot, so I can't afford to have a resentful left hand!  My solution: practice until you've got it.  So here is my first practice mitt.  After many fruitless COs with this exact yarn combination where I didn't get anywhere near gauge (and therefore wasn't making a usable project) I struck gold - or maybe pyrite - with this pattern.

You may notice some sketchy-looking stitches in there.  Nothing horrible, but some are raised-up & some have fallen behind.  My "normal" knitting doesn't look anything like this, so it's either my tension causing everything to be wonky, or the technique (combined with my tension too, of course).  I'm going to power-on, because I already see a big difference in my cuff & the part above the braids.  I feel like I'm making progress.  I'm HOPEFUL that by the time I finish the second mitt, I will be passably-good at this technique.  This amazing, brilliant, clever-beyond-belief technique!

And then, of course, these will make a lovely holiday or birthday gift for my girl!  I doubt she will nitpick the perfection (or lack thereof) of my stitches.  Not if she ever wants to get any more hand knits again!  I can't say that, she'd just requisition whatever she wants from the drawer anyway, like she always does.

This next one is my first attempt at my first swatch for MHK-L1.  I had a HELL of a time getting a picture of this!  It's dark in my room (for photography), my cell phone - which I normally rely on for these things - has refused to take pictures the past few days!  It clicks, blinks, and makes all the normal signs that it's recording but it doesn't.  It's time for an upgrade, methinks.  I was ok with it when I stopped being able to answer calls on any kind of regular basis; I don't like to talk on the phone anyway.  I was ok when my few games became impossible to play - I just deleted them & went on my merry way.  I was even ok-ish when it stopped letting me upload existing pictures onto FB & Ravelry (by "ok" I mean I wasn't exactly SCREAMING obscenities, more like muttering them along with threats) but if it's not going to take pictures, I might as well toss it into the road.  It's definitely time for an upgrade.

Honestly, I suspect that around the holiday season - phone program updaters send out new updates to make things glitchy so you'll want to update your year-old (or more) phone.  It's devious and underhanded, but completely plausible.

Anyway, this swatch pleases me.  Not because it's perfect, but because I'm literally on day two of this correspondence "class" and I've learned a metric goat-ton about my own knitting already.  For instance, I had NO idea there was a front & back side of the long-tailed CO!  I mean, I was vaguely aware there was some kind of difference but that's as far as my curiosity went.  I just blithely followed the patterns & never wondered why some started on the WS directly after the CO & some were RS.

I also knew I had some slight tension issues with my purl side knitting, but I'd mostly corrected this with some extra tensioning & it's rarely an issue in my not-going-to-be-professionally-judged everyday knitting.  In fact, I've been pleased with my purling for a while, and still am for that matter, but I see that I have a little bit to work on near my selvedge edges.  I don't have a baggy row or anything, but I do have a few wonkier stitches and I feel that is room for improvement.  So I'll re-knit this swatch and use it for my blocking experiments later.  Everything happens for a reason!  That reason, in this case, because of my research I know what to look for in the way of glaring errors!  And also some reassurance that at least my first swatch isn't only fit for the burn pile, lol.  In fact, I think it's pretty passable!  Maybe even as good as not bad.

Also, this morning while I was thinking about starting this particular swatch - I happened along a great tutorial for a KFB increase without a purl bump.  Jeez, sometimes things just fall into your lap when you didn't even know you were looking for them.  So I spent half an hour agog with happiness while absorbing the tutorial in all its glory, then realized I might be able to test it out for the 1st time on this swatch!  It worked.  Magnificently.

So far, this course is worth its weight in gold.  All I've done is thoroughly research my paper & do half a swatch & I've got 20 pages of "OMG, this is a thing?" notes, lol!  Even though it's not for a Professional certification, you should try this class if it's at all feasible for you.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

3.5 Miles

That's how much I've knit this year!  Approximately, anyway.  I have yet to weigh my yarn balls prior to & subsequently after making my projects, so I just averaged what I thought I used.  Still stupendous!

It's snowing here, so I can't get out into my garden.  Just means more knitting.  Sarah is in Canada, waiting on some snow to kick off the ski season so she can go to work.  It's clear & sunny where she is.  I wish I could send her some of this mess...

On happier notes, here are pictures of my husband & myself meeting Neil deGrasse Tyson in Nashville, TN this month.  Neither of us is exactly pleased with our pictures, but Neil looks great in both!

I'd almost forgotten I had a blog, until I started wondering how much I'd knit this year & remembered my knit meter.  Sad, eh?  I'll try to be more active, especially now that it's snowy outside & I really won't have any excuse not to.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Childhood Rite of Passage

Sarah pierced Keegan's ear last night.  At his request, of course.  Also, after many jokes about accidentally piercing his neck or face or hand.  They used tons of alcohol - the rubbing kind, not the drinking kind - so that qualifies Sarah as "at least as professional as the girls at Claires in the mall".

I remember when I was younger, having my friends help me pierce my bellybutton.  I was not brave & it took quite a while to get it done.  I won't even talk about the tattoos my cousin Tara and I gave ourselves when we were 16!

Keegan made a pained facial expression just for this picture.  I'm proud of them though, this is some serious sibling bonding & something they may look back on years from now with a smile.  I know I'm privileged to be able to share this memory with them.  My kids are a blessing, they're brave and smart and thoughtful and... well, just amazing.  I'm lucky to have such an awesome daughter this year, and such awesome sons all the time.  I have the best job in the whole world.  That's why the word Mom is Wow, upside down!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lookit this Awesomeness!

Two handed fair aisle knitting, that creates a woven background instead of floats that catch on hands/rings/fingers!

Crazy how stuff happens.  I found this link: http://www.philosopherswool.com/Pages/Twohandedvideo.htm after literally itching for a colorwork project for months.  Look what she's doing!  Fair aisle, but with no floats!  A completely woven looking back side to your knitted item.  Why would anyone ever do floats if this is an option?  I may not be experienced enough to answer that question, honestly.  And it's a grainy video at best so it's hard to tell how amazing the back actually looks.  I find it pretty amazing though.

This project will be a pair of mittens, hopefully for myself or my exchange-daughter.  She saw the pattern & claimed them before even one stitch was made.  Is this how all daughters are?  We're finding ourselves powerless against her.  She's painted Jeremy's nails.  She's staked her claim on Keegan (HER little brother, he's not allowed to have any pretend sisters at school now).  She wears my clothes.  My knitting isn't even safe.

I wouldn't trade her for the world.  I hope she loves the mittens.  I actually hope I get to finish them, so she has a chance to love them.  I also (as long as I'm wishing for crazy fanciful things) wish I was just wealthy enough to not have to work outside the home & could have an adequate monthly stipend to support a mild knitting & Keurig coffee addiction & tennis balls for my wretched addled fetch-hound.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

It Knits!

I taught Sweet Sarah how to knit.  That dark picture at the top of the page is her & Keegan snuggled on the couch with a warm dog.  She is knitting a complicated cabled headband for her first project and he isn't doing anything but sitting in the warm spot between his exchange sister & the furbeast.

Below that are the fingerless mitts I created, modeled by Lyn, my LYSO.

It's getting that time of year again.  All I can think about is knitting.  All I want to do is look at pictures of knitted projects, sketch my sweater design, pick out buttons, read knitting books, and wear cozy handknits.  I LOVE Fall! 

What's on your needles?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Three Bags Full

 I bought a big bag of raw alpaca fleece from the Spinner's Flock Fiber Festival on Sunday.  It's a lovely pinkey-beige color.  Unfortunately, the farmer didn't include the name of the beast the fiber was harvested from.  I feel a little sad about that.  This is the first animal I've not had that at least a name-connection with when I selected their fiber.

Sarah is doing well and acclimating to our family like a champ.  That's her making a kissy-face in the background of Reem's very nice picture.  That's my thumb on the other side.  Nothing is ever serious here.  Or, you just can't have anything nice in this family as my hubsticle likes to say.

Now, I have to do some spinning before bed or I'll be overrun with fiber like I am with yarn and WIPs...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bubbly Sarah

She's even more wonderful in person.  She's got a great sense of humor.  She's very driven, loves a challenge, and is smarter than everyone on our whole street... combined.  :)  She's fluent in three languages, and just starting 10th grade & is in Calculus. (WHEW!!)

She's started school this week, and is enjoying it.  She's testing out dance classes to find one she is challenged by.  She's a lot of fun to be around.  I think she likes us, too.  She says normal is overrated.

We're taking that the good way.