Category Archives: Knitting

In Which I am Ever So Excited

What a long strange trip it’s been in Foreman’s basement…

This is the line I think of whenever something is winding down and ending. Usually it doesn’t apply, and no one knows what it’s from (bonus points if you do), but 2011 has in fact been a strange, strange year. No other year has been quite like this one. 2011 started on the highway back from Boston, listening to my boyfriend’s best friend and sister tell stories about the high school version of him, and I don’t know if I ever laughed that hard. I went to bars with my friends, where Emily taught me about Tequila Sunrises, and I ate pints of ice cream with Casey under the Christmas lights in her dorm room that never made their way off the walls. I got engaged in April. I moved back home with my parents. I started to wonder about Tourette’s. I wrote 60 pages of a young adult novel for my BFA thesis. I decided to rethink my hatred of hand knit socks, and fell in love with them instead. My boss, one of my best friends along with his wife, moved six hours away. I got a full-time job. I graduated. I left my old job. I cried all day. I learned about things I can’t control, and things I can, and how to handle the difference.

Learning about control has been a huge part of this year for me. There are so many things that are out of my control, but that doesn’t stop me from worrying about them, like having Tourette’s and OCD (to be fair, the OCD is probably responsible for this need for control, but that’s besides the point), or when Dan gets sick, or when the train is late, or yadda yadda yadda. And that’s just not healthy.

2012 is going to be about taking control of the things in my life that I can, and letting go and accepting the things I can’t. My therapist calls this my “empowerment.” She’s a knitter too, for the record. She made a cowl out of Twinkle Chunky that I’ve been coveting since she showed me. Sometimes we talk about knitting. She’s the best therapist in all the land!

At any rate, I made a list of goals for 2012. They are all a challenge, but easily attainable if I work for them. Working for them will give me something I can control, so the things I can’t won’t seem like such a big deal. And can I just say, I am SO EXCITED about these!!!

Here goes:

1. Knit at least 3 sweaters

I don’t knit too many sweaters because I hate spending so much money on yarn all in one go. But I just finished a Central Park Hoodie sweater out of Malabrigo Worsted, and basically haven’t taken it off since I seamed it together. I make so many hats and gloves and scarves that they don’t always get worn, and if I add up how much money I spent on that yarn, combined with how long they took me to make, and how much use I get out of them, then sweaters might just be more economical.

I definitely want to make the Kara sweater and the Fairisle Dolman. The third is yet to come.

2. Design and publish 3 patterns

I have the Mrs. Buchanan gloves pattern out now, I have a pattern for a bag in the soon-to-be-released Fresh Designs series from Shannon Okey’s Corporative Press, and I have two free patterns to post once I get my ass in gear. I always forget how much I like designing until I do it, though, so I have several ideas that I can’t wait to release.

3. Knit a pair of Cookie A. socks

So far I’ve only knit the Vanilla socks from the Knitmore Girls. Many pairs of them, but still. I like socks because I can throw them in my bag, and work on them without having to think about what I’m doing. They’re perfectly mindless. I would, though, like to knit a pair of fancy socks, preferably by Cookie A., preferably out of Malabrigo Sock yarn, and I don’t think that will happen unless I make a conscious effort, since I get so wrapped up in simple socks.

4. Knit something from hand spun yarn

I very recently got a Turkish drop spindle from KnitPicks, and I LOVE it! I’m having so much fun spinning on it, and I’m excited by the prospect of spinning enough yarn to knit mittens or something out of it.

5. Knit a fingering weight sweater, designed to fit me exactly

This is not to be included in goals 1 or 2. It’s on it’s own. Ever since I knit a shawl from Malabrigo Sock yarn, I’ve been a craving a sweater made of the same fabric, that fits me in the exact right places. Just a basic stockinette, crew neck, raglan pullover, maybe with a little bit of negative ease so it hugs me. Oof. Seriously drooling over that now.

6. Make a quilt

I don’t get enough use out of my sewing machine, possibly because whenever I do pull it out, it’s to make a dress, and none of the dresses I’ve made have come out very well (I have deceptively broad shoulders. My waist is a good two sizes smaller than my shoulders, which makes it very difficult to figure out sizes. Buying prom dresses was a real treat). But I’ve always wanted to make a quilt, and I think it would the perfect use of my machine. I wouldn’t have to worry about size and fit, I’d just be able to pull it out and go.

7. Yoga 2-4 times a week

Because a girl’s gotta have curves, but also a girl’s gotta get her ass in gear. For reals.

8. Run

This one isn’t necessarily for exercise, even though it’s good for that too. I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who could “go for a run,” and come back feeling great, and be all, “oh man, what a good run! Running makes me feel alive! I’m so glad I can run and not have my lungs cave in.” I’m not one of those people. My lungs cave in basically half a block from my house, then I have to walk the rest of the way wheezing and holding my side. One of my tics from the TS is that I breathe out a lot, quickly and shallowly and loudly. This makes it tough to breathe in any kind of normal pattern, which is fine for just sitting around, but not when I’m trying to exert myself. Dan, who is a runner, is going to help me this spring by teaching me how to breathe when I run. Being able to control my breath in a way that allows me to use my body productively is going to make SO MUCH difference in terms of how much control I have. Me controlling my breath, instead of vice versa. What a novel idea!

9. Get a tattoo

Self-explanatory. I have a whole year to not chicken out.

10. Go into everything with a positive attitude, open mind, and sense of humor

Also self-explanatory, but important to remember.

11. Finish the novel I started for my thesis

60 pages done. Many more to go. But it will be so rewarding when I finish it. Also, I would like to feel like I’m doing something creative that could make money, in addition to my office job.

12. Podcast

Oh, that’s right! Next week, I’m starting a knitting podcast. I kept thinking I would do one sometime in the future, with no specific idea when, but then I found myself thinking, “I’d like to knit this, but I think I’ll wait until I start podcasting, because then I can talk about it.” Which seems to me to mean PODCAST NOW! My brother’s writing me a theme song as we speak, I’m going to buy podcast hosting, and I’m going to start recording next week. Which brings us to the last goal:

13. Blog 1-2 times per week

Now that I’m not in school, I’m working, but my free time is mine. This means homework won’t get in the way of blogging and knitting and doing whatever it is I’d rather be doing than reading Hawthorne. WHICH BRINGS US TO MY REALLY BIG AWESOME ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

This blog is going to be moving to it’s OWN DOMAIN!!!

Dan just told me that this is what he got me for Christmas. I could not be more excited! I’ve been thinking about moving over for a long time, but never looked into it enough to do it. But as soon as he can help me figure it out, I’m going to be at http://www.withpointedsticks.com

EEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’ll give more information when the time comes, and I’m pretty sure this will automatically redirect. But for now, just EEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy holidays everyone, and may your 2012 be everything you want it to be!

In Which is that Christmas Morning Creeping?

I’m only doing a few Christmas gifts this year (because oh man did I learn my lesson last year),  and the recipients know not to expect them before Christmas. So while I’ve been putting those gifts off, I’ve been finishing this:

Please forgive this picture. It's late on a Friday night. It's a wonder I'm even awake right now.

The fiance wanted a scarf, and damn if I can resist a chance to bust out some Malabrigo! Irish Hiking Scarf for Irish Dan.

The pattern was super easy, it was a nice change a pace from some of the other stuff I’ve had on the needles recently (more on that on a later date). And after a long, hard week, sometimes Malabrigo scarves are important. I think I’ll keep it on for tonight. It’s so very warm.

Also, can we take a second to talk about this song? I’ve listened to it AT LEAST 50 times since I downloaded it two days ago. I heard it from Jackie over at KIPing it Real, and GOOD GRACIOUS does it make me feel things!

In Which My Love of Lists Finally Comes to Light

1. I don’t know if I have the brain capacity to write in paragraphs.

2. I don’t know why that is. Probably because it is Thursday, and I am sleepy, and thinking about waking up early again tomorrow is making me even sleepier. I’m a wuss.

3. So I will write this list.

4. Dirty Little Secret: I like when the train is late. My train to work is already an hour and a half on a good day, and ever since I started knitting socks a few weeks ago, that hasn’t felt like enough time. It’s kind of sick.

5. Today the train was stuck behind a disabled train for half an hour. We were told it would only be a ten minute delay, but such is life, and I was pleased. Everyone should knit. Everyone would be much more patient.

6. In what universe am I the kind of knitter whose heart melts while working on a basic sock? A man sock, no less. Granted, it is self-patterning yarn. That’s delightful. But still. I swore off socks when I started knitting. Stockinette bored me to tears. But now I find myself on the verge of joyful tears after a stretch of particularly well-executed stockinette. I don’t recognize myself anymore.

7. If you read my old blog, you might remember how I got half way through a Beaded Cami (minus the beads) before I realized that it would fit a line backer better than me. I frogged it and the Rowan Cotton Glace spent a few years in my knitting basket, ready for its second try. I finally got around to trying again, this time doing a better job of swatching, and also knitting it flat like the pattern says because somehow I think converting it to circulars was where I went wrong. It shouldn’t have been, but alas, I had only been knitting for a year or so at that point (I know, that’s not that short. Shut up.) It’s stockinette, just like the socks, but somehow it’s not as interesting. Whatever. I’ll just have to keep plugging at it. If nothing else it will be a good back-to-basics projects, because my finishing skills can, admittedly, use some work.

The abandoned Cotton Glace

8. I’m on my second cup of coffee today, something I haven’t done in weeks. So my heart’s beating kind of fast, and I apologize if this makes no kind of sense.

In Which I Have Tangents Part II

The fiance just reminded me that I designed two patterns recently that I’m going to be publishing FOR FREE on here once they’re tested. Remember when I promised a free pattern back in October? Remember when that was delayed by many months? Remember how I wrote two to make up for it? Does it make up for it? One is an impossibly cute baby blanket, and the other is a cabled cowl made of Malabrigo Rios. STICK AROUND FOLKS!

In Which I Am Good at Background Selectivity

Last Christmas, I got a yarn swift and ball winder. It ended like this:

Hi grumpy Dan.

Granted, it’s very possible that I didn’t watch the video on Knit Pick’s site before I started, and it’s also possible that this yarn is just too heavy for the swift (Malabrigo Rios in Sunset. Have yet to use it, but periodically take it out and touch it, now that I’ve managed to turn it into a ball). So now that I’ve finished the Citron I spoke of previously (need to block before I can get pictures), I pulled out the other skein of Malabrigo Lace I stashed away.

Have you ever wound a skein of lace-weight merino wool over your knees, the old fashioned way? I do it a lot, and it usually results in several lost yards because at some point I give up because it’s too tangled. The idea of spending hours with this skein was enough for me to try the swift again.

Side note: swifts make yarn cakes. Not balls. Cakes. As if I don’t love yarn enough.

My father came in while I was taking this picture, and told me I wasn’t being selective enough about my backgrounds. My background selection was really just the result of my keyboard being the only surface that I didn’t have to clear off before taking a picture of it. But after that, I became much more selective of the backgrounds for yarn cake.

In a pile of old cds.

 

In a clearance mug from Crate and Barrel, next to a sparkly horse snow globe that plays, if I remember correctly, "Memories."

In a different mug, this time featuring dirty words by Shakespeare (thanks Colin!)

Next to some 1920s rubber ducks. Everything in the '20s was black and white. Obviously.

If background selectivity is any indicator, I am getting MIGHTY good at picture taking, yes sir.

In Which I Cave and Go Mainstream

Perhaps you didn’t know this about me, because why would you, but I make it rain. Not unlike Fat Joe (why yes, yes I did have to look up who does that song. What of it?).

But seriously. I started work this week, which means taking the train into the city, and when I do that, it rains. Every time. Last summer, I brought my rain coat and umbrella every day, even on days when there was no rain in the forecast and it was sunny outside, because I knew once whoever is in charge of the rain found out I was walking from the train station to my office, it would pour (perhaps you remember this post from way back when).

Really all I’m trying to say is that I’m sorry for this bad weather we’ve been having.

My next point is unrelated: I started knitting a Citron. The knitters are all, “so what, everyone’s knit a Citron.” And the non-knitters are all, “so what?” The thing is, I never intended to knit one. Not because I didn’t like the pattern, because I have since Knitty released it. It’s just that EVERYONE knits them. Which is not to say I’m such a little hipster that I won’t partake in a mainstream pattern, because ew. I just got sick of hearing about how easy it was, and how fast it was, and what a perfect stashbuster it was.

Because naturally those are all horrible things. :/

But I had this skein of Cactus Rose Malabrigo Lace that’s just been kicking it in my stash for about a year and a half. I tried to knit an Estonian lace stole from it, but college is hard and I only got about two rows into it before I had to go read Edith Wharton. Not to mention that every time I go to the yarn store, I SOMEHOW end up with another skein of my favorite laceweight merino wool, which is why I happen to have a skein of it that I believe is called Surf that I bought because it looked too soft to leave behind (which is why I’ve never been to an animal shelter, coincidentally).

I have a really big secret project that I’m currently working on, and it’s a bitch to try to take on the train, or in the car, or to baseball games, plus I can’t knit it in front of people, given that it is a secret and all that. I needed a pattern that was small and easy, and that used up my Malabrigo Lace stash.

I think you know what happened from there.

This picture is also helpful if you were ever wondering what my knees look like in jeans. They look like this.

In Which the World Looks Little

Well hey!  What’s crack-a-lackin’?  Remember when I used to blog?  No?  That’s fine.  Me neither.

But no worries because I’m back in the blogging saddle.  At least for today.  Since I have my mojo for the next few minutes, I will use this time to show you my Christmas knitting.

(In full disclosure, much of it is still not done.  Shut up.  I have a lot of things going on.  Like school.  And ice cream eating.  And Twitter.)

First up:

Pattern: Maggie Beans and Friends
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft

This was for my boss’s one-year-old daughter, who is easily the cutest baby in existence.  The pattern was easy.  The part that took the longest was her hair, which I believe I documented in several previous posts.  Here is a picture of when it was finally finished, and I gave her a stylish hair cut:

My boyfriend decided her name was Natawasha, for reasons that I just don’t grasp, and yet in my head that is, without a doubt, her name.  Oh, and I didn’t intend for her to be naked.  I just ran out of time, and it turns out I suck at hand sewing.

Next!

Pattern: Cruiser Mittens (Rav link)
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lanaloft Worsted

For my boss.  They turned out smaller that I anticipated, but he said they stretched out to fit his hands pretty exactly, so that’s nice.  Also, I really liked this yarn but was sneezy when I was making them.  Wool is one of the few things I’m not allergic to, so that’s something to look out for in the event that you are allergic.

I also made a pair of silver Mrs. Buchanan Gloves for his wife, but forgot to photograph them.  Par for the course.

And these:

Big G Janice!

Big G Rita!

Pattern: Knitted Neck Scarf
Yarn: KnitPicks Comfy Sport

My grandmothers get all kinds of excited when I knit for them, so I really enjoy doing their Christmas knitting.  One of them told me earlier in the year about having a scarf similar to this one when she was growing up, so I went searching for the pattern.  While the end result is lovely, allow me to be unkind for a moment: as much as I love me some Martha Stewart, this pattern from her site is shit.  It was so unclear, and I had to make a lot of it up as I went along.  Also, on one of the scarves, one end is much longer than the other because the instructions were wrong, and I didn’t realize it in time.

COOKIE BREAK!!!!

My mom would like me to share these with you:

Heeeelp!!! I'm melllllting!

She made them based on cookies from a site that I can’t find right now.  Eek.  Maybe later?  They were delightful, even though their heads were just big ol’ balls of fondant.

Somewhere in the past three years of my writing school education, I learned about transitions.  Thus, I know that this is a good transition.  Because I brought these cookies when I went to meet my boyfriend’s parents for the first time over break.  The transition goes like this: cookies –> boyfriend’s parents –> boyfriend’s Christmas knitting.

It’s like could I hit you over the head with that transition ANY harder?

Anyway, the point is that I have a boyfriend who I like a whole lot, and who I knit these for:

Pattern: Men’s Convertible Gloves
Yarn: Erm… possibly Cascade 220?  So much yarn, who can remember it all?

And he wears them.  I have a boyfriend who wears things I knit.  He wore them so much I had to fix them because strings were popping out (either that or it was just poor craftsmanship.  Let’s not think about it too hard).

This is another picture of them.  It’s an awful picture, but we were at the top of the Prudential Center, and I want to show you how little Boston is.  And the world.

I’ve been waiting a very long time for a boy to knit for.  And it was so very worth the wait, because this boy is quite the boy, and makes me happier than I’ve ever been with another person.  He is kind, and inspiring, doesn’t mind that sometimes I look like this:

Anyone remember Marshmallow from my old blog? Anyone remember my old blog? No? Fine.

Which is really all you can ask for.  In the event that anyone who is here to read my knitting blog is also into “Electro, Thrash, Industrial, Dubstep, Screamo” music (in accordance to their Facebook page), it would probably not be a mistake for you to listen to his band.  He’s the screamer.  Hawt.

In Which I Review a Knitting App

This one, in fact: Yarn U

I have an awful lot of knitting related apps on my iPod.  A. Lot.  And of those, guess how many I actually use?  Maybe one, when I remember to.

But I think this one might actually be useful. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a yarn store, and after 4 years of being an active knitter, am still too dumb to read and understand a ball band  (If you can actually understand how a ball band relates to real life, please give me a holler!).  If it doesn’t specifically say, “this yarn is this weight, and it will look like this when you’re done with it, and it will be splitty so please be careful,” then I’m pretty much out.

Yarn U is a collection of descriptions and pictures for over 100 different yarns.  It gives basic information, honest reviews, and great pictures.  This is one that I will pull out in the yarn store when I’m yarn shopping, and don’t want to run home to search Ravelry before I make a decision (um, like you haven’t done it!).  Hopefully, more yarns will be added as the app is updated, because there are still a few other yarns I would like to see.  But I am very excited about this app, and sincerely recommend it to all of my yarnie readers!

(Side Note: Fabric U, its companion app for sewers, is also fantastic!)

In Which the Challenge is Accepted

In the next 48 hours, I have two exams (one in which I have to remember 15 chapters worth of business-related terminology.  Yeah right), and have to finish knitting three Christmas gifts (one in which involves sewing a dress for a doll.  Yeah right.).  After which, I have to pack, move home, bake cookies with my mom, and finish another Christmas gift (this one involves bitch slapping the curse of the boyfriend sweater in the face), before Sunday.  After Sunday, I have to knit and block two scarves by Christmas, or else face two very disappointed grandmothers.

 

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!!!!!

In Which this is the Story of My Life

Oh you know, just Saturday night and giving a knit doll a weave.  Someone has to do it.