Saturday, October 13, 2007

Knit one, teach 16, 17, 18...

The knitting highlight of the last 2 weeks has certainly been my very first attempt at teaching a knitting lesson. I proposed teaching a lesson on Knit Graffiti a few weeks ago, hoping I could save it for a time when I had a few days with my students. Well, that didn't happen. My professor pushed me into teaching it on a pre-clinical teaching trial. Pre-clinical trials are less like classes and more like guerilla warfare. You get NO information ahead of time about what school you will be at, what age the students will be, what skill levels you will be working with, if they speak english, how many students you will have, what materials will be provided, etc. You get NOTHING ahead of time (my classmates have been stuck with blind students, non-english speakers, extreme cognitive disorder, illiterate 5th graders, the works, all with no time to prepare). You go in, you get roughly 40 minutes to meet your students, teach them, make a project with them, and leave, being evaluated all along by a hovering professor. Well, I got sent to Wells High School in the Ukrainian village (which, by the way, is not ukranian at all). I was greeted by metal detectors and armed police men. wow. I got to my classroom and gave my lesson to small groups of students (8 at a time). I knew I could not teach them to knit, this was really about seeing how receptive high school students would be to learning to knit. The bad news... none of them learned to knit (as was expected). The good news... all of my students all day long were interested and actively trying to learn to knit despite their failures for the entire 40 minute lesson. Take your victories where they come.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Order Up!

I am still alive. I was not in fact flown off by the hoards of mosquitos the other night. I did, however, flee from my home under cover of weekend and went back to my parent's house. I don't know if it was the cold of the weekend, the lack of food I left here, or divine providence, but when I returned there was not a single squeeter left. Knock on wood.

I have been religiously keeping up with my finishing of UFO's lately. This week I finished the Long Socks from Erika Knight's Classic Style. I started them over the summer because I'm trying to find patterns that I like that will work on my Ultimate Sweater Machine. These socks are worked back and forth on straight needles with only side shaping and are worsted weight wool so they qualify. All in all they were very fast to hand knit and pleasant looking. my only issue is that no matter how I try to seam them (they have a seam along the toe, on either side of the heel and all the way up the inside edge) the seam is less stretchy than the knitting. This is a little annoying at first, especially at the toe. I have been wearing them around the house a little bit and I think that it may just take a little getting used to. I still plan to machine knit them eventually.

Speaking of machine knitting, I am learning a lot in my Machine Knitwear Design class. The machines we use are far more sophisticated than my USM so it's taking a little getting used to. It is totally different from handknitting. The only problem is that now I may be getting too used to the more complicated machine so everytime I go to start something on the USM I just get fed up before the first row is knit. It's like going from broadband back to dial up. In this metaphor handknitting would be the card catalog at the library, a totally different media with a whole other ambiance and purpose etc. My first project was to knit a " stuffed critter" using the different types of increases and decreases. I named mine "Lumpy" for self-evident reasons.

In honor of all the stash busting and 9 month strict yarn diet (or yarn anorexia) I have been on I ordered from Knit Picks last week. I have never actually touched any knitpicks yarn so I was skeptical. It arrived this week and I must say I am very pleased. Everything is of very good quality (and the Alpaca Cloud is beyond good quality).

I plan to use the Merino Style to knit a fair Isle yoke cardigan,

the Wool of the Andes for a possible felted jacket,

the Shine for maybe some gloves,

and the Alpaca cloud for a small lace scarf. Very exciting.

I've also been working an obscene amount on my teaching certification. I will not discuss it much here beyond saying that (some of) my professors are either criminally unorganized morons or sadists. Either way... please kill me.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


HELP HELP I'M BEING EATEN ALIVE!!! This is a non-knitting crisis but a crisis none the less. It all stems from my lifelong feud with sliding doors. The other day my old shoddy sliding patio door fell off the track. This in itself is not so bad, the weather is quite tolerable and I will figure out how to fix it eventually. The problem is that now my apartment is crawling with mosquitos who have wriggled through what I thought was an insignificant crack in the door. The place is infested. I have been religiously taking out ALL garbage every few hours, not leaving ANY food unsealed and pouring out all standing drinks. I taped over the cracks in the door and actually VACCUMED THE BUGS OFF MY CEILING. I don't know what else to do but bug-bomb the place, which sounds like a really extreme, unpleasant, and unhealthy situation. Do any of you know any other ways to get mosquitos out of an apartment? PLEASE HELP!!!!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Le Camera.... She is back!

Well, I had a strike of MaGuyver genius this weekend. The problem that was keeping my camera out of operation was a swollen dead battery. As the battery was a flat sided box I could not figure out how to grip it and pull it out. I tried pliers, unbent paper clips... all sorts of things. But this weekend I tried, of all things, good old duct tape. With a lot of shimmying, sticking and unsticking I coaxed out the battery and found that yes, it wa just old and swollen. Popped in a new one and Here we are!
So to start off I want to share with you the entryway to my brand new home. I love coming home to this. These are mostly stash yarns that I can't for the life of me figure out what to knit into but still love dearly. So, I put them on display, now they are not a waste!

Now, onto my stashbusting projects...
I ran out of yarn on this hat last winter and it was just barely grazing my ears. I had lots of people try it on to see who it would fit comfortably...and no cinderella. So, I pulled it out, added a contrasting seed stitch brim and Ta-Dah, a functioning hat. Into the X-mas pile with it!
Next up was another yarn shortage casualty. I had knit the body and head of this Bobbi Bear when I realized that I didn't have enough pink yarn left to make the arms. So... I found some of the same yarn in yellow in my stash and trimmed off as much pink yarn tails as possible. I knit the first 2 inches of each arm with yellow and used the pink tails to knit the tips or hands. Then I added the yellow sweater body. But Alas, no pink left for ears. Still trying to figure out what to do about that. When I figure out the ears I will also pick a something cool to put on the sweater.
Then I actually got started on (Dun Dun Duuhh....) X-mas Knitting!!! yes, it's September, yes, it's coming, yes, we need to think about it. This is a mohawk hat for my brother. Pretty self explanitory. I still need to add more green hair and then give it a haircut so the mohawk stands up better.
AND NOW.... The prayer shawl/scarf tandem project.
I'm using Dream In Color "Smooshy" sock yarn in Cloud Jungle for Grandpa's scarf. I'm still playing around with designs. I think I may switch over to a gator/muffler deal to get more warmth for the yardage.
This is a closeup shot of Grandma's shawl. It is all Koigu mitred squares, which by the way are much too addicting. I could make mitred squares forever. It looks like stained glass to me and I love it. I think I'm going to get a fancy silver shawl pin to go with it.
This is a wider shot of the same shawl. As you can tell, it's pretty small for a shawl but it is warm and comfy. I added the short row collar to make it stay up around the neck under grandma's coat. It makes more sense when you see it on a person. I will take a picture of her wearing it when I give it to her.

Anyways, see... I do still live in a visual world. Now I'm going back to homework, yet again. Try not to miss me!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Back to School

Ok, so I have officially begun school and let me tell you... the game has changed. I am in my final semester as a college student (next semester I will be student teaching full time so it doesn't really count) and my professors are really throwing it at us from all angles. I have only been to 2 classes so far and I am already overwhelmed. Normally I am a fairly confident student and also normally the first week or so is just fluff. "Get to know you activities", "What did you do all summer", small essays and fairly painless reading assignments. Not So this year. A project that would have been a final last semester is suddenly a "due second class" assignment. I'm freaking out a little (lot).
But it's ok! Tomorrow I actually have a class with the famous Sharon Shoji (published frequently in Interweave Knits). She is teaching my Machine Knitwear Design class and I am so stoked!!!! I really need to get my camera working to show you all the fun stuff we will be doing in there.
Well, can't post much more...back to the homework hamster wheel.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Stash Busting Weekend

Ok, so I'm all moved in to my new apartment. I'm so happy!! I have moved 6 times in the last 3 years and now I am where I plan to stay for AT LEAST the next 3 years, perhaps longer. As soon as I got my mother out of here my friend Katy and I decided to tackle a few home repairs. One of which was the closet light fixture that fell out of my ceiling. Well, after much fuse-box fumbling and such we connected what seemed like all the wires... except that elusive grounding wire.... Well, turns out that's kind of important. The was a Very. Big. Spark. Then all the power in my apartment blew. Fun. So yeah, turns out a BFA does not qualify us to be electricians.
Anyways, once everything was mostly unpacked and put away properly and I was all alone for a while I decided to spread all my stash and WIPS out in my living room and really take a good hard look at it. I put together good portion of my acrylics from when I was first starting out into a bag to donate. organized the rest by fiber type and such. Then I got to work finishing stuff. I mostly finished a Bobbi Bear with a common problem... I had knit the entire head and body and then run out of yarn. Not nearly enough to finish the arms. So... I stuffed it and knit most of each arm with a contrasting color, finished the tips of the arms off in the MC and then used the CC to knit a little sweater body for it... now its a pink bear wearing a little yellow sweater. this would have been perfect but I used up the very tail ends of the pink yarn on the "hands"... not enough for ears. So, she looks like a naked mole rat. I refuse to buy a whole nother ball of pink yarn just for the ears, so I'll have to think of something else...
After I hit the wall on the bear I moved on to a project I've been meaning to do for a long time. I am making a black ribbed earflap hat for my brother and then adding a neon rug-hooked mohawk. I am about halfway done with that too. Doing pretty well for just 24 hours.
The prayer shawl for grandma is all knitted up so now I'm just darning in ends forever and ever. I think I will also be adding a ribbed collar to it so it can be worn comfortably under a coat as it is pretty small for a shawl. I am still playing around with the design for the corresponding grandpa scarf. My camera is still out of commission so I'm afraid I can't show you any pictures... Maybe soon?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Blogger Gone Bad

Ok. I suck. Like I am the worst blogger ever. I dropped off the face of the earth for an entire 6 months. No real explaination. My grandmother passed away in March and my world got warped and while my family and I have pretty much gotten back to normal, I simply stopped blogging (and checking e-mail, and a lot of things) and didn't get back to it until just now. The upshot of the last 6 months is I've been working 14 hours a day 6 days a week at a restaurant in LB as a Swiss Army Knife (I bartend, then I hostess, then I work the coffee bar then I'm a line cook, then I run food, then I take a few tables, then I answer the phones, then I get back behind the bar...). So, why all the hard work? Well.. I bought a condo. A beautiful, super fabulous little slice of heaven that of course needs to be paid for. My parents are my co-owners and they take the lion's share of the costs but I am working like hell to pay my own way.
So, when I'm not working or rehabbing my condo I have in fact been knitting. My primary project at this point is actually a tandem prayer shawl/scarf for my other grandparents (you know, the ones who aren't dead) because the same week my grandmother died my grandfather on the other side was diagnosed with bone cancer. While he is doing shockingly well for an 85 year old chemo patient, he and my grandmother can use all the love and support they can get. I am knitting a mitred square shawl for her with Koigu and a semi-matching scarf for him with Dream In Color's Smooshy. They are coming along splendidly.
So... In closing, I am back and with a re-newed resolve to keep posting.
P.S. Pictures of both knitting projects and my new home will be up as soon as I can get ahold of a digital camera (mine is just a paperweight right now)

Friday, March 2, 2007

I forgot to title.

I really should start off by apologizing about dropping off the face of the earth. I really should be back into the swing of the semester and have made time for internet knitting and such. The fact of the matter is that I am begining my Post Graduation Crisis. I know, it seems to early for that because I still have a year before I officially graduate. The thing is that at SAIC to get a degree in education you basically spend your last 2 semesters out of the student side of the classroom and more on the teacher side. This means I have to face the horrors of getting a "Real Job" and build a Resume and Network and all those of other grown-up-py things that scare me and excite me at the same time. I'm also working hard to find somewhere to live, which is harder than it sounds because in order to find somewhere to live it would be helpful to know where I will be working, but alas, I don't. So I have to find somewhere to live that allows easy public transportation to pretty much everywhere. Also, organizing my parents to actually get off their butts and look at places with me is like pulling teeth (I need them there because they have the $$$ and I do not). So anyways, all internet browsing has been directed towards condo shopping and most free time has been directed towards school work. Sorry to bore. Now on to what fiber-y goodness I've been working on.
This is my floor loom. I am taking a class on weaving this semester and it's been tons of fun so far. It is completely different from knitting in just about every way imaginable. For one thing, can you imagine pulling this thing out on the train for just a few rows? For the first project we were supposed to just play around with different patterns for about 4 yards. I got the hang of it pretty quickly, but I have a hard time working on a fiber piece that isn't a garment or useable in some way. In knitting we work primarily towards a goal of a sweater or a dishcloth or a sock. In weaving we make fabric for the sake of making fabric. More advanced weavers can make cloth that will serve a particular purpose but in the class the act of weaving is the art (art school is conceptual like that, it bothers me more in a fiber class than in other studios). Anyways, here are some excerpts from my sampler.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Chilly Chilly

I'm going to start this off by saying that there is something seriously wrong when I look at my online forecast for the weekend and think to myself "Oh wow! 16 degrees above zero? It's like spring break! I wonder if any of my spring clothes are here!?" In all seriousness, that thought genuinely crossed my mind. It was glorious until the moment that I realized that 16 is still quite cold indeed. Mind you, the weather feels MUCH colder when you walk absolutely everywhere, as I do.

I did knit the Calorimetry pattern from this winter's Knitty, which I must say I enjoyed very much. I knit one and was finished within a day so I started another one out of a thicker yarn the next day. They knit up very quickly, is a wonderful way to use up just about any odd balls of yarn or buttons, look very cute on, and really do keep your ears warm. I highly reccomend them both for yourself, the knitter, or as a gift, especially to any young ladies in your life (good thing my sisters don't read this, they be getting some soon).

I've also been working fevereshly on my Bear Claw quilt from InterweaveKnits Fall 2005. I find it is the perfect pattern for my semester, it knits up in small squares which are very portable so I can carry it everywhere, the small mitre squares are very quick so I can feel like I can accomplish something with even the shortest bits of time, and it is repetetive to all get out. I don't have to carry the pattern with me at all. I figure if I get at least one square done a month I will be done by Christmas. Most months I can expect to get more than one square done. I've amped up the size from a baby blanket to an adult afghan. It is very satisfying to see each square come together.
I'd like to extend a warm, yarn-y welcome to my classmates who are visiting me here at the Knest for the first time. I want to scream to the world just how much I am enjoying my Art Ed classmates. To my thrill and joy, all the girls knit. Mind you, there are only 4 of us (and Bill, but he'll come around). I have never really known any other serious knitters who are my own age. We get to obssess over eachother's knitting achievements (like Katie's first sweater last Thursday, so gorgeous and so WAY better than any first sweater I've ever seen!) and covet stash and pow-wow on patterns. Oh, it's fantastic!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Mitten Bitchen and an overabundance of carrots

I'm back in Chicago starting another semester at SAIC. This is my first official Art Ed semester and it looks like I am going to be reading theories and case studies and writing lesson plans until the end of time. If I get 1 page read for every time I inhale I might stay on top of it. I just snuck away from the mountain of papers on my table to post on the ole' blogaroo. When I'm not reading Paulo Freire interviews I've been trying to get those fair isle mittens finished. They are mostly done but I am rather attached to the idea of them having a bi-color brioche stitch cuff. I knit the mitten parts first because I had left a really good article on Brioche Stitch (from InterweaveKnits Spring 2005) here at the room. I got the hang of the stitch and it looks fantastic... but brioche stitche is much wider than the fair isle mitten body. So, 35 cuff stitches and 52 body stitches is quite a gap to jump in just a row or two without looking to akward. Plus I keep trying to find a way to stitch them up semi-seamlessly while remaining really elastic. So far, not going terribly well. I've tried all sorts of things. Much ripping back, much experimenting. I will get it eventually. For now, I have handknit gloves already so my hands aren't TOO cold (though the mittens will be warmer).
By the way, I also accidently ordered 5 pounds of carrots and I live by myself. I get my groceries through Peapod. If anyone wants to come over for some tea and carrots you're welcome to. Also, any vegan recipes involving carrots are greatly appreciated. I have no idea what to do with them all.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Turning 21

So Darling Boy Friend celebrated his 21st birthday this weekend. I had a rather festive schmancy day planned but instead we ended up driving around my teenaged sister and her friends. The highlight was when I made him a stack of pancakes and hashbrowns for breakfast, complete with birthday candle. I then gave him his present. I didn't make his present this year because I was still burnt out from the Felt Clogs. Instead, I went out and scoured the internet until I found this guitar/computer gizmo . It took me a while to track this down. I found it online a while ago but it was always out of stock or the retailer would not ship internationally... finally got it though. He seemed rather pleased with it, but unfortunately his computer is down for the count until he upgrades to Windows Vista (insert mac user superior eye roll here).
We then spent the rest of the day taking care of my two little siblings while my parents cavorted around London. As soon as we got one kid squared away the other one would come screaming in demanding, alternately, food/money/a ride. The nice dinner out I had been saving up for ended up being Culvers between picking sister up from her ski trip and dropping her off at a school dance. Not what I had in mind. We were hoping to go out and make up for it with a fancy dinner tonight but I just got my teeth drilled and now I can't talk. Or eat. Better yet I get to go in for more tomorrow. Not. Cool.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Crafting and the Boyfriend: some cautionary tales. Part 2: "Garments"

Many, Many times I have felt the lure of some incredibly well designed, practical, comfortable, fun-to-knit menswear pattern. I see those tweedy scarves, warm thrummed mittens, fun hats, not to mention sweaters (and no, calling them "jackets" does not fool the curse). I feel my fingers itch to cast on and knit Darling Boyfriend a whole wardrobe. But I know it would all be in vain, for unless I want to knit at uber-micro-gauge stockinette in black and silk screen Led Zeppelin logos onto it and present the most labor intensive rock t-shirt in history to him, he probably won't wear it much. That being said, if we were ever to get to the point wear the curse was not an issue I would surely produce a sweater of epic proportions. It would have cables and bobbles and technicolor fair isle hearts all over it and a giant turtle neck and once it was all knit up and go to pick up the band at the bottom and get a little carried away and knit all the way down till it was a full body jumper, complete with little footies and intarsia elephants on the butt. I would have him try it on before I stitch up the final seam and then pin the poor guy down and stitch the whole thing up so firmly there would be no taking it off. "Oops, forgot the buttons. darn." There would be no rhyme or reason for this knitting catastrophe beyond the fact that I have held the line against my urges for so long.
In the mean time I have knit a few items for DB.
My first major knitting undertaking, just after my first and last quickly abandoned garter stitch scarf, was this cabled lap quilt. I made it during my first semester of college. At this point I was such a new knitter that I knew nothing of what yarn was good yarn for a project. I took the bus to the nearest JoAnn's Craft Store and bought what seemed like a sufficient amount of LionBrand Homespun to make an afghan. I picked out manly shades of blue, green, and brown and cast on with the yarn double stranded on size 13 needles in September. I knitted it in blocks so I could carry it with me everywhere (and I did knit everywhere). I knitted constantly, right up till Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day I was sewing the final squares together. It was much smaller than I had predicted based on the weight of the thing (which was substantial). I wrapped it up in a big box with a huge bow on top and presented it to DB very late in the day on Christmas. He accepted it with amazement and love. It was a very proud moment for me. Today the quilt sits, perfectly folded on the back of his couch. It is always perfectly folded in the exact same place on the back of the couch. While I know DB is a very tidy person, I have come to believe that he does not ever really use said quilt. I understand as it is much too small and much too heavy to be much good. I take it off the couch every once in a while for the dog* to snuggle with, which also makes me very happy.

By the next Christmas I had knit a few sweaters of varying degrees of success. I was getting better with garments and yarn selection, and all those fiddly details like gauge and fiber content. I knit Socks for DB. I chose a cotton/nylon/elastic yarn that would be soft, stretchy, strong, and cool (DB is perpetually warm, it defies logic). I used a very basic pattern in a solid color to suit his tastes. They knit up rather quickly as socks are wont to do. They fit! They looked good! I was once again, very proud of my handiwork. I was expecting the moment of revelation that I always hear about when a person recieves their first pair of hand knit socks. You know, when they declare that they will never again lay foot in a machine knit sock and thereby kidknap the knitter and stow her away in a tower to knit them socks until the end of time. Well, the socks were once again accepted with love and gratitude, but I still almost always find white adidas tube socks on DB. The hand knits are cherished and saved for special occasions.

*With regard to the aforementioned dog, Tink, she is also the unwitting recipient of my knitting. One day, I believe a year or so ago, I was looking for a quick oddball project and I was sick of hats. I pondered if the curse of the love sweater applied to my boyfriend's dog. I decided not, so I cast on to knit pennyfrom for Tink. It knit up rapidly and when next I was home I put it on her. It went on fairly easily the first time. I set her down on the floor and went to get the leash to take her out for a walk to show off her new duds. Tink stood there, stock still, and stared at me. She did not scratch at it, she did not bark or growl. She also didn't run around or wag her tail when I got the leash or follow me around. She just stood there. After a little while of the statue impression I caved and took it off her. Since then it has been much more difficult to get the sweater on her. So it sits in a closet somewhere. Better a dog sweater sitting unworn than a boyfriend sized sweater. I could not get a photo of Tink in the sweater, but this is the face she makes at me when it is mentioned.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Crafting and the Boyfriend: some cautionary tales. Part 1: "Stuffed Stuff"

It is my Darling Boyfriend's birthday this weekend and in honor of the occassion I want to post a little about what I have made for him over the last couple of years. Well we have all heard about the "Curse of the Love Sweater" (and heard it and heard it know) I have included how they fair on the continuum of cool gifts. Please note that Darling Boy always accepts these gifts with a healthy gratitude and awe, no matter how big a flop they are. I have given him lots of stuff and learned a lot in the proccess so this will probably be an ongoing series.

This was the first thing I remember making for Darling Boy. Judging solely by this relic one might think we've been dating since roughly 1968. Wrong. I sewed this little throw pillow for DB right before we went away to (read: separate)colleges. He was headed for Iowa and I was New York bound. I used my favorite vintage T-shirt and Jeans to make something snuggly that wouldn't embarrass him by being to girly. This item is a fantastic illustration of the rule that the crappier it is made, the more he will cherish it. When he came from college that summer and I saw the disgusting srap heap this innocent throw pillow had become I was amazed. He still sleeps with it every night. I want to bleach it. Mind you, it is much ickier in person. P.S. his dog loves it just as much as he does. Figures.

Once DB and I moved back to Illinois after a long year apart I eventually decided to knit him something else stuffed. He was no longer living in a dorm with a roommate or anything of the sort so I was less concerned about the "embarrassing girly" factor. This is a Bobbi Bear by Blue Sky Alpacas knit with Patons Merino (Lovely pattern, I highly reccomend it). The Pro/Con break down:
Pro: it's blue.
Con: it's a teddy bear.
Pro: it has a tattoo on its butt
Con: it's a tattoo of a heart.
The bear is appreciated and sits next to the hole-y throw pillow on the bed, but I have a feeling it is not cherished on the same level. Lesson I learned: You can give stuffed animals, but there is a limit to how much he can take. Discretion is the better part of valor. DB is probably a little relieved that he will probably not be getting another stuffed animal in the forseeable future (I'd say never, but I have a policy against using that word).

So that is Part 1: "Stuffed Stuff". Next installment will be "Does the curse of the love sweater apply to his dog?"

Monday, January 15, 2007


So this is blog tag. I was tagged by Jeremy from Knit-a-Bit
THE RULES: Each player of this game starts with the 6 weird things about you. People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says you are tagged in their comments and tell them to read your blog

Here are my weird things:
1. I am a compulsive counter. When I was on a family trip this summer to the Grand Canyon this lead to lots of fun because I counted fanny packs on tourists. I counted an average of 150 per day, and the count would rise rapidly after 5pm, which I suppose makes them evening wear and hence, a far more atrocious fashion disaster. When I'm at the train station downtown I count ties on bussiness men. Counts have been artificially low lately due to scarf-wearing (so I can't see the ties). Despite my obsessive counting, I still hate counting stitches.

2. I'm a vegan who knits with wool and that doesn't bother me

3. I'm bathroom shy

4. In high school I drove a 1991 Chevy Astro van named 'Zippy the Wondervan'.
Zippy had her own soundtrack and only 2 out 5 functioning doors. Zippy has recently slipped into a persistant vegetative state in my Grandmother's garage. I refuse to have her carcass removed until I can arrange for a viking funeral (meaning we light her on fire and drive her off the bluff into Lake Michigan).

5. I cannot bake cookies. It really isn't just the vegan-thing, like I just can't do it. I bake them and they look beautiful, like the cover of a cookbook. Perfect color and texture and lovely... but they always taste like baking soda, even when I don't use baking soda. It was like that before I made vegan cookies, I use all different recipes, I can bake other stuff really well but not cookies. It is torture because I bake them and they look so good and I leave them in my kitchen, which is also my front entry-way so I come home and they look at me and say "we're yummy" and I want to eat them but they taste bad and I just can't bring myself to throw them out because maybe they'll taste good tomorrow, but they won't.

6. I hate being wet. I can't swim, I don't like showering. It bugs me and I avoid both at all costs. When I do shower I do it with lightning speed that has baffled everyone and anyone who has ever lived with me.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Ultimate Sweater Machine

So, I've been knocked off the series of tubes for a few days for some reason, though it was probably a good thing. I needed a little time away from the blog (I have a lot of momentum right now cause it's new and I'm unemployed). With my time out in the real world I got a bit of knitting done. the Fair Isle Mittens I'm designing/knitting are shaping up pretty well.

I also made a large knitting related purchase. I got an Ultimate Sweater Machine. Now, before you brush me off as a, well, machine knitter, allow me to explain myself. At school we have large, very well attended "Art Sales" at the end of every semester. People see me sitting around and knitting constantly and I frequently get comments from other students, professors, or patrons that they can't wait to see my stuff at the next art sale or could I whip up a few blankets or sweaters for the next fundraiser ("you know, nothing fancy, just a plain flat blanket.. that's easy enough, right?"). Well, as much as I would love to participate in these things, I think you all know that even a "plain old sweater with nothing fancy on it" can take months of mindless, thankless knitting. So I've been looking for a cheap knitting machine. My mom was trying to get me one for X-mas but they were all sold out at the local craft store. The other day she handed me a 50% off coupon and sent me on my way to find one, at her expense. I wasn't going to pass that up. I found one and laid the money down and now I am the proud owner of a Bond Ultimate Sweater Machine. I got the hang of it fairly quickly and knitted up a plain, Stst square. I think this will be just the ticket for my Art Sale knitting.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

To Build a Sweater

Currently I'm toiling away on a sweater design. I design on the needles because I hate myself and love to waste my own time (apparently). This is particularly masochistic because I am not using a conventional sweater construction. I am working entirely on the bias, outward from a center mitre square. So far I have ripped back, frogged, re-knitted, knitted multiple samples, sewn together and re-sewn together pieces, counted stitches, rows, stars in the sky, till my hair is falling out. It is coming along, slowly and not-quite-as-surely-as-I-would-like. Right now I have most of the front done but as I was trying it on and admiring the front my sister came up behind me and uttered the most chilling words I have heard in a long time; "Ohhhh, that can't be right!". I turned around and realized my pseudo-calculations had failed me. Most knitters consider knitting to be an art, well... it's not. It's a science for me right now. The closest thing to science class I get these days is watching Good Eats with Alton Brown on the FoodNetwork (do you watch? well, you really should, but that's beside the point). I am now considering ripping out part or all of the back pieces right now.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Other Christmas Projects

I didn't just mak felted clogs for Christmas gifts... oh no, that would be far too easy. Here are a few other gifts I made.

This is a iPod nano case I needle felted for my youngest sister. She requested the neon pink and green argyle motif. I thought I was being very clever when I stole one of the cardboard iPod Nano's from a Sharper Image display at the mall. I wanted to get the size exactly right and I thought the cardboard mock up would be a fantastic template. **pats self on back**. I worked and got it sized EXACTLY to the template. Well, as I now know, always double check your template against the actual object you're trying to fit. Yeah, way too small. Way to go genius.

I don't have a final photo of this project. It is a cabled headband for my boyfriend's mom. I made up the cable pattern and knit it up with Filatura di Crosa's Zara (one of my favorite yarns, you should try it). I think it turned out really well. I haven't seen her wear it yet, but that could be because it's been too warm here.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

The Felted Clogs that ate my 2006

This was my first successful felted clog. It is my original design. It was first knitted, then fulled, then needle felted, and then finally a knitted band. It was completed in September for my sister's birthday and a battle royale among my sisters and my mother ensued. They were very loved.

So....I knew what my x-mas gifts would be this year. There were requests from grandmas and friends and long estranged aunts and cousins. I knit over 8 pairs (yes, 16 giant pre-felted convertable cozies). I was really chugging along on these for a few months and there was an impressive pile in my apartment. The first felting batch came out looking something like this...

The second felting batch came out as a much smaller, furrier, tougher breed of clog... It was a nightmare (before christmas). I panicked as my most important pairs were in that load. The pair for my mom and the pair for my other sister. They were just slightly too small to fit even their freakishly short,squat feet. I carried on needle felting them and knitting on ankle bands hoping for a miracle. I searched the internet feverishly for some unfelting spell I could perform when the ladies at Knitter's Review (the best forums on the web, by far) knocked such a brilliantly simple idea into my head. I soaked them in cool water, stretched the offending clogs over some of my mom's old shoes, and ironed them on the highest setting. I also wrapped them in wax paper and ironed over that (it gave a very subtle sheen that I really like). I blow dried and waited and blow dried and waited and finally, at 11pm Christmas eve I pulled them carefully off the shoes and wrapped them ever so elegantly and placed them lovingly under the tree. They were a big hit.

I am hoping to publish the pattern next winter. Keep an eye on Knitty, perhaps?

These are Veronica's.

These are my mom's.

Friday, January 5, 2007

New to this place?

So, I've finally given in and started a blog. It seems pretty much neccessary as a knitter these days. I guess it should give me something knitting related to do when I run out of yarn (which is almost possible for me, unlike other knitters as I am on a very limited income).
Currently I am rewarding myself with a sweater after months of knitting felted shoes for Christmas gifts. I am a sweater knitter, big time! I'm designing this sweater on the fly. It is comprised of all sorts of shapes knit on the bias. So far I have the center mitre done and two wedges along the bottom. I'm still trying to work out how to change the angle of certain pieces... not to mention boob-coverings (is that really entirely neccessary? I can still wear it to work without them, right?). Photos coming soon.