Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Parade of Christmas Knitting

So, where have I been? Feverishly knitting up Christmas gifts! (see my Ravelry project page)I do this EVERY YEAR and always spend the last week knitting my fingers into a perfect gnarled claw. The thing is, I always start early enough, but somewhere in the middle I get that gift-knitting-melancholy that only a deadline can bring me out of.

So, I'm guessing you want pictures, right? Okay...you asked for it!

Our first model (yes, those are my sexay gams there) is wearing the En Pointe Slippers - Tossut by ilun handu duunaa (free pattern). Ilu is a Finnish knitter with a blog in both Finnish and English and always has gorgeous blog photos! I'm a sucker for blogs with great photos. Don't judge my "hurry-up-and-snap-a-pic-so-I-can-put-them-in-a-gift-bag-and-run-out-the-door" style. These were made for my teenage niece with the matching Brea bag below.

The Brea Bag (another free pattern) from Berroco, was a very fun knit and well written pattern which seemed to magically come together before my eyes. I had put off seaming (who doesn't) and had originally planned to line the bag, but time got away from me. She loved it and I couldn't have been more thrilled.

Our next knitted item, I nicknamed the "Felted Bag-O-Doom"(aka Felted Cable Bag #143 by Patons...my name sounds more interesting). This is a free pattern, but you must login to the Patons site in order to access their free patterns. It goes without saying that you must knit items much larger than they will be before you felt them. This bag seemed to take forever! I had originally started the bag as part of the Ravelympics Games to knit a project at Olympic speeds and have it done before the end of games. I didn't receive my yarn for several days after the games started and kind of lost momentum from there. After knitting the bag, with much trepidation, I gingerly placed the finished cabled Bag-O-Doom in the washer and stood over the it like an expectant parent checking after every minute of agitation. I actually had a cold chill creep up my back when the wool mess hit the hot water. The felting actually helped straighten out the wonkiness. I dried it on a sweater rack with a couple of wire mesh office trays to hold it open to dry faster. I think it turned out well.

Our next model (yep, my legs again) is wearing the Monkey Sock by Cookie A (another free pattern, of course) in Zen Yarn Garden's Bamboolicious yarn in the Down By the Bay colorway which was part of a Harmony Semi-Solid sock yarn club shipment. This yarn is so soft and was a joy to knit with. I did get a second sock syndrome and had put this project on hold while I worked on other things, but I loved how it turned out. After finishing both, I tried them on and seriously thought of giving my sister something store-bought instead because they fit my feet perfectly and felt so soft...which meant they would fit hers perfectly also. (pouts) I finished these while watching one of our favorite corny holiday movies, Mixed Nuts.

Monkey Socks for Jana

Monkey Socks for Jana

Last, but not least are the Evangeline fingerless gloves I knit for my daughter (free Ravelry download) out of Malabrigo in solid black. These are the gloves that sparked my last post. I knit my fingers to the bone at a feverish pace to get the wristwarmers finished in time for Christmas. I finally wove in the last stitch on Christmas Eve, trimmed the yarns and beamed at my accomplishment. Excited about this finished project, I enthusiastically tried on the pair of wristwarmers….only…
they.were.both.left.handed.gloves. (hangs head)
I made a right handed glove and gave them to her 2 days later. I'll just make another rightie and have myself a pair!

Evangeline mitts

I am now, working on a Central Park Hoodie which is my first adult-sized sweater! I even made a gauge swatch and everything (gasp, horror).
Have a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Yarn Foolery

Now that it’s cold, my daughter is whining about me making her some wristwarmers when I have Christmas knitting to finish! (okay just half a sock) but still! I showed her the malabrigo I bought and she says “do you have anything softer?” I told her to go catch some angel farts and I would be right on that. I think she’s thinking of those fuzzy yarns that are so soft they snag on your hands. If she’s thinking of my Handmaiden Camel/Silk yarn, she’s crazy. She may be my only child but she can’t have that. I can see the headlines now:

“Another Obsessed Knitter Neglects Child”
-by Lotta Crylic

Authorities are tracking yet another insanely obsessed knitter bent on neglecting her child. Forced to wear hand stranglers of M-M-Malabrigo, the child is forced to share living space with what is referred to as “the stash”. Scientists believe the microabrasions found on the childs hands could be the result of either the alleged Malabrigo or aggressive video game play. We may never know. Unable to find the softness she so rightly deserves, this anonymous child sought the help of AFU news correspondent Lotta Crylic.

According to the child, she reports that the mother often engages in secret group meetings with other yarn-crazed women. These women often display knitting gang signs and have intimidating gang names like tehstix, TwistedTexan, MsLilly, Webecca, Kate and Tifftastic not to mention their matriarch, Mopknits. It is also confirmed that her mother has recently been on a yarn rampage in the Texas Hill Country with other random women she met on the interwebs, leaving her helpless 18 year old child home alone to fend for herself.

I went to speak with the mother who answered the door with two long metal spikes, trailing some yarn she had just disemboweled. I could see behind her some kind of primitive, wooden yarn-torturing wheel device and thought better of entering. I asked the mother if she would give up her Camelspun/silk yarn for this poor suffering waif to which she replied “frog you!” and slammed the door.

It appears that we may not have an answer to this epidemic of yarn-foolery. The subjects are left feeling fleeced and we have yet to find an antidote for this Mal-Abrigo.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Brandon Mably Color Knitting Workshop

Have you ever wanted to dive into a pile of yarn and roll around in it? Well, short of rolling around, that's what we got to do at Brandon Mably's Color Knitting Workshop at Yarns 2 Ewe yesterday. I felt like a kid in an art class where we just got to play. Remember how free we were as kids and how excited we got with the giganto 64 color crayon box? We just grabbed colors based on how we felt, not based on trendy color combinations. Brandon Mably is the Studio Manager at Kaffe Fassett's Studio. He has an intuitive sense of color and a great sense of humor. In his words, he would rather dive naked into cold porridge than knit a solid color sweater.

The class was a lot of fun. First, Brandon discussed his color process. He does not use a color wheel. Many colors that exist in nature, paintings...etc do not follow the color wheel. Instead, he taught us to see color more in terms of values and tones. He also stressed how certain "ugly" colors come alive with the right color next to it. Color should induce a feeling. He slowly and surely deprogrammed us not to overthink our color choices.

Having never done colorwork before, I was initially focused on the technique of the thing. All of the colors, ends were quite fiddly BUT, I was there to learn something about color, so my tension and color changes were a little wonky. He also showed us how to weave the ends in as we knit which was a great trick. Who wants to use a darning needle to sew in all of the ends? With all of the colors we were using, it would have been a nightmare! Brandon was great about teaching and making sure to give everyone individual help. He even brought some things that he has been knitting on such as the stole above that was knit in a lovely, soft bamboo yarn.

The best part of the entire workshop was at the end when we all put up our swatches on the wall like children's drawings on parent night. Then Brandon went to each one and extolled the virtues of our color choices and how blah color choices were saved with the addition of other colors. We all beamed as he talked about OUR swatch. Would I take the class again? You betcha!

Unfortunately, the drive in Houston and sitting in cold hard chairs was not too kind on my back. I stopped by Walgreens on the way home and bought a strap on heat pad, Icy Hot and some stick-on heat pads. I plan to sit around all day. I'm not much good for anthing else! But it was well worth it!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pumpkin Tea Cozy

Pumpkin teapot
Originally uploaded by christijnp
Yay! It's finished! I'm not sure I crocheted the leaves right, but hey...they're leaves! I used the Broken Rib Tea Cosy Pattern from Pamela's blog and used the leaves and tendrils pattern from the Fall 2008 Knit Simple Magazine.

Just in time for cool weather, hot tea and the holidays!
Raveled here

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"Back" to "Hooking"

No, I am not, nor have I ever been a lady of the night. There's nothing like a provocative blog title to get your attention though! ;-)

I went home from work today because of my back and taught myself to crochet.
I must have pulled something outta whack while I was trying to disassemble my trashed, hurricanized patio that was just laying there killing the grass. I woke up sore this morning, but the 40 minute commute and trying to do my job just made it worse. To top it all off, my co-workers saw me cry. Don't you hate it when you get mad at yourself for crying, which only makes you cry more? They were sweet and understanding, but I felt like a bawling baby.

So here I sit, drugs finally kicking in, bored outta my gourd and pick up The Happy Hooker by Debbie Stoller. A few pages in and I'm crocheting! (okay, maybe it's the drugs but it makes me giggle that it looks like I typed crotch-eting) I'm making the leaves and tendrils for my pumpkin tea cozy. I'd take pictures but I can't reach my camera and my nurse (daughter) has left for work. So, I leave you a picture of my Wollmeise yarn club acquisition

I can haz dat nu choo toi?

Monday, October 20, 2008


Originally uploaded by christijnp
Hobow abar youbou doobooing? (Fat Albert reference for you yunguns)

Methinks this tea cozy makes a far more entertaining hat, don't you think? What a schnoz on that puppy! (no animals were harmed in taking this photograph)

Okay, I'll share the real picture of its intended use. Far less entertaining. A tea cozy. I'm going to crochet some little leaves and tendrils to make it look like a pumpkin. Awww...

I got the pattern for the tea cozy at Pamela's Blog and am using the leaves/tendrils pattern from another pumpkin tea cozy from Knit Simple magazine Fall 2008 edition. Ravelry entry here. The Knit Simple pattern used way more yarn than I had. This tea cozy only used 45 grams of Cascade 220 which works out to be about a 100 yards of worsted weight. The pattern was knit in less than a day including seaming. Yay for instant gratification!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Shins

No, not the supa cool indie rock band, but the "oh my aching shins" variety. It seems that when I go on a jog/walk many areas of my body are in constant protest however, one usually protests more loudly than the others. Last week it was my knees, this week is my shins. I guess I need to go read about what to do with shin splints...

I'm trying something different this time around...I'm NOT weighing myself for awhile. I could easily get so caught up in the constant fluctuation of my weight that I forget the bottom line of this whole eat-healthy-exercise program. When I lose, I feel that I have achieved success and when I have gained/not lost, I feel failure. This is DESPITE what effort I have or have not put into a healthy lifestyle. I can't expect to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result.

I also tend toward self sabotage. Sometimes when I lose weight I feel that I can get away with more and eat more. Then again, sometimes when I gain, I get frustrated and eat anyway. Bottom line...I need to outsmart myself. I'll let you know how that goes.

In other knitting news, I am knitting a tea cozy in orange yarn to look like a pumpkin for the holidays. I'll post pictures when I get a little further along.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Whose idea was this?

Oh.... Mine....
So I started the Couch to 5K program last week with the help from a podcast from Robert Ullreys. I had started this before, but after week 1, I injured my knee (doing something else), then a post-surgical dog, then the hurricane, then all of the after hurricane crap...then... I ran out of excuses. Thankfully, Turtlegirl (insert superhero fanfare here) inspired me to start it again.

It's week 2, but I'm stuck on week 1 part of the plan. Why am I just now blogging about it? Because week 1 would have looked like this..."today(gasp) is (gasp) my (gasp) first (gasp) week (gasp) of (gasp) Couch25K (thud - as I collapse on the floor) You try running with 50 pounds of extra weight on you! My badonk-a-donk went donk. I felt like a fat-alanche was about to happen on my backside (It didn't...darn it. I checked.)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Clapotis part deux

Clapotis part deux
Originally uploaded by christijnp
Clapotis #2 in Brooks Farm Four Play yarn. I love this color combo!

Mystery Stole 4

IMG_2664 001
Originally uploaded by christijnp
Ah...yet another knitalong I can't keep up with.
This is the UFO from Mystery Stole 4 WITH BEADS!
I'm loving the beads right now, but this next section is without beads so it is going slower.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Stitch N Pitch

Stitch N Pitch
Originally uploaded by christijnp
Take me out to the yarn store...uh...I mean...ballgame...
Had a great time at the Stitch N Pitch Astros vs Brewers game! It went to 12 innings before the Astros finally won! I'll have to admit that it was quite humid and warm which made knitting with wool a bit tricky.

The picture is of my Noro Striped Scarf in Noro Silk Garden