Friday, January 23, 2009

and THAT's how you line a hat!

I have successfully lined a hat!!

Ok, let's back up to the beginning of the story. It's late August 2007. I am just moving into this apartment in Northampton with my new flatmates, Noah and Muhammad. I am knitting my first Short Row Hat by Veronik Avery for my friend Kyra. Noah loves it, and he sees how little time it's taking me. He wants one.

Noah, sadly, is allergic to wool. And not just wool: it seems that any animal fiber gets him. After about a minute of touching it, he starts itching. We tried really nice stuff... merino, alpaca, angora... no dice. He says that it feels really nice before he starts to itch. With that, we set out on a quest to find a worsted-weight non-animal yarn that has a long color change, because without the long color change, the Short Row Hat doesn't do its magical thing. Sigh.

For any of you who might wonder what the results were of such a search... it just didn't happen. We didn't find any non-animal yarns with the requisite properties. I thought of a few things, like maybe holding some self-striping sock yarn double... but it just didn't really pan out the way we'd hoped. The saddest part was when we took a trip to WEBS and searched the place high and low for our magical yarn. Noah learned some things about yarn that day. He learned that the nicest, most beautiful yarns are made of wool and not cotton, and he fell in love with a beautiful swatch of what I'm convinced is Noro Kochoran (although he's sure it was some other Noro yarn.) He loved this swatch so much that we had to visit it one last time before we left the store. It was very touching.

That's when, in desperation, I suggested that I could make a hat with wool and line it with something else. That way, Noah would get the beauty and warmth of the wool and hopefully none of the itchiness! This coincided with a very empowering series of posts on the TechKnitting blog about lining a knit hat with fleece. It was a plan. We spent some time searching the internet for the beautiful yarn that the swatch was made out of, and we came up with... well, something pretty close at least. Over the summer of 2008, I knit the hat.

Noah wasn't living with me after that, so it took awhile for us to get on top of the whole liner part of the project. I intended to go to a place very near my apartment called Valley Fabrics, but when I finally made it there, they mostly had cloth for quilting, nothing stretchy that could go inside a hat. My friend Wendell, who was more versed in the ways of sewing than I, informed me that what I wanted was "jersey", the stuff that t-shirts are made of. So I kept that in mind.

This winter break, I acquired some jersey at Hancock fabric in my hometown. I got that double-sided jersey, which is I think teeny tiny 1x1 ribbing rather than normal t-shirt stuff, which is teeny tiny stockinette. That turned out to be a good choice, because the rest of this story would have been more difficult if the fabric had a tendency to curl. Today, the first day I saw Noah after break, I wrapped the jersey around his head and stapled it to indicate how big around his head was. Then I used the shape of the knitted hat as a guide while I pinned, sewed, and trimmed the fabric to make a little hat. Finally, I pinned the jersey to the hat as per TechKnitter's instructions and used the overcast stitch to secure it on there. And voila! Hat is done, and it only took me a year and a half!

This next picture is the inside-out view.

And that's all finished except for one more step: delivery! Yay!

In other news, the recent giveaway of all my old acrylic yarn has significantly changed my Sock Marathon 2009 plans. First of all, I didn't realize that the whole thing actually starts on February 1st and ends... August 1st I think. So the Jabberwocky socks, which I'm working on right now, don't count. Also, my calculated yardage (which I don't think I shared here on this blog anyway) is different. New numbers:

My starting yardage for the marathon will be about 2.5 miles, or 4468 yards. This includes Maple Creek Farm Bamboo from Rhinebeck, Silver Moon Farm Fingering from Rhinebeck (lots of yards, that is), Araucania Ranco Multy, BMFA Socks That Rock ravens, Dream in Color Smooshy, Malabrigo Sock, 2 pairs worth of Trekking XXL, and Lana Grossa Meilenweit. All amounts are a pair's worth, except for the Silver Moon Farm, and the Trekking. Things I am not counting: anything that is not sock yarn, anything that qualifies as scraps, and the BMFA STR in Jabberwocky. I plan to have the second Jabberwocky sock done by February 1. I'm almost done, it's totally reasonable. My resolution is still to have the same amount of sock stash or less by the time the end of this marathon rolls around.

In truth, I'm chomping at the bit. My plan is to cast on for Jeanie with the Silver Moon Farm stuff as soon as the clock strikes February.

P.S. I gave the Anemois to their owner today. Yay!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

This feels so good!!

What? you may ask. Are you talking about the inauguration? Well, that felt really good, but I wrote about it in my seldom-updated LiveJournal.

No, I'm talking about something amazing that happened today and yesterday. First, I found this. It's a call for yarn donations to a group called Girls, Inc. so that girls ages 5-18 can learn to knit. Now, I don't have a lot of money right now, but I do have a lot of yarn in my stash that I never ever want to use. I feel weird about giving stuff away that I wouldn't want to get myself, even as a gift, so I shot an email to the person organizing this whole thing and asked if it would be ok. Of course, this is all stuff that I bought when I was young and naive and hadn't been seduced by the siren song of alpaca and merino. So it makes total sense that young and naive new knitters who also haven't been seduced by natural fibers would love this stuff. The organizer lady thought so too, and with that, I gathered all the yarn I didn't want any more to be sent away forever!

Just because it makes me so happy to do so, let's make a list.

This is no fewer than 17 balls of Lion Suede, 12 balls in blue, 3 balls in purple, and 2 balls in teal. I bought the purple and teal because I thought the colors were great (still do, actually) and then I bought the 12 balls of blue for an ill-conceived blanket. Many bits of the blanket also got made, and I wasn't able to frog them all before mailing them off. I'll let them do what they like with that.

1 ball of Plymouth Socotta, less than a skein of navy Caron Perfect Match, less than a skein of white Lion Pound of Love, less than a skein of Wolle Rödel sock yarn, less than a skein of bright red Plymouth Encore.

Nearly 4 skeins of Lion Brand Homespun, two in mauve, one in indigo (although some of it is in the form of a mitten, and less than one in blue-green. 1 ball of Lion Bouclé in colors that remind me of Superman, although I think the colorway was called something like "Jellybean". Less than a ball of pink and white cotton (I think). A skein of some variety of Lion Brand chenille in black with little neon-colored bits. A ball of Lion Incredible in autumn colors. A ball of Lion Chenille Sensations in black.

2 balls of Plymouth Bella Colour. Less than two balls of Reynolds Saucy Sport in a yellow-green, with which I made Emerson's awesome knitted tie. Less than three balls of Moda Dea Sassy Stripes, with which I made my first pair of socks. 3/4 of a ball of Berocco Comfort Sock in black, and 1/4 of a ball in white. A ball of Lion Microspun in turquoise. A ball of Lion Magic Stripes sock yarn in blue, red, white, and brown.

10 lbs of yarn, and it's all gone!! I am so thrilled!

Just for posterity, I also took pictures of that mitten, which was my first mitten. I hope the girls rip it apart and make something nice out of it.

And yeah... I was using a pattern that involved seaming, and I didn't know how to seam.


All this has made me reminisce about my knitting past up until now. Maybe I'll post about it...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

2009 begins, continued

So in my last post, I totally forgot to mention the other 2009 KAL I've aligned myself with! The girls over at the Limenviolet Ravelry group are doing a sock marathon. Basically, you count up all the sock yarn in your stash and make a resolution regarding how much sock yarn stash you want to have by the end of 2009. This was great for me because it coincided with finishing Snowflake's first pair of socks, which he loves. I am in a different state from most of my stash right now, but I decided to have the same amount of sock yarn stash at the end of 2009 as I had at the beginning of 2009 (in a week or so, I can figure out how much that is.) I also want to knit lots of socks for Snowflake.

By the way, Snowflake noticed that on socks, the toe is symmetrical, while on feet, the toe area is not symmetrical. He wanted to know whether you could make a sock that conformed to the shape of the toe more. I told him that you could, but you would end up having left and right socks that are different. He seems willing to deal with having left and right socks, but I'm not sure it would be worth the trouble. It may be something to try this year. Has anybody else done this?

So far, 2009 seems like one big finishfest. I'm going to be indisposed at MIT's Mystery Hunt this weekend, so I'm getting a head start on Finish or Frog It Friday.

When we left Anisa, she had just finished a couple of WIPs she had going. She had one more thing she needed to do: a Sheldon. Faithful readers will remember that this Sheldon was destined for a guy who happened upon a previous Sheldon that Anisa had made, and had developed a fondness for it.

The new Sheldon is done!

He's on Snowflake's shoulder in this next picture.

As you can see, Snowflake has developed a fondness for him.

...Which leads us to a pattern I have observed. After this, Snowflake wanted one. Fortunately, I got twice as much yarn as I needed for the first one, so I was able to make a second! Sadly, though, my camera ran out of batteries, so I have no more pictures for you.

Snowflake's turtle buddy is also finished. Yay! For the record, you can make two Sheldons out of two balls of Valley Yarns Valley Superwash in the MC, and one ball in the CC. That is, if you're as tight a knitter as I am (few are,) and you use size 3 and 4 needles. I actually never measured, but my gauge was probably smaller than the pattern said. Snowflake has spent the last couple days hiding the turtles around the house so that I will find them staring at me when I least suspect it.

Last night, I also finished up two Yellow Harvest mittens from the Fall 2008 Vogue Knitting in the absolutely lovely Mirasol Qina in a lovely periwinkle. I love them. Not enough to be happy to be going back to a cold place tomorrow, but almost.

I also finished the first Jabberwocky sock. 50% there!

Meanwhile, I'm still working on the Yogini Bolero and thinking really hard about the skein of Dream in Color Smooshy in In Vino Veritas that I have burning a hole in my stash.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Resolutions, KALs, and other possibly bad ideas

It's Friday! This is highly relevant, because I have recently aligned myself with a new KAL!

It's called Finish or Frog It. Basically, on Fridays in 2009 (however many Fridays you like, not necessarily every Friday, you look at a WIP and you either finish it or frog it. This is good, because I have entirely too much stuff sitting around on the needles. Maybe this will even motivate me to block the tons of lace knitting that has been sitting around NOT BLOCKED for over a year. Talk to this knitter if you want to be involved in the KAL.

Of course, I first heard about this on a Saturday, and I was eager to get started, so I decided to finish Snowflake's socks by the following Friday (that would be today.) However, the foot went way faster than I thought it would, and I finished it by Sunday.

Yeah, these pictures are terribly blurry. I really need a camera that does small things. Like knit stitches. Anyway, it's the Yarn Harlot's Earl Grey pattern, and has a cute little cable running up the side. It's done in black Valley Yarns Huntington from WEBS.

This is really a great pattern. I think the only thing I would change if I were to do it again would be to change how the ribbing goes into the cables. But it's really very lovely. Some firsts in this project: first men's socks, first socks two at a time on magic loop. The magic loop thing worked out nicely, except that I had to rearrange the stitches partway through, which sucked. Anyone have a good way of doing this when you're doing two at a time on magic loop? Oh, also I'm wasn't really sure how to handle the heel turning. I ended up slipping a bunch of stitches to get from one sock to the other.

I'm thoroughly pleased with these socks. I love the gauge. It's 9 stitches per inch, which I achieved with large size 1 Knit Picks Harmony needles. And the best part... Snowflake loves them! He wants more socks! He is looking forward to the day when his hand-knit socks outnumber his hand-knit sweaters.

Next, I finished up a pair of mittens that my friend Misato commissioned from me. And here they are!

I LOVE how these turned out. This is the second time I've made this pattern, and the first time was me learning to do stranded knitting. The first time, I held the two colors in different hands and the gauge ended up very uneven, probably because I am a totally incompetent knitter in Continental. Also, my attempt to even out the gauge for the second mitten resulted in a significantly smaller second mitten. This time, I did the mittens two at a time on magic loop and held both colors in my right hand. The result was that although keeping the yarns from getting ridiculously twisted up in each other was a total pain, the gauge is beautifully even, the mittens are the same size, and I'm thoroughly pleased. I also LOVE this gauge for stranded work. I used small size 2 Harmony needles and ended up with a gauge of 40 sts and 40 rows to 4". I'm so excited about colorwork now! In fact, I'm thinking of making Snowflake the Bauhaus sweater (Ravelry link.)

Oh, the inside looks really pretty too.

In other news, I added some length to Snowflake's second sweater, which has made it much more wearable.

What else am I working on? I've got a long-sleeved Yogini Bolero in the works. I'm using purple Elsebeth Lavold Bambool, which is 80% bamboo and 20% wool. I usually hate working with plant fibers and... I sort of hate this. But it didn't start getting to me for quite a while. It's going nicely, I'm working on the sleeves right now.

I'm also working on another Sheldon. The first time I made this pattern, it was for charity through a project with Knitting Liberally. It ended up at Tina's house for quite a while, where her husband Tom developed a bit of a complex about it. Later, Gina-Louise (of Knitting Liberally) decided it would be a great present for Tom, and commissioned one from me. So I'm working on a replica. Right now, I've done almost all the knitting I can do without involving Poly-fill, and I've also recently acquired Poly-fill, so I should be able to finish it soon. Hence, this is my choice for Finish or Frog It Friday!

We'll see how it goes!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

2008 knitting

I'm not sure what I feel like knitting. I think I'm antsy from being separated from my stash. So I thought I'd look back over 2008 and see how that went.

started and finished in 2008
Nat's Koolhaas hat out of Frog Tree Merino Melange
my Anemoi mitts
Sheldon for charity (NELCWIT)
silk lace jacket test knit for Kristin
Snowflake's second sweater
Alina's first peapod hat, which did not fit
bmp (space invaders socks!), commissioned
a pair of socks for my mom out of Austermann Step
two rainbow acrylic scarves for the gay Presbyterians
mom's vest, which she now wears all the time
Noah's hat... actually, this is not done. The knitting is done, but it needs lining.
Spring Forward socks for me out of Misti Alpaca
Baudelaire socks for me out of Huntington
Flaming Hot Faroese shawl test knit for Kristin
Tilli Tomas shirt test knit for Kristin
Rose's wristwarmers for Kyra
my Olympic Dollar and a Half Cardigan
Emerson's gansey
Bayerische socks out of Shibui
Alina's Peapod sweater and second Peapod hat, which did fit
Turn a Square for me
Central Park Hoodie for me
a cropped cardigan for me
Dad's Cobblestone
Mom's Oblique
Molly's Dashing
Kendrick's Dashing
Deuce's Miittens
Deuce's Baby Yours sweater
a first cat blanket for charity out of acrylic from Michael's

finished in 2008, started earlier
a sweater for me

started in 2008, not yet finished
Jabberwocky socks
Snowflake's first pair of socks
Snowflake's third sweater
Anemoi mittens commissioned by Misato
a second cat blanket for charity out of acrylic from Michael's
Yellow Harvest mittens out of Mirasol Qina
Mystery Stole 4
Henley Perfected
Clapotis (ugly colors, I don't know what to do)
a SURPRISE for Snowflake (was supposed to be for his birthday in May)
Mystery Shawl 6 (just needs to be blocked)
Cherie Amour (which needs sewing and blocking)

worked on in 2008
Dayflower Daydream shawl (I think)

SO of the things I finished in 2008, there were:

10 regular sweaters and 2 baby sweaters
5 pairs of socks
3 regular hats and 2 baby hats
3 pairs of wrist warmers
1 pair of adult mittens, 1 pair of baby mittens
1 toy
1 vest
1 cat blanket

9 things for me
16 things for friends and family
7 test knits, commissions, charity things, or other knitting for people I don't really know

So far in 2009, I have worked on Snowflake's socks and a bolero for myself. I also learned to do Tunisian crochet yesterday and worked on that today.

Hmm sleepy...