Monday, January 11, 2010

Oooh, Mr. Darcy!

Haven't done much knitting in the past week, preferring to spend my time on stupid internet games and putzing around. Let's be clear on that, first off. I don't want anyone feeling cheated because there is no progress report this post. However, since I have made the commitment to blog at least once weekly, I don't want to break the habit, and Tuesday is as good a day as any. (I just realized that it is, in fact, Monday. Um....I plead winter-break-brain.)

Lately I've been looking at socks. Even though I have knitted a pair and found it sort of boring and tedious, one of my various nebulous goals (don't call it a resolution) this year is to try and enjoy sock knitting. For the sake of pretty socks, which I have always been a fan of. Boyfriend and I went to the Barnes and Noble yesterday and I was checking out a book called Knitting Socks With Handpainted Yarn which had some really neat patterns, my favorite being the Spot Check Sock:

Copyright Interweave Knits, etc etc. But isn't that a really cool sock? I mean, the problem is that you need a solid sock yarn in addition to a variegated, but it's still pretty bitchin. Hopefully some day I'll knit a pair. As of right now, I didn't want to buy the book and will, therefore, sigh and just stalk Rav's project pages. I really like the underlying concept though, and I might apply it to something else, who knows? It looks really neat, and it's not like it's hard to see how to do it.

And oh! Yes! The title of this post, let's talk about that. If you read this blog, you might be aware that I am a big Jane Austen fan. I love her novels (have not read her unfinished works or juvenalia), with Sense and Sensibility being my favorite. And before you ask, no, I have not read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters yet, although I find the ideas charming. But a dear friend of mine has introduced me to the work of Kate Beaton, who does historical cartoons, and some have to do with Austen. I desperately want to share this with you all:

The power of the mystical, magical Mr. Darcy. I love Colin Firth as much as the next woman, but I must admit that I have never found the character terribly alluring, although, as I said, Colin Fitzwilliam Firth Darcy is the sexiest thing this side of Alan Rickman's Colonel Brandon. But yes, I wanted to share that comic. Check out the rest of Beaton's work at Hark! A Vagrant.

Basically, I'm currently killing time until school starts up again. I'm also in the grip of some of the worst premenstrual symptoms ever. I'll spare you the gory details, but I also had a splitting headache last night. I wanted to knit, but I couldn't even if I wanted to. It was awful. Then I managed to knock an entire glass of water directly into my bed at 2AM. While I was in the grip of said headache. But! I am feeling much better today. Hopefully next time I update, I'll have some knitting stuff to update on.

Today Phat Fiber is giving away a bag by Blue Mountain Handcrafts, go and check it out!

Oh, and I have been thinking about sprucing up the place. Maybe. If I feel like HTML-ing it up. consider yourself warned.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


1. The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination.
2. A resolving to do something.
3. A course of action determined or decided on.

I am so very sorry to any of you guys who regularly read! I disappeared for a month, I know. School got really hectic and the holidays are always more stressful than they need to be. But I have made a resolution (see? I can title things cleverly!) to not do that again. Hopefully I will be able to post at least once a week from now on.

So, as far as school goes (not the focus, I know, but I feel like rambling), I finished last semester with 4As and 2 A minuses. Pretty good, and my GPA is now 3.88. Could be .02 higher (no matter what Boyfriend tells me about how it's 'close enough,' I want that 3.9!), but I am overall pleased about how it shook out, considering I had a very, very stressful semester. I finished scheduling classes for this semester. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I will be taking six courses again. It's a large load, but I'm doing it so that I can take less credits next semester when I am doing my observations (go and observe/talk to a teacher in an actual school environment), to give myself more time to soak in the experience. Anywho, I'll be taking (as I know you are so interested): Survey of English Literature I, Beg-1660, Survey of English Literature II, 1660-1900 (yes, concurrently, I am an English BAMF), Intro to Inclusive Education, Mosaic II (a general Humanities course), The Universe as We Know It (fills my science requirement) and Myth and Symbol. My schedule is sort of full, but not unmanageable. And better than last semester, when I caught the train at 7 AM and got home at 9 PM on Mondays. My longest day is Thursday, where I'll be taking the 1 o clock train and getting home around 9 PM. And I don't have to get up at 6 AM at any time this semester! Wooo! The earliest class I have is one at 10 AM.

Xmas went alright. I spent Christmas Eve with my family and brought Boyfriend along. First, every year, we go to my grandmother's house. She passed years ago, but two of my dad's brothers still live there. We played pool and horsed around. My uncle Calvin gave me a really neat wicker box that stores my sock yarn and half-balls and bits and bobs admirably. Then we went to my aunt (mother's sister)'s house, where I hid and pretended I wasn't related to these people. Christmas I spent with Boyfriend's family. Boyfriend's cousin (my friend, my ex, yadda yadda)'s mother got me a piggybank shaped like balls of yarn that says "Knitting Money" on it. It combines my love of knitting, money, and really kitschy shit, so it was a great success. On Boxing Day Uncle Calvin, Boyfriend and I went to go see the Nutcracker (ballet). It was a fun day. If it hadn't been raining, we might have paid Loop a visit, but alas, it was not to be.

Knitting! That is what this blog is about, isn't it? You wouldn't know by my rambling thus far, I suppose. I have not finished a project since I saw you all last. confused smileys Shameful, I know! I've started a few, though!

First is my first garment. I decided on St. James and set to work, my heart ablaze with zeal and expectation. I was knitting a sweater! I was doing it! On I knitted, through not one, but two versions of Jane Eyre, watched in the wee hours of the morning. On I knitted, through Pan's Labyrinth. I tried it on, I made adjustments (one more waist decrease, for example), and hoped that everything would work right. It didn't. When the actual body knitting was done, there was far too much fabric in between the neckline and boobs. While I was able to add a decrease in the waist and shorten the waist-hips section, I somehow did not realize that the area from neck-topofboobs was petite as well. Enter crushing disappointment. Enter asking for Rav help. Enter snipping a stitch in my sweater. On Christmas Eve, no less. That was a horrible idea. The idea was to ravel upwards and re-knit the top from the top down again. I could not get it to unravel right. As hard as I tried. Eventually I got it unravelled, but as great yarn expense. Also, I was lazy and didn't want to graft stitches all around a sweater, so I just started from my live stitches and knit up. Since it was just seed stitch, I reasoned, it wouldn't show. Stop and think about it. I knit a top down raglan upwards. Instead of increasing, I decreased. Of course, decreasing is enough of a pain in the arse in seed stitch without the added "must get this the right length" bits. I had to decrease more quickly, and to be honest, my sweater looks a little messy as a result. I half-assed it and it shows. I don't have a good picture, hard to do without natural light, but you can sort of see it in the one I chose. However, I have decided that it is good enough. Most people aren't knitters, and will just be impressed I knit it myself. I think I can camouflage the goofs well enough. I've decided to do elbow length sleeves and have about a sleeve and a half to go. I just ran out of steam on this one.

After that debacle, I wanted something easy and fluffy. So I cast on a hat in Mal in Azul Bolita. I chose the Columbia Beret because it is simple enough to let the yarn shine but has a little bit of detail to it. I'm leaving off the top doohickey. Haven't finished that yet. But look at the gorgeous color of the Malabrigo. Had a little project photoshoot today with a mirror, and I'm fond of the way that that one came out. Capturing the color of the yarn is very difficult, since I wasn't working with natural light. This came the closest. The color is about that saturated, but a little more purple and a little more dark. I'm working on it, but put it down for a bit because I have knitting ADD lately, it seems.

My last real current project is a felted bag, using the Not Your Grandma's Carpet Bag pattern. I'm knitting it in that green/navy yarn last seen in little brother's garish earflap hat. I'm hoping that felting will make the colors more palatable. If this works, it will be my first felted project. I haven't picked up any handles yet, but I hope to soon. I'm hoping to find some at Michael's or AC Moore. Sort of ugly, isn't it? I sort of love ugly things, though, as the size ten lime green zebra striped pumps in my closet can attest to. ...I wear a size 7.5.

Besides all of that, I've taught myself the Norwegian purl, which is awesome and really interesting, and cast on a pair of socks using my 9 inch size 0 Hiya Hiyas. I'm finding them difficult to use, but I think I'll acclimate. I pretty much picked them up for shits and giggles anyway. I also have some more yarn giveaways to share. At Alaskan Purl, Allison is giving away a skein of Kangaroo Dyer's Merino/Alpaca/Silk yarn in the Caliph's Sunset colorway. This DK weight yarn looks gorgeous! Thanks Allison! Jeff at Yarnstasher is also starting off the New Year on the right foot with a massive giveaway. Check it out; you won't regret it, I promise. Thanks, Jeff! Finally, again, sorry for simply disappearing, but here's to a more productive and bloggy 2010!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Boyfriend's Hat

Hi everyone!

Lessee, since my last post I have actually gotten some knitting done! I finished my green beret/slouchy hat, and I love it. I was unsure if I could pull off the slouchy style, but it seems like I can. With great gusto. I like it because it keeps my hair in check (the wind whips it around something fierce) and my head warm. I didn't expect it to be a particularly warm hat, but it is! My guess is that the extra space in the hat traps heat from my head and makes a little warm pocket. Whatever the case, I hope that the slouchy hat trend is here to stay for a while. It's flattering, warm, and exceedingly fun to knit and block.

And a silly one. I was playing around with photoshop (, actually) and this happened:

Pattern: Meret by Woolly Wormhead.
Gauge: About 5 spi
Yarn: Ella Rae Classic Superwash, colorway 21
Needle size: 7
Notes: Cast on the large size to compensate for tighter gauge. The ribbing could have been tighter, so I'd probably use a smaller needle for it next time. For the slouchy part, followed the instructions for the medium size with one extra repeat for slouch, not two extra repeats for extra slouch. Fantastic pattern, I loved it.

I also started and finished a hat for the ever-knitworthy Boyfriend. Actually, while we're on the subject, quick aside to say that on the 3rd, we celebrated two years together! We didn't do anything because we're both  dead tired and swamped with work during the week more often than not. That and broke. So, anyway, bless him for gracefully handling my transition from normal person to crazy knitting lady. He deserves all the handknit hats in the world! (Not a sweater, because we know how that always ends.) More after the jump:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Procrastination Station

I don't want to do my work at the moment. It's the last day of Thanksgiving break and I am not looking forward to going back and doing that extremely stressful school thing. I have homework, but let us focus on more pleasant things.

Like yarn. Guess whose uncle took her to Loop yesterday? This lady, right here. He said that it was a "special birthday" and told me to go wild. Now, I find that sort of impossible to do (because if we're being honest here, I do have a bit of a guilt issue with spending lots of money, especially if it is other people's), but I think I got a good haul. Let's check it out!

Item #1: 4 skeins of Berrocco Vintage, which is 50% Acrylic, 40% Wool, 10% Nylon. It's destined to become my first knitted garment (that is, not a hat, scarf, or socks). I was thinking about doing St. James, which is the garment pictured on the right (photo from the project page on Ravelry, copyright belongs to Raveller thshizknit). I like the idea of this shirt because it's got good waist shaping, and if I don't have waist shaping I look like a giant blob in between my boobs and my hips. Trying to clothes shop can be a nightmare, because things have to have room for my rack and also be small enough to fit. I am not a tiny human, but small enough that finding clothing in the Women's section is a trial. And of course, junior's doesn't have ample boob n' hip room. Besides being bespangled with sparkly shit. No, I don't want pants that say "Princess" on the ass in rhinestones. Thanks. Well, to recover from my tangent, I'm not sure if I'd do the tie, although it is cute. I'm just not sure if it's me. One option might be to do it after the shirt is done and keep it detachable.

Second up is a skein of Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton:

My dear uncle who took me liked it and so asked me to get a skein to knit him a hat. I prefer to knit in wool, but uncle is vegan and eschews animal products when possible. He also liked that it's an organic cotton. He wasn't feeling acrylic, so this is it. It's really soft, though.

Next, we have two skeins of Ella Rae Classic Superwash:
The one here is tan, and not so yellowy as the photo makes it seem. It's for a colorwork portion of a hat I intend to knit for Boyfriend. The color was his choice. He wanted a tan color for some reason or another.

The other is a bright teal that Little Brother picked out. Yes, his color taste is not the most sophisticated (if you'll remember, he's the same one who wanted the orange hat with red snowflakes. I couldn't get him to agree to at least try and match this color to that monstrosity.) but hey, I like the color in a vaccuum, even if it is a bit "minty fresh." He wants gloves. The yarn is good for this because it's superwash and no 16 year old boy wants to handwash his gloves. The yarn is ok, although it's a tad rough on my tensioning finger. It's the same stuff I'm knitting my Meret in right now.

Next up is a skein of Madeline Tosh tosh worsted. It's a bit spendy, but the color! I die!

Now you look at that and tell me that you wouldn't have done the same thing. The colorway is "Nikko Blue" aka "Freaking Gorgeous Blue." I'm thinking a cowl, hat, or something else worn close to the face. That blue will not be ignored.

Next (why yes, there is even more!) is three skeins of Malabrigo. I wanted one or two going in, but threw on a third on a whim.

The colors got a little wonked out between shopping this up and uploading it, but it's a decent approximation. From left to right we have Azul Bolita, Burgundy, and Orchid. Burgundy is for Boyfriend's hat (along with the tan from earlier), while Azul Bolita and Orchid are ALL MINE! MWAHAHAHA.

Or not. I mean, they are for me, but I don't know if you could do many nefarious things with Malabrigo. I'm thinking another hat for the Azul, maybe mixed in with some Orchid. Can you guess which one was thrown in on a whim? If you guessed Orchid, you'd be correct. It's so pretty.

I also got a set of size seven DPNs (Crystal Palace, bamboo), a 26 inch size eight circ (also Crystal Palace, also bamboo) and a 26 inch size 10.5 circ (ditto). I got a 9 inch Hiya Hiya size zero, too, for shits and giggles. I thought this might be the time to try it out. And that's a lot of bamboo, but it was that or plastic, if I didn't want to spend a billion dollars on needles. The rest are rosewood and Addis (which, speaking frankly, I think are a rip-off. No way are they worth that much. It's ridiculous), which are not what I want. I successfully resisted some gorgeous Lorna's Laces Shepard Worsted. It was is the Winona colorway, and it looked like a sunrise. I also resisted Mal Sock, because I don't even like knitting socks that much. It was beautiful, but impractical. I have plenty of sock yarn for the time being. So it was a good day.

I'll leave you with a bonus photo of the Kypria that Lina from sent me:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hi everyone! I hope all you Americans out there had a fantastic Thanksgiving!

I did. I ate with Boyfriend's aunt and uncle, and his aunt's family. Boyfriend's aunt and I go way back, though. I dated his cousin before I dated him, so I've known Boyfriend's aunt for a longer time than I've known Boyfriend. (Calm down! There was a year between the dating of Boyfriend's Cousin and the dating of Boyfriend. Also, Boyfriend's Cousin and I are still good friends.) She is a fabulous lady, the one who gave me her mother's needles when I was a fledgling knitter. The food and company could not have been better. Also, Boyfriend's Cousin's birthday is tomorrow, so we sang Happy Birthday. But after they sang happy birthday to him, they took the 1 from the 21 off the cake, replaced it with a 0 and sang to me! It was very sweet and unexpected. And yes, I am the big 2-0 today. I don't feel much different. But hey, I'm not a teen anymore! I've been waiting for this since I turned 13.

Knitting wise, there is not much of interest to be said. I took a break from Boyfriend's socks to knit a little extra something for a Secret Santa and am now working on a beret. Meret, to be exact. I was going to do it in Noro, but decided that it would be too hippie-ish. I don't have a problem with hippies, but I don't want to look like I reek of patchouli and am following the Dead around the country, you know? So I'm doing it in Ella Rae Classic Superwash in a dark green. A little too dark, if we're going to be honest, but I like it. I didn't realize that the lace pattern was the same as my Crofter's Cowl until I had already started, but that's ok. As usual I get a crappy photo with indoor lighting, but I'll subject you to it anyway. It's a darker green than that, but whatever. At least this photo had some visual interest. I'll post a better one when it's finished. I'm still looking for a good hat for my Noro skein.

And hopefully I shall be gracing the halls of Loop again soon. My uncle figured that that would be a good place to go for a birthday treat. I'm not about to argue. I love Loop, and I'll be picking up some Malabrigo, at least. Enough for hats for Boyfriend and I. I'd like a bright blue (Azul Profundo or Azul Bolita maybe?) and he is all about neutrals, frustratingly enough. He would look so nice in a red, but no. It's all dark blues and greens. Men, am I right?

Oh, and I send my thanks out to Lina at Photo. Knit. Dog. for her generous giveaway. I won 8th place, and so am getting a skein of Kypria sock yarn. It's 70%  merino, 20% bamboo, 10% nylon and 100% smooshy if Ravelry is to be believed. Go and check it out at the Sanguine Gryphon. Thanks again, Lina!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Oh Crap

Yep, another nice ten day stretch of nothingness between posts. Go me.

See, I'm the red bird, looking all adorable and goofy in an attempt to distract you from the fact that I haven't posted in over a week.

But nothing terribly interesting has been going on, knitting wise. I'm working on knitted tops for my Converse, firstly. My chucks are torn up beyond recognition, so I'm thinking this could be a neat way to put them back into action. The pattern tells you to sew the new tops onto a strip of fabric left on the bottom for that purpose. Here, let me scrounge up a visual...*shuffles papers*

See the red line? You're supposed to cut the canvas there and leave a little bit of canvas to sew the knitted top on to. This is all well and good, unless you're actually trying to refurbish a pair of beat-up Chucks. The most common ripping is the canvas from the sole on the outside of the shoe. Of course, since they're now "fashionable" you hardly see an old beat up Chuck anywhere. Which is sad. But anyway, I have no canvas to stitch the knit top to. Thus, I am punching a needle through the rubber sole. Unpleasant work, that. I have one done, but they're on the backburner at the moment. Because...

I'm knitting another pair of socks! I have knit one pair before, but I got the yen to do another, for some reason. They're not for me, they're for Boyfriend. But I think they're going decently. I finished the first one and now have to fight the dreaded Second Sock Syndrome and cast on for #2. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate casting on? I hate doing the first bit of a project for some reason. Bores the everloving crap out of me. Anywho, I do have a photo of the first sock.

Look to the right, there. I think it's going pretty well, but like I said, let's see if I can avoid the dreaded SSS. This is prior to blocking, by the by. My stitches look straight-up nasty. Crooked and all that. Which is strange, considering the one thing I can usually get right is even gauge. Tight gauge'll do that to ya. The yarn is Lion Brand Wool-Ease (he wanted something machine washable) in ranch red and black. This is the first time I've done a sock in more than one color, and it looks alright, although I think my method could use some work. In addition, I bungled the toe decreases somehow and the grafting is a fucking mess. Never again shall I attempt to graft a toe without the instructions right in front of me. Boyfriend likes it, though, and that's all that really matters. The pattern is Thuja from Knitty Winter 05. I like it; it's easy enough to do in class but interesting enough to keep me from falling asleep. And yes, that is my foot, not Boyfriend's. His foot is much bigger than that.

I've also been poking around for a hat pattern to knit with my skein of Noro. I have recently decided that I can pull off a slouchy hat, so I'm looking.

So that's all that's really going on. No new giveaways to report, really. Yeah, it's been pretty boring around here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bad Blogger, Bad!

Sorry... no one. Anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis. All three of you.

School's been hectic and most of my knitting has been sort of put by the wayside. I started a pair of gloves (Knotty Gloves), but I had to rip back. It was my first time reading a cable chart and I buggered it up big time. So I have to rip back about 5-6 rows to the ribbing. It always takes me forever to put something I've ripped back on the needles, though. It's so tedious. Boring, boring, boring.

My main project at the moment is one that I just cast off yesterday: another cowl for me. The first time I just cast off the normal way, and it was too tight to fit over a human head. Well, I could get it on, but let's just say you haven't felt forehead pain until you've tried to shimmy a too-small cowl off of your head. Ouch. Or more appropriately, a quiet ow ow ow ow, trying not to alert anyone to your dumbassery. So, I undid it (teeeeeedious, so tedious) and re-bound off with Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off. That worked fairly well, although I do need to block. Oh, and the pattern and the yarn and zee photos, of course! Please excuse the horrible quality, Myspace-y look, and end hanging out (klassy):

I know that I take an awful photo, no need to remind me.  And that I look like some sort of misguided yarn gangsta on the right. But a friend of mine said it showed the knitting better, so you all get to see my mug not once, but twice. Take it in, because I am usually fairly reticent to post my photo online. I don't photograph well, no matter how nice I may look in real life. Also, by the time I get home, it's dark, so I'm working by myself by the light of one dim lamp. A sad portrait of our stalwart blogger, huh?

The yarn is Malabrigo Worsted in Stone Blue (photo left is a better representation of the color) and the pattern is Crofter's Cowl by Gudrun Johnston. It is available on her blog, here: Look in the right column, you'll find it. The pattern is originally supposed to be done in two parts and grafted together to create a mirror image. Always the lazy knitter, I just did five or six repeats and called it a day. The lace pattern ended up moving around for no reason a few times. I think I missed yo's or did a single decrease instead of a double or something. It's certainly not the pattern's fault. But I wore it today (miserable weather here in Philly, just awful. Rain and wind and cold and sadness) and it was so warm and soft that I forgive it any mistakes. My neck was thanking me the whole day.

My other main project is for a Secret Santa, so I can't post about it here. Shh!

And contests. There is one for one of eight skeins of yarn over at Photo. Knit. Dog. Last day to enter is today, so hurry up!  Knittin Brit in WI is having a very generous giveaway as well. I won't ruin the surprise for you. Last day is Saturday for that one. Darcy's Knotty Knitter is having a Sari Silk giveaway, which expires tomorrow at midnight. As always, thanks for your generosity, giveaway people! It is always much apreciated.