Sunday, October 26, 2008

garter cowl

Cowls! I'm a little obsessed with them right now. Inconvenient, with Christmas looming, but I think this one might have gotten it out of my system.

I bought this Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted, in the Tuscany colorway, a month or two ago. I went to the yarn store looking for Dream in Color Classy because I wanted a skein of superwash
in a beautiful color to make a sweater for my impending niece/nephew. (Not that he/she is due until April, but you know how it is. The idea had taken up residence in my head, and that was that.) They didn't have any of the Classy, but the Lorna's Laces fit that particular bill as well, and the Tuscany was the most unisex colorway I could find. Then a week or so later, I happened to be back in the same store, and this time they did have the Classy. So I had this lovely skein of Lorna's Laces just for me. It started screaming "COWL!" at me and wouldn't let up, so I obliged.

I wanted something with buttons, that I could wear kind of loose and drapey, but not so drapey that it doesn't actually cover my neck very well. I poked around Ravelry a while, and found some nice cowl patterns for future reference, but not Exactly What I Was Looking For.

So in case you are looking for the same thing, here's the pattern for this one.

yarn: worsted/aran weight
needles: US size 9
notions: 3 1-inch buttons, tapestry needle
gauge: 17 st = 4 inches in garter stitch

Cast on 43 st. Knit, knit, knit until it is 16 inches long. To make the pretty selvedge edge in the above photo, slip the first stitch purlwise and purl the last stitch in every row.
At 16 inches, make the buttonholes: slip 1 purlwise, knit 4, bind off 3, knit 12, bind off 3, knit 12, bind off 3, knit 4, purl 1. On the next row, cast the stitches you bound off back on. (I know there's a jillion better ways to do buttonholes, so feel free to do them how you want to.)
Knit until your work is 17 inches long, and bind off loosely. Ta-da!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Halloween update

So how’s your Halloween planning going? Have you been spending hours and hours lovingly going all Martha on your kids’ costumes? (Those of you who are busy procreating would obviously be exempt from this.)(Ew. That sounds gross. You know what I meant.) Have you given up and hit Target? Have you decided to pretend the holiday doesn’t even exist?

Or have your kids, like mine, infuriatingly refused to tell you what costumes they would like??

Right now only Baby Sister is set around here. She wants to be a puppy. Actually, she made it even easier by saying she wants to be a pink puppy. Pink clothes we got. Brown/black/gray not so much. So her costume is done.

The boys, however . . . well. Big Brother says he wants to be Pete Wentz. I say the neighbors are going to think he’s one of those punks who go around looking for candy without even dressing up. I mean, brushing some of his hair down over his face and wearing a hoodie? C’mon.

And Little Brother? He wants to be a penis. Yeah.

Ten bucks says they’ll both end up being last-minute zombies. The horror!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

a mostly boring weekend

Well, scratch that mostly.

The weather has gotten a lot cooler. We haven't turned on the heat yet, so the house is too. I've been getting a lot of use out of my cowls. Must make more!

Even my knitting was boring. I took hat requests from the boys on Friday (they were both very specific on color, stripe width and stripe placement) and cranked these out. Don't be impressed; I used size 11 needles and held the yarn (Lion Wool, if you were curious) double-stranded. I'd like to line them with fleece, as in this tutorial, but the boys are skeptical on that. Why? I have no idea.

Of course, this morning, Little Brother was mad at me (because I had requested that he turn his volume down, please - his only settings, I think, are "high" and "asleep") and he grabbed a cheesy storebought hat out of the bin to wear. "I'm not even going to wear what you knit for me!" he said. They really know how to get you where it hurts, don't they?*

Wow - reading over this post so far, I sound really cranky. I don't actually feel that way about a boring weekend; usually it's a nice thing to have. And sometimes they can be a chance to Get Stuff Done. I would say I more Got Stuff Started this weekend, beginning with helping Big brother to get organized. Hey, stop laughing - one does not have to be organized oneself to help others. I think. And anyway, I'm getting better; I'll show you in a second. But for Big Brother, the situation was getting out of hand. He was having trouble staying on top of his schoolwork and he was becoming frustrated. He'll be in junior high next year (OH MY GOD) so I really wanted to help him get squared away now. Since nothing says "fun weekend" like going through your planner with your mom, I took him out, just the two of us, to do it. We still need to do a bit more work, and I will certainly need to keep checking in, but he seems to know what to do and I feel better.

Now for my organization. It was the best kind: organizing craft supplies! I had all my knitting stuff in the bedroom, which was okay, but there were a couple of problems. One, my bedroom is tiny. Two, J goes to bed a lot earlier than I do, so if I had a sudden urge to start something new, I had to sneak in and quietly rifle through the stash to find what I wanted. That wasn't so bad, but what if I wanted to wind some yarn? Nonknitters such as my husband do not always understand the need to do that at, say, 11:30. Those poor unenlightened souls.

So anyway, I moved my whole crafting table into a corner of the living room. I like the new arrangment very much - everything is close at hand, right there to inspire me. I know you're a biased audience, but what do you think?

Peek under the table: hello stash!

The spinning fiber, the acid dyes, and the very small amount of fabric (mostly scraps from other things) are still in the bedroom. I hope to knit down the stash a bit and make it all fit under the table.

Hey! Didn't I tell you to stop laughing?

*ETA: I started this post yesterday. Today, he wore the knit hat and said it was cool. :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

eye candy Friday: you knew it was coming

Signs of fall:

potato leek soup

bag of pumpkins
This is the monteagle bag from Mason-Dixon knitting. It took me three tries to knit the thing, and it is still absolutely riddled with mistakes (my mistakes, not the pattern's). It's some pretty crazy knitting, though, and I'll definitely be making more. Go figure.
Oh, yeah, and the leaves.

My camera simply refuses to do them justice. I guess you all will have to come to New England. Call me when you get here, will you? We'll go get some iced coffee and grinders.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

finally finished!

But first, I have to say I was really happy about some of the comments from the last post. For one thing, there were some people I had never heard from before - always super-exciting - but also there were a couple of people who said they liked my spinning and were looking forward to the point when their spinning looked like that. I don't mean to sound like I'm getting a swelled head or anything, but it was at this exact time last year that I was stalking spinning posts and leaving comments like that on several blogs. So it was kind of a thrill to see that - and my spinning is still not anywhere near some people's. Seriously, if you want to drool over some spinning, click those.

But anyway - the Yarn Harlot socks are finally finished! Yay!

I sometimes wonder about the wisdom of designating one project my "traveling project," the one that stays in my purse and only gets worked on away from home. It ends up leading to things like taking seven months to finish a pair of socks - short socks at that. Sheesh.

But oh, are they soft and pretty socks. Not pretty because I did anything special to them - just a very plain slip-stitch pattern - but the yarn. These are all about the yarn.

The yarn is Shibui sock superwash merino. It is just ridiculously soft. And the color is just so simple and pretty.

Some specifics: I called these the Yarn Harlot socks not because I used any pattern of hers, but because they were cast on during her talk at Webs in April. I did these two-at-a-time, toe-up, magic loop. I suppose they should also lead me to question the wisdom of casting on such a project in a darkened theater (do you see? How the toes are a little dog-eared?), but they don't. They remind me of a very fun day, and of the knitterly atmosphere and yarn fumes that must have led to the decision to cast them on. Oh, and I also tried out a garter-stitch heel on these too. Maybe it's a look that only a knitter could love, but I think it's cute. And not having to pick up the wraps on the short-rows was nice too.

One more thing to question: is it a good idea to take pictures of your socks in front of impressionable children? Baby Sister decided she needed a picture of her socks, too.

Note: In real life, my calf is not that big. Or, I hope not.
And while I'm posting about projects, here's something I finished not-too-long ago:

It appeared Baby Sister was the only person in the house without slippers that fit. As a knitter, I could not let that stand. I grabbed the leftovers from Amy's legwarmers and started some using the classic garter-stitch slipper pattern my mom taught me. I say taught me, because I don't have it written down anywhere, I just kind of eyeball the size as I go and use the appropriate amount of stitches and rows. Sometimes I'm a little off, which is why these came out so tall. But casting off the extra stitches after I got past the ankle part and adding the buttons fixed the problem nicely. I also put some caulk on the bottoms - these things are really slippery.

That's pretty much it for project-related news. I've got some new wool on the spinning wheel and a monteagle bag on the needles, but neither of them really look like much right now.

I'll leave you with this, from an ad in the NY Times magazine this weekend:

But what about yoga?

Friday, October 3, 2008

I still spin

Man, I haven't posted about spinning in forever! Actually, there was a big stretch of the summer where I didn't spin at all, really. I certainly wasn't going to bring a spinning wheel camping (although I know some people do), and then I was trying to focus on my Ravelympics projects for a while too.

But this week is National Spinning and Weaving Week, and though that usually is expanded to include knitting, crochet, felting, etc., I definitely wanted to spend some time with my wheel. I'm going to the celebration this Sunday at Slater Mill and bringing the wheel with me - it should be a really good time. I hear we're going to spin up the giant roving that was dyed with Kool-aid last year. Big Brother helped to dye that, so I like the idea of helping to spin it.

But that's not all the spinning going on lately. I bought this superwash merino roving over the summer, kind of on a whim (isn't that always the way?):

Tuesday, it finally finished becoming this:

I think it's about a worsted weight, and as usual, I have no real plans for it. It'll just have to sit around being pretty. :)

Oh, and speaking of events at Slater Mill, the weekend of November 7-9 Norah Gaughan is coming!! Holy crap! Norah Gaughan! Annie Modesitt is coming too, also very cool, but OMG Norah Gaughan!!! I signed up about 5 seconds after I found out. I briefly entertained the idea but trying to finish the Bubble pullover by then, but then I remembered this little thing called Christmas. Maybe I'll just wear the little Target Wave mittens around my neck or something. Inexplicable knitter behavior, right?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

a very brief political interlude during the vice-presidential debate

Dear voters,

I cannot listen to "nucular" for four more years.