Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Two years ago my brother was looking for a Halloween costume, but couldn't find anything to fit his giant 6'10" body.  Enter my awesome sewing skills and Burda 2471.


Get it... a really tall Napoleon... Ha.  The pattern is only sized for men up to 6'3" so I had to alter ever pattern piece 7 inches longer.  I added the length along the waist "lengthen here" lines.  If I had used the lines for lengthening the chest Adam would have ended up looking like a flying squirrel.  I made the britches, vest, jacket, and even the hat.  Adam bought the boots.

Just for a size comparison, here's what I look like wearing the jacket.


It's a wee bit big on me.  Adam was down town running a muck this Saturday in costume and I guess many people stopped him to take a picture with the giant Napoleon.  It's a very good think Adam likes this costume.  It was a pain in the $&@ to make given the intricacy of the pattern and all the alterations I had to do.  I told him he has to be Napoleon for at least 2 more years before I'm ready to undertake making a new costume.

What was your Halloween costume?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Yarn Harlot


That's her.  She just wrapped up her book tour and Portland was the last stop.  I went to her 2008 book tour when she stopped in Madison, Wisconsin, and I think if it's possible, she's gotten even funnier.

My brother went with me.  I asked him too.  Portland feels pretty darn safe, but the location of the book store isn't close to the parking structure and there can be some strange people on the Portland streets, especially after dark.  My brother is very big.  People don't really mess with him.  How big you ask.  This big.


That's me, my brother, and the Yarn Harlot.  She is standing on a chair.  Her knees are at the same level as my hips, and yet, Adam is still taller.

Adam even chuckled several times during the talk she gave before signing books.  On the way out of the book store he said the strangest thing to me: "She sounds like you."  I discovered the Yarn Harlot's books about the time I started knitting and we seem to share the same sort of... impatient... nature when it comes to doing things the way we want.  Of course, Adam had never heard of the Yarn Harlot until I roped him into being my escort for the evening.  It sort of makes sense that he would attribute all the knitterly attitudes and frustrations to me since I'm the one he hears it from.  Still, I think of Stephanie as someone who has impacted my knitting attitudes greatly and contributed to the way I think about knitting.  I think it reality, I sound like her.  Still, it was a flattering sentiment.

Now off to knit Adam some Zelda inspired tri-force gauntlets, the price of his attendance.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Just my luck

Recently, I've been cruising right along on several projects.  I've got... eleven... current projects and over the past weekend I think I managed to work on 7 of them.  Part of the reason I was able to work on so many was that I kept running out of ^*$# yarn.  First, I decided to work on the market bag I'm making for my mom.


That's BYOB by Moria Ravenscroft from the Summer 2008 Knitty.  I'm making it with Knit Picks new cotton yarn Dishie.  It feels like a great yarn for market bags, dish towels, scrubbies, etc. but I would never make something like a garment with it--too stiff, it would never drape.  Soft, but stiff.  The pattern calls for two balls of a yarn that is 207 yards per ball for the main color.  Dishie comes in balls of 190 yards.  As you can see, those extra 34 yards are critical.  All I have left to knit are the handles.  An emergency ball is on the way and hopefully I'll have the bag done soon.

After that disappointment, I picked up a project I haven't worked on it quite a while and got pretty close to finishing.


That's the Op Art blanket by Melissa Dominguez from the fall 2008 Knitty.  (Clearly 2008 was a good year for Knitty).  I started this when I first moved to Oregon way back in July 2009.  Mostly, I started it as a way to use up the two huge skeins of Carron One Pound I was given by a well meaning family friend.  I figured two POUNDS of yarn would be enough to finish a moderate-sized blanket.  Imagine my extreme frustration when I ran out of yarn 9 rows from the end.  Since the size of the stripes matters, I can't just stop where I am and bind off.  I could go back to the last whole stripe, but I really wanted it to end on a white stripe... My own weird aesthetic.  That would mean going back a whole strip and a half and would leave me with quite a lot of left over yarn, thus defeating my plan to use up all the yarn with this blanket.

Ravelry to the rescue.  Another kind knitter used this yarn for a project and had about 4 ounces left over.  The yarn is coming to me as we speak.  I love living in the digital age.  I could not function in a world without "the cloud"..... mmm instant gratification, instant information, instant organization.

Had I not run out of yarn on these two projects I probably would have given them each some serious dedicated work and maybe had a few FOs to show for my weekend, but as it is, it was nice to revisit so many of my current projects and get back in touch with why I love them.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Susie's Mitts

My aunt Susie is pretty much a saint.  She lives with my grandma and basically takes care of her.  Grandma is pretty much at the stage where she shouldn't drive any more, so Susie takes her where she needs to go and all the palaces she likes do go (like doughnuts on Tuesday mornings.)

Grandma called me the other day to tell me that Susie's hands get cold when she has to drive in the mornings because the steering wheel is cold and asked if I could please make Susie some fingerless mitts for driving.  I decided on the Commuter Fingerless Mittens by Stephanie Sun from Knitty First Fall 2011.


I thought this patter was super cute when it first came out in Knitty and queued it immediately.  The request for fingerless gloves immediately brought the pattern to my mind.  I love the way they flip up to provide more finger coverage if you need it.

New camera!  I just got a new Cannon SX230 HS.  It's a pocket sized point and shoot and I love it!  It takes fantastic close up pictures don't you think?

The yarn is some of my favorite from the stash.  It's Berroco Pleasure 66% angora, 29% merino, and 5% nylon.  It's basically the snuggliest yarn there is.  Sadly it's discontinued.  I got 14 balls back when it went on close out (originally $13.99 per ball, I got it for $4.50 per ball) and have enjoyed deciding how to use it.  I have also made a Climbing Vines pullover with it.  It's wonderful to work with but the real magic happens once it's been washed.  The yarn blooms and becomes even softer and fluffier.  Perfect for keeping fingers nice and toasty.


The buttons are just simple silver buttons I found at JoAnn's last weekend, the same style on the back of the hand and on the palm just different sizes.  I was shocked at how expensive buttons have become!  It was $6 for these simple ones, more elaborate ones would have cost even more.  Oh well, since I used stash yarn the cost for the project was pretty low.  The project only took one ball of yarn and knit up in under a week.  If I didn't like my aunt so much, I'd seriously think about keeping these for myself.


Friday, October 14, 2011

My Grandma

My Grandma is a difficult woman.  I try to be patient with her and remember that she's a product of a very different time and a very different upbringing.  My Grandma wants to tell everyone what everyone else's problem is and exactly the path they should take to fix it.  Needless to say, my Grandma's 1940s Catholic ideals are slightly different from my own... At the same time, she's my Grandma and I love her and I feel like I should do nice things for her.  A few weeks ago, my Grandma called me asking for some wool house socks.  These are the result:


These are the faceted rib socks by Charlene Schurch and Beth Parrott from the Little Box of Socks.  I love those little cards, they're so easy to pop in my purse and carry around.  The pattern creates a very dense fabric.  Even though these are made with standard sock-weight yarn, I don't think they would fit in any ordinary pair of shoes because they are so thick.  All the better since they are meant to be house socks.  Also, the pattern takes a lot of stitches because it doesn't have a lot of stretch so it eats yarn.  I had 380 yards and, as you can see, I had to result to "complementary" yarn for the toes.


The main color yarn is Pico Accuardi Dyeworks La Libera in colorway Hyperspanner (I don't know how long that link will be good for, I think the company is closing down, which is too bad because it's pretty good yarn).  The yarn is slightly thick in some places but it has a nice tight ply and a good sproing.


The toes are some Knit Picks Special Buy Sport Wool in colorway Amethyst Heather  that I ordered long ago and haven't found a use for yet.  Its yarn that was over-spun so they sold it for $1 per ball.  I ordred a bunch of it, but haven't really used it until now.  It's very tightly spun and feels dense the way that hand spun yarn often does.  Even though it's sport weight, I don't notice much of a difference between the toe and the rest of the sock.


Grandma won't like them.  She finds fault with everything.  The color will be wrong, or the fit, or the pattern... something.  Of course, if I didn't make them, then I'd be un-loving and mean to an 85-year-old woman and I'd never hear the end of that earlier.  So, I'm just going to package them up, send them off with a nice card, then refuse to take any calls from Grandma for at least a month... You know, like an adult.  

Friday, October 7, 2011


I debated about posting about this since it's not really far enough to have any good pictures, but this project is so heavenly I thought I would share the love.  I've been working on the Dahlia Cardigan for the past few weeks on and off and every time I pick up the project it's pure bliss.

I'm not very far along because I have other projects that "need" to be done so I've been trying to be good and focus on them and only work on this every once a while but just look how lovely it is so far:


That is almost all of the lace pannel for the back of the cardigan.  The lace is pretty simple but you have to keep track of where you are in the pattern since it is repeated 4 times every row.  The pattern starts with this fun bit a lace that is just the right amount of challenge, then changes to easy-breezy stockinette for the rest of the pattern with some interesting construction elements thrown in.

The pattern, as written, has long square fronts which look cute on some, but I'm not really into the flowing -front style that is so popular right now.  I plan to do some short-row experimentation and see if I can get a more typical cardigan style shaping.

The pattern is fun, but the real reason this project is heavenly to work on is the yarn.


This is String Theory Caper Sock.  Heaven.  This is hands down my favorite yarn.  Better than Malabrigo.  Better than Madeline Tosh.  It's the perfect.  By clicking that link, and looking at the pictures above, you can see that their colors are absolutely amazing.  Sadly, what the pictures can't show you is how amazing this yarn feels.  The yarn is 80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon.  It's so amazingly squishy and soft and snuggly and makes perfect plump squooshy stitches that just look happy.

The other two projects that I'm working on that "need" to be done sooner than later are some socks for my grandma to keep her feet warm this winter (she is having circulation issues and always has cold hands and feet) and a set of market bags for my mother that are long long long over due...  I try to work on those most of the day and just get a few guilty-pleasure rows of this cardigan in before bed.