Friday, December 21, 2007

Knitting Heresy Revisited

I was just looking through my old posts (because today is the last day of work before winter break and I'm terribly busy /sarcasm), and I came across my original Knitting Heresy post. Since then, I've actually gone back on a few of my declarations.

1. I hate circular needles. I own exactly one set of circs that I actually use to knit in the round (as opposed to larger ones that I use to knit sweaters and afghans). If I can knit something on DPNs instead, I will.

I still like DPNs, don't get me wrong, but I've become a bit more accepting of circs lately. I recently completed a Knitpicks Checks and Charms hat on their new Harmony Wood needles, and I have a couple sets of their Nickel-plated circs ready for another project.

9. I hate knitting socks, even though I love legwear.

I'm reconsidering. My first pair of socks were kneesocks, and that's why they took forever. I might attempt a pair of more reasonable anklets and see how they go.

15. I have never paid more than $8 per skein for yarn.

I think the Glitterspun I bought for my Shimmer was $8.99.

21. I have never knit a bobble and never intend to.

I made a bobbled panel for the sampler afghan I'm working on. I figured, well, if I'm ever going to knit one, now's the time. And, um, I actually really like how they look. I still refuse to wear them, though.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Knitting is my true love...

... but Crochet is the mistress I keep around for quickies.

We can thank my roommate for that little gem. He's right, though. I've been knitting a lot longer than I've been crocheting, and I'm still more comfortable with two sticks instead of one, but it's hard to beat the speed of crochet (a concept I've already contemplated), especially with the quantity of gifts I'm trying to finish in the time frame I have to finish them.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ok, here's the Plan

I am a terrible updater. I'm sure my regular readers are all aware of this. That is, if I even *have* any regular readers. I'm sure anyone who might have attempted it has given up by now, considering I haven't even posted in over a month.

However, in light of Son of Stitch 'n Bitch being released and my blog address being in there and all (I submitted the Hangover Helpers), I figure I should probably attempt to update a bit more regularly.

Seriously, I have FOs dating back to this summer when I was still in Japan that have yet to be posted. I have FOs that I've started and finished since moving back to Chicago. I have eighty gajillion WIPs. There's probably enough material to write about to keep me occupied through March, even without the inevitable adding on that will occur!

So here's the plan: my office is closed from Dec. 24 - Jan 2. During that time I plan to give my blog an overhaul. Updates. Links. Some semblance of organization. Hmm, this has "New Year's Resolution" written all over it....

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


All day I was thinking about how I would come home from work and update properly for once. Pictures of FOs, perhaps, or all the WIPs I have going right now. Maybe I'd finally write some book reviews.

Then I got rear-ended on the highway while driving home.

Now all I want is Mythbusters and pizza.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Time Constraints

Here's the problem I've run across recently: I work all day, mostly on the computer. When I get home, I can either knit, or I can update my blog. Knitting wins. Thus, my blog is a little under-utilized right now.

I've got several WIPs going, though: Knitty's Shimmer worked up in silver Glitterspun, the Checks and Charms hat from Knitpicks done in their Merino Style, a sampler afghan using yarn ganked from my friend's stashbusting party (which I mentioned briefly in the previous post but never got around to elaborating on), and a knitted bottle of Asahi for a friend's (belated)birthday present from my own pattern.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The quickest turn-around time in a while

I just finished this project on Tuesday night, and here it's Saturday and I'm already uploading it!

As mentioned previously, I started a new job about two weeks ago. One of my coworkers and his wife are expecting their first baby, and someone asked them if they had a baby shower. They answered, "Oh, we don't have baby showers in Japan," to which the office replied, "You're in America now!", and threw a shower for them.

So of course, I had to knit.

I used the Lil' Devil Baby Hat pattern, with a chart borrowed from Knitting Year-Round's Rubber Ducky Pullover. In case you're keeping track, this is the third baby hat and and sixth hat total I've made using the Kittyville hat patterns. It's knit with Lion Cotton-Ease, Caron Simply Soft, and a mystery eyelash yarn, all of which came from my friend Nora's stashbusting party (which is another entry entirely).

Here's the hat being modeled by a penguin:

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Pompon tree? Who needs a pompon tree?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Excuses, excuses

First I was too busy to update because I was moving home from Japan. Then I was too busy because I was searching for a job. Now I'm too busy because I just started my new job last Friday (which so far I love) and it's really hectic right now. *le sigh*

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Random Thought 9/20

I was more or less expecting it, considering The Happy Hooker kept getting bumped back, but the Son of Stitch 'n Bitch release has been delayed from October to November. I know it'll come out eventually, but I really want it to come out now.

In other non-related news, I'm getting very sick of the dachshund running off with and subsequently mangling my skeins of yarn.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

If it wasn't nearly 2 am, I'd be a lot more interesting

Craft Update: I have some photos kicking around here somewhere that I need to upload, and I've started yet another new project (never mind the previously started ones that still haven't been completed, but that's an old story).

Life Update: I'm back in Chicago, more or less. Technically I'm living in the north suburbs and will soon start working in the south suburbs. How this will affect my crafting habits has yet to be seen. The introduction of kung-fu, bass guitar, and a renewed love for Dynasty Warriors have already cut into my knitting time lately. Never mind the adorable demon dachshund who likes to gnaw on my bamboo needles while I'm using them; I keep trying to explain to him that he's not a panda, but he doesn't listen.

Also, I think it's funny that at the time I made this post, the only photo on the page is a mass of Fun Fur.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I swear I'll start updating again soon

I've been back in the States for almost two weeks, and I think I've finally readjusted, more or less. There's still the risk of reverse culture shock down the line, but I'm feeling less out of whack than I did when I first got in.

Anyhoo, I'm waiting for most of my craft supplies to reach me. Since sending packages by ship was the cheapest option, that's how I mailed them home, but it takes a month or more for the boxes to get here. Fortunately I ordered a ton of yarn while I was still in Japan that my mom never sent to me, so I do have a couple projects in the works right now, ranging from complicated (a cabled afghan that I'm pretty sure has a few errata in the pattern) to simple (a 1X1 rib Gryffindor scarf).

Monday, August 6, 2007

The cost of moving

I've made it from my home in the country to my host family's house in Osaka, at the expense of several WIPs that I previously mentioned working on, most notably the cabled bag and vintage dress in this post and the Knucks mentioned in this one. I also gave scads of yarn, most of it still in the ball bands, to one of the English teachers who I worked with who's an absolute doll; and somehow I lost one of the beaded pins I made.

When I get time to upload them, I have photos of most of the hats I crocheted for my host family (my host brother took his lot before I took photos of everything), and a few other sayonara presents I made for some of the other teachers I worked with.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Musings on crochet

Before I move home to the States, I'm going to visit my host family up in Osaka. They very generously housed me for 4 months during my semester abroad, and they're fabulous. I've decided to crochet them all hats, which is no small undertaking considering there are ten of them between mom, dad, grandma, my host brother's family, and my host sister's family.

And yet, it's not an unreasonable task. In three days I've already completed five hats. In a mere 16 rounds I can make a whole hat. Try knitting a hat in 16 rounds; the yarn would have to be damn chunky and the needles like tree branches, and it would probably end up looking like a big clunky mess anyway.

Crochet also seems to lend itself to designing at a much earlier experience level than knitting. I've been knitting for years, but I only learned how to crochet back in college when some friends taught me how to make a basic single-crochet beanie, and I didn't expand on that knowledge until after moving to Japan. I consider myself to be at the advanced beginner/kinda-sorta intermediate level, and yet I've already created my own hat pattern which lends itself to several variations. Perhaps this also ties into the time involved: even if you mess up, it doesn't take long to rip it out and recover that lost ground. On the other hand, I have some arm warmers that I've been designing for over a year now just because I can't be bothered to restart them AGAIN.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Busy, busy, busy

I'm moving back to the States in a little over a month, so I haven't really had time to make things lately since I've been trying to dismantle my house and figure out how much I can feasibly take home, craft-related and otherwise. There are several FOs I packed up but haven't taken pictures of yet, so you can look forward to those making an appearance some time in August.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday, June 15, 2007

A reply to Random Thought 6/12

On the other hand, I love it when an idea I've been kicking around in my head for a while ends up looking as cool as I hoped it would.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Short, sweet, and to the point:

Craftster is my new crack.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

What was that about "instant gratification"?

I saw a tutorial on Craftster for a beaded bangle and posted my interest in it at 7:40pm. I then dug two cheap, tarnished Claire's bangles out of the trash (not as gross as it sounds, the bag was only jewelry waste from the other night), bummed around Craftster a bit more, made some posts, and at 9:50pm I already have a new beaded bangle. Photos later.

As promised, a necklace.

Actually, make that plural. Necklaces. I think what appeals so much to me about beading is the speed with which projects can be completed. As I mentioned in my knitting heresy post, I'm really big on instant gratification, so the ability to finish a project in a night and wear it the next day makes it very appealing.

I made an illusion necklace while in the throes of sickness the other day.

It took longer than it probably should have, but I'm pretty out of practice with beading to begin with. Pair that with the not feeling so hot and it's not surprising that I had to redo it a few times, mostly because the cord got all crimpy and didn't look right. As it is, there's an odd crinkle in the final product, but it wasn't significant enough to make me want to redo it again.

All the beads came from the pallets I bought on clearance, and the clasp came from my pilfering the other night.

Now, as for what I was talking about last night (which was actually very early this morning by the time I posted it), I wanted to attempt making a pair of cherry earrings. I already had hooks up the wazoo, so I hit the craft store for jewelry findings (clasps, crimp tubes, etc.) and beads to use for the leaves and stems since nothing in the pallets really matched. Upon returning home and starting plan A, I discovered that there weren't enough red beads to make two sets of cherries. "Ok, plan B, let's make more fruit and make a necklace out of it!" After spending about two episodes worth of Mythbusters trying to make a mikan that actually LOOKED like a blasted mikan, I tried googling patterns for fruit charms to no avail. Then plan C hit: I would use the cherry pendant as the centerpiece, then link beaded kyu-pins (I'm not sure what they're called in English, but in Japanese they're named because they look like the number 9) to make the rest of the necklace.

I futzed with a few different combos before deciding on the green/blue/silver/clear color scheme. The bead pins are symmetrical up each side, but none of the patterns per side are duplicates. It had the world's tiniest, most obnoxious spring-ring clasp on it when I wore it today but replaced it with the much-easier-to-manage toggle clasp after work.

Here's a closeup of the cherries, I tried to get a shot of the beads up the side but was once again thwarted by my lack of camera talent, they all came out blurry. I may post a tutorial for the cherry charm later on, I was pretty pleased with how it turned out considering I just winged it and figured it out. I knew how to make "bead balls", and after that the stems were pretty much basic bead stringing.

I wrote up a tutorial and posted it on Craftster; I'll add it here with photos at some point in time that isn't when I'm sleepy and in need of a shower.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Random Thought 6/12

I really hate it when an idea looks a million times cooler in my head than in reality. On the upside, failure of both plans A and B led me to waste a lot of time make a necklace that I'm almost certain is made of awesome. I'll test that theory when I wear it to school tomorrow and hope it doesn't fall apart since my wire bending skills are a bit rusty. Photos tomorrow if it holds together.

Also, I completely lost track of time and should have been in bed an hour ago.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

My hands smell metallic

I just spent a good chunk of time watching old Mythbusters episodes and dismantling cheap Claire's jewelry for parts.

Shortly after I moved to Japan, my mom sent me two huge bags of jewelry that a client who worked for Claire's HQ had given her. A few of the pieces passed inspection as things I would actually wear, but most of it looked too cheaply made or didn't fit my taste. I kept it all for a while, thinking maybe I'd use some of it as prizes for classes. I even gave a few pairs of earrings away to some junior high students who ambushed me and had me cook them dinner one day. But really, I had no use for it and pretty much forgot about it.

That is, until I went on this beading kick. Suddenly I remembered, "hey, I have two big bags of ugly jewelry that I can raid for parts!" I ended up with two necklace clasps, several sets of earring hooks, a buttload of jump rings, and even some beads. Score!

Looking back at yesterday's entry, I probably should have taken better photos to show detail on the pins and the colors of the yarn. Maybe when I'm unsick I'll reshoot them. Better or not (though mostly better), I'm headed back to work tomorrow.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Crafts that aren't made of yarn (and some that are)

Not quite sure what's gotten into me, but I'm on a major beading kick right now. I had been working on a pin which I mentioned in my massive WIP entry, but I hit a sort of mental block about it. It's been years since I've worked with beads, and when I was younger it was mostly in the vein of beaded flower necklaces and things of that nature.

Anyway, I finally finished the pin and made another one as well.

(The DS is there to provide a point of reference on size. Oh, and to show off the nifty Plusle and Minun cover I bought at the Poke-center in Fukuoka).

The one on the right is the one I mentioned in the previous post, the pattern came from a Japanese book called Beads Box. It looks ok if you don't look to closely at it, but it's a little funky if you do. I've decided to keep that one and use the one on the left as part of the present the first one was originally intended for. The one on the left is a star from All Info About Jewelrymaking.

Here's the circular pin in action:

It's now officially the clasp for my Sweet Pea Shawl from SnB:HH. It's made from Denim something-or-other, 100% cotton. I found the yarn at my craft store, petted it, and knew I had to have it, so I bought the last 3 skeins of the purple colorway. Then I crocheted away with my typical disregard for gauge, knowing I wouldn't have quite enough anyway (mine ends with 3 shells left at the bottom instead of 1, and it's not quite as wide). Because it's a bit smaller, tying it is somewhat awkward, and I decided a snazzy pin was the answer, so there you have it.

As an added bonus, here's a scarf I made a hella long time ago:

It's a Yo, Drop It! scarf from SnBN. I made several as gifts out of some Joann brand ribbon yarn but don't have photos of those. This one is made from Lion Trellis on size US 13s instead of the recommended 11s (I was trying to stretch my yarn). It occasionally doubles as a belt.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Random Thought 6/9

Between all the forums, communities, and blogs, sometimes I think I read about crafting more than I actually do it. I just joined Craftster.

I also figured out why I haven't wanted to knit: it's because I want to bead! Pics later, after sleeping. Being sick and on bed rest for a week has really messed up my internal clock since I haven't had to get up for work.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

I should be unconscious by now....

I'm sick. Again. It sucks. After almost fainting at my bathroom sink yesterday, I dragged myself to work, only to be taken to the doctor before first period, put on an IV drip, and sent home with a bag of prescription drugs (because the Japanese love prescribing a multitude of pills to treat various symptoms). I stayed home today and slept for hours, which is probably why I'm awake despite the fact it's almost 2am and I have work tomorrow (though depending on how I feel, I might call in again).

Seeing as how I'm stuck in bed (same old "ack, I'm dizzy and going to pass out if I stand up" as last time, when I went on a crocheting binge and made a bunch of hats), I need to find ways to amuse myself. I started looking up Linsner's Dawn images, since although I don't know if I'll ever make it to Dragon*Con (and certainly not this year, since I'll only just have moved back to the States by the time the con rolls around), it's fun to think about what sort of costume I'd want to make for the annual Dawn Lookalike contest. Tonight I came across this outfit, and I was immediately smitten with it, mostly because of an overwhelming desire to make that duster. Knitted or crocheted, not sure yet, probably crocheted given all the openwork on the skulls. It's probably far-fetched and ridiculous and the product of a frustrated, bored, ill mind, but dang, I want to make that work somehow.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Random Thought 6/1

If you told me that, from now on, I'm only allowed to use blue, green, and purple yarn*, I would have no problem with that.

*Well, maybe with some occasional black and pink mixed in. It's funny, I never even realized that I actually like pink until I moved to Japan. I never drank coffee, ate egg yolks, or enjoyed yoga until I came here either.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Knitting Heresy is sweeping the web

Inspired by a post I found on LJ's Punk Knitters community, which was in turn inspired by a post on Isis Rising, which was in turn inspired by a post on Knitter's Review Forums, here is my list of knitting confessions.

1. I hate circular needles. I own exactly one set of circs that I actually use to knit in the round (as opposed to larger ones that I use to knit sweaters and afghans). If I can knit something on DPNs instead, I will.

2. Stemming from #1, I have no desire to use the Magic Loop method.

3. I have no qualms about jumping on Knitty bandwagons, if the item in question actually appeals to me (such as Clapotis or Fetching).

4. I will make an effort to reach the end of a row before attaching the next skein, but if I'm pretty close, well, I'll join it anyway.

5. I hate tiny needles and time-consuming projects. I'm an instant gratification knitter. I learned to knit on a pair of US 11s, and they're still one of my favorites. Most of my stash is worsted and heavier.

6. Yet, the size I use the most are US 7s.

7. I never swatch for accessories, only garments. I'll adjust the pattern as I go if it's too big or small.

8. Short rows and waist shaping are the best knitting inventions ever. Joan McGowan-Michael is my hero.

9. I hate knitting socks, even though I love legwear.

10. I'm a selfish knitter, most of what I make is for myself with the exception of charity knitting and occasional baby presents.

11. I love 1x1 rib and seed stitch. I hate garter stitch.

12. I love Fun Fur.

13. Heck, I love novelty yarns, especially soft plushy ones.

14. I love Wool-Ease, Homespun, and Simply Soft, but I hate Super Saver.

15. I have never paid more than $8 per skein for yarn. Ever. I have some to-die-for Noro that I bought for 200 yen a skein on clearance.

16. I have spent the last few coins in my wallet on knitting needles, even when I shouldn't.

17. I knit through the back loop by default.

18. I have never read the Yarn Harlot. However, I love Debbie Stoller's books.

19. I have knit patterns from Vickie Howell's blog, but I have never watched an episode of Knitty Gritty.

20. I almost never know what to make when I randomly buy yarn but do it anyway, then have to go out and buy yarn specifically for the patterns I want to make.

21. I have never knit a bobble and never intend to.

Monday, May 21, 2007

I actually bought this a while ago....

I don't need any more yarn. I know this. Really. But the bulk of my stash is heavy, wooly, wintery yarn, and I couldn't resist some of the delicious spring yarn that went on sale around March. Most of it has already been worked up, but here's some that's still in skein form (3 of them, actually):

It's President Shine Lame (yes, it's spelled that way on the label) by Motohiro, 52% polyester/20% cotton/28% rayon.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Headwear Bonanza!

As I've said before, it is my firm belief that a person can never have too many scarves, armwarmers, or hats. Here are three FOs that support this theory, plus a fourth that more or less fits the category.

This is the first thing I ever crocheted. Back when I was stagnating in the "I can only knit stockinette rectangles" phase of my knitting career, I really wanted to learn how to make hats. A couple of my crocheting friends taught me how to make a basic beanie using single crochet worked in a spiral. This is the result, made from Lion Homespun in the now-discontinued disco colorway on a US K hook.

Fortunately, my crocheting abilities have progressed a bit since then, and I made this during a crochet-a-thon back in Februrary that also produced my Blue Star Cloche and Rose is a Rose Hat in the course of one week. This is the Dorothea hat from the Modern Flapper Hats collection. Like the other two, it's made with Motohiro Premium Merino (100% wool). The flower is a chain stitch flower made from leftover "Rose is a Rose" yarn and a bead stitched in the middle.

I made this in an attempt to use up stash yarn. It started life as Knitty's Coronet but went through a few alterations along the way. I had one skein each of Olympus John Lennon Peace (100%) and Katylana Soft Colorful (100% nylon), so I combined them. The John Lennon yarn is worsted weight, so I made the cable brim as instructed, but the Soft Colorful is bulky, so I used US 10 1/2 (6.5mm) needles and only picked up 54 stitches. When it ran out I switched back to the worsted yarn and US 8 (5mm) needles, increasing the number of stitches to fit. This pattern really suited the yarns well thanks to its fold-up brim construction; the wool yarn is a bit scratchy, so having it fold over the super-soft yarn works out perfectly.

This last FO isn't quite a hat, but it DOES get worn on the head, so I'm counting it anyway! I made this a really long time ago but somehow never got around to taking photos. It's the Head Hugger pattern from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation, with very little regard given to yarn type or gauge. I used the instructions for the neckwarmer, knit up in the now-discontinued Lion Kool Wool, which is a thicker yarn than the pattern calls for. The flowers are made with Micro-spun leftovers from my Pippi Kneestockings. It was the second pattern I completed from SnBN, and only the second item I've made using the actual colors from the pattern (the first being an Adults-Only Devil Hat).

Friday, May 18, 2007

WIP it, WIP it good!

"Why don't people understand? I've got a short attention span, short attention spaaaan!!"- Fizzy Bangers, Short Music for Short People (That's the entire song.)

I've been threatening to do so for a while, so at long last, here's a rundown of most of the projects I'm currently working on.

Somehow I've amassed a huge assortment of yarn:

And that's not even counting the 100% acrylic put aside specifically for Warm Up America knitting:

Let's not even talk about all the fabric and buttons and whatnot that have somehow manifested in my sewing room.

So I want to use up as much as possible before moving back to the States at the end of the summer, and these are some of my attempts.

Mikado Ribbon Fingerless Gloves, made not from Mikado Ribbon yarn but a 70% bamboo/30% cotton blend called Eco Summer by Hands Products. I bought it because it was luscious and seafoam green, but there wasn't enough to make a full garment. I had wanted to try this pattern for a while, and the yarn seemed like a good match. It's wonderfully soft and silky but a bit splitty; really, it reminds me of a higher-end Micro-Spun.

Magknit's Matilda Scarf. This has been on the needles since December, I just got a bit sidetracked. The black yarn is Cozy-something-or-other, 100% acrylic but very thick and soft, the multicolored is Applause, 100% polyester chenille, I think it's also by Hands Products.

Paton's Cabled Bag. I decided to do the center panel in a different color, mostly because I didn't have enough yarn to do it all in one color. It's made with Daiso Soft Tweed, a wool/acrylic blend from the 100 yen store.

I have a few other knitted projects that I won't post right now for various reasons, but lest you think I only make things out of yarn, here are some other in-progress pieces.

This is a pin I'm trying to make as part of a present (I'm not posting the rest of it in case the recipient checks this blog, which I'm not sure she does), the pattern comes from the Japanese book Beads Box. Japanese patterns tend to be heavy on diagrams and light on explanations, so I'm not sure if I'm assembling it right and have kind of stalled out on it for now.

This is the first non-costume garment I've made in a long time, using a vintage 60's pattern purchased on Ebay. It's casa satin from Joann Fabrics, the pattern has a matching jacket, and I plan to add some beading when it's done. I feel a bit rusty with my sewing, though, I'm having trouble getting the darts to not pucker.

This is a wig I'm styling for a Setsuka costume I hope to eventually finish, using techniques from Katie Bair. I thought I'd make it while here, but materials have been very hard to come by, so I probably won't finish the costume until I'm back in the States.

Wow, I'm boring

Well, what do we have here? Oh, it's another Blue Star Cloche, made with... wait for it... leftover Wool-Ease.

I made the same alterations to it as my first one. The lady who owns the cafe where my friends and I meet for our weekly coffee/English conversation date loved it, so I offered to make her one. She gave all three of us free cake sets that day!

I've been meaning to catch up on posting the several FOs and gajillion WIPs I have kicking around the house. Maybe that'll be one of my projects this weekend....

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Random Thought 5/9 and a WIP (and general geekery)

I would probably be a lot more productive if I didn't stop so frequently (like, say, after every repeat of a cable pattern) to look at my work and say, "dang, that's so cool!" I really only get this way with cables, though. Maybe if I go on a cabling binge I'd get it out of my system.

Speaking of cables, I treated myself to some real, honest-to-goodness cable needles the other day. Up until this point I've just used spare dpns. It makes a world of difference, much less juggling and stitches slipping off; plus they're really smooth, slick plastic which helps keep things moving.

In keeping with my promise of not text-only posts, here's one of many WIPs I'm working on now (there are several, I can't seem to commit to any one project lately):

It's Magknit's Seaside pattern, done in (surprise surprise) leftover Wool-Ease. I had originally intended to use this color for seaming a project I was working up in Lion Suede since I was afraid the Suede would be too bulky, but it actually worked fine. Seeing as the stitch pattern is called "seaweed", it seemed like a good candidate for swampy green yarn.

As an added bit of geek cred (and offering a glimpse of my cosplay tendencies), the manicure was inspired by Drusilla, influenced by my Buffy marathons.

Friday, April 27, 2007

They're like little bullseyes or something

Now that school's back in session I'll be spending less time at my office, which should translate to more internet time at home, which means I'll have access to my photos, which means pretty not-text-only updates! Yay!

Last month a friend of mine had a birthday, so I crocheted her some coasters as a present:

It was my first time changing colors on a project (I seriously don't know how I haven't done it before now), so there's a bit of a jog when I switch. They're made with Lion Wool-Ease which I had left over from another project and a size G (4mm) hook. Here's the pattern, which is fairly basic if you know how to crochet in a circle because that's pretty much what I did.

Super-Easy Birthday Coasters
Lion Brand Wool-Ease Worsted (80% acrylic/20% wool; 3 oz/85 g; 197 yds/180 m)
A: Blue Heather - 1 skein or color of your choice
B: White - 1 skein or color of your choice

US G/6 (4.0mm) crochet hook

With A, ch 2. Make 11 dc in second ch from hook, sl st to join (12 sts).
Rnd 1: Switch to B. Ch 3, dc in same st. 2 Dc in each dc around, sl st to join (24 sts).
Rnd 2: Switch to A. Ch 3, 2 dc in next st. *Dc in next dc, 2 dc in next dc* around, sl st to join (36 sts).
Rnd 3: Switch to B. Ch 3, dc in next st, 2 dc in next st. *Dc in next 2 sts, 2 dc in next st* around, sl st to join (48 sts). Fasten off.

Also, a random thought completely unrelated to crafting: M&Ms Speck-tacular Eggs are a bit disconcerting. They look like peanut M&Ms but when bitten into they're just solid chocolate. Where's the peanut??

Friday, April 13, 2007

Checking in

I've been busy doing nothing at work for the past month or so, which means that I spend a lot of time online at my office. As a result, I haven't been on the computer much at home, which is where all my photos are. The point is, I'm still making things, just not posting the results.

My recent Buffy addiction has now spread to Angel (yeah yeah, just a few years late on those, I know), so in order to combine hours of watching tv and productivity, I've been crocheting afghan squares for Warm Up America!. It's also a good way to thin out the stash before I head home at the end of the summer, I'm already sweating how I'll get everything home. As much as I try to use it up, I somehow keep buying more....

Monday, March 26, 2007

Status Report

Ok, ok, so I've been a bit neglectful. I actually haven't been crafting too much this month in order to give my wrists a break, they were pretty sore after all the work I did in February. Well, that and I've been super-addicted to Buffy the Vampire Slayer recently. Not that I can't knit and watch tv at the same time, I've just chosen not to, for the aforementioned wrist ailment. I do have a few FOs and some WIPs that I should have pictures of soon.

Oh, and as for my dilemma in the previous post, I figured out a solution that I'm not sure why I didn't think of before: instead of yarn, I slipped the held stitches onto circulars. Worked like a charm!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Random Thought 3/12

I have come to the conclusion that patterns which involve placing a large number of stitches on waste yarn annoy me. It's tedious slipping them all to the yarn, and equally tedious to return the held stitches to the needle. I'm so totally sticking to armwarmers instead of gloves from now on.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Ahh, natural light!

I mentioned that I ran out of yarn while making a hat but never actually posted photos of the finished product. Here it is:

Look, I actually took them outside! Much better lighting than anywhere in my house, that's for sure.

The hat is made from Motohiro Premium Merino (100% wool) using the A Rose is a Rose pattern. For the accent I used a 100% cotton yarn purchased last summer and the Star Flower Pin pattern, although I stitched it to the hat rather than using a pin and added a bead to the center.

Continuing on that review

After working two weeks solid on a project using Lion Suede, I can now make a more detailed review. The rugburn feeling was indeed caused by over-knitting, I got the same feeling from my trusted Wool-Ease as well.

What I did notice about Suede is that it's a very "sticky" yarn; that is, it likes to cling to the needles and itself. This is both a blessing and a curse: it's difficult to drop stitches, and if you do, it probably won't unravel too far. On the other hand, it takes a bit of effort to slide stitches up the needle, and if you need to frog it, sometimes it snags and can break.

Another odd quirk about it is that it needs to be held taut in order to keep the stitches neat, otherwise they tend to be a bit saggy. My natural knitting style is fast and loose, so having to concentrate on my tension slowed me down a bit.

Monday, February 19, 2007

A very brief yarn review

I like how Lion brand Lion Suede feels when it's knitted up, but I'm not so sure I like knitting with it. I feel like it's giving me a rug burn on my middle finger as I feed the yarn through my hand. Of course, this could just be from over-use after all the crocheting I did this weekend.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Scarves! Scarves! Scarves! (and a hat)

I strongly believe that you can never have too many scarves. Or hats. Or armwarmers. Here are three scarves which I've made, a new one each year:

The oldest is the seed-stitch scarf in the middle. It was done back in '04, and the only reason I even know that is because I remember working on it at my mom's old apartment before she moved.

It's knit from that perennial favorite, Lion Wool-Ease, on JPN 10(5.1mm) needles. I can't remember how many stitches I cast on, but there are 20 rows of each color.

When I started trying to expand my crochet knowledge last winter beyond chains and single crochet, I selected a shell and wave scarf pattern from

It's looking a bit haggard at this point, I've worn it a lot, and I attempted several projects with it before this one so the yarn was already a bit stressed out from being frogged so many times. It's Diamond Diaparterre (50/50 alpaca/acrylic), the same yarn I used for my Clapotis. Strangely enough, as soft and wonderful as the Clap is, this scarf can feel scratchy at times (probably due to all that frogging). The coolest part is how, thanks to the shells, the color pattern comes out in splotches and zigzags instead of stripes.

After that scarf, I fell away from crochet again, went through a few (relatively unproductive) cosplay and (somewhat productive) knitting phases, and didn't come back to it until this winter. I put the purple merino I bought to good use and made the One-Skein Scarf from SnB: The Happy Hooker(which was a misnomer in my case, since it took 2 1/2 skeins).

I never really bother with checking gauges when it comes to scarves and just adjust accordingly to suit my specifications. In this case, I increased the repeats from 3 rows to 5 and added an extra scallop on each end to compensate. I'm still working on my crochet technique and am much better at working in the round than straight; my chain edges always seem to be tight and make the whole piece curve, even when I cast on with larger hooks (as I did in this case). Maybe a good blocking would fix it, but it doesn't matter too much when I wear it, so it's really not a priority.

I had 1 1/2 skeins left over, so I made a hat to match:

It's the Blue Star Cloche from Hook Me Up! Crochet, although the star on it is actually this pattern and made out of leftover Clap yarn. I used an I hook instead of the recommended H since I wanted it to be a bit longer.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Good FOs, Bad Photography

In case you haven't noticed, I'm not exactly the slickest with a camera. Here are a couple FOs I made that didn't quite translate well to film (or a Sony Cybershot, as the case may be). One I could attempt to reshoot but eh, the other is no longer in my possession.

Here's my third hat based off the Kittyville devil hat pattern. I made my first a long time ago as my first experience with knitting in the round, and my second I styled after Lum from the series Urusei Yatsura (which is the hat I'm wearing in my profile pic). As an aside, since she's based after the oni, I wear the hat to school on Setsubun, and the kids love it (they always recognize the oni horns).
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I knit the pattern as written on US 7(4.5mm)circs and DPNs, but this time I substituted a 2x2 rib for the seed stitch and knit the ear flaps in stockinette with garter stitch selveges to prevent curling, and on all of them I widened the ear flaps by 2 stitches. The ties are just twisted cords. I used Hamanaka Men's Club Master (60% wool 40% acrylic) that was left over from another project, and the variegated yarn is some type of Noro I got out of a clearance bin (without even realizing it was Noro, I couldn't read the kanji at the time. Had I known, I would have bought a lot more of it, it was dirt cheap). The fair isle pattern came from Big Needle Knit Afghans, and the stripes were on a whim.

Speaking of Big Needle Knit Afghans, I actually knit one for a friend of mine. My former coworker was pregnant with her third child, so I made the Morning Sunlight afghan for her:
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It's knit on US size 17 circs (to accomodate the stitches), triple-stranded Caron Simply Soft (100% acrylic and machine washable, a good idea for baby goods). Easy-peasy, not much to say about it. I took these photos before blocking it (which, in the case of acrylic, means throwing it in the washer to even out the stitches), so it looks a bit wobbly.