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.