Tuesday, December 16, 2008

One from the vaults

Here's a project I finished a while ago, but the pictures were held captive on my camera until recently when I *finally* got a replacement battery charger.

It's Knitpick's Checks & Charms hat, made using the pattern-specified US 5 needles and Merino Style yarn, although I used a slightly different color scheme. I finally learned how to do proper 2-handed Fair Isle on this project, and it knit up a lot faster than I thought it would.

Please forgive the super zoned-out look on my face. I took this at about 7am one day before work when I was still commuting over an hour.

Friday, December 12, 2008

When one hobby cannibalizes another (aka Random Thought 12/12)

When I first moved to my aparment, I practiced bass almost every day. Since I've started skating, my bass playing has become almost nonexistent. The money I was set to pour into bass lessons is being spent on league dues and skating lessons instead.

That could be another reason for my knitting resurgence: it doesn't cost me anything. Aside from the yarn I bought to make the sayonara sushi scarf and some beautiful impulse sock yarn, everything I'm working on has been made from yarn already in my stash using needles already in my arsenal.

And there's no end in site to the leftover yarn: last summer my friend had a stashbusting party (which I've mentioned but never ended up writing about in depth), her sole purpose being to get rid of as much as she could so she had an excuse to buy more yarn. Any time I mention using leftover Simply Soft or Microspun, that's where it came from.

Monday, December 8, 2008

When hobbies collide!

Seriously, have I not posted since July? Shame on me, really.

I figured "collide" was an apt choice of words given my newest pursuit, which I briefly mentioned in a previous post: Roller Derby.

Since I started skating in July (which was my first time on roller skates since I was about, oh, 12) I've worked my way up from beginner technique classes to more advanced technique classes, speed skating classes, skating with the lovely ladies of Derby Lite, and upon trying out at the beginning of November, a member of the Windy City Rollers!

Somewhere between speed skating and joining the league, I finally reawakened my crafting bug. I stopped into Have Ewe Any Wool? to buy yarn for my boss's sayonara present; since he was retiring and moving back to Japan, I decided to crochet him the sushi roll-up scarf from Son of Stitch n Bitch (marking the first pattern I've made from the book besides my own). If I ever figure out how to get the photos off my phone and onto my computer I'll post them.

As often happens when I stop in "just for a sec", I got drawn in by pettable yarn and lively conversation. The topic of roller derby came up, and the owner told me about Knockdown Knits, written, designed, and modeled by Naptown Rollergirls. Not too long after, I got my hands on a copy.

The patterns are a blast, mostly on the easier side of the spectrum, and the best part about them is that even though they're designed with a roller derby angle, most of them can be adapted to non-roller derby purposes. Arm warmers, leg warmers, and messenger bags have widespread appeal, and rollergirls aren't the only ones who need crutch cushions or slings (they just need them more often)! Heck, even the underpants-mouthguard cover could easily be used as a change purse.

I, however, made mine with the original purpose in mind. Fed up with wrapping my mouthguard in paper towel, I decided this nifty cover was just what I needed:

My US 8 needles were otherwise engaged, so I used Japanese 9s instead, which are similar if not the exact same size. It's made with leftover Lion Microspun, as almost everthing I've been making lately has been a stashbuster.

I have two other WIPs from the book right now: the sling (which I figured I should knit ahead of time, since I won't be able to knit should I actually need it), and the ice pack holder (since I slap an ice pack on my left leg every time I get home from practice, and I'm sick of holding it in place).

They're both made from leftover Caron Simply Soft. The sling is in our league colors, and the ice pack holder is bright orange because, hey, that's what I had on hand.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Squirrel Clothes!

We had a "Squirrel Village" in Mihama-cho. I never saw a squirrel anywhere in the area, and it was never open, but there were a lot of squirrel knick-knacks for a while at the souvenir shop near my house (the hiking trails around where I lived are a World Heritage Site, so there are a lot of shops scattered through the area).

Before I decided to stay a second year in Japan, I was considering a semester in Italy to study fashion design once my contract ended. My mom joked that I could make squirrel clothes for the Squirrel Village.

A few months later: Happy Hanukkah, and be careful what you joke about, Mom.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ooh, a LYS!

As mentioned in previous posts, I recently moved. One of the first things I stumbled across while driving around my new surroundings was a sign: "Coming soon: Have Ewe Any Wool?" Despite not having picked up my needles in a while, there's something to be said for the giddy thrill of a LYS so close to my apartment.

They're open now, and I stopped by last Saturday. It's not actually a new store but a new location for them. I was very well-behaved and resisted buying anything, but I still petted just about every skein of yarn in the place (and discovered that my magpie streak is alive and well as I got distracted by several varieties of sparkly yarn). I also spoke to a group of friendly, interesting women (some who worked there, some not), and I definitely plan to go back.

I may just return to knitting yet. Of course, now it's not only in competition with bass but with roller derby as well....

Thursday, June 26, 2008

And the excuses keep on coming....

Status report: Still setting up the new apartment. Still an insomniac. Still haven't picked up my knitting needles in about 4 months.

And honestly, I haven't really wanted to. My crafting inclinations are a Karma Chameleon. They come and go. Sometimes I really want to knit. Sometimes the crochet hook calls to me. There was that beading spree last summer. Lately, though, I've been much more interested in catching up on all the books I found in storage and playing my bass. I've practiced nearly every day since I moved.

There are a lot of UFOs idling in my knitting bag right now: my Knitty Shimmer, a beard hat for a gentleman I'm no longer seeing, not to mention yarn for planned projects that aren't even underway. At this rate, I'm not sure when they will be.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Techincal Difficulties

Wow, almost two months since my last post, this must be a new record in laziness.

Actually, there have been several factors conspiring against me:

-The aforementioned combo of no laptop or camera power sources, thus limiting my ability to post new stuff

-Insomnia since February which has left me unable to do much besides sit like a lump on the couch and watch tv when I get home from work, let along make things

-A long-ass commute, made all that much worse by construction, which doesn't leave me much time to sit like a lump on the couch before it's time for bed

-Getting sick twice in the past month. I'm still recovering from a cold and can barely talk after losing my voice completely last week

However, I just moved to a new apartment which is much closer to work, and the doctor gave me some meds which should help with the sleeping issue, so hopefully I'll be back on the creative track soon.

Friday, March 28, 2008

I'm just a big ball of excuses.

I've been back from Japan almost two weeks, and I still haven't made good on my promise to post fun stuff. Here's the deal: my pictures are being held captive on my laptop and my camera.

The power cord appears to have died on my laptop, so I can't turn it on; and I can't find the battery charger for my camera, so I can't turn it on. I hope to rectify these problems over the weekend.

What I had planned to post pictures of: a new Hangover Helper. Using my pattern and leftover yarn from the one I made for the book, I knit a bottle of Asahi as a (very extremely super-duper) belated birthday present for a friend and finally gave it to her when I visited.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Greetings from Japan!

Consider this an internet postcard of sorts. I'm back in Japan for the week, mainly so I can attend a junior high graduation ceremony on Tuesday. It'll be a whirlwind trip and I'm tired already, but I should have some fun stuff to post when I get back.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Fandom knitting - the Harry Potter edition

I'm a geek. Or a nerd. Or whatever the proper term is these days. I know people tend to argue semantics. At any rate, I make things based on media I enjoy.

While in Japan, I decided I was going to make a Ravenclaw house scarf. Despite being a cosplayer who often bends over backwards for accuracy, I determined that wasn't the point of this scarf. No, I just wanted a gigantic, wooly, geeky scarf. Ravenclaw colors weren't quite as reconizable as Gryffindor either, so it seemed like the type of thing I could get away with wearing on a regular basis.

Given my short attention span for projects, it had to be done in chunky yarn on thick needles if I ever wanted to finish it. The yarn store obliged with Hamanaka Men's Club Master, a 60% wool / 40% acrylic blend, which I worked up on US 10 (6mm) straight needles in a 1x1 rib.

As you can see, it's pretty flippin' big. I finished it during my first winter in Mihama, which was pretty cold, and wore it to class almost every day. Elementary students liked to use it as a leash and drag me around by it ^_^; Also, about 4 of them could share it with me (well, the younger ones anyway).

Of course, the geekiness doesn't end there. Oh no, certainly not. I decided that I would put together a whole Ravenclaw school uniform. Then I came to the conclusion that instead of being "Random Ravenclaw student #156", I'd rather be an actual character. Well, I always liked Ginny Weaseley, so out came the cranberry and gold.

I used the set-in shoulder pullover pattern from The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, to which I added waist shaping and short-row bust shaping. It was done in Wool-Ease on US 9 (5.5mm) needles. Again, I wasn't aiming for 100% movie accuracy (the color is far to light, for starters). The sweater's finished, but I don't like how the sleeves turned out, too full at the shoulders, so I have to revisit the pattern at some point. Not currently high on the priority list, though.

Lest you think the Potter-palooza stops there, this little guy comes along:

Yes, he is a pygmy puff. He was described as a "psychedelic pygmy puff". His name is Frankie. I was bored one afternoon and had leftover clapotis yarn. The pattern came from yclept djinnj; I think I used the crochet pattern but can't remember hook size or any of that good stuff.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Random Thought 2/12/08

The bulk of the hats and scarves I made in Japan, while suitable for the winters of Mihama-cho, are nowhere near warm enough for Chicago.

I need more wooly ear-flap hats.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Random Thought 2/5/08

If I had a signature stitch, it would have to be seed stitch. A lot of people are put off by the alternating knit/purl/knit/purl, but I think it keeps things interesting. Plus the texture is so dang cool.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Blog!

You're one year old! I know I haven't been great at maintaining you, and updates are inconsistent at best, but... well... I really don't know how to finish that sentence.

Hopefully year 2 will be more productive and update-y.

Yeah, I know I've said that before.


Oh well. To all you readers out there (all two of you), thanks for reading, and who knows, maybe I'll surprise you with... actual photos! Of projects! Woooo!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

*Insert excited squealing here*


Nerfernie on Craftster made a beer pillow! This is the first completed Hangover Helper I've seen that isn't mine.

Speaking of which, I was reunited with my whiskey bottle when I caught Debbie Stoller on her book tour, it's one of the projects she brought along. She also told me that the beer bottle went to Europe with her.

Among the photos I uploaded this weekend were pics of the prototype whiskey bottle and some shots I took of the book pillows before I mailed them back. At some point (hopefully soon) I plan to post those along with the whole Hangover Helper story.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

First Post of 2008

Happy New Year!

All right, so I never actually got around to updating during vacation, but I did add the labels, and I uploaded a lot of photos, so they're one step closer to being posted.