Sunday, February 19, 2006

I'm Alive

Yes, I know, I haven't posted recently. I have a really good excuse. My hands & arms have been acting up, so there has not been much knitting or computing around the PuNk rAWk household. It has been freakishly cold for the Bay Area this past week. And that certainly hasn't helped anyone's achey muscles & joints. If I didn't think it would totally gross everyone out I would post a post-op photo of my elbow. It was a 7 inch incision. The surgery was a year and a half ago, and I still have no feeling in certain areas around the scar. Though in the areas that I can feel... OUCH! I am not looking forward to the feeling coming back in the remaining numb spots!
I did not make it to Stitches West this past week. I had to work. The lack of funds wouldn't have made it much fun for me anyway. PLEASE... Just allow me to believe that!!
I DO want to include something knitting related in this post. So please enjoy these old photos of yarn porn...

Although at the time of purchase, I had very definite ideas for each and every strand of these yarns, I am pretty sure that none of it has been knit up into anything. It is all safely snuggled up in one of the many many yarn stash receptacles around my house.

Does anyone have this book? Any thoughts or comments? Love it? Hate it? I want to give sweater knitting a go again. I made ONE sweater about a month or two after I first learned to knit. It was beautiful, a 2x2 rib. All of the stitches were even & nice. I had completed the entire thing only to find that it was way too HUGE!! So I vowed that the next time I tackled a sweater it would be top down, & in the round so that I could try it on as I go. All of the patterns that I like are knit in pieces... BLAH! So I want to learn how to either convert flat knit patterns to round, OR just design my own damn sweaters.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

My Guy is THE BEST

He always orders the gourmet-est of gourmet fancy chocolates. We take chocolate very very serious around here! Last V-day & this past Xmas I received chocolate from this amazing company, John & Kira's. I cannot say enough about just how amazing & delicious they are. They work with & support local community organizations and farms. My favorite is the "project mint patch", they purchase fresh mint from an elementary school mint "farm" to use in their chocolates mints, which tastes like mint fresh from your own garden, enrobed in dark chocolate, and nothing like peppermint patty mint. You can actually taste the love & care that goes into their candy. My fave flavor from John & Kira's is the earl grey & orange blossom in dark chocolate. drooooool! Some of the other fab flavors are, lemongrass, start anise, coffee whiskey, pistachio cinnamon, and, lavender honey.

This year my sweet sent me sweets from here. Also very delicious!! Super "exotic" flavors; tahitian caramel, pumpkin pie, vanilla rum, apple, banana, peanut butter & jelly (it's actually chocolate with peanut butter & jelly inside), cookies n' cream,...
The packaging was pretty fancy too. It was like a puzzle getting into it. You really earn a piece of chocolate once you get into the damn thing! hehe Thank you to my true love, my best friend, that tall blonde guy that lives here! Love you!!
And HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY to all of you out there in blog land!! XOXOX

Monday, February 13, 2006

Socks, sons, & work

I finished the super stripy "first-time-knitting socks-with-sock-weight-yarn" socks. And I must say that although I am learning, and LOVING, the magic loop thang.... I truly do enjoy working on DPN's. I know!!! I must be a freak. It wouldn't be the first time I have been accused of total weirdness. I may just have to work up a pair of socks the old fashioned way once in awhile. Can you see me now, a closet DPN sock knitter, hiding it from all of my knitting buddies? I haven't been working too much on the new fangled two@once-toe-ups. My arms have been acting up a bit, so I have been working on larger gauge projects, and just not knitting as often. For those who don't know, I had some severe RSI problems with my arms, & surgery on one of my elbows. Now and then I get carried away, and push myself too far, and then have to cool off for a bit. I am chomping at the magic loop bit though!

The stripy Socks Stats:

  • Yarn: Lion Brand Magic Stripes in #201 (denim stripe)
  • Pattern: Ball Band of Yarn
  • DPN's: U.S. #'s 2 & 3
  • Start: 1/12/06
  • Finished: 2/9/06
  • Special Notes: switched to smaller needles for the ankles (I have skinny ankles)

This is my friend Jeanette. We met years ago while working for Trader Joe's. We were both managers & had way too much fun. We instantly hit it off!! Jeanette shares my goofy sense of humor. Like a couple of 12 year old boys, we find words like fart, butt, poop, and booger to be hysterical! We share an unhealthy obsession for the same celebrities; Johnny Depp, Crispin Glover, Christopher Walken, Benicio Del Toro, to name a few. And a neverending appetite for crab rangoon. Jeanette is 5 months preggers with a boy. (and yes, like a couple of adolescent boys we made all of the jokes about there being a penis growing inside of her. & sorry ahead of time if that offended anyone). We spent one day last week eating pancakes, shopping at Target, & listing possible names for her son. To my shock and horror I discovered that my boyfriend's first pick for a boys name is Ulysses. IF we have children, I hope they are girls! ; ) My top five boy names for Jeanette's son are Jackson, Cosmo, Nigel... & I forgot the other two.
And now for your viewing pleasure, some photos of my workplace...

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

The Purple Rain Picture Show

So we went to the Parkway last night & saw Purple Rain. It was a sell out show. We got there an hour early in anticipation of the crowds. The couches were all full, so we sat in super comfy (IKEA) Poang chairs, drank beer, ate pizza, & knit while waiting for the movie to start. The movie was just as FABULOUS as it was 22 years ago. WTF??? Did I just say 22 years ago?!!! Holy Moly! I was in junior high, UGH. So anyway. It was cheesy fabulous! The crowd was cheering, singing along, waving hands in the air, bic lighters in tow, & reciting all of the best lines. I will admit that I was leading the crowd in cat calls, & song. Frank-N-Furter would have been proud! btw, I still get a teeny bit teary eyed when he dedicates Wendy & Lisa's song (Purple Rain) to his dying father. I am a sap. Man oh man, that Apollonia was a tramp.

And there was the knitting.... er, uh, the felting

On the way to the movie, I stopped by Kate's house & felted the long overdue slippers. Here are the before & after photos, & details;
  • Pattern: Fiber Trends- felted clogs by Beverly Galeskas, #ac-33x
  • Yarn: Lambs Pride Worsted double stranded (bronze patina, seafoam, & spruce)
  • Needle: US #13
  • Pre-felt: 14" long x 6 1/2" wide
  • Post-felt: 11 1/4" long x 5" wide

They fit PERFECTLY! They came out nice & super fuzzy, love that 15% mohair!! I was very happy with the color effects! The soles are bronze patina & spruce, the foot is seafoam & spruce, the cuffs are just spruce. These are so fun to make (when you don't get side tracked by new sock knitting techniques), & they are so comfortable. I will be making a couple more pairs for gifts. There are some important people in my life who are in real need of pampering. And some comfortable slippers would be a good start.
At the movie theater I worked on the second red/white/blue/brown stripy sock, possibly the last pair that I will knit via dpn's . I am halfway through the gusset decreases, I should be done with it by Thursday at the latest, today if I have the time. I feel like I have cleaned out my "knitting house" of ufo's. Now I can not only concentrate on my magic loop socks, and habu lanterns, but I can start a couple of new projects with a clear conscience. ahhhhh

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Free Bag of Yarn!!!

Now that I have your attention!

Remember the yarn focus group that I went to a couple of weeks ago while knocking on death's doorstep? Well, my "free" bag of yarn came yesterday. We were there for a little over 3 hours, the yarn is $10/ball, or $100/bag. We figured out that we were "paid" about $30/hour for our time & opinions on yarn. Not too shabby! I have NO IDEA what I am going to use this for. The stats are:
  • 3 1/2 sts/inch
  • 750 yards total
  • 40%merino. 28% viscose, 10% cashmere, 15% nylon, & 7% angora
Any ideas/suggestions? I was planning on using malabrigo to make the lace leaf sweater from loop-de-loop. Maybe this will be a better choice. I do like the idea of brown autumn leaves. The gauge is way off for that. OOH... Or maybe the Yoke Vest. When it comes to sweaters, I can never make up my mind, and commit to a project.
So yesterday some pals came over & we had an afternoon knitting session. I spent most of my time working on the stripy socks, the ones on the archaic dpn's. hehe Then my friend Kate gave me the motivation I needed to finish my damned slippers. Tonight we are planning to go see Purple Rain at the Parkway. This theater is awesome, they have big comfy couches, and serve pizza & beer during the movie. ANYWAY, what does that have to do with me finishing my slippers? Kate offered up her top loading washer for the felting process. I have given up felting in my front loader. It is totally do-able, stuff felts in there, it just takes 5 cycles to get it done. And I feel way too guilty about wasting the water! So the slippers are DONE!! I will give you all of the gritty details when I post the after photos.

I cannot believe that I was ale to practice such restraint and work on ONLY older projects. I did NOT even touch my magic loop socks. Well, just to show them off to my pals. And I have a silly non-important question...
Are there different names for knitting small circumference on one vs. two circs? Does magic loop apply to both techniques?

Monday, February 6, 2006

Thank You Secret Pal!!!!

Saturday night I came home from work & Chris met me at the door and announced "a package came for you, it's squishy". Hmmmm.... I knew that yarn sometimes came in squishy packages. YAY! Even after spending a whole day at work, surrounded by yarn, I was more than ready to look at some more!
WOW! My secret Pal has really done her homework, she has TOTALLY pegged my tastes in yarn & color! She ordered this from her friends website. This gorgeous handspun yarn came from Whirlwind Handspuns. Her name is Amanda, and as well as beautifully spun yarns, she sells batts for spinning. So, to my friends who are spinning or learning to >YAHAIRA<, you should scheck her out website. Oh, & she custom spins fiber too, i.e. pet fiber. A one stop fiber shop!

The skein of blues is 100% wool, I am guessing it is light worsted/DK. I am thinking MAYBE a hat. They are the absolute perfect shades of blue. The deliciously soft skein of mossy, citron greens & ocean blues is Blue-Faced Leicester. I had never heard of such a fiber. I took both skeins to work with me yesterday & luckily Xtina, the goddess of yarn knowledge was on hand to give me the scoop. Like Merino sheep, Blue-Faced Leicester is just another breed of sheep. From what I have read, & heard they are a bit more rare, & apparently a big deal in the world professional spinning, etc. Whatever it is... It is dreamy soft, melts in your hands. I want to do something special with this one. I suspect it is sport weight. Again, these colors are IDEAL for me!!


Other knitting news...
I cannot believe that I am admitting this, but I STILL have not touched my felted slippers to be!!! I have been so immersed in habu lanterns, and "two-at-once, toe-up-socks on one long ass circular needle", that all else has ceased to be in my little world of knitting. The lanterns are plugging along. I have to be honest though, the novelty of knitting paper is wearing thin, & now it's just knitting a ton of little tiny "hats". I am still excited about the idea of having a strand of paper lanterns that I made. Though, these are for the shop, & I will have to make a whole separate strand for me. ick.

So... The socks. Friday night I had the worst insomnia, & at 1 AM I used Joelene's tutorial to learn Turkish cast on. I got it on the first try. Her tutorial is so clearly written, it was a snap! I began the toe increases Friday night as well. Saturday morning I ripped it all out, just so that I could try it again. But then I kept loosing a stitch somehow. Nuts! So I started over again last night & got it on the first go. The cast on looks great, but my toe increases look funny, kinda "holey" in spots. I should also mention that I am using the Elfines pattern from this wonderful site. I am not planning to use the lace pattern for this first pair, just using the pattern for sizing & #'s. This yarn was given to me from someone who no longer wishes to make socks, so I am using it to practice the toe up, magic loop thingy. I will definitely be making some elfine's once I get the swing of things.

The increases are every round for the first 8 rounds or so. Is it just me, or is it hard to increase into a stitch that was created from an increase on the previous round. The pattern calls for bar increases, but I wound up knitting into the front & back of the stitch, which was still difficult when increasing every round. If anyone has any tips....

I am super enjoying learning a new trick. Especially one that I suspect I will be getting a lot of future use out of. I am using a 40" US #1 addi. Has anyone used a shorter circ for two-at-once? Like a 32"? The 40" seems a little too long. btw, still CANNOT believe that I am knitting with a US #1. The other evening, I went to use a point protector & realized that all of mine were too big, & just slid down the needles. At 2 AM, it was SUPER funny, & I giggled for 5 minutes.
Today some friends are coming by for lunch & some afternoon knitting. I WILL work on my slippers! I WILL!!! I will... maybe.

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Secret Project Revealed

Today is my pal Heidi's birthday. I swung by the ultra cool cafe where she works to deliver her gift. Yes, yet another pair of lace-up gauntlet fingerless gloves from AlterKnits, my third pair. When I made my first pair 5 months ago, she mentioned that she wanted a pair for xmas or her birthday.
Overall I was pleased with the final product. The original pattern is 6 eyelets long, they look SO DAMN pretty running all the way up your arm. BUT, in my experience wearing them I have found them to be a little too long for daily wear. With the silk ribbon lacing they just seem to get in the way, too bulky with sweaters & coats. So I shortened these to 4 eyelets long. I also found that the original pattern doesn't taper in enough at the wrist for my liking. I have little skinny wimpy wrists, so I went down a needle size (US7) when I reached the wrist. I love the red & blue manos, though I wasn't wild about the ribbon choices I had. I originally envisioned using chocolate brown silk ribbon. But with the blue cuff, and the red glove, the brown was too much somehow. The white ribbon was a little too bicentennial. There was also green, gold, black, and I think maybe pink. It was that blue cuff that kept throwing it off. The red ribbon was not ideal, but it works. I'm guessing that I will be on the lookout for different ribbon for awhile.

And here is Heidi modeling her gift. I didn't realize how "Wonder Woman-y" they looked until she rocked that pose. Now I am really glad that I skipped that white ribbon. I love how the card on the flowers titles the photo! (the flowers were from her boss, Julie)
Can anyone see the one major mistake that I made? The gloves don't exactly match.