Thursday, December 8, 2011

Whoops! I made a scarf.

Tuesday was the most important Stitch 'n Bitch meeting of the semester. Meaning, of course, that we decided when we'd be meeting next semester. Due to a conflict on Thursday nights (rape defense class for a member. Seemed legit.) and a general desire to meet later in the week, next semester Stitch 'n Bitch is moving to Wednesday nights. Adjust your google calendars appropriately.

The Knit-In for this semester will be on Wednesday of finals week. So if you're not making studying use of your Reading Day, come knit with us! I can guarantee I'll be there from 10am-3pm but the fun could go on for much longer, so stop by. Especially if you live on campus and are trying to use up all your extra meals.

Here are the highlights from this week's meeting:

Kelsey worked diligently on her hat. 

Kat showed off her 1930s sewing machine. Yay estate sales! It's so...shiny! 

Kassie unfurled her scarf-in-progress. I'd like to thank my camera for sport mode. 

I know you've been waiting. It's time for the second installment of:

Things Not to Get Your Knitter

Item #2:  Anything with which you've included a project suggestion.

You know the gift. "I saw this yarn and thought of you! Wouldn't it make a great hat...for me?" You're tricky. Because it seems like a gift for the knitter but it's actually a gift for you! What you actually thought was, "What great yarn. I would love a had/scarf/sweater made out of this! And I know just the knitter-friend relationship to exploit." Shame on you. Shame! You should know the better tactic is to buy the knitter some yarn and then show up in a miserable state without hat/scarf/mittens every time you see the knitter. Perhaps he/she will take pity on you. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Knit through the pain, you maggot!

I have a boo boo. I knitting boo boo. (Is it inappropriate for a 21 year old to use that term?) Dry winter air has resulted in delicate skin that, as it turns out, is easily pierced by aluminum knitting needles. When knitting I occasionally hit the side of my thumb with the tip of the needle. Usually that's no problem but current atmospheric conditions and a feeble epidermal layer resulted in very slight blood loss earlier this week. Yes, I've reached a new level of knitting devotion. I bleed for it! I'm furiously knitting a birthday present for a friend, so Madeline told me to knit through the pain (see post title. Oh yes she did say that!).

I failed to bring my camera to SnB last night, though I did manage to bring some classy looking beginner supplies to casually place on the table in hopes of attracting new members. Kat was better prepared, so I was able to get a picture of Mary's latest crochet masterpiece. I had to go to the second level of the SUB to get a good picture!

Can you find Clara?
This is her tablecloth masterpiece for a friend (pre blocking). Yes, she's giving that thing away! Must be an exceptional friend. 

As promised, I'll end this post with the first installment of:

Things Not to Get Your Knitter

Item #1:  That bag of yarn you found.
To begin with, I will say that it was a nice thought. You saw some yarn or yarn-like thing and you thought of your nearest and dearest knitter. But don't do it. Maybe it was unearthed from the back of a relative's closet. Or maybe you found it at a thrift store. It's a sweet gesture, but don't do it! There's a whole wide word of yarn out there. This might not be your knitter's cup of tea. Especially avoid this gift if:
  1. The yarn smells like anything other than yarn. Sure, that smell it acquired during years of residence in a smoker's home might wash out. But who wants to knit with an ashtray?
  2. The bag appears to be entirely scraps. Knitters generate their own leftovers. I don't need anybody else's sloppy seconds. 
  3. The yarn appears to be more than 15 years old. This sort of yarn is easy to spot, and there's a lot of it floating around in thrift stores. Pastels. Pictures of models with outrageously teased hair in droopy sweaters. The mid 90s and earlier were good times! But yarn has come a long way since then. Most of the mass produced yarn you will find from this era is acrylic. Wool vs. acrylic debate aside, acrylic yarn has come a long way since then. Stay away from bags of this scratchy stuff. 
If you do come across some knitting supplies and feel compelled to share with a knitter, just be selective. A set of needles or stitch markers might be a welcomed addition to a beginner knitter's collection. Personally, I'd never turn down a cable needle or stitch holder. 

I'll admit, it's the thought that counts. But when you give a knitter a bag of questionable yarn, you're really giving them a headache. You see, knitters have an innate desire to stash. They might be tempted to tuck the bag away, in case they find a need for it. But there will never be a need. Eventually it will just take up precious stash space and they will begin to resent the bag, and you by association! So when you see the 2lb bag of yarn for $1, keep walking. It is indeed too good to be true. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Look! Madeline and Anna! An update!

Yes, I've been a delinquent blogger. I'm the kind of person who checks the few blogs I follow compulsively, so I'm sorry if you're a similar follower. If one of my favorite blogs goes unupdated for a whole week, I'm liable to burst into a rage. "What could they possibly be doing to prevent an update!?! If they're doing something more exciting than blogging, all the more reason to blog about it!"

I've had to leaving SnB early every week for the past month to study for very important tests. Yes, I consider every test important. This resulted in only a picture or two from each week, not nearly enough for a post! So here's a conglomerate of the past month's knitting. None of my own projects, of course, because I seem to be incapable of taking a simple picture before gifting handknits. I really do knit things, I swear!
Clara's purse. She hasn't found an occasion to wear it yet. I'm having the same problems with several handknits.
Here's Katherine finishing the last block of her blanket. She looks so happy. Since the beginning of the semester we've been counting down how many blocks she had left. With great sadness I must report that Katherine found the blanket to be entirely too small after blocking. Yes, she's knitting more blocks. Poor thing. 

Eva finished her first project!
 It's a wonderful mistake-rib scarf for her mama. Who hopefully does not read the blog...

Jordan III brought in several projects to share. I am jealous of her productivity. 
House slippers

Golf club covers! 
I managed to snap a group picture one week. Notice Katherine, third from left or right. Her purple blanket continues to grow. I'm afraid it will smother her one of these days. I'm tempted to suggest she only work on it when someone is there to help her should she become trapped beneath its crocheted folds.

Many blogs are putting together lists of gift ideas for the holiday season. But here at Truman Stitch 'n Bitch, we're putting a twist on it. This Wednesday (I gave myself a deadline!) we'll begin "(Undetermined Number) Things NOT to get the Knitter on Your List." Oh yeah, it's gonna be good. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

In Which We Take A Prisoner

Can you feel it? The weight of the semester pressing down on you? Well I sure can. If you can't I'm going to assume you're not a college student. I see my classmates shuffling around campus, backs hunched. If it's not the literal weight of their backpacks weighing them down, it's the figurative weight of upcoming reports and presentations. When the semester gets like this, I'm even more overjoyed for the weekly release that is Stitch 'n Bitch. Last Tuesday we had a particularly entertaining bunch of people gather. Madeline double sweatered it.

Oh Madeline, will your hilarious shenanigans never cease?!
Thanks to Kat's knitting devotion, Aric is halfway to a pair of warm hands. I don't know what I expected from the couple that defied the sweater curse.

Gloves are the sweaters of knitted accessories. I wouldn't even knit myself a pair. No loved one should expect me to fiddle with individual fingers. Mittens for everybody!

My friend Cate stopped by to pick up her new hat. Just look at the excitement my camera captured! Take note. This is ALWAYS the appropriate response for a knitwear recipient. 

After knitting this pattern twice, I'm really in love with it. I think it's about time I made one for myself. You know, after all the holiday knitting is finished.

Seating arraignments in the HUB are variable. I usually try to arrive to Stitch 'n Bitch 15 minutes early to secure enough seating. If no large groups of chairs are free, it's sometimes best to sit in the general area of one of the large groupings and hope that everyone else leaves before 7pm rolls around. This usually works fairly well,  but last week there was a bit of confusion. As chairs were getting pushed around, an innocent studier was incorrectly incorporated in the knitting circle. As the first person to sit down, I of course knew that this girl had not come to learn a fiber art, but everyone just assumed she was a new face this week. The most surprising part, however, is that this girl stayed for most of the meeting. I wasn't bold enough to take a picture of the circle formation casualty, but I did take a picture of her stuff when she went to get a drink!

Thank you, Mystery Girl, for being such a good sport. We're sorry we forced you to join the knitting circle against your will. Of course, after she left I regretted not sliding some of the beginner materials towards her. If you're reading this Mystery Girl, PLEASE COME BACK! I'll teach you how to knit!

Before I return to the crippling weight of tests and deadlines, I'll leave you with one last sweet shot. I got to hang out with my buddy JD last weekend when his mama was out of town.
I'll admit he took up a considerable portion of my bed. Worth it. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Of Bicycles and Stuffed Equines.

Four days later, I've finally come to terms with reality. Midterm break is over. In my future: two tests next week. Tests that will require loads of studying. Harumph. Break was so good, though, that I'm hoping to ride its good vibes until Thanksgiving rolls around. We'll see how that goes.

Surprisingly, I didn't knit a single stitch during my four day weekend. This might surprise readers who recall that I knitted an entire sweater during midterm break of last semester. There was no time for sitting and knitting, folks, because it was:

Boeckmans On Bicycles Weekend
Part III: All I Needed Was This Bike!

(The tagline is a rather obscure reference from Grey Gardens. I suggest watching it, if only so you can reread this post and giggle as if you were privy to a Boeckman inside joke)

Although no knitting was accomplished, a lot of knitwear modeling went on. This is pretty much a guarantee when my sister gets ahold of some of my work that wasn't made especially for her. There's always a lot of, "Ohhh, I loooove this one! Could you pleeeeeease make one for me?" Her flattery usually results in a handknit. I am weak. 

Knitwear modeling. Totally fab. 

Now, the weekend was titled Boeckmans on Bicycles so I should at least give you a bike shot! Here's the crazy contraption Jackie and Gina rented. 


In the past few days back in Kirksville, the weather has really taken a nosedive. I'm only able to type this with comfortably warm hands because Madeline and John were kind enough to lend me their space heater until my housemates and I turn on the heat. We are frugal college students. It could be awhile. So basically, I've been hiding out in my room. It's cozy. There's Netflix. Basically I've just been watching whatever looks moderately interesting and knitting like a fool. My latest project is a pair of manly wrist warmers made out of scraps (for a pair of cold Coloradan hands). I'm fairly certain they'll fit, but gift knitting can be such a gamble! 

When yarn supplies run low, bring on the stripes!

The actual Stitch 'n Bitch meeting this week went by in a blur of yarn and youtube videos, but I did manage to snap this shot of Megan's latest project. It's a pony for her cousin who loves horses. Or a horse for her cousin who loves ponies. One of those. Anyway, it's one fine looking equine. 

Cuddle worthy, no doubt about it.  

If I keep up with this knitting pace, I'll have a large selection of winter accessories to share with you next week. You know, if those two tests don't cramp my style. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Oh happy day!

I've been doing a lot of knitting for other people recently.

 A hat for a cold head in Colorado.
Gift completed two weeks ago and still not mailed. Fail.

Another for a  friend who desperately needed a handknit pick-me-up. But at heart I am a selfish knitter. I can only go through so many projects for other people before I get a hankering to make something for myself. I suppose it makes sense. Who could better understand the hard work and care that went into crafting the item? With all this hat knitting I had started imaging the sort of thing I'd like to knit next. Something with a bit of slouch. Nothing too crazy with the stitch pattern. A color scheme that would go with nearly everything. Dreaming of my perfect hat kept me pleasantly entertained as I clicked through unacceptable patterns online.

Cut to a mountain biking trip last weekend. I was digging through my gear box for my gloves when I stumbled upon something that made me gasp. My dream hat! That's right, I had already knit it this summer. Then promptly forgot about it for two months. It turns out I have too many handknits to keep track of. I had completely forgotten I had made this little beauty out of the yarn leftover from the Hedgehog Hat.  I must admit I'm a tiny bit embarrassed to have forgotten about a hat I really adore. But mostly I'm just thrilled to have it back on my head. I'm sorry slouchy, stripy hat. I'm sorry I forgot about the love we shared in my freezing cabin up in the mountains. Let's never be apart again.

Reunited and it feels so good. 
I think I'll be able to knit at least two more gift projects before the selfish urges come back.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bomb, Yarn Bomb

I am so excited about what I have to share with you today. Yes, it's time for the big reveal! 

We yarn bombed campus. (I'll give you a moment to jump up and down with excitement.) 

Overall, the planning and execution of the project was a ton of fun. I'm not sure how many Stitch 'n Bitchers I heard exclaim, "This is so much fun!" during last night's bombing. And that, dear readers, is what it's all about. Fun. 

We started things off with the rather unique statue that was added to campus last year. It was a gift. Anyway, it's called "The Dance" so it was practically begging for a pair of leg warmers! This set was fashioned out of some panels Mary crocheted. Chelsea added a belt and BAM, instant improvement.  
 I nearly placed the leg warmers on what everyone else considered to be the statue's feet. Damn you abstract art!
So excited about yarn bombing I can hardly secure the safety pins!

I mean come on! Instant improvement! 
Apparently the powers that be didn't agree. While studying for a test outside of Magruder, I watched two Physical Plant employees roll up in their golf cart and take everything down in two minutes. Fun suckers. 

After we had properly outfitted the dancers, we ran to the Sunken Garden. It was my task to adorn the statue found here. I have to admit, I'm pretty thrilled with how it turned out. 

Knitting. Bliss. 

It's amazing what a little yarn can do. 
As I type this, the lady in the Sunken Garden is still wearing her knitwear. 

Keeping in the statue theme, we next high tailed it to the Joseph Baldwin statue. I can think of no better way honor the first president of the university than with a hat and mobius cowl. Seriously. Just try to think of something better. That's right, you can't. The hat was whipped up by Katherine and Clara made the stylin' cowl.
I see more yarn bombing in Clara's future. I wish I was that cool as a 10 year old!

Lookin' cozy.
J.B. is still rockin' his handknits. I have a feeling the inaccessibility of his head is the only reason they haven't been taken down. No middle aged man is eager to slink up the side of a statue. 

Continuing our "honoring" theme, we walked calmly and quietly to the library to adorn a bust of our namesake. Yes, Truman got a scarf. Megan was nice enough to knit it up. 

Lookin' good, Harry!

I was surprised that it was the first yarn bomb removed. Madeline found it sitting on a shelf next to the bust. I mean come on! It's purple! Giving Truman a purple scarf is the definition of school spirit! 

Long time Stitch 'n Bitch members will recall talk of the "Blue Light," a glowing orb intermittently visible from the HUB windows. Madeline, keeper of the Blue Light, updates fellow Stitch 'n Bitchers on its status throughout the meeting. "Blue light's on. Oh wait, now it's off." As it turns out, the light comes from one of the emergency button thingies (EBT) that are scattered all over campus. Madeline made a little cozy for the EBT, being sure not to obstruct any of its important emergency features. If I were on the run from a rapist, I'm sure I would find the soft, cushiony creation to be a great comfort.

"We should be scared of that man following us, but this handknit is so wonderfully comforting."
Like any good blogger, I've saved the best for last. Madeline and Mary teamed up to deck out the bells on the quad. Everyone was thrilled with how they turned out. 

All hands on deck to adorn the bells.

Mary posing with her handiwork.

From left to right: One cozy bell, Madeline

Seeing them in the daylight made me even happier. 

A brilliant piece of advertising, courtesy of Mary.

Sadly the bell cozies were taken down this afternoon. I'll admit that I was a little upset by this, since they looked COMPLETELY AWESOME. Luckily my friend Dylan was in the right place at the right time and snatched them up. Stephen was nice enough to model them for me this afternoon. 

He makes a beautiful bell. 
I'll admit that this feels like the most sneaky and delinquent thing I've ever done. And boy was it thrilling! Sure, they don't tell you not to cover campus in knitwear, but it's implied. Yes, I wish some of the decorations had stayed up longer, but that's part of the excitement. I will say that the Physical Plant employees are just begging to have their break table yarn bombed. Maybe they think yarn bombing is a gateway to more serious acts of vandalism. The kind that can't be removed with a pair of scissors. In that case, maybe I should return all that spray paint I just purchased...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Yarn Dash!

Madeline had a wonderful idea. A yarn dash to Columbia! Just the thing to get me out of the knitting rut I've found myself in the past few weeks. I cast on for three different projects but couldn't really get jazzed about any of them (secret knitting project aside). New yarn was just the thing I needed! 

So we made plans to get brunch with former SnB regular Sarah and hit the road at 8:30. There was also a chance that SnB founder Alex (please refer to History tab) might just drive from St. Louis to meet us in Columbia. Madeline decided to tell me this wonderful news while we were careening down the highway at 70mph. My enthusiasm is not well contained in the driver's seat and there was some concern that I might bite my own finger off. After an hour and a half of driving through a gray and dreary northeast Missouri, we arrived in Columbia. 

Before we headed to our favorite Columbia yarn store, Hillcreek Yarn Shoppe, we had brunch with Sarah at an establishment that wanted very badly for us to feel like we were in Paris. I've never seen such a high density of French memorabilia. 

During brunch we brainstormed at least three occasions for Sarah to make a Kirksville trip.

After brunch we spent a half hour getting lost in Columbia while trying to find the yarn shop. It's not like both of us had been there multiple times or anything...


 The best treat of the day was seeing Alex waiting inside for us! Reunited at last!

Alex modeling his new tote. 
I tried to take a picture that would do Hillcreek justice. Sadly every picture I took was only able to show a fraction of the splendor

~1/10 of Hillcreek splendor

The folks at Hillcreek are super helpful without being annoying (that is, they don't breath down your neck!). The store if very comfortable, with plenty of sitting areas if you'd like to take a break from shopping to work on a project. They also carry a great yarn selection. I always know they'll have my go-to yarn brands in a wide variety of colors. If you're looking for yarn in central Missouri, I suggest you check them out. But be careful. You'll want to snatch up every yarn you see. I kept turning down a basket because I was only going to allow myself to purchase the yarn I could carry in my arms. I have a yarn budget. It feels very adult.

Methodical yarn buying. Each skein purchased with a project in mind.

Four of the five skeins are for gifts (the fifth skein is being scanned in the picture above) but one is just for me. It's a sumptuous skein of Malabrigo. More about that wonderful little skein once I finished all my gift knitting!

Even great yarn stores like Hillcreek have their quirks. Then again, maybe striped overalls just aren't my thing.

To each their own

 After Hillcreek, our adventures took us to Hobby Lobby. To be perfectly honest, Hobby Lobby has sort of always freaked me out. It's just...strange at times. Take the creepy furry orbs that greeted us at the door.

What are you!?

We thought we might find some sock yarn deals, but really the knitting section just offered comedic relief.

"Rustica" Really? It's pink acrylic!

The fun wasn't restricted to the knitting aisle.

Snake/Dinosaur battle

Chipotle was the last stop on the Yarn Dash trip. In true Alex fashion, he surprised Madeline and I with some handknits. We each got to take home one of four handmade creations. He's too good to us! 

Brioche stich keyhole scarf, Option #1

Madeline inspecting Option #2
Option #3, a shawl with construction too intricate for me to explain in a caption

Option #4, a beautiful shawl in punchy colors. 

I bet you want to know which Madeline and I picked, right?

Madeline went with Option #3.
Overjoyed with my new shawl, Option #4.
Basically, the Yarn Dash ended up being better than I could have imagined. Yarn buying is always delightful, but seeing Sarah and Alex made the trip truly memorable. Plus I got another sweet Alex creation. I just reorganized my handknit drawer and realized that shawls Alex has knit me now outnumber ones of my own creation. Yowza.