Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Curious Case of the Ugly-Cute Hat

I'm being driven to madness and it's all because of a stupid hat. During my trip to Columbia, I picked up a wonderful skein of K'acha yarn. Spun in Peru, it's a multi-tonal blend of Merino wool, Suri alpaca, and silk. Truly beautiful stuff.

"Remember me?"

I made a rookie mistake and didn't really think about what I wanted to make with it. "A hat," I told myself in the car, "I'll make a hat." When I parked and looked at the tag, I recieved a rude awakening. I only had 98yards. Of course I only had 98 yards. How much did I think there could be in a cute little skein?

For the next few days I searched Ravelry for a pattern that would allow me to combine the beautiful but limited supply of K'acha with some leftover brown tweed from the Sideways Grande hat. To makes things more complex, the friend who requested the hat desired a slouchy one with cables and/or lace. Harrumph.

I finally settled on a pattern and cast-on Monday night. While knitting, I kept reasuring myself that the yarns did indeed match, the pattern was a winner and that the project had all the other necessary properties of a cute hat. Despite my constant reassurance, a gnawing feeling began building in the pit of my stomach. I ignored it. I was still convinced of the hat's cuteness when I bound off Tuesday afternoon (yes that was some fast knitting, especially when you consider that Tuesdays are my busiest days). The second I put it on, however, it dawned on me.

The hat was ugly. Ugly, ugly, UGLY. I tried to convince myself otherwise. The yarn was beautiful, after all. I even went through the trouble of blocking it. That was a mistake. Made it even uglier. Too slouchy. I would only look good on someone with huge dreadlocks.

I discovered it's harder that one might think to capture ugliness on camera when that is the goal. You'll have to take my word for it. U.G.L.Y.

By this point I had already sent a text message off to the recipient and recieved an excited reply. Thankfully I had refrained from including a picture. I quickly performed some damage control. In the knitting world, this means I cast on for a new hat. It's a rather delightful number with texture and subtle slouch. I am a believer in its cuteness 100%.

Risk management hat, also known as Molly

In on last sad attempt to save the ugly hat, I attempted to wear it to the library today. I quickly took it off the second a stranger neared. Thankfully, I had thought to bring a backup hat with me. This one is gray and inoffensive.

The rejected ugly-cute hat just stares at me from the armrest.

"Why don't you love me, Kaylin?"

I'll pull it apart this weekend. I think the K'acha is destined to be a nice headband or something. Some of you will no doubt try to convince me that this hat is not ugly, but I have come to terms with the truth and cannot be convinced otherwise.

Sometimes bad knitting happens to good people.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Panic Inducing Yarn Store Trip

Last Friday, I decided to make a rather impulsive trip to my favorite yarn shop. The weather was beautiful, I didn't have class, and it was Gluten Free Friday at the Main Squeeze in Columbia. Without really telling anyone (okay, I sent my mom a text) I set off to buy some yarn.

Little did I know, my impulsive trip sent my friends into a panic. You see, when you're planning a surprise party for someone, you don't want them to leave town. While I was deciding between buying a sweater's worth of Cascade ECO wool in gray or yellow (shocker! I boldly chose yellow. Who do I think I am? ) my friends were frantically texting each other in crisis mode. One friend was even ready to fake an emotional meltdown if necessary to ensure I came back from Columbia that night. That's love.

Although I considered just driving home for the weekend, I eventually made my way back to Kirksville instead. To the relief of many, I showed up to the party and was, indeed, surprised.

So, the lesson is this: When planning a surprise party, you can't plan for the yarn buying appetite of the guest of honor.

Well enough about that. With this addition, I have successfully constructed a three post arc featuring my birthday. I'll shut up about it now.

The yarn store that was worth driving three hours round trip is called Hillcreek Yarn Shoppe. It's located just off Rangeline in Columbia, Mo. I was so eager to reach my destination, I even navigated the interstate. That's a sign of devotion if I've ever seen one. The staff is super friendly and the yarn selection is topnotch. Here's the yarn that was lucky enough to go home with me:

Here's the same yarn with the Eleventh Doctor yarn. It's to pretty no to be photographed.

Could I be shifting to a new yarn color obsession? Is mustard yellow the new charcoal gray? I used Madeline's swift to wind it all up. I figure I have enough yarn to last me through midterm break. So, three weeks.

This weekend I finished a hat for my friend Gina. It was a cool pattern called the Sideways Grande Hat from Boutique Knits. As the name suggests, it was constructed by knitting around the body of the hat, rather than from the bottom up as is the case for most hats.

Ready for seaming

The finished product. Gina will look much more posh in it.
I had planned to send it home with my sister during her visit this weekend, but I lost valuable knitting time during the surprise party and didn't complete the hat until this afternoon. Oops. Sorry. I said I'd stop mentioning my birthday.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

All That Jazz

I hope you've had a great week since we spoke last. Not to rub it in, but I certainly did.

In honor of my birthday, my parents came to town.

My mom, taking in the local culture.

With the help of Sarah Cramer, I successfully crashed John and Madeline's Valentine's Day dinner plans. Okay, we were invited to partake in the sushi "Love Boat" experience so it wasn't technically "crashing."

Rock the boat (don't rock the boat, baby!)
Rock the boat (don't tip the boat over!)

As punishment for making a "Rock the Boat" lyrical reference during dinner, I've had the the Hues Corporation hit stuck in my head all week. It took all of my willpower not to title this post "Get Down With Ya' Bad Self."

Wednesday's meeting started off fairly normal.

We oohed and ahhed over Teresa's new yarn and roving. Soon she'll have a new pair of thrummed mittens.

I took a bunch of blurry pictures of Sarah and Sarah from across the circle

Kristen brought some of her cross stitch projects to be admired.

I obtained an awkward shot of Sarah's first Lupin sock.

The first two hours passed without incident as I talked about hedgehogs and John made everyone watch videos of bears licking each other (he just showed us the bear-cam, he couldn't control what those rowdy bears were doing).

Things got crazy around 9:00, though. That's when the jazz started. Thanks to a poorly charged camera battery, I was only able to obtain this low quality shot with my phone.

I believe Katherine's boyfriend is one of the blurry jazz musicians.

According to the Truman Master Calender, we were suddenly attending "Jazz Combos." Turns out jazz is loud, yet still manages to lull me to sleep. To keep myself awake, I randomly interjected my own scat singing, "BE BOP DOOOO DOOO BE DA BE BE DOOOOOOO BOPITY BOOOOOOO!" I thought my embellishments added to the experience. Madeline made it clear this was not the case.

Get outside and enjoy the weather! (Except if you're an international reader. Please use discretion when venturing outside. I am not familiar with your home climate- in neither the weather nor political sense.)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Stitch 'n Bitch Birthday Bash

When we moved Stitch 'n Bitch to Wednesdays this semester, my first thought was probably something like, "We're going to need new posters." My second thought, however, I remember distinctly:


That's right, I got to celebrate my 21st birthday with good yarn and even better friends. Upon my arrival, I was showered with gifts. A chocolate strawberry here, a hand dyed skein of sock yarn inspired by the 11th Doctor there. Wait, what? That's right folks.

You might just think this yarn is beautiful (it is) but the fact that it's inspired by my favorite BBC series takes it to a whole new level of awesome.

It might be sock yarn, but I want this stuff as close to my face as possible.

Necklace, anyone?

I'm considering just knitting a sack so my head can be totally surrounded in all 400 yards of Merino goodness.

Other stuff did happen at SnB besides, you know, my ardent fans lavishing me with gifts.

Madeline modeled a birthday gift that arrived this week from Alex. I absolutely love it. It's knit out of Rowan Kidsilk Haze.

The pattern is "Herfst Avond Scarf" from the book Brioche Knitting

Teresa was in the process of knitting a sweater on the largest pair of knitting needles I have ever seen in person. Size 50, I believe. I wouldn't cross her.

Several new handknit hats came into the world this week. They came off the needles healthy and fashionable.

Katherine's cabled creation

Madeline's new beret, modeled by Katherine

One of THREE hats Madeline made last weekend

Anna's first colorwork project

Something about my photography style must make people anxious. Just look at Madeline and Anna's expressions! Maybe it's the way I don't tell them I'm taking a picture 'til my camera is all up in their face. That could be it.

A couple of newbs showed up to learn how to purl. Michelle and Katherine oohed and ahhed appreciatively when I knitted before entomology last semester. For that ego boost, teaching them how to purl was the least I could do.

Upon finishing her first pair of socks (an ambitious project for a beginning knitter), Sarah proudly modeled them for me.

Either Sarah wasn't meant to model socks, or I wasn't meant to photograph them.

That's a little better.

As a reward for her hard work, Madeline bestowed a rare skein of Harry Potter sock yarn (colorway: Lupin) upon Sarah. Have you figured out that we love pop culture inspired sock yarn?

Action Shot: Winding the Yarn Barf

I've been toying with the idea of a new hobby recently. My time spent on Regretsy and STEOTCH has given me a newfound appreciation for subversive cross stitch. I don't just want to stitch a farmyard scene for a throw pillow. I want to cross stitch Rick Astley lyrics on everything.

Given my recent habit of scouring Etsy for starter kits, imagine my delight when my friend Kristen came to SnB to work on some zombie themed cross stitch. How cool is that?

We might exchange knitting/cross stitch lessons. Here's part of a tombstone she finished during the meeting.

Even though I have no photographic evidence, I swear I've knitted things in the past week. Awesome things that might be gifts. Shhhhhhh...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Stay Golden

Don't worry, I survived the blizzard. My survival was largely due to the fact that Madeline and I skipped town to go visit our favorite SnB alum, Alex Klein. Now, Alex claims to be shaping young minds in St. Louis but don't be fooled. He's actually livin' it up in Miami with my favorite retirees Blanche, Rose, Sophia, and Dorothy.

College kids ain't got nothing on these ladies. They are wild. Upon our arrival, they gave us a quick tour of the city. Back at the house, we feasted on Sicilian and Scandinavian delicacies. Dessert was, of course, a delicious cheesecake. After dinner, we moved to the living room to play Charades.

Classic Madeline. So busy checking out the lanai she almost missed the picture.

Turns out Sophia was attempting to act out The Wizard's of Waverly Place. That's a tough one. The evening progressed in a calm but enjoyable manner until a misunderstanding involving peanut butter, a hairdryer, and the neighbor's cat landed Sophia and I in the slammer.

Thank goodness Dorothy knew to bring Peruvian Highland wool with her.

By the time the charges were finally dropped, it was time for Madeline and I to head back to Kirksville. The roads were so bad we had to parachute down.

All in all, it was a memorable trip. My brief incarceration allowed me to prepare for the tundra of Kirksville by knitting a cozy hat.

I imagine that if I had been in town, two snow days would have left me extremely bored. Who knows what I would have done to pass the time?