Saturday, January 26, 2013

Projects Underway; a Blanket Fascination

Well, it's been a few weeks since school started, and I still don't know my schedule. Also, I am perpetually confused by the layout of Violette.

But, Knitting!

Clara's productivity level seems not to have been impacted the recent return to structured educational things:
It shall be called the Confetti Cake Blanket! (for obvious reasons, of course!)
One baby blanket for her grandmother- All done! Now, she can focus her efforts on very exciting things indeed:

A smaller, but not for long, incarnation of The Tube in crochet form. It is a relative-but not the same. Check out that awesome patterning that the colorful yarn is doing! Soon, this Tube will be as long as its predecessor!

Megan has nearly finished her jiggly puff- all it's missing now is a face. She was worried about its curl not looking right, but was assured that it was just as it should be.

Now the question is, is she going to "knit 'em all"?

Lauren is happily working on her hat- which is a good thing, considering that by the end of the night, she'd run out of yarn! Thankfully, two dye lots probably won't show up in this particular project.

Katheryn has been making a pair of slipper soles, to be slipped into an uncomfortable pair of shoes. She has a pair of comfortable slippers, and thought she could recreate the feel inside some shoes by creating some padded inserts. I hope it works!

Jordan has made some pretty significant progress since last week on her netted scarf-that blue is so pretty! Soon, it will be decorated with colorful crochet flowers, as well.

pieces of squishy, soft chess-domnation-clad in darkness!

My iPhone is kind of a downgrade from the old Blackberry in the picture-taking department- so the pure awesomeness that is Mary's horse-head-chesspiece-that-looks-like-a-gargoyle/dragon has not been sufficiently captured. I can't even imagine how great it will look once it's been stuffed! Fred is the luckiest kid on the planet, and he has no idea. The question is, will she tell him that it's a horse, or a dragon?

Woody stopped by this week, and brought a rectangle he's been working on: it will eventually be combined with a lot of other rectangles into a knit-scrap blanket! The yarn was really soft, and the brown-aqua combination is pretty cool too!

He also brought some new friends!
So excited to be making a hat!
Sharon has just begun the making of a hat-it does not yet have an intended owner. It involves the making of a hatband, to which the rest of the hat is joined.

Also, this is Katie:
She's just cast on for a scarf (see it there? hiding under her hand?) I bet it will be much bigger this coming Wednesday. She, also, does not know who her scarf's recipient is, yet. Maybe "I don't know" is actually a clever code for "I can't tell you because the person it's for is listening right now." Have you ever used that as an excuse to disguise who you're knitting for?

Agatha was also new to our group: She is making this fabulous, brightly colored crochet blanket-Those are colors I would never expect to see together, but they're just so awesome! This time of the year is a good time to be working on a blanket project, because you can have it in your lap while you work. We certainly had a lot of blanket references this week, too- Besides Clara's finished one, Woody's blanket rectangle, and Agatha's wonderful afghan, there was much discussion on Lauren's part of the merits of starting a blanket project-she's even brought yarn already! We might as well change the name of the group to the Blanket Club. No...not quite as catchy, really...

It really makes me want to knit a blanket, which I have told myself I will not least not until I have a place to put it. A long-term place, at that.

Wednesdays seem to be working out well for the lovely people of Stitch n' Bitch- and I'm also surprised at the number of new people we have joining us on a weekly basis- despite our unfortunate lack of posters. Of course, whenever I see people knitting, or whenever people comment on me knitting, the thing I usually say to them is "you should come to Stitch n' Bitch!" None of them have- maybe my enthusiasm is scaring people away... I have known to be enthusiastic about yarn.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Is it because you don't have any friends?

Maybe it is. Maybe it's because we don't have any friends. But we all don't have friends together, so I guess that makes it more okay.

On the first of many wonderful Wednesdays of the semester, we had a few new faces, and a lot of new projects! Lauren was working on a hat, which I think suspiciously might be modeled after my current prismatic sweater project ;)...

What a great color!
You can barely see the hat under how extremely excited she obviously is about being able to attend Stitch n' Bitch this semester! It looks like that hat will be done in a few days, and then, when I wear my sweater on the same day that she wears her hat- We're going to be, like...rainbow superheros!

Brandon was a newcomer this week, working on reteaching himself how to knit (he mostly had it, he'll be a pro in no time!)

If you look really close, you can see that he's holding his left needle like a pencil. This is very confusing to me, but it seemed to be working for him surprisingly well. The most confusing thing about this is that the hand on the right is holding its needle normally- it's the one on the left that's trying to get creative. I wonder if he's a lefty- I should have asked.

Katharine is working on the second sleeve of her sweater!

This is so exciting! It's so close to finished! Just the rest of this sleeve, and then joining everything together with the yoke!

Madeline is working on a hat, but not from a pattern:

I love that color! It's mostly green, but there's a little bit of blue in it, and the pattern has some pretty cool texture going on- maybe it will be finished next week!

I should point out that the reason I keep thinking that everyone's projects will be finished this week is because it's a three day weekend (four, if your photography professor cancelled your only Friday class, but we'll get to that in a little bit...)

Mary was, in fact, present at Stitch n' Bitch- but she was trying to figure out what her yarn wanted to be, and also thinking about how she should be working on Fred's birthday gift (which, by the way, I can't wait to see done as well!)

Kathryn was working on a multicolored scarf for her grandmother's birthday:

That's one lucky grandmother- Also, if you didn't believe me when I said Mary was there- That's her foot in the lower left corner of the picture. Proof of life!

Megan was working on a jiggly puff plush toy...

...which I thought was a pig (it looks like a pig!). It's the right color and everything. My confusion probably has a lot to do with the fact that I don't actually know what a jiggly puff looks like,,,

Clara has been working on awesome things, as usual:

First, the baby blanket which she has decided will be finished when the yarn runs out, and she's mostly there! She's more than halfway through the last ball.

Second, over break she made this awesome scarf with pockets! It also happens to have an impressive amount of colorwork, and check out that fringe! Apparently, her classmates are in love with that scarf as well- and who could blame them- pockets! My sister had a scarf with pockets, once. It was all one color but had different patches as a stitch sampler, and I always wanted to make one. This one is way cooler. My sister's scarf didn't have fringe. Let alone two-color fringe!

Clara has friends. You can tell because of how awesome her scarf is.

Jordan is making a decorative netted scarf (with flowers!) from a pattern in a magazine:

Check out that super colorful sweater she's wearing! Even if she didn't make it- it's still an awesome sweater! Jordan's hair is growing back pretty quickly too- I feel like if I blink, it might be halfway down her back again!

Jordan's friend, whose name I can pronounce but forgot to ask how to spell, came this week as well! My best guess at a spelling would be Sadya- but when I googled it, Sadhya was an equally popular alternative. ( I am sorry, Sadya, if I have butchered your name! I'm horrible at names... If it makes you feel any better, I have to look up my middle name every time I want to spell it...)
She's working on a scarf for her roommate so she won't feel left out from the awesome-but-also-warm (because warm is important) scarf club.

I, when I wasn't taking pictures, was attempting to work on a shawl/wrap project for one unnamed sister's upcoming birthday- but I decided that pattern with that yarn wasn't working out so now I have to think of something else. I have a couple of options, so I'm not too worried...yet.

I didn't have any classes on Friday, which was a wonderful start to my weekend indeed, so I spent a good part of the day working on finishing this:

149 grams of fingering weight (ish) yarn, spun from the hand-dyed roving I was working on over Christmas break! I gotta say, I was worried for a while in the middle, but now I think it turned out great! Right now, I'm thinking it's going to be a boneyard shawl, because that pattern has a little bit of visual interest without being complicated in a way that would distract from the awesomeness of the yarn. That being said, I currently don't have any cables in my interchangeable needle set that are not already in use in another project-so I guess I have to wait on that (six is probably a good number of projects to have going at once, anyways...) I probably have six projects going on at once right now because I don't have any friends...

Okay, friends! See you on Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A welcome back, a birthday, a distraction, and a lot of pictures.

Spring 2013 is in full swing! (although, to be fair, it feels neither like spring, nor like 2013...) Fortunately, I've not had to date any papers yet. I, so far, have very little homework, but I estimate that will change in approximately one day. Or less.

In other very important news, happy birthday to everyone's favorite Madeline! I hope it was filled with lots of yarn, and lots of Tilda and Bella doing Tilda and Bella things.

In honor of Madeline's birthday, we shall start with her:

All knit up and ready for the cold months!
At the Reading Day Knitting Marathon of Awesomeness, Madeline showed off her lovely new sweater, an equally lovely shawl, and a wonderful earwarming headband device (I know that there is a name for those things, but I cannot recall it at the moment....) I believe she also had some handknit socks on, but you know, only so much awesome can fit into one picture...
She even brought a Christmas-themed Pandora station!
Briana was hard at work on a couple of projects, including the beginnings of a  hat, and the scarf pictured.

Kathryn was hard at work on a green and white Christmas gift blanket (Now would be a good time to say in advance that I hope everyone got their Christmas knitting done! I was exactly two days late with one of my gifts....

Lauren was working on an orange monster plushie, and we'll be seeing a lot more of her now that Stitch n' Bitch has moved to Wednesdays of Wonder!

I'm sorry. That might have been too much. It's tomorrow, though. You guys, I'm excited.

Katharine was working on a Christmas scarf for her Dad, and much progress was made during our marathon! In fact, I believe I recall that she only left because she ran out of yarn....

Clara, who sadly did not have the day off, stopped by after school to make some progress on the baby blanket she was working on for her grandmother. Epic progress! I bet it's done by now. I bet that baby blanket is done, and the Tube is probably longer than the English Channel. I bet it's the size of a snuggie for the world's skinniest skyscraper. I bet Clara's new fancy bedroom is mostly Tube.

As you can see, the Reading Day Knitting Marathon was pretty sweet! I spent a good chunk of time charting the superwoman logo for my sister's gloves, but then I finished a glove after that as well! I finished the second one on the train back from Chicago, which was wonderful, by the way.

Now, you may be wondering:

"Gee, I wonder why it took Kat over a month just to tell us all that! I mean, I bet she was swamped, like all other knitters, with Christmas knitting, but Christmas was pretty early in the break- what did she do for three weeks after that? Was she avoiding the blog on purpose?"

Well, let me answer your wonder, my friends!

It's true, the first week I was knitting (and felting, and sewing) Christmas presents, but that all changed on one not-very-cold Tuesday morning.

Twas' the night before Christmas, and I had finished my gifts (all but one) early enough to make custom sized bags out of the Sunday Post-Dispatch for each present. I wrapped them all up, and stashed them under the tree, much to the delight of my family.

Christmas morning upon us, we opened our gifts, and I made out like a bandit- new sweaters, new yarn (and a pattern!), and a lens for my camera!

But Santa had one trick left up his sleeve...

A spinning wheel! Just for me! It was the only thing I really really wanted, and also the thing I *knew* I wasn't going to get. I didn't even bother asking for one, because it was too ridiculously unlikely...But I have a spinning wheel!!!

So now you basically know why I didn't blog. Or, really, do much else (the occasional sewing...but only while thinking about spinning)

In case you don't believe me, here's some photographic evidence. While boy was busy with his baked goods:

I was making fuzzy things!

Here is my very first bit of 'real' spinning (not including the ugly white mess I produced while I was learning how to make it work... It's a Six Sheep Sampler I got from my local yarn store- it is fleece from six breeds of sheep, in six colors, so you can experiment with spinning each one! I took a sample bit of each fiber and spun it up, and then:

I made a tiny hank from the two ply samples, so I could wash it,

and then I made a tiny ball from the tiny hank!

I made a swatch, too, but I didn't take a picture of that. I'm working, right now, on spinning the rest of the Six Sheep Sampler into yarn for socks (I love socks! and sheep! and these colors!) But that little instant gratification of a swatch was pretty nice. I also love saying 'Six Sheep Sampler'

In order to guarantee that my stash of colorful fluff didn't run out, I began plans to figure out how to dye roving (a never-before-attempted project...)

It went like this:
White! The dye colors I chose were Royal purple (mixed with a bit of extra red), moss green, and silver grey. Three colors. I didn't think anything could really get weird with three colors...

After painting the roving with my colors, you roll the wet roving up into a really entertaining jelly-roll type lump, and stick it in a steamer basket with some water in the pot, and let the whole thing cook for a bit. Taking pictures of steam is way fun!
It was at this point that I realized that something wasn't quite right...the dye was too concentrated, or there was too much of it, or something, because it didn't look like any of my pictures, but I kept going. Kind of hard to go back, isn't it?

After a scary moment where I thought I'd felted the entire piece, I realized that it only looked that way because it was wet, so I left it to hang in a warm place overnight, and in the morning, voila! fluffy, not felted, and so colorful! Note, however, that those colors are not limited to royal purple, moss green, and silver grey....

Spun up, It's not at all the long-repreat striping yarn that I was expecting, but more of a wildly unpredictable pile of colors that I fortunately happen to be quite fond of. This is the first single. It will be followed by another, and then plied and knit into a mysterious thing that I have not decided on yet.

If you would like to watch a video about that roving, and if you're interested in me rambling on in a more visual kind of way, it's on facebook. Blogger made the video quality really horrible, so I'm not posting it here. I made it so a friend could see me spin, even though she lives very far away now.

Here are some other things I did with my break:

I dyed some fabric to make bags for some drop spindles...

I also dyed and screen printing these:

Project bags! They were, with the exception of the blue one, which I kept, Christmas gifts. These are big-project sized. I also made some smaller ones, which are just big enough for my favorite extra-long steel double pointed needles, plus the little sheepy needle protectors, which add about two inches...

Those are the four I kept for myself, plus my spindle bag in the middle. I gave all of them two drawstrings, so you just pull two strings to close the bags, rather than try to wedge it closed with one string. This makes them less likely to fall open, as well.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and and say that most of you probably watched the Doctor Who Christmas Special. If you didn't, don't worry, I won't give anything away. It was really fantastic, but that's all I'll say. I can, however, talk about the Who-related things I made!

One skein of freshly TARDIS blue yarn, slightly tonal, for the Doctor Who wrap I will soon be knitting (And probably a matching hat or something, this is a pretty hefty hank. It's 750 yards...)

Also, one TARDIS digital drawing tablet sleeve! I feel as though the TARDIS is appropriate, because a tablet is one of those things that will do anything you can imagine, which sort of makes it 'bigger on the inside' a more conceptual sort of way...

I also made a new pencil case, to replace the one I made in middle school, and I didn't post any pictures of Christmas knits (although it's all on Ravelry...), and I made a bridal party for a set of dolls, and a skirt for me, and I did a little bit of knitting, and things like that. I don't know if you've figured this out, yet, but I'm one of those people that goes crazy if I don't have something to do, but I had so many projects over break! It was wonderful, I loved it. I hope yours was as good as mine!

GUYS! I'll see you all tomorrow!