Monday, January 23, 2012

One of these things is not like the other...

Take a look at this:

Don't see it? Lemme make it a little more clear...

This is what we call distracted knitting. Does a 7-petal blossom look bad? Not necessarily. Is there any chance anyone would notice? Possibly, but probably not. So why not just leave it? Well, this is my own design, and one I hope to submit for publication(!!) so it really does need to be pretty perfect. When the time comes I'll have to decide on an edging for it, but for right now I'm trying to find the willpower to rip out the last four rows.

Here, let me distract you with more pictures.

Pattern: Butterfly Baby by Pyropagan Knits (the link for the pattern appears to be a little bit busted right now, hopefully it will right itself in the near future). Modifications: I added a few extra rows of stockinette before starting the garter stitch border on the bottom, and I shortened the sleeves for a summer baby. Yarn: less than two balls Mission Falls 1824 cotton. Totally in love with it. Almost kept it for myself.

My fingers are itching to work on something, or *ahem* start something new *cough*, but, unfortunately, knitting might be out of the question today. See, I was in the shower (stick with me here) and went to close the cap on the shampoo by banging it shut with the heel of my palm. I sorta missed. I had no idea there was a funnybone-like-nerve in your wrist, but I immediately lost all feeling in my last three fingers. I saw stars and had to have a bit of a sit-down (yes, in the shower). I might have even gone a little deaf, it hurt that bad. I have recovered enough feeling to type, but any sort of grippy activity (i.e. manipulating tiny needles) is apparently out of the question. If I get a really spectacular bruise, I'll post a picture.

Oh, and... YARN SCORE!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Book Reviews? What Book Reviews?

Today is an exciting day. Very exciting. Today is a yarn score day.

Every once in awhile when I get jonesing to go shopping but my bank account won't allow much of it, I do what I call a five-dollar day or a ten-dollar day. Today, since I stopped by our local consignment and picked up a measley $11.50, I set my limit at ten dollars. Then I make the thrift circuit. I've gotten smarter at this over the years. I used to get excited by any cute ol' thing that waggled its price tag at me, and that's how I ended up with two adorable but completely useless blue and white ceramic bunnies.
I got smarter as I got more experienced. Books are always a good bet, because if I can score one for fifty cents, I can usually re-sell it for the same price. (Don't get me started on libraries. I know there are magical places full of books I can get for free. I'm bad at deadlines. And keeping track of things. Both of which could end up being very expensive for me). Double points if you find a book in a series you're reading, or the first book in a new series. (How many times have you picked up a book and it was book 2 or 3 or whatever. No good).

If I'm looking to replace an item of clothing, I can go on the hunt for that. I've gotten some pretty nice labels for seriously cheap. An Express dress for $2.50? Sure. The Limited heels for $4? Got 'em.

But, really, I'm always on the lookout for yarn. Nice yarn. The kind of score that you want to ring your neighbor's doorbell and show off for. Usually you can always find crap acrylic, but sometimes, sometimes, you really get the good stuff. Like the time I passed on dusty blue wool/silk/mohair for $2 a skein (and there were 11 of them)? Dumb. A cone of mill-end fingering-weight Shetland wool for $2 in the most beautiful dark burnt orange? You bet I snagged that.

Today, though, today the stars must have been aligned because I don't think I've ever (aside from the time I got a massive cone of lace-weight cashmere for free) gotten a score like this one.

15 skeins, only one of which was acrylic, for $10. That's 66 cents a piece. There were six skeins of discontinued Berroco sprite (which will become the Rondeur pullover for me), five skeins of discontinued Gelato Cotone (which will become some sort of baby afghan) a ball of sock yarn that possibly has enough to become little ankle socks, and a leftover ball of what I believe is soy silk that is a coordinating colorway with a skein that I already have.

If you're bored, I apologize.

Ok, not really. What does it say about me that yarn trips my trigger this much?

Wait... Don't answer that.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Somebody get the Blinders!

My brain seems to be unable to focus, so today's post is numbered into little bits for your convenience.

1. Here's a picture of the Josh Hat. Sorry, I don't have a pattern available for this one, though I'm sure I could write one if circumstances demanded. (Although, I scribbled my decrease chart on a piece of scratch paper that already had writing on it, and I corrected my errors on the same piece. I have no idea where said paper wandered off to).

Yarn: less than one skein Encore Worsted in BLACK, size 5mm/16" circulars. Yes, this is the only picture I have.

2. The owl hat has been temporarily abandoned in favor of the Butterfly Baby cardigan. Since I am attempting to make this a unisex cardigan (gender of baby in question = unknown) I am leaving the butterflies off the sleeves and changing the name to the bowtie cardigan.

I have slight concerns with the gender issue, because though I remain open-minded and share the opinion of a very wise and well known knitter, there are some who may think that putting green on a girl is no big deal, but how dare you put pink on a boy. Similarly, the pattern above may be viewed as little butterflies (as the real name of the pattern implies), or bowties, or simply little gathered v-stitches.

My personal opinion is that it's a tiny human and it doesn't care what it's wearing. The sleeves, if you noticed, are still unfinished because I have cruelly abandoned this sweater in favor of...

3. ...swatching for the Midnight Cables Cardigan from Love of Knitting Fall 2010. My fidelity to this project is going to be sorely tested because: A) I didn't pick it out. and B) I hate the yarn. It's Red Heart. Don't get me wrong, lately I've been very impressed with Red Heart's newer products, like the Debbie Stoller Alpaca Love. This, however, is the super-saver economy variegated yarn. I'm enjoying the colorway, but this yarn is hard to work with (non-stretchy, scratchy acrylic), and I'm having trouble attaining gauge.

4. I need to get back to my book reviews. Remind me to review "The Secret of Lost Things" and "Homer & Langley" for you soon.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Great Christmas Vacuum

Every year, post-holiday season, some crafters experience a case of "startitis," or an irresistible urge to cast on project after project. Some attribute it to the longing for spring and the creation the season implies, but personally, I think it's a matter of space.

See, every holiday season some crafters go crazy trying to make something for every member of their family. Someties this results in not a lot of sleep and some sort of crazy meltdown because the bags aren't done yet or the &%#(* seams aren't turning right. I admit, I am a poor imitator. If you want to see real holiday crazy, check out the yarnharlot. She'll open you to a whole world of knitterly madness. During this time, it is entirely feasible that you have three, four, say, maybe seven projects going at the same time. Once the gifting is over, however, there is a space. The great gifting vacuum of doom. All of the sudden your hands are empty and itching for something, and not just one project will do.

Currently, I have a baby sweater on the needles, I finished this hat, started the owl hat, have a scarf on the needles, and bought the yarn to start another sweater, not to mention any old hank of yarn I ran across I was attempting to plan a project for.

We will not speak of the failed puppy sweater.

Pictures soon, once I have something worth showing!

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Resolution, and A Revelation

A new year. Every year, I tend to make the same resolutions - stay healthier, work out more, clean more, stay more organized, etc. Every year I tend to fall off the wagon by February. So my resolution for this year is simple - for it to be a better year than last year.

Let us just say - if I am in my parent's house at this time next year, I have failed in my resolution. Not that I don't love them - they are wonderful people - but I think all of us would be happier if I was in my own place!

In my crafty progress, I made reusable shopping bags for everyone in my family. Not a far cry from my resolution last year, but between June and November my family shrunk by about 14 members, so it was actually a lot easier to meet that resolution. I used the Singlet-Style Shopping Bag pattern from, great pattern, easy to follow, and works great with fat quarters. (I'll try to get pictures from my family members).

For my sister-in-law, she requested cabled fingerless mitts with "buttons" on the palms. So I modified a design from Designer One-Skein Wonders. I wrote a small review of the pattern on my ravelry page , and I basically used the same modifications plus changed the cable and the palm charts.

I used less than one skein of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Heathers. Loved it during the knitting, but we'll see how it holds up to lots of wear.

And I suppose you're wondering why there's a picture of brussel sprouts at the top of my post. That's my revelation. I had brussel sprouts for the first time on New Year's Eve. I decided if I was going to spend New Year's on my own, the least I could do was treat myself to a nice dinner. So I grilled some bacon-wrapped steak, and decided to try brussel sprouts.

I cut the stems and halved fresh ones (about 2/3 pound), put a half-inch of water in the bottom of a glass dish, covered it and steamed them in the microwave for 6 minutes. When they were done I discarded the remaining water and poured on this sauce:

2 slices bacon, chopped fairly fine
about 1/3-1/2 cup white wine
2 Tbsp butter
1 chive, chopped
1/4 tsp. minced garlic
tsp. lemon juice

Over medium heat, brown bacon bits in saucepan and pour off liquid fat without scraping the pan. Deglaze with the wine, scraping up the yummy bits on the bottom of the pan, and add butter, lemon juice, and garlic. When butter is melted, add chives.

They were fan-frickin-tastic. I loved them. LOVED them. I have no idea why I've been avoiding them all my life.