Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Knitting: the result is always greater than the sum of its yarn.

Here's the pics I promised!

my first pair of socks!

Jan, dutifully modeling the Butterfly hat described in my last post.
The hat is a wee smaller than anticipated -
but that won't bother my sweet neice Chloe Reese.

my decreases are the shit.

I made another Thorpe for Jan, just because.
Sara is posing the hell out of it, and I'm just doing what comes natural.

Since completing the butterfly hat, I got two more hanks of Malabrigo - the stuff is just that good, people. I don't know what you guys did this Labor day weekend, but I watched all the Harry Potter movies back to back, got two hats started, and finished this sock. The sock is Cascade 220, 60 stitches cast on, size 3 needles. Yeah, this did involve my roommate coming into the living room at 5am on Monday, seeing me turning the heel, getting a drink of water, and going back to bed. This sock represents a lot of ideas/frustrations/realizations I've been having about knitting, and you can bet I'll still be hashing this all out while I work on the sock's mate. Maybe by the time the pair is finished, I'll have figured something out worth sharing.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

But I NEED it!

Hey, July is over with. It's gone, no blog action happened at all, and not as much knit action happened as I would have liked. Sorry everyone for having to look at my gross foot for two months straight.

I guess I might as well relate what happened to the socks: I finished the red socks, and gave them away as a birthday present. I had hoped the person would really like them, would understand, "These, the first socks I have ever knitted, were made for you, by my own hands." I really took the effort to make sure they were just right, too. The reception of the socks was about as ho-hum as it gets, dealing a serious blow to this person's knit-worthiness; who knew my mom wouldn't 'get it'? Life is full of harsh lessons... (HAHA - I'm reading aloud as I type this, and Cindy just cracked on me for sounding like Doogie Howser).

After the socks, I didn't start anything else for a while. I had to start saving some funds for a new-to-me car because the slave-cylinder went out on the '88 Ranger. I was fairly bummed about that - I really liked that truck.

But the summer wasn't all downers: I met some new knitters - at my church. There is a really sweet lady named Ms. Ruth, an immigrant from South Africa, who is teaching the ladies how to get their knit on. Ms. Ruth also has a great way of holding the needles; she cradles the needle between her thumb and index finger, so that when she releases the needle to throw the yarn, the needle is resting in the groove between thumb and finger - what's more, she throws the yarn with only her index finger! Her way strikes me as a mix between the advantages of continental and regular; you never release the yarn or the needle, and all the while she's primarily working with her dominant R hand. Ms. Ruth doesn't think its a big deal at all; all the knitters in South Africa knit this way, she says. She accussed my way of being 'dreadfully slow' in her aweseom accent, and we had a hearty laugh. Yeah, me and Ms. Ruth are lookng forward to knitting together more. She's a sock knitter, and quite keen about DP's (circular are just not for her); rock on.

Uh, what else... I did knit another one of the beanies from Son of S'n'B, using yarn I purchased for that purpose a long time ago. Basically, because I'm poor, and can't support my yarn habit. Once the beanie was done, I made a few modifications to the Thorpe hat I knit a while back, and made another for my Comrade in Yarn Jan (this time, I cast on 96, altered the fair-isle pattern to involve three rows of diamonds, and in general just did a much better job the second-time around). I think I really like fair isle - a lot.

Right after I did the Thorpe hat, I bought some Malabrigo yarn, and started making a butterfly hat for my aunt, and I'm hoping she get's it.

When getting the Malbrigo, I also got some needles and the Yarn Harlot's At Knits End, and really liked it. What sold me was when I opened it and read the page describing how knitters won't choose a subtitled movie to rent because the project they are working on has a chart. BWAHAHAHAHA!

So anyhow, I've made two hats watching the Olypics, and started a third. I will sorely miss the Olypics. I was up until 3am last night working on the Butterfly hat, watching some vollyball action.

So the Ranger which has been sitting on the curb for a couple months now? I took it to the junk yard today. It was a strange time. A few guys kept offering to buy it from me, even as a five ton fork lift was driving up to hoist it in the air and haul it away. A short guy who worked there asked what was wrong with it, and I told him 'nothing, except the slave cylinder - you'll have to drop the transmission to repair it, but other than having to put clutch fluid in it every time I drive it, its a great truck.' He was more than happy to keep it separate from the others gettin' stacked. Did I say already I will really miss that truck??

Anyhow, I got a couple hundred bucks for it. Do you know how much yarn that is!?? (Okay you knitters out there quoting exact yardage for five different kinds, I'm not at that point yet, but yeah, it's A LOT).

And then I had to make the rent, and pay some bills, and then the Ranger-money didn't seem like so much anymore... what a let down. I still got some sock yarn left, and plenty of Cascade 220. But you know, sometimes Cascade 220 just isn't enough...

Okay, that was a lie. Sometimes, you just gotta knit what you can get.

Next blog: photos!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Its a SOCK!!! (and a half)...

The 'ol ankle, fresh off the choppin' block!

Here it is - the sock! And my ankle two weeks after the above pic - nice, huh!? It's healed up super fast - must be my mutant healing factor... it's a real answer to prayer. My doc did one helluva stitch up job. Maybe he should knit??)

Here's the Cascade 220, and the Mountain Colors Bearfoot yarn I've got in the stash. And the sock and a half. Maybe they'll fit better when blocked... oh well - I'm all about finishing them!

A green tomato. Yeah, that's duct tape; I used it to create the supports between the bamboo stakes. To make the supports for the pepper plants, I used a really ugly Joseph and the Technicolor Acrylic Yarn. Chris from Highland brought into the Nook one day, thinking one of the Nookers had left it there (my bet is it was purposefully abandoned). See, acrylic yarn is good for something! (Lord only knows what it'll end up as next...)

Check out the garden! I accidently deleted some photos I took a two weeks before the above photo - I wanted to chronicle how fast things are growing. This pic compared to last months seems kinda ridiculous... seriously, this is just under four weeks of growth. The oregano is really taking off. The basil is doing okay, too. The lavender is a bit of a slow grower. The onions? I botched it; most of the onions are dead, I think. I'm going to dig them up, maybe plant something else instead.

Cilantro - it does this all the time... I need to plant more of it!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Reading and Recovery (with socks on the side...)

I'm just gonna apologize for the non-bloggin' and get that out of the way - I'm sorry for not bloggin'! I just spent a couple weeks recoupin' from getting my ankle cut on (for the 2nd time in 9 months). It kinda hurts. I'm okay, though - I can still hold knitting needles. Really - I'm doing well. I'm already walking on it and everything. It's like E.Z. said, "Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises."

But, to my shame, I didn't actually hold onto the needles very much during my down time. I did make some progress, though. I visited some friends the weekend before my surgery, and managed to finish the first sock, and then I ran around swingin' it over my head and causing a ruckus, hittin' people with it, holding it aloft like a mighty weapon 'o war and such, etc. No one was really impressed - except maybe Deb and me (I easily impress myself). And then I went under the knife a few days later, and after about 4 days of some (very good) drugs, I cast on the second sock of the pair. I just turned the heel on it - it won't be long now... After that - more socks. I've already got the yarn - some more Mountain Colors Bearfoot yarn. In case you didn't know, the socks I'm making now are Rich Red - the yarn/colors I've got in stash are Copper and Olive. I also got some worsted Cascade 220 (a basic grey/tan and burgundy).

But, I did get a lot of reading done. The first day of recovery, I finished reading Jane Austen's Persuasion (Captain Wentworth is the shit, btw), and then read Farenheit 451. Day two I read Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Day Three I read Austen's Pride and Prejudice in one sitting (granted, there were a couple of nice naps involved - but its one heckuva page turner!). The next day, I put in LATRG (Lars and the Real Girl) and started the other sock, and then spent the rest of the time off from work looking for a new ride (the Ranger is awfully close to kickin' the can). Stupid leakin' slave cylinder.

Right now, I'm reading Sense and Sensibility, and its off to a great start - I'm only about 3 chapters in today, but I can already tell Marianne is gonna be Trouble. I'm actually kinda worried about this book; in regards to the rest of Austen's novels, I am a (typical) total ignoramus about them until I actually read them - never having seen any films/movies/miniseries of them - and yeah, thinking they were, (a-hem) "girl" books. But it's actually a good thing that I've been a total ignoramus, because the novel's plots and characters strike me in an unadulterated fashion; they aren't ruined by having some famous actor attached to the face of one of the main characters - I can more readily imagine them as Austen wrote/describes them. Anyhow, this isn't the case with Sense and Sensibility; I saw the movie a few years ago - so even though I may already know the basic plot, I'm hopeful it's still going to be a great reading experience.

So who else is going to the Stitch 'N Pitch?? What an awesome freakin' idea. If we had to vote for the best damn Local Yarn Store, Kristen and Cindy win, hands down. (...aaaand I just repeated "Knit Nook Wins! Knit Nook Wins!" in my best Harey Carey... to myself...)

And that's got be it for now (i'll add some pics later). Sleep is awesome!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Feel the burn!

This morning I and a couple of friends rode our bikes down to the Waterfront to take part in Mayor Jerry E. Abramson's Healthy Hometown Hike and Bike. Yeah, Jerry was there - sportin' some spandex and everything. blarghfph! It was a lot of fun. A few month ago I got a new bike, and have been riding the H-E-double hockey sticks out of it. Today was no exception. I didn't realize it was a 16.1 mile ride until I got there.

I was a bit anxious that my single gear bike wouldn't allow me to keep up with my friends, but this wasn't the case. There were a few hills which got me up off the seat. It was a lot of fun - I'm definitely gonna do it again next year. During the ride, I even ran into a couple of people I haven't seen in a long time - one of which was a college friend I ran a couple of minimarathons with back in the day.

I think I ended up finishing in about 50-55 minutes? The friends I started the ride with finished in 58 minutes, but I got ahead of them at the end (I was riding with my friend from college at the end). Next week, I am seriously considering riding my bike to church. Right after I invest in a new bike seat, or some serious butt padding. Oh yeah, some major glute pain is happening, folks.

In other news, the sock I'm knitting is too small. Yeah, I'm knitting socks - my first pair. I'm close to actually finishing the first sock, and when I do, I'll make a post about it. But right now, I don't feel like writing about a project gone awry. There is no way I'm gonna frog it - it's a perfectly good sock. The problem I have now is to think of someone who is badass enough for these socks I'm knitting...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Life is good. I mean it.

This past Thursday, at SnB at the Nook, I finished my Jared Flood Cobblestone Pullover. Kristen taught me to Kitchener stitch, so I could stitch up the arm pits (thanks, Kristen, you rock). It looks great, and it fits, too - that's always a bonus, huh?

um, i'm too lazy to put of a pic of me wearing it. so here it is, on the hood of the Ranger.

In other news, I've started reading Jane Austen's Persuasion. I've never read any Austen, but lately, I've seen the movies "Becoming Jane" and "The Jane Austen Book Club", and it got me interested in her writing.

I also read Steven Weisman's Chewing Gum in Church last night before going to sleep - I love this guy's comics. And I just started James Kolchaka's The Cute Manifesto, which is sort of an apologetic for creativity.

I have a new favorite movie. I think my favorite movie before this was Amelie - so I'm actually kinda reticent to say it, but its true - I have a new favorite movie. I watched Lars and the Real Girl this past Thursday night (to celebrate the pullover being done), and then Friday on the way home from work, I bought it, and then watched it again. The only other movie I've done that with is Amelie (I had to order it off the internet, because I couldn't find it in stores at the time).

You know what else is weird? I can't freakin' watch a movie without seeing knit/crochet stuff in it - its freakin' everywhere! In Lars, there's a lot of hats and gloves, and he uses a baby blanket his mother knit as a scarf (um, its complicated).

Um, what else... oh yeah, the garden! Its going great. Yesterday, I woke up early and got on my old jeans and boots and dug up more ground for planting. I remade some mounds around the plants (to keep the leaves up off the ground), raked the soil to get rid of any weeds that might be trying to start, and then planted the green, cayanne, jalapano, and banana peppers. Later on, H-bomb and I hung out, and that's when I picked up a habanero pepper plant at the Lowes across the river, along with some sage and two lavender plants. I don't plan on using the lavender, it just smells awesome, thats all. This morning, before church, I was back out in the garden, planting everything I picked up last night. I have a few more spots I could plant something, but I have to quit sometime. And I got a nice tingling sunburn to boot. Folks, it is summertime: get off your duff and go outstide.

the garden

greek oregeno is a good looking plant

Tonight, I'm watching baby Job, so his folks can go out; I'll prolly read, watch Lars and the Real Girl (again), and work on the socks I just started (they'll kick a lot of butt, I'm using Mountain Colors Bearfoot yarn, 100 gram skein of a superwash/mohair/nylon blend - the color Rich Red. Ah man, I gotta go, I'll be late for dinner!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Garden? check.



Here it is: the garden. I'm gonna have to make it larger, though, so I can plant the peppers I bought this week. I got banana, jalapano, cayanne, and green peppers. I still want to get some habanero peppers, and maybe some red peppers. Man, I had a great time getting this garden together. Dirt, old blue jeans, sun, a nice breeze - this is my idea of a good time. When I was watering the garden tonight, I didn't feel so bad about not getting as much done on the sweater as I had hoped to this month.

And then I smacked myself in the head and got back to reality. This sweater needs to get done; its a bad ass sweater, and it's muy gratifying, but I'm getting other projects on the brain, namely, socks. This will be the Summer of the Socks, if I can only get them on the needles. I never thought I'd do it, but I am gonna have to become a two project man, instead of "OCC on one project guy". I knit during the drive home today (yeah, I carpool - go ahead, be jealous), and while unstuffing the sweater from the back pack I carry it in, I realized, "I can't believe I drag this around with me." Anyhow, the sweater is 6/7th of the way done, and I'm working on it every night now; I've already given it a couple hours tonight, and it'll a get a couple more while watching Return of the King for the nth time (the roomie is now down with seminary - so we are going to celebrate with LOTR and Taco Bell!). Good times - the sweater is going really well - just garter stitchin' the yoke, and praise the Lord, I've already got a decrease row done.

Speakin' of praising the Lord, there are knitters at my new church! Ruth, a lady with an English accent, knits socks for all the new members who are women - so when my friend Jamie got her new pair socks from Ruth, she let Ruth know I was a knitter. Ruth is very much a sock knitter - she busts 'em out on DP's, too. Man, it was really cool talking yarn with Ruth - I will definitely have to bring her to the Nook sometime.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A titular change...

If you were able to find my blog, you'll have noticed the change of title. No more Ballisticknitter, it's now Balls of Yarn. My friend D. suggested I call it this, and this was actually one of the options I'd had when I started out. Although the old title was a good one, this title's testicular obviousness has won the day. I plan on making a new banner for the blog soon; hopefully, it'll make ya laugh.

The sweater is still very much happening - I'm going to work on it some tonight. I wanted to work on it at SnB this week, but I forgot my instructions, and wasn't gonna risk having to frog anything else, so i just sat there and griped. I was actually really bummed that I didn't work on it at much this week. I'm a slacker, and I shouldn't neglect it - it mellows me the heck out, yo.

The salsa/chili garden is happening, too. I planted everything last weekend, in spite of warnings it might frost even after Derby. I even had to make the plot a bit larger, make sure the tomatos would have plenty of room to grow. The basil is lookin' a bit rough, but no regrets so far. I still haven't put out any peppers, though. That'll maybe happen next week.

In my next entry, I'll prolly just post some pics of the garden (before/after).

Egads, I'm going outside to enjoy this crazy amazin' weather.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Take your passion and make it happen

The Cobblestone took a direct hit, folks: Interweave's knitting guide's wrap technique is crap - at least I think the result is crap, and I'm looking for a better method to wrap a short row. Since I had to take the sweater off the needles to take all the short rows out, I went ahead and tried it on. Lisa quipped something like, "Hey, it looks like Kev stole Jennifer Beal's Flashdance sweater," and then everyone laughed at me.

I was already ticked and thinking evil of Interweave for their B.S. wrap technique, with a couple weeks worth of work frogged and tangled up around my feet, not to mention Jane being finished already, and somebody has to quip that I'm wearing this:

That tore it.

Like Brett from Flight of the Conchords, I dance when I'm angy. I must've been on the verge of becoming a maniac, because Flashdance moves are my "in case of emergency, break it out" moves. Seriously, the 'breakneck-toe-tapping-thigh-shimmy-head-girate' move probably saved the store some furniture (I was too busy using the chairs as props, to seriously consider smashing and breaking them).

Don't worry folks, I'm sure, through the power of dance, Kevin will become an Elizabeth Zimmermann master knitter and one day finish his Jared Flood Cobblestone sweater. I'm already knittin' away again!

In other news, I still love the bike; it's awesome. I ride it as much as I can. And I've started a salsa-chili garden; it was Kristin's idea. I wanted a larger garden, but the friend I rent from would only let me use one corner of the yard; dunno why, the yard's pretty crappy - might as well plow it under and grow food, that's what I say. I've got a nice 10'x10' plot ready, and this weekend I'd like to plant the tomatos, red onions, cilantro and basil I bought today. Cindy says there's still a chance it might frost; this is the Ohio River valley, after all. The habanera and jalepano peppers will come later - I'm looking for a good variety, so if you got any suggestions, lemme know.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

the hat which went to Afghanistan

Oh man, I love my bike. But maybe I shouldn't love it so roughly... yeah, I'm finding out that I ride it too hard ('Michael Scott' it, I know you want to). Yesterday, I got a blow-out on my way to the Knit Nook; I was riding in traffic, and there were too many cars ignoring my existance, so I had to take it to the curb, and ride on the side walk. Well, I must've hit the curb too fast, because the front tire didn't take it so well. Good thing the Bardstown Rd. Bicycle shop is open until 7pm, Mon.-Wen - the guys were a big help. I was about half way to the bike shop, so I went ahead and walked the bike there, and then hoofed it the rest of the night until I went back for it at closing time. I was a bit pissed about having to get a new tire, but then I got philosophical about it: it's better than ending up under one. And shoo-whee, was it cold out last night, and being a dummy, all I had was a white t-shirt on. My nipple transplant operation is scheduled for this weekend.

I forgot to add this to the blog last time - the hat which went to Afghanistan: my friend Jeff sent me this pic of him wearing it. Jeff likes the hat: this pic is also his profile pic on Facebook - go figure. Anyhow, I'd rather be knitting the Cobblestone than blog'n, so I'm taking off. Later!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Pick your jaws up off the floor already...

...yes, this is an actual blog update. I got so much flak for not posting, I broke down and and here I am, typing up a blog. This is a good thing.

A few weeks ago I got more fish for the 55 g. They all get along, although one (of the five) black skirt tetras got a bite taken out of one of his fins by Adam (the Bicher fish - named after my brother who gifted it to me). The fin has almost grown back; no harm, no foul. The blue Australian rainbow is, uh, blue - and the new severum, named Steve (for one of my friends), is one boss fish.

Over the the past couple of weeks I've read Pablo Neruda's Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair; Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five; Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet; currently, I'm reading Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front. It's been... satisfying; I've been severly anemic for all these things.

I've watched Flight of the Conchords, too; the second sleeve was basically knit while I laughed my arse off - not a bad way to get it done. There were a few dropped stitches involved, but they were worth it. The Bowie episode - brilliant, spot on.

Yeah, yeah, we are now to the part which concerns knitting: I've got the body, and the sleeves for the Cobblestone done! Which puts me in the lead (Jane, who had her Cobblestone practically finished, decided to frog the body and redo it; this blow to her almost unassailable lead has made things a lot more interesting. Cindy's taking bets on this, I just know it).

Below ya can see where I was on 2.26.08 - I was making the most of the time on a lunch break at Arbies (not shown in picture: a large Diet Dr. Pepper).

A month later, I've got some sleeves done.

The goal this week is to get the sleeves even, put everything on waste yarn, try it on, adjust if necessary, get it all back on needles, and soldier on...

In other news, I've purchased this sweet little number. A steel frame, but I can curl it with one arm.

I haven't had a bike of my own since... uh, puberty. I gotta admit, Louisville drivers worried me before, but now, well, I needed more adrenaline in my life anyhow.

I ride the hell out of it, to all kinds of places: to the pet store to get Mad Max a new coconut hut; to the Knit Nook to hang with the Comrades in Yarn; to Wild and Wooly; to the gym; heck, last week I was riding home from returning a video at Red Giraffe (yes, Kristin, at least two still exist - but it seems only in Louisville!), when I came across a Latino couple (no habla English) driving down the one-way street I live on in the wrong direction, with a sick baby in the back seat, and they were looking for Kosair's Childrens Hospital. Learning Spanish in five minutes didn't seem feasible, so I had them follow me there. It was the right thing to do.

Mensch, it's late, I need sleep - g'night.

Mad Max and his new coconut hut.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ever have to make up your mind?

Here's a link to the article about making up your mind; its not about choosing a yarn color, but I think there are a lot of transferable concepts. I guess I had this on the brain because on 2.14.07 I was having an NPR binge at work, and this interview came on, and then I went to pick out a yarn color, and had a fairly bad case of option paralysis. So here ya go, Knit Nookers - I did make up my mind to post a link to the article, after all. It's a strange article; I had no idea.

In other knit news, today I took the sweater with me to lunch at Arbies, cuz I'm realizing if I don't start taking advantage of small increments of time, I'll be giving it to myself as a birthday present (mid-summer). I think it was Shizknit who told me she loves to knit in public. I dunno, about it, though. The Arbie's manager came over and started asking me about knitting. Then we swapped war stories about broken ankles; he and I agreed - broken ankles are the freakin' worst pain in the world. Jus' chop my foot off and get it over with, thanks.

Instead of knitting tonight, I did three weeks worth of laundry - folded and put it away,vacuumed my room with the shop vac (it was lifting the carpet off the floor - feel the clean!), boxed up all the books from the past six years of school and put them in the attic, organized and shelved the books I still want to read/re-read (including the Human Development books which make me feel like an emotionally crippled social-retard), washed/dusted all the woodwork and furniture in the room, finally installed the videocamera software so I can video-Skype me pals overseas, flipped the mattress, made the bed, gave Mad Max some attention, fed the fish, and then wrote this blog entry instead of going grocery shopping. All of this was obviously fueled by the three large Diet Dr. Pepper's I had at lunch (it really does taste like regular Dr. Pepper, by the way - flavor: awesome).

Now, I'm gonna read a bit before going to bed. I can't knit before sleeping - I won't put it down. But I can't read about knitting - I won't put that down either.

My first E. Zimmermann book and the yarn for my first sweater.
Choosing the book: easy. Choosing the yarn: RRRGH!! (insert Leo sound here).

Two of my fish in the 55g.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

So far, so good.

In advance, I'll apologize for no pics - there isn't enough of the Cobblestone sweater finished to warrant that at this point. The sweater is coming along; I started it on 2.14.07, and I just used up my first ball of Rowan Scottish Tweed today - only 6 more to go. Like Erin, I had some trouble getting the gauge right - I started with 7's, tried 8's, and then finally went with 7's. What the heck?

Its been some slow knitting lately - Jan. and Feb. haven't been a great time, but I think I've got the nose up - the months almost over anyhow. Yeah, and it feels really good to be accomplishing the goal I had when I started knitting: to be able to make a sweater.

It may sound dumb, but I had a crazy difficult time choosing a color for the Cobblestone - I mean, it was my first sweater, I didn't mind spending the money to get a good yarn, but by golly it had to be the right yarn. Kristin, Cindy, and Jan were a big help... without 'em, I'd probably still be in front of the yarn rack agonizing over it. I wanted to make a green sweater, and it had to be tweed. I had a few good options, but the one I wanted the most was in the wrong weight. There was a really similar green in the right weight, and I literally had to force myself (with plenty of encouragement from others) that it was "okay" to choose that color. Kristin finally got really serious and said, "Kev, there will be other sweaters." That put it in perspective.

I don't think I generally get affected by "option paralysis" a lot... but then again, I probably do. I'm generally a decisive guy - I know what I want, come up with a plan, and work like hell to make it happen. Maybe its just things that involve elements of uncertainty - things I can't control... agh, enuf! I'm going to bed!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I like this hat a lot

I finished the Thorpe hat Monday; what a great hat. It was my first go-around with fair isle and also my first top-down hat. I've got plenty of yarn left and plan on making another hat soon.

thanks for taking the photo Cindy

Thorpe hat by Kirsten Kapur 2.9.08-2.11.08 (slightly modified)
  • cast on 88 (instead of 80) on DB #8 (which means I made the front bind off 33 instead of 30, and each ear flap is 16 wide, not 14).
  • Cascade 220 yarn worsted (dark brown, grey, tan)
  • using my own simple fair isle pattern (thanks to Kristin for telling me to increase to 88; the fair isle knits thicker, I knit tight, and I have a big noggin'. The hat fits great, btw. On the next hat, I'll prolly use 88 even if I don't fair isle it.)

I'm getting geared up to make my first sweater. So far, everyone I've asked has unanimously (and independently from each other) suggested the Cobblestone, so, I'm gonna make Jared Flood's Cobblestone sweater. I gotta admit, when I first saw it, I immediately thought, "that is a kick ass sweater." Soon, I too shall have a kick ass sweater. I just need to get some yarn; more on this later.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

"I'm Fair Isle-ing!"

Last night I retouched my original fair isle idea while watching the Science of Sleep (for the 3rd time - I actually own it, its that good). Once I got the pattern down (see below), I started trying to get the top of the hat going: it was work (I'm not gonna say how many tries it took - I kept losing sticks!). I stayed up until I was sure I had it down, but then frogged what I had and went to bed. All the practice paid off today, though; the cast on and increases were a cinch, and I have a respectable hat going. I'm not doing it on the #8 circulars though - I tried it out, but didn't like it - I think I knit too tight for 'em, because the loops don't slide very well; I'm back on the double-points and liking it a lot better. Also, because I knit tight, I increased to 88 (instead of 80) 'just in case'.

I've tried to learn something new with every project: the scarf was a good foundation for the basics; the hats were good for learning to use double points, decreasing, double-stitching, and purling; with the gloves I learned how to cable, create additional increases/decreases, and how to stick to a pattern (with the result being matching gloves!). For this project, I learned to fair isle (dur) - but we'll have to wait and see how good I am at it...

And hey! I got the pics of the above projects posted - just see my first blog entry below. Oh yeah, if you all have any ideas about sweaters I might knit, lemme know.

not too shabbymy first fair isle pattern

Friday, February 8, 2008

I got the K.T.'s...

I did not sleep on Wens. night. I had gone over to the Knit Nook to get started on this blog (CINDY helped me decide on the name - i like it a lot, it has just the right amount of knituendo), and ended up getting a 'decaf' espresso blended freeze, but I think the guy making it put some liquid crack in it instead. Like Margie, I'm swearing em off.

Or else maybe I got the Kniterium Tremors. I finished the gloves, and have been kinda out of it ever since, not sure about what to get started on next. Last night, Kristin said, "I think you should do a sweater." Whoa. I think I'm ready... but I need to find a pattern; suggestions are welcome.

In the meantime, to shake the K.T.'s, I'm gonna work on some hats. I saw the Thorpe hat on Erin's blog and my knit fit was assuaged. Ear flap hats have been on my brain for a while, to the point I was seeing them everywhere (like here). At SnB last night, CINDY helped me choose another Cascade yarn, and CINDY also helped me sketch up my first fair isle pattern for a modified Thorpe hat. Sorry no pics of my own yet - here's one from the Science of Sleep (I like the hat):

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Here goes...

I'm a beginner knitter; here's how I got started:

A good while ago (maybe 6 years?), I was visiting some friends; Deb was knitting a sweater. I didn't know she was a knitter, and had never seen it done before. Deb gave me a crash course, but since she didn't have extra sticks, she gave me a crochet hook, taught me to cast on, and I started making mistakes/crocheting.

Shortly after that, I bought a hook and a large skein of bright yellow acrylic yarn and crocheted a crude hat and a scarf (which was about three inches wider at one end than the other). I gave the hat and scarf to Alex, Deb's young son. A while after this, I made a blue scarf, which I gave to Em, Deb's daughter. My friend Mark 'busted me' while working on the blue scarf, which kinda made me angry at the time. I wasn't always the balls out yarn man I am now. I mean, look at me back then - no spine about it at all; pathetic:

Fast forward to October 2007, the day I gimped into the Knit Nook. I was on crutches at the time (I'm already telling one long story, so I'm not gonna start another). So anyhow, I'm in the Knit Nook, on crutches, and I'm not looking for coffee (that's next door). Whitney was teaching a lesson. I got a few weird glances from Whit's students as I hobbled around. When I left, I had a copy of Stitch N' Bitch, some bulky yarn, and #11 needles (which I've not used yet). I went back the next night, which was the Thursday night SnB, exchanged the bulky yarn for worsted, bought #8 16" circular needles, and went home and stayed up really late teaching myself to knit. I was back again on Saturday; Kristin patiently helped me get decisive about yarn and got me going on the K.S.B.N.R.A.H.P. scarf (see below).

I gotta admit, the first few times at the Knit Nook were awkward, but it wore off quick. It was cool when I showed up at my second SnB to hear Cindy say, "Hey - you came back!" Heck yeah I came back - learning to knit has gotta be one of the coolest things I've ever done. My 'Comrades in Yarn' at the Knit Nook are really generous with their know-how and they're highly prone to encourage. Kristin was really patient helping me understand just what I was gettin' into. Whitney taught me to drop down to a mistake, fix it, and then pick it back up. Marge actually put an in-progress hat back on the needles for me because I got pissed off, couldn't think straight and yanked the circular needle out (uh, I don't do this anymore, by the way). Erin and Whitney helped me get going on the Michigan hat, too (see below). Liz actually made me promise that I wouldn't let anyone but her teach me to knit socks - how cool is that?

Below are the projects I've completed so far since I began knitting, in the order that I completed them:

Kinda Sorta But Not Really A Harry Potter Scarf - 11.27.07 - 12.6.07 approx. 45hrs total

  • *based on an atypicallyknit.com pattern
  • 400yds Lamb's Pride Superwash cornflower (blue) SW57 lot 017
  • 400yds Lamb's Pride Superwash charcoal heather (grey) SW04 lot 016
  • approx. 6' long, 8"wide, 19 strips, knit in the round on #8 16" circular (cast on 80, 22 rows/stripe)
fun times 'But it looks like it was made by a machine!' Kristin modeling the KSBNRAHP scarf

Since I was on crutches for 1/3 of the year in 2007, my aunt Ruthann was good to me and kept me supplied with movies. A couple weeks before I happened upon the Knit Nook, I watched all the Harry Potter movies back-to-back. Have you noticed how many knitted goods there are in those movies?? Loads! So, I guess I was unwittingly conditioned into this being my first knitting project. It's happened a few times that when a friend has asked and found out that I hand-knit the scarf, they've said, "But it looks like it was made by a machine." Each time I've responded with, "It was." Man, does it feel good to say that.

Knit Nook Hat - completed 12.07.07

  • 200 yds Rowan Scottish Tweed Aran
  • cast on 80 using #8 16" circulars, rib 1" (k2, p2)
  • k 6" of stockinette, pm, then close top by k2t/8stiches for 1 row, then k 1 row; then decr. by k2t/7 stitches for 1 row, k 1 row; etc. etc.

Michigan State Hat - completed 1.1.08

  • based on Ski Beanie hat in Son of Stitch N' Bitch pg.55 - the only alteration was I created a stockinette area to double stitch the logo. I used #3 double pts.
  • 50g Debbie Bliss Rialto Merino extrafine superwash blue color 23017 lot 60
  • 50g Debbie Bliss Rialto Merino extrafine superwash yellow color 23007 lot 60
he's actually stoked about the hatit's an M

Erin and Whitney helped me get this going. My friend Aaron, who drove me around a lot this past summer, is proud to be from Michigan and is a college football fan. I stayed up on New Years until 4am working on this hat (I found out later I wasn't the only one who did this). After I woke up, I finished it in time to walk the hat over to the house where Aaron was watching the first half of the Michigan/Florida game. When I showed up at the door, the Florida fan said, "Agh! not another Michigan fan!" Aaron jumped up to see who it was, says, "Hey, nice hat!," does a double take, points at himself and asks, "Is that for me?" Michigan won, and Aaron is wearing the hell out of his hat.

Beer Gloves from Son of Stitch N' Bitch - completed 2.3.08
The goal was to complete these things while it was still winter. Kind of an ambitious 4th project, but what the hell - I saw the ones Kristin made and went for it.

some bad ass glovesif the gloves fit...

This past weekend I drove up north to visit my friends Tom and Deb; it was awesome - there was lots of snow, barn chores, chainsaws, beer, and an awesome steak dinner. I finished the gloves on Super Bowl Sunday, and started wearing the hell out those gloves right away. At a party later that night, Tom, Deb, and Em thought it was gross that I was eating nachos and cheese while wearing the gloves - so I took them off. But I put em right back on again when I had me a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and a couple of Grolsch's to boot.

I could use more weekends like this...

Get this: during my visit, Deb got motivated to finally complete the sweater which got me interested in knitting in the first place (go back to the beginning of this post). Deb said this sweater has been ten years in the making, and she's going to finish it! She dug through her cedar chest and got all the peices out; turns out only 1/4 of the front needs to be completed, but one of the sleeves was too short and need to be fixed. Deb unbound the sleeve and started pulling; 5 minutes later, that short sleeve was getting longer. What's more, Deb and I went hunting for LYSs, and found two. Recently Deb knit herself a great hat out of handspun wool sent to her from her friend Martha Owen, a resident artist at the Folk School.