Wednesday, December 26, 2007

What I did on my winter vacation

I didn't finish my novel. I didn't do revisions to my play due Jan. 3, I didn't work on the grant application due Jan. 2. I didn't get ready to leave for Nebraska, early as sin tomorrow morning.

Instead, today, I pulled sweat(er)-shop hours to finish... yes... THERMAL.

Ta-da! Tired girl in sweater.

I have to get important things done starting NOW, but as this blog is my witness, the sweater is done. I can move on now.

Thank you! May the new year bring decent tidings and no stains to you and your kin-nitting. (And decent tidings to the yarnless among you.)

Next post coming up: Lessons Learned in 2007. Watch for that, it's a looong list.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Hand-dyed Fun

I'm breaking a blog hiatus this week with several posts. The last few weeks for me have been in that true Christmas spirit, which is to say, so busy that the enormous pile of dirty laundry actually sat up and talked to me last Thursday. "Honestly," it said, "haven't you finished your novel yet?"

Fortunately, it's the true holidays now. (i.e., I'm eating free food that somebody else makes and I'm not footing the bill for the central heating.) I survived the very definition of a north wind on my way up I-35, dodging truckers and fools alike, and I am packing in the knitting, writing, and computer time before I hop on a plane on Thursday to visit parts Nebraskan, where the fellah's folks reside. So it's blog catch-up time!

A few weeks back was the Fiber Friends Festival at Hill Country Weavers, where I sold all five skeins of hand-dyed wool that I offered for the Fest. Lookee, lookee:

the Four Seasons dye series

1) Maple Syrup on Ice: spots of Tamarindo drink mix with variegated Berry Blue. The "golden hour" photo (me rushing into the parking lot of my apartment complex at 8:15 a.m. to take pictures on a Saturday before carting my skeins to S. Austin) drained the picture a bit, but trust me, the golden spots are there.

2) Spring Sprout: Think fresh, healthy sprouts on a springtime salad. Imagine a tad more yellow, if you will!

3) Lavender Sprig: I've been in lavender fields in both Texas and France, but I've never been there when they're in bloom. I've seen pictures, though! And they look a bit like this.

4) Autumn Leaves: Overdyeing saved this skein from a life of splotchy orangeness. I wanted to hold onto it, but it wouldn't be the four seasons without autumn, now would it?

And the fifth, a skein I called Strawberry Blonde. I'm not sure what my series would have been if I'd had time to create more. Fake hair colors? Candied icing?

If, by chance, the buyers of these yarns ever see this post, send me a picture of your FOs. I would love to see what these skeins turn into!

Merry Christmas, and other pleasant winter solstice greetings, to everybody out there. Peace.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Reasonably Hip Errata

No, it's not the errata themselves that are Reasonably Hip. Actually, these errata are the kind that make you turn red in the face.

I was so careful on the directions for the visor, that I messed up the instructions for the part that's in... yup... garter stitch. Priceless!

I will be a big girl, and reprint that section of the directions. I'll let Magknits know. Thank you to the knitters who kindly pointed out the mistake!

Hat Body

With double pointed needles, cast on 63 sts.
Knit 1 rnd. Turn to WS.

Begin short rows:
Row 1: K35, w&t.
Row 2: K36, w&t.
Row 3: K37, w&t.
Row 4: K39, w&t.
Row 5: K41, w&t.
Row 6: K43, w&t.
Row 7: K45, w&t.
Row 8: K47, w&t.
Row 9: K49, w&t.
Row 10: K51, w&t.
Row 11: K53, w&t.
Row 12: Work in seed st for 56 sts, w&t.
Row 13: Work in seed st for 59 sts, w&t.
End of short rows. Begin working again in round over all sts.

Work in seed stitch until hat measures 6" [15 cm] from cast on.

Let me know if there are any other problems, and I'll see to them right away!

Friday, December 14, 2007

It's LIVE, baby!

The Beats Broke record label has launched. And it's awesome, baby.

Just freakin' check this out!

I especially recommend The Adventures of Kapabel and Inf. Legally download it for free: you'll love it. Even if you don't like hip hop, you'll love it. The beats and samples are ingenious, the MC is wild.

And don't forget to read up on Arts the Beatdoctor while you're there! Forget Moby: Arts will astonish you.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

FO: Montego Bay

I teach math. Not for a living; it's a part-time thing to earn a little extra cash. However, as part of one of my jobs, I do in fact teach math.*

So I know the difference between mathematics and magic.

This scarf is magic:

I know this because the pattern says you need precisely 440 yards in this gauge, no more no less, to finish this scarf out at 80 inches (6 feet 8 inches), without fringe.

From the 440 yards on the skein, I cut 120 ft. (40 yards) for the fringe before starting, rather than the recommended 200 ft. (66.6 yards). I knit the scarf. It wound up 6 feet long, with fringe. I had no yarn left.

I washed it. I left it to dry on its own without blocking, as it seemed happy doing just that, and... it grew to... you guessed it... 80 inches.


pattern: Montego Bay Scarf, from Interweave Knits Summer 2007
yarn: Knit Picks Bare - Merino Wool Fingering Weight (100% merino wool, 440 yards; 1 skein) dyed with 2.5 packets of Black Cherry Kool-Aid, in the colorway "Candy Rose"
made for: Aimee, modeled by me
needles: size 8 circs

This was a terrifically fun pattern to knit: both interesting and repetitive. I always need a pattern like this to take on the bus or on a car ride.

*Now, the other kind of note, known by some as a footnote:

I recently had a few people caution me, some indirectly, about how much information is available about me on the internet. As a journalist, performer, and playwright, a web presence is both unavoidable and useful. However, for those concerned, let me describe the rules I have for this blog:

1. I do not use anyone's full name. I might link to their site, on which they choose to use their full name. That's their choice.

2. I do not blog about work, other than to mention the sketchiest of details (as in, "I teach math"). The exception is the work that I do for myself as an artist. That is self-promotion.

3. I don't show other people's faces, unless I'm given explicit permission.

I'm lucky enough to have come of age at a time which allowed me to make my most idiotic internet mistakes before I began my professional life. I plan to keep it that way!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Hi there, Magknits!

Note: No, you're not imagining things. I did make a mistake in the pattern. Here are the errata. Thanks to the knitters who kindly brought it to my attention!

This is a post that I am in fact writing while tap-dancing. That is because I woke up this morning to discover that my hat pattern, Reasonably Hip, has appeared on Magknits!

Modeled by my terrifically handsome and patient Fellah.

I'm quite delighted. All the info is right there in the pattern, but I'm happy to answer any questions.

This published pattern will greatly amuse my non-knitting friend over at Pieces, with whom I caught a ride to Dallas for Thanksgiving '06. We were caught in the infamous I-35 traffic for eight hours, during which time I frogged the original hat twice and nearly chewed through my needles in frustration. Standstill traffic plus original knitting is a rough combination.

There's another picture with him smiling, but he doesn't like it. I disagree.

My knitter's MeetUp Group met this afternoon, and the girls there were sweet enough to ooh and ahh over the second Reasonably Hip, one I made for myself. (I tried for a whole bleedin' hour today to get a good picture of myself wearing it, and I'll be darned if my big nose didn't ruin every shot. I'll keep trying.)

Someone asked if both girls and guys can wear it. The answer is yes, of course! We ladies might need to fold up the hat at the back to make it fit, but even that looks cute.

Thanks, everybody, for your interest. I had so much fun designing this project that I'll certainly be creating more!

download now

Saturday, December 1, 2007

FO alert

Another FO!

Modeled by Bobo, the lovable chimp.

Yup, it's a Jayne Cobb hat, from the late, great Firefly. My friend at Pieces requested it for her husband. And if you've never seen the show before, then rest assured, it's supposed to look big, goofy, and totally awesome (but only in the sense that it isn't).

Now, last night, my fellah comes over for dinner, and I show him the hat. "Oh, from Firefly," he says. Then his face brightens. "Hey, it's a rap hat!"

"It's a what?"

"It's totally rap. I can sell that on my website!" My fellah is launching a hip hop record label website on December 14. (Be prepared for MEGA blatant promo from me.) He's also a designer, so he's selling awesome t-shirts along with music.

"But, it's supposed to be ugly," I pointed out.

"No, it's cool. Trust me. People will buy those things. How many can you make in a month?"

So, as I survey my future Jayne Cobb hat sweatshop existence, here are the details on the BDH hat:

pattern: Jayne Cobb's Family Hat. Free online!

yarn: Elann Uros Aran (color: burnt orange; 50% wool, 50% llama; 1 ball); Elann Uros Aran (color: Mayan gold; 50% wool, 50% llama; 1 ball); Elann Sierra Aran (color: autumn maple; 80% wool, 20% alpaca; 1 ball).

made for: Marci's husband Jack

needles: size 8 circs

notes: The pattern was more of a helpful guide than a strict how-to. After all, it's an easy project with more than enough screen captures of the original from the episode "The Message" from Firefly. Plus, half the knitting world has made one of these guys.

You only need half a ball of each color to finish an oversized man's hat. I hope to make a second. Oh, and the Sierra Aran is delicious.