Sunday, May 24, 2009

Post 200: The New Yorker and Me

In honor of post 200, I had full intentions of posting a free pattern to the Navajo Wedding Basket Purse I made last year for a charity auction. However, you have caught me in the middle of the third move I've made in the last twelve months.

Result: I have no stinkin' idea where the notes are for the bag pattern.

It's post 200, I do not have legions of readers (although I really enjoy corresponding with the regular ones out there), and there are more half-filled boxes in my life than I care to count. In fact, I'm declaring New Yorker bankruptcy. There's simply no way I can read all of those old yet still-unread New Yorkers before I have to move again, and there's no room for the fire-hazard stack of them where I'm going, anyway.

I feel that I owe that magazine a debt of intellect after all the conversation starters, curious dreams, and insightful reviews I've gained from four years of subscribing. However, those four years ended in early 2006, and I still have boxes full of back issues. I can't keep this up, not through another move, this one up three flights of stairs. It's time for a clean break and a trip (or three) to the recycling bin.

To John Lahr, Adam Gopnik, Hendrick Herzberg, and everyone else: I'm sorry for letting you down. Forgive me. Someday, I hope you'll allow me to try again.

Only next time, do you think you could make it monthly?

On the knitting front: So close, oh so close to a finished Hanami, believe it or not. Pictures soon, I hope?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

FO: Rabbit Patch Potholders

Psst! Rav link.

Gifts to be given shortly.

Actual content coming soon.

6/24/09 update:
The gifts were given as bridesmaids gifts on June 6, so it's safe to show a picture or two now.

I call these the Rabbit Patch Potholders. After finishing and felting the first of two, the fella nosed over. "It looks like a rabbit patch!" he said.

What a great idea. So in place of the final carrot on the second potholder, I tried to make a little bunny head, replete with pink eyes and all.

Well... Can't fault me for trying. What came out looks more like a jackelope hell-demon. Fortunately, the recipient of potholder #2 is the sort who can appreciate a jackelope hell-demon.

pattern: Carrot Field Potholder by Ala Ela
yarn: Much of this was bought in my early days, before I kept things like ball bands around. On the upside: stash buster! I know for sure I used some Cascade 220 Heathers (9407 for the light green; no idea for the dark green), some regular Cascade 220 for the light brown, and some Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted for the carrots (purchased on the Navajo reservation where they either removed the ball band or it had yet to make it to the place where they add ball bands -- I suspect the latter, and either way I'm not sure of the color).
needles: size 8 for most of it, then size 9 on the carrots on the first before switching back to size 8s on the second.
made for: Pieces and another friend
notes: Lots. Seriously, if you're considering making this, go to the Rav link for my detailed notes.

The reason why I had so many not-quite-right bits is because I really reworked the pattern in a lot of ways. It would be bad knitter's etiquette to write my version of the pattern out here, so I will just highlight the really important bit.

If you consider making any potholder ever, do not use just any old scrap yarn. Different yarns conduct heat differently. Wool is by far the best insulation, and it is naturally flame-resistant. Most craft-store yarns contain at least part acrylic, which, when exposed to high temperatures, will melt and bond to your skin. (Go iron your high school graduation robe if you're not convinced.) This is a terrible thing to happen in the kitchen.

For more information on what happens with different fibers, see Amy Singer's excellent resource No Sheep for You.

It's also smart to felt your wool potholder to make it thicker, stiffer, and more useful as something other than a weird square-shaped thing with carrot poking out to go over your hand.

Most experienced knitters will know this, but honestly, I only learned it a couple years ago. I'd hate for anyone to get hurt from lack of knowledge.

Now for my dummy bit: I didn't swatch. Heh.

I forgot that felting happens more vertically than it does horizontally. That may limit the usefulness of these two FOs, I fear. But on the upside, (1) I also gave them nifty cookbooks, and (2) Laila the Pet Lizard may find a new, colorful, 100-percent wool addition to her terrarium.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Misdirection, part II

Star Trek: dudes, just go see it if you haven't already. It really is that good.

But in another department: I am now really, really ready to go to Vancouver for our honeymoon. I'm not sure why getting married entitles one to a seriously awesome vacation, but life offers so few breaks that I'd better go ahead and take this one.

And what does any knitter think about when planning a vacation?

That's right. What knitting should I bring? Wedding, schmedding. This is important.

Socks. Except, I still can't do toes or heels without referencing instructions from three different places.

Lace. It's a honeymoon, right? So a little something feminine and delicate seems apropos. Except, I'll be traveling with a 6'6" fella who likes to curl up exactly where my knitting is, in a most catlike manner. Can lace withstand the abuse love?

Sweater. Useful, where we're going. But sweaters always require so much from my tiny chest of knitting nick-knacks.

Hat. Aha. Perhaps I'm onto something there.

Gloves. Also a possibility! If only the ones I'm eyeing weren't stranded colorwork...

I'm open to suggestions! What's the last piece of vacation knitting to travel with you?

Friday, May 8, 2009


Is it bad that I'm more excited about Star Trek than I am about my own wedding?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

FO: Whisper Cardigan

I don't want to dwell too much on unhappy things, but dudes: last week sucked. It was so sucky, other bad weeks take lessons from that week in how they can be suckier.

I woke up Monday morning feeling crappy. Sore throat, distantly achy... Still, my mother would have made me go to school, so I went to work.

One hour later, my fiance got laid off from his job. If you're counting, that's less than six weeks before our wedding.

I then found myself working four twelve-hour days in a row. It was one of those infuriating confluences of events that left me unable to take time off, because time off for me means no pay, and no pay now means something other than what it meant the week before.

By the time Friday creaked in, I couldn't take any more and collapsed and knit and then collapsed some more and knit some more.

I also washed and blocked a new FO:

So here's the thing: when something sucks, it's bad. We still have our health (well, now I do. Last week not so much), our relationship, and our resources. We'll make do. It ain't my idea of fun, but something that sucks is usually something that can be dealt with, eventually.

One of the ways to deal with things temporarily is to knit. I read somewhere that most human stress comes from feeling out of control. Knitting? I control that bitch.

Yup, I know. Bad hair, mean look. See above re: suckiness.

pattern: Whisper Cardigan by Hannah Fettig, Interweave Knits Spring 2009.
yarn: Bristol Yarn Gallery Lyndon Hill (color: 110; 85% cotton, 15% silk; just barely more than 3 skeins)
made for: me, to wear to our rehearsal dinner in just under a month
notes: LOVE IT. Most of my mods were to take into account the cotton/silk blend which behaves differently and sags more than wool. The sleeves I knit about an inch shorter; I'm counting on them growing a bit. The ribbing is twisted rib to help hold the shape. Also, I didn't increase all the way down the body. Instead, I went to an increase every 4 rows then to no increases at all near the bottom. I'm so excited to show this off on June 5!