Friday, November 6, 2009

I'm not-quite-back from the dead.

Okay, okay. I haven’t blogged in a while. So sue me. I’ve been massively busy. Like, busier than I ever have been, or at least that I can remember. Each of the last eight weeks has held some kind of travel for me … Dallas, Illinois, Austin, Denver, Phoenix … the few and far between nights that I’ve had at home to myself have been purposely filled with knitting and television (two of my favorites). Despite all of these things, I have sad little to report.

I *have* {dramatic pause} … finished the body of the secret Mom gift. It’s coming along to Phoenix this weekend in the hopes of getting a good start on a sleeve (or two???) since Christmas is looming. (It’s true. I was in denial, too. And then I went to Macy’s and was slapped in the face by blinking Christmas trees. And then Glade assaulted my senses with cinnamon and pine cone and poinsettia. Christmas is here, and it’s back with an economic vengeance.) However, I’m also taking an as-yet-started pair of booties for a co-worker who thoughtlessly decided to have her baby shower BEFORE the baby was actually born. Doesn’t she realize I needed those two months to make the booties that I stupidly opened my big fat mouth and promised her?! I know, I know, I don’t *have* to give her the booties at the shower, I could easily make them when I have other things finished and then give them to her closer to her due date … but then I am empty handed at the shower, and I refuse to buy a gift where one can be made.

I was knitting away with decent progress on Tina’s brother-in-law socks … but remedial math skills flew out of my brain (bye bye addition and subtraction! You will be missed!) and I screwed up the increases at the heel and now I can’t see where I went wrong. I am banking on the fact that next weekend is my Knitting Class Extravaganza, or How My Knitting Life Will Change In Two Days. Next Saturday, I will take an 8-hour class with Cat Bordhi based on her new book on brilliant and wonderful ways to make perfect-fitting socks. I am hoping that after her class, I will have brilliant insight into making these socks so that it doesn’t look like a he-gorilla slobbered on the yarn and then molded said yarn into a sock shape. Then I will whip out the pair of socks with mere minutes left before Christmas, and then my major deadlines will be finished. I also have Nicky Epstein classes the day after the Cat Bordhi class, so I will come out the other side of next weekend as a totally new and talented knitter (who is $300 poorer after class fees and going crazy with class materials ... don't judge).

I’ve created a New Year’s Resolution for myself (I know, it’s November, and it will probably be February before this thing actually goes into effect, but who’s counting?): after finishing my immediate WIPs (which includes the Mom-thing, the socks, the booties, a pair of fingerless gloves, a baby jacket, a hat and half an afghan), I am going to spend some time knitting for no one but myself. It took someone pointing it out to me, but I spend the majority of my knitting time making things for other people. Don’t get me wrong, I love making things for other people, especially people that appreciate the knitted things I give them … but I only have two pairs of socks I’ve made for myself, and one of those pairs are toe-less for pedicures. I have a hat or two, and a head scarf, and a sweater … but I want more. If I’m spending all this time and money on the materials, then I want to have a few more pairs of socks to show for myself at the end of it. So it won’t last forever, but between my severely decreased knitting time and my level of interest in my current WIPs, I’m fairly certain that this needs to happen. So there … once the Christmas gifts are finished, I’ll re-begin the pair of socks I started for myself all those many moons ago and then at least one project on my needles will be intended for me. And once that big-ass list is down a bit, then even more will be for me. And now because this picture makes me happy … let me present my new desktop pattern at work (it keeps me sane and I love staring at it). Red Rock, Colorado. Can I move now please?

Please? Now? ... How about now?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I'll sleep when I'm dead.

WHEWWW!! These last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of travels and everyday nonsense … this October is the busiest month I’ve had in a loooong time, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’m travelling for work, I’m travelling for pleasure, and have been lucky enough to be able to combine the two as well. I haven’t had as much time as I would typically like to have for knitting, which for a girl with as big of a to-do list as me would normally be a bad thing … however, I’ve had some very happy changes happen in my personal life, and despite being more than a little exhausted and behind on my knitting and spinning, and can’t seem to wipe this big doofy grin off my face. So I guess it all evens out in the end, doesn’t it?

Last weekend was my (yikes) 10-year high school reunion. It was a great weekend, filled with family time and friend time, and I even squeezed in some knitting time in between. I made great progress on the sweater-that-must-not-have-details-shared … but here’s a fairly nondescript photo snapped while waiting for my flight:
I also had Tina’s socks with me, but they didn’t get worked on much … the glorious fiber content of this project made it way too tempting for the chilly and rainy weather that greeted me in Illinois.

Friday was a day spent with my Dad, doing errands and napping, and Friday night was a way-too-much-fun dinner at Avanti’s with a bunch of friends from high school (and the first time I wore my Owl Sweater!). Don’t you love it when you’re the loud obnoxious table in the middle of the restaurant that couldn’t care less about the people staring? We were that table, and laughed the whole damn time. I wish I had remembered to snap a few pics.

Saturday was brunch with my Aunt Sally and Uncle Dan, along with their daughter Josie and her boyfriend, and my Grandmother. We had a fantastic time (Sal made the best breakfast burritos I’ve ever had) and I got to drive Sal and Dan’s vintage Mustang on the way to pick up Grandma:
Don’t ask me what year it is, or any of those other fancy car questions. All I know is it was a blast driving it (even in 50 degree weather), and it was fun to practice my prom queen wave. Saturday afternoon was my favorite part of the trip. My dad has a couple of friends, Stan and Janetta Bauer, who have an alpaca farm just outside of town called der Bauernhof Farms. We went and visited their cute little shop in the bottom floor of their house.
Janetta and I babbled away at each other for over an hour about spinning and knitting and fiber. She has a glorious selection, and I (only) bought 15oz of this

Beautiful light grey roving with flecks of brown in it from one of their cute little alpacas, Twinkle.
That’s Twinkle in the middle, and the brown comes from her big brown spot. I loved buying roving from a “home grown” kind of place, and was stupidly thrilled to be able to go out back and see the animal that it came from. Saturday night was the reunion, which was fun and good times. Drinks and reminisces were had by all, and there was the obligatory half-drunken bathroom photo:
From left to right, that’s Lesley, Sarah, Megan, me and Alyssa. It was great to see everyone, and we were certainly laughing our asses off in that bathroom. Don’t ask me over what, but it was sure good to see everyone again.

Now, back to real life, and not having enough time to knit properly … October is already half-over, and I’m only halfway through a sweater, and halfway through ONE sock of a pair that need to be done by Christmas. Hoping to get some knitting done in the car this weekend on the way to Dallas (remember when I mentioned those exciting personal life happenings? This weekend is one of them), but I may be catching up on my sleep instead …. What’s more important, dear reader? Knitting or sleeping? This is a tough call ….

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

*tap tap* 'Scuse me, is this thing on?

This week is Banned Book Week -- a week celebrating all of the books that the Uptight Citizens of America have deemed UNWORTHY in some way ... racist, pro-communist, anti-God, anti-Christian (ahem, there IS a difference, there's more than one God thankyouverymuch), pro-free-thinking, etc.

Now, I'm going to just turn my soapbox on the tall side so that y'all can see me for a sec. Banned books have been a sore spot for me since I learned what they were and discovered there were people on this planet trying to tell me what I should and should not read. A book should never be burned, NEVER. No matter what it's content. NEVER EVER. The only time it's okay to burn a book is if you're penniless and starving and freezing and a book is the only form of kindling you have near you and there's no chance of finding anything else around. And even then, you should feel really bad about it. If you don't agree with what the book says, here's the thing: DON'T FUCKING READ IT. People are going to think differently than you, and they have every right to put their thoughts down on paper, JUST LIKE YOU. Write your own stupid book so that other people can burn your thoughts! Jerk! If you don't like it, get over it -- burning, banning, and condemning books because you disagree with the content is a basic form of ignorance and intolerance and not a far cry from racism (literacism?). (And please let me take this moment to state the irony of Farenheit 451 being a banned book. There. Irony stated. But seriously?!?! WINNIE-THE-POOH???)

So -- here's the link to the American Library Association's list of Banned and/or Challenged Books. This is not the entire list, but there are some serious classics on here. I've only read a handful of these, and there were even a few that I read I didn't enjoy (personally, I thought The Catcher in the Rye was boring. Dude needed to get over himself). Take a look. Educate yourself. Or don't. That's your right as an American citizen. But please don't burn them. Because that's just dumb.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Great ... now I'm a spinster.

Crap. I have a new hobby.

This weekend, I drove to Navasota, TX to visit the lovely WC Mercantile and learn how to hand-spin.

Navasota is about an hour and twenty minutes northwest of Houston, and part of a lovely green farming expanse. I got to the shop a little early and was able to poke around at their nice array of already-spun and hand-spun (locally grown, of course), and their HUGE and well-priced selection of different fibers. I refrained from grabbing it all like a kid in a candy store, deciding that I should wait until after class when I could really take my time and have a little more education in my brain about what I would WANT to be spinning.
From more knitting stuffs

The whole place had this wonderful old-style farmhouse feel. There were antiques up on shelves and for sale all over the store, and creaky wooden floors and different sizes and styles of spinning wheels all over the place. It was a comfortable shop staffed with helpful and friendly folk – who were very kind to stand outside and wave until I found them.

We were learning on drop spindles, rather than spinning wheels. Drop spindles are much easier to control the speed of, so much less frustrating for a novice to learn on. The class was taught by the lovely Sue Ellen, who told us about the different kinds of drop spindles – top whorl and bottom whorl. We learned on bottom whorl, but I bought my own spindle at the end of class that can be used as either a top or bottom whorl, and I’ve discovered that I prefer the top whorl – it’s easier to control the speed and get it spinning faster, and so I find I get a tighter spin … but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Check this out:
From more knitting stuffs
A table full of fiber (and water bottles)! Our class kits each came with a sample of different fibers for us to practice spinning – blue-faced Leicester (BFL), which is a breed of sheep; merino; bamboo; cotton; a type of silk; and alpaca. We started out with the BFL because the individual fibers are very long, and so easier for a beginner to get used to. Sue Ellen showed us how to wrap the leader around the spindle and attach the first bit of fiber, and how to pre-draft the wool … then all we had to do was practice.

Look, Ma! I made yarn!
From more knitting stuffs
Tradition states (don't ask me why) that you always spin your singles clockwise and you ply the yarn counter-clockwise (plying is wrapping two single bits of yarn around each other to make them stronger and give the yarn a different characteristic). The number of strands you ply together determines the number of ply – so 2-ply means two singles wrapped around each other, 3-ply is three singles, 4-ply is four, and so on. So we made two singles, and then plied them together.
From more knitting stuffs
I have to admit, I was pretty dern impressed with myself. The other women in the class were lovely to work with, and we all got the hang of it pretty quickly. It was truly cool, and I’m already at work spinning some more BFL at home and thinking about how I want to dye it … what I’d really love to do is dye two singles different colors, and then ply them together … anyone have color suggestions?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

In which progress is made ....

Yesterday was the first day of autumn and in some strange turn of fate, the weather actually feels like autumn today. For those of you not in the Houston area, we don’t usually get autumn-like weather until November … and even then, it’s interspersed with still-hot-and-humid. After a day of heavy raining yesterday, there’s actually a nip in the air today that makes me want to stay at home in yoga pants and slippers with my knitting in my lap and a cuppa tea on the table next to me. Instead, I am with the rest of the gainfully employed, stuck at a desk and dreaming of wool sliding through my fingers … but I digress.

Despite the whirlwind of every day life that happens, I have made some good progress with my projects. I purchased buttons from High Fashion Fabrics and sewed all 36 of them on to my Owl Sweater. They didn’t have 36 buttons in one color, so I did blue and white. Turned out nice. Although here you can see the previously mentioned back poodge: Not too bad, but I still know it's there. I was also able to finish a pair of fingerless gloves meant for Hazel.
And worked a bit on my tie dye socks (my first toe-ups). That's Clio in the background, ignoring me because I'm not petting her. I also started Tina’s brother-in-law’s socks last night (my second toe-ups).
Started Mom’s Christmas gift after a nightmare of swatching (seven is too many) and that’s coming along nicely. No photos in case she’s peeking.

This weekend, I have my spinning class at WC Mercantile in Navasota, TX. I’m stupid excited. Check back for photos of my progress.

Also this week, I was all-but-sold on an iPhone. I’ve been thinking I need something to help me with my efforts in social media and getting my knitterly name out there … an iPhone would be a valuable tool for such a thing. I’m an Apple girl, I always have been -- so don't try to convince me to get a Blackberry. However, I have been putting the phone upgrade off for several reasons. 1) The cost. 2) I don’t have AT&T and it would cost another buttload of money to cancel my current provider, and then pony up the cast to start a new contract AND purchase a $200 phone. 3) I don’t really like the idea of having a piece of equipment that is capable of making me entirely unsocial (I do well enough on my own, thank YOU). However, it finally occurred to me that I am in control of how often I have the darn thing out to play with, and I should just make a conscious effort to still make eye contact with people I am sharing a room with. That being said, my iPod is on its last legs, and I figure if I’m going to pay for an iPod, I may as well pay for an iPhone. I have been asking around to see if there are reasons against getting one – so far, the most common (okay – the ONLY) is the complaint of an abundance of dropped calls with AT&T. So I ask you, gentle reader: what kind of phone do you have? Do you like it? Do you hate it? If you have an iPhone, what (if anything) do you not like about it?

Friday, September 18, 2009

I'm So Damn Proud of Myself

I have reached a new pinnacle. I have completed my first sweater. {Insert fanfare here.}

From smile and nod

I cast it off the needles earlier this week – the Owls Sweater by Kate Davies, knit with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky blend (a merino and cashmere blend that was a dream to work with). It was the perfect first sweater for me … knit entirely in the round, it starts at the bottom of the body and knits up to the armpits, using increases and decreases for the shaping at the waist, and short rows for the shaping near the shoulder. Then the sleeves are knit separately from the bottom up to the armpits, and it’s joined together at the yoke. The Owl cable is worked repeatedly over the yoke (mine is the small/medium size and has 18 owls around), and then a few more short rows for the shoulder shaping, then the ribbing for the collar, and *poof* your very own Owl sweater. I learned a couple of lessons on this –

1. Joining the arms to the body of the sweater pulled the arm pit really tight on the needles and stretched it out a bit. I can fix it with some creative seaming, but in the future I recommend casting off a couple extra stitches where the armpit seam is to avoid this, and to make it easier to join the arms to the body. (The pattern called for a total of four cast offs on both the sleeves and the body – I’d up it to six or eight.)

2. The back decreases could have been higher on the back. It’s not incredibly noticeable, but there’s a little bit of back pooch towards the top. I’m hoping this can be fixed with some more creative seaming, but I need to ask my wonderful seamstress/ master knitter friend Janet her professional opinion.

So all that really remains is to seam the underarms closed and add the buttons for the Owl eyes. Buttons are purchased from High Fashion Fabrics … they unfortunately did not have enough in one color for me to do the whole sweater (turns out 36 is a lot of buttons to buy at once), so I did half blue and half white. Final pictures coming next week!

In the meantime, I purchased the yarn for my Mom’s Christmas present. MOM IF YOU’RE READING THIS THEN STOP RIGHT NOW OR IT WILL GIVE IT AWAY. Unless you want to know. I purchased some fancy yarn from Knitting in the Loop (don’t want to tell exactly what in case my mom continued reading, giving away the fiber content gives away half the surprise), and found a great pattern from Wendy Bernard (go here to see the sweater I chose). Problem with knitting gifts is it’s hard to post about them, lest the giftee be reading. So stealth updates will be forthcoming.

I also purchased the yarn for Tina’s brother-in-laws socks. These are a Christmas gift for Tina’s hard-to-buy-for brother-in-law who apparently has everything. Everything except hand-knit socks! I’ll be using KnitPicks Stroll Sock Yarn in Russet Tweed.

Here is my gigantic list of things I have to/ want to knit before January 2010:
~One fingerless glove to complete pair to be sent to Hazel
~Aforementioned Mom’s Christmas sweater
~Aforementioned Tina’s Brother-in-Law socks
~Continue Big Brother’s afghan
~Baby Booties for pregnant co-worker Jennifer (due in January)
~Baby Surprise Sweater for lovely pregnant Paula (also due in January)
~Fingerless gloves for Bill (mom’s boyfriend)
~Humping Bunnies hat for Valerie

Holy shit. It’s really scary to see them all written out like that. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Don't Drink the Kool Aid

This weekend was Labor Day weekend, so I made it a point to be as anti-Labor as possible. I got all my errands done ahead of time so that I could do whatever I damn well pleased, and it was totally worth it! Saturday was my first foray into Kool Aid dyeing. I read a few articles online and holy crap was it easy (shhh, don’t tell).

First, I gathered all my materials:

From more knitting stuffs

Microwave-safe bowl, measuring spoons for dishing out the dye (I don’t have a turkey baster), latex gloves to keep the stains off my fingers, the chosen flavors of Kool Aid, and the yarn intended for dyeing (only animal fibers will take the dye - I used Lamb's Pride worsted, which is 85% wool and 15% mohair. If I had used, say, a cotton/ wool blend, the wool would have taken the dye, but the cotton would not. Which can be a nice effect, so don't rule it out completely). I wrapped the yarn around the back of a chair in order to make a dye-able loop, then let it soak in cool water for about ten minutes (I added a wee bit of shampoo and gave it a good rinse). Then I mixed up my dyes and laid the skein out on a garbage bag to minimize clean up:

From more knitting stuffs

For the dye, I used one whole packet of Kool Aid and filled the mug up about halfway with water. The pink was a bit light, so I added a second packet and tried the same with the grape. I used the measuring spoon to distribute the dye where I wanted and ended up with this:

From more knitting stuffs

Then I smooshed it down a little with my fingers to make sure the dye went through all the layers of yarn and absorbed fairly evenly. I wasn’t too worried about this part, because I was starting with white yarn and didn’t mind some of that still showing through. Then I *put the skein (still wet) into the microwave safe bowl and zapped for two minutes, then let it cool off on the counter for another two-minutes ish. Repeat from * twice more. Then I lay the skein out on some old washcloths to cool off completely:

From more knitting stuffs

Have you ever smelled hot wet Kool Aid wool? I hadn’t either. It’s not entirely unpleasant (at least if you don’t mind the smell of wet wool, which I don’t), but it definitely isn’t something I’d like to scent my car with. After it had cooled, I rinsed with cool water (it’s important to let it cool completely before rinsing, to avoid felting the yarn), then let it hang dry in my shower. As it was drying, I decided the grape/ purple color was too muddy, so I overdyed that portion using black cherry and got a nice purpley-red color. Finished product turned out quite nice:

From more knitting stuffs

Houston Sunset. All the colors of the pretty Houston Sunsets.

Spent the rest of the weekend finishing, then frogging (while swearing), then re-making another hat for Hazel:

From more knitting stuffs

Special thanks to Big Brother for the mannequin head. I feel I should say that it's a VERY SMALL HEAD, so the hat looks bigger than it actually is. And started my first toe-up sock pattern:
From more knitting stuffs

Hooray for three-day weekends! I wish every weekend was a three-day weekend. More knitting!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A New Direction

Hey there Hi there Ho there chickie peeps! Happy September … for most people, the air has a touch of crisp autumnal chill (or rain), but here in Houston it’s still a balmy 92 degrees, and will probably stay that way until November. However, today is cooler than most other days (it’s not supposed to get into the 90’s until later this afternoon, rather than by 8:00am!) and I’m bundled up against the A/C in my Old Navy cardigan, so it’s easy to pretend that the colors are changing and we’re only a few weeks away from warm comforting drinks and cozy socks.

It’s been a tumultuous last few weeks … I left my old job at the wonderful Alley Theatre and have started anew at the Children’s Museum of Houston. I’ve been here for a little over a month by now, and am plugging away at all the things one does when learning a new job. Introductory emails abound! In the shifting-of-jobs that has been happening, I’ve been asking myself: is this what I want to DO for the next ten (or however many) years? (For those of you who don’t know, my previous title at the Alley was Promotions Manager – I handled audience-building programming, audience events, the annual Open House, and a myriad of everything else. For the Children’s Museum, I am Group Promotions and Facility Rentals Manager – so I’m in charge of bringing non-school groups in to the Museum, promoting the Museum to the community-at-large, and convincing people to rent out our various available spaces for parties, meetings, presentations, and whatever else they may be hosting.) The answer to my question was a resounding and unhesitant NO. It's certainly a good way for me to make money, but I just don't want to DO this for ten years. So then the next natural question is: “well, then, what DO I want to do?” The answer: knit. I can’t think of anything that has given me such pleasure (and frustration) as knitting has since I discovered theatre in high school. So when asking the question “what do I want to spend my time doing the next five-to-ten-to-however-many-years?” the only answer that sounded appealing to me was: knitting. So how do I do that? How do I create a career for myself with – of all things – knitting? Well, I have to start by learning more. Learning more techniques, more aspects of the craft (finishing, embellishing, designing, sewing), and while I work a "day job" to save up enough money to leave this knitting-unfriendly-hotter-than-the-seventh-circle-of-hell city for woollier climates, I can take classes to teach me these things and practice at night, and create more of a name for myself online using this blog and

SO … after months of idly posting random thoughts and photos of my latest WIPs (work-in-progress for you non-knitters kind enough to follow me), I feel like I have a direction I can take this thing. I’m going to talk about the things I’m learning as I learn them, and post photos of my progress. I’m going to ask those of you who read this far to share this blog with anyone you know who would be interested or remotely care for long enough to add themselves to my followers, and to check out my Etsy shop (, or click the link in the “Talk to Me, Babe” section at the top right of this page) and order things from me, or send me a message with a request for a unique item. There are tons of things that I can make that don’t have photos in my gallery, because I just haven’t made them yet. I have ideas for patterns for sweaters, fingerless gloves, mug cozies, hats, blankets, anything knitted – I can also do felts, napkin rings, baby stuffs … hand-made gifts are making a comeback, people! Nothing shows you care more than something that was made by hand – even if it wasn’t made by you. So check out my store and if you don’t see what you’re looking for, then all you have to do is ask.

That being said, here are a couple of things I’ve finished lately – a kinda Fair Isle hat for sale at Hazel in Chicago

Another hat for Hazel – it has a thistle cable pattern knitted in that’s very subtle. I’m naming the hat “Sassenach,” after the nickname given to the main character in the series of books I’m reading right now (and totally obsessed with – it’s the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Sassenach is Gaelic for “Outlander,” or someone not from the Highlands of Scotland). The thistle is subtle, but you can see it if you look closely.

From more knitting stuffs
And a gift for my Nana – it’s another cable swatch, called Secret Garden. If you look closely, it looks like two people hiding between trees. I knitted this for her, because when I was younger my Nana read the entire Secret Garden book onto tapes for me and sent it to me as a gift. My Nana is a National Treasure and she deserves a statue in a park somewhere.

From more knitting stuffs
And my first pair of needle-toppers -- they're cups of tea! (13" size 7 bamboo needles - for sale in my Etsy store.)

From more knitting stuffs

As for upcoming classes you can look forward to me reporting on:
*Basic Sewing – a private class with my good friend Janet Copestake, date still TBD
*Beginner Hand Spinning – September 26
*Edging Magic & Flower Power -and- Designing Embroidery on Knitting with Nicky Epstein – November 15

And I’m hoping against hope to make it into the Cat Bordhi tutorials being hosted at my LYS (local yarn store, again for you non-knitters) in November. I’m on the wait list. I’m also planning to take a Dyeing Workshop at the end of October, but I’m not sure if my schedule will support it right now – but I’ll take one at some point, so you’ll get to see plenty of pics of a messy kitchen and stained fingers.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Just a quick post for the moment ... had to share the photo of my brother's future nephew-in-law. He was a preemie, born about two months early, and was in the natal ICU for a few weeks until he was strong enough to go home. I made a small hat for him for good luck.

Was certainly lucky enough, because cute baby Anthony is now home and doing well. How friggin SWEET is this picture? Makes me all tingly inside, especially since the hat fits him so perfectly. Thanks to Xelina for sending me the photo, and thanks (and congrats) to the Mom and Dad for the photo.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Once more ... with feeling!

Hey there hi there ho there, we're as happy as can be on this hot-ass day in late July in merry ol' Houston, TX. For those of you who live in milder climates, let me put it to you this way ... the easiest way to describe the daily forecast here is "sunny and hot, might rain -- might not." My radio tells me every morning that the temperature is 83-ish degrees before 8am. Now THAT ... is hot. I dream of mild Februaries.

Such hot climates means a knitter has to get creative. I do a lot of smaller projects, and everything is made out of light fibres ... lots of cotton and bamboo blends go round my needles, with the occasional wool blend for those articles I can wear for two or three months out of the year. I save the hard-core wool for gifts ... like my friend Kris's birthday present. I'm dying to post a photo, but am going to refrain until they have been sent to her ... in the chance that she reads this, I don't want to give them away. She knows they're socks, but she doesn't know what they look like. Suffice to say I'm damn proud of them and she's going to love them. (Even though they'll be a little late ... but they're still filled with love!) I also gave Jennifer the newborn hat-and-booties set I made for her baby-to-be, Thaddeus (they'll call him Thad).

I've finished the gadget pouches meant for Hazel ... those will be dropped at the post office today on the way home from work. So if you're in the Chicago area, stop by Hazel in the next few weeks and check 'em out! Additional hats and fingerless gloves to appear starting in or around September/ October.

And for the fashionable fashionista who wants her toes pretty, but feet warm? Pedicure socks!

Well, kids ... that's about it. Stay tuned for more photos, and feel free to contact me if you want to order a unique and hand-made Christmas gift for the hard-to-buy-for. Remember -- socks are an eternal hug!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Oh, You Pretty Things

I think there's a monster that lives under my desk that sucks time out of my day. I know, I know, a crazy theory -- I'm just sayin'.

This past Saturday was WWKiP Day -- World Wide Knit in Public Day for those of you who don't know (which is almost everyone). I went to the Heights Branch of the Houston Public Library to partake in the festivities.
**Before I go any further, I feel this needs more explanation. I'm not making this day up -- this is a for-real day, celebrated the world over by knitters and crocheters. It's pretty simple. People gather together in a public area and (here's the thing) knit in public. It's our little way of making you paranoid that we're trying to take over the Earth with some string and two pointy sticks. The really scary thing? We are.**
There were about 60 other knitters there, all clicking away on blankets, booties, scarves, and socks-a-plenty. There were fantastic door prizes (of which I won none ... and I'm still dreaming of that bag of green variegated merino that was ONE NUMBER off of mine), and good company. It was a bit like a social experiement -- knitters are a group like no other. Sure, we may be a bit socially awkward ... you non-knitters out there can recognize us by the bits of yarn and fluff that is sticking to our clothes, and by the twitchy look we get in our eyes when we're without our latest WIP. But when around other knitters or yarn-crafters in general, we get all excited and talk-y. Questions fly every which way about what you're making, what yarn you're using, the technique, how do you like the wood double points vs. the metal vs. a circular, is that hand-spun or maybe just hand-dyed, the pros and cons of guage swatching ... like I said, we're a group like no other. And that's how it should be.

But now on to other projects ... I've finished several gadget pouches to be sent to Hazel once I get my tags in order. This one is my favorite, because of the ultra-cool monkey charm:

And then something simple, but with another cool thing on the front:

Other projects can be found in the photo gallery on the side bar. I also finished my dad's socks for Father's Day (photo in side bar). But I must confess: this is the first year in several that I have not only known what to get my father for Father's Day, but it's been chosen, finished, wrapped, card bought, ready to go IN ADVANCE. So what do I do? Well, I don't have an envelope to mail it in, so I'll get one from work. It's now been sitting on my kitchen table for four days, and even though I plan to mail it tonight, it will now be late. Go me. Woot woot.

Monday, May 18, 2009

We like dancing and we look divine ....

Okay, see this one time, see Randy Beeman's dad was going on to this boat one time and he went way out in the water because that's where the boat was going to go and his mom told him to be careful of alligators because Randy Beeman's mom's grandfather's best friend's uncle had been eaten by an alligator and they can hide and look like logs in the water, but see Randy Beeman's dad didn't listen and he needed some firewood so he went to get the log by the water only it wasn't a log it was an alligator and now Randy Beeman's dad only has one hand so he can't clap so good.

ANYWAY, on to woolier things. I've been a busy little knitting bee lately ... I finished the leg warmers for my friend Ali:

They're for her birthday next month.  The best thing is, I totally just gave away her birthday present a month early ... sorry, Ali!  Hope you like 'em!  These were the first thing that I made the pattern up myself ... I picked the cable out of a cable pattern book I have, and *poof* ... Flashdance!  (To clarify for Ali's sake, she is not an 80's dancer in a unitard awaiting a bucket of water to be dumped on her from the top of a stepladder ... she teaches ice skating lessons. Maybe in a unitard, I'm not sure.)

Still stitching away on Dad's Father's Day socks, and then it's on to gadget pouches for Hazel (the store) and a hat and booties for Thad (co-worker Jennifer's baking bun baby). After some re-stitching, Rob's afghan panels are ready to be stitched together, and then just two panels left ... but really, how badly does he need the acrylic-wool-blend afghan in May in Houston? Not that badly (it's hot here).

I've put up some pictures of past projects (wanna see some pictures? link on the right) ... take a look at them, and if you see something you like, let me know ... I take special orders, or glowing compliments!  Don't see something you like? Ask me ... maybe I'll feel like making it. Maybe not. Let's consult the Magic 8-Ball .... 

Friday, April 17, 2009

These pretzels are making me thirsty.

Something about the simplicity of pretzels always pleases me. They're really just a funky-baked bread with some salt sprinkled on top, but they are always tasty and usually satisfying. My favorite is to eat them with cream cheese ... but I digress. (I'm snacking at work. That's all the explination you need.)

Continue to knit in my spare time, which is (as always) sparse. Busy with some extra events at work, and with things as they are ("now more than ever...") it seems a good idea to put some extra hours in. In any case, I got half of my first project for Hazel knitted:

A Humping Bunnies bag, that I am still giggling over. This is my first foray into color knitting, and I'm quite pleased with the result. A little puckering from pulling my floats too tight in the back, but that's easily fixed. So all that's left is to make the second side (the first side took me a total of about six hours), then sew a lining in and add the drawstring. Future Humping Bunnies gadget pouches will have to be made in fingering weight yarns, because of the number of stitches required to make the image. Had some other ideas (now that I know I can do color knitting!!) to do gadget pouches with an argyle diamond, or a fleur de lis, something that's simple and understated.
And turned the heel of Dad's first Earl Grey sock (I love this pattern!!):

And am halfway down the foot already. That's Clio being helpful in the background.

Off to my first Stitch n' Pizza party at Yarns 2 Ewe tonight ... see? Look! I'm being outgoing, and making an effort to make new friends. Aren't you proud of me?

Monday, April 6, 2009

The coolest news yet today

Okay ... so I've become one of those people. One of those people that thinks what she has to say is important enough to post it online for anyone to read. Hopefully a few people will. This is really an effort for me to maintain flowing creative juice (mmmm, tasty creative juices), and to keep track of my progress as said juices flow. I wanted a place that people could go and look at photos of my knitted projects, and so this is the first of (hopefully) many posts and photos describing my yarn-y adventures.

And so to start with some good news! My Funkiest of Funky Friends, Tim, manages a super-cool shop in Chicago called Hazel. Hazel sells all sorts of stuff that I would dearly love to spend my paycheck on ... awesome cards and stationary sets, cool things for the home, original jewelry, and anything else that categorically falls under "awesome." Somehow, I never mentioned to Tim my three-year-old obsession with knitting until today. Long story short, Tim has agreed to put some of my hand-mades into the store! I'm going to start with some gadget pouches -- little socks of various sizes and colors meant for digital cameras, Blackberrys, iPods, and the like. I have some really cool ideas for those ... gives me a great excuse to practice my cabling! I have the summer to make hats and fingerless gloves that he will sell when it becomes cold again in Chicago, say around October-ish. I've spent the morning at work looking for new fingerless glove patterns (in between e-blasts and planning last minute details for my event tomorrow night, of course), and being so damned excited I could just pee.

Here's a photo of an early pair of fingerless gloves I made -- I ended up giving these to my brother:

Today is Opening Day for the Houston Astros, so I will not be able to knit as much as I would like ... but this development is giving me even more reason (like I needed another one) to schedule time for myself to knit during the week. Wish me luck!