Sluggin’ out Tuesday, Jun 24 2008 

It’s been very, very weird here in Western, Mass. The past three days have been filled with rain and thunder, unnaturally dark days with little tenuous bits of sunshine. It’s like ‘The Happening’, which I happened to love, but I’m pretty sure 60% of my love for it is a desire to be contrary and a girl crush on Zooey Deschanel (anyone want to go see this with me? Anyone?).

I’ve been doing a lot of knitting of course, mostly for the store. Knitting for the store like mad is a bit of an addiction, I’m afraid. We’re compensated in store credit which feels like Monopoly money, and though I really, really don’t need the yarn, I just can’t pass it up!

My latest contribution also marks a bit of a milestone for me–I finally figured out how to make a PDF and put up a pattern page here on the blog. I made a cozy scarf with Cuzco, a scrumdiddliumptious new Berroco yarn, 50/50 wool/alpaca with a nice bouncy twist. I’m totally digging Crotona, but it might just be the outfit in general, she reminds me of these fashionable sheep, still clinging to the ‘dark leg’ trend. I can see why, it’s a classic trend, if there is such a thing.

You can find the pattern for the Brûlée Scarf on my new pattern page!

Brulee Scarf

Also there is a link to a pattern I did for J. Knits that I think I forgot to blog about! I’m calling it the Downtown Clutch and it will also appear in an upcoming book from Storey Publishing. The yarn is called Charming and well, it is! I actually can’t describe the feel of knitting with it, but it is good. The last time I was this flummoxed by a yarn (Socks that Rock in this post) I started talking about it’s mouthfeel, so yeah. You’ll just have to see for yourself. There is already an adorable finished Downtown Clutch over at Ravelry, I simply love her mods. I am certainly planning to embellish mine similarly, hopefully before fall!

Downtown Clutch

Time to make the donuts,

CR

Conundrum! Friday, May 23 2008 

Decisions, decisions here at Chez Skrillaknits…

ETA: I’m just APPLYING, btw. The picture below is from a Stitches convention. I was pretty darn stoked to be standing with those ladies!

I’m thoroughly liminal these days. Not my favorite state of being but par for the quarterlife course, I’m told. The only things keeping me grounded are a) my very cute but messy bachelorette pad, still a little gem of a sublet, b) Webs, my yarn alma mater, my home nest in the Valley, c) my therapist! and d) last but not least, a certain level-headed hat wearing hottie.

Looks good, no?

Norah, Me, Margery

Thanks for all the weaving love! I officially have a new favorite comment. I’m thinking of coming up with some sort of formal “thing” for the No Dud Duds in 2008 idea. Sort of loose, like Project Spectrum. I’ve been wearing the crap out of that simple grey stole I made and it really has me thinking differently about what I’m knitting. I like to read a lot of dorky fashion self-help books like What Not to Wear, etc. because I am a real klutz at dressing myself and I also like to learn about proportions of other bodies (I’ve been training for this design position all my life, I’m telling you ;)

Anyhow, the same way Color Me Beautiful forced me to rethink and ultimately edit my closet and yarn stash, I’m hoping to knit judiciously in the future. Jenna would probably point out my lax commitment to this initiative so far as she practically begged me not to rescue this disheveled $2.00 bin ball for a Bandwagon Cowl.
CR

P.S. Guess who was at Webs today? None other than Adrian, Jess and Jared. Practically the knitting A-Team!

High in the sky apple pie hopes… Sunday, Jan 20 2008 

Spring yarns are trickling in at the store and they are super tempting! I have so much cotton, linen, hemp, etc. in my stash, I’m forcing myself to NOT gorge on anything from Berroco or Classic Elite, specifically the highly tempting Seduce and Soft Linen. Trying to ignore the totally adorable patterns from Norah Gaughan and Pam Allen. To quash these cravings and celebrate the fact that I think this is the year I’ve finally accepted that I’m a fledgling designer (long time readers will know that there has been much internal consternation surrounding that self-appointed title), I’m working up a little pattern that will take just a few skeins of these gorgeous new yarns and hopefully be a cute mid-season accessory. I wasn’t allowed to buy the yarn on Saturday because it is just that new (not in the Webs system) but hopefully by next weekend because it’ll be a quick knit, and I want to wear it!

Now, for some heart-stopping cuteness. In November (my month of knitting a million sweaters) I hinted at some unphotographed FOs, two tiny dog sweaters I made for a (very talented) friend’s adorable pomapoo. Shara snapped some pics and left them for me in the comments but I want everyone to meet the very dapper Diego!
Diego

And his new little sister Sadie, wearing the elfish green hoodie I originally made for Diego!

Sadie

That face!!

Sadie

I used the very adaptable Basic Hound Hoodie (Ravelry link but you can Google it for a free PDF). The first beige hoodie was knit with about half a skein of Tahki Soho Tweed which is a very nice yarn, soft and quick knitting. The green hoodie took half a skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca. In the store the Cascade 220 is right next to the Ultra Al and…it makes the Ultra Al look really good. For about 1 dollar more you get a vastly more luxurious yarn in totally unique, complex colors. I’m not knocking Cascade 220 (or it’s awesome rival yarn Northampton) but if you haven’t used Ultra Al, I implore you, buy a skein, knit some little gloves or a hat (or both). You’ll fall for it.

More handspun…I need to start knitting it before I have yet another stash to manage. This is what I’m calling Wheat Sheaves, spun from 4 ounces of Spunky Eclectic BFL in Monkey Farts, most hilarious color name ever. I’m actually kind of happy with the pictures I got of this one, so lots more at Flickr.

Wheat Sheaves

I’ve also been practicing my photo skills on the Sundara Season’s Club shipment (this is Tickled Pink, the spring selection):

Tickled Pink

It’s been interesting, I chose Autumn and Spring, my favorite seasons in real life but I’m thinking I should have stuck with my CMB season, Winter. Those skeins have been deep reds or weird combos of green and charcoal or magenta and black. I live for weird colors! I sold and traded my silk lace weight because I’m just not that masochistic. If I ever really get into hardcore lace knitting it’ll be with something sticky.

What else? Oh yes, I had some exciting scores at Target the other day, got a creme brulee set for 5 dollars!! Steve, owner of Webs and wisecracker overheard me telling a coworker and shouted, “you know why it was 5 bucks, because no one makes creme brulee at home!!” I beg to differ, I made it immediately and had a very delicious breakfast the next morning!

Creme Brulee

Won’t be making a habit of it though. They include a “low-cal” version but it’s probably not worth the dairy. Besides a momentary freak-out about the butane torch (visions of explosions, probably the REAL reason no one makes them at home) I had success. I also made paneer (Fresh Cheese in Bittman) the other day, which was very fun. I’m having a streak of food luck, what should I make next??

CR

Pun time. Tuesday, Dec 4 2007 

I swear to Jeebus I wasn’t being clever when I took these. I really need a Gorilla. I won’t let the chimp I live with take FO pictures because he has an uncanny ability to capture ridiculously awful faces.

So this is the Tilted Duster! I did the best I could getting pictures of her. You’ll note that it is a bit snug. Andra, can you believe it, I’m TOO BOOBALICIOUS FOR MY DUSTER!! No, not really, I knew it would be too small. I knit the size 32″ assuming it’d stretch a little over time (I’m a 34″ usually). I could have wet blocked it to facilitate this but I just steamed it and I’m liking how it looks open, so I’m fine with the size it is.

Tilted Duster

Whoa, sun!

Tilted Duster

Tilted Duster

My mods were minor, I added garter stitch to the bottom to prevent curling and to the collar to sort of’ ‘ground’ that little design element. I happen to love when ribbing is juxtaposed with garter welts, a la Forecast, I think it works here.

Tilted Duster

I purposely knit the collar a little longer because I like it folded over. I stupidly forgot to knit the buttonholes on the other side of the collar, I might add Velcro or snaps or something.

I searched everywhere for buttons and finally found some winners at Jo-Ann’s. I think these are new JHBs, they are thin, light and they match the little strand of yellow heathering that runs throughout this Peruvia colorway 7183 Abusar, which everyone insists is gray, but is actually a nice steel blue. I love the Peruvia! It’s light, easy to knit and soft enough for me to wear the tightish sleeves on my bare skin with no problems. I didn’t encounter any shedding issues, and I’m really fussy about that. I knit it on a US8 and it looks beautiful, especially after the steam treatment.

Tilted Duster

I can’t think of anything else I want to mention. I’m wearing it now and it is very comfturbulhs! AND, it completely invalidates everything I said in my last post about hating to wear my handknits. I spent a lot of time finishing this sweater and I think it shows. I wore it to teach in today and no one asked if I had knit it (my students know I knit and even saw me working on this particular sweater during their presentations). One day and I’m already eating my words, sheesh!

As always, bigger pictures at Flickr and more details at Ravelry!

CR

Venti! Sunday, Oct 7 2007 

The other day I finally had a tattoo touched up that I’d been meaning to fix for…oh…12 years now. Yes, that means I was 13 when I got this tattoo, my first. I was living in Germany and went with my mother to get it (long, sordid story). This is really the only picture I could find, it’s a tiny lavender rose (barely visible):


Anyhow, it’s better now! I love the three yellow pistils…stamen? Plant sex organs. I pretty much let the artist do his thing. It’s slightly more open now (appropriate, I’m older, more in bloom) and has more thorns (also appropriate!). I asked for what I thought was an impossible color (light burgundy) but he pulled it off very well and updated the green, which was a very dated shade of jade. I was very impressed with the work (Timmy at Holeshot in Amherst).

In case you think I haven’t been knitting…you’re wrong. I’m still ignoring my Blood Orange cardigan (the yarn really resembles the flesh of a deliciously strange blood orange) but I’ve been churning out small projects here and there. I have three baby sweaters on the needles and a half finished Tilted Duster (all it needs is the skirt, a collar and buttons). BTW, Norah Gaughan is about to unveil a pretty bitchin’ FO/WIP, keep your eyes peeled!


The color isn’t anywhere online (a seller on eBay calls it “Abusar” but that isn’t it’s given name) and it reminds me of the main color of Reynolds Whiskey in Enid…my poor, ignored Enid. Maybe I can take that to Baltimore and finish the yoke in my hotel room? Working at Stitches always gives me a knit fit (like a nic fit…). It’s puckering ever so slightly, some of the floats span 5+ stitches so I’ve been ‘catching’ them as I go in using directions from Montse Stanley’s Handbook. I think it will block flat.


I finished Foliage, my first top-down hat. I’m blocking it on a dinner plate so it’ll be more snood-ish. I love snoods! I double stranded Malabrigo Worsted in Bobby Blue. It reminds me of a vintage bathing cap and was a fun knit. I used twisted ribbing and bound-off purlwise, other than that no mods. Clearer pictures at Ravelry.


I made a few adorable and goofy coffee cardigans. These are wicked fun and I actually have been using it, it makes baristas smile. This is knit with Valley Yarns Superwash (LOVE how it looks knit at this tight gauge) and features three corozo nut buttons from the Creative Needle in Amherst, which happens to be owned by the mother-in-law of a professor in my department. I love corozo nut buttons almost as much as I love shell buttons. And Moving Mud buttons. And horn buttons. And…oh, I’m a button whore, are you surprised??


I just purchased a kit to make this Greek Deli version by Jennifer Reichert, it’s hysterical! This embroidered grocery purse of hers is 2 parts hysterical, 8 parts amazing.

Brain food, mmmm….I don’t eat much fruit but I loves my vegetables (this site makes me drool). I have many ways of preparing them so that they taste very, very decadent. This was today’s lunch, an old favorite (recipe here):

My next treat is butternut squash roasted with maple syrup and cracked peppercorn (something about the hot/sweet combination is very soothing). I do a mashed cauliflower with cream and asiago that would make you disown potatoes forever.

Meet Irma the Owl, a friend who is staring sternly down from her perch. I met her at Starbucks where she was deeply discounted and deeply adorable. She looks like an Irma, and when I looked up that name I learned that it is an Old High German/Hoch Deutsch word for…word! Perfect patron (stuffed) saint for a communication scholar, no?

Speaking of that. I have a 12-page paper to write. Probably why I suddenly felt the urge to blog. I’m going to try to link the practice of blogging to early 20th-century language theories (using some key works from Saussure, Nietzsche, Boas, Sapir, Malinowski, Jakobson, and Bakhtin…among others).

WUNSCH MIR GLUCK, BITTE!

P.S. FYI, funniest Fug I’ve seen in awhile.

Shedding! Wednesday, Jun 13 2007 

Thank you to everyone who purchased yarn from my destashing sale! I still have quite a bit of good stuff if you’re looking for some cheap stash enhancement.

I’ve cast on some new projects. Don’t roll your eyes, I might actually finish these!! The first is so addictive to knit and such a cool shape that I might actually complete my goal of knitting and wearing a garment in the SAME SEASON. I quickly fell for Coachella in the new Knitty as it covers up an unfortunate tattoo I have (racerback=my friend). Details to follow!

Speaking of Knitty, Gudrun Johnson, a former student of mine and loyal Webs customer scored the cover, deservedly so!! Looks like her daughter will be joining me in the elite ranks (ha) of knitwear supermodels!

I’m using another Knitty pattern for my sock pal socks (after many, many starts I’ve finally settled on a yarn and pattern): Sweet Pea in Socks that Rock Silkie, Beryl. She professed a new love for green and lace (funny, those were MY preferences) so I ripped the pink baby cable socks I’d started and cast on for these. I realize I’m under the gun but I have a bit of travel in my future so I’m planning to bring these along. I finished a pair of socks the last time I visited Mom in D.C. so maybe the luck will continue!

The real reason I’m posting is because of Berroco–have you seen the fall preview?! I am totally, totally INFATUATED with the following (and one of the new yarns, Ultra Alpaca LITE anyone?!):

Kaino:


Annikki:

Chantal:


Manon:

Peso:

Pinot:

Also adorable: Aune, Aamu, Parchesi, Poska, Piccolo, Josepha. The Stash and Burn ladies recently sung the praises of KnitBits and the free pattern archive on Berroco.com and I have to second them. The patterns are always well-written and I have to say, my Berroco sweater is one of the only ones I actually wear.

Enough gushing for one day,

CR

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