BLUSH Tuesday, Feb 5 2008 

Blushing for many, many reasons these days. This first story is…almost too embarrassing to tell, but it’s kind of too funny to not tell. As you know, Super Tuesday is upon us! I called Town Hall to double check my polling location and that Independents can vote in the Massachusetts primary. Turns out, I am enrolled as a Q. Q stands for American Independent, a branch of the Constitution Party. SOMEHOW, when I registered to vote I chose this party instead of Unenrolled. Unenrolled sounded like a slacker party, like the show!

For the past 3+ years, I’ve been an accidental registered American Independent. My political views couldn’t really be more OPPOSITE of theirs (very conservative!). With Hillary and Barack in a statistical dead heat and everyone I know supporting Barack I was really looking forward to casting my vote for a viable, female candidate but I effed up and that won’t happen. If she loses Amherst, I’m going to feel irrationally guilty!!

Onto happier news–Gudrun, aka the Shetland Trader asked me to model one of her fabulous hat patterns. Meet the Bousta Beret! Here are a few outtakes from my little photoshoots. The paparazzi shot:

Bousta Beret

Some light reading:

Bousta Beret

Like I said, I’ve been away from the blog, focusing on knitting, designing and schoolwork. In that order. Some MORE good knittish things have happened recently but I sort of feel like keeping them secret for now! Another reason I’m blushing is that I’ve been given the You Make My Day blog award from Gudrun, Cosmicpluto (didn’t even know she read my blog, eek!) Sknitty and Brokeknits and Elin. ETA: Also, Reckless Glue and Miss Scarlett! Thanks, ladies, I echo the sentiment! Here are ten additional favorites:

1. Ysolda for her Scottish photoshoots and for being an inspiring designer.

2. Emily at Inside a Black Apple for all around cuteness and amazing artwork (which I often wear)!

3. Melissa at Knitting School Dropout for being adorable and having the most covetable FOs around.

4. Kate at Zeitgeist Yarns for being my birthday twin (one of many September 20th babies that I know) and for making it academic—I can’t help but envy her textile design grad studies…

5. Tied for funniest, sharpest ladies I know in real life, Huelo (whose blog has apparently run away from the Internet) and Chloe.

6. Jared at Brooklyn Tweed, of course, for his handspun and garter love. Loved listening to him on the Webs podcast this week!
7. Jenna at Cinemaknits who I pester all the time about not blogging anymore. She picks such great, obscure project and I love her color sense. I might have to start bribing her with Manchego and wine…

8. Adrian at Hello Yarn for the cutest dog name in the world (Shambles!) and her awesome knits, especially the ones for men (modeled by an oft-bearded Irishman!)

9. I have a confession to make about Pamela at Flint Knits and Megan at the Knitting Philistine…I confused them for a long time, they were both grad students with similar haircuts, glasses, equally awesome knitting…I finally got it straight and…this post continues to be embarrassing.

10. Jenny at Wikstenmade for making me want to move to Kansas City just so we can hang out, sew and speak in Jerri Blank quotes exclusively.

Speaking of sewing, I started a Denyse Schmidt foundation pieced scarf, here are my pre-cut bindles of fabric, which I find ridiculously cute:

Bindles

So far it’s been really easy but my sewing machines hate me and started making terrible grinding sounds late at night, so I took a break. Might be because I’m using that gold top-stitching thread, the kind used on jeans, it’s so golden and pretty.

This doesn’t count as an FO, but I had to show it off! This was a store sample from Classic Elite, I can’t find the pattern info anywhere but it is color #1229 of discontinued Skye Tweed. It is a little Flashdance and I luff it:

Skye Tweed

Color is much more accurate here:

Skye Tweed

Over and out,

Skrills

P.S. Don’t forget to vote!!

Whiskeytown! Thursday, Jan 17 2008 

To paraphrase Martha, good things. Very, very good. Cap Karma only took one ball of Queensland Kathmandu Aran Tweed (currently on sale for $4.29, $4.29 people!! OMG, Brett, please don’t be offended that I knit you a 5 dollar hat). The yarn is so incredibly soft and tweedy I found it hard to put down. And hey, cables are FUN, I forgot.

Cap Karma

Close-up:

Cap Karma closeup

And out in the world, shopping for bulk nuts for Whiskey Cookies!

Cap Karma

They looked so pale and plain we thought it’d be a good idea to add some Demerara sugar on top! They came out of the oven looking kind of disappointing, like flat, pale pancakes. How did they taste?

Whiskey Cookies

Delicious!! They were so breakfast-y with a hint of banana from the whiskey (does anyone else think whiskey tastes like banana), we decided to add a maple syrup swirl to the last batch. There are…only a couple left. Highly recommended cookie, I’ve never had such luck with baking in my life. The texture is…NOT unlike the soft squishy cables of the Cap Karma.

Ah, full circle…

CR

Mad Hatter Tuesday, Jan 8 2008 

Oof, I’m sorry, I said I’d tell you more about design endeavors “tomorrow…” on December 31st. Well, I’ve been busy! I’m working on lots of design submissions, my Knitscene project and two new designs that will appear in a follow-up to the gorgeous Sensual Knits from Sterling/Hollan. It just keeps mushrooming, it’s very, very good way to start the new year.
So, you know I like to knit and model hats, but I have a lot of them so I’m always happy to knit for hat wearing friends, especially friends with beards! Speaking of BEARDS, how excited am I? The beards in late night (Dave, Conan) are just fantastic. Up with beards!! This is a Turned-Brim hat from Quietish, knit for a UMass friend. We both have love for redheads, Harry Potter, and Wii. We’ve both been resident assistants at UMass, study in the communication department and are irritated by our non-voting peers.
Turned-Brim Hat
Pictures came out sort of dark so I went for sepia! It’s actually green and brown, deets on Ravelry. Turned out a bit too long, so the turned-under hem became a turned-up brim. Oh well! Next up is a Cap Karma for this willing hat-wearer.
Turned-Brim Hat
Also exciting…my Spiffy Knits Burrow fiber is all spun up, plied and ready to be knit! I was kind of obsessed with the single and how much it resembled a favorite Noro Kureyon colorway in the new sock yarn weight.
The Burrow singles
I wasn’t sure how I liked it after plying, but I think I do!
The Burrow plied
The Burrow close-up
The Burrow plied
My plan is to make a Maltese Fisherman’s Hat (from EZ’s Knitter’s Almanac, best 8 dollars you’ll ever spend) a la Knitting School Dropout, who I’m lucky enough to know in real life. Don’t all my friends look so cute in hats?? If you haven’t had enough, check out these two new hats from hat queen Ysolda Teague.
I might be sort of silent this month, I have a lot of knitting to do. I’m working at Webs about three days a week and working on some school projects, etc. Stitches West is right around the corner, this will be the best ever, I’m sure of it. West is always my favorite and this year I’ll be on the West coast hanging out/working hard with some favorite knitting pals (as well as the huge, ridiculous Webs caravan, so fun)–I sort of can’t wait.

CR

P.S./Note to Self: Drops Spring/Summer 2008 is awesome!! I love the poetically named: FA-023, O-280, OO-68, R-492, R-495, SA-035, SA-040, Z-312. No links, just go look!

“You watch too much TV,” Sunday, Dec 30 2007 

said a friend of mine. I took offense at first but then I realized that I do watch a lot of TV. Mostly on DVD and mostly while I’m knitting, which isn’t that rare. Chloe summed it up pretty well: “I realized one of my favorite things to do is to sit in bed and knit and watch movies. Its’ like the ultimate experience. I’m sixty.” And Adrian points out that TV shows on DVDs are the perfect companion to knitting.

I don’t know what it is about my taste but everything I love is canceled really quickly, often after one or two seasons. This year I fell in love with the haunting Carnivale, Jenna’s recommendation. Wow, I just had an idea–I should start a letter writing campaign to get Jenna blogging again! It never worked for my favorite shows but it’s worth a shot =) Besides being an insanely well acted, creeptastic show, Carnivale was a work of art. Everything from the opening title sequence to the set dressing was incredibly rendered Depression-era beauty…dusty, simple lines, tons of hardscrabble eye candy.

I just finished watching My-So-Called-Life, newly released in a charming boxed set (fun trivia: Winnie Holzman, the MSCL writer/creator/producer/guest star was the mugged/duped therapist in the season finale of Curb!) Watching MSCL a decade + after I first watched it was a trip–I kept thinking of people I wanted to send it to. I’m always nostaligic for the media and aesthetic of the early 90s.

I was pretty young in the early 90s but I was a pretty ferocious pop culture consumer with every corpuscle of my being and Nirvana + co., Angela Chase and the riot grrl movement all had a profound effect on me. But yes, it’s written to be painfully accurate, even more so than it’s comic counterpart Freaks and Geeks, which didn’t have the added layer of the midlife crisis adults storyline.

In knitting news I have a lot of little scraps. I didn’t get all of my Christmas Felted Clogs done, so I have to finish those. I took a few afghan squares for a store project. I knit a little iPod sweater (Susan Bates knit gauge has almost the same dimensions as the regular iPod, tres helpful if you own a Nano and are knitting for a friend):

iPod Sweater

Started a February baby jacket in STR mediumweight, Pink Granite, no gull lace:

Pink Zebra Sweater

Plied my Spunky sock yarn:

Nightflower Sock Yarn

Also, a hat and my Knitscene project which I can’t really show (because it’s a secret, and red, really hard to photograph). It’s all pretty tame here at chez Skrilla! I think I’m a little bummed that I don’t have 4 more sweaters to post! I’m designing a lot at the moment, I’ll write about that tomorrow.

Over and out,

CR

P.S. Am I an obnoxious fan-girl or what? I squeed when I read Norah’s response to my half-joke of volunteering my name for a Berroco pattern. I badger everyone I know at Berroco about how my weird name would fit right into there pattern archive. Hey, it would make all the hassle of growing up with a weird name worth it!

Is nice!! Sunday, Dec 16 2007 

So, the poor, poor Blood Orange Cardigan/Minimalist Cardigan has been resurrected from the dead! It took hours of careful, careful repair work. Actually, it was more like repair surgery. I learned a valuable lesson–when ripping out seams to re-set a shoulder, don’t use scissors, use a seam-ripper. Duh.

Blood Orange Cardigan

All I could while repairing it was think about how beautifully ironic it would be if it turned out to be a dud. I wasn’t convinced at first but I’ve been wearing it all day and I officially love it. It’s comfortable and the yarn–I am head over heels in love with Terra. It’s the perfect blend of fibers (60 merino/20 alpaca/20 silk): it isn’t itchy at ALL, it’s soft, has really perfect body and it drapes and shines like nobody’s business. The texture is all lumpy and inconsistent in a good way and the color…I wish my photography skills were better, it’s honestly jewel like. When I roughed up ends to spit splice I noticed that that core was pure bright white–it’s almost like the outside was airbrushed with the color. I don’t know how this would be done but it makes the yarn glow. This particular color (Madder) has all the shades found in a blood orange, hence the nickname.

Blood Orange Cardigan

We got a ton of snow on Thursday and it’s beautiful!

Blood Orange Cardigan

Speaking of beautiful…check out Adriana’s Gallery Jacket!! I love this version because it’s in an awesome Valley Yarn (Colrain, shiny!) and she knit it with long sleeves which is what I had originally planned. Didn’t get it done in time, but now we know, it works and it looks awesome!

This is Marion, she works at Webs and wears a LOT of fabulous sweaters. She is a reckless knitter, and I love it, a lot of her sweaters are improvised patterns and when I asked her what yarns she used for this Kaffe Fassett Poppies vest she just shrugged and laughed. I love it.

Marion's Poppies

While I’m doling out shout-outs, look at Chloe’s adorable Foliage hat, complete with a hilarious tale of DIY circulars. I gave her a big bag of yarns that were just festering in my stash and the girl is whipping out FOs left and right! Awesome.

Oh…remember when I submitted designs to Knitscene? Well, one was accepted! I’m over the moon, of course, especially because Lisa picked my favorite submission of the bunch. I’m actually starting to feel comfortable calling myself a designer…

CR

P.S. Yes, my last title is a Griswold gem, I love the entire Vacation series, probably because I love dad humor. Puns, accidental slapstick, overt foolhardy enthusiasm, all of it.

And the winner of NoSoNaFiSweMo is… Monday, Dec 3 2007 

Dharma! I’m going to have fun putting together a custom prize package for her, she is a fellow graduate student and used to live in Northampton. She correctly guessed the # and name of the sweaters that I would finish by my deadline (which I unscrupulously extended to include this weekend)!! Until the weather clears up and the sweaters dry, the promised runway show is on hold. You’ll have to be content with this, the remnants of the FOs:

FOremnants

Clockwise from the top these represent the Hudson Hoodie (which ended up hoodless), T-Storms, Blood Orange cardigan and the Tilted Duster. Technically I also finished Thermal…and by finished I mean chucked it into the wastebasket! That pattern is too cute to knit in such a droopy, pill-tastic yarn.

I learned a lot from this endeavor! I learned that, like Grumperina, I don’t think I’m a sweater knitter! It could be the deadline that was making it unpleasant but as I worked on these long abandoned projects I realized that I almost never wear the sweaters I’ve knit. I actually sort of hate them. There are always little flaws that bug me. I’m not a fashionista or even all that well put together but I’m insanely particular about fabrics and the way things fit. If an outfit is itching, sagging, riding up or doing anything weird it will ruin my day. Most of my hand-knit sweaters are imperfect, and I’m fine with that but I don’t know how sensible it is to keep making things I’m not going to wear.

Of course, last I checked I had enough stashed yarn to make…50 sweaters. It sounds crazy and inflated but it’s true and probably a low ball estimate as well. UGH. My plan of attack for the time being is to finish Treeline, Enid and Forecast. Then I want to emulate Siri and knit up my equally insane sock yarn stash. Socks get worn.

So do hats! Jenny and Nicole were reading my mind last week with their excellent episode on my absolute favorite thing to knit. Gudrun was as well, check out her adorable Unst. Julie at Team Knit has got me plotting a Brownie’s beanie redux! Hat love never dies around here.

Spinning is also kicking lots of ass. Jenna stopped by on Saturday with her wheel and it quickly turned into a night of spinning Q&A, chocolate munching and raspberry wine swigging (it was made by a Webs co-worker). Somehow, we ended up wearing a batt and a flyer.

Jenna wearing a flyer

I’m not as drunk as I look, I promise.

Cirilia wearing a batt

The same Cormo I spun and plied on the drop spindle was given the same treatment on the wheel:

First wheelspun

I like!

First wheelplied

I’m currently waiting for two packages from Spunky Eclectic, a lazy Kate and some assorted stuff to try (I’m especially excited about this, which I purchased in Night Flower). Hot damn, it’s fun to buy fiber. Speaking of Amy, I finished the Girl Power shawl. And two dog sweaters. Wow, it was a busy November.

Finished object runway show in the very near future,

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.

She’s Snoody… Tuesday, Jun 26 2007 

Okay, sorry for the punny title but I couldn’t help it, I love puns! I’m up late playing around with new Interweb tools after spending most of the day laptopless (I reformatted, all by myself–Eric, didn’t think I had it in me, didja?

Time for a finished object!! It’s the Art Deco Beret by Grumperina, from the fall issue of Knitscene. The yarn is Sheep Shop 3. I have a few hints–it is much, much easier to knit from two balls. I tried to knit from the outside and the inside (you alternate knitting with the beaded and non-beaded strand) of one center pull ball and it was a massive tangle fest. Another tip–look for knots. The unexpected knot on your beaded strand will BUM YOU OUT. When I was about 2″ from finishing one ply finally gave out. I was at Eric’s and the crafty engineer whipped out an old guitar string for me to use as a big eye needle. After carefully restringing my beads I knit about one round and found A KNOT. Knot cool.

Anyhow, the yarn is gorgeous and I love the fit, I’d wear this as a snood but blocking it over a dinner plate definitely yielded a beret shape. It was a fun, addictive pattern with a very cool cast-on…tubular-ish but I’m not sure. I’ll have to investigate, it looks like it’d be great for socks. Now for tons of pictures!

My tribute to Emily (I think she’d like my golden mirror):

Over and OUT,

CR

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