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

Double sock fame!! Sunday, Aug 12 2007 

My socks arrived! Green lace, just like the socks I knit for my pal!


My pal? Perhaps you’ve heard of her:


Yes, THE Alison Hansel, author of Charmed Knits, founder of Sockapalooza, all around excellent Boston blogger! I’m almost flustered by these socks, probably the way Grumperina‘s Sock Pal from Socka-pa-2za felt (she was the recipient of the original Jaywalker socks!)

They fit perfectly and I love the pattern (Embossed Leaves) so, so much! I’m one of those unimaginative types who firmly believes that leaf patterns should only be knit in leaf colors (granted, this does leave a lot of options). One of my jobs as marketing assistant at Webs was to organize the Charmed Knits book signing and book Alison on the podcast. She did a great job of keeping the secret, I had no idea!!

On Saturday I was heading out the door to attend a party for a friend who had successfully defended her Master’s thesis (on Maxim magazine). I realized that I didn’t have a bar appropriate project. I fully realize how ridiculous this might sound, even to knitters, but please remember that I commute mostly by bus, which takes forever. And what’s better than a little drunken knitting, even if you have to rip it out the next day?

I threw a few balls of Kidsilk Haze into my new Monkey bag so I could cast on for the Earth Stripe Wrap, the cover design on Rowan 42. I fell in love with this when I saw it in a promotional poster at TKGA which MAY be hanging in my room, violating my post-college anti-poster sentiments. I’d assumed it was knit in Kidsilk Aura because I couldn’t readily identify the colors. I soon learned that Kaffe has paired 14 shades of Kidsilk Haze in different combinations to create entirely new, entirely gorgeous colors. Apparently, all of my favorites–rooting through my stash I realized that I already had a single ball of almost every color he calls for. Single balls that I acquired on random road trips, before Webs was carrying KSH, simply because they were nice to look at.

I’m about 6 stripes in and it’s a glorious, easy project. I love stockinette stitch, which makes me a knitting simpleton. Oh well. I’ve added 6 stitches so I can keep the first and last 3 in garter stitch. I realize that the rolled edges are probably a carefully considered design element but I
abhor rolling edges.

While I’m on the subject of Rowan, Jen had a few apt appraisals of the new issue. We both love when the designers re-knit the items–I find that without the extreme styling and ethereal sets you get a much better sense of the garment’s practicality (as well as it’s suitability for different bodies). They did this last fall and showed the same sweater on women from different age groups, it was brilliant. I was tickled to see the focus of this re-knit feature: the same tenets of color analysis I’ve been jabbering about! I created a Flickr set with excerpts from Carole Jackson’s book Color Me Beautiful, as well as a few pictures of the Rowan design team in their season appropriate knitwear. Inspiring, no?

CR

Sock FAME! Tuesday, Aug 7 2007 

UPDATE: They arrived! My pal originally gave me carte blanche and when I investigated her site I found that she is a prolific, generous sock knitter! I inquired about her preferences and she said that she’s been loving green lately, and lace. I’m not the best lace knitter…I hope the yarn is crazy enough to distract from my ‘creative’ solutions to lost YOs and forgotten decreases! We both grew up in Europe (she in Austria and me in Germany). I’m obsessed with Austrian art and sent her a ball of the new Hundertwasser yarn.

I’m finally mailing off socks to my sock pal–I hope they don’t mind that I waited until the last possible day of the mail-off. I’m including some treats for her very adorable children. I had a lot in common with my pal but I am going to hold off on revealing more until she gets my package.


My sock pal will also have the distinction of wearing a sock that was a prop for a recent Lexie Barnes photoshoot! I love this picture, the photographer said I look like an architect’s wife. I feel right at home in Lexie’s tableaux and I can’t shut up about the bags, especially my semi-new Darling with it’s holsters for my water flask and umbrella!

Pattern: Belle Epoque from a friend’s upcoming book Two-at-a-Time Socks
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Silkie in Beryl
Needles: Knit Picks, an assortment of the Classic Circulars, Options interchangeables and DPNs.

Notes: The yarn is pretty inelastic and fuzzy…I didn’t love it as much as the classic Socks that Rock which is like perfectly kneaded bread dough (not the first food analogy I’ve used on this yarn). The pattern is written for the socks to be knit two at a time on one long circular using a sort of Magic Loopy configuration. I did that for awhile to test knit the pattern then switched to DPNs for speed’s sake. This book is going to be a stunner, just you wait!

Lastly, I wanted to thank everyone who commented on my last post. Blogging is sort of like my personal pensieve but it’s nice to know that people appreciate my often rambling posts. This Ravelry thread about what makes a good blog was…a bit frightening.

More soon,

CR

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

Minuteman Pride… Saturday, May 26 2007 

Andrew Card was booed throughout the presentation of the advanced degree he didn’t earn and doesn’t deserve. Pretty amazing that the UMass administrators refused to acknowledge the almost university-wide rejection of this action. While I’m being a bit political, I would like to say that I’m truly bummed about Rosie stepping down from the View early. It was exciting to see a show honor the fact that some people are spitting mad about the actions our government. It did sometimes devolve into bickering but it was bipartisan bickering, from ladies, on daytime TV! Elizabeth made an excellent point–male pundits engage in the same sort of hotheaded arguing all the time but no one reduces their passion as a symptom of gender.

In keeping with my spring cleaning frenzy, I got rid of even MORE hair!



With the blue bangs it’s looking a little Cookie A. which is funny because I just bought a few of her sock patterns at WebsFlicker and Twisted Flower, both very botanical. Since I’ve finally mastered the short row toe/heel, my sock confidence is on the rise.


Gotta say, I’m not in love with the Fleece Artist Merino Sock. I love the non-pooling/striping variegation, as I’ve said before, but the yarn itself is almost wire-y. It could be because I’m knitting it on size 0 needles, my 1.5 Knit Picks are in use and it felt a bit loose on those anyway. I’m hoping a wash will relax it a bit. I can’t wait to try the zig zag bind off on the toe!

Speaking of Webs, I’ll be working there over the summer. That will probably mean a decline in yarn purchases arriving via post, but it’s been fun to be a “civilian” yarn shopper this year. One of my favorite sites is so good I feel like I should keep it a secret, but that’s silly. A lot of people are already fans of Handpaintedyarn.com. There is a link between Malabrigo and Handpaintedyarn.com…the main differences seems to me Malabrigo’s focus on merino and the very good prices at HPY.com. I prefer the heartier wool over at HPY.com, it’s still plenty soft and reminds me of Manos. By the way, how adorable is this tiger hat?!

This is Colonia in Madre Perla (top) and Marmol.


This is the lace weight wool in Lettuce:

And Emerald Viv:


All delivered within days, and for a song! So pretty it almost doesn’t have to be knit…almost!

See some of you tomorrow in Cummington! Here’s what a friend of mine had to say about it:

“I hope you have fun at your Sheep Versus Dog event. I think it’s pretty effed up that you get such pleasure from seeing such cute animals rip each other apart, but who am I to judge? I’d put my money on the dogs.”

Ha,

CR

Incongruous. Saturday, May 12 2007 

So, it’s officially spring here in Massachusetts, and it is almost glorious. I say almost because I’m going through some love life tribulations that are sorta neutralizing my spring high. To be honest this whole year has been one big trial, with graduate school and relationships. I’m doing my best to keep my spirits up and that means a lot of walks, water, fruit (I’ve finally developed a taste for it, thank goodness) and of course, crafting! Between the AMAZING RAVELRY (are you on it? Let’s be friends!) and Project Spectrum, I’ve got plenty to keep my mind off of sad things (and you know, my schoolwork…)

Speaking of Project Spectrum, here are some scraps…

My February/March project is finally done. Here they are, very pleased with these. If they look a little fuzzy it’s because I’ve already worn them a LOT. They are the ever popular Jaywalkers in STR Lightweight, the Lucy colorway.Those who are sensitive to pooling might want to avert your eyes now…




YELLOW: I’ve just now opened a package from Blue Moon Fiber Arts and one of the skeins was looked like it would be brilliant sunny yellow, but it’s actually more like delicious peach ice cream, a soft orange:


I can learn to love it, but I’m in a serious yellow phase and I am a little bummed. I’m so into yellow at the moment that I’m seriously considering getting some serious shoes in ‘avocado‘. I learned about Remix from the painfully adorable Emily and it was perfect timing since I’ve recently committed myself to wearing REAL shoes at least 80% of the time. My feet are too bad for flip flops and canvas flats. Anyhow, yellow is perfect when your wardrobe is mostly grey and black, something I have in common with the lovely Jenny Gordy.

I have some big plans for this golden yarn that may not have been the wisest color choice. I know I can’t wear yellow, but that doesn’t stop me from liking it!


GREEN: My love for green yarn is well-known, and it hasn’t weakened any. I’m planning on doing some sewing tonight, a dress out of this lovely branch-heavy print. I’ll be sure to post it when it’s done. Oh, the STR Hoofle Foofle had a friend, Jade:


PINK: I started a sock in a colorway that might as well be called Project Spectrum April/May, because it’s a lovely lemon yellow, a deep raspberry and a bright emerald. It’s actually Fleece Artist Merino Sock in Paris, and it’s lovely. The pattern was a freebie that came with a Hello Yarn order. Thanks to Ravelry I realized that I’m kind of knit-stalking poor Adrian, I’ve knit about 6 things inspired by her knits! You know what they say about imitation…



Another ‘pink’ thought I had was on avoiding sun damage. It’s become more and more important to me over the years and I’m channelling almost all of my frivolous cosmetic money into my stash. After several CVS sales and coupon cash-ins I finally have the ultimate non-sticky, non-smelly, non-irritating, non-blemish inducing stash of sun protection. You can read all about it at my Flickr page.

In other news, I was the happy recipient of a random act of kindness from a UK blogger who sent me a little project bag after I mentioned I liked hers. It’s adorable, and this was such a nice surprise to get in the mail. I love getting mail, especially crafty mail.

Speaking of surprise mail…I’m starting to understand why the Sockapalooooza is bumming some people out…I haven’t heard from my secret sock knitter or from the person I have. I’ve emailed my pal and left secret comments on the blog. I have to be honest, I was a little perplexed by all the people freaking out when they didn’t hear from buddies after a few days but now I’m starting to feel like a….loooza. Ha.

Okay, I have killed a good couple of hours with this post, it might be time for me to get back to the schoolwork.

Reduced. Thursday, Apr 5 2007 

My time for knitting is at an all time low. Graduate school has gotten much better but that means that I’m working much, much harder. I felt pretty much gobsmacked for most of my last semester, for a number of reasons, but mainly because I felt so behind in so many ways. The body of theoretical knowledge I was expected to be conversant in was just vast and the tactics of being a graduate student don’t reveal themselves easily. Anyhow, I’m finally in my element doing work on consumer culture and though I’m pretty much working (reading, writing, grading, holding office hours or attending lecture) around the clock I’m happy. It probably has something to do with the massive amount of online shopping I do during my breaks! Mostly, I window shop and make carts that I abandon, but I have made a jusssst a few sock yarn purchases.

Since so many of them come in 100g hanks I started to worry about running out. I followed the lead of a very inspiring fellow scholar and got scientific. I bought a little scale! My finished Jaywalker weighed in a 52g.

I put my OTHER set of Knitpicks DPNs and a duplicate “stitch marker” onto the scale to set my tare for the other sock in progress. Why do I have a stand-in set of needles? I love the Knitpicks needles so much that I bought a second set of all the sizes I’ll use for socks. Those suckers get lost, and with all the sock yarn I’m buying I didn’t want to risk not having a full set at any given moment. The needles are just as pointy as Inox needles but they have a much smoother finish. I’ve always felt that the Inox needles were almost gritty. To borrow from Grumperina, Blunti Stumpos had a much faster finish until I met the Knitpicks needles. Because the points are so sharp I’ve started to break my habit of tapping/pushing the top of the needle to move stitches forward! I win. Anyhow, the metal parts of my sock in progress weighed 17g:


I hit tare to bring it to zero:


And then plopped my second sock and alarmingly teeny ball of yarn onto the scale. Guess what? I’m fine! I would have never been able to ‘eyeball’ this on my own. I highly recommend this for nervous knitters.


Oh, and did I mention? I’m finally at the fun part of Enid! Sleeve island wasn’t so bad, but I did have a slight mishap. I’m knitting the body is knit on size 3 Addis. Everyone at the Knitalong was complaining that the sleeves were coming out far too large, they were changing stitch counts and all sorts of mess…I decided to be lazy and just drop my needle size! I ended up magic looping with Inox, 2.5mm, that size that is basically 1.5 US. It was perfect until I fell in love with the Knitpicks needles and switched to those. I wish I had a picture to show you how dramatic the difference was. They were the same exact size so I’m guessing the texture alone changed my gauge and the appearance of the stitches, too. I knit almost a whole sleeve figuring the difference wouldn’t be noticeable after blocking but Eric convinced me to rip it out and start again with the Inox. I’m glad I did, it was hilariously ‘before and after’ looking and even non-knitters would’ve spotted the weird demarcation.


Wow–that was a ton of actual knitting content! Who knew I had it in me?! I promise the next post will be a return to the tangential…we’ll be talking diets and Montreal! See you soon.

CR

5 Things+then some (a F.O., even!) Tuesday, Jan 30 2007 

I was tagged by Into the Fray quite awhile ago! I haven’t forgotten, I’ve just been busy. These 5 things might not fall into the ‘weird’ category, but they are frivolous little factoids about me that the average Skrilla dabbler might not come across.

1. I have always had a love affair with magazines. I used to think that I wanted to be a magazine journalist and pursued this for about 2.5 years in college. I made a zine in high school called Wit’s Ashtray under the pen name Rebel Without Applause. A highlight was when a local (this was in Germany) hardcore band mentioned it at a show of theirs while I was in the audience. Now I just cut my mags up and use them for design inspiration. Here are some pages from my notebook that is full of these clippings:



2. I have a serious salt problem. I often joke that I want a salt lick, like a deer. Eric is always begging me to go easy, and he’s right. It’s in my blood (no blood pressure pun intended), my Nana loves her salty Italian cold cuts and Dirty Martinis. For me it’s salt and vinegar chips, French Fries (with mayo no less, what’s up heart disease??) and popcorn. I get by with nutritional yeast sometimes.

3. I am fastidious about school/office supplies and anything related to them. This is slightly OCD, but I can’t bear smudges, crinkled edges, sudden pen color switches. I once wrote and performed a song (spontaneously) that sums up the level of crazy this involves–it’s called ‘Tape Lamination’ and it is sung to the tune of the Bee Gee’s ‘More than a Woman’. Crazy, I know, but when I spill coffee on my notebooks I just WIPE it off!

4. I actually hate shopping. I am very sad that my beloved local Trader Joes is getting more and more crowded. It used to remind me of the old mini-market exhibit at the Boston Children’s Museum. I am in love with Internet shopping because it allows me to A. not drive, B. comparison shop until I’m blue in the face without getting the eye from store owners, C. support friends with stores and fellow crafters, D. act like Veruca Salt and get basically anything I want in the world. I know that sounds terrible, and fear not, I support local merchants as often as I can but places like Ex Libris Anonymous and the like make me very happy. Also, like all humans, I love getting mail.

5. I can’t believe I’m going to turn 25 this year. I still feel like a little girl.

Time for a mini book review! I’ve gushed about Built by Wendy enough, and I sorta feel like it’s already old news in Blogland. And a quick Google search just turned up a far better review for this book than I would’ve written.


I’ll just add that I find the clear pictures very helpful for a new sewer like myself. They are probably embarrassingly simplistic but I think the assumption that a verbal description is sufficient is a major failing of most sewing books.

The photography is gorgeous, spare, tres chic and all that. I have been batting around the idea of writing a paper on the Anthropologie aesthetic that seems to authoritatively dominate anything geared towards young crafty types with cultural capital to spare. The A-word has been uttered by stylists at several of the photoshoots I’ve done and it seems to be heavily ripped off in the catalog world in general. There is also the influence it has with crafters–I wonder what the numbers are for people like me, who get the catalog and pore over it (sometimes going as far as interpreting the designs) but can rarely afford to buy any of it. I’d like to get to the bottom of its appeal.



This is my favorite project in the whole book. I still die laughing everytime I see a granny cart because it reminds me of Grumperina’s saga about her granny cart breaking and no one in Cambridge helping her. I can’t for the life of me find the post on her blog, but it was super, super horrible/funny.

I finished some socks for a friend who recently turned 31 and will be starting to write his dissertation soon. He claims that he loves tweed but doesn’t wear it because he doesn’t want to be a ‘professorial cliche’. I figure this way no one has to know. I knit them toe-up because I was wary about my yarn, but each sock took less than a ball of Regia 6-ply tweed. I knit it them on size 3 Susan Bates. I’d started them on 2s but that was nearly cardboard. These were supposed to have an ‘embossed’ (read: purl stitches) monogram but it looked crap so I skipped it. It was also supposed to have a ‘princess foot’ (read: reverse stockinette sole) as a joke (as in, he is a delicate flower) but it looked odd and I skipped that too. Yawnsville, but still, a finished object(s).

The best part of this process was taking my pattern book to a copy shop and having them chop the spine, drill holes and spiral bind it for me so it will lay flat! I can’t take credit for this (a Webs customer came in with all of her books sporting this treatment once) but that doesn’t stop me from feeling WICKED CLEVER whenever I look at it.


Still with me? Here are some randoms, Eric wearing a LOT of handknits at Mass MOCA (it was great, you have to go and see the Notion Nanny):

Just a few more sew-y pictures including my ham (hee hee!):

Some more fabric:

A few more 1.99 patterns:



And my current WIP, for the store. This is Valley Yarn’s new sock yarn Franklin in Mountain Spring, dyed by Gail the Kangaroo Dyer. Very pretty and knits sort of like Lorna’s Laces. It’s hanging out with my new textbooks right now. I should quit blogging and attend to both…


Have a great week and sorry for the sporadic and massive posting habit I’ve gotten into =)

CR

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