Saturday, December 23, 2006

Happy non-denominational winter holiday!


I'm off to the (Ottawa) valley to spend the holidays with the fam. I've packed a truly ridiculous amount of knitting to keep me occupied. (What if I ran out of yarn? The only place I would be able to get more would be Wallmart! Oh, the horror!)

HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

christmas came early

OMIGODOMIGODOMIGODOMIGODOMIGODOMIGODOMIGODOMIGOD!

(picture me running around the room, arms flailing, screeching at the top of my lungs like a 12 yr old girl at a boy-band concert)

I WON!

Allow me to explain. Last night was Lettuce Knit's holiday party. There were door prizes. My number was drawn for the grand prize:



Can you read that? $200 smackaroonies worth of knitterly goodness! Woo-hoo! I must have been a very good knitter this year!

YET...the year is not over and I have a little bit of knitting left to do...



After royally messing up one project last night (I was in shock, it was no time to do beaded knitting) I've got some catching up to do.

I hope santa is just as good to all you knitters!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Every time a bell rings...


... a chihuahua gets it's ears? I finished my first attempt at amigurumi!

(No, the dog isn't giant. It's the Christmas tree that's tiny.)

It's a (christmas?) miracle considering a) I used a japanese pattern which I cannot read and b) my crochet skills are elementary at best. All things considered, I think he's a hearbreaker. I had to imediately put him in a gift bag and send him off to the girl that helped me translate the japanese. He was so cute, I was in danger of keeping him! He kept giving me those looks with his glassy black eyes!


All of this crochet business has got off track with the x-mas knitting. With 6 days to go, I cast on a hat, despite having one important work still in progress. I've started my 'gravy' knitting before the "turkey" knitting has come out of the oven! I think the crochet was cranberry sauce...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I have no knits to blog pa-rum-pum-pum-pum!

Santa's on his way, and I'm almost ready for him. I finished TWO knit gifts yesterday. Woo-hoo! Of course, I had originally intended to knit something for everyone and anyone I had ever met... yeah, that's totally not happening. The list has been whittled down to a manageable four. Sensible, lady-like bites of knitting. Completely doable.

As I can't give away what my knitty-gifts are as of yet, here's what else I've been up to:



Hand made wrapping paper! My apartment is teaming with art supplies, as both myself and the bf had to buy every kind of paint or paper imaginable to make it through four years of art school. I could create a new 'object d'art' everyday from now to eternity and never run out of supplies. As a result, every now and then I root through the boxes of goodies, did out a bunch of things I had totally forgotten about (we have gold ink? Cool!) and come up with a way to put the stuff to use. The paper with the green trees was lino-block printed (but could easily have been done potato-stamp style). The gold stars were hand painted. Great mindless crafty-work for in front of the boob-tube! (This year's crafting brought to you by all five seasons of Absolutely Fabulous).

After my triumphant completion of TWO knitted object last night (did I mention that before?), I decided to take a crack at
amigurumi. You may remember I bought some neat-o japanese craft books in NYC. Not being much of a crocheter (yet) I asked a workmate if he could get his japanese speaking girlfriend to translate some of the instructions for me. She totally went over and above:


Diagrams! Anime stationary! As if I'm not going to crochet everything in this book for her!



Does it look like a chihuahua yet?


I have a feeling I'm going to get seriously addicted to making these little creatures. They're quick, easy, and c'mon...how cute?!

Nine more knitting days until x-mas. Ahhhh!

toodles;
Miss.Muffy

Friday, December 08, 2006

Am I dye-ing?

*sniffle*

Exactly one month after recovering from my last cold, I am sick again. What gives? You'd think I'd been licking subway poles or something! (I assure you, I haven't) My sniffles kept me home from my office holiday party last night. Boo! I'm sure my co-workers happily took care of any spare drink tickets floating around in my absence. On the upside, I am certainly NOT hungover today. Besides, two days of no-worky make for two days of much-knitty.

As most of my knitting these days is Christmas-related and must remain strictly on the down-low (I don't want to blow Santa's cover), I thought I'd dig into the vaults and tell you all about my ghosts of knitting past. Here's something I documented ages ago and never got around to blogging about: Kool aid dying!

This summer I got a great bargain on some natural, un-dyed wool. I'd read about dying yarn with Kool-aid on Knitty.com and thought I'd give it a whirl. I had so much of this bargain yarn, I figured even if I destroyed a few skeins with a lousy dye job - it would be no biggie.

After reading and re-reading the instructions, I headed off to my local grocer and purchased about a bazillion packets of grape Kool-aid. Okay, it was really just a dozen packages of grape with a few cherry thrown in for interest. I actually found myself embarrassed in my Kensington market grocery store to be purchasing something so utterly un-healthy, un-organic and generally un-bohemian. I felt like anouncing to everyone " It's okay folks! I'm not drinking it! I'm using it to dye yarn!". Realizing I would probably get more strange looks for dying wool with Kool-aid than merely drinking it, I kept my mouth shut.



Back at the ranch (aka, my apartment), I took out my big, red enamel pot, tossed in the kool-aid, the yarn, the water and turned up the heat. After a short prayer to the knitting gods, I left the kitchen, fingers crossed.

When I came back a while later to check on it, it seemed to be 'done'. The water was clear which, according to the instructions, meant all the colour had been absorbed by the wool - but the wool was mauve. NOOOOO! I hate mauve! Purple, no problem. Amethyst, violet, eggplant... any incarnation of purple - but mauve? Ew! I think mauve is a colour that should only be worn by those under the age of 10 or over the age of 65. (Sorry if I offend any mauve-lovers out there, but that's just how I feel.)

I went back to the grocery store. If I had been embarrassed the first time, I was mortified the second. Especially considering I had the same cashier. She remembered me:

"Weren't you just here? Buying the same thing?" she said.

"Uh, yeah. I use it to dye yarn. I don't drink it!"

"Oh. $4.80 please. Do y' need a bag?"

Not only was she completely un-phased, she was obviously not a knitter. Despite my shame, the second trip was worth it. Another batch of Kool-aid did the trick:



My yarn turned a nice warm purple colour. (PURPLE. Most definitely not mauve.) I love the colour, and as an added bonus - it smells like grape! (Don't worry, If you don't want to smell like Strawberry Shortcake I hear the scent does fade) I would warn anyone thinking of trying this technique that the colour may not turn out evenly. Mine is slightly variegated, but I actually prefer it that way. Also, as you can glean from my results, if you want saturated colour, I'd suggest using twice as much kool-aid as recommended. Just don't drink the stuff. Seriously.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Gettin' the rock

Jumpin' Jehosaphat!

I think there must be something in the Socks that Rock dyes. People go nutso for this yarn! Grown women transform into vultures! They will line up for hours! They will drive for miles! They will spend their children's college funds!

Not really being much of a sock knitter, I haven't been able to understand the madness. (Sadly, I only completed one sock for Socktoberfest. Not one pair. One sock.) When I heard that Lettuce Knit had recieved an order of the crack Socks that rock yarn, I decided to see what all of the fuss was about.

I fought the crowd, and managed to walk away with two pretty skeins of the stuff. I found myself attracted to all the colourways with the word 'rock' in the title - Rooster Rock, Rocktober... Hmmm. Curious. In the end I decided on "Jailhouse Rock" and "Lagoon". You can see I wasted no time winding one skein up for the big debut-knit:



Oh yeah, and then this jumped in my bag:

Manos del Uruguay Kettle dyed wool - colour 101 - oops!


Now lets just see if I become a convert to the holy church of 'Rock'. You here that, yarn? Impress me!

Monday, November 27, 2006

No more-ah angora



The angora scarf is finished! Of course, as soon as I decided to whine about knitting and knitting and knitting... all of a sudden it flew off the needles! I finished it the very evening after my I posted my rant. If this whining somehow increases my knitting speed, maybe I should whine about every project! (But, you know - in cute Lucille Ball kind of way? "Waah! Ricky! This scarf won't EVER get done!")

I'm finding it increasingly frustrating not being able to blog about my x-mas knitting. Are others experiencing this problem? I just can't risk the wrong (or would that be right?) person seeing what I'm up to. After all, they're supposed to think Santa knit it for them, right? On the upside, I'll have oodles of blogging material in January! Smiling friends and family members holding their perfect, beautiful, hand-knit goodies ... at least, they had better be smiling (and perfect and beautiful)!

The only "bloggable" project on the needles right now is my cashmere sweater. Unfortunately, I haven't spent a lot of time on it:



Fascinating, isn't it? I'm sure you're all very impressed with my wee stripe of orange fluff. I guess this just means I'll have to cast on something else... you know, for the sake of the blog!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

K.U.I. : Knitting under the influence

I suppose I should know by now that when knitting something even remotely complex, one should not a) engage in stimulating conversation or b) imbibe alcoholic beverages. This knowledge somehow escaped memory when I packed a nice shiraz and a lace scarf in my knitting kit to bring to last night's S'n'B.




I am growing weary of constantly knitting/unknitting/knitting this thing. I feel like I'm on a some sort of horrific knitting treadmill: I run and I run, but alas, am still in the same place. It reminds me of this:



Thank goodness I took this picture on the weekend which documents my progress:

(New Interweave - Yay!)


It has indeed grown since Saturday. I would not have believed it without the proof .

My Clapotis would probably still be on the needles if I hadn't given myself a deadline, so perhaps it's time to give myself a little incentive:

I shalt not casteth on a new knitting project until this scarf is complete..eth.

Hmm...Why do I get the sense this will be a short scarf?

Monday, November 20, 2006

The devil wears 3-ply cashmere

They say neccessity is the mother of invention. Allow me to introduce you to my magical mystery un-plying machine:



You can build your own! All you'll need is:

- one microphone stand
- one long cardboard tube
- one able-bodied set of hands
- the patience of a saint

Allow me to explain the need for such a contraption:
I recently got a great deal on some cashmere yarn at School Products. I had been looking for a yarn to substitute for the mohair used in this pattern from Vogue (Fall 2006):



I love the look of mohair, but considering my skin is so sensitive even band-aids give me a rash - the thought of an itchy mohair sweater was far from appealing. While in the yarn store, I casually asked if they had a yarn that looked like mohair, but wasn't mohair (much to the amusement of the staff - I think they thought I was trying to tell a riddle). They steered me to a big 'ole ball of fuzzy stuff that indeed looked like mohair, but ooh! Wait! It was brushed cashmere! Bulk, discounted cashmere. Check and mate!

I had originally thought to knit the sweater in a totally different colour. (Orange? I can't wear orange! Red-heads don't DO orange!) But the model was rocking the orange and she was red-headed and pasty just like me. (Please refrain from reminding me that she is a Vogue model, and therefore capable of pulling off just about anything). So orange it is. Besides, I've decided it's not actually orange per se. It's rust. Copper. Ummm...yam.

I just had one problem. Though the yarn was a perfect weight to substitute for mohair, the store had wound it triple to sell as a worsted weight. I guess they thought no one would want something so fine and fuzzy . (They obviously had not taken into account me and my needs). I had three options: 1) Leave the discount cashmere at the store (Yeah, right!) 2) Buy 3 times the yarn and fiddle with the guage, (Not only would that involve one of my least favourite pastimes; solving mathematical equations, but this was the only ball the store hand) or 3) Separate the plys.

I did a little research and asked some opinions. The general concensus? I was bat-shit crazy to consider un-plying over 400 yards of yarn! Not only that, but there didn't seem to be any easy way to do it other than getting 3 pairs of hands winding away at the same time. Sarah kindly offered to help me unwind it at our S 'n' B, but I conveniently forgot to bring it with me. (Sure, I could have waited until the next one, but enh? That would have been sensible!) I only live with one other person, and the last time he tried to "help" me with something yarn related it ended in near disaster (I secretly think he sabotaged the operation to avoid becoming my human ball-winder). I was short a set of hands and though the cats expressed interest, eight paws does not a hand make.

Thus, the birth of my 'un-plying' machine. It was awkward, temperamental, and slow, but now I have this:



1411 yards of Italian Cashmere. For $27.36. Wheee!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Dear Santa:The Knitlist

Ah, the holidays! The month of December never fails to whiz by in a frantic blur of booze, sweets and retail madness. For a knitter ( or ''passionitter', yes, I'm coining a term) it can mean one of two things: a time to find oneself entangled in a sea of overly-ambtitious gift-knitting insanity, OR a time to compile a comprehensive wish list of knitting stuffs to pass on to those unfamiliar with the knitting lexicon.

I am attempting to find the delicate balance between the two.

I have begun my Christmas knitting (or 'non-denominational winter holiday' whatever floats your boat). I'm attempting to be smart about it. I have a 'priority' list, and a 'bench' or 'second-string' list. The priority list consists of people that will EXPECT knitted gifts from me this year. These are the people who will appreciate whatever mis-shapen, hap-hazzard, lumpy masses of yarn I may take to gift wrap and place under a tree. These are the poor non-knitting souls who have to sit through blab after blab about knitting. You know who you are. It's okay dearies - you will benefit in the end, I promise. I may have gifted you with knit-goods in the past, but hold on to your hats folks - I'm a much better knitter this year!

The 'second string' list consists of those 'if I have the time' people. Do not confuse them with second class citizens - I love them just the same, but I have done my research. I understand that you cannot just knit for anyone and expect kudos. There are many delusional souls out there who cannot fully understand the socio-economic importance of a knitted gift! These people are on my gift list, but not on my knit list. These wooly items are not obligatory. These items can be easily substituted with Blockbuster gift cards or pre-made gift-baskets from the Body Shop (or "last-minute-thoughtless-gift-emporium" according to Todd Barry). The people on this list will be just as happy receiving hemp hand lotion as they would a hand knit scarf. I could go on and on about my feelings toward gift giving and thoughtfulness and the commercial ridiculousness of the holiday season... but I won't. I'll cut to the 'meat and potatoes: ie: what to buy ME!


Miss Muffy's Shameless "buy-me-this-and-I-will-build-a-temple-in-your-honour" List:



NEEDLES:

- DENISE INTERCHANGEABLE knitting needle set (the special pink set for Breast Cancer would be awesome!)



I need to upgrade the sticks. For the record , all of my knitting needles are either A) ancient duplicates my mother has given me or B) thrift store finds. My needles have serviced me adequately thus far, but alas, I am no longer satisfied with just 'adequate'. I have champagne taste, what can I say?
Good alternatives to the set: Knitpics Options, Addi Turbos (the only size I have is 6mm any other size would be lovely), Lantern Moon needles

GADGETS:

- A ball winder!



Winding yarn by hand is for suckers.

BOOKS:

- A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara G. Walker (Schoolhouse Press, June 1998)
- VOGUE knitting or INTERWEAVE Knits magazine subsciptions



These would keep me busy/happy for months. Seriously.

YARN:

If it's a natural fibre, I'll probably like it: wool, alpaca, cashmere, angora, mohair, silk, soy, cotton, hemp... the list goes on.
Colours I like: Anything that would be considered a 'jewel-tone' : cranberry, deep teal, olive, emerald, raisin, deep purple...and I always love natural 'oatmeal' type shades, as well as grey, brown and black

WHERE TO GET THE GOODS:

I prefer supporting local yarn shops over ordering from the internet, but that isn't always possible. The bonus for you, gift giver, when shopping at a local yarn store, is personal service. If you walk into a store with a list and a bewildered look on your face, a friendly knowledgeable staff person will be there to hold your hand and guide you through the colourful mountains of yarn and pointy sticks. Be not afraid.

- LETTUCE KNIT
- ROMNI WOOLS
- KNITPICKS



So what are you waiting for? Go play Santa!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

New York, New Yarn

Last Friday I boarded a (tiny) plane to New York city to attend my 3rd anual WFMU record fair. (Yes dearies, I do obsess about other things other than knitting - my record collection outweighs my yarn stash...for now.) WFMU is a fantastic freeform radio station in New Jersey. Check the link on my sidebar to access their site where you can stream a live feed, or (even better!) peruse their extensive archives. There really is a show for every musical taste, several of which are podcast - great to knit by! But I digress...

When I wasn't nerding out at the record fair or dragging the bf to clothing stores, I went in search of yarn. Amy gave me some great tips! The first place she recommended was Kinokuniya, a huge Japanese book store. Now, they don't sell yarn, but they do carry a large selection of Japanese craft books. COOL! I picked up a great knitting magazine, as well as a little book with patterns for adorable crocheted toys:





I am SO making one of those little stuffed dogs! They're so sweet just looking at them gives me cavities! Of course this will require wading through the Japanese instructions, but they're mainly diagram-based so I shouldn't have too much trouble. ( In a pinch, I know a girl who could translate for me. I'll bribe her with cutesy crocheted toys!)

After Kinokuniya, I headed to School Products. I was told if I only had time to visit one yarn shop, this was the one to hit. Unfortunately, I hit it on Sunday. It was closed. Boo! What a let down! Later that day I found myself in Soho, and decided to ease the pain a bit at Purl:



Too bad the photo says 'hurry up and take my picture' instead of 'thank god I found yarn'. (It does however prove I finished my Clapotis in time to wear in NY). Purl is a great little store which I'm convinced is the Manhattan equivalent of Lettuce Knit. They had a small, but beautiful selection of yarn, great service and a really nice welcoming atmosphere. I was doomed - I was not leaving empty-handed. Here's the haul:



The top skeins are Farmhouse Yarns Andy's Merino in a fabulous ultra-deep burgundy colour called 'Boysenberry'. (Bonus: When I inevitably spill wine on it, none will be the wiser!) I Luv-Luv-Luv the picture of the sheep the wool came from on the label; thanks for the fleece, Andy! The fluffy white stuff is Blue Sky Alpacas Brushed Suri (67% baby suri/22%merino/11%bamboo). Mmm...fluffy. Me thinks she will become a jaunty beret! The last is a skein of Koigu KPPPM. I know, I know! It's Canadian yarn! But now it's special Canadian yarn because I brought it back home, right? ( If you don't buy that excuse I've got a whole string of ways to justify it, so just shush!)

Monday I finally made it to School Products. Believe it or not, I actually had to be pursuaded by my (fabulous, patient) bf to make the second trip. (I didn't want to drag him to any more stores he had no interest in - let alone drag him to the same place twice!) That being said, he didn't exactly have to twist my arm:



Spools of Italian cashmere confuse me:


I had never bought yarn by the pound before. It required mathematics:


Perhaps my haul here isn't as schmancy as what I got from Purl, but hey - it wasn't from lack of choice. Besides, I got deals!



The top is 5 skeins are a very soft 'mystery' black yarn I found in a bargain bin. I was told it is 90% wool 10% acrylic. (I know I've recently professed 'snootyness' toward acrylic, but 10%? C'mon! I'm not that much of an elitist!) The colourful skein in the middle is hand-dyed 20% cashmere/30% silk/50% merino. Yeah, I know. Can you say luxurious? I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, but it will certainly class up the stash until I figure it out. The fuzzy stuff at the lower left is my best deal: just over 1/3 of a lb of brushed cashmere. (It's actually a nice rust colour, I'm not sure what's up with the photo). It should be enough to knit a sweater with once I separate the plys - but that's a whole other story. All told, School Products was a great store. They had lots of deals and the place was dripping with cashmere. What more do you want?

Whew! Well, that's New York in three stores! I owe the bf big time for being so patient and understanding (I must remember this every time I'm forced to sit through an episode of 'Cops'). Also, big thanks to Amy for pointing me in the right direction. (Navigating my way to a closed store: entirely my fault)

Happy Knitting!
luv;
Miss.Muffy

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Herbal tea, Clapotis

I'm back! After a whirlwind long weekend in NYC and company upon return, I'm finally free to catch up in blogland. So much to report... I'll start with a victory. Ladies and gentlemen, Clapotis...tout finit:



I love the way it fall into all sorts of nice shapes and waves:



I finished it at midnight the night before I left. Whew! Deadline met! I only ended up using just over 3 balls of Rowan Tapestry. Nice! I bought 5, with the intention of making a smaller Clapotis, and now I'm thinking I may have had enough yarn to make it full size. Darn! Oh well, the extra yarn has been exchanged for my first pair of Addi Turbo Circulars (LUV them). If I knit another Clapotis someday, I'll use the tip Laura gave me: Note how much yarn you use in the increase rows of the pattern, then knit the straight rows until you have just that amount of yarn left. You'll have just enough yarn to finish the decrease rows with no leftovers. Genius! Why didn't I think of that?

I have a lot to share about my adventures in Manhattan (not to mention musings on the giant list of Christmas knitting looming overhead), so I'll break it up for future posts. I promise they will be more frequent!

Happy knitting, and beware of the beastie-germies! (the cold I believed I had fought off last week came back with avengeance yesterday!) I'm off to consume copious amounts of herbal tea, and park myself in front of the tv with (copious) amounts of knitting. Hello Oprah, good-bye germies!

toodles;
Miss.Muffy

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Oh dear

With my Clapotis deadline looming like a dark cloud overhead, I'm beginning to fear the worst. Not only might I miss the deadline, but I might be coming down with a cold. Aghhh! The whole purpose of the deadline was to wear my beautiful new Clapotis during my mini-vacation in NYC this upcoming weekend. Now, not only is the probability of wearing said scarf rapidly diminishing, I may have to traipse around Manhattan with the sniffles! Last night I had the following early warning signs:

1) uncontrollable sneezing combined with nose running like racehorse
2) Strong urge to take long bath (keeping in mind I only take baths when a: under the weather or b: a shower is unavailable)
3) No desire for second glass of wine (those that know me well understand this is a serious indicator that something is amiss)
4) No desire to knit (!!!)

I loathe being sick. As appealing as it may be to stay home from work, wear pajamas all day and watch Oprah, I would rather have my health. Illness is a waste of my time. So... I fought back. I pushed away the wine glass, put down the knitting and got in the bath. Echinacea and vitamin C was chased with water by the gallon. Bedtime was early.

This morning I awoke late, but... okay. Superstition prevents me from saying I've won the battle, but at the very least, I believe I'll get some knitting done tonight. I've just completed the first round of decreases on Clapotis. I have one full evening of knitting before I leave. The heat is on!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A snob is born - OR - Why acrylic is like poison on fire



Sometimes it takes more than one mistake to learn a lesson. Take for instance, the way I feel about wasabi. I love sushi, but I hate wasabi. Every now and then I need to taste it to remind myself - oh yeah! It tastes like poison on fire! And so I found with my knitting; acrylic yarn has finally gone the way of wasabi. Allow me to explain:

When I first began knitting again as an adult, I was eager to pick up cheap fibre whenever possible. On my many thrift store excursions, I managed to find plenty of perfectly good, knit-able yarn. (Once I even found angora!) I understood from the beginning that natural fibres were superior to synthetic, but that didn't stop me from buying blends. So, when I found four matching skeins of bulky black 75% acrylic 25% wool for $2.99, I thought - why not? It contains some wool, how bad can it be? Oh, silly, naive knitter - how had I not known? First, let me refer you to a previous post of mine, ("Look Ma! I'm Done") when I said:

3) Cheaping out isn't worth it in the long run. Natural fibres are worth every penny.

Hmmm. This point got lost somewhere between that post, and last evening when I dragged out the chunky black yarn and decided to finally put it to use. My looming Clapotis deadline, combined with the boredom of project monogamy drove me to dig through stash. Like any (in)sane knitter faced with a deadline, I did the only logical thing: I started a new project. I wanted to knit a simple black shrug and I didn't care what people thought! Acrylic couldn't be all that bad! I've got tones of commercially manufactured sweaters made from synthetics. I liked those. Besides, I can't always spend $100 on luxury yarn every time I want to knit a sweater! Nay-sayers be damned! I was going to use my acrylic!



Three gauge swatches later I held the first few rows of knitting in disgust. No matter how much I tried to convince myself it was just snobbery, I was totally dissatisfied with the stitches on my needles. The yarn was squeaky. It was oddly shiny. It didn't slide across my needles properly. What was I thinking? I began to have visions of wearing the finished sweater in front of other knitters. I realized I would actually be embarrassed to have knit a whole garment out of something so unpleasant. And that's the clincher really. The chunky black acrylic yarn that I had kept in my stash for so long was unpleasant to work with. Why would I want to spend hours knitting with something that didn't make me happy?

So, (finally) a lesson learned:

3) Cheaping out isn't worth it in the long run. Natural fibres are worth every penny.

Too bad. I guess this just means I'll have to go yarn shopping...tee-hee!

luv;
Miss.Muffy

Thursday, October 26, 2006

knickers in a twist

I'm sorry to inform you that the purple licorice thong is no longer with us. A moment of silence please...




Waah! My first attempt at knitting 302 calories appeared to be going well:

(sorry for the crap photos)

And then this happened:



Breakage! So, I thought maybe I should try to knit a little looser. I loosened, the licorice knitted, all was well. I was nearing the end and decided to take a step back to admire my handi-work. Wha? The licorice had broken again - in two places! I didn't think it was easily disguisable, so (with kid gloves) I cast on a third time. Third time's a charm, n'est pas?



Success! I sweat like I was diffusing a bomb while adding the finishing touches. The licorice is finicky to say the least. After the thong was...well, thong-ed, I carefully placed the licorice on some waxed paper, brushed it lightly with oil (I read you should spray it with cooking oil to help prevent it from drying out), and packed it in a box. Success, right?

WRONG!

24 hours later I checked on it. I found this:




GAAAH! Damn you licorice rope and your stubborn refusal to be knitted! It just disintegrated! On to plan B - I'm making a new, non-knitted, thong out of candy necklaces. I just don't think licorice is my medium (although I do enjoy eating my mistakes!). Thank goodness it's Halloween time - edible-lingerie supplies abound!


As for my 'real' knitting... I already regret giving myself a deadline. What was I thinking? The 3rd is only a week away! I think the clapotis is about 1/2 finished:




but it's going slow. I finally 'get' the pattern now. This means I keep getting too cocky and (inevitably) screwing up. I'll forget to do the drop-stitch part and just keep on knitting. Eventually I'll catch it, but then I have to 'unknit' back a few rows. Un-knitting blows! Sigh. Two steps forward, one step back. Despite my snail like progress, I'm not writing off the deadline. Yet!

I started my second sock (of my first ever pair) last night at S'n'B. I'm certainly learning a lot by hangin' with some more experienced knitters. Megan, owner of Lettuce Knit suggested knitting a couple of rows straight before joining in the round for the cuff of my sock. Genius! Wrangling a bunch of teeny-tiny dpn's is much easier when you've got a little meat n' potatoes to work with, y'know? Then Elizabeth (a ridiculously fast and experienced knitter) helped me choose a stitch pattern to knit a scarf out of my accidental angora purchase:



(Cue choir of angels) It's Fleece artist hand-dyed 'Peter Rabbit' (the picture really doesn't do it justice). Ooops! I didn't mean to buy it! I was just sitting beside the display and it just sort of... happened. Megan told me I could easily knit a scarf out of a single skein and it all went downhill from there. I'm such a sucker for angora! It has that wonderful halo of fuzz surrounding it that just screams 'touch me!' And I don't care what you may say about your newborn - this stuff is definitely softer than a baby's behind! (Baby rabbits excepted, of course)

luv;
Miss Muffy

Monday, October 23, 2006

Good enought to eat (or knit?)

Just when I thought wedding season was over, I got suckered, oops! I mean invited to another bridal shower. But I kid - I don't mind going to these things. Especially considering this one is actually in Toronto! (Don't get me started about the great ontario wedding tour of summer 2006!)

With bridal showers come bridal shower gifts. What a conumdrum! Buy something household related and risk giving the same gift as grandma? Buy something racy and risk looking like a pervert? I think I'm going to do a little of both. So this evening I'm going to work on turning this:


Into this:



Oh knitty.com... you really do have a pattern for every occasion!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Fear of the deadline

The clapotis is slowly taking shape:



I even reached the first section of dropped stitches - Wheee!:




What I really need to do is give myself a deadline for this project. (lord knows I can’t get diddly-squat done without a deadline) I’ve got a date in mind, I just don’t want to commit. I should probably just do it. I should probably just tell you the date. I should probably stop writing sentances that don’t tell you the deadline, and write one with the deadline. I should probably stop procrastinating. You wanna know the date? Okay, I’m gonna do it. Ready?

November 3rd 2006.

Crap.

I did it.

Now I actually have to do it! All three people that read my blog will be horribly let down if I don’t meet their expectations! What am I even doing writing this? I should be knitting! I should stop typing right n

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sock it to me!




Check me out y'all! First sock! In yo' face!

This pic was taken at midnight last night right after I dragged out my trusty stitch n' bitch book to look up how to kitchener stitch the toe. I must be improving as a knitter (it's about time!) because it's my first attempt at a new skill that turned out... just dandy, thank-you! Although, the perfectionist in me is a little bothered by the sock's curious appearance when not on my foot:



It looks like a boomerang! It's all scrawny and looks...malnourished - like an Olsen twin! It fits just fine soI can totally live with it. Who's going to be inspecting my socks when they're not on my feet? Besides, I can totally justify the shape. I didn't really use a pattern to knit the sock - I used the Socks 101 guidelines from Knitty. It turns out - socks are pretty simple! On top of that, if you've got a tape measure and a calculator - bingo! You've got yourself a custom fit sock. So the funny looking sock is a direct result of my funny looking feet. Duh! I can live with that. Some people would kill for spindly ankles!

luv;
Miss Muffy

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Honeymoon is over

Crap.

I finally complete this big 'ole sweater project, and now I don't like it. If you check my last post, I waxed poetic about the virtues of patience and knitting things correctly. Then I told you how my reward was this great sweater I would actually wear.

I lied!

Okay, not exactly, but I'm no longer thrilled with the results. It's too drapey! It bugs me! When I wear it, it looks like this:



Not bad right? That is, unless I move. Then it looks like this:



You might think I'm crazy, but it drives me nuts. It flops all over the place! Life is too short for flacid sweaters! So basically, I only like how it looks when the jacket is 'closed' (The pattern doesn't have buttons or anything, so it doesn't actually close). I've only worn it once and I tugged at it so much trying to keep it in place I started stretching it out of shape altogether. Gaah! So what I need here is 'closure'. I think I'm going to try adding frogs. You know, the kind of closures on chinese jackets? Buttons wouldn't work (The sides aren't supposed to overlap) and a zipper would be horribly, horribly wrong. Another option would be a tie of some sort. I don't know - I'll try both ways and keep you posted.

After mourning my sweater, I knit up a quick scarf out of the Cascade I picked up on sale last week:



I used a simple broken-rib type stitch pattern:



It's a little short as I only had one skein, but it gets the job done. Just in time too! Brrr! My bike riding days are numbered!

What's up with my other projects? My Clapotisis but a few inches long. I already have to rip back a few rows because I forgot to increase a stitch somewhere. Ooops! I don't quite understand the pattern yet, so it requires a lot of concentration (ie: not to be knit while watching tv). I'm going to put some more time into it as soon as I complete at least one sock. After all, it IS Socktoberfest! I've turned the heel (badly) last night and am anxious to see how my very first sock is going to turn out. I'm thinking of the first one as 'practice sock' and the next one as 'for keeps' sock. I figure it will take the pair to finally understand this sock-making business.

Now to find the next sweater project...

toodles!

Miss Muffy