Monday, September 29, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
The Ultimate Ultimate
I like yarn. You might have noticed that. I'm got a bit of it, lying around Chez Insanity. There may have been times that I claimed to be absolutely smitten with a particular yarn. Perhaps even been "in love" with a yarn (but of course I never programmed it's phone number into my cell phone because you know as soon as you do that IT'S GONE). But that was when I was young and foolish. What did I know of love. Until along came Mirasol's Sulka.
Now I've hung out at a lot of yarn stores. Even worked at a few. I'll be honest. I've fondled a lot of yarn. More than any nice girl should. But my fondling days are over. Because I have found the Ultimate Yarn.
What's not to love about a yarn that's 60% Merino Wool, 20% Alpaca and 20% Silk? OK, so it's a chunky weight and you don't get a lot. Like 55 yards. But it's like knitting with a cloud! It's soft and squishy and "lightly heathered" (who doesn't love the lightly heathered?) and it's relatively inexpensive. And it only takes 1 1/2 balls to make a beanie. Seriously.
Just call me Mrs. Sulka.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire
Making Christmas stuff in September is certainly a bizarre experience. Especially when one lives in California where it is currently 86 degrees.
Yeah, yeah, another F.O.. I'm not crazy about this one but it'll do. Each time I make one of these monstrosities I learn something new. Like ... one should do the Fair Isle ALL the way down the leg or it "flares" a bit. And if your instinct tell you, "Hey, you're starting the toe too early", you should probably listen to it.
I do like the blue and the white together although do you think it looks more like a Hanukkhah stocking? I don't think they have such things though. Perhaps I could start a new trend in Judaism - sort of breathe new life into an old religion. Or perhaps I should just stick to the knitting.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
So yeah ... here's another F.O.. This is the beanie I was going on about yesterday that I did in blue and you couldn't see the pattern. Now you can see the pattern!
You know, there really is something to be said for taking pictures outside. Of course wandering around an apartment complex with a styrofoam head that's wearing a knitted hat isn't gonna make me any new friends but a girl's gotta do. This was a pretty quick knit. I started it yesterday and well .. it's finished today. Mind you, I do nothing but knit all day so maybe don't go by my timetable.
I used Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Superwash Worsted for this. Yes, that's really what it's called. I mean, could we have gotten any more words in there for Petey Monkey Sakes? In grey, as you can see. On size US 7. I started out with a 200 yard ball and I've still got about 1/4 left. Unstretched it measures 15", stretched it even fits my oversize head (21, 22" something like that).
The pattern is written up, I just need to actually TYPE it up. Soon.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Appearances Can Be Deceiving
I am about to show you two pictures. Do not be deceived. Although it may LOOK like there's something going on at Chez Insanity, really, it's not. You may think for a moment, "OMG, April got another cat." But I didn't. OK, so it may look like there's a cat in my apartment who resembles neither Andy nor Deedee ...
But really, I know this happens all the time to other people. You leave your front window or front door open and in saunters a cat. It happened to my Mom almost every DAY. One minute you've got two cats and then you've got three. JUST. LIKE. THAT. It's a wonder anyone can keep a handle on the number of pets they own. Of course, when a cat saunters in, it's only polite to offer it some refreshments.
I'm sure by now you're firmly convinced this is MY cat. It's not. This is Thomas. He's about 7 months old and lives downstairs. He's Andy's buddy and he likes to come visit. He visits a LOT. I'm afraid his owner is suffering from "Oh What A Cute Kitten, I'll Just Abandon It When It Gets Older And Isn't So Cute Anymore" syndrome. This means two things, 1) he spends a lot of time outside and 2) he's not really well socialized. So I guess you could say I'm running a kitty rehab for unsocial felines. I'm gonna apply for a government grant.
Keeping with the "Appearances Can Be Deceiving" theme, I thought I was done with the F.O.'s but I'm not. This is "The Ed Hat" from my brain. Unfortunately my lack of photographic abilities have risen once more to the top and you can't see the damn pattern in this picture because the yarn is too dark and I suck at photography. I knit this in a bulky weight yarn so now I'm re-doing it in a pale grey worsted weight. Just so you can see the pattern which I really love. I didn't think up the pattern though, I stole it from a stitch dictionary. Once it's done it'll go in the you-know-what that I have over on the you-know-where. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go make certain no more cats have wandered in.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Finished Objects - Episode Three
God's truth, are we ever going to be done with these F.O.'s? Are we even certain that it was actually ME that knitted all this crap? Maybe I'm just stealing samples from the shop and passing them off as my own. That would be rather clever, wouldn't it?
First up, a store sample. This is Knitting Pure And Simple's ... ummm ... Child's Top Down Sweater? That sounds about right. Anyway, it's a sweater you knit from the top down. In large. In Brown Sheep's "Lanaloft" hand paint. This is the same yarn as Lamb's Pride but without the mohair; it's 100% wool. And the vinegar they used to set the dye with? Lingers. On. And on. And then on some more. I craved fish 'n chips the entire time I was knitting this.
Second item on the agenda, from the crazed brain of yours truly, the Chain Link Beanie. I love the cable on this little hat even if it is kinda fiddly. I may write up the pattern, I may not. I'm not so loving the pattern writing thing. It requires a certain amount of "thinking."
This may be the last one. Until tomorrow. This is the first stocking in my little Etsy shop. This will also be the LAST time you hear me mention my Etsy shop because I don't want this blog to turn into one long commercial. Of course if I go six months without a single sale, I may throw myself on your mercy but hopefully that won't happen. The link's in the sidebar. Back to the knitting!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
So I Was Thinking
The other day someone was looking at all these stupid hats I've been designing and said, "Why don't you set up an Etsy shop and sell hats?" Kind of like the other 6 million knitters in the world have done. I like to knit hats. Hats are fun. They don't take very long. But there are already a lot of hats on Etsy. However, there aren't a whole lot of ...
Fair Isle Christmas Stockings!And we all know of my current obsession with Christmas stockings. I'm sorta thinkin' the next design might need to be a little less elaborate though. Otherwise I'm going to end up with an Etsy store with 2 stockings in it and a hat.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Finished Objects - Episode Two
Oh boy, a scarf. How's that for exciting? Actually I'm quite pleased at how this turned out. The yarn is "Karaoke" from South West Trading Company although a lot of people think it's Noro. Including the owner of the yarn store I work at. I offered to let her display it in the store and her response was, "Well we don't have Noro in yet." Go figure.
The pattern is a free one over a kpixie.com titled, appropriately enough, "Karaoke Cabled Scarf." This is a dead easy and almost brain numbing knit but it only takes two skeins of yarn so it's an inexpensive gift.
Adding to the endless hat production over here is the Blackberry Beanie. Or, the Jiffy Pop Hat, take your pick. This is where I once again extol the virtues of Filtes King Modigliani which you basically can't get anywhere. Trust me, every night I cruise the Internet looking for someone with this yarn to sell. No luck so far.
This little hat is another one of my weird designs that we're selling in the store. And since it's my design you know it's gotta be super easy and super fast. If I get around to pulling the pattern out of my brain and writing it up, it'll be here on the ol' blog. But for now, there are more hats to be knit.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Finished Objects - Episode One
And thus begins the parade of finished objects. I figure I've got enough F.O.'s to get me through a week of blogging and then it's back to the Antics O' Andy and boring tales of my life.
First up, my lone pair of socks for the Summer Of Socks '08. I'm not even sure if I finished these in time for them to qualify as a pair of Summer Of Socks socks. Which is rather embarrassing since they were knit with worsted weight yarn. I got sort of stalled on the foot of the second one. Anyway ... these are the Horcrux Socks by Susan Lawrence. I had no idea what the name Horcrux was in reference to when I started these but I've now been informed it's some kind of Harry Potter thing. I used Lorna's Laces Shepherd's Worsted in the colorway "I've Lost The Ball Band And Have No Idea So Let's Go with Green." It's a great pattern and although I usually give away most of my knitting, these are gonna be for ME. Mainly because they're the only pair of socks I've ever knitted that actually fit the way I wanted them to. Next ...
Is it beginning to seem a lot like Christmas to you? I spent most of the month of August pretending it was December. Not only because we were having a Christmas Knitalong at the store but because it was August and it was hot. And I've since discovered that I *really* like making Christmas stockings. You get all the fun of making regular socks (turning the heel, the Kitchener stitch) but they go fast cuz they're in worsted weight and you only need to make one! I think I'm really on to something here, like a Major Knitting Breakthrough. This pattern is A Fair Isle Christmas Stocking from Lisa Knits. It's not a free pattern but it comes with three designs that you can mix and match so it's a pretty good deal. I've already started a second stocking which would be close to being finished if Amazon.com's used bookseller would kindly hurry the heck up and mail me my "1000 Knitted Motifs."
That concludes today's parade, tomorrow ... A SCARF. Try to contain your excitement.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Eyelet Lace Beanie
Whoa, almost an entire month and no posty. That's not good.
So ... a short update. I'm still not working, other than my very part time job at Green Planet Yarn. A few "extenuating" circumstances are preventing my return to work but hopefully everything will be straightened out by the end of the month. In the mean time Andy and I are having deep, philosophical discussions about the meaning of life and whether or not Fancy Feast is worth the price. He's all recovered from his little urinary tract issue and is back to hunting crickets, worms and dead leaves.
I have been spending a ridiculous amount of time knitting and have a veritable parade of FO's which I don't seem inclined to post tonight. Maybe tomorrow. In other news, I have begun designing simple hats for my yarn store of employment. One of them sorta looks like this.
Note to self: Don't knit samples with red yarn. And in case you'd like to make one for yourself, here be the pattern. I *think* I wrote it up correctly. It's extremely stretchy, so although you might be knitting along, thinking "This will only fit a pinhead" if it fits me (22" large head, small brain) it will probably fit you.
Finished size – 14” unstretched (up to 22” stretched, this hat has a lot of give), 8” length
Materials – approx. 140 yards bulky weight yarn (sample done in Filtes King Modigliani)
Needles – US 10 ½ circular, 16” length and 4 US 10 ½ double pointed needles
Gauge – 7 stitches equals 1” in pattern
Using circular needle, cast on 74 stitches and join in the round without twisting. Work in K1, P1 rib for 9 rounds. On round 10 increase 1 stitch while staying in pattern = 75 stitches.
The body of the hat is done in a Mock Eyelet Rib pattern as follows:
Round 1 – *Slip 1 as if to knit, K2, psso both knit stitches, P2*; rep from * to end.
Round 2 - *K1, YO, K1, P2*; rep from * to end.
Round 3 - *K3, P2*; rep from * to end.
Round 4 – Rep round 3
Repeat these 4 rounds for a total of 8 repeats (32 rows) or until hat is approximately 1 ½ inches shorter than total desired length.
Begin decreases; switching to double pointed needles as necessary.
Round 1 – *K3, K2tog*; rep from * to end.
Round 2 – Knit all stitches
Round 3 - *K2, K2tog*; rep from * to end.
Round 4 – Knit all stitches
Round 5 - *K1, K2tog*; rep from * to end.
Round 6 – Knit all stitches
Round 7 – K2tog around
Thread yarn through remaining stitches and pull tight. Weave in ends.
Copyright © 2008 Toque Du Jour Designs. This material may not be reprinted without the permission of the author; this pattern may not be used to produce items for commercial purpose.