Monday, February 27, 2006

New socks

fl alligator
Originally uploaded by belleange.

In an effort to combat repetitive sock photographs, here are the toes of my new Falling Leaves Socks. Even without the beads, it didn't take much imagination to see the alligator in them!

I'm loving the Koigu and the toe-up short row provisional cast-on construction.

The mittens are well on their way in the mail to my sister, so they should get there by her birthday.

Finally, I'm waiting for Stephanie to announce the prize drawings and medals for the Knitting Olympics. It was just the kick in the butt that I needed to finish on time.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Party like it's 1848*!

That's right, tonight we're going to celebrate because we've struck gold -- Olympic gold!

Here are the lovely mittens, resting and blocking out all the inconsistencies:

day 16

And here are the palm sides -- I did manage to make a left and a right mitten.


And the stats:
Nordic Mittens from the Winter 2004 Interweave Knits
Brown Sheep Naturespun Sport (the yarn called for, just in different colors)
US #0 & #1 needles
Completed for the Yarn Harlot's 2006 Knitting Olympics
To be given to my sister as a birthday gift

I have almost enough yarn left to make a third pair of these mittens. They were fun, but not that much fun. The yarn will have to hang out until I can think of something else to make with it.

For now, back to reading!

* Maybe you're saying, "Just wait a minute here -- the gold rush was in 1849!" The story is that the main rush was in 1849 but they discovered gold before that -- duh -- they'd have to have a little time to spread the word before people could just drop everything and run to California. My opinion -- don't get your history from sports teams.

Friday, February 24, 2006

You know you're starting to lose it when...

your mittens talk to you.

Happily, these are happy mittens!

day 14

Mitten #1 says, "Hooray, all my ends are woven in!"
Mitten #2 says, "Yes! My top is finished, although I'm a little sad that I don't have a thumb yet. And let's not talk about those ends, shall we?"

It's day 15 -- I just realized that this whole business extends onto 17 days, although it's 16 23-hour days -- I was a bit scared I'd been miscounting somehow -- and I think finishing will be just easy as can be! (Let's not talk about that schoolwork, okay?)

Cheer the Yarn Harlot, creator of the Knitting Olympics, on as she tries to come back from being way, way behind. Can she finish by Sunday afternoon?

Today's post has been brought to you by the letters K, P, and M, the number 2, and the color green.


That is, the inspiration for finishing on time and soon to be my next project -- delicious spring-green Koigu PPPM from the teeny-tiny Purl.

And finally, maybe it's time to think about the other kinds of influence blogs are having on the yarn market. If you have a minute, read Natalie's cost-benefit analysis of a new sock yarn club. By joining, how many people will write about the company's project on the internet, bringing them what is essentially free advertising? Is that appropriate? (Of course, keep in mind that this is applicable in many, many other cases.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Rounding the last turn

day 13
Originally uploaded by belleange.

Greetings, again, from mitten land. I got pretty far today (about everything from the stitch holder on up) so I just have a few more rows before the top decreases. After that it's only the thumb... and weaving in all those ends.

I thought today was going to be a really awful knitting day because my wrist has been clicking more than normal lately; I dropped a stitch and didn't catch it til I got all the way around again and wondered what that funny looking thing was, I got knots in the yarn... you get the picture. But it turned out okay.

Today's poor attempt at trying to bring you accurate colors at night with artificial light is brought to you by my willing assistant, Mr. Manila Envelope.

In other news, I got Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush in the mail today. I want to make a bunch of them, but the historical geek in me wants to make them the way they were originally written at the turn of the century, on 0000 needles and everything. Call me crazy! Anyhow, it's a wonderful reference that she was able to translate the patterns into modern knitting-ese. Can't criticize it for what it doesn't do; what it sets out to do it does well.

So today I am a satisfied knitter. I'm being egged on by 2 skeins of KPPPM that I've picked out for the next project, though....

Monday, February 20, 2006

A Happy Sight

day 11
Originally uploaded by belleange.

Knitting and flowers, that is. If this is really day 11, I'm well on my way to finishing on time -- and I did a bunch of schoolwork today, too.

I noticed one mistake that I'll have to duplicate-stitch in, but there's some of that on the other mitten, too. As these things usually go, this one looks and feels the best of all four mittens -- at least I know I'm improving somewhat! I just wish the learning process didn't take me quite as long, but that's what life's about, I guess.

My mittens will be traveling mittens tomorrow; I don't know if I'll get much knitting done -- I have to go to a lecture and the library -- but I'm going to try and weave in all my ends.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Getting back on track

day 10
Originally uploaded by belleange.

Here is the progress from day 10 -- I was able to get the entire cuff done because I found an easier way to get past the corrugated ribbing (see below).

The little guy? He's my old Art History Mascot, Buck. He's based off a piece of genuine African art... but I don't think the Africans used play-dough. He's more charming in person.

To give myself more inspiration to finish on time (as if a digital button wasn't enough) I got out the yarn for my next project -- Falling Leaves socks with some beautiful, spring-green Koigu. I've promised myself I won't start those until I finish these... and the KPPPM is calling to me. Yummy!

Corrugated ribbing

I wish I had made the discovery I made tonight about three mittens ago.

My mittens have corrugated ribbing, with the knits in one color and purls in another. My pattern says to keep the main color in my dominant hand -- this means I knit with my right and purl with my left. Now I'm a English knitter, and while I can knit with my left hand, it hasn't been doing it as long and purling with my left is pretty awkward.

I did learn the Norwegian purl and I reveled in its elegant intricacies, but it remained awkward.

As I cast on for my second mitten tonight, I looked down, unhappily contemplating the tension that doing all that ribbing would cause and the fear of snapping my delicate 0's....

And switched hands.

Screw whatever the pattern says, it's way easier to purl with my more experienced right hand and knit with my left. Now corrugated ribbing is a pleasure!

(This probably would only work for English knitters -- and it depends on making sure you move the yarn you purl with back.)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Close, but no cigar

So, to any unsuspecting person, this looks like a finished mitten: it doesn't have needles in it anymore, the thumb is done... looks like a mitten, right?

day 8

The unfortunate reality is only understandable if either a) you stick your hand in the mitten or b) you turn the mitten inside out.

Like this.

mitten guts

Time to weave in some ends!

Or maybe, I'll just start the other mitten and pretend I don't have to weave in any ends. I'm still on track for finishing, and I haven't fallen too far behind in my schoolwork!

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Olympics Continue

day 4
Originally uploaded by belleange.

Today is day 4 of 16. Considering I didn't knit on this at all yesterday -- using it instead to finish that shawl -- things are looking pretty good. My 'other' olympic goal was to be able to concurrently keep up with my schoolwork. Let's just say I haven't fallen behind yet!

I'm happy with the mitten, even though for a while I was really pulling tight on everything. I'm having trouble with my Fair Isles trying to keep my stitches snug but my floats loose. Practice practice practice!

Mohair loop shawl.

shawl on 2
Originally uploaded by belleange.

I made this... obviously not for myself, but for a display model. Yes, it's a giant loopy mohair triangle with more mohair around the edges. Its one redeeming quality is warmth, but you can see how I feel about it.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Day 2 of the Knitting Olympics

day 2
Originally uploaded by belleange.

For two days, I'm happy with my progress -- I finished the obnoxious corrugated ribbing, switched to much less bendy #1s, and have started the body of the mitten. Going down needle sizes really changed my gauge and blocking is going to be the only thing making these guys big enough for my sister's tiny hands. I don't care; they look infinitely better than the first pair.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen...

Start your engines!

I have to admit, I think this is a better inaugural sentiment than the Olympic theme music. Perhaps less dignified, but so what.

As today marked the opening ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, I got to cast on for my project that must, per the Yarn Harlot's decree, be completed within sixteen days.

Day 1

Here is my progress, which amounts to most of the cuff of one mitten. At this rate I will finish, but anything can happen. Right now I just hate hate hate corrugated ribbing because it is possibly the slowest knitting technique I currently know how to employ.

Faster, Higher, Stronger, here I come. (It's either that or an unhealthy combination of carpal tunnel and dropping out of grad school.)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I don't know a damn thing about decoupage....

But as you probably know by now, that won't stop me from coating everything in glue.

So I determined, after fighting mercilessly with my kitchen drawer (which is, I might add, conveniently lacking a drawer pull) that the thing was hopelessly overfull and I needed to put some of my kitchen utensils in a more convenient place. I couldn't get the drawer open, both because of the lack of handle and because it was so full it jammed. On with the clever idea to put the utensils in a container on the countertop. Nothing new.

I looked in the resale shops and didn't find anything I really liked.

So I decided to stick my utensils in the oats box once I was finished with the contents.

By the way, how do you call the oats box? Is it really a box? It's not square; boxes are square... but you can't say oats tube, can you? And 'container' is just too mushy of a word. Damn English.

After making cookies the other day, the oats box was empty. I do not have a photo of an empty oats box. You'll have to imagine it yourself.

After deciding it to cover it in crap, we went to the crafts store and bought decoupage glue. And I cut out little bits and pieces of things; yarn labels, little pictures of sheep, flowers, you get the idea.

And stuck them all over the oats box. Here are three views of the oats box.

Decoupage utensil holder - three views Decoupage utensil holder - three views Decoupage utensil holder - three views

And here is the oats box in action, now ennobled to hold my lovely utensils.

Utensil Holder in use

What I learned: Cut out about twice as much crap as you think you'll need to cover something with. With overlap, rejects, and compensation for non-square items, you'll be forced to scrounge for more bits and pieces. I ended up grabbing an old yarn catalog for all the little socks and balls of yarn on there.

I enjoy the bizarre mix of scales in decoupage. I don't think this is a very good example of it, but it was a good way to waste an afternoon. And no matter what, it's better -- or at least more interesting -- than the plain oats box.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Beware the Clap

No, not really. Honestly, the Clapotis deserves a little more respect than that. I finished mine last night, so here are some photos and stats.

Yarn: Knitpicks Sock Garden in Hydrangea, not quite three balls.
Needles: US #3.
Time to complete: about a week and a half.
And what the heck is a clapotis?: Clapotis, n. m. invar., syn. clapotement, n. m. Bruit et mouvement de l'eau qui clapote. (And what the heck does clapote mean?) Clapoter, v. intr. Etre agité de petites vagues qui font un bruit caractéristique en s'entrechoquant. And for those of you that can't get through that mess of French, basically, it means 'lapping', as in the lapping of waves on the shore.

clapotis blocking

Here she is, blocking nicely.

clapotis on 2

And here is what it looks like when I wear it.

when the clap attacks

And finally, this is what happens when the clap attacks.
Just kidding!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Progress, of sorts

red strip progress
Originally uploaded by belleange.

Having four projects going at once doesn't really help any of them look like they're going any quicker.

I'm really happy with the way my red afghan is turning out. This strip is almost three feet long and I think I'm going to make them about five or six feet and then sew them together. I think the end product is going to be ginormous (that is, if I use up all the yarn). Perhaps I'll have to make some pillows to match.

Perhaps the pre-Knitting Olympics goal should be to complete one thing before they start....

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Dreaming of Lace

One of these days, if I ever get married, I'm making myself a big lace shawl to wear with the dress. I've always wanted to make one but I can't think of any other good excuse to make one (not at my age anyhow).

It might be this one:

Or maybe this one:

Both are from Fiddlesticks Knitting, and of course I'd make it in white. I've looked at more traditional ones and nothing else so far has jumped out at me, but I wish there were more I was interested in.