One knitting project down, eleventy to go.

But this one turned out nicely:
Flora by Margaux Pena

The hat, for my mom, modeled on my own pallid brow.

The hat, for my mom, modeled on my own pallid brow.

Done in just at two skeins (1.25 of the main color, .75 of the contrast) of Sublime Cashmere Merino Aran, I’d call this a reasonably successful experiment. The pattern calls for Manos Silk Blend, a DK weight, and much lighter than the Sublime that Mom picked out when she was here for Thanksgiving. Still, I put it on a size smaller needles and counted on my unreasonably tight knitting style to save me, and save me it did. The hat came out at 6 sts/in, a bit smaller gauge than the 5.5 sts/in the pattern called for in the first place.

It’s a bit snug but it fits well enough. It would probably have a bit more give if I wasn’t such a Damned Tight Knitter. By the end of the hat I’d taught myself not to pull the yarn snug each time I picked up a color again, so the bottom 3 inches pucker a bit when laying flat, and look a bit tight when worn. Still, it ought to be a functioning hat, and as my head is likely only a bit larger than my mother’s, it should fit her nicely too.

If she consents to model it for me when I’m home next week, I’ll post a picture of gift and recipient. Until then, I have a scarf+afghan+bag+etc. to knit.

Fiber Geekery: It’s all a work-in-progress

Or rather, they’re all works-in-progress. I have four projects on the needle now, besides the knitted star-shaped afghan I keep starting and restarting. I’ve frogged two versions of that already; I hope the third time will prove the proverbial charm, and that I’ll have actually planned which yarns to use, and stick to them.

To do that, though, I need to finish a few other projects, like that afghan for the now-nearly-three-months-old Tobit. I keep getting distracted though, by my own desires to design (or at least adapt others’ designs) and by pure admiration. But I’m very proud to say that I’m making my First EVAR Something Knitted For Myself*, which will be both an experiment in multi-color pattern knitting and in knitting with something smaller than US 6 (4.0mm) needles.

It’s a rare thing, at least in my knitting career, to do something really nice for myself. I’m very good at volunteering to make things for other people, and having a little critter who doesn’t care what the clothes look like as long as they’re warm enough is a huge temptation towards focusing solely on that one Other Person, and leaving myself out of the picture entirely.

But you know? I deserve a hat that is lovely and warm, so I’m making sure I get one.

*if you don’t count the felted bag of ’04, which is still sitting in a box in Dory’s kitchen in Germany.

Also: I am a knitting fool.

Because I’m making an afghan for Tobit (in progress since May, already!) and I’m so enamored of a pattern for a star-shaped afghan that I’m making one for my cousin’s new baby (born earlier this week) and I’ll probably make one for my sister-in-law, who is expecting her third child (in March?)

Here’s the start I made on one:

And I have to make one for Tobit later, of course. In bright primary colors, natch. Or maybe a combination of gendered colors. Or both. (Can you tell I’m having fun with this one?)

a trove of geeky projects

When I started learning to knit (way back in 2004) I thought, well, honestly I thought about it in the stereotypical gee-isn’t-that-something-old-ladies-do way, and when I first went to the class (making felted bag @ my former LYS) I felt completely out of place, the only 20-something in the room.

But then, last year, someone introduced me to Ravelry, and from there, several other knitting blogs.

Sine then, I’ve discovered Oh So Many patterns that were, um, not ur granny’s knitting project. Unless, of course, your granny’s a massive sci-fi fan.

What I’ve found (links to patterns requiring a Ravelry login denoted so: link):

All of which makes my latest project seem, well, quite mundane. Knitting may not be punk, but it certainly can be geek.

General updates, plus (even more) fiber geekery.

    First, the updates:

  1. Kiddo kicked hard enough to visibly shake my belly last night. It was kind of surreal, and definitely made me laugh.
  2. We’re probably staying in Lawrence, provided Joel can get enough of a job for us to live off of here. As soon as he’s hired somewhere, I’m going to start looking for cheap apartments for August.

Also, I’ve found yet another two patterns to try to knit, but I think this time these are the right ones for my next projects: a summery cardigan for myself (knit like mad, woman! there’s only three months of the summer left!) and the other is a colorwork project, a pair of gorgeous fingerless gloves.

The sweater (as seen here, on the pattern author) should work nicely for me and my preggo belly:

The mitts will be a challenge, because they involve some pretty serious colorwork, and are on (for me) Tiny Needles:
as made by the pattern creator.  This is her photograph, k?

The afghan should be finished by July 1 (ambitious, I know, but it is going fast now!), so I’ll have a month (or so) to make the sweater for myself.

I also noticed what looks like a Ravelry widget in the sidebar on flintknits’ site, which is powered by WordPress. Must investigate this.

Finally, a blog post that doesn’t begin with “F”. Oh. Wait.

Yes, nothing to report on either food or fiber geekiness, except that the butternut squash soup is still sitting in my fridge (project completion grade: EPIC FAIL) and I’m gradually plugging away at the afghan, waiting on that crucial One More Color so I can finish all the strips I’ve started so far. It may be that I just do without it in the afghan (the woman from whom I bought it just had knee surgery, and it has yet to appear in my mailbox) and do some minor rearranging in the order of colors I’ve written out for the seven strips as yet in existence.

Otherwise, I’m starting to feel like I need to have some really good thinking time, possibly informal study, possibly just reading something challenging in German. I’m still in need of the hiatus from most of the feminist blogs I’ve been reading over the last year and a half or so, simply because it’s taking all my emotional energy to take care of myself during the last three months (yes! really!) of pregnancy, and a hyper-awareness of how shitty the world is isn’t exactly what I want to be obsessing over when my child comes into it. This is partially the reason why so many of the last posts here have been about physical projects: there are serious claims on my mental energy, and these projects are a form of release or distraction. I’m basically keeping busy to stay sane.

And it is helping. A lot. Which is why I don’t particularly feel like changing things up right now.

So, there will be more pics in my Flickr account of the afghan, and maybe some more cooking projects documented, although I’m not going to get into anything big when I only have one day for planning and execution before having to go back to work next day. Standing on my feet for 8 hours pretty much does me in these days, at least for the rest of the evening, anyway.

Fiber Geekery: Why yes, I am obsessed. How kind of you to notice.

I’ve found an official addiction, of a kind I never thought I’d have: Trying to Find New Colors of A Discontinued Yarn, or “Colorway Hunter’s Syndrome”.

I wonder sometimes if I’d still be doing this blanket at all if I wasn’t “having” to track the yarn down, skein by precious skein, instead of being able to just trot down to Local Yarn Store (hereafter LYS) and pick some up.

I started with three colors that I purchased at LYS, decided I really liked the yarn, discovered that it had been, in fact, discontinued, which was why I’d gotten it On Sale in the first place, acquired one more color from LYS, and then started browsing around for another color or two for the Kids’ Hats Christmas Gift Project of 2007. I did find another color, and then another. So, with five marled and one solid in my stash, I had this brilliant idea to use up the scraps: Making a patchwork afghan.

Except that the scraps themselves might have made a Patchwork Tea-Towel, and were quite insufficient for even a crib size blanket, which is what I was going for.

The hunt gathered steam, and has now managed to gain me not one, not two, but thirteen additional marled colors and one more solid, with another marled color on the way. With the official color count at 19 (plus solids for the border) I’m looking at a blanket at least 42″ square, with no color repeated in any ‘strip’ I knit.


But! I have 70 Whole Squares knitted so far, in 7 strips of various length.

the afghan, so far

Just 12 to 13 strips to go, with a possible total of 330 squares left to knit.

What have I gotten myself into?

If I can finish it in the final three months of my pregnancy, I’ll have a great cotton blanket for the newly arriving Kiddo. If not, maybe Baby’s First Christmas?

Fiber Geekery: Crocheting, and a return to the Afghan

Author’s note: This is largely a reminder post, because I have made some progress on the afghan, and have yet to update my pictures yet. I also have some pics to take for my Ravelry stash, because I’ve gotten So Much Yarn in the last few weeks.

The official yarn color count is now approaching 20. I started out with five, if you recall. I am such an addict.

I got more skeins than I needed of a really great blue, though, so I decided to crochet a bag for my knitting, or maybe for taking my swim stuff to the pool this summer. It’s my first real crochet project, and so far it appears to be a good one for a beginner. You pretty much just make a chain and connect it to the previous row every few loops or so with a single crochet. The straps will be made with rows of single crochet, if memory serves.

But, since I’m now nearly overflowing with Classic Elite Flash yarn in various marled hues, I should really be getting back to the afghan. I mean, I have three months, sure, but the first 25% took me two weeks, and I’ll have to take another hiatus or four between now and completion.

Besides, the sooner I finish the afghan, the sooner I can start in on another baby blanket. I’m not starting another big project though, to intersperse with the first one. I’m no dummy. That’s a recipe for never finishing a blanket, ever. I’ll stick with small distractions like washcloths and amigurumi.

Fiber Geekery: Patchwork Afghan (10% completed)

I learned how to knit several summers ago, when I took a class at the Yarn Barn and made a horrifically ugly yet functional felted bag (which was, of course, left in Germany at Dory’s house). I really got the hang of knitting in the round (start knitting and keep going) and decided that, when I needed a portable keep-my-hands-busy hobby last summer, that knitting hats for my in-laws’ myriad grandchildren would be just the thing.

Always when I get into a new fiber art, I get really ambitious, and start a huge project that I never ever finish. I was determined not to ruin my own fun by starting yet another huge project, but I also wanted to complete something more time-consuming than a 2-year-old’s hat.

I was inspired by a quilt that was left at my house long years past by a roommate who moved out and forgot to take everything with her. It’s a patchwork quilt, done mostly in strips, using all manner of leftover random fabric, as any good quilt does. [Photo forthcoming, when I get said quilt out of the car. It’s been traveling lately.]

What I had in my knitting basket was six different colorways of the same yarn I’d used on most of the kids’ hats last fall; a discontinued yarn, so I wouldn’t be able to simply go down to YB and get another couple skeins if I wanted more of X color for a project. I was stuck with remnants, and I hate to throw away anything; yet another legacy of my Depression-era grandparents, I’m sure.

Since, I reasoned, cloth scraps could be quilted, yarn scraps could be, too, so I started small, casting on 12 stitches, and knitted until the piece I had looked roughly square (turned out to be 16 rows). I changed colors at that interval, and this is what I have so far:

patchwork afghan

Strips of knitted fabric, much like sewing quilt squares together for a strip quilt. I found someone else’s project on ravelry, showing that she’d knitted similar rows together, so I’m planning on doing that as well — picking up stitches on the long edges, knitting one row each, and finishing with a three-needle bind-off (which I will have to learn how to do).

The confidence to strike out on my own in an art that I’m relatively unpracticed at is a fun little challenge, even though I’ve pretty much kept it really simple (I knit every row — no fancy stitches for me! Simple garter will do.)

I’ve also found that I want more colors than I have, and that quite a few users on ravelry are willing to either trade or sell the Classic Elite Flash prints and solids in their stashes (or even give away remnants of skeins) so that I’m not limited to red, orange, blue, green, pink and white.

In any case, this is the first present I’m making for the impending kiddo (a.k.a. Plus Sign, wiggle-wort), and I want it to be colorful and soft. The yarn I’m using is 100% cotton and has a nice hand, and with all the help from other ravelry users, it should put rainbows to shame.

[In case you’re so inclined, and a member yourself, you can watch this project as it progresses on my ravelry project page: Patchwork Afghan.]

[ETA: If you’re a knitter/crocheter and not on Ravelry, you can sign up if you want (it’s free). If you’re NOT a member, and not interested, then you’ll just have to wait for updates here.]