Monday, March 01, 2010

Olympic Gold

It wasn't always pretty, but I finished! 1 sweater, 17 days. Thank God it comes only once every four years!

I wore the sweater to work today, in celebration (and relief. plus, I hadn't done laundry). I'm really happy with the way it looks and the way it fits, except that I think the sleeves might be too short.

I'm going to wash it before I make any decisions (it's superwash, it might grow. and no, I didn't swatch). If it doesn't grow adequately, I'll probably cut the cuffs off, knit the sleeves a few inches longer, and then graft the cuffs back on. Fortunately, that isn't a decision that has to be made now. For now, I'm basking in the glory of Olympic gold.

Friday, February 26, 2010

3 days, 2 sleeves

3 days and 2 sleeves - that's what I've got between me and Knitting Olympic glory or failure. Fortunately, I don't have much else going on this weekend, so think I've got a good shot at it being glory instead of failure. On the plus side, even if I don't make it in time for the Knitting Olympics, I'll have a new sweater by Tuesday or Wednesday, so I guess I win either way.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


The 2010 Olympic games seem like a fitting excuse to return to the blog, particularly as I'm participating in both the Ravelympics and the Knitting Olympics. I'm not totally bonkers, though; I'm doing the same project for both of them - Wisteria, by Kate Gilbert.

My lack of TV made it impossible to watch the opening ceremony live, from home (why does NBC require you to have cable to watch their live online video? Isn't the whole point of its being online so that people without TV's can watch it?). But the footage from the ceremony is available this morning, so I'm enjoying my tea, working on Wisteria, and watching the parade of nations. Thoughts:
  • Andorra - early contenders for best knitwear. I love the sweaters and caps!
  • Azerbaijan - what's with the paisley pants? Those are intense.
  • Czech Republic - pants almost as awesome as Azerbaijan's, but with matching jackets!
  • Georgia - keeping it classy and respectful under tough conditions.
  • Germany - reminding me of nothing so much as Easter eggs.
  • Kazakhstan - I think the whole delegation should have dressed like the flag bearer.
  • Monaco - rocking the argyle sweaters.
  • Mongolia - I like the traditional dress of the flag bearer.
  • Russia - nice jackets, distinct but not overwhelming.
  • Sweden - some nice, flag-matching, crochet caps.
  • United States - I can't tell if those are moose or deer on the caps, but either way, I like it. Also, I noticed later, they've got really nice cabled sweaters.
From what I could find to watch, Canada seemed more intent on hosting a celebration than on impressing the world. Except for the glitch with the torch lighting, I thought it was a nice ceremony.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Something for home

Every time lately that I've had a few minutes (or hours) to sit and spend as I'd like, I've been knitting. Lots of knitting, not so much on the photography, blogging, etc. So, somewhat to my chagrin, I'm posting an entry I wrote a while ago (for such an eventuality), just so I don't go an entire month without posting.

How can you tell you're in a knitter's house (besides the obvious, like the swift and ball winder that seem permanently installed on the dining room table)? By the presence of knitted things - socks, sweaters, blankets, dish cloths, tea cozies, cushions, etc. (I have yet to meet a knitter who doesn't keep at least some of their handiwork).

In an effort to improve my fiberly street cred (because, you know, having a blog and knitting at work leave that in doubt), try a new technique, use up some scraps, and protect my furniture, I made coasters.

They're actually crocheted (which isn't the new technique) rather than knitted. I used the scraps from the Baby Bright afghan and what is very nearly the world's simplest crochet pattern (ravlink). My new technique? Felting. I started by hand felting them in the sink, where I got some of them to fuzz up before giving up and deciding that they were going in the washer. Now, for reasons having to do with my unwillingness to part with my laundry quarters and my sense that a load consisting of four coasters is wasteful, I threw them in the wash with some regular laundry (not in hot water). As you can see, they're hardly felted at all.

Coasters before felting

Coasters after felting

But that's okay - they still save my furniture from water rings!

Monday, September 21, 2009

A bit of lace

I promised a finished object post for the Arabesque stole I made for my friend. I believe my stated time line was "soon." Does a week and a half qualify?

I apologize up front for the lousy full-object pictures. There was all of 28 hours between when I finished it and gave it to my friend, and all of them were either nighttime or really cloudy (and therefore pretty dark). I don't think I've ever taken so many bad pictures in my life as I did of that stole. Anyway, without further ado, I give you the Arabesque stole.

Almost finished - just needs blocking and the ends woven in.

Pinned out on blocking wires. This is, sadly, the only semi-decent picture of the entire thing in its finished state. I can't believe I didn't get even one in focus.

To recap, the pattern is Arabesque (ravlink). I knit it in Jojoland Harmony (ravlink, again) and US size 3 Addi lace needles. I added an extra repeat to the center panel, and if I had it to do again, would probably add more. The finished stole was somewhat shorter than I'd intended - a little over five feet, I think, and I was shooting for six something. This is what comes of not swatching, I guess.

Even though I was little tired of it by the time I finished the knitting, I really couldn't be more thrilled with the finished product.

The lace came out perfectly balanced, in my opinion, between being substantial and airy, solid yet holey. And I love the colors.

Perhaps best of all? I have more of the yarn.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ahoy maties!

Avast, there, ye scurvy bilge rats! Today be International Talk Like a Pirate Day! For some reason, pirates generally not be known fer their knittin' but that doesn't mean they can't appreciate some good fiber. And we wenches are especially appreciative.

We wenches like the baubles and the pretties, especially when they be gifts! This be a gift from me mother. Who doesn't love dolphins?

A wench also needs a little something for her feet, to keep those pretties warm and comfy. Despite the lovely blues and oceany cables, this sock turned out to be a lubber and had to be keelhauled.

Fortunately, this pair came to a better fate. Looking like a nighttime lagoon where mermaids live, they adorn my feet like (uncursed) Spanish gold.

Then there's this piece of treasure. Like a whirlpool of spun silver, it's actually wool and silk. And far less treacherous than a real whirlpool!

Arr, me hearties! I'm off fer some grog and knittin'!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Painting Yarn

In my last post, I promised to tell you about my process for the Pepper Flat.

It started out as a 100 g ball of Trekking Pro Natura, in white. Pro Natura is a wool/bamboo blend, so I wasn't sure how it would take the dye, but I figured since it's mostly wool I'd be okay. I cast on about 100 stitches and knit until I ran out of yarn. (Yes, I know you can buy already knit blanks. But in this case, I think the miles of stockinette were actually good for may sanity.)

To prepare it, I soaked the finished blank in a sink of warm water, no soap.

While it soaked, I prepared my dyes - in this case Paas Easter Egg dyes, mixed per Paas' instructions with vinegar and light on the water.

The actual painting was a bit messy. I spread the damp (I squeezed out most of the water from the soaking) blank out on my counter (granite countertop) and used a teaspoon and a syringe to paint the blank with random blobs of color. The goal was to have no white yarn left anywhere.

To set the dye, I spiraled the flat up to fit into a Pyrex pie plate with as little opportunity for dye seeping to fabric below it as possible. I stuck the whole thing in a plastic bag and microwaved it, I think for about two minutes.

Then I let it cool (keeping it covered), and nuked it again. After cooling from the second application of heat, I rinsed it out in cool water and spread it out to dry.

I can't wait to hear from my sister how it looks knitted into something else.

P.S. I did finish the Arabesque stole in time to send home with my friend! Pictures soon.