Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ombre Chest of Drawers

A friend of mine works the occasional auction. This has the potential to be both gloriously bad and tremendously good for me, sometimes simultaneously.

Case in point:

It not only wasn't very pretty, but it also smelled funny. Andrew and I moved it into the house, plunked it in the middle of the living room so I could ponder its fate, and then within an hour moved it back out of the house until I could attack it with Pine-Sol. I cleaned it and then set about transforming it into Awesome.

To do this, I visited Giant Home Improvement Store and had them mix up six different sample-size paint colors. The employee handed them to me, saying, "I'm not going to lie. I don't know which of these is which."

"Oh, I'm sure it's fine. They're labeled, right?"

"Well, these colors weren't in our system..."

Optimistically, I reminded myself that the drawers were all the same size, so I'd be fine.

Over the next several evenings, I started painting. And I found this:

One of these things is just like the other...

Dude mixed two samples of the same &$()%_) color. Back to the paint store. 

Nine days after it came home to live with us, it was finished, and lo, it was glorious.

I put it in the yarn guest room. It's going to be the home for random supplies--fabric in one drawer, sheets of felt and needle felting stuff in another, embroidery in another, etc. There's a herd of Felici* on top to make it feel at home.

*I own an obscene amount of Felici. If you're a yarn hoarder knitter, you might not think I own too much just by looking at the above photo. However, the Felici is stacked three deep. It's a sickness. It's probably for the best that the line has been discontinued. Self-striping sock yarn is the crack of the knitting world.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dither Mittens

Back in April, I wrote about retiring my swirly mittens. I set about replacing them last week.

I used yarn left from two other projects. I was worried I wouldn't have enough yarn, so I weighed one of my old mittens:

It was 27 grams. I weighed the new mitten:

The new one was 34 grams. It's amazing how using better yarn impacts the weight. The structure of the two mittens is very similar.

Then I weighed what yarn I had left:

Oy--17 of the darker and 16 of the lighter. The use of the light and dark yarn was pretty even in this pattern with the exception of the inside of the cuff. I knit that in the lighter gray, then folded it inside and knit the cuff together with the outside of the mitten. The cuff was 24 rounds, so I was definitely going to run out of the light yarn.

I decided to alternate the light gray with some leftover Sock that Rock Lightweight in a similar color (Deep Unrelenting Grey, leftover from these) on the second mitten so I wouldn't (hopefully) run out of yarn before I finished the thumb.

I can tell the difference, but it's not very noticeable... and it's the inside of mitten cuffs, so who cares? I barely had any light gray yarn left at the end of the second mitten (and not a ton of the dark), so it was a good decision.

The Dither pattern is a chart and some instructions for making socks, so I had to cobble together a mitten pattern. Details are on the Ravelry page if you're interested. I added a Latvian braid at the edge of the cuff because my love for them is pure. I made the braids to mirror one another, which amuses me.

Dither mitten (mine ravelled here),
knit in Indigodragonfly Merino Sock, Angst for the Memories 
and Townhouse Yarns Grafton 4ply, Menace

I love that I was able to use the remainder of two really great yarns to make these. They're extremely soft, and perhaps they'll hold up even better than the Swirly Mittens since they're made with nicer yarn. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Welldigger Blues

I knit a lot of things that come in pairs. It's not unusual for me to get burned out on knitting two of everything, and that's when hats come in so handy.

Welldigger hat (mine raveled here),
knit in Mineville Wool Project worsted in Moutainside

The last time we made a trek to Simply Socks, they had worsted weight skeins from the Mineville Wool Project. I asked Andrew to pick a color to become a hat.

I decided this hat would look better with a more invisible cast on than my usual long-tail, so I watched a Eunny Jang video a few million times and did a tubular cast on.

I saved this in black and white because the waste yarn is bright orange--
as in my-eyes-are-bleeding-orange. You're welcome.

You cast on half the stitches you need and knit a few stockinette rows in waste yarn, then knit 4 rows in the real yarn, starting with a wrong-side row. On the fifth row, you knit one, then pick up the first purl bump from the first row of the main color and purl it, knit another, pick up another purl bump, etc. until you've alternated between knitting the stitches on the needle and purling the stitches you picked up from the first row. Continue for a couple rows of the pattern, and then you can take out the waste yarn. Eunny explains it much better here (although the site itself is clearly written by a nonknitter). The resulting cast on is still stretchy, which makes no sense to me, and nigh-invisible. It's the superhero of cast ons.

The Welldigger hat uses a slipped-stitch pattern. The result is a very squishy, thick fabric. I think this hat will be worn on the coldest days. Andrew, naturally, looks adorable in it, even when he's sticking out his tongue.

He's so cute I made him a pair of socks, too, even though he picked a Zauberball color with so much navy I spent most of the knitting time praying for a color change.

Blues for Andrew (ravelled here),
knit in Schoppel-Woole Zauberball #2134

I did my usual pattern for Andrew socks--1x1 ribbed cuff, 3x1 broken rib leg and top of foot. I started with 68 stitches on the leg and decreased after the gusset down to 64. I decreased the toes down to 20 stitches before kitchnering.

I didn't have time last night to pick yarn for my next project, so I did something completely out of character and just brought a book to read at lunch. I think the next project should be my mittens (See? Another pair.), and that's going to take some planning.

Knit on, my friends. Winter is coming.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fucus asparagoides Sock

I've been knitting and painting furniture and working. There are some finished knits that are staring at me and pleading to be photographed. I gave in and brought one to work to snap a few pictures.

Fucus asparagoides Sock (mine raveled here),
knit in Townhouse Yarns Grafton 4ply, Menace colorway

This is part of Hunter Hammersen's KAL on Ravelry. I liked both Fucus asparagoides patterns so much that I did both (shawl here). Hunter loves herself a twisted decrease. Pointy needles are important.

As I was knitting these, I kept thinking about how this stitch pattern would look on a hat, or a cowl, or a scarf....

Thursday, August 28, 2014

True Story: Support Desk

I sent this to the Support Desk (which is not particularly supportive, so I think they should change their #&)% name):
I'm not positive you guys are in charge of exorcisms, but my phone is possessed.

Randomly, while the handset is hung up, it will start beeping a busy signal and the screen will say Unknown Number. I have to pick up the handset, hang it back up, and then it will do it again a few seconds later. Typically, it does it four times in rapid succession and then stops. It's not near a time when I make or receive a call, and I'm positive the handset is hung up properly when it does it.

This has been happening for months, but it was sporadic enough that I never bothered anyone about it. Nobody else has complained about their phone doing it. Today it's probably done it 6 times. It's possible it's trying to push me over the edge.

If someone has time, can they see if this is a known problem with the 7965 phones or if there's anything I can do? Thanks.
Well, now it's probably done it 30 times, which might as well be 30 million. It did it while I was on the phone with the support desk. My phone put the support desk on hold and started beeping at me from a new line. I may or may not have said, rather loudly, "Oh, FUCKER."

I mentioned this is my busiest time of year at work, right? I thought so. 

Send good energy and chocolate covered coffee beans.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

If It's Not Broken...

Way back in the mist before time began*, I went to Manhattan. I was a new knitter and tracked down a yarn shop for souvenir yarn. Then I wound it, probably threw away the ball band, and it sat on a shelf for a few years.

It was a rookie mistake.

A few weeks ago, I was contemplating what to bring to a friend's house. There were a bunch of us getting together for an overnight visit, and I would have four hours in the car as well as some time while we were all chatting.

I decided socks with a pretty easy pattern were the way to go, and I went in search of yarn. I decided to try the mystery NYC yarn.**

Zigzagular Socks (mine raveled here)

I have a problem. I am attracted to variegated yarn, but I have a hard time finding patterns that show up well amidst all the color. This pattern, actually, was featured on Simply Socks Yarn Co.'s blog recently as a pattern that worked well with variegated yarn. That mention is what drew me to them in the first place.

This pattern did not disappoint. In fact, I was so pleased with the NYC socks that I immediately cast on for a second pair, this time using Blue Moon yarn from their sock club.

Zigzagular Socks (mine raveled here),
in Cables of Wrath colorway

Most of this pattern is stockinette, which flies, and then there's a short repeat of the twisted zigzag on a purl background. It's mirrored so the pattern runs down the outside of each leg.

I can't tell you how great it feels to knit up one of those sock club skeins. I participated in it for three years, I think. The first year, I knit everything just as they told me to. After that, I only knit it if I found the pattern really compelling. As a result, I have skeins still in their plastic bags. Blue Moon yarn is too lovely to not be used. It's great to have another pattern in the variegated arsenal!

*sometime after 2006

**This is clearly a yarn that could have used an afterthought heel. Please ignore that.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Fucus asparagoides Shawl

Hunter Hammersen is doing knitalongs for her most recent book. This series of books is organized with two projects (usually one sock and one non-sock) per inspiration, and the knitalong goes for two months. You can knit one or both patterns to participate. I did the socks in the first one, and the shawl in the second. I like the socks for the current KAL so much that I may knit them, too. I have some fab yarn Katie gave me that I think would be great in that pattern.

Anyway, to the shawl!

You start at the bottom edge, and there's lace patterning on both rows. I think it's easier to rip back when the wrong side rows are all purls, but sometimes you gotta have more lace than that. After the second complete ripping session, I was smart enough to put in a lifeline. That was good because my third and final rip went back to that lifeline. 

Once that bout was out of my system, the rest of it went really smoothly. I just had to pay attention and not let stitches jump ship while I was doing one of the decreases (the left-leaning one on the wrong side, if you're interested. I can't imagine that anyone is.)

Fucus asparagoides Shawl (mine ravelled here),
knit in indigodragonfly's Merino Sock,
Angst for the Memory colorway

The book has a photo with the model wearing this off her shoulders. It looks great, but mine doesn't feel large enough to do that. (I knit the large size.) I blocked it pretty aggressively, and it still was a bit shallower than I'd hoped. I'll probably end up wearing it like this:

Black isn't the easiest to knit with, certainly, but I think it'll get a lot more wear than a brighter color. I really like small shawls like this, and I do wear the Nefertim and Henslowe fairly often--often enough that someone at work said it was weird to see me in a scarf that wasn't knit. When great yarn and great patterns exist, why not knit all the things?