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It’s been a while

Where do I start? That’s the thing with a blog, if you don’t update often enough. It starts becoming a daunting task, you keep falling further behind so then you think, where do I start? Do I just pick it up again like I was never gone, or do I do a full update?

For several months after Iceland I had a lull in my knitting. I lost interest, I still knit often, maybe not daily, but somehow the fun had worn off. In fact, I started a post about it:

Predictable.
I tend to have this problem: I get into something (such as a new hobby). And I obsess over it. It engulfs my life and I drop everything else that I have an interest in. It becomes my life. Every free minute is poured into said hobby. And when I can’t be doing the hobby, I spend time online researching it, posting on boards, learning all I can. And then at my pinnacle of my obsession, when I feel like I could spend my whole life just doing this one thing…

Something happens. It’s like somebody flipped a switch, and the lights suddenly went off. I loose my drive, my passion quickly evaporates and then my life goes back to normal until I find the next thing to obsess over.

I swore this would not happen with knitting. I want knitting to be part of my every day life, I want it to be a lifelong hobby.

And then I went to stitches west. It must have been the yarn fumes. Or perhaps it was this pattern.
Lovely yak down and cormo sheep. Diagonal opening. Shorter sleeves. A little lace. Whats not to love?

Alice Cardi

It turned out a little bit on me, unfortunately. (I’m still working the nerve to throw it in the drier for a few minutes to see if it will shrink). It’s alright, I still love it and the most important thing… I got my knitting mojo back. The Monday following stitches west was a holiday; I cast on the sleeves. 2 Mondays after that the cardi made its debut. It went quick, about a week and a half to knit, and a few days to finish up and dry.

I think my “yarn diet” also contributed at my lack of enthusiasm in knitting. I did slim down my stash in the past few months, but after all my stitches west purchases I think it’s close to what it was at its “worst” (and by worst I mean bad in the boyfriend’s book, good in mine!).

stitches west loot

Since my last true update I have finished quite a bit of projects, so a quick rundown:

more like ruby
The Ruby Safire (blogged about as WIP)


Dark Red Hederas. (blogged about as WIP)


The urchin that only took me 4 tries (blogged about as WIP)… I’m glad I finished it because it turned out to be the hat I wear the most. I had a near catastrophe almost loosing the hat a few weeks ago. I had no idea it was missing until I saw a crumpled black knitted thing by my car one day… my first thought was that some bum lost his hat by my car, and then I realized it was MY hat. It had been sitting out there for a few days and had been driven over and covered in mud during the rains. A good soak and it was as good as new.

Babette Uber Alles
The damn blanket that took me a million years. A month to crochet up all the squares and almost a year to crochet the border all the way around. I love it though!


The clapotis in Uruguyan yarn bought in Iceland. Love this malabrigo silk/merino yarn, but boy does it pill.

Lubov Detail
Lubov from the Brave new Knits book. Made it skinnier and a little longer. Although the lace stretched quite a bit and it turned out to be about 8 feet long!


OpArt blanket for the dog (destashing the cheap acrylic!). I think this is the most used and loved piece of knitting I have churned out yet.

Bee mitts
Bee fingerless gloves I knit up during our disneyland trip. I need to get a completed picture. The black ribbing along the top is extra long so I can have it folded down when its not so cold or unfolded up when I want to cover my fingers.

Monkey Socks
Monkey socks… I thought I had a finished picture but I need to dig it up. I wanted to get these done to wear to my Cookie A class at stitches (I know, dorky). Reclaimed this yarn from a messy shawl attempt I blogged about a while back, it worked much better with the socks.

Spiral Cowl
Spiral cowl also knit up during my disneyland trip. Cute pattern that I saw a Erica from my knitting group work on, shipped off to mom.

Kindle pocket pre-felting
Felted kindle cozy for Mike for the kindle I got him for his birthday. He never asks for anything knitted so I was happy to make it for him, yay!


Hedgerow socks… I needed a simple pattern to take to stitches and I thought they looked cute. I need to stop knitting red socks.

Wheew, quite an update. I have a few WIPs… but I’ll save those for later.

New toys, new projects

A couple days ago (ok, maybe a week, time is flying) I got my new set of addi lace clicks, yay!!!
I put my pre-order for them about 6 months ago, due to manufacturing glitches with the brass coating the release date kept getting pushed back and back. They ended up with nickle-plated coats instead, just like the turbos.

I’m pretty happy with them, I don’t mind the shorter needles, specially because it allows for shorter cables. My only gripe is that they don’t seem as sharp as the fixed lace circulars for some reason. I was told they used the same mold for the tip, but perhaps the brass plating allows them to be even pointier. We’ll see what the general opinion is once more people get their sets.

 

I’ve finished some projects and started some new ones. I broke down on my yarn diet and bought one (JUST ONE!) skein of noro silk garden sock. Everyone makes such a big deal about noro that I wanted to try it out. I found it at the Tokyo fish market (of all places), they have several different kinds of noro there. Not a whole lot of color choices but I am hoping that they will bring more yarn. And for some odd reason their noro does not feel crunchy like the noro I have found at yarn shops. Perhaps they are getting the good stuff directly from japan? Maybe the noro normally distributed in the US has something added to it? Hmm… Here is the noro sock I started:

It’s toe up too… new skill! I’m alternating stripes with some leftover crazy zauberball, and alternating between inside and outside of the noro ball. I’m not sure that I’m happy with the results though, I wanted something more dramatic but the colors on this ball are so subtle. And starting the toe was a PITA! I need to look at other ways to start toe-up socks.

I’ve also started the lubov scarf from the brave new knits book. I had a few false starts using the lace-weight nammi yarn from iceland but it just wasn’t looking good, so I ended up using some knitpicks stroll sock yarn in the gypsy colorway that is much softer than the nammi. Pictures to come!

The Knitter’s Manifesto

This was written and posted by tubasoldier on the selfish knitters blog, I am just reposting it because its awesome!

It makes me sad that some people don’t regard something crafted as a piece of art, and perhaps this is because the root of knitting (among other crafts) probably came from a necessity of a functional piece. Donald put this way more eloquently than I could have. Enjoy!

——————–
The Knitter’s Manifesto
by Donald Sutton

No longer will I be known as merely a crafter, nor will my knitting be considered a hobby. I am an artist, and my art deserves to be recognized as such by the world. If the world refuses, it will be so recognized by me, for I am the only one who can truly determine the validity of my art.

I am an artist whose medium is yarn, whose tools are simple needles, whose palette encompasses every known color of the spectrum. I paint with string, carve with sticks, and the click of needles is its own special music. I create objects out of next to nothing that are functional as well a beautiful.

I am an artist and have spent years honing my skills. That time spent is invaluable to me, and increases with each work I complete. I am the only one who can determine fair recompense for my artwork. Each stitch is well and honestly considered, and if an incorrect stitch is left in the work, it is because I have determined it should be so, not because I made a mistake. I am the only one who can accurately determine how my art is displayed.

I am an artist. My creations are as personal as the thoughts in my head. Should I choose to keep any or every piece I create, I will not be labeled selfish or uncaring. These are painstaking works; years of study are involved in each stitch, each pattern, and each color choice. They deserve to be received by someone who will recognize and appreciate the costs involved, not merely in materials, but in time and skill as well. In the event that my gifting was ill-considered I can at my own discretion retrieve the piece without being thought of as selfish, or known as someone who gives and takes back.

I am an artist and I will always retain the authority, decision and right to determine the final disposition of my works. Each recipient is matched with an original, unique creation – this is not done lightly or without thought. I do not take requests, either for articles or works in specific patterns. Each work is carefully considered based on my knowledge of my own skill and the characteristics of the intended recipient, even if that recipient is me. For the most part, my works are created for a single individual, and thus are to be considered even more priceless than an installation that will be viewed or ignored by the masses.

I am an artist. I am not selfish, stingy or greedy. I do not take myself, my skills or my art for granted. They are gifts from a power beyond me that are enviable and coveted. I pity those who will not create; I do not despise those who cannot.

I create because I must, but not because I am obligated. To not create is unthinkable. It is my desire, skill and creativity that make me an artist, not anyone else’s opinion. It is my choice to work in the medium of sticks and string.

I am a knitter, and I am an artist.
—————————

Wow, I can’t believe its November already. Between birthday, work, halloween, holidays coming up, everything seems to speed by faster than ever. Sure sign of age I guess. If time passes this quick at 31, I don’t want to think of how fast the years will go in my 50s and 60s.

I finished a good number of projects in the past couple weeks, here is the latest WIP to share for WIPW:

I’m not quite sure I like how its turning out though. I frogged my first version and recast on going with a stockinette body instead, and a garter stitch edge but something about this yarn and this pattern isn’t jiving with me. It’s a lovely color but something doesn’t quite look right… Maybe I’ll find a nice contrasting color and start again with this pattern instead:Andrea’s Shawl.

Hooray for October!

I’m so happy October is here! It’s my favorite month by far. October is awesome because of so many things… the holidays kick off with halloween, fall starts (although we are having another heatwave here!), the trees start turning colors (ok, maybe not so much in california). October is the month when the 27th really matters (my birthday, yay!). Quick update on some things:

 

The past few weeks have been a combination of being too busy, being too lazy to write, or both. I missed out on WipW last week, but I’m still working on the same few projects so other than a small amount of progress there is nothing new to report. I did finish the first hedera sock and cast on the second right after finishing the first, doing my best to avoid SSS (second sock syndrome). (Here is the first one in its almost finished state, once you’re past the heel gusset it goes quite quick)

 

Safire is moving along, the body is mainly done. I was avoiding picking up the neckline stitches because I was afraid that it wouldn’t come out ok, it’s not perfect but it doesn’t look bad. As much as it kills me, I just need to let that go. Nothing I make is going to be perfect, at least not for a long time. Feeling ok about the imperfections in knitting is taking me a while to accept but in the end it does give a project more character. RIGHT??? Sorry for the crummy picture, and yes thats a long knitting needle holding the front closed.

 

A bit over a week ago I went to a free-form knitting workshop at the newly re-opened Artfibers in SF. I’m SO excited to have them so close to my work, and it makes my yarn-diet all that much more painful. The workshop was fun and interesting, and I got to try out a bunch of yummy new yarn! Somehow I kept being drawn to all the gorgeous reds…

 

Here is my knitted free-form piece:

Its a fun stash-busting idea!

Work In Progress Wednesdays sound like a good motivation to keep up on my weekly project reports, so here is my trial run!

I have a couple WIPs at the moment (errr… so much for my knitting monogamy?), but the one thats currently the most fun are my Hedera socks.

Knit up in Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine in a sort of complex deep red colorway. It’s hard to capture in photos but the color is gorgeous and it matches the red in my safire cardigan.

We’ve had extremely hot weather the last few days, so it feels much more appropriate to knit up something lacey. These are my first pair of lace socks, and I love how stretchy they are turning out to be. Hopefully they will stay up better than my first 2 pairs, and since I’m making these normal length instead of kneehigh, I wont get sock-burn-out-syndrome again. The lace is a very simple 4 row repeat, very easy to memorize which makes these a perfect travel project. This is also my first project working with twisted rib, and I love the way it looks!

Mondays are lame

There is just nothing good about Mondays. I can’t think of one single good thing. Mondays would be bearable if I could knit at work on my downtime but I can’t. I would get my work done so much faster if there was the promise of totally guilt free knitting time!

Speaking of… I’ve finished my urchin hat twice, and its been a total failure both times. The first time I was making the medium size and more than halfway through I realized that finished it would probably be the size of a kippah. So I frogged and cast on the large size. I was done with the panels and realized it would probably be too small so to compensate I added one extra panel. It turns out the band was too loose, but the hat was still too shallow for my head. Grumble


So I frogged again. Mind you, the yarn is a bitch to unravel. The small amount of mohair makes it a huge pain. But its back to cake form and dammit I will get an urchin out of this yarn. Luckily its a simple and quick pattern, and I have a game plan. I will cast on 28 stitches instead of 24, and I will have an extra 2 short rows to add some more depth, but I will keep the same amount of panels since that seemed to fit ok. That is the new plan, once I quit cursing at the damn yarn and gather enough courage to cast on again.

In the meantime my safire is coming along. It was pretty obvious that I was going to be short on yarn so my updated plan was to add a section of gray and a section of black. I finished the gray and started on one sleeve (the ribbing was getting tedious so I wanted to give it a break). Norwegian purl is working great to make my ribbing nice and tidy. Here is the last picture I took, the gray part is about twice as wide as it appears here:

And lastly, since the urchin was going bad and the safire was too large to haul around in my bag, I started hedera socks to have a traveling project for my train ride to work and for when we go hang out at the bar. I have the opposite problem than most knitters I know, I hate having too many projects going at once. I like to concentrate on one at a time and finish but that’s not always possible, specially if your main project is too big to take on the go. Maybe this way I can avoid pattern burn-out, since in the end I’m ready to be done with whatever project I am currently working on.

That’s it for my current projects. In other events, my puppy got attacked by an akita last week, it was horrifying! I though the dog was going to rip my dog in half. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so much fear and helplessness than in the 10 seconds that my dog spent pinned under the other dog, screaming her paws off. Luckily the other dog (who was a 10 month old puppy of about 100lb) wasn’t trying to kill Imo, I think he was being territorial and giving her a warning. But still, she ended up with 3 puncture wounds on her cheek/neck area. The other dog’s owner was a prick but he ended up paying for Imo’s vet bill after all (after a lot of stress and yanking me around). She’s fine now, the bites were not very deep and after some cleaning and antibiotics she was sent home with a clean bill of health.

Not sure what is up with this heat wave all the sudden. I don’t like it!

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