Saturday, January 26, 2008

We interrupt our regularily scheduled knitting...

To bring to you the most random geeky thing I could ever knit!

Last Saturday was butt-cold. Our over-heated apartment was uncharacteristically cold, and when I got into bed, I was FREEZING. During a summer trip to Vermont, I had bought a hot water bottle. I filled it with hot water, wrapped it in a linen towel, and left it under the covers of the bed while I went to brush my teeth. I came back, got under the covers, and OMIGOD!

The delicious warmth was profoundly life-changing. Now, it's true, I have Poem-Man's love to keep me warm, but let's be realistic. Sometimes it just not enough. You need not just a hot water bottle, you want a Love Supplement to keep you warm!

But this naked Love Supplement was remarkably unromantic. A little rubbery-smelling, tactically-challenge, and its heat too harsh against my skin. Love Supplement needed a sweater cozy!

So I interrupted my sweater and sock-knitting pattern-driven knitting and started knitting a Love Supplement Cozy. I made up the pattern as I went along and went top-down and in the round so that I could try it on the Love Supplement for size. I cast on for the turtleneck top, began the cable pattern from one of my Harmony guides, and increased past the neck did short-rows to make the 'shoulders" Then I knit straight down to the bottom, cast off all the stitches for the back of the sweater, and continued in ribbing down the front. Once I could kind of fold past the bottom, I picked up a stitch along the side and knit it together with the end stitches of the flap so that I wouldn't have to sew the flap to the side laster. The flap closure works perfectly--it stays closed when I want it to and opens easily when I need to slip a hot-watered bottle into its encasing. It was complete serendipity that the two entire repeats of the cable pattern was the perfect length for the cozy. Oh, the Love!

Pattern: Love Supplement Cozy that I made up myself!
Yarn: Uhuhm, um, I have no idea. I know it's worsted-weight wool. I found it in a bag of random balls of yarn. It's at least 8 years old.
Yarn Enabler: Ruhama's, one of my LYSses when I lived in Milwaukee.
Knitted on: Size 8 Knitpicks circular Magic Looped
Time spent knitting when I shouldabeen writing and correcting exams: 1 week

Monday, January 21, 2008

The REAL Yarn Diet.

Somehow my sock yarn collection had gotten out of hand. How? I had no control. I was down to maybe one skein of sock yarn, which was ok since I had lost my sock-knitting mojo. But then Hill Country Yarn Sock Club yarn kept coming. (but I think that's done now. whew!) And everyone's favorite girlishly delightful (what?) yarn-pusher, Anne-Marie, made me a sock gift for working the Sit 'n Knit Holiday party (and boy did I work it!--ooh that doesn't sound so good.) of the lovely Noro sock yarn which became:

Pattern: Annetrelac Socks
Yarn: Noro Kureyon Sock in color #180
Yarn Enabler: Anne-Marie!
Knitted on: Size 1 DPNs and on Size 0 Knitpicks circular Magic Looped
Time spent knitting when I shouldabeen planning for rehearsals: 2.5 weeks

Ok, the best part of these socks is that THESE SOCKS MAKE YOU LOSE WEIGHT! It's true. I lost 4 lbs in the time I was knitting these. Now, I have never tried any diet program, though I've always needed to lose weight, but I feel like Sock Knitting could become the new Jenny freakin' Craig. hee hee. You see, I was really motivated to go workout so I could knit them. I would go get on a recumbent bike and pedal like a hamster (ok, they don't pedal, but you know what I mean) who is pretending to go up and down big hills and knit like crazy and suddenly 45 minutes and some 300+ calories and a round of the entrelac had passed by! YAY!

YARN DIET--it's not about not buying yarn, it's about having more fiber in your diet! It makes you lose weight as you use it!

Ok, back to reality. I probably should have knit the entrelac legs on Size 0 needles because they're a little loose in the stitches. But I couldn't see Magic Loop being magic for the back and forth fiddley-ness of entrelac knitting. And I didn't have Size 0 DPNs, and I certainly wasn't going to buy them because a) I'd have had to wait til I got them and b) I don't really believe in DPNs anyway. When I got to the eye of the partridge heel flap (my alteration to the pattern) and stockinette foot, I realized that Size 1s were not going to cut it, so with a sigh of relief, I reverted to my Size 0 speedy Knitpicks magic loop ways.

Now this is a diet I think I can maintain, and here's my next load of fiber:

These socks are being made (FINALLY) out of some of my Hill Country Yarn Sock Club yarn. It's sport-weight. Of course, I don't have Size 2 or 1 circular needles, just 3s and 0s, and this is sport-weight yarn. So, FINE, I'm doing them one-at-time on Size 2 DPNs. So last decade....I'm gonna go order some needles right now...

Last question: Would it be ridiculous to knit a a hot water bottle cover out of Malabrigo? I used my hot water bottle for the first time last night, wrapped in a linen towel, and I love it LOVE IT LOVE IT!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Final wrap up and new beginning

There was a flurry of finishing in December. I've already blogged about the hats, the sweater, and now, my new favorite piece:

Pattern: Felted Stained Glass Fan Bag from knitting dream
Yarn: Noro Kureyon
Yarn Enabler: Yarns Down Under
Knitted on: Size 8
Time spent knitting when I shouldabeen caroling or something: 1 month

This piece is turned out beautifully. It was both enjoyable and fiddly to knit. I pulled all the individual colors of the skein off the Kureyon and made little bobbins of yarn from which I chose the next color to knit. I knit-wove the ends in as I went so that there were fewer things to do at the end.

I felted it twice. I got too excited and nervous the first time and pulled it out off the washer and air-dried it for two or three days. Then I looked at it again to put in the lining and noticed it was too big, too loose, and the stitches too obvious. The second felting, I threw caution to the wind (because I was leaving to return home the next day) and washed it for 15 minutes and threw it into the dryer for an hour. Perfect.

The lining is even pretty good. Not the award-winning stitching, but it works. I also think that the felted I-cord handle is not long-lasting, if I find some other handles that will work, I may go with that.

Then there's the TORTOISE and the HARE. Which would you like first?

HARE, baby! I cast this replacement for Poem-man's lost Cap Karma New Year's Eve afternoon. After some knitting on the subway when travelling to the different parties we attended and then aftermath couch potato knitting on New Year's afternoon, I was done!

Pattern: Koolhaas
Yarn Enabler: Purl's Yarn Emporium
Knitted on: Size 8 on the ribbing and Size 10 for the rest.
Time spent knitting when I was recovering: 1 day! woo hoo!

So, TORTOISE: Really, I'm a little tired to blog on it. Too much party. Too much holiday. Too much work to go back to. My tortoise is JULIET. This girl has been giving me trouble. She should be done, but NO, she's had to be re-knit TWICE. Talk about star-crossed. She is the Tortoise who will probably win the FO love race, but not yet.....