Wednesday, July 30, 2008

mittens galore

I just realized that I never put up the stats for the thrummies, and the juniper mitts are also finished.

Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Solid in Cream and Gray
Thrums: 1 oz. Merino Roving Single from in South Pacific, Spruce, and Peach Glow
Needles: Gray pair - US 8 Brittany dpns, Cream pair - US 7 Bryspun dpns
Started: June 28, 2008
Finished: July 18, 2008

Quick Mitts
Pattern: Juniper Mitts by Jennifer Adams
Yarn: Catalina Yarns Baby Silk (only about 100-125 yds)
Needles: US 6 Bryspun circs
Started: July 20, 2008
Finished: July 23, 2008

I love these. They are SO soft. I think I'll end up putting buttons on them eventually. Maybe when it's winter again and I actually use them.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wee Brûlée for a wee Ukranian

Wee Brûlée
Pattern: Brûlée Scarf by Skrilla Knits
Yarn: Tiur by Dale of Norway (sport weight 60% mohair 40% wool)
Needles: 3mm bamboo straights

Please forgive myself and the wee scarf for getting ridiculously carried away with a photo shoot out the window of my work's third floor library. I was on my lunch break, but still, taking photos leaning out a window while posing a scarf on the ledge.....lets hope no coworkers spotted me.

The yarn is quite fuzzy; the mohair makes it a bit scratchy. I am hoping the mohair softens a bit in the blocking process. This is my first time blocking, and I forgot to buy pins today, so hopefully I will start tomorrow!

I was instantly attracted to this pattern because it is named after one of my favorite desserts, and I decided to knit it for some simple car knitting. The pattern is simple, but the crochet shell trim lends a fun, girly feel. I started my adult crafting madness with crochet, but quickly abandoned it as I learned the versatility and variation of knitting. Before I learned to knit I told myself that I loved to crochet and would continue doing both equally as a took up knitting. Quickly, the hooks fell to the bottom of an tote bag at the back of the stash, and I started ordering knitting needles on ebay like a maniac (all sizes for 10 bucks! Who cares if they are a little to that price I could not resist.) This pattern made me pick up my hook once again, and frankly, I had fun! It was a nice way to clean up an edge. My scarfs often flare at the corners for some reason (something I should probably learn to correct with blocking) and the shell stitches hid the flare and made the whole thing look finished.
I found my buttons at Britex, a four story sewing haven that is filled with such beauty that I bought a roll of remnants despite not knowing how to sew or having a sewing machine. There is a whole wall of fabulous buttons, where I found these little shells.

This scarf is destined to belong to a 3 year old in Ukraine, so I wanted to add a touch of fun in the buttons. For some reason these shells captured my attention, and reminded me of something I would have liked as a kid. Hopefully she will love them!

That thing just wouldn't stop posing...cheeky scarf.

A beautiful day in my neighborhood

Last night I stayed up way too late finishing my wee Brûlée scarf and watching Weeds and the Office. It was a good night...FO pics tomorrow once I can take some pictures in daylight!

This weekend was quite beautiful in SF on Saturday, and quite gloomy on Sunday.

This was our first weekend in SF in 6 weeks and it was a reminder that I truly love this city! The landscape, the museums...

I caught up on my museuming; seeing two wonderful exhibitions of female artists. Both exhibits were amazing, and featured paintings of women crafting! First, I saw Frida Kahlo at the MoMa. Amongst the amazing self portraits and deprecating depictions of US cities was a commissioned portrait of a knitter. I think the snarling cactus background is an unusual and fascinating choice for a portrait background.

On Sunday afternoon I went up to the Legion of Honor to see the Women Impressionists Exhibit. Featuring Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, Eva Gonzalès, Marie Bracquemond, the exhibit was incredible. I want to go back. And perhaps move in. Lots of paintings of women sewing and knitting. While these 4 women were accepted by their Impressionist peers as intellectual equals, they were still subject to the restrictions placed on upper class women at the time. A great part of their subject matter is inside the "female realm" and features numerous depictions of women knitting and sewing. Not allowed to work, these women no doubt derived creative and intellectual satisfaction from their craft. Like then, women today do not need to knit and sew, but choose to do so for individual reasons. Personally, I love the satisfaction of using things that I make in a largely prefab world, and need a creative outlet to feel satisfied. It was interesting to see two exhibits covering five strong women breaking ground for female artists, and the aspects of a women's life they chose to portray.

Also at the Legion was this AWESOME Chihuly piece:

It is phenomenal.

And the ever elegant Thinker.

Very delightful, artsy fartsy weekend.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I Keep My Tomatoes in a Big-@$$ Sack

Last Friday my boss came back from a meeting with a gigantic box of roma tomatoes. Naturally, I filled up a gallon-sized ziploc baggie to take home. I took pics but didn't upload. Hopefully tonight, the BF & I will make some spaghetti sauce. Delicious.

On Friday I also received a birthday treat in the mail from Sonny and Shear. (I ordered it, but it was from birthday money, I swear!) Gotta love that cheap shipping!

Treat #1: 4 oz. DragonFibers Merino/Bamboo Roving in "Secret Garden"
It is ridiculously soft and I can't wait to start spinning it with my beautiful spindle from Butterfly Girl Designs. I'm going to have to wait until I finish the first ball of roving that I bought way back when since I only have the one spindle. Also, I need to get better at spinning so my beautiful Secret Garden doesn't turn out looking like crap.

Treat #2: 1 skein of Oceanwind Knits Suri Silk in "Tickled"
It is sooooo soft. I want to knit myself a ski-mask with it so I can feel it on my face ALL DAY. I'm thinking maybe a beaded swallowtail shawl (rav link).

And finally, here's what I've been working on for another friend who is kicking the bucket, er, getting married. The Faux Russian Stole from A Gathering of Lace. (She is Chinese/White and he is a Russian, hence SHE will be a Faux Russian. It's only fitting.) I only have 3 weeks to finish! It's not looking good for me...
But it is looking good. My only complaint is that I can't memorize that pattern, since each repeat is 96 rows long and a billion stitches wide! Makes for some slow knitting. Good thing The Incredibles was on the Disney channel last night. ...Not that I don't own it anyways...
I've got a case of the Mondays.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Weekend Fun!

Best. Weekend. Ever.

I made a batch of Amish Friendship Bread to take to the bride's family's house Friday morning to help feed the hoards of 20-25 year olds descending upon their house. A co-worker gave me a starter bag for the bread, and I love it! I remember having the starter as a kid, and loving the results. The bread tastes like a banana bread textured snickerdoodle, and flashes me nostalgically back to the third grade. Every time you make a batch, you end up with 4 starter bags--one to keep and three to give away. Kristina, I hope you guys love yours! Tomorrow is ingredient adding day :)

Now for some fiber fun! The bride let Kristina shop for one of my maid of honor presents, and she picked some gorgeous goodies. The fiber is from alpaca direct, and the spindle is breathtaking.

Here is the spindle alongside a hibiscus bowl from Kona, painted using a lost wax technique.

I gave spinning a try Monday night. For my efforts I was rewarded with a lump on my left shin (not totally in control of the drop-spin part yet) and some incredibly uneven yarn--thin as lace weight in places, and thicker than bulky in others. Despite the uneven results, I love it! I made it! I hope to do some reading up on the subject and give it another go this weekend.

My best friends are married! To each other! It was wonderful to see them so happy, surrounded by 160 friends and family glowing with pride and sharing their happiness. ps. I made those bouquets!

And we tried to take a sock picture, we really did, but something in the execution failed. You can see a wee bit of a drunken bee sock...

rosa out...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wedding Weekend

(happy couple) (thrummies) (me and the bf)

This weekend Rose and I were at our friends' wedding. It was AMAZING. We had ridiculous amounts of fun. Good food, good friends and the most rockin' dancing imagineable. We meant to take a travelling sock picture at the wedding, but there was no time.

The last of the thrummed mittens was started and completed on Friday. The recipients of the mittens (moving to Massachusetts in a couple weeks) were really excited and "may never take them off between November and February."

On the plane ride home I started a pair of Juniper Mitts (ravelry link) with a skein of Catalina Yarns Baby Silk, magic looped on my Bryspun 6's. This stuff is HEAVEN. I can't even describe it. Just go buy some. Trust me. These mitts are ridiculously quick. I would have finished one in just a few hours, except I want to add fingers to them and I didn't have any dpn's. Actually, I don't even have size 6 dpn's. I wonder if 5's would work...

Speaking of work, I don't wanna work! I just wanna knit on my sock all day!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Welcome to the world of 24!

Happy Birthday Kristina! To my favorite knitting friend, beyond being my knitting hero, you are a wonderful person. Smart, hilarious, deadly at all board games, you are a catch! I am grateful to have you as a friend, even if from across the state!

Part one of you birthday present has, of course, not arrived, but I will mail it to you whenever it shows up. Part two you do not get until you visit in August, because it is a yarn related activity for us to do together!

I hope the year of 24 bring you much more knitting in camping chairs....

numerous GIVE ME__________! Joe's giggling ensues.....

frequent visits to your favorite farm.....

continual traveling cardi pictures....

infinite smiles.....

unending trips to San Francisco (STITCHES WEST 09!)...and of course, knitting in nature (well, kind of nature.)

I hope your year is blessed with friends, family, and all the happiness you deserve.



Thursday, July 17, 2008

Photo Journal

For my birthday, my blogging buddy Kristina got me several wonderful knitting related presents, all of which I love. The most beeeeautiful ones are these:

Stitch markers, which she made, after sneakily purchasing the beads in my presence! At the time, I thought it a bit out of character for her to buy pink beads, but you never know. They are absoultely beautiful and I love them enormously. I have only been able to put one to use thus far, on my WIP the Swallowtail Shawl.

The stitch markers are photographed on one of my new Kosta Boda plates. I have been obsessed with Kosta Boda and Swedish glassware in general since I went to Sweden two years ago. I love all things Scandinavian when it comes to design, textiles, architecture, and aesthetic. The glass making technique used today by Kosta Boda has been around for hundreds of years; the Kosta Boda company was founded in 1742.

No knitting pictures to post, hopefully next week. My WIP line up is:

Brooklyn Tweed's Hemlock Ring Blanket: This is a KAL with my blogmate Kristina. We are doing 5 rows per week, and at the moment, are only 4 weeks in.

The Swallowtail Shawl, in Knit Picks Gloss Lace Yarn in sterling. We shall see how much I like the yarn when its blocked. Its very easy to knit with, but I thought it would have a bit more luster.

Skrilla Knits' Brûlée Scarf, in Tiur by Dale of Norway. This knit is for a wee little three year old. I kept the original 28 stitch width, but am using a small yarn to shrink it down to kid size. Hopefully this will have a matching hat and mittens by my September deadline.

In most excellent news, Kristina and I will be reuniting this weekend as two of our best friends get married (to each other) this Saturday. I am so excited, but stressing big time about my toast! I am planning on keeping it short and sweet, as no story seems to be funny/sweet/perfect/appropriate enough to tell. I am told I will do fine, but given the sobfest I put on at the engagement party, we shall see.

We will be bringing socks on the needles to take a sock photo a la Harlot, while we are all gussied up.

Until later!


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Busier than Bees

I got back from class last night and finished up the second mitten of the gray/blue pair while watching Without A Trace. The second mitten is amazing. I figured out how to fix my ladders! I had been pulling so tightly between dpns trying to make it look normal when really, that was my problem! So I loosened up on the first stitch of every needle and now it looks a lot better. There's only one problem. The first mitten is much tighter than the second. And the thumb on the second mitten fits perfectly, but the first thumb looks much higher and strange. I swear I didn't use two different sized needles. So strange. Poor David. He always gets my crappy intro-to-technique-prototype-the-next-ones-turn-out-so-much-better knitted things. One day I'll make him a nice sweater. But let's not tell him right now and get his hopes up...

I cast on for the last mitten last night too. Only two days until gift time. I'm not gonna make it! Tonight I have to do a crapload of homework (write one rough draft, read a chapter and write 3 short essay question answers about it) and tomorrow night I have class from 5:30-9:30 (after working from 8-5).

Dear School,

I think we are spending too much time together. Please back up off my grill. I mean, I like you, but I don't LIKE LIKE you. Tone it down or I think we might have to see other people.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Spinning madness

On Friday I got stuck in traffic on my way home for lunch. What normally takes me about 6 minutes took me 50! I was so mad. Stupid lamborghinis catching on fire at the same exit to the fair on opening day! Ugh.

Note to self: always carry a fork in case of traffic emergencies when you have a bowl of pasta salad.

I did an amazing amount of spinning today. Well, an amazing amount considering I am pretty bad at it, and I am only using a drop spindle. The plied yarn looks way better than my chunky singles. I wish I had a wheel. =/

In knitting news, I am now done with the first thrummed mittens for our two friends who are moving to Boston in a few weeks. Here they are chillin on the jade plant on my porch:

I only have one week to finish the other 1.75 mittens. (I have about 25% of the second blue one done.)

Yesterday I went to the fair with a few friends. THERE WERE SHEEP. Lots and lots of sheep. There was some sort of sheep shearing demonstration/competition that I JUST missed! I was so disappointed. There were little blobs of wool at the edges of the ring. I was so tempted to take them. I would have too, but I have no carder or.... anything else needed to prep it. DRATS.

I will never have enough yarn. Le sigh...

Plum Lace Ribbon

Latest FO: Plum Lace Ribbon
Lace Ribbon Scarf by Veronik Avery
Yarn: 4 Skeins Garnstudio Muskat (100% Cotton) purchased at Stitches West 2008
Needles: 4.5mm Bamboo straights

I loved this pattern. Simple, easy to memorize, and totally beautiful. The Garnstudio yarn has a tendency to split, but the sheen and stitch definition certainly more than make up for it. The first two pictures most accurately captures the deep plum color of this yarn.

I love the way the 2YOs turn into a ladder like twist, another simple trick that ends up being a lovely detail.

I steam blocked this scarf twice, but when I wear it, it still curls under. A light steam has been able to fix this between wears.

The verdict: the perfect summer scarf for San Francisco (it seems to be scarf weather year round here.)

Parting Pooch shot:

Driving home today from the South Bay after a bridal shower, I saw the most amazing pooch. Head out the window, ears flapping in the ocean breeze, this dog was sporting some sweet goggles as he and his human cruised down the Great Highway. Can't be too careful about those puppy eyes, I suppose.