Friday, October 31, 2008


This is Herbert. Herbert thinks he's funny and is possibly a little TOO into Halloween. He will be going home to live with a coworker's baby whenever he/she is ready to come into the world.

Just call me Afro Thunder

I finished a bag! Not a holiday gift tote bag, but a cotton bag that has been awaiting handles for about a month. Since setting the Great Tote Bag challenge I have managed to produce two sewn items that do not qualify for the challenge at all. Funny how that works!

Here it is stuffed full of books and other misc. purse items:

In knitting... DROPS bag in progress, on my lunch break:

A cabley close up:
In other exciting knitting news, I got a knitting magazine in the mail that I did not order! No idea where it came from, but its the premier issue of Verena magazine, and they must have sent out promo copies to IK subscribers or something.

It is by Burda, whose open source sewing website I browse occasionally.
The bulk of the patterns are nautical themed (some very cute ones too!)
This one below, whilst not nautical, caught my eye as especially cute. Doesn't look like a good choice a sweater novice, but it sure is pretty. Also, is anyone but me jealous of the afro? If I could pull it off, I would soooo rock the afro. And make everyone call me afro thunder.

Happy Friday and Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

More yarn?

Yes, I bought more yarn. Really, do I not have enough?

...HA! As though I could have "enough" yarn. That's ridiculous.

These beauties were bought to make Peter a vest. A manly gray vest with an argyle stripe running down one side. Something along the lines of Veronik Avery's Argyle Vest mixed with Sarah Sumner-Eisenbraun's Mangyle; the idea of one argyle stripe but with Veronik's argyle shape. The green will be the main block color and the yellow will be the thin lines running through the blocks. After this last fair-isle challenge (is it sad that I think in Tim Gunn's voice?) I am fairly (pun!!!) confident in my colorwork abilities.
I would rather put this project on hold for a little while since my hands are itching to pick up something lacey, but both lace patterns I want to start require BEADS. I wonder if I'll have time this weekend to go to the bead store...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I finished my first sweater! Well, I guess technically this is my third sweater. The first two being a set of Christmas Sweaters I made a couple years ago out of some nameless acrylic. But it's the first sweater I've made for myself. Note to self: make more things for me. I somehow end up gifting all of my knits. Odd...

FO: Ms. Neiman
Pattern: Neiman by Ann Weaver, featured in knitty, fall 2007
Yarn: MC - Fibranatura Baby Merino in white, about 5 balls
CC - Debbie Bliss Pure Silk in turquoise, 1.1 skein (what should I make with the other .9 skein?!)
Needles: US 3 circ and dpns, US 2 circ and dpns
Cast on 09/26/08, Bound off 1o/27/08

No real mods. One accidental embellishment: I knit one row of the chart twice and didn't discover it until about 4 rows up. It's not that noticeable so I don't really care. The top row of blobs is a little more egg-shaped than the bottom row. Whoops. You can see it in the first picture. As of now she has not been blocked. I'll post modeled shots when she is.

I am excited to wear this baby out. I am hoping to block it a little bit bigger as it is quite curve-hugging, but either way I love it. Also, I've found that if I hold both yarns in the same hand as I fair-isle, my gauge stays pretty even and my floats are just about the perfect length. In past attempts (pre-Ravelry) my end stitches would be way too tight and it was all puckered. Hopefully those days are now behind me. Perhaps I should invest in a strickfingerhut aka knitting thimble. Gotta love that Norse ingenuity.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pink Pillow

I grabbed the first packet of fabric of the top of my Great Tote Bag Challenge pile, and found it was cut and pinned for a 3 paneled pillow. So, I give you the Great Tote Bag/Pillow Challenge product number one: The Pink Pillow. I do not think this is going to be a holiday gift (thus defeating the purpose of the challenge), but I figured it couldn't hurt to finish it, since I cut and pinned it months ago.

All three panels of The Pink Pillow were fat quarters purchased at the Quilted Angel. I over stuffed the pillow as much as I could while allowing enough give to stitch up the last bit by hand. I discovered I HATE hand stitching! I did such a sloppy, rushed, hurried job last night I pulled it back out and forced myself to re-stitch the last 1.5 inches with some semblance of neatness.

I love the little pink and brown berries as the bottom of the above picture. They remind me of the holidays, festive and warm. Sorry about the dark pictures, there is no more evening light for photographing the crafts!
Random Picture of the Day: Inside a cave at Kirby Cove

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Great Tote Bag Challenge

Today I cut the fabric for 5 Christmas gift tote bags. The below picture is the stack of cut fabric, with the makings of three pillows in there as well. I decided that the Great Tote Bag Challenge would give me some incentive to get moving on this pile and put some check marks on the "to make" list. Originally, the challenge involved me making one bag per day this week. Then, I remembered I like sewing and do not hate myself.

Sometimes deadlines on the things I love create resentment towards something I once enjoyed. Its like the people who kill them selves around the holidays to make dozens upon dozens of holiday cookies for everyone from the bus driver to dear friends. (Note to my cookie factory friends...come holidays, despite what I have said here, please leave me on the list. I live for the ones with the jam in the middle. And the almond crescents.) I lowered the bar to three bags this week, a much more realistic target.

Here is to another week of crafting :)

Eye candy pictures: flowering tree, Union Square

Despite these summery pictures, taken this week at lunch, I am getting in the fall and holiday spirit with pumpkin pies! I bought some cream puffs from Beard Papas (a Japanese cream puff bakery of AMAZING caliber) for dessert on Saturday, including the daily special, a pumpkin flavored puff. It was amazing, and inspired me to bake a pumpkin pie today. Almost the time of year to make my favorite fudge, sugar cookies, and celebrate uninhibited sweets intake.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

October heatwave

Hello, Why do you upload this picture sideways, no matter how I rotate it on my computer? Ahh well, still gives the general idea...

San Francisco is undergoing a massive October heatwave. We are in week two of said heat wave. It is so hot that on my lunch my elbow crease/pit/whatever that thing is are getting sweaty while I knit in Union Square on my lunch. I have co-workers who won't even go there to eat lunch, because they feel like people are people-watching them. I brazenly knit in this meat market for the avid people watcher--every type of person from tourist to political canvasser to homeless man that yells to business folk on their lunches. I am not kidding about the yelling, I was accosted (while knitting my first DROPS cable bag) and yelled at. I recall this story, because today, sitting in nearly the same spot at the day of yelling, I cast on DROPS cable bag #2.

This is a belated birthday gift for my dear friend since the third grade! She saw the first one I made, and requested/nicely demanded one of her own.
I am off for some delicious Vietnamese food, then to the symphony hall to see the legendary Dave Brubeck.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Shock and Awe

Today I got a message on Ravelry from a stranger. Now, this is not really that UNcommon of an occurence, but neither does it happen that often. Imagine my surprise when I opened the message and read, "We’d like to feature your photo on the page for Print O’ the Wave Stole by Eunny Jang." Which photo you ask?

This one.
My reaction: SHOCK and AWE. A) That I actually took a photo good enough that people want to use it and B) that out of all of the 643 beautiful Print O' the Wave stoles on Ravelry, mine would stand out.
I am probably more excited than is necessary, but I can't help it. To have just an iota of recognition for doing something I love so much is unbelievable to me. And to top it all off, it is a project that I could not have put more love and happy thoughts into (it was a wedding gift), not to mention it was my first giant piece of lace.
I am a happy girl. It's the little things, really...

Monday, October 20, 2008

FO: Knee Warmers

Today I was in Union Square, getting my knit on, and I met a knitter! She approached me to see what I was working on, and gave my wavy gravy sock a squeeze. I love that touching yarn is a requisite activity for all knitters to determine the delicious factor of the yarn in question. We exchanged Ravelry user names...I of course had nothing but receipts on me, but she had an adorable notebook with a ball of yarn and needles on the front. Clever knitters! She and her daughter dye yarn, too. Carla, if you are out there, I hope you are enjoying SF!

FO: Knee Warmers
Pattern: I cast on 51 stitched and worked a 2x1 rib until I had a 12" tube
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft in Grey Heather (stash busting some yarn I bought years ago!)
Needles: 5.0mm Bamboo DPNs

Inside out:

Struttin' its stuff in Union Square:

This is a practical project, requested by N to help keep him warm on crack o dawn bike rides. I consciously avoided wool because I suspect he need the warmers to function as a wind break more than anything else, and feared wool would induce sweating.

I cast off today, baking in the warm October sun. I wanted a very stretchy bind off, to accommodate the knee and thigh for which they are intended. I wanted them to be snug enough to stay up, so I cast on for 2 inches less fabric than the leg circumference, making a snug warm leg warmer. However, that tightness meant I needed a loose cast off. My usual cast off (k1, pass knit stitch over) is usually much tighter than the fabric I have knitted, sometimes creating a flare at one end of a scarf, etc. Referencing an old Knitting Daily email, I found a looser cast off: k2tog, slip the new stitch on to the left needle, k2tog, slip the new stitch onto the left needle. Its not nearly as stretchy as my cast on, but still much better than my usual bind off.On the leg:Rosa

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cause real knitbloggers have cats!

I spent the weekend with mi madre, and also got to spend some time with some old friends (3rd and 8th grade, respectively). Saturday, Jess, my mom and I made the crafting shops rounds: Knitterly, Quilted Angel, and JoAnn's. I resisted the gorgeous tweed yarn on sale at Knitterly, but picked up some cute fabric for Christmas gifts.

We stopped in for a snack at an AMAZING cupcakery called Sift, which serves creative cupcakes with delicious flavor combinations. I had a limonata cupcake--lemon cake with strawberry frosting. Among Sift's delicious flavors were a chocolate peanut butter cupcake, a gingerbread cream cheese, and a pink champagne. I brought a called Irish Car Bomb cupcake home for N--Guinness chocolate cupcake with Baileys frosting. Tasty tasty.

I finished the first of the Wavy Gravy Slipper Socks! And my mom is about to turn the heel on what will be her first completed sock--yay mama.

While I was visiting, I took some pictures of our cat with my sock. It seems that a knitblog is not truly a knitblog until the cat pictures come out :)She thought it was quite plush.

Jess putting the trim on her dress sleeves, and my sock. We were crafting to Ratatouille!
And the first sock, on the foot. The wool is so soft and smooth. I like the texture very much, compared to the first socks I made from a cotton wool blend--which seems scratchier, and does not stay up as well on my ankle.

Groovy colors man!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Blog Stalking, and I found my VW bus!

Does everyone out there blog stalk? I mean, really, seriously, start to identify with writers and then feel creeptastic? I am currently reading all the archives from the last several years of Crazy Aunt Purl's blog (omg, best blog ever, I looooooove her and her cat stories). As I work my way through the archives like its a book (they really do unfold like a book!), I I the only one who is that massive of a blog stalker? Instantly, I know that I am not, cause Kristina does it too :) Great minds, friend, great minds. But are we the only ones? Does everyone else find blogs more intriguing than the news paper? I amoff newspapers right now. I blame them for my panicky over reaction to the markets plunging (I miiiiight have stocked up on canned goods. You know, just in case.)

In any case, many blogs read and unfold like books. Reality TV has shown us that real life drama is way juicier than the fake. I think its because you are reading about a real person, and looking at their pictures. Its only natural to start to empathize. I think its really rewarding to read from the beginning and watch bloggers develop in their craft and in life. Its when I chuckle to myself thinking about crazy aunt purl's cats or her hilarious SNB stories, or the Harlot's "falling downs" in yarn stores that result in massive purchases, that I feel like a MEGA stalker, who has stolen a glimpse into the life of another. Those of you with blogs thinking "she can't mean me," THINK AGAIN. There is a good chance I or Kristina has perused those archives.

I found my VW bus! I would like to blame my hippie obsession on where I grew up, the glorious heart of hippietastic California...Sonoma county! Cows and hippies! Also, great local music and shops, but you know, lots o birkenstalks (i love your birks, mom <3)

I saw this charmer outside the Embarcadero center back in January and couldn't help taking about 40 pictures.

Happy weekends!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

where is my VW bus, man?

I cast on for a pair of slipper socks last night-- swatching during the debate, and casting on to a little HP and the Goblet of Fire (nerd that I am, I have the DVD on Netflix and the audio book on my ipod. ipod for commute, dvd for rollicking evening fun.) I forgot how much more intense and un-Dumbledorey the second actor is. Sadness. He is way to LOTR for the HP world.

Anywho. The yarn I am using for these socks was hand-painted by yours truly. Hand-painted is a fancy, glorified, artsy term for "used Easter egg dye to color yarn while simultaneously making our apartment reek of rotten eggs for a week."

This was my first attempt at dyeing yarn, and I did it back in May. Having stocked up on 50 cent packs of dye after Easter, I used Kathryn Ivy's Yarn Dyeing Tutorial.

I was most excited about combining a few of my favorite colors--purple, blue and green for a spectacular iris garden effect. I am thinking Van Gogh glory. Vibrant and lush. These pictures are misleadingly iris gardeny. In reality, the colorway resembles a grateful dead t-shirt that is faded from years of hard use hitchhiking from show to show. Thus, I call this yarn my Wavy Gravy yarn after every one's favorite Ben and Jerry's Flavor summer camp running Hippie.

The yarn was a bare super wash chunky yarn from Pictures of the dyeing process can be found on my ravelry page, here. I think its the 30 minutes of steaming wool soaked in vinegar that produced that lovely, lingering aroma in my apartment for several days. It would have dispersed immediately if I had a porch or garage or somewhere other than my bathroom to dry the yarn. Nothing like some stanky wet wool for potpourri!
Above is a pic of my first swatch, before I switched to a smaller needle size. I am just working a 1x1 rib all the way down to create a dense, woolly fabric to keep my feet toasty all winter.

I was digging about in one of my stash bins (ok, its the only bin. the rest is in tote bags.) and thought I would snap a quick pic of part of my stash for show and tell. I can see Knit Picks lace gloss in sterling and sun kissed, lace in aubergine, some elizabeth lavold chunky al, my beloved dream in color smooshy in happy forest, more wavy gravy, some natural cotton for a purse, and some leftover rowan natural silk. Welcome to part of my stash!


Meme time!

We here at yarned forces are pleased as punch to have been tagged in our very fist meme! Thank you Stacy!

The rules:- Link to the person who tagged you- Mention the rules- Tell six quirky yet boring, unspectacular or random details about yourself- Tag six other bloggers by linking to them- Go to each person's blog and leave a comment that lets them know they've been tagged

Rose's 6 quirky traits:

1. I have a freckle on the end of my nose that everyone tells me is ink, since its darker then the rest. When I tell them its a freckle, 50% of the time people get embarrassed, 50% of the time they INSIST its ink.

2. I have a Dwight Schrute bobble head doll like the one Angela gives Dwight on Valentine's Day in season 2 of the office. It remains the best anniversary present EVER. I have an unnatural love of the office.

3. My comfort foods: home made mac and cheese, enchiladas in a tomatillo sauce, SUSHI (well, japanese food. udon, tekka don, and salmon nigiri in particular) cocoa, and chocolate chip cookies.

4. Books I am reading right now: Steve Martin's Pure Drivel (for laughs) and the Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani. It is beautiful and sad.

5. I have a child hood obsession with Ancient Civilizations that persists today. Thanks to HBO for making rome...ancient culure as a scandalous tv show!

6. I have an obession with pandas. My fantsty football team is the Qinlin Mountain Tai Chi Pandas. I also love football :)

Kristina's 6 quirky traits:

1. I am half Filipino and half Southern.

2. As a kid I would read nonstop and I still read ridiculously fast. I need to make myself a book-holder-opener so I can get back in the habit of reading.

3. I cut my own hair because I am too cheap to pay for someone else to mess it up.

4. Living in Southern California for a year has made me a weather wimp. It's a good thing I have all these handknitted goods.

5. I think I'm funny. A lot. Hilarious actually. =)

6. I can't remember the last time I washed my car. I don't have a driveway and I don't want to pay for a carwash when I can spend that money on yarn.

People we are tagging:

1. Pitty at QSBR

2. Sew Bella

3. Farrah at Stick Legged Girl

4. Kristina's sister at Steph's Doin' What?!

um... We don't really have 2 other people to tag, so if you want to fill out a meme, GO FOR IT!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bad Blogger

October was a lousy month to start making a sweater. All the pictures I take of my poor Neiman are the same. Especially because it is basically one color. In the round. Even when I start a sleeve, it just looks like a skinnier version of the main body. I am going to cast on sleeve #2 tonight and hopefully soon I will have pictures of an interesting, fair isle, shiny, silky yoke - a first for me! In the meantime, here is my new spindle from Ghstworks on Etsy. The whorl is redheart (3.75" wide), the shaft is black walnut (13" long total) and it weighs in at 2.3 oz. The craftsmanship on this bad boy is so beautiful; I am constantly amazed at the level of skill woodworkers must have to churn out piece after gorgeous piece like this. It spins slower than my other spindle, but it does spin for a very long time. I usually only have to flick it once or twice before I have to wind on. I'm also really excited about the gigantic cop I will be able to produce. that way too nerdy? Oh well. Such is my cross to bear. I bought this spindle so I could start making thicker yarns. My BGD spindle, as much as I love it, spins too slowly when the singles are thicker, and there isn't much room under that lovely little whorl for a lot of yardage of a worsted weight yarn.

AHH, it's 5 o'clock! Time to go!

New Fabric

Britex, the fabric sanctuary of SF, had its semi annual sale Monday and Tuesday. Four stories of glorious, beautiful sale fabric. Britex has a ton of designer fabric, fabulous home decor type fabrics, etc. Their wools are to die for, but it is much more economical to just buy wool clothes vs. the gorgeous $90/yard hounds tooth at Britex. I drool over them every time.

I was keeping an eye out for sari fabric for Sew Bella, but again, at $150 a yard, the selection was gorgeous, but a bit out of reach!

I picked up two half yards of simple cotton, for a whopping 9 bucks, for Christmas present tote bags. I have people in mind for both these fabrics! Yaaay holiday time :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

First Socks!

FO: Blue Stripey Socks
Pattern: The Yarn Harlot's Basic Sock Recipe, found in her book Knitting Rules, and online if you click the link above.
Yarn: Autermann Step Sock Yarn, in Denim
Needles: 2.5 mm bamboo dpns

I finally grafted the toe on my second sock, and we have a pair of socks!

I really enjoyed the construction aspect of the socks, from making the heel flap to knitting the gussets and grafting the toe. Next up is maybe a slipper sock in a thicker yarn, and something with a more interesting pattern for the leg.

I made some mods, minor ones, and naturally did not take a single note. For the most part, I cast on less stitches and decreased more rapidly than instructed, as I have small, squarish feet. Despite decreasing the cast on number, the socks are very loose around the leg part.

I have a dpn paranoia. No matter what size or material they are made of, I am always convinced one dpn in the set is the pointiest and one is fatter than the rest. Not sure if this is true, or totally in my head, but I spend half my time using dpns speculating about their various sizes and pointedness and what kind of quality control they go through :)