Stylin’ Like Habit

Soft, cream-colored baby knits. There’s something ridiculously satisfying about knitting something so tiny and complete. Since I have no intentions of furthering my bad genes, I’m knitting for my future nieces and nephews. Two of my siblings got engaged within…mmm, two weeks of each other? This gave me the perfect excuse to knit the adorable retro patterns in my copy of Knitting Traditions, an anthology of all the knitting patterns that Piecework has ever published.

The bonnet still requires a crocheted edging but otherwise I’m quite pleased with it. Although it’s not newborn sized, I can live with that. Babies grow like crazy. The pattern is one of those patterns that tells you to cast on 8 stitches and then wrestle with 5 very angry, porcupine-like DPNs that are all working as hard as they can to discourage you from knitting. There’s a reason I avoid those tricky circular shawls.

However, I cleverly used Judy’s Magic Cast On and knitted the bonnet on two circulars. It made the entire experience that much nicer.  After the bonnet was finished, I still had quite a bit of the yarn left. It’s Wollmeise Twin in the Natural colorway. IE: Undyed. I have to say that WM twin drives me straight up the wall. It’s splitty as hell and while that wasn’t a big issue with the bonnet, it plagued me the entire time that I knit the matching bootikins.

Altogether now: squeeeeeeeeee!



I admit, it might seem strange for a self-admitted child loather to coo over wee bitty baby knits. However, I coo over wee bitty baby knits in the same way that I coo over anything in miniature. Somehow, everything is cuter when it’s smaller. Well, most things. Ahem. Anyway, I am being a Responsible Auntie and am going to start a box to hold all of these little knits.

With all these lacy little retro knits, I feel a little like Franklin Habit, minus the stylin’ sheep. And the published book of comics. And the calenders. And the whole successful yarn career thing. Minor details, dears, minor details.

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August 17, 2010. Knittin' Porn, Tuesday Project Updates. 2 comments.

Two Pairs of Knitpicks Felici Socks: Rainbow & Time Traveler

While I’ve blogged before about the odd experience of the Knitpicks package I received that wasn’t mine (not exactly the world’s worst event), my faith in their yarn has been restored. For my money, Knitpicks is about being able to get a cheap natural fiber fix and still not break the bank. One of their sock yarns, Felici, does just that. In fact, I’ve recently knitted two pairs of socks in this base and both times it’s because of the colorway.

Unsurprisingly, knitting and geekery often go hand in hand and one of my obsessions happens to be Doctor Who. The Time Traveler colorway is a cheeky nod to the colors of the old Doctor Who scarf while avoiding copyright issues. The text of the colorway slyly informs the buyer that, “While you can knit some really really long socks, this colorway will not create socks that are larger on the inside than they appear on the outside.”

Stripes? Check. Doctor Who tie-in? Check. Sense of humor AND low prices? Check and check.

I ordered enough for a pair of socks and knitted a pair of plain stockinette socks while I was backstage during Romeo and Juliet. I played Lady Capulet so while I was busy, I still had a little downtime. One of my cast members was an obnoxious teenage boy who also happened to be a fan of the Doctor. He pestered me constantly to knit him the actual Doctor Who scarf. I laughed in his face and told him that if he wanted it that badly, he could buy the yarn himself and I’d teach him how to knit. He cast many envious glances at my socks and I don’t blame him.

My only problem is that I didn’t realize that I knitted the heel flap too short on these socks and so they like to pull themselves down around my ankle. However, if I’m allowed just a bit more geekness today, I still think they give me a +2 to Dexterity!

So when I knit the first pair, I got to know the yarn base and I thought it was worth it for the money. Felici is very soft, refined merino and you can barely feel the nylon. The powdery soft skeins are so soft that wear is actually a concern. Because of the low cost, I don’t mind if they wear out quickly. However, I wouldn’t try to knit heirloom quality socks from this yarn. It just doesn’t seem like it will hold up over time.

Nevertheless, I fell in love with yet another colorway. The obnoxiously bright Rainbow colorway. It’s stunning. Delicious. Rainbow. It also happened to be sold out by the time that I became aware of its existence. I crossed my fingers and posted on the ISO/Destash forum on Ravelry. I didn’t really expect much because it was very popular. To my surprise, a very sweet Raveler sent me a PM and sold two skeins of Felici Rainbow to me for exactly what she paid and no more. I know that she must’ve spent at least a few dollars of her own money on the postage and so I was so grateful. She was so nice about it.

When it arrived, it was a religious experience. A transformative experience. I knew I had to use up every scrap of this yarn and the only way to do that was to finally learn how to knit toe-up socks. Don’t laugh. I’ve knit dozens of pairs of socks but there was one huge barrier to learning how to knit socks from the toe-up.

Judy’s. Magic. Cast. On.

That name is a lie. A base, unfair and scurvy lie. And while Cat Bordhi may be the world’s foremost sock genius, her video of how to use Judy’s Magic (not) Cast On is…well, let’s just say that I’ve been knitting socks for 3, 3.5 years now and I still remember the trauma of watching that video and screaming out, “PLEASE JUST SHOW ME HOW! STOP TALKING! STOP.TALKING! SHOW ME THE MAGIC!”

I, um, may have issues with toe-up socks. I’m so sorry Ms. Bordhi.

Anyway, I fought my way through my trauma for this yarn. That’s how much I loved it. My new knitting BFF, Corey, kindly demonstrated it to me. More than a few times. We sat next to each other at the local knitting guild meeting and she helped me. Oh, because I’m crazy, I also threw in a new element to the mix. I bought two Addi circular needles, size 1, 24 inches long. One was lace and the other was a turbo. The reason for two different needles is because the needles are different colors, silver and gold. That way, I could remember not to knit all my stitches onto one needle. It’s a neat trick and I figured that I needed all the help that I could get since I was mostly teaching myself.

And guess what?

I now possess the magic. Really. I could cast on forever. Furthermore, I bought a really excellent pattern. Laura Chau’s Delicious Knee Socks was exactly what I was looking for and I highly recommend it. For the price of 6.50, you get tons of different sizes and detailed instructions and tables on how to knit beautifully fitting knee-high socks. Armed with shiny new needles, soft new yarn and a shiny new PDF, I plunged into toe-up socks…

And I might not leave. Yep. Lookit ’em. Beautiful. Rainbow. Socks.

August 8, 2010. Knittin' Porn. 2 comments.

The Play’s The Thing

I am knitting a sock and right now, it seems to be the one connecting factor in my life.

I can knit a stitch at home. I can knit a stitch at the theater. I can kitchener in the car. (I’m rather proud of that last fact, actually)

 I’ve been listening to the podcast Cast On, and as usual, it puts me into a slightly superior self-analyzing mode that lasts for about 3 seconds. However, it kickstarted my brain and today, for once, I’ve had enough time to process everything. And knit. Just some simple stockinette with some rainbowy yarn that I rather like. My muscles and brain have relaxed and my breathing rate is mellow. When I think “oh, wait, I need to–” I realize that I don’t really have anything urgent that I need to worry about. At least until tomorrow.

 I wear different faces with different people. I think acting in the play has helped me realize just how often I do this. When I talk to the elderly gentleman at my church that still thinks of me as a little girl, I’m cheerful, kind and loud-he’s rather deaf–and that is a character. But what acting doesn’t do is tell me when the line ends, where my characters stop and where I begin. It can make me feel fragmented and sometimes afraid that I don’t even know who I am. But knitting is a constant. It doesn’t offend anyone. It’s simple. It’s basic. It’s like a touchstone and it helps.

 And that’s good, because things are only going to get crazier from here on out. Because next week, Anne of Green Gables opens. But also, I landed a role in another play. A Shakespearan play. The Tempest, to be exact. And I will be playing Miranda Even as I typed that, my chest tightened up slightly. When I auditioned, I didn’t expect a major role. It would be my second play and to be frank, my role in AOGG is rather minor.

 If I didn’t care, it would be easier. If I didn’t care so much about doing a good job, I could just shrug it off. But I do care, very much so. I think it comes from my writing, actually. As a writer and a long-time reader, it has always been the people that fascinated me. As such, I’m intensely careful when dealing with another person’s characters. I’m scared. Deathly terrified, actually. I want to crawl under a rock and hide there for about two months. But I am so glad. Because I need this. I need to be able to put myself out there and fail. Or flub, or be imperfect.

 But with knitting, it doesn’t matter. I have the ultimate control over my knitting and I’m not afraid. It helps form a core that lets me venture past my boundaries. I suppose that’s why I almost immeaditely wound up this Wollmeise yarn. I am knitting Ishbel with it. Or, if it doesn’t work out, I can frog the shawl and knit knee-socks with it; it doesn’t matter. It’s my choice and while I move into new spheres, I’m clutching a pair of needles and a ball of yarn in one hand.

S7306520 by you.

May 29, 2009. Knittin' Porn. 6 comments.

Hand Dyeing: Purple Peace Fleece

IMG_0812 by you.

That, my friends, is my very first hand-dyed yarn. I’m not sure why I didn’t try this before, but I think it was my stubborn refusal to try kool-aid dyeing. It’s not like it’s expensive. I just disliked the idea of spending all that time to dye something-with a ‘fake’ dye. Stupid, I know.

 Orginally, it was two skeins of Peace Fleece worsted in a pale cream color. Half a packet of Cushings Natural Perfection dye later–color plum–I have two skeins of amazingly beautiful yarn.

 Oh, and one of the reasons (aside from life, you know) that I haven’t been blogging as much is because ZOMG! I auditioned for and got a part in my first ever play, Anne of Green Gables. NO, I didn’t get Anne, and I didn’t try out for her. Despite the fact that I have read the books and pretty much everything else by Lucy Maud Montegomery, I’m not a huge fan of her heroines. They are all perfect, wickedly intelligent, sylph-like in their starry-eyed beauty and generally nosy, too. However, I like the story and I wanted a chance to act.

 The first night of auditions was pretty nerve-wracking. You have to understand that while I am at the relatively ancient age of 18, I’ve never been in a play before. I have family members that have been in theater. That was my extent of my experience with theater. The large, slightly-stuffy room was packed with girls, little and old, and about 80% wanted to be Anne. I’ve never seen so many girls with red or reddish hair before in one place.

 I started to relax as the audition continued. I don’t mean to sound like I have a heart of coal, but many of the girls were just flat out awful. They read mechanically and with very little flare. I was trying out for Diana, Josie, or Prissy Andrews. By the end of the evening, I knew there were only about three ‘Annes’ that had a chance.

 By the second night, there were just two, and I was one of the remaining girls auditioning for Diana.

 I was reassured by the presence of a younger girl that was crocheting during the auditions. I know her through some of the plays that she’s acted in with the Artist, and she’s very nice. My crochet skills are practically non-existent, but it was nice to watch, especially since I forgot one of my DPNs that first audition and couldn’t knit.

 After the second audition had ended, I knew that I had lost the part of Diana. My own sister, the Artist? She nailed the infamous drunk scene out of the park and so I felt a little bit better about not getting it. I mean, the director didn’t say that she had gotten the role, not yet, but I could tell by her face. We would be called that very same night if we got a role.

 At home, waiting by the telephone, I was so nervous that my teeth ached. If I hadn’t gotten Diana, would I get either of the other two parts that I had wanted? Finally, it rang, and confirmed my thoughts. The Artist got Diana-she handed me the phone.

 “We would like to offer you the role of Priscilla Andrews.”

 My heart jumped and I said YES. Oh, it’s a deliciously funny role and I was so relieved. To get a part, the first time that I tried out? It was amazing. 

 The Peace Fleece actually ties into the play. If you’re at all familar with the story or the movie, Prissy Andrews has a major crush on her teacher, Mr. Philips. The guy that got the role of Mr. Philips is way more experienced in theater than I am, and so far has been a perfect doll to someone that is brandnew to the whole thing. We had a few rehearsals under our belts and I found out his favorite color: purple.

 So, the purple Peace Fleece is being turned into an Irish Hiking Scarf for ‘Mr. Philips’. I only have a few inches done, but I’ll keep you updated on the scarf and the play!

April 9, 2009. Knittin' Porn. 8 comments.

Tomato Frog BFF socks from Bugga sock yarn!

BFF socks from Bugga Tomato Frog

 I think I’ve found my Wollmeise.

 By that, I mean I think I’ve found the yarn that makes me mindlessly want to buy every single color, to sell my soul for another skein, to blather mindlessly about its awesomeness to anyone who will–or won’t–listen. It’s Bugga sock yarn, from the Sanguine Gryphon. A merino, cashmere nylon blend, Bugga comes in colorways inspired by bugs and well, this one is called Tomato Frog.

 It’s squishy and soft. The colors are amazing. I adore it. Look at the way the cables pop.

BFF socks from Bugga Tomato Frog

 I think I will be knitting even more socks than usual, and I’ll update soon to say why!

March 24, 2009. Knittin' Porn. 7 comments.

Cutest Little Knitting Bags by Rachelm

I’ve been using the same bag for..oh, I think the past two years. It’s really boring and cost $10 at Wal-Mart. The lining is ripped, it’s dowdy and ugly. So I finally decided I wanted a new knitting bag. I ran across a woman on ravelry who makes the cutest little knitting bags you’ve ever seen.

 Her shop is emoknitter.etsy.com. I liked them so much that I created a Ravelry fan group, which you can check out for shop updates and–psss—there’s a special today for group members, so you may want to join! I don’t get kickbacks for writing this, either. She’s great for customwork as well, including these cute patchwork bags.

But, on to the actual bag porn. These are small little bags perfect for socks, and they’re all adorable. I can’t wait to carry my socks-in-progress in something that’s actually cute.

The Spyrograph bag–I love this one the most because I played with spyrographs as a kid

spyrograph boxbag by rachelm by you.

Garden Lines

gardenlines boxbag by rachelm by you.

The Sunflower Jessica bag

sunflower jessica boxbag by rachelm by you.

March 13, 2009. Knittin' Porn. 2 comments.

Spring Forward Socks Finished!

IMG_0371

There’s nothing so sweet as revenge–unless it’s beating a case of second sock syndrome.

Pattern: Spring Forward

Yarn: Elizabeth Bennet: Sunshower colorway

February 11, 2009. Knittin' Porn, works-in-progress. 5 comments.

Gifts Of Their Hands: Why Knitting Friends Are Awesome

IMG_0360 by you.

I’ve mentioned before that I moderate the largest teen group on Ravelry, which has recently passed 600 members. This means that along with the ordinary drudgery that comes with moderating, I can plan the fun stuff, too! For this February, I put together a very simple Valentines Swap. The minimum was $5. You send candy and a card, that’s it.

 It wasn’t a secret swap, and when there ended up being an uneven amount of people, I took two partners. That picture is the package I just got from my partner and very good friend Bonnie! (She’s actually coming to visit in March, which will make it my first Ravelry friend to meet IRL)

 That awesome pink hat is Misti Alpaca chunky and it is so cuddly and soft. I want to hug it to myself and never let it go. It’s seriously awesome. And almond M&Ms? I’ve never SEEN them before and they’re awesome!

 So treasure your knitting friends. They can give you not only chocolate, but gifts from their own hands. Including hot pink hats.

February 9, 2009. Knittin' Porn, ravelry, Teen Crafters. 5 comments.

Stripes, Stripes, Stripes–And Stripes

IMG_0323 by you.

  Anyone that feels like a bit of poking about knows that I’m part of the Knitters for Obama group on Ravelry. I’m not hugely active in the forums, but when a new charity project was started, I felt that I had to join. Here’s a brief summary of what it’s about, and a link to the actual thread.

  • Hi everyone!
    The mods are very happy to announce that our own dear Willietattoos has arranged our next charity project. We will be knitting and crocheting for the Mattaponi native american tribe. As many of you know, there is a staggering amount of poverty and need among many native american tribes.The Mattaponi tribe lives in Eastern Virginia, and for some unknown reason are not recognized as an official tribe and therefore do not receive federal funding. This is shocking considering that the tribe was here before the first European settlers arrived in the 1600s!

    They have a health clinic, but there is chronic, heartbreaking need.

 The post goes on to outline what kind of knitted items are needed, and what kinds of colors, etc.

 The yarn is required to be superwash. I don’t really have an abundance of charity-knitting appropriate yarn, because 99.9% of my stash requires handwashing. I mentioned this without thinking, and later that same day, a Raveler by the name of charleebear contacted me. It was the perfect swap. She wanted to participate, but was unable to knit something—I wanted to to knit, but didn’t have the yarn. So she bundled up a packet of superwash yarn. 

(As a side note: if anyone else would like to knit for this charity but does not own the appropriate yarn OR, if you own appropriate yarn but can’t knit right now, there’s a note at the top of that thread to contact blackbunny, who is arranging these things. I didn’t go this route, but that’s just because I didn’t notice–and it worked out anyway!)

 That rather simplistic striped tube up there is made from Missions Fall 1824 wool, and it’s actually one of what is going to be a pair of leggings, one of the specific requests the Mattaponi  tribe made. (It’s 36 stitches, 2 by 1 rib, and 12 inches long: it would fit a child up to about 10 years, I’d say)  I’m going to make a second pair from these two colors. The Mattaponi wanted rich, earthy, bright colors, not washed out pastels, and I have to admit, it’s a lot more fun to knit with these colors than with baby blue or pink.

IMG_0336 by you.

 The deadline is late April and the first legging took a very short time to knit. So I’m very hopeful that I’ll be able to turn these two skeins of Regia into some cute socks for the tribe, as well. I’m assuming that they’ll get a lot of baby-sized items, so I want these to be a full-sized pair of socks, probably to fit a woman or teenager.

IMG_0337 by you.

 But charleebear didn’t stop at sending just yarn for charity. She very sweetly tucked in two skeins of a lovely merino sock yarn from Spirit Trails Fiberworks for me. It feels heavier than fingering and the colors make me instantly think of a sunset, or the pavement-searing, blood-warming heat of summer. It’s 400 yards of lovely yarn, and it was incredibly generous of her to put together this package.

IMG_0327 by you.

Mmm. Summer.

February 6, 2009. Knittin' Porn, works-in-progress. 3 comments.

The Rewards Of Knitting: Or, twopairsonemonth

IMG_0275 by you.

IMG_0276 by you.

 This is what happens when you knit. You get beautiful handknit socks that fit you perfectly. I am loving on these socks.

Yarn: Patons Stretch Sock

Colorway: Sugar

Needle: Size 0

 I’ve actually knit two pairs of socks this month, but I need a decent picture of the first pair to show you. I’ve been motivated by a really great group on Ravelry that’s dedicated to knitting one pair of socks a month. Unlike the famous Sock Knitter’s Anonymous, this one has no prizes and no set patterns, but a lot of energy and chatter. It’s the Great Sock Off of 2009. I found it amusing that on Inauguration Day, many of us posted that we were unable to keep a very good eye on our knitting while watching the events—I’m not quite sure exactly how many rows I knit on that first heel flap, but fortunately, the pair match fairly well.

 The yarn is a big box yarn and yet I really, really enjoyed the springy feel of my finished socks. Yes, it cost just $10, but I like these just as much as the more expensive variety. Yarn snobbery doesn’t have to mean expensive!

January 29, 2009. Knittin' Porn, ravelry, works-in-progress. 8 comments.

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