Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I realize I am missing a few key components of this whole knitting blog thing.

1. Knitting.

I haven't been this slow at finishing off projects since... ever. I'm working on Chuck now and I just noticed I cast on for this in January, and it's now April, and I'm only halfway done.

2. My camera charger.

It's here somewhere, maybe, hopefully... unless it's in Los Angeles. I brought it with me while visiting friends and then took absolutely no pictures at all while I was there.

In the meantime, how about a webcam picture of Chuck, my current project?

Now we're getting somewhere!

3. Writing.

It occurs to me that I used to actually write creatively and post it to the internet for total strangers and a few of my friends in real life to read.

This strikes me as incredibly bold of my past self. All told, it amounts to twenty poems, some of them intended to be sung like songs even though I couldn't write down the tunes; one original short story; and two pieces of Harry Potter fanfiction, one with multiple chapters. I also wrote one screenplay for the Script Frenzy challenge, but I think I only ever let one person read it.

The thought makes me want to throw up a little bit now. I think it made me want to throw up a little bit then, too, but I did it anyway.

I find presenting myself to the world more challenging and intimidating now than I ever did then, but if this is what I want to do, there's no other solution besides just doing it.

So let's do it, right?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Heavens, me!

How time has flown!

When last I wrote, I had just received a very exciting email back from a potential employer - the first one in this round of searching who wanted to meet me! Several weeks and three (three!) interviews later, I found myself hired as a customer service representative at a tiny company composed entirely of amazing people. I've just rounded out my second month there. It isn't what I had hoped to be doing after I graduated, but then again, my post-graduation hopes weren't particularly specific, and I can't imagine being much happier in a workplace than I am there.

However, this transition from my life being one huge blob of unstructured time into this thing called a schedule (I think I had one of those in college, now what is it again?) has been a little rough. It's been hard figuring out when to do important but not required things such as knitting and going to the gym. And, um, writing blog posts, I guess.

Sorry, guys.

So what else has happened during these few months? Well...

... I knit a sweater! It was a test knit for the Haubergeon Pullover by Julliana Lund, who wrote the pattern for the Knit Picks Independent Designer Program. I had been wanting to venture into test knitting for a while, and Julliana lured me in with her excellent description of the pattern as "inspired by medieval chain-mail armor, updated with lace." Awesome. I seriously meant to blog about this, even if I couldn't show you any pictures, but with the onset of this whole Having a Work Schedule thing I barely made it by the deadline! More about my version still to come!

... I cashed in on my parents' offer to help me buy a car as a graduation present. I mean that literally, I have never held such a frightening stack of cash in my whole entire life. Her name is Belinda, and she just so happens to match my new sweater. It wasn't even on purpose, I think it was just fate. I don't have any pictures of her yet, but I know I won't be able to let her go without some type of knitted accessory for long, so sooner or later there will be some Belinda-themed FO shots featuring (obviously) the coordinating green sweater-leftover yarn.

... I gleefully attended the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta! After one false start due to strong winds at high altitudes, we got to see some balloons launch on our second attempt. I also wore my Valfreya Slouch, although I just now realize I didn't get any shots of it out in the wild! My suspicion that it is an excellent shape for a hat was confirmed. It was chilly out there in the early desert morning!

... In an attempt to work some form of exercise back into my life, I've signed up for the San Francisco iteration of The Color Run! If you've never heard of it, it's this 5K run where they throw color powder at you at various points during the course. You start out wearing all white, and end up a colorful mess! The prospect of my first 5K at the Hollywood Half Marathon was a great motivator to train, and actually running it was a blast. I'm really excited about The Color Run, and I'm hoping it'll be as helpful to have a goal as it was before!

... Phew. Summing my recent circumstances up into one blog post makes it sounds like I have it all pretty well together. I'm afraid you are being misled. I don't. I desperately need to empty the trash and I haven't made any progress on my sock in the last few days and I need to get some kind of laundry drying rack so I don't have to hang my underwear all over everything like it is right now and I've needed to go to the post office for days and I didn't update my blog for three months and I live with my parents. But it's okay. We're working on it.

I hope the last few months have treated you well too, and that it won't be such an embarrassingly long gap between posts this time around!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Valfreya, sitting up straight.

Last Thursday, I posted about my good friend Bonnie Kate's and the Kickstarter campaign she launched to raise funds for her final major project at school, which was knitting an enormous map of the world. Because she's fancy like that.

Well, another truly excellent backer reward showed up in my inbox a few weeks ago!

Bonnie Kate's Valfreya Slouch pattern proved to be a joy to knit. For my iteration, I chose some purple yarn of unknown material that I had overdyed with blue food coloring. The pattern looks great in it, but it doesn't really allow this hat to fulfill its slouchy potential, as you can see by comparing my version with the pictures on the pattern page.

But the ribbing! The basketweave! The squishy cables surrounded by seed stitch! And the reverse stockinette stripes! What more could you ask for?

And I love the silhouette! I've never knit a hat with this shape before, but it might be a new favorite. It's very no-nonsense about covering the ears, and with the brim flipped up, the lack of slouch in my slouch is no problem at all.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The tremendous Bonnie Kate.

Tremendous. Adjective. Very great in amount, scale, or intensity.

Last spring, I had the honor of supporting my dear friend Bonnie Kate, (who I have a feeling I am going to talk about a lot on this blog, given that two of my first four posts concern her) in her final major project at the London College of Communication.

She decided to literally knit the world, because doing reasonable things just isn't really within the realm of possibility for her. Here is proof - if it's on a Ravelry project page, it must be true, right?

I can't lie, though - backing her project on Kickstarter wasn't exactly a selfless decision. There was something in it for me.

© Bonnie Kate Wolf

These babies were hand-knitted just for me as a backer reward by Bonnie herself. I've been watching her obsession with luscious handwarmers develop since she knit her first stitches, and even helped her decipher the pattern for her second ever pair, so there's no way I was about to pass these up. I can't wait for it to get cooler so I can wear these all the time and feel like my hands are made of raspberries!

© Bonnie Kate Wolf

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Noro Kureyon, also known as the most fun ever.

I recently had the thoroughly delightful experience of attending a half-off sidewalk sale at Knitterly in Petaluma, CA, one of my favorite local yarn shops.

I was particularly thrilled to find two matching skeins of Noro Kureyon, in a colorway that immediately made me think of this awesome girl:

© Bonnie Kate Wolf

This is Bonnie Kate, or thesunshinechild on Ravelry. Fortunately, she's a knitter too, so she understood that while this yarn was ultimately going to end up with her, I absolutely could not let her knit with it. I just couldn't be that selfless.

I've knit with Noro before, but it was Cash Iroha, which is all solid colors. Kureyon is a totally different ballgame. I have never had this much fun with yarn, trying to anticipate the next color change, only to be surprised by a ply of yellow in the blue or brown in the peach.

I cast on 180 stitches, joined in the round, and alternated rows of garter stitch starting at the same end of each skein. I had to fudge it a little at the beginning, since one skein had a length of yellow where the other had only blue, but once the color changes were more or less lined up I stopped making decisions and just knitted!

The result was quite an excellent cowl!

© Bonnie Kate Wolf

I'd love to do more variations on this - with three skeins, or in a shorter cowl. The color changes would look so different every time!

What's your favorite way to use Noro?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Well, I've figured it out.

I've had a few false starts with socks over the past year or so. I had a hard time getting past the first few inches of the cuff, when all you have on your needles is a squiggly few rows of ribbing and it seems impossible that such a mess will ever be a functional sock. But now I know...

© Bonnie Kate Wolf

... socks aren't hard. Like, at all.

I first suspected that this was the case when I read Elizabeth Zimmerman's section on socks in Knitting Without Tears. Before I knew what was happening, I was reading her go-to sock recipe, realizing that hey, I know how to do all of these things. Knitting in the round on DPNs? Did that on a sweater a few months ago. Picking up stitches? Yep. Decreasing? Duh. 

© Bonnie Kate Wolf

I wound two skeins of overdyed worsted-weight Patons Classic Wool Merino that I had in my stash, and forged ahead.

These weren't a particularly fast knit. Figuring out how to make the three back cables merge together for the ankle decreases was a challenge, and I had to reverse-engineer it for the second sock because I hadn't taken very good notes the first time. But apart from Elizabeth Zimmerman's basic guidelines for the heel and toe and her helpful suggestion that I decrease for the ankle, there was no pattern to follow. Just me and the knitting.

How satisfying.

© Bonnie Kate Wolf

These socks took me through a week and a half of cat-sitting, the birth of my nephew, the Kate Wolf Music Festival, most of the Summer Olympics, and weeks of job searching. The first sock, knit during the first three joyous and relaxing events, actually came out at a much looser gauge than the second sock, which I mostly knit during breaks from writing cover letters. They're a good couple of inches different in size, but fortunately they both fit on my feet!

Friday, September 7, 2012


Could it be? A rumbling from the long-neglected blog?

Tidbits to share?

© Bonnie Kate Wolf

 Looks that way!