Mmmm… Fuzzy…

June 22, 2011

My grandma’s 90th birthday celebration was a success and I think she really liked the beaded shawl. It was great to spend some time up at the cabin and the long drive gave me a lot of time to knit. I worked on my Stripe Study shawl on the way up and then spent a good chunk of time knitting some Skew socks.

Remember this post from back in March? Well, I finally finished the Phèdre mittens I’ve been working on for my friend Julie. They are based on the Kushiel series of books by Jacqueline Carey. I love how they turned out but they were a major pain to knit. The two dark-ish yarns required knitting under a bright light and almost driving myself mad from constantly making mistakes and ripping back (at least on the first one). I really enjoyed the blocking with these because I was able to beat my frustration out of them with a wooden spoon (no really, it’s called whapping – I didn’t make that up).

Phedre Mittens

Some time ago, I purchased some lovely Blue Sky Alpacas “Brushed Suri” (alpaca, bamboo, and merino blend) on the cheap from a very strange lady on craigslist. I’ve been trying to find the perfect pattern for ages and I finally settled on the Summer Shawlette pattern.

Summer Shawl

I went up a needle size and added some extra length. The entire time I was knitting it I questioned whether it was the right pattern for the yarn and almost frogged it numerous times. I’m glad I didn’t because it turned out to be a really lovely shawl.

Summer Shawl

The yarn has a beautiful halo and is so amazingly soft, fuzzy, and lightweight. The color is called “Snow Cone” and is somewhere between white and a very pale blue. I didn’t even need to block it.

Summer Shawl

After we returned from the cabin I finally went out to a laundromat and felted some slippers I made ages ago. Last night they were finally dry. I can’t wait to go home and take some pictures!

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Better late than knitter…

April 9, 2011

Blog updates have fallen by the wayside these past few weeks. I have no real excuse other than my own laziness and that I’ve been feeling a little lackluster about my knitting lately. I’ve got at least six projects on the needles right now and haven’t really been completing much of anything. My current favorite of the work-in-progress pile is my Ulmus shawl.

IP - Ulmus Shawl

My friend Oona made this same shawl with the exact same colors long before me and when I saw it I became instantly obsessed with it and planned to copy hers. I had to wait for a decent chunk of time before the colorway (Gypsum) was available from Blue Moon. It makes me feel a bit unoriginal and generally lacking in creativity to do an exact replica, but imitation is truly the sincerest form of flattery in this case. I’m calling it my “Copycat Spider Demon” paying homage to one of my favorite Buffy episodes (“Selfless”). This is one I definitely plan to keep for myself.

And here’s my Lavalette shawl(ette) which was started on a Friday and finished (even done blocking) by Sunday. I got a little obsessed while I was knitting this one and couldn’t stop until it was done. It’s a little small for my tastes and I may end up gifting to someone. I prefer full size shawls and not the currently popular shawlettes. The yarn is Blue Moon Socks That Rock Lightweight (colorway = L.L. Cool Sock).

Lavalette Shawlette

I’m pretty smitten with the color and may have to order some more at some point in the future so that I can make something for myself.

Lavalette Shawlette

One thing that I have been excited for is another project I plan to start this weekend: Elizabeth Zimmerman’s famous Baby Surprise Jacket. This will be my first baby project ever and my first knitted garment. I ordered the pattern from Schoolhouse Press and they were wonderful customer-service-wise. They responded to email questions within minutes and offered me 20% off my order when I bought two things. The shipping was lightning fast as well. My cousin is having a baby this summer and my friend Joe will be having a baby sometime in the not-too-distant future as well. I’m hoping for at least one girl so I can use this yarn:

KP Felici Sport

Back in March I finally finished up the Katamari Mitts and they turned out pretty well. I revised the charts to make them fit on the mitts a little better. The pattern for the fingerless gloves is a free download from my pattern store and the images were done in duplicate stitch with KnitPicks Wool of the Andes.

Katamari Damacy Mitts

It has been just under 3 months now since I released my first pattern and I’ve had over 1,200 downloads, the most popular being my “Easy Knitted Bacon” pattern. It’s so fun to see other people’s projects that they’ve made using my patterns. I still have a few patterns I’ve been meaning to complete and release but it hasn’t been a priority lately.

I’m still working on my grandma’s beaded Haruni shawl. I had to put it aside because I broke the tip off of my miniscule Size 16 (0.4mm) crochet hook and just ordered a new one this week. I’m also doing a knit-a-long with a work friend for a pair of felted loafer slippers. I put aside the colorwork mittens because I lost my patience and couldn’t even stand to think about winter anymore.

My big exciting news for the month was reaching my 1-year stop smoking anniversary. I did so without even one drag or a single moment of weakness.

Quitter

All of that “money saved” went to my new addiction: yarn. I used Allen Carr’s book The Easyway to Stop Smoking and it worked like magic. I can’t explain what about the book is so magical; you’ll just have to take my word for it. I didn’t believe there was any way that reading a book could possibly work on my 11-year addiction, but it really truly did. I have at least four other good friends who quit smoking using this book as well.

There is still a snow pile in my backyard but the weather is finally getting nicer and I am beginning to believe spring may actually show up. I went to the Macy’s Flower Show for the first time this year and fell in love with the weeping cherry trees.

Macy's Flower Show

And whatever these are:

Macy's Flower Show

Macy's Flower Show

My biggest current obsessions are Hell’s Kitchen homemade peanut butter and the new Britney Spears album. (The last vestiges of my 16-year-old self just died of embarrassment at that admission.) I had the peanut butter for the first time this year and just purchased my second jar in 2 weeks this Friday. I’m trying to restrain myself a little, but it’s pretty much the greatest thing ever.

Peanut Butter

Now I’m off to Target to where I plan to listen to Femme Fatale on my iPod as I shop…


Worst Week Ever

March 6, 2011

I had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week. Some of the least awful things that happened were getting shorted $40 at the ATM and being verbally assaulted in an elevator by a crazy man twice my size. The rest I can’t even revisit without getting angry or crying.

So, I really wanted to make something this weekend that I could finish (because who doesn’t love completing things – so satisfying) and that was nerdy and fun. I improvised my own design for the handwarmer part. They only took 1 skein of KnitPicks Wool of the Andes (only $1.99/pair) and are sized to fit an average person’s hand (meaning they’re too large for me). I knit the handwarmers first and then used these charts to add the Star Wars images in duplicate stitch. I’ll release the handwarmer pattern as a free download once I get enough time to write it up.

Star Wars Fingerless Gloves

I think the storm trooper looks a little funny but I’m really happy with R2.

R2D2 Fingerless Glove

On Friday night I finally blocked my drop stitch scarf. This is such a simple thing to knit but I could not force myself to work on it. I really love how it looks but I found the process kind of agonizing. I used KnitPicks Imagination Hand Painted yarn (colorway = Seven Dwarves).

Drop Stitch Scarf

My weekend was pretty good as a whole. I bought a snowblower on Friday night and it made me feel like a real grown up. If we actually get the forecasted foot of snow this Tuesday it will really be nice to have. I indulged in some Thai food and shopping with my friend Julie on Saturday. I didn’t really need anything but couldn’t resist the cute shoes at Nordstrom Rack (Calvin Klein ballet flats).

New Shoes


In which I wax poetic about Ravelry…

February 17, 2011

So, for those of you who knit, crochet, or do any form of fiber arts and do not have a Ravelry account, you seriously need to rectify that. Ravelry is kind of like Facebook for fiber people, except even better. It’s free to join, but you need an account to browse. Reasons I love it:

  • Hundreds and thousands of free patterns and over 1 million users
  • Ability to publish and sell your own patterns
  • You can look up other people’s project notes on a pattern you want to start and save yourself a lot of headaches
  • You can search for project ideas based on the yarn you have – say you bought a really pretty skein without a project in mind – you can search by the weight of the yarn, the yardage, the type of project you want to make, etc. and come up with the perfect use for it.
  • It’s great for organizing your projects – you can post pictures, put in your notes, which needles you used, the pattern name, how long it took, etc.
  • The library feature is great – you can enter the books you own and then browse pictures of people’s finished objects using those patterns – plus get errata and tips – plus store PDFs of patterns you’ve downloaded and purchased
  • Forums and groups are really fun and there’s tons of useful information
  • Want to see how that crazy colored variegated yarn will actually look once it’s knit/crocheted up? You can search all the projects made with that yarn and narrow it down by colorway.
  • You can view everything your friends are working on, what yarn they’ve purchased, completed projects, others’ projects they’ve “favorited”, and more in your “Friend Activity Feed”.
  • People have yarn for sale or trade on there and some of them are pretty awesome deals.
  • There’s a whole section where you can browse people’s failed projects (“Ughs”) if you’re feeling kind of bitchy and want to see some ugly creations…
  • If you’re an organization lover like me, you’ll love being able to digitally manage your stash of yarn, which patterns you have, your queue of items you want to make, and tag and organize all of the projects you’ve finished.
  • If you’re a designer the site tools are pretty cool – you can upload your PDFs for people to download, track your statistics (number of downloads, number of people who’ve made your patterns, sales stats, etc.).
  • Winner of “Best Social Networking Site” from .NET Magazine awards

Go sign up and add me as a friend. My username is: parrynight.


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