Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Finally stuff is growing in the garden... it's been a long ass winter for Florida.

These are scarlet runner beans that went from invisible to two inches tall in one day, and then after a freak flooding of rain a week ago grew to about six inches. We had another two days of too much rain this week and they grew to their current height, probably a foot tall now. I'm trellising them to the fence with screws and gray yarn.

I didn't think the amaryllis bulbs my mother gave me when I moved into this place six months ago were going to bloom this year, as there has been little activity on that front. But look! This morning I found a budded stalk on the biggest one. And if you look extra extra careful with a really strong magnifying lens, you probably still won't see the tiny starts of sweat peas in the background of this picture.

And even though I've worn this Decimal cardigan half a dozen times and love it, this is the first picture of its existence:

And the random shirt I'm playing with, using Rowan Cotton Glace in an amazing orange for the bodice and I'm going to start under the best using a pink/orange cotton that I recycled for a lacy open bottom. I'm currently waiting for said recycled cotton to finish drying after my futile attempts to dye it a slightly orangier shade. I'm not sure why it didn't take the dye.

Friday, March 19, 2010

3 more baby hats

I'm addicted to small, quick projects lately. Nothing big has caught my eye lately and frankly, I also don't keep supply of enough of one type of yarn to make many big projects. The woes of being a poor knitter.

I absent-mindedly made a bunch of small mitered squares while at home last week. Had no idea what I was going to do with them. Until I fiddled around with them a few days ago...

And mitered squares became catnip and polyester stuffed mice with the aid of some whip stitch, a crocheted tail, and embroidered ears/eyes.

Unfortunately, Sakura managed to climb into a tupperware bin of my everything-other-than-yarn supplies and find the baggie full of homegrown hand-dried catnip. So I lost about half of it after working diligently to pick up tiny pieces scattered in the carpet beside my bed. Sigh. If this cat wasn't so damn cute...

I've basically been churning out a baby hat a day, none of them the same pattern thus far.

This is the Vertical Stripe Grass Stitch Baby Hat...

Here's a close up of the grass stitch. I made the stitch knit after the slipped stitch yellow to give it a stripe up the hat. The yellow is much brighter in person.

Then there's the Rasta Star Stitch Baby Hat. Interesting how this yarn pools so well in a pattern, but not so pretty in just stockinette or ribbing.

And then just a basic 1x1 Ribbed Baby Hat worked in stripes of white and a variegated yarn that had some white in it... making it look like very odd stripes.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

lots of little things

There's a ton of little projects that I've had on and off the needles (hooks...) so fast that I haven't bothered to post about them here. No time like the present.

A small disc stuffed with polyester fluff and homegrown catnip. Sakura doesn't like proper cat toys, only things like my hair bands and pens because she knows it infuriates me to find them all missing, so I'm going to make up a few more of these for the craft fair. They're the perfect shape for tossing across the room a-la tiny frisbee to catch the attention of a cat.

A Felicity hat that turned out fairly disappointing.

Rhombus Tassel Baby Hat, improvised for the craft fair.

A cloche I improvised out of my own recycled and hand-dyed yarn, for the craft fair.

A sweater I made Sakura so she can match Hiroki... oh how she hates it. The first few times I put it on her, she refused to move. Then she managed to rip it off. Now she's semi-okay with it. This is my revenge for never being able to find a pen where I left it.

A basic baby hat I improvised and added a little flower to, for the craft fair.

Going to be making a handful of more baby hats and cat toys. Probably some wash cloths and other small, quick items as well. We'll see how this craft fair business goes down...

Friday, March 12, 2010

things to sell... and a baby hat

This week is Spring Break. The first few days I went camping with Alex and a friend. Because it's still pretty chilly here in Florida at night (what is with this winter... gah), Hiroki got to sport his sweater quite a bit.

Then I visited home for a few days while my car was in the shop. I've decided to have a booth at a craft fair at the church I grew up in back home. It's in about a month. I'm going to showcase my yarn, and -- since I'm unsure of how many people attending will actually be crafters versus just people who enjoy others' crafts -- I'm going to knit up a batch of baby hats and such.

So when I got home today, I started designing my own baby hat.

My mother is in love with strawberries and for some reason it is absolutely adorable to dress babies up as fruit, so... here's the Strawberry Baby Hat.

Knit from the top with leafyness to the icord ties with fringe.

Alas, I have no baby to model this for me. Sakura falls victim.

*Edit: You can now find the pattern on Ravelry. Look to my sidebar designs tab and give it a click :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

FO: Hiroki's Sweater

Anyone who has a greyhound knows they get cold easily. They're very temperature sensitive because they don't have an undercoat (or a very thick top coat) and their skin is really thin.

Often when we have the AC cranked on really high -- which is rare now that Alex and I live in our own place and have the option of saving money on electricity -- Hiroki gets cold and we have to cover him with a blanket. He doesn't mind. He loves blankets. And pillows. And snuggling in small balls in the corner of the couch.

So here's his sweater. He has one of those flannel cloth kind of throw-over coats, but it's not very fitted. And over winter break when we let him hang out outside with us as Alex and I built a brick mailbox for my dad, we learned it's also impossible for him to pee in that coat without soaking the belly panel. Oops.

Greyhounds, however, are slightly more difficult to knit for than other dogs. They have giant chests, enormous shoulder and butt muscles, and come zipping up at the belly to a wisp. Aerodynamics at its cutest.

I thought I'd have to craft something myself, but one of the most popular pet patterns on Ravelry is... just for greyhounds!

Pattern: Side Button Greyhound Sweater by Terri Lee Royea
Yarn: Red Heart Ltd. Soft Yarn Solids in 9523, Dark Leaf
Modifications: I didn't do a very long neck on this. I'd like to say it's so we can use his collar (though plenty of people have made leash holes at the base of the neck) but the real reason is I was just so damn excited to make this I had to get past the neck. Besides... now I can make him a cowl to go with it and he'll be the knittingest dog around.

I also finished the butt shaping differently on this. Some of the pictures of people's projects show a very fitted around-the-butt ending, but as I got to the end of the pattern and it suggested just binding off after some decrease shaping... my butt would've been flat. So I knit a few more rows in the same decreasing manner and then split the stitches evenly onto two DPNs and grafted the two sides together. Now it curves nicely around his rump and will stay put even when he's wiggling around.

Instead of doing the entire thing in ribbing, I put a simple 12 stitch cable down the back. Which is impossible to photograph at any angle in any light, I have discovered. Vaguely visible here.

Belly panel with buttons. Yeah, there's gaps when buttoned, but I think if I shift it to sit a little more properly on his back those go away. You can't even see them unless you're up close. Not that it really matters. Hiroki is none too concerned with fashion, as illustrated by his bald butt. All the cool greyhounds use Rogaine.

And you get a bit of his bum to complete your day. Bald and beautiful.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Maybe because I'm already in a rotten mood from trying to schedule classes...

I like reading knitting blogs. I love seeing other people's creations and photographs of things I would never knit myself or yarn I could never afford to buy. But it really pisses me off when knitters get all high and mighty about using only luxury yarns.

Really? How dare a knitter suggest that people who cannot afford to use several skeins of $30 hand painted silk and wool per project create things that are not "up to par" with their own creations. The beauty of knitting is that it can be done on any budget in any style.

I think that's why I've drifted away from Ravelry in the past few months. Because it's ridiculous that the forums are full of people sticking up their noses at those who use acrylic, as if suggesting they are not as skilled or clever as the elite of the group.

Here's the deal: not all of us can stay at home and knit all day with a hand on hubby's purse strings.

Some of us are poor students, some of us are working people, some of us are stay at home mothers. Some of us have other priorities than spending all of our money (whether we have it in our pocket or not) on a collection of luxury yarn that one person could never use in a lifetime.

Does that mean that those of us on the lower end of the totem pole don't appreciate luxury yarn? Of course not. I can't tell you how many times I skim websites and browse yarn stores and just want to take it all home with me. But I can't afford to. And you know what... even if I could afford to, I don't know if I would want to.

Because I feel like I don't need the priciest and prettiest yarn out there to make something attractive and useful. In fact, it's kind of nice to use yarn that can be washed and worn ragged without feeling bad. It's nice to know that I can use a simple yarn and knit up something beautiful because I have the capability to, because I can find or create a design that is beautiful all on its own.

I think it's a shame that something that used to be a poor man's necessity has turned into a rich snob past time.

After edit:
Written in anger. Hey, look at that.

Also, I would like to re-point out that I don't think every person that knits with luxury yarn is an elitist. I just think it would be more progressive in the knitting world if people acknowledged that luxury yarn is not the end all be all when it comes to creating. I apologize to those who think I have attacked them.


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