Sunday, October 20, 2013

Things I Knit While Furloughed

From October 1 - 16, the US Government was shut down due to lack of funding; I was one of the hundreds of thousands of people who were effectively laid off during this time.  With no known date for work resumption and no paycheck in the meantime, I applied for unemployment, looked for temporary jobs (guess what? they don't exist!), and did a boatload of commissioned knitting to ease the stress.

My green monster baby blanket grew by leaps and bounds, from 50% to 76.3% complete:
at 50%, off the needles for maximum purtiness
no room! nooo rooooom on the needles!

These legwarmers were so nice, I wanted to keep 'em... but I didn't:
Hanging Out on a Limb [Rav] by JM Cobb; knit with 2 skeins of Spud & Chloë Sweater in colorway Skydiver
action shot modeled by the happy recipient
MODS: 97 rows between CO and BO to achieve 16” length; used a climbing eyelet stitch pattern in place of every other knit rib

I'm also in the process of baby sweater-ing for a pair of twins and their older brother!  Two 3-6 month sweaters down (minus the buttons, of course), three more sweaters in various sizes to go...

There was non-commission knitting as well!  I started an Olive Branch [Rav]... then thought better of the yarn/pattern combo...
...and ultimately cast on a simple eyelet triangle shawl from the world's softest yarn:
Much better!

And there was a gigantic chill pill... because I totally needed one:
Chill Pill [Rav] by KnittingPony; knit with less than 15 yards each of Universal Pace (discontinued) in 19 Yellow and Cascade Heritage Silk in 5619 Christmas Red
MODS: used a provisional cast-on of 34 stitches and knit the decrease instructions twice, once for each color

And now I'm back to work, with a mountain of email to dig through with relief.  Let's hope this doesn't happen again in a couple of months, when the stopgap "debt deal" expires.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Say, Do You Remember

Start the music and join me on a journey to last month!
"September" by Earth, Wind & Fire

There was a flowered hat for my friend's birthday present...
Blooming Spring Hat [Rav] by Muraka Mari; knit with half a skein total of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in colorways 87 Neptune Blue and 80 Vintage Denim

There was a set of boot cuffs for my daughter's teacher...
Basic Boot Cuff [Rav] by Mindy Lewis; knit with half a skein total of Lion Brand Wool-Ease in colorways Fisherman and Blush Heather

There was a cabled coffee cozy made of sneeze-inducing llama yarn...
Cabled Coffee Cup Cozy [Rav] by Kate Atherley; knit with 30ish yards of 100% Suri Llama in colorway Waverunner, from the Edinburg Gap Llama Company

There was a pretty pretty pretty pretty shawl:
Lagune [Rav] by Sue Berg; knit with less than a skein total of Knit Picks Gloss Lace in colorways Natural and Port

MODS: added contrast striping in stockinette section; increased until 273 sts per row before beginning lace edging
I used up the very last of my Evenstar yarn to make this beauty!

And then I got furloughed.  Thanks, US Congress, it's been real.
More on that tomorrow.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Yikes, Slow Down!

Too much is happening and it's all such a blur, you guys.  I'm finding the need to re-read my own blog to find out where I left off...  so what's up, you ask?

I had a fingernail snap completely in half while doing laundry, so that wasn't fun at all.  The picture is horrible and makes it look like I had been punching a wall immediately prior to snapping a photo:
My hands are "hard-working," it's true, but the blotchy redness is nowhere near this extreme in real life, and I am, in fact, a delicate flower (ha!).  I am also a former nail-biter, and other former biters will know what I mean when I say: this was an actual injury, with blood and pain and stuff, because I have a permanently damaged hyponychium on each nail.  SCIENCE!

On to knitting stuff:
Baby blanket is bigger!
This blanket is so not a baby anymore; in spite of Fingernail Pain with a Capital P slowing me down, I have now caught up and am going at my breakneck "ideal pace."  I'm on track to be halfway done by October 1 -- how's that for tempting fate!

Hey, let's look at some random Egypt-themed projects!
heavily modded Phone cozy [Rav$] by Kate Atherley; knit with some Wullenstudio Superwash Sock Merino Nylon in colorway Sister Golden Hair and a bit of Three Irish Girls Springvale Sock in colorway McNamara
Santa's Jolly Christmas Balls [Rav] by Helen Mathews; knit with some Bernat Satin Solids in colorways Navy and Amber

OK, I'm done for now.  More later.  -whoosh-

Thursday, September 12, 2013

FOs: Dream Stripes Plus; This One Won't Hurt You

It's very rare that something turns out exactly how I pictured it... but it happened this time:
modified Dream Stripes [Rav] by Cailliau Berangere; knit with approx one full skein's worth (440yds) of fingering weight leftovers

The edging is Petal Trim, found in Betty Barnden’s Crochet Stitch Bible [Rav], and I think this shawl looks even better than the pattern as written.  It's just kinda swoopy and stripy and pretty... yay.

 Also pretty, but in a different way: yarn uterus!
Womb [Rav] by MK Carroll; knit with less than 20yds of Lion Brand Wool-Ease in colorway Rose Heather
MODS: worsted weight rather than bulky weight yarn; down 2 needles sizes (to US6); no pipe cleaners

...yeah, I really don't have much to add on that one.  :)

The green blanket hasn't really been touched since last week, so I'm going to get right on that, and... what else.  Sorry, I'm tired, yo.  Bed sounds amazing right now.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm okay g'night.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

WIP Wednesday for realsies + FO: Autumn Dewdrops Cowl

Works in Progress on a Wednesday at Big Knitting Trouble?  Escandelo!

But first: a delicate FO:
Lacey Small Shell Cowl [Rav] by Teyani; knit with a quarter skein of Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Lace in colorway LP10 Red Rover

This uses up most of the leftover from the firework-looking shawl I finished earlier this year (the one that took forever and made me cry for several reasons) and the beads are a modification... I needed an excuse to keep using that beading gadget.  It really is genius.

I was trying to wait until September to cast on anything big, but this project couldn't wait:
This is meant for an excellent friend as she recovers from some excellent surgery (if you doubt that surgery can be excellent, then you don't know the kind of pain she's had to endure while waiting for it). It's a shawl, it's stripy, it's stashbusting, it's simple, it's soon-to-be-finished -- and not by me!  Another excellent friend, intrepid home-improver Jill Factotum, will be crocheting an edging (double the crafters, double the comfort) and we're doing the mathings today.

I won't get any HPKCHC points for it (started during break month, cowl already turned in for Detention points, only partially crafted by me), but that's kinda not the point at all, so I'm more than okay with it.

The blanket swatch has grown into this bowl-shaped beauty...
...and I can't believe I'm already halfway through the first (huge) chart.  My right arm can believe it, though; I'm getting some forearm twinges, and since my job is entirely computer-based, I need to slow the knitting down just a skosh to stay healthy enough to type.

The next three months are going to be slightly insane.
Insert self-pep-talk here.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Break Month White-Knuckling

Ah, August: that beautiful month when summer colds aren't even as bad as it gets, upheaval-wise; HPKCHC is on break between terms; and everyone seems to be talking about Ben Affleck as Batman (I don't dislike him, I just nothing him).

Here's my only active WIP!
It's a laceweight alpaca cowl...  I will banish this menace from my stash once and for all:
Mama, please say you'll take this off my hands soon
Pretty, huh?  The beads are leftover from Evenstar and I think they look like tiny dewdrops.

Here's a random photo!
This is right before and right after grafting the closure of Evenstar's knitted-on edging:
Cool, huh?  I forgot I had it while writing the FO post, but there's no image police on this blog, so you'll get it now and you'll like it!  The color values are off thanks to differences in lighting: Photo 1 was midday, directly under a skylight; Photo 2 was late at night with indirect lighting from a floor lamp in a mustard-colored room.

Here's a swatch!
Imma make a blanket soon and this yarn is great, yo:
Cascade 220 Superwash Paints in colorway 9885 Jade
Intriguing, huh?  It's center-out circular! It's not modular! Which means it's as close to shawl-like as I'm going to get while ending up with a non-shawl FO.

Today I was home from work with a sick kid, so I got to take that three-hour nap I desperately needed several months ago.  I have a test knit in the can I'll be sharing with you next month and so. many. plans for September, I can't keep track of them all... but Ms. Spreadsheet knows it's not for lack of trying.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

FO: Gryffindors Always Pay Their Debts

Oh hey, this one, too!  The sheer amount of shawls is getting ungainly and difficult to manage...  too bad!

EZ 100th Anniversary Gull Wings Half-Circle [Rav] by Mwaa Knit; knit with Dragonfly Fibers Djinni Sock in colorway Dragonberry and Wullenstudio Superwash Sock Merino Nylon in colorway Sister Golden Hair, one skein each

This is a half-pi design based on the work of the illustrious Elizabeth Zimmermann.  I completed a single-color version of a similar design last year and well, why not push the limits of garishness while I'm at it?


Is it "stunning in its opulence"?  It's certainly unique.  I've already fielded comments from colleagues about the Washington D.C. football team and a certain non-Ravenclaw house at Hogwarts.  As long as no one mumbles "Cersei Lannister" in my presence, I'm okay with it.


Friday, August 16, 2013

FO: Estelio han, estelio veleth

After all that commotion, it is finally complete -- and since the beauty shots won't be taken until November, I only have blocking shots to share...

Done in three months!

Evenstar Shawl [Rav] by Susan Pandorf; knit with 3.5 hanks of Knit Picks Gloss Lace in colorway Natural

The project name I've chosen is from the song “Evenstar” with Elvish lyrics by Philippa Boyens; translated from Sindarin, Estelio han, estelio veleth means “trust this, trust love” and I thought it was perfect for my friend on her wedding day -- can't wait to see what this will look like on her!


The beads are silver-lined clear glass 8/0 seed beads and they made their way onto the yarn with a twiddly bit of jewelry wire (teased earlier, video tutorial here) that worked like a charm.  I spent the entirety of July on that beading and I'm SO GLAD I gave myself a full month to do it; that stuff is no joke.

The Brushstrokes Fitted Sheet of Discomfort and Scratchiness has now been fully repurposed into the Colorful Blocking Sheet for All Circle Shawls, with diameter markings for 59”, 57”, and 30”:
already switched it out for the much-more-photogenic Sage Comforter of Simplicity

The craziest part?  Even after all that work, I want to knit another one just for me me me!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

FO: Dragon: Fly, Wings!

This is the story of a shawl that is not a shawl.

Ceci n'est pas une shawl.
Dragonfly Wings [Rav] by Boo Knits; knit with slightly more than half a skein of Cascade Heritage Silk in colorway 5608 Pine

I started this little piece of pretty as part of the Crafts from the Cwtch Pick a Boo! Summer Shawl KAL and it hummed along, doot-do-doo... quickly, in fact, that I only got one progress shot!  So easy!  I'm going to make 12 shawls by October! Woohoo!  Hush, inner monologue: no one wants to hear your smugness.

Now: if one wants to participate in the Ravelry group "12 Shawls Forever" (AKA 12shawls4lyfe!!!1!), there are some rules to follow.  Most of them involve very technical requirements: minimum depth, minimum yardage, garment shape, etc.  FUNNY STORY: even though it meets the minimum depth requirement, this shawl does not meet the minimum yardage requirement (only 16 yards off!), so it's not a shawl, it's a... glorified scarf?

Also, it's hilariously-shaped:

So even though I don't have a "shawl" for the Pick A Boo! KAL, I do have a pretty bit of frippery to make me feel all fancy at work.
Thanks to Sarah at Crafts from the Cwtch for spurring me to cast on!