Monday, April 29, 2013

Mayday Preppers

KCBW is finished (so fun, you guys, plus a bunch of great new-to-me blogs to read: South African, even!), it's time to relax and just breathe... nah, jus kiddin!  It's almost start of spring term for HPKCHC again (AKA fake Hogwarts knitting [Rav]!  SOAR RAVENCLAW!), so I gotta get ducks-in-a-row peas-in-a-pod.  This means...

* spreadsheets spreadsheets spreadsheets spreadsheets spreadsheets spreadsheets spreadsheets!!!  YYYAAAYYY!!!
I'm not kidding.  I'm really really cool.  -ahem-

*my main term project has been planned and swatched and yikes...
1500 yards of merino/silk laceweight, 3000 beads, infinite insanity
I'm attempting to complete a fully-beaded Evenstar Shawl [Rav] in three months.  I've heard it's possible.  I've heard it's crazy.
I may be crazy.  No duh.

* I've knitted almost all the way through the April installment of 12 Shawls in 2013; worsted weight shawls are so quick:
Everything but the bindoff was completed from April 5 to 8, but I'm leaving the last bit for May Detention, because why not!  The yarn is leftover yardage from that intarsia baby blanket that drove me crazy.  It's a cotton/acrylic blend, so it's the perfect bright summer shawl to throw over a black T-shirt.

Now I will take a short blawg nap, because I am le tired.  OUTIE 5000!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Looking Forward | 4KCBWDAY7

One year from now, where do you hope your crafting will have taken you to? What new skills, projects and experiences do you hope you might have conquered or tried?

In the left-hand column of this blog, underneath links to stuff and -ahem- the photo of my current life-ruiner, there is The Knit List: a relatively comprehensive catalog of the skills I've acquired in my 12.5 years of knitting.  Since last year's KCBW, I've successfully deployed intarsia colorwork, reverse-engineered a pattern from a finished piece of knitting, and learned how to add beads as I knit (via prestringing and with an implement as-you-go).  Every time I get all cocky and think I've earned my knitting black belt, I scan The List and it reminds me:

Oh yeah!  I've been intending to knit fancy mittens for myself!
Oh yeah!  I still haven't yarnbombed anything!
Oh yeah!  Original pattern design is completely foreign to me!

So there's lots of stuff to do.  My goals for the next year are as follows:

* track down all of the knitting needles I supposedly have in my house and come up with an adequate organizational system.  #projectneedles
This is much easier said than done, even for a librarian.

* overcome my fear and steek something.  #steekthroughtheheart    

* finish 12 Shawls in 2013, and be on track for a similar feat in 2014.

*  *  *  *  *

I want to thank the incomparable Eskimimi for organizing this fantastic intarwebz event yet again!!  I have loved reading the blogs of so many talented crafters, many I would never have found otherwise.  I've even come out of my usual lurking-shyly mode and posted some comments along the way.  Good times were had by all! 
Next, thank you to all the awesome bloggers who stopped by, especially those who have left comments for me this week -- soooo exciting to get feedback, it means the world to me. 
Lastly, but never leastly: hiya to my parents; thank you for reading everything and for other things as well.  :)

To read other posts from those taking part in Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, simply perform a Google search for the tag 4KCBWDAY7, or click here.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Tool To Covet | 4KCBWDAY6

Write about your favourite knitting tool.

It would be way too easy for me to say this here computer machine is my fave knitting tool -- since it holds my patterns and spreadsheets for guidance, my YouTube for when I learn new stuff, my blawg for uploading photos and writing to the ether (and to my mom -- hi Mama!), and my Ravelry for organizing my brain and talking to friends.  It's far too obvious, as I spend a good 85% of my waking hours sitting at a desk chair, and I shan't be goaded into something as hackneyed as all that.  SHAN'T!

No, instead I'd like to share these little beauties:

They look like ordinary bitsy scissors, but these snippers are special -- they fold very nicely into an accident-proof, travel-safe thingamabob:
teensy foldable snippers are a feature of my Knit Kit

Also: I just like clipping yarn, because it signals progress in my knitting -- a color change or an added skein or even a bindoff! 

Progress + (self)preservation + practicality = perfection!

To read other posts from those taking part in Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, simply perform a Google search for the tag 4KCBWDAY6, or click here.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Something A Bit Different | 4KCBWDAY5

Fun fact: my computer makes noise when I receive email, 
so you get to hear how popular I am.  You're welcome.  :)
Google 4KCBWDAY5 or click here!

** transcript for people who listen by reading:  
Hello and welcome to Big Knitting Trouble, with me, Cyprienne!  This is weird, you guys.  You're watching this because it's Knitting & Crochet Blog Week and Eskimimi told me to.  SO!  Now you get to see me be all exclamatory in your face... KNITTING!! it's incredible!!

Obviously I don't know what I'm doing, and my test runs were a little... not creative, just a MESS, I'll show you...
[Cyp plays with video editing features for no reason;

a small child yelps in the background]
...yeah, so we're not-- we're going to keep this as simple as possible.  Also I found out in my test: I move my head A LOT, so I'm going to try and "keep calm and carry yarn."

Active WIPs!
These two are my active Works in Progress.  Do they look like they're made of the same yarn?  Yes.  Are they made of the same yarn?  YES they are! [Cascade Pacific Multi in colorway 509 Grape Blend

What? It's crazy; there was a lot of this.

This one is for the Mystery Game of Thrones Knitalong [Rav], run by Jimmy Beans Wool; I did not buy their yarn, because I have very specific specifications for buying yarn (and that wasn't part of it).
So I used this yarn because I had a lot of it leftover, and... I think it's supposed to be a cowl?  I'm just now starting the beginning of Clue 4; it's a straight bit, and a curvy bit, and another straight bit, and it's going to split?  I don't know, what's it gonna be, how's it gonna look, we'll find out!

This is the Spoke [Rav] cardigan of Doom.  It's been going on for a while, as I detailed in my previous post.  As I said before, I had it seamed (finally) and then what I had to do was pick up these stitches ...pick 'em up and then bind them off right away.  It's not fun. And there's lots of curling.  And I dunno how I'm going to save it.

Future WIP!
I have a future Work in Progress that I'm pretty excited about.  If you noticed, I was talking about the Shawl Showdown that I'm going to be embarking on starting on May 4th, Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you!).  I've got this yarn picked out [Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine in colorway 1207 Salt and Pepper] because it's lovely and wonderful and very soft, and I need to keep it away from my face because I'm alleric to it... so it needs to leave my stash, like yesterday.

This is the yarn I used to make my dad's socks: the only pair of socks I have ever knit or will ever knit (because they took forever, and they're alpaca, and I'm allergic to alpaca).  I had this yarn left over.  I did not realize when I was knitting with it that I was allergic to it; because the weight is so fine -- it's fingering weight -- it didn't bother me as much as when I was knitting with bulky weight yarn (the wool from the Tweed Sweater of DOOM).
So hopefully I will not have too much of a reaction, and this will stop sitting in my stash, taunting me, saying "you really want to knit with me, don't you! Imma make your eyes water!"  Oh alpaca.  I love you so.

That's all I've got so far -- tune in tomorrow, when I talk about something that is not on video (probably ever again... but it was nice to talk to you now!).  

Alright: have a good... Thursday? Friday! Have fun, you guys! Bye!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Colour Review | 4KCBWDAY4

What are your favourite colours for knitted or crocheted projects? Have a think about what colours you seem to favour when crafting. Make a quick tally of what colours you have used in your projects over the past year and compare it to the colours you have written about. Compare this, in turn, to the colours that are most dominant in your yarn stash – do they correlate?  Do the colours you have chosen relate to your house animal in any way?

On the subject of colour (rhymes with velour!),
I've been known to be a blowsy bluesy kinda gal:

Yes, I have a tendency toward jewel tones that is well-documented.  But even with all that sapphire peeking through, the saunter down Project Lane [Rav] was surprisingly colorful.

Eagle eyes will notice that the orange in the above collage is still in skein form -- it'll be a shawl later this year, I promise.

The stash is full of rando stuff like that:
orange allergen-packed alpaca...    ribbon yarn, apropos of nothing...
It helps to challenge my creativity, right?

Oh who'm I kidding.  I just want it all.  ALL OF IT, I TELL YOU!

To read other posts from those taking part in Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, simply perform a Google search for the tag 4KCBWDAY4, or click here.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Infographic | 4KCBWDAY3

Make your own infographic.

I like playing with spreadsheets and making graphs -- heck, I even line-charted my knitting mojo for last year's KCBW!

So for this year, I wanted to step it up.  I had originally thought to demonstrate that I used to knit with nothing finer than worsted weight, and that I only started buying laceweight after knitting a mess of shawls, aaaaand that got boring quickly.
(I know, right, how is that possible?)

Instead I thought it would be interesting to see the frequency with which I knit certain types of projects throughout my Rav life!

Cowls happen: for that one Christmas, and by my mom's request...
Mitts get dotted through evenly...  sweaters and scarves are few...
I get baby knit fever (they're just so small!) and shawl sickness...

click to embiggen

Eh.  I dunno, there it is.

To read other posts from those taking part in Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, simply perform a Google search for the tag 4KCBWDAY3, or click here.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mascot Project | 4KCBWDAY2

Think of or research a project that embodies your chosen house/animal.  Whatever element you choose, decide upon a project and blog about how and why it relates to your house/creature. 
You do not have to make this project!  Blog about the journey that inspiration and investigation can often guide you through.

As I pondered this prompt, my eye fell on a ThinkGeek catalog, and it got me a-thinkin'.
Their mascot is a monkey!  I own a lot of their stuff!  Synergy!

There are lots of ThinkGeek products that appeal to the intelligence and the fun-loving nature of Monkeys...

* science is a marked presence
Biology 101 [Rav] by Emily Stoneking

* can't get enough gaming in life
Knitted Companion Cube [Rav] by Wren Montgomery

* they have a bit of a bacon obsession
Bacon Mittens [Rav] by SpillyJane

* like me, they're big into literature (Game of Thrones series, Tolkien)
Direwolf Mittens [Rav] by Carly Hill
Belladonna Took [Rav] shawlette by Melanie Gibbons

* the Force is strong with them
Lifesize R2D2 Cozy [Rav] by Sarah Rudder

* see also: Doctor Who
Doctor Who TARDIS Afghan [Rav] by Carrie Fritsche

Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be in my bunk.

disclaimer disclaimer:  I'm not being paid by ThinkGeek or by the awesome pattern designers (or by anyone, really), they don't know I'm doing this, and I'm just an inspired fan!

To read other posts from those taking part in Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, simply perform a Google search for the tag 4KCBWDAY2, or click here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The House Cup | 4KCBWDAY1

This year’s Knitting & Crochet Blog Week is split into 4 houses. Don your favourite hat and let it guide you to which house you will be in.  Think about which house best embodies your qualities and declare your place. Post about your crafting outlook/style.

How to choose among these "houses"?  My Hogwarts house choice was a piece of cake (-ahem- SOAR RAVENCLAW!!), but these are tricksier for certain.  The Internet loves a questionnaire...
Are You Right or Left Brained?
What is your Game of Thrones sigil?
Band Name Generator
What Does Your Birth Date Mean For Your Love Life?
...and that was my original thought when faced with the house-choice conundrum (oh, the Myers-Briggs of it all).  BUT that got complicated in my brain really fast, so instead: process of elimination!
It's so simple...

All I have to do is divine from what I know of each house: am I the sort who would identify with a bee, a manatee, a monkey, or a peacock?

Now, a clever knitter would be a Manatee, because he would know that only a great fool would choose form over function. I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose to be a Peacock. But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it(!), so I can clearly not choose to be a Manatee on practicality alone

Because Bees have that attractive "industrious" label, as everyone knows, and Manatees and Peacocks are complete opposites, and they will cancel each other out, as my own ideas cancel each other out, so I can clearly not choose to be a Manatee or a Peacock.
(truly, I have a dizzying intellect; wait till I get going!)

Where was I?
Yes, Bees are busy, and you must have suspected I would not align myself with something so obvious, so I can clearly not choose to be a Bee.  (I'm just stalling now...  you'd like to think that, wouldn't you?)

Peacocks "take something good and make it brilliant," which means they probably like to modify patterns to improve them, and potentially design their own, trusting on their own ideas to be original and groundbreaking, so I can clearly not choose to be a Peacock. But, I've also made a personal choice to avoid toy knitting and home accessories, which means I instead focus on garment knitting, and in garment knitting I have learned that shawls and sweaters require focus and diligence, so I would have put amigurumi and other multi-part things as far from myself as possible, so I can clearly not choose to be a Manatee or a Bee.

It HAS worked! I've made my choice, and I choose--- 
What in the world can that be?

tl;dr: Ah, yes, a Monkey!  Because: while all my knits are practical, I'd rather learn a new skill than churn out "comfort" knitting (NOT a Manatee); I have no interest in pattern design, and my pattern mods are more about function than "embellishment" (NOT a Peacock); and I maintain project monogamy and rarely "flit" to Cast.On.All.the.Things (NOT a Bee).

HOUSE OF MONKEY: Intelligent and with a fun loving side, Monkeys like to be challenged with every project presenting them with something new and interesting.

To read other posts from those taking part in Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, simply perform a Google search for the tag 4KCBWDAY1, or click here.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Gonna be a Shawl Showdown

Last night I didn't knit, for the first time in I-don't-even-know.  I have this WIP sitting here:

I started this cardigan last January with some awesome gift yarn from Kris Kringle (still love the yarn YAY!), and at the start I was inspired by the interesting construction and the prospect of a functional sweater at the end.  Admittedly it was a bit of a grind to get through the parts: some ripping out, the barrier of seaming looming over me...

so it hibernated for a year exactly! sigh
And I finally seamed the shoulders and sides this weekend!  yay

Now I pick up a mess of stitches, only to bind off on the very next row ohhhhhh yuck.


So!  I'm planning a Shawl Showdown, with an amazing Ravenclaw housemate, starting on Star Wars Day!  It's all part of a voluntary Shawl Battle Royale for spring term, because apparently we have nothing better to do and we're all stark Raven mad.

We've chosen to duel with Fall of Leaves [Rav]
 a free!  pattern designed by Stephanie Hogendoorn.
'Twill be EPIC.  First one to the finish line wins a pattern!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sleepy Saturday (FO: Catoosa)

This early April is a world of slowing down and gearing up:
the HPKCHC [Rav] has a break month and the fourth annual Knit & Crochet Blog Week is less than two weeks out.

So until the madness bursts, we're laying low...  making shapes out of crayons and eating Goldfish crackers and knitting along on a scraptastic modular WIP that's almost four years old.
Punkin has titled this photo "Minnie Mouse and crayons and Mickey Mouse"

There's also a small squishy toy, but it's not hanging out with us:
Moby the Whale [Rav] by Raynor Gellatly; knit with less than 10 yards of Lorna's Laces Swirl Chunky in colorway 34 Tahoe
The pattern was written for DK or worsted weight, but I've upsized it for maximum grabability.  I've named her Catoosa after Catoosa, Oklahoma's famed Blue Whale along Route 66.  She's currently winging her way to Kansas City to join the well-appointed whale-themed nursery of a teleworking colleague's kiddo.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

FO: From Russia With Fun!

I wish I could take credit for that tagline, but it was all Tetris's idea:
Tetris Baby Blanket [Rav] by GracieLou; knit with 944yds of Knit Picks Comfy Worsted (colorways Carrot, Fairy Tale, Lilac, Marina, Marlin, Peapod, and Rosehip)

TGIF: thank goodness it's free!, because whoa.  This was my first intarsia project evar and while I got used to it, I don't think I'll ever want to do one again.  Especially in a cotton-acrylic blend.  T.e.d.i.o.u.s like crazy.
I hate wasting yarn, so instead of bobbin-ing up the yarn for the sections, I opted to do some knitting backward to keep the right side of the work facing me + careful rearranging of full skeins.  It was... fine.

I was super great and not crazy.  No, really.  Just... fine.


And then -- AND THEN -- after I'd finished all the intarsia, I had to teach myself some crochetin' stuff for the border.  Crochet eats yarn like it tastes like chocolate; I used more yarn on that 4" border than I did on the entirety of the intarsia (469yds vs 475yds), which is BANANAS to me.
pre border blocking

...I do really like the finished product, which has made its home with a sweet bebe and her wonderful parents...
...but never again.