Tuesday, July 23, 2013

All That Is Left Undone

My daughter is sick and I am unshowered.  All the vomitous drama (vomitous drama!) of the last twelve hours makes going to daycare and/or work impossible, what with all the cleaning and recleaning and medicating and hydrating and rehydrating.
She has finally succumbed to tiredness and is napping on the couch, so I'm doing important things like blogging.  And laundry.

To be quite honest, I've recently had a dip into what is sometimes referred to in my house as "the danger zone," in which I really don't want to be around the planet anymore (thanks, brain chemistry and insomnia!).  I'm slowly piecing my way back to normal, thanks to the help of awesome people who don't treat me like I'm broken, and knitting is helping... as always, of course, one stitch at a time.

This impossible-to-photograph mass is the black cotton shawl, bound off and ready for blocking, paired with a tiny ball of remaining yarn:
This is why I knit shawls using spreadsheets, folks.  There's something so satisfying about knowing I've used every bit of yarn at my disposal to make an object as big as it could possibly be.

The Evenstar has hit the home stretch and I've ramped my pace up to finishing three full repeats in an evening.  Only 12" of live stitches left:
89.29% of the edging done, 50 border repeats finished, 2500 total beads a-beaded, marking 97.76% of the total project and 86,036 total stitches completed.

At this stage, I'm thankful for:
  • coffee (before knitting and after knitting, never during)
  • the white light at the end of this shawl tunnel
  • so many more shawls to knit very soon

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

FO: Dru Flies

Once upon a time (oh fine, it was last month) in the land of HPKCHC, there was a really awesome Ravenclaw who was temporarily unable to knit for medical reasons.  She was understandably bummed about it, but her fellow Claws decided to band together to make up the points difference so this fierce competitor and wonderful human being wouldn't feel guilty on top of bummed on top of injured.

Almost simultaneously, at my house, my Fairy Mother appeared with a sparkly wand and magicked a large shawl's worth of gorgeous hand-dyed superwash straight into my hands!!  With no solid plan, I figured I'd take some time to pick an appropriate pattern, start it in August, and finish in September.  There's that red-and-gold shawl happening during June, remember, and the Evenstar, of course... just no time to knit a 571-yard shawl in June.  Don't even think about June.

My version of Summer Flies [Rav] by Alla Postelnik; knit with two full skeins of String Theory Merino DK in colorway Garnet

The pattern is Donna Griffin’s no-longer-free! Summer Flies [Rav] Charts 1-6 with Alla Postelnik’s mods for the border. I further modified Alla's border by knitting rows 1-7 of border chart A, added a garter ridge-eyelet-garter ridge detail for the next three rows (total rows 10, down from 20; one butterfly repeat, down from 3) and extended border chart B for two additional lace rows (17 and 19) to use up all the yarn on my favorite part.  :)

This shawl (Shawl #6 for the year!) is currently nominated for a June prize in the Harry Potter Knit & Crochet House Cup [Rav]... I'm trying to be cool about it, but I'm NOT cool and I AM terribly excited.  :)  Everything about this project makes me smile.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Keeping Going

Work is blerg and lack of sleep is blargl.  So keeping going is really the only goal right now:
I have that look on my face right exactly now.

To distract me from life, I have the Evenstar.  And to distract me from the Evenstar, I have... a lumpy little pillow!
chart from Potter Alphabet Chart [Rav] by Mandy Chronister
chart from Array of Stars Chart [Rav] by Niamh Dhabolt

I did these two "squares" for Quidditch, because that's a sentence that makes sense.  Then I seamed them together and lightly stuffed them for a play pillow for Punkin Q. Pie... it's a hit!
G is for Goofus and Gallant

I've also started something for the Through the Loops Summer Shawl KAL, because if one is attempting to knit lace in public in July, it should be both cotton and black for maximum confusion:

Okay, Evenstar time!!
This shawl has reached 53.57% of the edging done and 1500 beads a-beaded, with 30 repeats finished at 328 stitches and 50 beads per repeat.  This marks 90.31% of the total project and 79,476 total stitches completed:
click to embiggen photo; you might be able to see the beads
I managed to lose my first beading gadget, but I was able to make a new one with a minimum of time and effort.

At this stage, I'm thankful for:
  • the foresight of Jill Factotum, who gave me the whole spool of jewelry wire as a gift -- you rock, lady!
  • rewatching 90s TV from my childhood (The Adventures of Pete & Pete, My So-Called Life) AND my very favorite British TV (The IT Crowd and Sherlock.  Always Sherlock.)  Also: I'm in love with Scandal now... don't judge me.  Or do, whatever, I'm too tired to fight you.

There are a couple of finished shawls I need to post.
But not right now byeeeeeee

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

FO: Pintesting

Too busy to blog!
Knitting like crazy!
Learning to arm-knit?!
Pintester Movement 2.0!

I read the sometimes-NSFW, always-hilarious Pintester blog, in which Pinterest pins are tested out by intrepid reporter/guinea pig Sonja Foust... and she recently issued a challenge: retest a pin idea that she's already tried and see what happens!  How could I resist?
p.s. Mama, NSFW in this case means there's swearing.  You have been warned.

One of my favorite -ahem- failures (sorry, Sonja) was an attempt at arm knitting; the FO image was pinned from designer Simply Maggie's video tutorial, and I was able to find it as a free! Ravelry pattern as well.  The Pintester did not fare so well (spoiler alert?), but I hoped that my base knowledge of with-pointy-sticks knitting would give me some sort of advantage... and I had a cunning three-step plan!

Step 1: use the correct yarn for the job!
Step 2: easily grasp the mechanics of arm knitting!
Step 3: bask in glory!

Visiting stash... ooh, Step 1: complete!
Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky -- it's discontinued
The tutorial/pattern calls for super bulky yarn held double and I just so happened to have this merino blend hanging around, doing nothin since 2006.  Perfect for the project and stash-busting at the same time...

That sound you hear is me polishing my nails on my shoulder.
Like a boss.

Step 2: um.  Okay.  Let's present this as a series of vignettes.
Long tail cast on: success?  I guess?  looks a mess.  Bless.

Attempt One: in which I leave way too much slack and have no clue how to properly twist the yarn to approximate stockinette stitch.

Attempt Two: in which my husband hovers over me and tells me that I look like I'm in "yarn handcuffs."
He's not wrong.

Attempt Three: in which my daughter distracts me so much, I drop a selvedge stitch and don't realize it until it's too late.  Fillagadusha.

Here's what I learned about arm knitting:
Everyone else in the house needs to leave me alone.
Also, I need at least three days to procrastinate.

Step 3: I am a supermodel!
Eat your heart out, RuPaul!

In the end, Attempt Four was a winner, with a cast-on edge of seven and a total length of six feet (ends sewn together).  With prior practice and without distractions, I was finally able to finish this in the promised half-hour time frame.

bind-off edge of glory
double-looped for cowl realness

Thanks for the challenge, Madame Pintester!  I don't know if I'd ever try this again, but I was able to go from yarn to finished object fairly quickly and for cheap-as-free, which counts as a win in my book.  Plus I earned points in the Harry Potter Knit & Crochet House Cup! 

...I've said too much.  Gotta go!  Evenstar beading awaits!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Recovering with Shawls

A shawl is a warm fire in the dead of winter.
A shawl is a cool lemonade on a summer day.
A shawl is a necessary antidote for steeking angst.

The red-and-gold half-pi is trucking along...
This photo is at 75% and I'm a little farther along now.  The gold just joined in Figure A is the last color section, and I used 395 yards of the red in total.  This is going to be squee-worthy, yo.

In Evenstar news, I couldn't find a steel crochet hook small enough to fit into the beads properly, so Plan B is in place and working admirably:
This twiddly bit of jewelry wire is a beading gadget following the design in a fellow House Cupper's video beading tutorial (check it out, it's genius!). All the knitting in-the-round is DONE!  Now I just need to keep up the mojo to get through 56 beading border repeats.  Heh.
The first three... which means I've worked through the cursing.

The pretty pretty shawl from a couple of weeks ago is finished -- it's July now? what? -- and it totally deserves its own post, sooooo bye!
and this is why you shouldn't use your camera's flash, folks.