Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Yarniness and more spoilage

I can't for the life of me figure out why it's taking me so long to get back in the swing of things. Maybe I can blame my foot, which still hasn't healed, making it difficult to wear shoes and walk at the same time. I can wear shoes and sit on my butt, or I can walk around barefoot. Neither are conducive to getting a whole lot done.

The plus is that I have no qualms about sitting on my butt all day knitting! Which means that in under a week I made this: (From the Knitting Nature Book)

and this: (my own design, and it's so much cuter on Jules, but I need to snag a pic of her wearing it)

I'm also making washcloths using slipstitch patterns from the Barbara Walker Stitch Dictionary. So much fun! I LOVE this book! I'm finding myself designing more and more.

And speaking of knitting, I'm about two weeks behind on answering the latest Ravelry swap question, which is:

Bi-Weekly Blog Question #2
If you could only knit or crochet with one brand of yarn for the rest of the year, what would it be and why?

If we're talking about yarn I've already knitted with, I'd probably have to go with Berocco. The first high-quality yarn I bought was Berocco Ultra-Alpaca, and knitting with it was so blissfully different from knitting with other yarns I'd used. And then I was sorting my stash the other day, (well, if by "sorting" you infer "spreading all the yarn out on the floor, trying to organize it, getting frustrated because you don't have as many boxes as you have categories, and shoving all of it back into whatever boxes and bags you had it in before, only LESS organized)

um. where was I? Oh yes. I noticed that I actually have quite a bit of Berocco in my stash. Maybe it's because it comes in so many varieties. Maybe it's because my nearest LYS carries a lot of Berocco.

But I really love how Patons Classic Wool felts up into such a solid, dense fabric. And I love the colorways of Patons Soy Wool Stripes & Solids, although it does shed a bit much for a lot of projects.

And of course I love KnitPicks, whose prices and range have allowed me to experience with so many different kinds of yarn. Lately I've been reading some bad reviews about KnitPicks on Ravelry but I've yet to be disappointed by them, nor do I expect to.

Of course there are SO MANY yarns that I've only heard of or fondled briefly that I'd love to try as well. So how's that for a non-answer?

And hey, it's already time for: Bi-Weekly Blog Question #3:
What is your favorite way to keep warm when it’s snowing outside? (And if you live in a warm weather climate, what would you do to stay warm and cozy while it’s snowing?)

I love cold weather, I love rain, I love fog -- and I live in Escondido. It's 69˚right now. Actually it's a perfectly beautiful day, the sun is shining and there's a light breeze. But last summer we routinely hit 100˚, and I'm really enjoying the cooler weather.

But I did grow up in Utah, for the most part, and my favorite thing to do when it's cold out is bake bread and make soup. While the bread is rising and the soup is simmering, I like to curl up on the couch with whatever cat is willing to grace me with his or her presence and watch either some delicious period movie with lots of lush costumes -- A Room With a View, Pride and Prejudice [the BBC version, please], or Sense and Sensibility, and of course my old standby when nothing else will do -- BUFFY! Ideally, I doze off while the bread is rising, wake up in time to put it in the oven, and finish a sock before I eat.

I also like to curl up with a book, but so far have not figured out how to read and knit at the same time.

More Spoilage:

I returned from the visit to my family to find NEW TIRES on my car! Jules bought them and had them installed while I was gone. (Installed? Do you install tires? hmmm...) She also had the plastic that covers the headlights cleaned up and polished, AND I got new windshield wipers and a happy sun air freshener!

Anuj got me a Jane Austen Action Figure which is almost too awesome to be believed, and Michael Pollans latest book, "In Defense of Food", which I am devouring (pun intended) and getting all militant about. (Don't worry, I'm sure I'll simmer down eventually.)

I'd tell you about all my other wonderful gifts, but I can tell you're getting jealous.

Whew! That's a lot to cover in one post! New Years Resolution: blog more consistently! (Wait, didn't I say that last time?)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Spoiled, and rotten

I had an absolutely delightful Christmas holiday with my family, and was also quite spoiled. In addition to a myriad of other fun gifts, I got the Nora Gaughan "Knitting Nature" book and Barbara Walkers first Stitch Dictionary. I also got the KnitPicks Harmony Wood Options Needles.

Needless to say, I am in knitting heaven.

I also spent a lot of quality time with my seriously adorable nieces and nephew. The girls had a slumber party, complete with toenail-painting, cookie-decorating, movie-watching, and we even spent a little time learning to knit. The evening was capped off by sleeping in fancy eye shades.

In other news, last week I put up a couple of robe hooks in the bathroom, and they went up so fast I got ambitious and decided to put up a shelf. While holding it above my head, I dropped it. I tried to jump out of the way, but my foot had other ideas, and a corner of the shelf landed smack in the middle of the foot. After screaming in agony for about five minutes (and saying words that will never be featured on this blog, but which the neighbors could tell you) I spent the rest of the day with my foot up on the couch, alternating ice packs, and happily -- aside from the searing pain -- knitting. Lest you think the injury was a convenient reason to do nothing but knit, I invite you to witness the enormous on my foot.

That was day three. The picture does not do it justice. The center, where the gouge is, is swollen, and the bruising surrounds it on both sides and over my toes.
edited to add: Do you notice the difference in color between one foot and the other? It's not a lighting thing. My left foot really did look like that.

But here are some of the results of being couch-bound for two days, from my new knitting book!!!:

Over a week later, I'm still hobbling around and waiting for the swelling to go down. That did not stop me from going camping in the Anza-Borrego Desert this weekend with Jules and Anuj. It was breathtakingly beautiful, and far too short. Also, I somehow managed to only take one picture, and a crappy one at that, but Jules is the designated photographer and got some amazing shots of these.

And as soon as I get them from her, I'll post one or give you the link to her site!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Ravelry "Warm Ewe Up" Winter Swap Question

Sorry it's taken me so long to get to this; I just got back from a nice long visit to Utah where I spent 2 1/2 weeks visiting my family. It was 23 and snowing in Utah when I left. I landed in San Diego yesterday to a balmy 62˚afternoon.

Hopefully I'll be back on a semi-regular blogging schedule soon. In the meantime, here's the Ravelry Warm Ewe Up Yarn Swap Question of the Moment:

Why did you learn to knit?

I didn't have a beloved family member teach me how to knit. My dad's mom used to crochet, although I've never actually seen her do it, and she says she stopped because she got the "Carpal Punishment" (we don't know if she is making a joke or if she is confused. Regardless, it's funny!)

My mom's mom sewed, and my mom even remembers her sewing on a treadle sewing machine (which, fair warning to my siblings and cousins, I'm going to fight tooth and nail for when it comes time for it to be passed on).

I was definitely inspired by my maternal Grandmother's ability to "make stuff." One year she made my sister and I these wonderfully cozy flannel nightgowns and gave them to us on Christmas Eve, thus inspiring a lasting tradition of pajamas on Christmas Eve in my family. I remember mine had worn through the upper back - I don't know where she got the flannel, or how that happened -- but she just sewed another piece of flannel behind the worn-out part. I kind of loved that. Maybe she didn't have a big enough piece to cut out the entire back, and she just made it work the best way she could. That's always inspired me. (plus it made the back extra-cozy) I wish I'd been old enough to learn more from her before she died, but every time I sew, I feel like I'm paying tribute to her.

--side note: on cold winter mornings, we'd stand over the heater in those nightgowns, and when the heat went on, they would fill up with warm air and poof out. I still remember how soft and warm they were.

Anyway, it didn't take me long in college to gravitate from the stage to the costume shop. There was this AMAZING woman who worked in the costume shop. She was so much fun, and she seemed to me to be able t do anything. She was married to one of my profs, and she also knitted him sweaters. I remember being in awe of those sweaters. It seemed like such a miracle to me, the ability to create fabric and clothing in one fell swoop. I wish I'd had the courage to ask her to teach me, but I didn't. She died of cancer many years ago, and I always regretted not getting to know her better, or not forcing her to teach me to knit.

Finally, two years ago, I was at a Target and saw a knitting kit. It was on clearance, and it claimed to teach you how to knit a poncho. It came with the grossest acrylic yarn, in brown and pink, and some very stiff, very slippery aluminum circular needles. So I snatched it up, the directions were awful, and I never did learn to knit that damn capelet. I ended up getting online and finding much better directions, and then I bought a bunch of Lion Brand Wool-Ease and "Knitting for Dummies" and started knitting swatches, which I fully intend to make into some kind of afghan someday. Really.

Then I was on a bulletin board, asking if it would be possible to cut up old jeans and knit with them, because I was broke and I was bitten. An incredibly generous woman on that board sent me an assortment of yarn from her stash, and I discovered the joy of knitting with pure wool. And it was HEAVEN.

And I've been knitting ever since.