Friday, December 29, 2006

Knitting Books

I have a great love for books. I also get a great deal of enjoyment from knitting. The two together were destined! It may be surprising then that my knitting library is fairly small.

The first book I got was Stitch 'N Bitch by Debbie Stoller. I taught myself to knit originally from this book, although I definitely used Knitting Help as well. The astute among you will notice that it is not in the above photo. There is a good reason for that. My dad borrowed it to make me a circular needle hanger last spring/summer. I have seen nothing of needle hanger or book since. I should really remind him that he has them.

The second book I bought was Stitch N' Bitch Nation. I admit that I haven't actually knit anything from this book, though I have thought about it. My roommate was working next to a bookstore and saw a used copy in great condition. She picked it up for me, and it has been living happily in my book stash since.

After I made my first pair of socks I bought Sensational Knitted Socks to expand my sock making possibilities. I haven't knit any pattern straight out of this book, but I have often referred to its handy foot measurements and gauge tables, stitch dictionaries, and description of techniques. This is a must have if you are interested in designing your own socks.

Next I bought Knitting Nature. I admit I was swayed by how much Grumperina waxed poetic over it. It is a gorgeous book though, and it is thoroughly inspiring. It also greatly pleases my inner geek as I am fascinated with chaos theory.

Socks, Socks, Socks came next. There are a number of really cute patterns in here. This is definately more of a book to follow the patterns than to encourage to break off on your own like Sensational Knitted Socks. Sometimes that is exactly what I want though.

Then while I was working in Madison, WI for school/work, I picked up Plus Sized Knits at Half Price Books. I have never seen this chain in new england, but it is great. This book looks new and has several cute sweaters I am thinking of making my mom. Honestly I have only really looked at the knitting patterns in this book, but I need to take it back down from the shelf and look in on the crochet ones too as I am feeling more comfortable with it.

My next purchase was Knitting Loves Crochet. I am new to crochet, but I loved the idea of incorporating this new technique (for me) with something I already enjoy. Plus the patterns in this book are really cute and inspiring.

I bought 2 store copies of books from a yarn store that was going out of business. Folk Socks by Nancy Bush was every bit as good a read as everyone has said. The history is really interesting, and the patterns are presented quite clearly. I plan on using this soon, although I just acquired it a few days before the holidays. At that time I also got Knitting Ganseys but honestly I haven't even cracked the spine on this one yet. My SO really likes the look of ganseys though, so it will be something to try this year.

And my final knitting book in my library isn't pictured here either (the alpha and omega it seems). For Solstice my sister got me Twisted Sock Sisters. I honestly hadn't heard of this book before 2 weeks ago when it was mentioned by Lime N' Violet, but this book is great! It has interesting ideas for spinning, dyeing and knitting socks. What isn't to love?

This tour of my knitting library doesn't include my binder of patterns, but I have to say that I tend to get more inspired to design my own variations from books. On the other hand I rarely just follow a pattern from a book because I just love it just the way it is, the way that I can with a pattern I buy/download/find online. So there are trade offs, but I think that having both allows me to maximize my kniting creativity.

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Monday, December 25, 2006

FO: worsted socks

Yarn: MondialMerino Plus in white
Fiber Content: 52% wool, 48% acrylic
Supplier: The Knitting Room
Needles: US Size 6 DPNs

For Christmas this year, I made my sister a "first socks kit". It contained a skein of Superwash Cascade 220, US Size 5 DPNs, and custom instructions for her foot size and this weight yarn/size needles. Before giving them to her however, I had to do a quick run through of the pattern. This pair of socks was the result and took just under a skein of this (different) yarn.

Sadly they are a little looser in gauge than I wanted. I needed a set of worsted weight white socks for a costume in january, but these instead ended up given to my mom who will wear them as house socks. I guess I will just make another pair, but as these only took just under a (non-working) day that should not be a problem.

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

FOs: Doll & Me Hats

This was the last of my Christmas knitting to be done. They are a set of matching hats for my (very) little sister and her American doll.

Yarn: N.Y. Yarns Mesa in color #8
Supplier: Spark Craft Studio
Needles: US Size 10.5 DPNs
Pattern: my own basic hat pattern

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

EDM 98 "Free Draw": Baggage Claim 6

For my "free draws" I thought I would use this quick sketch I made yesterday, when I was going to meet my SO at Logan airport. (And let me tell you some of the lines I saw were really amazing! I had never been in an airport right before the holidays before.) I spent some time waiting at Baggage Claim 6, since his flight was slightly delayed.

While I waited I sketched a girl who was reading nearby. She soon met up with her friends, who seem to have been delayed. It seemed like she had just flown in and was quite tired. I hope that she is enjoying her holiday, wherever she is now.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Bazaar Bizarre

Last weekend I stopped by the Boston Bazaar Bizarre. I went last year too, and I have to say I really enjoy going, if only for inspiration.

While I was there I picked up 2 small purchases: some fiber from Miss Hawklet and a journal from If'n Books + Marks. Last year I stopped and admired Miss Hawlet's stuff, but I wasn't spinning that much yet. This year, I need my wheel fixed, but I should get a chance to play with this soon. The fiber is some wonderful merino, primarily pink, white and green but with a small amount of brown thrown in.
The Garden Girl Corace journal is so cute. I think my mom really hit the nail on the head when she pointed out it was really reminiscent of The Little Prince. This will probably become a sketching journal. Did I really need another journal? Probably not, but it was so cute. And it was supporting small artists. Okay, really, sometime I think buying journals is a sickness.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Whew! This will make it in just under the gun as I will be sending it out this week. It is my second card for the Creative Mom Podcast Artist Trading Card Swap, done in Prismacolour Markers and a Pigma Micron pen on cardstock.

With my partner in Asia at the moment I have been playing with drawings of asian things. Although my partner is in China, he has a great foundness for Japenese culture, so I was thinking of him while playing with different ideas. I hope to continue a small series with different kimonos such as this one.

Although not perfect, I am seeing improvements in my use of these markers. The trick is in not allowing the marker to dry before continuing the color. Otherwise you get very obvious streaks. There is a little bit of streaking here, but it is much better and mostly just in the background. It is nice to see some progress!

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

FO: Mittens

Yarn: my handspun
Cuff Yarn: Debbie Bliss Merino Aran in color 604
Fiber Content: 100% merino
Needles: US Size 4 DPNs

Have you wondered where I have been? My house ate my camera cable last week, so I was looking for it until today when it was found. Yay! Fear not though, there has been some knitting going on.

As you may recall me spinning and then my spinning wheel breaking when I was plying this yarn. Here is the finished result though. It is so squishy and soft. I definitely wanted to make something for myself from it. It is spun from some merino from a farm in NH.

Here is a close up. I love the changes in color and was really looking forward to seeing what it looked like knit up. I actually hadn't made anything from my own handspun before.

I only had about 4 oz, and I was not sure what to make. A cold snap and a timely suggestion from Lucy got me thinking about mittens. The are knit fairly tightly because I was concerned about the bitterly cold wind we get in the city. I have worn them several times since finishing them, and I am really pleased with the warmth of the final product.

I was worried about not having enough, so I used a crocheted provisional cast on with the handspun so I could add the cuff later and did an afterthought thumb. I did end up having plenty of handspun left, but I have enough that I will make a matching hat. So for the cuff I used some of a ball of Merino Aran from my stash.

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FO: Fan & Feather Scarf

Yarn: Mind's Eye Yarns sock yarn
Fiber Content: merino/tencel
Pattern: 3 repeats of "fan and feather" stitch with 2 sts of garter on each side
Needles: US Size 6 Addi Turbos

So I finished the scarf for my mom last week. I was knitting it from the November Sock Club yarn from Mind's Eye Yarns. The color is absolutely perfect, but what was I thinking making a scarf in sock weight yarn this late in the year as a Christmas gift.

Unblocked it was just under 4'7", but after fairly light blocking it measures over 6 feet!

I haven't gifted this yet as it will be a Christmas Eve gift, but I gave her the Snowflake socks for her birthday which were received really well. My mom is one of those people who is a joy to knit for. She was really excited about them, and I know she hand washes when necessary. I can't wait to give her the scarf as well.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

FO: DNA hat

Apologies in advance for the dark photo, but the colors were a pretty good match, so I didn't want to brighten the image much.Yarn: Reynolds Odyssey in color 410
Fiber Content: 100% merino
Supplier: Wool Basket, Duxbury, MA (no webpage)
Cable Pattern: DNA Scarf
Hat Concept: Knitty's Coronet

My sister admired this yarn, so I knew I wanted to do something with it for her. And she is as much of a biology geek as I am a chemistry geek, so the DNA Scarf came to mind immediately. Unfortunately I didn't have enough to make her the scarf though, and so this idea for this hat was conceived.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

Betrayal: the story of a duck and a wheel

I would like to introduce you to someone. This is my once ever faithful sheep duck. My sister decorates her bathroom with seasonal duckies, and I fell in love with this one. So he came to be my wheel guard, and dutifully sat on my Ashford, guarding it from any harm. That is until one day, my partner stole my sheep duck away. You will notice that currently he resides not on a wheel, but on a monitor. His lack of attention to duty ended up resulting in tragedy, for without him on guard terrible things could happen.
Woe that I did not steal him back right away, because what happens next is not for the faint of heart. Right before thanksgiving I was finally getting around to plying 2 bobbins of the roving shown in this previous post. A little way into the second skein I went to loosen the tension on the brake when I felt the crack.
Lucy at Mind's Eye Yarns confirmed the problem last week. The dowel-like part has cracked inside. The cure is fairly severe. Salvbard is going to bore out the piece that is in there, using a slightly smaller drill bit so that he can pull out the piece. Then we will have to replace the cracked piece.

Unfortunately due to a 2 week business trip to China and then the holidays, he will not be able to work on this right away. That means no spinning for me in less than a month.