Friday, July 27, 2007

FO: Fuzzy Sunrise

Back in January, The Lady's mom asked me to knit a hat for a friend of hers who was about to start chemo. She was so happy with the Shedir I sent her that she soon requested another hat, this time for The Lady's dad. Something soft, preferably alpaca, with some kind of patterning, but in "manly colors". I happened to have just stumbled on Elinor's blog, and this seemed just the thing.

Pattern: Winter Sunrise Hat (pdf link), by Elinor Brown
Yarn: Berrocco Ultra Alpaca in Charcoal Mix and Agate Mix -- significantly less than one skein each. I knit the lining in black Calmer (left over from that same Shedir) because the recipient has some mild animal fiber sensitivities.
Needles: US6 bamboo DPNs. Really shoulda used a circ. I don't know if you can spot where my DPN-junction was, but I sure can.
Modifications: The intended head for this hat is fairly large -- about 22" -- and while the pattern says it will stretch to that size, I know I knit pretty tightly in general, and particularly so in colorwork. So I went for a light worsted yarn rather than a sport weight, and went up one needle size. Otherwise this is totally by the book.

Don's head is conveniently similar in size to my own.

I have strongly mixed feelings about the result. On the one hand, the pattern is simple and elegant, and the yarn is soft and beautiful -- can you see the little flecks of purple and red in with the blue? -- and they go quite nicely together.
On the other hand, it's not as crisp as I'd like. Some of that is to be expected, since I'm using a fuzzier, more heathered yarn than Elinor did, and that's fine, but I think some of it is down to my still-not-that-even stranding. I really, really want to get better at this. Of course, a good blocking would help too, and I didn't have time before The Lady's parents arrived. I think I might have to steal it back and block it when they roll through town again this weekend.

Overall though? I'd have to say I'm pleased.

I'm also feeling a bit harried. As of the completion of this hat (Wednesday), I had about two inches of the second palooza sock, and my pal lives overseas so I'm hoping to mail it by Monday. (And unlike the hat, these are certainly not going anywhere without a blocking. You can get away with some things when the recipient is not a knitter, but I've seen the socks my pal knit, and believe me she deserves the best.) Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

RIP Lambchop

Lambchop Nelson-Stem
April 2007-July 2007

We built a coop that was totally dog-proof, but just because it kept the dogs out didn't mean that it kept the chickens in, and lets face it: they're not the brightest of animals. I was just finishing Harry Potter when it happened, and somehow, the fact that real fictional humans were fighting and dying made it seem a tiny bit less sad by comparison. But now, a couple days later, I still feel awful.

Actual crafty content tomorrow. I just thought I'd let y'all know, since you've been following the chicken saga from day one.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Shiny Floor Friday

Since my house is the best eye candy I can think of these days, I couldn't resist one more transformation montage:

We pulled down the hideous "wood" paneling...
...tore up the lovely shag to reveal even lovelier linoleum...
...then scraped, patched, sanded, primed and painted the walls......sanded and finished the floors...
...and finally, installed the trim. (I learned to cope moulding joints! I'm a craftswoman!)

Have a good weekend, y'all. I guarantee not one but TWO finished objects in the next week. You can probably guess what one of them is; here's a sneak peek at at the other.

Monday, July 16, 2007

It's back to better!*

My crazy class is over. It makes me breathe easier just to say it, so I'll say it again. My crazy class is over. It seems like a blur.

I slept a LOT this weekend, finished installing the trim in the downstairs bedrooms, and then slept some more. I feel like a human again. And a knitting human at that!

TWO little monkeys, finished just a couple of days late. (For The Lady's birthday)

OK, clearly this is not news, but this is a brilliant pattern. Possibly even more brilliant than the rest of Cookie's designs -- not just any pattern could make me feel good about variegation. I love this yarn (Artyarns Ultramerino 8), and it behaved with admirable consistency, but I am very very picky about things like striping and pooling. Just about every set of Monkeys that I've seen knitted up looks good. How often can you say that?

I've still got several longstanding WIPs going, including of course the house, which I will have more pictures of sometime this week. But there is one notable newcomer:

Apologies for the shitty light.
This was back when free time before dusk was a hot commodity.

I saw Margaux's Fifi and knew instantly I would knit it for my mother. After agonizing over the yarn choice for a bit, I found a deal on Calmer on eBay and hit the ground running. Although it's got some odd little quirks, I love this pattern. It's all I can do to leave it alone long enough to finish up my palooza socks. (I am an incorrigible procrastinator.)

*If Cadillac still isn't your favorite unicorn ever to be wished into existence by an 8-year-old gay boy named Shannon, you really need to go see this. Right now.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Querying the hivemind.

Remember how euphoric I was about the new house and all the work we'd done? Well, I still love the house, and I'm still proud of the remodeling, but I guess I got kind of spoiled by taking that whole first week off of work. After that, I not only went back to work, I also started one of these crazy triple-speed summer courses, which eats up another 20 hours of my week. I don't sleep much, I'm rarely home and when I am, my house isn't the way I want it to be, I'm not eating well, etc. I even smoked a couple of cigarettes. (Tssk.) The good news is that I've pushed right through the crazy, cranky, bitchy phase (all last week) to the serene, exhausted, it-will-all-be-better-soon phase.

But I'm still never home when there's good picture-taking light, plus the internet installation had to be delayed for an extra week. I was trying to hold off on posting until I had pretty pictures to show you, so I apologize, but I need your wonderful brainpower:

I'm planning to make Stefanie Japel's Two-Tone Ribbed Shrug for my sister, in Cascade 220. In the interest of stashbusting, one of the colors will be Jet, leftover from the Stripey Sweater. For whatever reason, I am totally at a loss for color-think right now, so tell me: should the deep deep grey be the body color, or the accent? And what on earth should the other color be? Almost anything works with my sister's hair & complexion, so it's just a matter of the right inspiration, and I know all y'all are more on it today than I am.

Stay tuned 'til next time, when both the yarn and I are Calmer. (Badump ching.)