Friday, March 28, 2008

Home again, home again

The good news is, I'm back. The bad news is, I brought the Mad In-Laws strain of viral bronchitis with me. This means I have no energy and can't really do anything that involves being away from my bed for more than an hour. That's okay though... I have plenty of yarn.

(Interrupting this post to bring you Breaking News: I really can't believe how much I enjoy knitting on these tiny little bamboo DPNs. Oh wait, that's only news to me. Carry on.)

Through the wonder of Google I learned a fast and easy way to swatch "in the round." I spent most of my knitting time on the trip swatching the Trekking, and NeedleNut said it looked ready to go, so I could be starting on socks for the Mad Husband right now... if I hadn't misplaced my tape measure. Again. I'm starting to wonder if I should invest in one of those really nice decorative tape measures because maybe if I spent that much on something I'd make more of an effort not to lose it. On the other hand, anything that would cut into the yarn budget is questionable, and I'm not sure if it would even work anyway. By the way, Trekking is much nicer than I used to think it was when I saw other people working with it. It's nice and soft and the color changes are awesome.

So since I can't start his socks yet, I'm doing another fake-in-the-round swatch with Saucy. This stuff is sooo nice and now I really want to hurry up and make it into socks before I switch to sandals for the summer. I'm really starting to understand why so many people claim sock yarn doesn't count as stash.

By the way, Good Kitty is delighted with our return and is requesting lots of pets and lovin'. No No Bad Kitty is... well, being bad. She stopped just long enough to scarf down the guilt treats, including Good Kitty's share. Good Kitty was uninterested in said treats because her love is freely given, not bought. Whoops, gotta go, No No Bad Kitty is trying to eat the Saucy. It's just called Marinara, you dumb cat!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Why hello there!

I know I promised you yummy stash pictures, but I ran off to join the circus went to visit the Mad In-Laws. (And I know what you're thinking, and don't bother, because not only is my stash booby-trapped, but No No Bad Kitty might follow you home.) Having a great time and learning lots of interesting things:
  • You never know when stash will come in handy. The perfectly lovely Louisa Harding Kimono Angora in brown, blue and green that I picked up at the Needle Nook post-Christmas sale and ever since have wondered what I was going to do with? Turns out it's the perfect color combination to match the Mad Brother-in-Law's wardrobe.
  • When stash does come in handy, you'll curse not having the whole stash with you. I've got more of the Kimono Angora at home, but in the meantime, I'm not sure who's getting the one hat I can crochet while I'm here, the Mad Brother-in-Law or his girlfriend. If only I had a bag of holding...
  • Most people really don't know the difference between knit and crochet. This means you will look like a genius when you crochet most of a hat during one movie.
  • Robert De Niro is an adorable cross-dressing pirate. If you don't know what I'm talking about, treat yourself and watch Stardust.
  • New rings will throw off your gauge. The Mad In-Laws gave me a lovely early birthday pressie: a beautiful tanzanite ring, and it even fits! However it must go on my left index finger, where it is currently confusing the yarn.
  • The Mad Husband does not think it is adorable when I MST3K a bad movie he's trying to watch. You think you know a person...
  • I do not care how much it will cost me in Euroflax, I want the After-Dark Nightie and Robe. The bad movie was not all a bad thing, as it drove me upstairs to enjoy Mason-Dixon Knitting.
  • Drinking is hell on your gauge. 'Nuff said.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I can has yarn!

Happy Easter! And you know what that means: Lent is over and I can buy YARN!! I swear for the past few days I've been like the dog in the commercial, only instead of "BACON!!" I've been jumping around going "YARN!!" So this afternoon I headed to Knitch for a little retail therapy. I kept telling myself on the way there that happiness doesn't come from material things and I didn't have to buy anything... I'm sure you can imagine how well I stuck to that.

What a great day! I ran into lots of fellow fiber junkies and ducked out for yummy sushi at Harry and Sons with the illustrious Megan. And oh, the yarn! I got to touch lots and lots of pretty yarn. I was gravitating toward the sock yarn, because 1). I'm obsessed with learning to knit socks and 2). I heard somewhere that sock yarn doesn't count as stash. The Mad Husband was all "so. Will you knit me a Tom Baker Dr. Who scarf?" and I was like "how about some socks instead?" I found some beauteous Trekking XXL in blues that will match his Hawaiian shirts wonderfully. (He really likes Hawaiian shirts with dragons on them. Basically, he's Wash from Firefly.) Funny, I had never really thought that much of Trekking before, I didn't think it was very soft, but this feels really nice and I'm thinking about starting these first. But then again, I am really impatient to play with my Numma Numma Toasty (a Knitch exclusive!), in Marinara. The colors make me think of strawberries more than marinara. I tried to convince myself that it would still be there after I used up the other yarn, but in the end my lust for yarn won out and I convinced myself that it would be okay since my total would be about the price of one of the Mad Husband's video games. It's sooooooo pretty.

But I've saved the best find for last: New Fibre Company! I am totally obsessed with the Fibre Company, and their new yarn, Canopy (so new it isn't even on their website yet), may be their best yet. It's fingering/sport weight, 50% baby alpaca, 30% merino, and 20% bamboo, so I can make love to my alpaca and continue my torrid affair with bamboo at the same time! I picked the Purple Passion, which fades beautifully between lavender and pastel blue. It's going to make me some yummy wristwarmers. If you've avoided the Fibre Company because of the price, Canopy is $13 for 200 yards. Which I know is still more than some of you will want to pay, but it's so soft and pretty and luxurious and life is too short not to spoil yourself sometimes. Pictures tomorrow!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sometimes you can get what you want

I was walking out the door at Needle Nook last night when I said something along the lines of "wouldn't it be great if Malabrigo had sock yarn?" and NeedleNut said "here!" and reached behind the counter and handed me a tiny sample skein of Malabrigo Sock Yarn. It's superwash, very soft, and lovely Malabrigo color as always. I'm really looking forward to this one.

Actually, I'm really looking forward to a lot of yarn. With Easter nearly here, I've lost sight of the contemplation that should go with my yarn fast, and I'm just acting like a really hungry person who can smell dinner cooking. I'm really a little afraid that I'm going to lose it and go on a massive yarn binge. I guess it's a good thing that yarn stores will be closed on Easter to slow me down.

....Oh, it's gonna be bad. I just found out Knitch will be open on Easter.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I confess

Light Wading called it. I'm not going to make Fuzzy Feet.

GottaKnit made a really convincing case for Fuzzy Feet as a first sock project: it's felted directly to the feet, so there's a lot of leeway. But while talking with Natalia, she said "if you made them, would you ever wear them?" And the answer is totally no. The designer lives in Norway, but I live in Atlanta and I already run to hot. Full booties like that, in wool to boot? My feet would sweat and it would be gross. The Mad Husband might like that. Hey, maybe that's an idea for an anniversary gift -- fuzzy slippers personally felted to his feet while he plays video games? Yeah, I think that beats paper.

But yeah. I agree in principle that it's good to start with all the basics and then build on them, like a set of blocks. But honestly, I can't think of a way to lose interest in knitting faster than making myself knit a garter-stitch scarf. (I'm not the only one who thinks garter stitch is ugly and bumpy when used as a main stitch pattern rather than an accent, am I?) I practiced the knit a lot before I learned the purl, I purled a lot before I learned to cast off, and I tried knitting some increases and decreases in scrap yarn just to get used to them, but then I had to start a project. For me there's just no other way to learn how to swim. And I think I'm learning a lot more from trying things in a pattern, where they do stuff and I can see how they work with each other, than just practicing them into a void. Plus, a finished object I can actually use and show off is always a good motivator.

This is all a long way of me saying, I bought my first DPNs tonight. Bamboo, two sets, sizes 0 and 1, from Needle Nook. I thought about taking a learn-to-make-socks class, but that called for worsted weight yarn and I just don't want to make worsted-weight socks right now. I was flipping through Into the Wild, and Krakauer's prose is seductive about the joys of doing crazy things, and socks on DPNs seems like a reasonably crazy thing to do that doesn't involve anything actually unpleasant or dangerous. As long as I remember not to sit on the DPNs.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Do or do not, there is no try.

I can't believe I just said that, because after the prequels where he behaved like a complete jerk (and a total wuss in Episode III), I've got a bone to pick with Yoda. Bail Organa was the only real hero (and likable character) in all three of those ill-considered Star Wars prequels. And I never thought I'd have reason to mention this here, but since I'm on the subject, Light Wading has been after me for a long time to blog this, so I'll call it her birthday present: After the prequels, Princess Leia represents the triumph of nurture over nature. Look at the genetic material she was saddled with: whiny, violent Anakin and whiny, passive Padme. Neither one of them could string together a coherent sentence! The whininess was full force (pun intended) with her twin brother, but at the same age he was whining about wanting to go to Tashi Station, she was a diplomat, a Rebel Alliance leader, and a better shot than any stormtrooper I've ever seen (as opposed to her mom -- was the entire character of Padme proof that feminism is dead?). Bail Organa, you did good. You'd be the reigning Father of the Millenium if you hadn't gotten blown to bits in Episode IV.

But I digress... (and how!)

As I was saying to Nell earlier, jumping into a pattern truly seemed like the best way to learn. I can practice increases and decreases till the cows come home, but I'm not really going to learn anything about them until I put them into practice. And so far, the experience is bearing this out. Not only have I successfully increased, I've made short rows. Short rows!! The way I hear knitters going on about short rows, I thought they were the hardest thing on earth. I was surprised when StringTheory2.0 and Natalia explained how simple they were, and even more surprised when I navigated some with no difficulty, save knitting into the wrap and twist, and I didn't do that the second time. It's like magic!

So I can actually talk about the pattern and have it make sense, I will reveal here that I'm knitting Norberta. At this point it only needs to stay secret from the Mad Husband, because he loves dragons and I want to surprise him. I came across her and it was like fate. She's made with KnitPicks Crayon, which I actually had in my stash -- I'd gotten it on sale, but the one time I tried to crochet with it, it was a mess because it's boucle and I couldn't see where to put the hook. Turns out that whatever its failings for crochet, it knits up beautifully. The pattern calls for two strands held together and it makes such a lush, velvety fabric. And it's machine washable! At $1.99 a ball, I'm going to have to reconsider this one.

At this point I've knitted the main body up to the neck. I'm curious to see how the head's going to come together, but the pattern's been so well-written so far that I'm not worried. I am a little nervous about the decreases, since I'm combination knitting, but the boucle texture should disguise any decreases leaning the wrong way. The Ravelry project gallery has been totally helpful; I even modded the pattern a little to make the tail longer after reading other knitters' suggestions. I'm having so much fun! I hope I can finish her before the Mad Husband figures out what's going on.

Never mind

I found the missing knitting needle this morning. I'm not sure what happened, but I'm going to blame it on No No Bad Kitty, because when you have a cat named No No Bad Kitty, you blame everything on her.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Oh no...

I want to work on that new project I was talking about. But I can't. Because I seem to have lost my needle. One of my new #6 bamboo straights that I really, really liked. That's going to cost me $4.50. And now I can't knit.

(The Mad Husband: "Don't say you don't have anything to crochet. Because that's a lie. A dirty, dirty lie. Kitty slaps you for lying." Good Kitty allows him to pick up her paw and smack me with it.)

Okay, now I understand why StringTheory2.0 was encouraging me to invest in some circulars. Damn, this is embarrassing.

This is a momentous occasion

Last night I was multitasking, which is to say I was gabbing with Natalia (what did we do before cell phones and the ensuing free long-distance?) while surfing back issues of Knitty. And lo and behold, I came across a pattern I liked, which called for a type of yarn I had in my stash. And just like that, without getting anyone's opinion on whether I was ready for it, I started knitting it.

It's tough. It's exhilarating. It's the best way I can think of to learn how I need to do my increases and decreases. This is going to be fun!

And no, I'm not going to say what it is just yet. It's a secret.

I want socks.

The day I started learning to knit, I came home and was sitting on the couch trying to knit and failing when the Mad Husband turned to me and said hopefully "So. Knitted socks?" (That night he also told me to give StringTheory2.0 a message to teach me better so I wouldn't be so cranky, but I digress.)

And now I'm thinking "yeah, socks." NeedleNut said "Mad Crocheter, no" but I can't help it. I keep thinking about socks. Light Wading is always so happy with her socks. And I bet if I made the Mad Husband some socks, I might even get taken out to the Brazilian steakhouse or something. (Screw flowers. For me, the epitome of romance is the Brazilian steakhouse.)

And I don't just want socks, I want real socks. Made with pretty sock yarn. I don't wanna make big bulky worsted weight socks.

I know GottaKnit said I should wait on the socks and my first socks should be Fuzzy Feet. Intellectually I know she's totally right but I'm being all pouty about it anyway. I can't exactly show off Fuzzy Feet to everyone I meet during a day. Which will lead to me fishing for compliments from the cats. "See, No No Bad Kitty? Aren't Mommy's Fuzzy Feet awesome? ...No, don't eat it."

So where should I start? I'm debating ordering the Tsarina of Tsocks' Learn to Knit Socks Kit, but maybe I should start simpler than that. Like figuring out how to knit in the round. Okay, I promise I'll try and do the Fuzzy Feet first.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Swatching, continued

Though I wasn't so sure about the Rowan Damask for the Shapely Tee after my swatching session, I took it in and showed it to StringTheory2.0 anyway. She agreed that it might not work for the pattern, but thought it was worth trying to knit more tightly. (Actually, she looked at the loose part and asked if I'd been drinking at the time.) I've been trying that, but I think I'm about ready to set it aside for a while, especially after finding out from NeedleNut that it's really more sport than DK. But I'm not freaking out about having that project delayed, since I picked up a copy of Knit Simple (which coincidentally has one of the most adorable crocheted hat patterns I've ever seen) and it's got a adorable and very straightforward pattern called the Rolled Edge Tee. I want to knit it in Mission Falls 1824 Cotton -- my knitting pal Risa passed me some of her surplus and I fell in love. Now I just have to wait till Easter so I can buy the yarn.

Giving up yarn for Lent
has been... interesting. It's been a good lesson in self-control and a valuable reminder that happiness does not come from material things (though as NeedleNut pointed out, "but happiness does come from yarn!"). It really hasn't been that hard up until the past week or two, but now I'm very ready to be done with it. I just hope I'll be able to hang on to some of that self-control, because over the past five weeks I've seen a lot of yarn that I want.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

So this is why we swatch

I started my swatch for my first "real" project (the Shapely Tank from White Lies Designs, though I may add the sleeves and make it the Shapely Tee) tonight, and man am I glad you all convinced me I needed to swatch. I'd planned to use Rowan Damask, and I'm learning all sorts of stuff about it. Like it doesn't like me that much.

I didn't realize this yarn had such a thick-and-thin texture to it. It doesn't seem so pronounced until you realize how small the yarn is in general, so relatively it does make a difference. My only crochet experience with thick-and-thin was Araucania Magallanes, and it was a disaster. So far I can't say I'm liking the knitting experience much better. It seems to be messing with my tension, which StringTheory2.0 says is very good for a new knitter, and that makes me unhappy. Also, the suggested needles are making a much more open fabric than I expected or am really comfortable with for a pullover. I can get smaller needles, but I don't know that that will fix all the problems.

Also, I'm becoming less enchanted with the colorway (Silicia) as it knits up. It becomes less pink and more magenta, which isn't what I had in mind. I knew I should have gone with one of the blues instead. Maybe it will grow on me. And maybe I'll swap it for something else.

Plus I've discovered for myself just how much tension can vary depending on the amount of tension you have -- the part I knitted right after I got home this evening is much tighter than the part I knitted right before bed.

I plan to use combination knitting on this one. I was just overwhelmed by the response I got to my post on combination knitting, all the kind comments and especially the help, both in person and virtually. I'm embracing combination knitting, and will buy my own copy of Confessions of a Knitting Heretic as soon as it's back in stock. StringTheory2.o got me started on binding off and increases and decreases today, and I was kinda amazed when the increases and decreases were just as "easy" as someone declared to me at Needle Nook yesterday. ST2 is encouraging me to look at the different increases and decreases in my knitting books and try them so I can discover which ones work for me. I'm increasingly thinking that I really can figure out how to make patterns work for me in combination knitting. This is all kind of amazing to me; I'm used to crochet, and crochet doesn't really have so many different ways to do one thing.

It kind of feels to me like crochet is playing with Legos, where individual blocks snap neatly together, and knitting is more like working with live wires, where things are much more intricately connected and easier to screw up. I'm getting a little more comfortable with the wires though.

Finished object sighting!

Presenting... my dishcloth!

And the back!

Yes! It is just a boring dishcloth made out of Peaches 'n Cream cotton! And it rolls up on the sides! But it is MY dishcloth, and I knitted it! Combination knitted it even! I am so thrilled with my stupid little dishcloth!

But what I'm even more thrilled with is that StringTheory2.0 thinks I'm ready to tackle a pattern! I showed her the one I had in mind and she said to go for it! And I've got the perfect yarn waiting for me at home! I'm so excited I'm going to run out of exclamation points! I didn't even realize I had used one to end each sentence!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bear with me, because this is going to sound ridiculous.

For the longest I was stubbornly monocraftual. Others might hop into the yarn store with every technique they met, but not me. I was faithful to my first love and insisted to everyone in earshot that the charms of crochet alone were enough to keep me satisfied.

The louder we are, the harder we fall...

Now I'm sneaking out to knit nights for fast and furious stockinette sessions. I'm intoxicated. Heedless of the danger, I want to learn everything about my new paramour -- increases, decreases, the works. The Interweave Crochet preview leaves me cold; I'm too busy adding knitting books to my Amazon wish list.

I'm getting careless. I'm leaving all my supplies in the same craft bag. I know I'm going to get caught but I just don't care.

And if that weren't enough to deal with, there's this new craft coming around, whispering sweet nothings in my ear. I'm trying to stall spinning as long as I can, but I just don't know how much longer I can hold out...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Blasted different knitting techniques

I should don my flame-proof jacket for this one...

I was knitting at Knitch the other night and sitting next to Kim, the owner of Knitch, and she happened to mention Annie Modesitt to me. I'm not really sure who Annie Modesitt is, but I do know she's a Knitting Goddess and Most Definitely a Big Deal. In particular, Kim mentioned that Annie was going to be teaching a class on combination knitting. Since combination knitting was what I was accidentally doing recently, I was pretty intrigued that a class was being taught on what so many knitters had told me I was doing wrong, and I finally remembered to go check out the class description. (It was a busy weekend. And by "busy weekend," I mean "lots and lots of video games.")

This is not the knitting you are used to! Learn to knit using the Combination Method -- easy to learn and quick to execute, this method is a combination of the Western or German/American/English style of knitting and Eastern/Islamic knitting. Easier and quicker than traditional Western knitting, this method, creates a very even tension with less "rowing out" less wrist strain. If this method is different than how you've been taught, give it a try and you may discover a new love of knitting blooming! If you're a first time knitter - enjoy! You can master this right away!

So I'm reading this and going WAIT A SECOND!!! I was doing this wondrous technique and people kept telling me I was doing it wrong! And now I'm not even sure if I remember how to do it now that I know it's the best thing since sliced bread!

So now that I know that combination knitting is actually a totally acceptable way to knit (and a technique people will pay a lot of money to learn), I'm determined to learn the tricks I need to know to use it. I was already planning to use it for dishcloths and such, but I'm going to figure out how to do the increases and decreases (which I haven't actually learned in any style yet because StringTheory2.0 believes in getting the basics down first) too. I really like combination knitting, for the simple reason that when you're combination knitting, purling doesn't suck.

I know that all the advice came from a place of good intentions, but I just wish someone had taken a minute to explain what combination knitting was (though in all fairness, Nell did explain about the orientation of stitches and how it would be problematic when I started trying to follow patterns) and how it wasn't necessarily wrong per se. I wonder if some people didn't think I knew anything about different knitting styles? I know I'm just a crocheter, but give me a little credit. Isn't it counterproductive to say "knitting must be done this way!" when everyone already knows about variations -- i.e., English vs. continental? A couple of people even implied the person teaching me didn't know what she was talking about, which really made me see red.

Maybe it's just that as far as I know, there's only one way to crochet, but I've never seen this behavior from crocheters. The most you'll get is a "oh, you hold the hook differently than I do," and half the time that's said because the speaker is considering trying that hold herself. One person (and I will not say who, other than to say it's absolutely not me and it's a knitter) surmised that maybe crocheters are generally nicer than knitters. I'm not making it up, folks, just reporting what I'm told.

Also, is it just me, or do some knitters seem to subscribe to a "it's not a real technique until one of the Knitting Goddesses approves it" theory? That doesn't seem to happen in crochet, maybe because we don't really have Crochet Goddesses. Except people who can crochet really fast, we like those.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Out to conquer the world with Teh Cute

Introducing... Sabrina the Pretty Kitty!!

Sabrina (impulsively named a few minutes ago) is actually the first amigurumi I started, but I set her aside while waiting for her eyes to come in. (Aren't her eyes great? I think they make the whole amigurumi. You can get some of your own at Suncatcher Eyes -- they have fast shipping and great prices as well as a beautiful product.)

I embroidered her face, and I think it turned out better than the Big Blue Birdie's. Here's a close-up:

Hi! I see you!

The pattern is Cat and Mouse by Ana Paula Rimoli. If you like it, you'll want to check out her new book, Amigurumi World. I only got my copy last night and haven't gotten to look at it much yet, but I'm thinking it's seriously the best of the amigurumi crop so far.

Oww, my wrists

As fascinated as I am by the two newest obsessions, amigurumi and knitting, I have really got to make some time for one of my old-style loose lacy crochet projects. Afraid of getting rusty? Not really, but the extremely tight single-crochet gauge used in amigurumi is rough on my fingers and the unfamiliarity with holding the knitting needles makes me clutch the needles till my hands hurt. I really need to do a project that's going to feel good. Yes, I love the creativity of amigurumi and I feel erudite learning the basics of knitting, but part of why I got hooked (oww, pun not intended but staying anyway) on crochet is the sheer sensual pleasure of doing it. I wish that didn't sound dirty but I can't think of another way to describe it. Well, maybe I could compare it to a fine meal, but engaging the sense of touch over taste. Sensual isn't synonymous with sexual, after all.

I should have a pair of compression gloves around here somewhere, if I can dig them out from under the piles of yarn. They've never really worked for me before, but if there's a type that's worked for you, let me know. Or maybe I just need to get the hand muscles into shape? (Do we even have hand muscles?)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

It's like the Crochet Corollary of Murphy's Law or something

My F hook went missing. I looked in all of the obvious spots and in the meantime used my E hook and finally I resigned myself to the fact that it was gone, dropped somewhere along the way or perhaps ferreted away by No No Bad Kitty (or even Good Kitty, she likes stuff) and I just couldn't keep using the E hook. I mean, I could, but I didn't want to.

So I bought a new F hook, Susan Bates, same color as the last one, totally indistinguishable from the last one in fact. And I said to Eve as I paid for it, "Now that I've bought a new one, I'll go home and find the old one."

Sure enough. Within mere hours, I opened a purse pocket I never use (and I don't even remember why I opened it) and found the original F hook.

The crochet gods are laughing.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008 is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy

So since I started knitting in public I've discovered that knitters are not shy about telling you you're doing it wrong. I know it comes from a good place, but that still doesn't stop me from wanting to cry and fling my needles. (I tend to take these things personally, can you tell?) Not to mention I was getting extremely confused by all the different terms flying about. Combination knitting? The heck is that?

Finally after having to relearn some stuff (with Nell's patient guidance) I came to my senses and surfed over to Oh my gosh. Suddenly things started making sense. Turns out I was combination knitting, which is fine for stockinette dishcloths but not so great for patterns that call for increases and decreases because of the way stitches are oriented on the needles. So it's probably best to learn straight Continental now rather than have to figure out workarounds for combination knitting.

It was totally amazing to me to watch the little videos and finally understand what was going on. The motions of knitting have never made sense to me, but now they do. It blows my mind how quickly I'm picking up things. Not that I can do anything beyond knit and purl yet but... I think part of the reason I was so anti-knit was because I didn't think I could do it, that it was too hard, and I'm so happy to be proving myself wrong.

I was just thinking this morning that the Internet is such an amazing resource for knitters and crocheters. I can't even imagine how much all this information has increased my learning curve, to say nothing of the joy of looking at other people's beautiful work and sharing my own. It's a really good time to be a fiber artist.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Meet the Big Blue Birdie

Over the weekend I decided I really wanted to finish an amigurumi NOW, so I grabbed some yarn and got to work on the first amigurumi pattern I'd added to my queue on Ravelry -- Birds of a Feather by Hannah Kaminsky.

Meet the Big Blue Birdie.

He's a big birdie. That's what happens when you feed your birdies bulky yarn.

He likes sunshine, lollipops, and getting drunk.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

I still have to walk before I can run and why is knitting so complicated?

Biting off more than I can chew is nothing new to me. O RLY? I can hear StringTheory2.0 rolling her eyes from over here. So it was only a matter of time till it happened with knitting. The basic stitches are starting to feel natural, so I'm naturally starting to think about what I can make with them. I can now hear StringTheory2.0 beating her head against the wall.

The really funny thing is, ST2 and I were just having a conversation with a third party the other day about how people want to learn to knit and crochet so they can make pretty things and then a lot of them aren't willing to learn the basic steps first. I believe at the time I reassured ST2 that if the urge got to be too strong, I could just go crochet a finished object. See me sticking to that right now?

So I've been doing a little scouting on Ravelry tonight looking for the perfect first knit pattern. And the more of these patterns I try to read, the more befuddled I am. Use a what kind of cast-on? What's wrong with the cast-on I already know? You mean I have to learn another one? I'm starting to remember why it took so long for me to give knitting a chance. I better go crochet a bunch of stuff before my head explodes.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Happy National Crochet Month!

As I learned recently from the Crochet Liberation Front, March is National Crochet Month. I had some great ideas for promoting crochet this month, but then I got distracted by shiny things like amigurumi eyes and learning to knit and Vanderbilt basketball and half-price Valentines chocolate.

So I am going to go with one small idea: If you can track me down in person during the month of March, I will do my utmost to teach you to crochet.* I cannot make guarantees as to my skills as a teacher, as so far the only person I've taught is my ex-future-sister-in-law, and I only managed to teach her the chain stitch. I still consider this quite an accomplishment on my part, as ex-future-sister-in-law is as dumb as a box of dumb rocks.

(I just realized I have two ex-future-sisters-in-law. Both of whom have the intellectual and moral fiber of Cheetos. I think I feel kinda white trash. Oh wait. I am white trash.)

So if you've ever thought you might like to learn to crochet, even if only for edgings on your knitting, by all means, hit me up! I even promise not to smack you if you say things like "crochet sucks. Knitting is better." Though since I am the teacher, I might tell you to write "I will not disparage crochet until I finish learning how to do it" a hundred times.

*This offer available on first-come, first-served basis. Bring your own yarn. Offer not open to ex-future-sisters-in-law. No morning classes. Other restrictions may apply. Offer void where prohibited by law.