Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Oh My Smokey Bear

I wanted to meet a bear in the Smoky Mountains.  I'd be wearing my Smokey sweater and it would just be a big bear, and we could sense that we were kindred spirits in the forest, exchange nods from a distance, and say "S'up?" as we each went our own way.



Yeah, once I get an idea like that in my head there's no exorcising it unless I just make it happen.  It was just a personal challenge for myself:  to make an   Oh My Bear sweater, by Stephanie Dosen of  Tiny Owl Knits, while in the Smoky mountains.




Isn't Stephanie the most most creative person?  I love her Flickr stream.  Great as this project was, I almost didn't make it.  I already have yarn for several (ahem, fifty), intricate, winter sweaters in my closet.  I also didn't really need a giant bear face in my wardrobe.... unless I did.


The thing that finally pushed me into it was my husband asking me what else he could do for me on my birthday as we drove to a restaurant to eat.  I couldn't think of anything practical that I needed.  After some prodding from him, I finally admitted I would like a ton of brown tweed yarn to make a giant bear hoodie.  Husbands, be careful what you ask for.

Before we even pulled into the restaurant that day, we had raided Joann's, Michael's, and Hobby Lobby for all of their Patons Classic Tweed.  Since each store refuses to carry a half a sweater's worth of any type of yarn,  I ordered a few more.  I had like eight skeins of the stuff, plus a bunch of leftovers in 4 other colors for the intarsia facial features sitting in my closet, waiting to become Smokey.  Only, the days ticked by and before I knew it, it was time to leave for the Smokies.  So, I tossed the pattern book and bag after bag of yarn onto the floorboard of the truck, and my road trip project was decided.

I've never tried intarsia on purpose, so this was quite an undertaking.  I also didn't know to bring, or make, bobbins, so it was insane.  But what else are you going to do when driving from Texas to Tennessee except read, listen to music, and talk?  These are all things I can do while constantly untangling fifty little yarn strings.  In this way the front and a portion of the back were knit on the first day of driving.  Bulky has it's advantages.


Deciding where to do fair isle and where to do intarsia was kind of like choosing the order of paint colors for a paint-by-numbers.  Had I used bobbins, it would have been completely relaxing and fun.  As it was, I still enjoyed the process, but it looked all messy.  Being my first time to do intasia or duplicate stitch, I had a sad, tumorous-looking bear head staring up at me the whole way.  I doubted my abilities, but decided to wait until we got to the hotel to start over.

Thank goodness for steam blocking and spot blocking.  They are my new favorite things!  I laid a damp towel over Smokey and used the hotel iron on the wool setting to press him.  Voila!  He was suddenly smooth and fierce.  I did the same thing in our one night at a hotel on the way home with the sleeves.  They were knit in the camper or by the fire at night and they seemed a little too thin for the armholes.  I seamed them together anyway so I could take these photos, but after steam blocking them, they stretched in width perfectly.  


Did I mention seaming?  This was the only truly frustrating part of this knit.  I ran out of yarn and so had to splice several strands together to seam the sides and sleeves.  I stayed up late on our second-to-last night to do this.  My husband didn't mind because we were both interested in how Broadchurch would end.  (Ah, the great outdoors and netflix.)  This way, I could wear the sweater while still in the Smoky Mountains the next day.  I don't know why this mattered so much to me, but it did.

And wear it I did.  I waited for another bear to show up, even had my ears on, but... nothing.



I have met a bear on the Appalachian Trail before.  It was a true, wild bear.  Not the ones that are bored by all the tourists, like at Yosemite.  


We were traveling with our children that time and as we rounded a corner on the trail, hurrying home from Charlie's Bunion before dark- there he was.  He was close enough to have taken at least two of us out, if he'd wanted.  The kids were nervous, but we just did all the things the guides tell you to do.  We stood close together and waved our arms to convince the bear we were a large multi-armed creature.  (Remember Echo and the Bunnymen?  Well, like that.)


We had nothing to make noise with except to talk really loud.  It was like dumb ad-libbing in a school play.  My daughter threatened to kill me if I took a photo.  Eventually he became as bored as the bears at Yosemite, shrugged, and climbed up the mountain, weightlessly.   It was dark when we got to our car.

Anyway, I wore the bear hood this time, but no one came out to play.

(more on ravelry, kollabora, flickr, and instagram...and isn't that enough?)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Winter/ Spring Instagram Dump

Just space filling with Instagram.

Birthday treats
knitalong treats

valentine's treats
making stuff
riding my bike

only not with yarn in it

taking in our little bit of outdoors
still making stuff

making more birthday memories

and bracelets
freezing, a little

celebrating 72 years together

playing together
doing purple
and not winning free yarn :)
(my instagram and flickr)

Monday, April 7, 2014

HashtagNoLifeKnitter

This is what my son interrupted me with the other day.  We were at the dinner table and I was going to talk about something that I discovered while working on a project, saying, "While I was working on my sweater I realized something..." And then he said it.

"HashtagNoLifeKnitter."

He wasn't serious.  Please, he's all into video games and anime.  We could have a field day with his interests.  This is just our family's sense of humor, but we did all pause at the very natural and immediate interjection.

So in true #nolifeknitter fashion, I'm going to rattle off a list of "Knits I Want to Knit" this summer when I get back from my anniversary camping trip.  My road trip project of choice will probably be Tiny Owl Knits'  Oh My Bear sweater.  (How can I go to the Smoky Mountains without a Bear Sweater?)

The following list is a bit fantastical in it's length, but this is my #nolifeblog so...

When I get back to Texas I'll be ready to dig into the Holla Knits Spring/ Summer Collection.


I prematurely ordered some hemp blend yarn to make the coverup/ hoodie with the seahorse immediately upon release.

Then there's that elusive first, true lace shawl.


The Elder Tree Shawl by Sylvia Bo Bilvia, via ravelry

Then to satisfy my need to be comfortable in 100% humidity I have a few tees lined up:

The Fire Opal Tee and Work + Shelter Lace Stripes Tee, both by Allyson Dykhuizen, worked in cotton


via Ravelry

It's really time I made the lace stripe tee.  I saw everyone and their mother make one, it seems, during the Tops, Tanks, and Tees Knitalong last year.  By the way, that knit along helps propel my summer knitting big time.

There's also Jennifer Dassau's Slaunter, which remind me of my favorite Urban Outfitters t-shirt.

via Ravelry

I think it will be super comfortable in Misti Alpaca Tonos Hand Paint Pima Silk.  The thing about the Tonos is that's it's got all the color variation you can so easily find in wool yarns, but not so much in a silk/ cotton blend.

I have four tank tops lined up. Two in Goshen:
The Oud Tank by Sarah Hurwitz

via Ravelry

and Aquae by Hilary Smith Callis

via Ravelry

Two more tanks in cotton:
Ontario Skies by Teresa Gregorio

via Ravelry


and the Reef Knot Tank by Sarah Wilson that I started at the end of last summer but
left off to focus on cool weather projects.  I haven't forgotten you little tank top!

via ravelry

At this point even I am doubtful about finishing this many projects in three months.  So what, there's no pressure right?

But I know at some point I have to knit these two from Pom Pom Quarterly:
Waterlily by Meghan Fernandes in Gynx Yarn's Sempervivum colorway.

via Ravelry

and Riverine by Andi Satturlund in Berroco Weekend Dk.  This photo makes me want to go camping every time I look at it.   Of course, this tee might very well get ruined and nasty the way we  camp, but I can definitely see wearing it everywhere else.

via Ravelry

And last, but not least, the Austin Tee by Jean Chung in pima cotton.

via Ravelry

Just kidding, I have one more.  It's one I have loved since I first got on Ravelry - this vest from a Phildar magazine.  Last year, I happened to find a copy of it on Ebay.

via Ravelry

I'm hoping Mission Falls 1824 Cotton won't be too heavy for this, because I have some in the perfect color.

So you can leave my fantasyland of never-ending "me time"  in which to indulge in my hobby mentally, if not in reality.  #neverendingqueue