Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sothern, So Far and the Big Bang

In answer to my query about whether I have an unusually small head or everyone else knits more tightly than me, yes!  I do and they do.  Everyone.  Sothern has been proof of that.  I let my knitting tension relax again as I worked and got to the armholes before realizing this was not going to be a 36".  So I started over, this time knitting a bit tighter on size 2 needles instead if 3s.

I was okay with starting over because I kind of expect for that to happen and the stitch pattern is interesting to work up.  What I don't like is ripping back fair isle.  It's the kind of thing I would pay a kid to do, if I thought they'd do it right.  This is why I would stink as a test knitter- my tension is all over the place.

But once it was undone and I began a second time, everything was all zen again.  See the peace and harmony I have brought to my home, below.

I think Ill finish the back and front today, which is great because I have another KAL starting tomorrow that will further divide my attention.  It's the Big Bang Theory KAL and you know you want to join in.  It will be full of themed projects (don't worry, you don't have to make a Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock themed sweater unless you want to) and fun trivia.  The vibe in the luvinthemommyhood forum is extremely welcoming and easy- going.  Even the prizes for this one are extra unusual:  Amy and Sheldon knitting needles?!? by Lemonade Shop, BBT and Justice League themed buttons by Fastenation, and a Big Bang trivia game.  These prizes are fun and unique, but the real fun is chatting while working on a common goal, and we'll be doing that through December.  Some knitters plan to knit accessories for this KAL so they'll have time to work on Christmas gifts too.

(more on ravelry, kollabora, flickr)

I'm finding a lot of my queue could count for this KAL.  Besides knitting Hetty (as a Bernadette cardigan), there's Sexy Vesty (Penny), Julep Jacket (Bernadette), and El Matador (sort of like Sheldon and his poncho.  Not really, but I have yarn for that it and planned to do it this winter anyway.)  Come join us!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Elora Slouchy Toque

Someone was in a good mood because they had no homework, so he indugled me by taking a few quick photos of me in my new hat.

This hat is already brightening my fall.  It's the Elora Toque from Tara-Lynn Morrison's Good Night, Day Book 1.

I used my homemade size 13 double point needles to knit this with two strands of Wool of the Andes Bulky in cadet that I had leftover from Agnes.  The contrasting dots were four strands of Wool of the Andes worsted in snickerdoodle.  Basically, there was yarn hanging all over the place as I worked.

My only modifications were to reduce the cast on by 10 stitches.  I don't get how other people's hats stay on their heads at that stitch count.  I must have an abnormal skull or everybody knits way more tightly than me.  I added dots every other row.  My other post on this hat is here.

I like two color pompoms so much.  Since it looks as though I'll be making more, (I have a few hat requests) I cut a notch in my plastic pompom maker so I could wrap the yarn more easily.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Elora, Dee, and Bernadette Meet Their Maker

Sounds like another bad tv pilot, huh?  Actually it's just a mash up of knitting project names and the fact that I'm the featured maker over on Kollabora's Nora Meets the Maker.  That's pretty cool!  So if you want to know all of my intimate secrets and deepest fears instead of the details on another knitting project, click on over, and prepare to be shocked.

Bunch of saps.  It's all about knitting over there too.  :)  Anyway, on to the hand knits with womanly monickers.  Have knitting patterns always been named after people?  Seems like I was twentyish when mail order catalogs began naming every sweater and shoe after a woman.  Of course it was never names like Ruth or Maude (until more recently).  Back then, it was all Taylor and Lexy.

Dee is a hat I made for my daughter's good friend, Laura, who requested one about a year ago and even offered to model any finished object for me.  If only my FO photo shoots didn't all seem to take place during the school day I could have taken her up on that!  To have a willing participant...

It's the Dee Slouch pattern by Lara Neel and it's a freebie.  I like those.  Even better, it required zero modifications.  That almost never happens for me with a hat.  I knit the whole thing in an evening of tv watching with my daughter.  (I think it's sweet that she watches Longmire with me.  We like that guy.)  I used a super long size 3 circular and a skein of Lion Brand Wool Ease.  I may still put a giant pompom on top, if Laura wants one, before her next weekend visit.

After that, I cast on for the Elora Slouchy Toque by Tara-Lynn Morrison.  I'm using bulky wool, doubled.  For this one, I did reduce the cast on stitches by 6 since it has to fit on my head which is small, apparently.  I'm also adding little dots here and there in some leftover worsted, quadrupled.  Yes, doubled and quadrupled leftovers hanging from stubby, little double points.  It's not as messy as it sounds.  I just really wanted to use my homemade needles.

So the last inanimate object with a girlfriend-sounding name is this little pile of Aran from Gynx Yarns that will soon become a Bernadette sweater in the Big Bang Theory Knitalong hosted by Shannon of Luvinthemommyhood and organized by Heather.  We won't begin until Halloween, so if you're a knitter, a BBT fan, or even thinking about being either, join us.  Heather has a great list of Big Bang inspired cardigans, vests, sweaters, socks, scarves, hats, etc.  The nerdier, the better.

Friday, October 18, 2013

To Pick or Throw?

100% wool makes me feel invincible.  I know this is looking a little puckered and is all squished up on a very short circular, but blur your eyes with me and imagine what it will be like all blocked out.  It will be nice and smooth.

It's been a while since I've tried fair isle and so I'm out of practice using both hands to knit at once.  I first tried the two handed technique on Scallop of the Sea and, once I got the hang of it, the colorwork just flew by.  The designer, Rohn Strong, posted a link to this fair isle tutorial on his blog and it refreshed my memory and gave me a little confidence as I decided which color would be held beneath the other.   I feel like my tension is more even when I throw both strands of yarn with my right hand, but I'm trying to only throw my background color with the right hand as I pick the foreground yarn with my left.  Whatever, the most important thing is that I carry my floats loosely.  If you're curious about all of this "picking" and "throwing" business just click the link and know that it has nothing to do with the banjo.

It doesn't look as though I have carried the floats loosely in these photos, but I think I must have.  I keep spreading out my stitches on the needle as I work and periodically stretch things to make sure there is plenty of give.  I'm also checking my gauge because it's my new habit, for now.  I may ask the Ravelry group if it seems normal, but I'm not going to sweat it.  I feel most natural working with real wool, so I'm going to trust my instincts.  I just gave myself a pep talk over a sweater.

(more on ravelry, kollabora, flickr, and instagram)

Monday, October 14, 2013

I Have a Problem

 My eyes are bigger than my storage.  It's not like I collect a lot of craft stuff and then never get around to using it.  I knit or work on something every day.   It's just that it's not humanly possible to knit fast enough to keep up with what I'm collecting.

My one saving grace is that it's pretty much replaced all my other hobby expenses and I'm frugal, so I'm not throwing our budget.  But still, I feel guilty when I'm getting my shoes out of the closet and a little zip-loc bag of yarn falls on my head from... somewhere.. and I say, "Oh.. yeah! ... I remember this..."

So I showed you my tv knitting project, Ravello.  This is my no-tv fair isle project, Sothern by Rohn Strong from the newest Holla Knits collection.  I want every single design from that collection, as usual.  I blame my excessive yarn purchases on them.

I was all set to make my Sothern cropped, like one of the samples, because I said I was trying new things.  Well, I decided to get a few more balls of Wool of the Andes yarn and make the long version.  Since my torso is long I usually end up yanking on my shirts and sweaters as it is.  I doubt I have jeans with a high enough waist to comfortably wear this, and since I spend all of my extra clothing allowance on yarn...

Besides, when I'm finished with this sweater, it may be my piece de resistance.  I may as well go all the way with it.  As you can see, there is one stray skein of Cascade fingering weight in canary yellow.  I doubt I will ever make the bright sweater I originally bought it for, so I'm holding multiple strands together to equal one strand of worsted for all of the yellow portions of this pattern.  I may regret this decision, especially since Wool of the Andes is so inexpensive, but the yellow color I wanted is on backorder and I didn't want to wait to get started.  It also assuaged my guilt about all the forgotten yarn purchases.

Progress so far: I went down one needle size to a 2 and reduced the number of cast on stitches to avoid my usually floppy ribbing problems.  I'll switch to a size 3 (I know) and increase back to the correct amount  of stitches before beginning the body.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Stripes and Something Different

After so many bulky projects and quick accessories, I'm ready to get back to a finer weight knit.  Ravello was gifted to me by the lovely Isabell Kraemer.

Just look at her design page!  She creates the coolest stuff.  Anyway, Ravello has been at the top of my queue.  It's perfectly casual.  There are stripes, color, a breezy fingering weight for my climate, and it's oversized.  I'm knitting a size 37" hoping for a nice amount of ease.

Knitting with more ease is still a newish concept to me.  For most of my knitting years it's been all about fitted.  In fact, I noticed that I'm trying lots of new things lately: summer-weight blends, a boxy fit, an asymmetrical hem, knitted bottoms, new color combos, and possibly a cropped sweater .
Stripes and tweeds will always be a favorite of mine, but I am using an orange and blue color combo in Stroll Tweed that I've never tried- firecracker, baltic, and prussian.  It's so hard to veer from what you know you love to find out if you might love something else too, but it is getting easier.

I also tried a traveling jogless stripe.  At each color change, I move the beginning of round marker over one stitch to the left.  On the next round, I slip the first st and knit on as usual until the next color change.  You can see where the beginning of the round was at the white marker, to where it has travelled at the black.  It's pretty much seamless and smooth.  There isn't the inevitable tightness I usually get at jogless color changes.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Dallas Comic Con Re-Cap- Hehe, Get it?

If you are not into things like sci-fi and knitting, you may want to skip this post.  Wait! What were you even doing here in the first place?

For info on these knitted hats, scroll to the end.

This weekend we went, we wore weird hats, we met some of our favorite tv/ movie actors, and, most importantly, we relaxed.  We'd all, separately, had our own hectic few weeks, so the idea of camping out in a Q and A room sounded great to me.  The interviews were the main attraction for me, anyway.

Carrie Fisher backed out, but I wore the hat anyway and Friday night we saw Anthony Daniels's (C3P0) who didn't let some empty seats bring the mood down.  He walked the floor, meeting fans before the show and all through the weekend, and gave a really fun panel that required much audience participation.  For instance, every time he held up the "VIP Jump" directional signs all the VIP wrist band wearers had to hop up and down.  This was punishment for paying double to fund his appearance, I suppose.  He also roamed the audience, picking people to question about their costumes.  One man who dared to say he liked The Phantom Menace was made to act out R2D2 in a scene with Anthony.  He had to squat to R2 height and when he didn't do a correct imitation, other audience members were called on to supply sound effects for R2, the desert wind (This was the pod landing scene on Tatooine), and the hydraulic sound of C3P0's joints.  Then the scene was re-enacted up to, "You'll be malfunctioning within a day, you nearsighted scrap pile!" and a swift kick complete with sound effects.

There was a bloopers reel (apparently C3P0 crashes into stuff a lot) and he shook each person's hand as they left the conference room.  He started to chide me for not being in costume until he looked up and saw the wig.  You can see him with the blurry star puffs here.

We met him the next day in his autograph room just after he gave an autograph away to a little boy who had blown through all of his souvenir money.  It was slow then, so he took his time looking through the book I brought for him to sign.  It was one of those little paperbacks that accompany a 45 record and you flip the page when the bell rings.  I've had this since I was 5 or 6 and read through it with great care as a child.  I remember bringing it for show and tell in first grade.  He read through some of it, correcting the writing, "I never said that." and "That's not how it happened."  Then we heard, "We're doomed." from the man himself. Pretty cool.

I wasn't super crazy about seeing John Heder or Michael Rosenbaum because, though I loved Napolean Dynamite, I haven't really seen John Heder in anything else and I've yet to watch Smallville.    But their panel was also a hoot.  They were running all over the room, moon walking, getting right in people's faces as they asked questions.  They played so well off of one another, it was clear that they are good friends.  Michael revealed that just before they arrived Friday, John actually panicked for a second in the car because he forgot his chapstick... really.  And we heard, "Tina, you fat lard, come get some dinner!" from John, himself.

Giancarlo Esposito, Charles Baker, and Robert Patrick were equally good humored, though not as boisterous.  Robert Patrick was quick to launch into stories from his first acting gigs and how frightened he was to star in a Terminator movie.  He told how he unwittingly baited James Gandolfini into beating the crap out of him by telling him to bring his A game to a fight scene.  He also mentioned he'd like to be in Terminator 5..hint...hint.

Since I haven't seen Breaking Bad yet, I have no frame of reference for Charles Baker, but I was still interested by his take on the show and Giancarlo Esposito surprised us by being... bubbly... is the only word for it.  He plays such evil characters but in his panel, he was full of gratitude to the universe for letting him do what he does and full of advice on how to tap into the connective energy of all things to ask the universe for what you want.  When he wasn't the embodiment of "The Secret" he was giving behind the scenes scoop on his last scene in Breaking Bad.  Then we heard Gus's final yell, from Giancarlo himself.  Later I saw that he posed in photos with fans, holding a box cutter - funny.

 The comic book artists' panel was the only one were gratitude and good will was lacking, so I won't go into it much.  Besides, I think Neal Adams promoted Neal Adams enough in the panel with Herb Trimpe as his chuckling, Ed McMahon-esque side kick.  I will say that being hostile, acting bored, and even saying you're bored by fans' questions ought to keep an artist from being invited back, but he has a following so I doubt that will happen.  He did make it abundantly clear that he is a savvy business man and his art is all about money.  I haven't heard a diva so intent on tooting their own horn since girls in Junior High.  I rarely ever read comics, so I would've left but I was blocked in and, unlike the artists, I didn't want to be rude.  Besides, I can always save my gripes for my little-known blog.

The Battlestar Galactica panel was good too, though there weren't many interesting questions asked.  I should have gotten in line.  I'm sure these actors must get tired of talking about the same things over and over again.  What I really wanted to know is if Jamie Bamber was aware of his on screen chemistry with Mary McDonnell.  They had this mother/son vibe in the beginning that made every one of their scenes extra good.  Instead we heard more about inequality of the sexes in the film industry, body type madness, and how Katee's fighting sexism with partial nudity, etc.  There were few questions directed to Jamie Bamber, I guess because Katee's movie Riddick just came out, which I thought was a shame.  His performance, along with Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonell's, pretty much made that tv show.  Seriously, the first two seasons are still some of the best tv I've ever seen.  Everything- the script, music, direction- was so perfect.  They're up there with Homicide: Life on the Streets, China Beach, and the first few seasons of Lost.  (By the way, Riddick is stinky cheese, which isn't Katee's fault.  In her favor, Longmire is actually really good.)

Oh, we also heard, "Nothin' but the rain," from Katee, herself.

Of course we had our photo taken with them and I had another regret:  Jamie said, "I want a woolly hat too, " just being polite, and I didn't have the mental snap to hand him mine because I was instantly pushed away from the backdrop by the photo people.  I know, what would he do with a "Woolly hat" that he doesn't recognize as a Jayne hat because he doesn't even watch his own show, much less Firefly?  But still, I could've said Jamie and I shared a hat.  So... much... regret... sob.

Later, when I picked up the photo from the Battlestar Photo-op table, I saw a major discrepancy between their photo-op style and John Barrowman's.  Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled by my photo-op with Jamie and Katee, but I did understand why we were told tickets to his photo-op sell out fast.  He was all over his fans!  They rode piggy back, bum slapped him, gave full frontal embraces, danced together.  He's a ham and they love it.

His Q and A was Sunday but I think it drew the biggest crowd.  He was amped up like Heder and Rosenbaum, and moved constantly, re-enacting his and David Tennant's reaction to reading the script in which Captain Jack is revealed as The Face of Boe.  He told how David kept banging on his trailer door, asking if he'd read it just to be shooed away so he wouldn't spoil anything.  Finally, John read it and went banging on David's door.  They had a breathless, animated charades-ike session of acting out how John could become the giant suspended head.  There was also singing- lots of singing because he has an excellent voice.  He also re-enacted a classic theatrical moment where during his performance in Anything Goes, his co-star, Martin, blasted gas in the dramatic pause before the last note of a song.  He actually laid across the panel table and rolled to one side to demonstrate.  Oh boy, crazy.  It was the telling of racy, behind-the-scenes gags that made me glad I hadn't brought my kids with me.  I can say this about John Barrowman, he was all about giving his fans, and there were so many, their money's worth.  He didn't stop, from the "personalized" photo-ops to inviting fans who couldn't get a seat to take empty VIP seats up front, to a singing/dancing performance.

I was too busy doing my own thing to get many photos of cosplay there.  Somehow with a giant Alien and Predator fighting on the landing, tons of Viper and X-Wing pilots, a hairy Wonder Woman, and a big group of kids dressed like all of the main characters from The Girl in the Fireplace episode of Dr. Who, all I came home with were these blurry phone pics.  But I had used all of my memory to record some Q&As.  Just check out instagram for an idea of what it was like.

Look Mermaid Man has on slippers.

That was my take on Dallas Comic Con.  Now for the most fascinating part: the knitted fan hats!

I spent the whole ride up to Dallas sitting in the back seat, knitting the Leia hair pattern by Jennifer Carter.  My only modification was to only knit 52 cast-on stitches.  Because my stitch count was off, I decreased one extra stitch at the end of that first dec row and sometimes had to change the order of knits and purls.  I decreased as many times as called for, though ending with a slightly different stitch count.

Using yarn to tighten the wig to fit like a beanie was tricky.  I didn't knot anything off until I was completely finished with the wig.  I really didn't know if it would fit until I had finished it and could try.  Thankfully, it did.  I then used my second skein of Wool of the Andes Bulky for the "star puffs."  It is the correct yardage for two buns, so I had to divide it.  I used my husband's headrest to lay the skein over and count the loops hanging over it.  I then wound half of the loops into a spare yarn ball and cut the yarn.

Positioning the buns was also a trial and error sort of thing.  When I liked its position, I unwound the spare ball of yarn over the headrest to the approximate size of the first bun's worth, and shaped it into the other bun.

The fit was alright and had a bit of room in back for me to tuck my hair out of sight.   There was no doubt who this was supposed to be.  Daleks even like it.

I spotted Jayne hats all over the convention center.  It's like we have our own secret club.  I was so glad I'd taken a couple of days to make them because
1) Jayne hats are awesome
2) They used exactly 3 skeins of old stash, which makes me feel thrifty, and
3) They are meant to be knit a bit sloppily, so no great focus is required.

 It was almost hard to make myself decrease so abruptly and make such a messy pompom.  The ear flaps were ratty, but I think the pattern I used, by Erika Barcott, was most true to the one Adam Baldwin wears in Firefly and the ears flaps did, indeed, flip outward in a goofy way.

I used yellow Wool Ease and red and pumpkin colored Lion Wool for this with size 10 needles.  Mine was a size medium and Adam's (my Adam) was a large.

Amid all of this, we rounded out the weekend with an Imax showing of Gravity.  I had fun, guys.  Though you don't see my brother here, because he's not into photos, it meant so much to me to get to hang out with him, especially doing the nerdy stuff we like to do. I mean, we met our first-ever action figure (C3P0)!   I reveled in the conversation and odd situations.  I haven't laughed so much or so loudly in ages.

Here I inserted chewing gum into the memory banks of this R2 unit.

More on my flickr, ravelry, kollabora, instagram, yada, yada, yada.
more on the Leia and Jayne hats here.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sci-Fi Headgear

The Summer Sweater Knitalong wrapped up this week I felt like I had fully reveled in group knitting of winter stuff.  Thank you, Shannon and everyone in the Luvinthemommyhood Ravelry group!

After working so hard on those projects I felt like relaxing and doing some fast knits to give instant gratification and to use up the growing piles of yarn.  After making the Markham and Belleville, it was time to be silly.

Since we're going to a Comic Con with my brother for his birthday this weekend, I thought I'd make some appropriate headgear.  Forget that it's sweltering in Texas; I've wanted to go to one of these since seeing Trekkies in the 90's, and I'm commemorating it.

his and hers Jayne Hats 

the begininngs of Star Puffs

The fact that Carrie Fisher was supposed to make an appearance made it perfect.  Star Wars was our thing when we were growing up.   It was the first movie I ever saw and it loomed large in my childhood.  We have the action figures to prove it.  (My children grew up handling them as if they were holy relics, never mixing my guns with theirs, very careful with the ones that had wobbly heads.  They understood these things.)

Who better for us to sit in on celebrity panels with than the brother who has indulged me in long conversations and gripe sessions about various sci-fi shows since childhood?  I swear we should be script doctors.

more on ravelry, kollabora, instagram, and flickr

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Belleville Shawl

It seems that lately every time I try to take a photograph, every  time, it has been rainy and gloomy outside.  I ran out a few times as the rain slowed to get these of my Belleville Shawl.  It was a good rainy day project.   

The pattern is from the second Good Night, Day booklet.  I used Aslan Trends Lecco thick and thin cotton and size 13 needles.

No modifications except for the yarn and corresponding needle size change.  I worked about 19 repeats of the lace pattern before binding off.

The pattern is written for a heftier, thick and thin yarn but when my Lecco arrived and I saw it was almost all "thin" with very little "thick" I decided to just go with it and have a lighter weight shawl that is more practical for living in the South.

I love the way it looks.  I'm not so sure about this yarn, though.  It's very fuzzy, as in, it looks like I ironed my shirt with my cat fuzzy.  Regardless,  I completely enjoyed making this yesterday afternoon. 

  more on ravelry, kollabora, and flickr