willowoak: (Default)
( Dec. 27th, 2009 10:40 am)
OK, it's been a while and I'm kinda out of practice at writing haiku, but I don't think these are too bad...

A misty morning,
Gray fog creeps delicately
Across the city.

A wary approach
The hummingbird sips nectar,
Swiftly darts away.
willowoak: (Default)
( Nov. 28th, 2009 10:32 pm)
So I've been wanting to make something cute and cool for M, partially because her parents are so helpful taking care of the beastlies when I'm away...but mostly because she's a fab kidlet. Her favorite colors are red and black, and she's a budding gothlet.

And then I found a couple of skull charts. I thought I'd make some fingerless gloves. But then I thought that for a five year old in MN, mittens might be better. And then I found a pattern called playground mitts, which have a slit on the palm which turns them into flip tops so the kids can still use their fingers without taking off the mitts. And a plot was born.

I used two different skull charts, one for the back of the hand and one for the palm. I made one in black with red skulls and the other in red with black skulls. And I think they're just adorable.


They will be a Yule gift. :-)
With apologies to Rene Magritte. :) Love the surrealists.

Anyway, this is D's Yule gift in all it's glory...seven shades of beige with a chart of two moose fornicating, copulating, doin' what comes natural.

The initial idea was based upon the beige game...how many ways can we describe "beige" without actually SAYING "beige." Then somewhere in one of the Pantheacon sleep dep late nights when we were discussing sigils and I suggested a beige on beige sigil for those of us happily subverting...uh, serving, yeah, serving...our corporate masters.

And then I learned Fair Isle. And it all fell into place. Let's see the colors I used are: Vinci, sparrow, doeskin heather, aspen heather, river rock, oyster and smoke.

And you have a hat made of awesome. :)
I'm making a Yule hat for Deirdre. I have to say that when finished, I think this hat will truly be made of awesome and an epic win. However, it is kicking my ass in small, but significant ways. I spent massive amounts of time this morning knitting and then tinking and then re-knitting two measly rounds.

But now I'm past that and am on the main chart, which I decided this afternoon to modify in a very specific way, after (of course) I'd already started it, so I can't do all the mods as I might wish. But it WILL work out.

Pictures will follow when I'm further along.


I must say that I LOVE this hat. I will have to make one for me sometime. :)
Once I restarted, it went very fast. Of course, watching Nightmare Before Christmas and then the Search for Shakespeare documentaries might have helped. A little. But the hat is done and blocking. The shape is somewhere between a beanie and a beret...that would be a function of the yarn and needle sizes and the fact that I used all of the original pattern repeats. The pattern was originally written for fingering weight/sock yarn on 2.5s, while I used DK/worsted weight on size 4s and 6s. But I'm fine with that, since I don't particularly like beanies and the slightly slouchy look is nice. :)

I've even taken some pics, but can't post them until the batteries for my camera are recharged.
willowoak: (Default)
( Nov. 14th, 2009 05:47 pm)
I haven't posted in a little while...but I finished the fair isle hat shortly after I posted the progress pic. And in the meantime, I've started Lu's Yule gift, made another hat, frogged it and re-knit it, and made a pair of fingerless mitts as a birthday gift.

First...the fair isle hat

Lu's Yule gift will be a hat that I'm calling "dem bones." It's in sugar skull territory and in the same colors as those mitts I made. The hat band has a bone ribbing -- looks kinda like femurs. :) And then the body of the hat has stranded dancing skeletons. Perfect for the gothlet grrl. The hat band is on the wide side, but I think it works oh, so well.

I started work on dem bones again today and I'm up on the spine...about to hit the ribcage, so there will be more pics soon.

The other hat is a chunky cabled hat. I had to go up a needle size, which I realized AFTER I'd finished. It's blocking now.

And then these are a pair of Fetchings I made for a birthday gift -- two at a time, magic loop, with a rockin' thumb gusset. LOVE the yarn. Manos del Uruguay merino/silk blend in the Wildflower colorway.

I'm also finally blocking the wrap I made for my mom's Yule gift -- the one I learned to graft while doing. I should have some photos soon.

And I'm plotting another Fair Isle hat (insert maniacal laughter here)!

Color A: Black
Color B: Glamour (red, it's red)
Color C: Wisteria (yup, purple)
Color D: Bronze Green Heather
Color E: Straw

Cascade 220, 100% wool.
I've done some stranded colorwork, but I'm making an actual Fair Isle hat now. It's coming together nicely, and I'll probably have some photos tomorrow.

Is it wrong of me to be so excited about learning a new technique that will enable me to perpetrate a long cherished dream of some obscure visual jokes/puns on my friends and relations? Because when this hat is finished, the first stage of my evil plot will be set in motion.

I've already ordered the yarn for stage two.

mwa hahahahaha!
I haven't slept...except for a brief nap during last night's vigil. Do I lay down and try to sleep. Oh, no. I decide to cast on for a new beret. Well, yeah, I DO need a hat.

But this particular beret is done in fingering weight yarn with a lace brim. Ummm, my experience tells me I shouldn't try to attempt lace in a sleep deprived state.

I laughed at my experience and wisdom and cast on anyway. 170 stitches. I double and triple counted them, and I used stitch markers every 10 stitches (because the lace repeat is 10 stitches). I even ended up with 170 stitches. See, I'm paying attention. :) So off I go, knitting away. 3 rounds in garter stitch and then started the lace. I was in the third round of the repeat when I thought..."I should stop." I ignored myself and plowed on. Three repeats into the fourth round, I didn't catch a stitch properly and it promptly laddered down to the cast on. I couldn't even see it to try to pick it up and re-weave it. Although I tried. Granted, I'm a bit cross-eyed anyway from lack of sleep.

But after ten minutes of futzing around with it and only finding ladders...not even the hint of a loop, I said fuck it. Into the frog pond with you!

Ah well, another lesson.

One I'm sure I'll ignore again, the next time I haven't slept. I'm stubborn like that.
In the wee hours of the morning, I finished binding off the mitts. Then I picked up the thumb stitches and started on the thumbs. 8:01am, bound off the second thumb.

Yup, stayed up most of the night for vigil and knitted. :) I ended up crashing for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours because I never did manage a nap yesterday...even though it was part of the plan.

Last last night/early this morning, Usna was happily killing the new catnip salamander. He flipped onto his back, which is his favorite position -- whether for scritches or for fighting -- and I dropped the salamander on his belly. He appeared rather confused. Long enough for me to grab the camera and document it. :)

Very. Very. Tired. But too wired to sleep.

Happy New Year, all!
I know I've mentioned before that I LOVE the library. Really, really love the library.

The Minneapolis Public Library recently merged, with and became part of, the Hennepin County Library system. This is actually making it rather more efficient -- after a few realtively minor growing pains. Among the advantages, there is a larger catalog of available books for selection. It's easier to find and request books on-line. And you can request up to 100 books at a time -- I currently have 25 in my queue (as well as 11 in my hot little hands). And of course, there's still ILL as a possibility if none of the libraries in the county have the book you're looking for.

The public library is a wonderful use of resources.

That is all.

Well, and for no particular reason I really felt like using the word "paean" today. :)
willowoak: (Default)
( Oct. 26th, 2009 05:31 am)
I've read that you should try to learn something new every day. Well, this morning I learned how to take an image and convert it to a colorwork chart. :)

Here's an Arts & Crafts image of an iris border:

And here's the basic colorwork chart:

I did this conversion using GIMP. I had to do a bit of translating, because the original directions were written for Photoshop, and GIMP has its own quirks. But I'm rather pleased with this. Now, if I wish, I can create my own patterns. :)

Be afraid.
I did go out for a little while today and picked up some Thera-Flu. My temp was up this afternoon...to 98.8. Doesn't seem dramatic, but my normal body temp is somewhere around 97.2. So I'm probably staying home tomorrow.

I've gotten some knitting time in...and then there was colorwork:

This is the first of a pair of Sugar Skull fingerless gloves. Alpaca/Silk Blend + Alpaca. Yummy to knit, but not as much stretch as I'd hoped. I shouldn't be surprised, since neither alpaca or silk have the stretchiness of wool. :) The colorway for the contrast color is Chili Pepper -- and it's red, orange, fuschia, green, purple, yellow and blue. Totally cool, huh?

I misread the chart -- what is up with that lately? And because I only knit one round in between the skulls, my skulls are now reversible.

I think that's pretty cool.
When I'm sick, I usually want soup. Warm, lovely soup. Today I was at work, hot and cold at the same time with a throat the felt like someone had taken sandpaper to it, and thought I want chicken noodle soup.

I don't have any chicken noodle soup, and I almost went to buy some, but then I remembered my go-to soup. It only takes about 5-10 minutes to make from scratch, and you can add almost anything to it that you have on hand.

Tonight's version was:

chicken broth
roated garlic

sliced green onions
shredded rotisserie chicken
red pepper flakes
two beaten eggs

Heat up the broth, butter and garlic until you get a rolling boil. Turn down to simmer and add other ingredients (except eggs) and simmer until heated through. Beat eggs with a fork, and pour into soup while whisking.

Serve in a ginormous mug, crawl into bed and curl up with cats on various parts of the bed and sip your soup.
willowoak: (Default)
( Oct. 21st, 2009 08:02 am)
I'm on round 35 of the chart (out of 41), and then I'll start decreasing. This project is moving faster than I might have expected...despite some serious tinking when I miscounted on a couple of rounds. Placing stitch markers for the repeats helped A LOT.

I "think" this is a better shot of the woven in stranding. At least it looked clearer on my computer...but sometimes things that look clear when opened on my computer suddenly get blurry when they're uploaded. What's up with that?

The floats on the lower right hand side are from when I first started, before I started weaving everything in as I went.
willowoak: (Default)
( Oct. 20th, 2009 10:03 am)
Yup, I've jumped into the pool with stranded colorwork. Two-handed knitting. It feels most awkward, and it's weird to be holding the main color in my right hand when I'm normally a Continental style knitter.

I'm also using a method that allows you to weave the yarns in such a way that there are no floats! It makes a much more evenly tensioned fabric, at least in my opinion. However, it's also a bit slower. But since I think the end product is so worthwhile, that's a fairly small price to pay. And as I practice, I'm sure I'll get a bit faster. :)

I've even taken pictures...

This is the project with both balls of yarn. The class called for two skeins of Mochi Plus in two different colorways. Bright Rainbow (CC) and Neptune's Rainbow (MC). Naturally the Bright Rainbow started with blues/greens/purple, so it's harder to see the contrast in the bottom part. Oh well.

Here's a close up...

And here's how the inside of the hat looks using the weaving technique. I did do some floats before I got the rhythm. :-)

I also redid the chart to make it easier to read. I am such a geek.
willowoak: (Default)
( Oct. 16th, 2009 05:34 pm)
So there I was, walking into Target today to pick up a few things. Right behind me is a mother with her two daughters...I'm thinking maybe 6 or 7 and 9 or 10. The younger one was being difficult, to say the least: whiny, snarky and combative. The mother said "If you can't behave, then it will be nap time when we get home." The girl replied "I don't NEED a nap."

And I was thinking (a) Yes, you DO need a nap and (b) Just wait until you're 30 when someone telling you to go take a nap just might be Nirvana. :)

mmmmmm...naps. Another thing wasted on the young. ;)
willowoak: (Default)
( Oct. 3rd, 2009 12:00 am)
I guess that I've decided to be a balls to the wall type of knitter. After all, it's only string and if I fuck it up, I can always rip it out and try again.

I'm trying Kitchener -- or grafting -- for the first time. On a wrap for my mother's Yule gift. In pattern -- Garter stitch on both edges, purling and knitting within the wrap. At least I had a couple of rows of straight knit/purl pattern instead of the lace itself. I've finished the first segment of garter stitch and the first knit/purl section. It doesn't look awful and it's actually working -- I ended one side on a knit row and the other on a purl row, which helps keep the garter stitch grafting "even" looking. I'm grateful to Wooly Wormhead, who wrote a tutorial on the variations of stockinette, reverse stockinette and garter stitch grafting.

Pictures will follow after the process is complete.

But it's after midnight now, and when I try to knit much past that magic hour, things tend to go wahooni shaped pretty quickly. So I've put away the project for now.