Sunday, January 29, 2012

100th Post!

This is it! This is number 100!

I have been waiting and waiting to do this blog because it's umber 100!

Now what could be worth my 100th blog? Well I originally wanted to release the Søt Baby Sweater, but its not done yet, and honestly I've had a few issues with it that I'm not sure when its going to be done.

So instead I'd like to introduce you to a piece of equipment that will soon be sharing its fruit with you, my new knitting machine:

This lovely machine was given to me this past week and I've been learning the ins and outs of it to the point that I can say you'll soon be seeing self striping yarn and yarns with nice long color transitions:

This colorway is called Cherry Blossom and was inspired by the cherry blossom trees that are in front of each house on my street. I'll only be doing a small release of this colorway as I have a limited amount of yarn and tons of ideas. But you'll soon be seeing alot more of these yarns in the future!

Monday, January 23, 2012

A New Knitter

My best friends are made up of craftiness. Courtney can sew, Anna can do nearly anything like cast metal, knit, weave, make paper and draw (she has this degree in art so you should get the idea), and now our friend Stina is learning to knit.

Stina is a wonderful woman that has flaming read hair, does table top role playing, magic, reads all kinds of books, loves to wear heels and if you need an interesting word for something, she's your lady.

To just give you an idea of how cool she is, this picture of her and Anna won Kim Harrison's contest last year for depicting Rachel and Ivy from the Hollows series:

Stina and Anna

With the two around me I never feel like a fiber geek, but as an artist and as someone who does lots of research. So you can imagine my excitement when Stina said she wanted to knit this past summer.

As many of use knitters know getting people into knitting can be hard. We have to carefully draw them in. I think its kinda like fishing. You have to have the right bait for a certain fish and then you have to hook them so fast they don't know what happened.

I last year spent a lot of time on the Wavy Lace Capelet for Stina. Anna had found the pattern when we were at the bookstore she works at and I had taken all that month's knitting magazines to look through while we drank coffee. Its bonding time for us and how I got Anna to start knitting since she loves her magazines. Well Anna found the pattern and we both loved it, but I was unsure who to knit it for till Anna exclaimed in a strike of brilliance that Stina needed it. I agreed and started hunting for the perfect yarn. When I was working Mountain View I had a bit of time on Wednesdays between school and work and hung out at Uncommon Threads. Well wouldn't you know it, they were having a sale the next time I walked in and one of the perks was that if you bought the remaining of a colorway you got it at an eve better discount! I scored some wool and tencel in a deep green that Anna and I thought would go gorgeously with her hair.

I knit it, found the perfect buttons and presented it to her as a late Christmas gift. It looks great and I think was the perfect bait because she asked Anna to teach her how to crotchet and for me to teach her how to knit.

So for her birthday I gave her yarn and the pattern for the Wound Up, with the sworn promise the she can call me day or night to help her with a knitting problem.

Happy Birthday Stina and welcome to the club!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mønster Mean What?

I've just finished knitting the Mønster til djævlehu. Which means "Pattern for Devils". Its the hat pattern from Babyhue og Sokker (which means "Baby Hat and Socks"):

I get a kick out of the fact that mønster means pattern in Norwegian/Danish. I really could not giggle any harder. I mean how many times have we all sworn at a pattern and knew deep down inside that the pattern was sent from hell. Well its because patterns are mønstre. I also love that this baby hat is for devils.

Feel free to laugh nervously as I giggle myself to madness.

The original pattern can be found here and my English translation, that has been rewritten to be worked in the round, can be found here.

Also, some of you might have noticed that the original pattern is listed as being written in Danish, however, Danish and Norwegian are very similar languages. Which is handy because by learning one you are learning most of the other. Scandinavia and the World do a really good job of showing you who speaks what in the Nordic countries in this strip.

Monday, January 16, 2012

13,000 yards to the pound

For those that know me on Ravelry or Facebook you might have caught wind that some crazy lady is looking for a yarn that is about 28 meters per gram.

That lady would be me.

You see I've been looking to start a couple of projects in such fine lace that one of them is a king size bedspread and when I'm done with it, it will weight less then a pound.

Well I finally found the yarn! I've ordered about 1.3 lbs of it and the book for the Rose of England.

Now you might say that I'm demented ::cough:: JM ::cough::, or you might have felt that I'm a dpn short of a full set, but I feel that I'm up to this challenge. I think it may take me about 2-3 years to finish this shawl but you need to keep in mind that this is not something I'll be using every day and wearing. Its an heirloom I plan on leaving to my kids someday so that they will have proof of how crazy I really was:

Thanks to TheresaKnits of Ravelry for the photo

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Growing Up Norwegian

Today I was cold. Ben thought that opening all the windows downstairs would help warm it up, but once I started complaining that it was cold, and went to get a sweater, he realized that I get cold easily and closed all the windows.

This is actually a common occurrence in our home and somewhat of a joke as my genome is one that is firmly planted in Scandinavia and I was raised in a Norwegian family. Alas however, I am always cold.

It got me thinking, my family has only been in the country for 3 generations and I have family photos of my great grandmother swathed in knit wear. Really it was not that long ago that I would have been really screwed if I did not know how to knit.

When I mean screwed I mean that today Oslo reached a peak temperature of 27°F and it snowed. 27°F is below freezing and from my time living in Colorado I can tell you that if you had sneezed while outside today in Oslo your snot would have frozen in your nose.

This proves to me that the fact that at 5 years old, when I was given my first knitting and crochet lesson from my grandma, that knitting was not only tradition, but might have been mandatory for my grandmother. The love of fiber crafts completely skipped my mother though.

Not only was fiber arts a tradition in the family, but I also was part of the Santa Lucia celebrations at my local Viking Hall till the age of 13:

I'm left center. My aunt is top right and
mostly cut off
Every year my family went to the Santa Lucia festival and everyone bought loads of raffle tickets, because the ladies of the hall would all donate something handmade, or a tradition Scandinavian item for the raffle. We all hoped for quilts, sweaters, food, or anything else that was beyond my mother's skill. One year I even won the Christmas Tree (imagine my mother's surprise when I came home with a tree).

I think this was where my desire to learn to knit fair isle comes from. I remember looking at the sweaters and mittens and knowing that someone had made them, but not believing it as it seemed impossible that someone could make these things without computers or machines.

Now that I'm much older, and have tons of research on my side, I'm beginning to dive into traditional fair isle.

Most knitters might knit a coffee cozy to test stranded knitting but I decided that if I'm going to master this then I might as well dive into the deep end and start knitting a sweater that includes steeking and learn some Norwegian so that I can start to read Norwegian patterns.

The goal this year is to master fair isle knitting and to order the Gold Bohus kit from the Bohsläns Museum:

That sweater will be mine and just to show dedication to it I've started to translate the Babyhue og sokker as my first step in learning Norwegian/Danish.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Minerva 1.2

Almost 2 years ago I welcomed my first brand new laptop into my life and named it Minerva 1.0. Subsequently it turned out to just be pile of junk and was determined a lemon so they gave me another one, Minerva 1.2.

Minerva 1.2 and I have been through a total of 1.5 years of school, many moves, ups and downs, but now its time to say good bye to her.

It started with just a small bruise on her monitor, then I noticed that it had a similar flaw to her predecessor (a blind spot on the space key), a small chip after I'd dropped her on the stairs, but now the video card is starting to short out and my extended warranty is about to expire.

This will sadly be the last post I write on her.

I'm completely sure of this as when I brought it in to get taken a look at the young woman at Best Buy giggled after I read the laundry list of what was wrong with Minerva 1.2 and asked how long it would take to get fixed. I was informed that they would just replace it, but it would take 4-6 weeks for them to verify that. She then laughed while looking at my original receipt and said it was a good thing I got the extended warranty. I found none of this funny as she began to pull out the paperwork for us to send it in there and then. I told her I was not ready and I had to back up my information before I sent it in.

Today the external hard drive I ordered (I named him William Defoe because he's stamped with WD on top) arrived and I've been feeling sick ever since.

This little black box is suppose to be the new carrier and guardian of my information and I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Actually I can tell you how I feel about it. I don't trust it. I'm so horrible with technology and electronics that its a running joke in my family and when something acts up in the house Ben will always ask what I did (we tend to go through a lot of light bulbs and he blames me).

So now I'm transferring my information onto this little black box that claims to be large enough to hold everything (it claims to be 1.5 terabytes)

Please join me in a moment of silence as we all say good-bye to Minerva 1.2

She was the best of companions

Minerva 1.2 (William is next to my coffee cup)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WIPs Wednesday

It's currently 5am in the morning (I've had zero caffeine) and I'm taking a short break from knitting to share with you my current goal.

As some of you know I have requirements for when I cast on new knitting, I have to finish at least 2 items already on the needles.

Sometimes this leads me to actually hunting down something small and quick to finish (I'm notorious for knitting only one fingerless mitten) or I look critically at my projects and frog items which are not working out so I can free up a set of needles.

Recently I have frogged a hat that was bleeding dye so badly that it was rubbing off onto my fingers and needles, I have finished 2 fingerless mittens, a scarf, socks and a shawlette.

But I have casted on a baby sweater and some socks.

However, when I look at my knitting list I still have about 220 estimated hours of knitting on the needles right now.

So in light of this new event I have decided that on Wednesdays I will only work on the item is listed at the very bottom which means it needs the most work on it.

Currently at the bottom is the Crown Prince Square Shawl . I estimate that it will take me 60 hours to complete. I'm basing this on how fast I knit the Swallowtail Shawl, (40 hours), and how much quicker I am knitting now then when I knit that.

This is how much I have so far:

So in order to finish its deadline by May I'm dedicating 2 hours a day to this single knit in hope that it will magically be finished sometime next month and I can take it off the list.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Its Like a Virus

Earlier in the week I heard the word "Baby".

To me this can be like catching the flu when I hear the word and it causes me to start wanting to make tons of little things. I usually use the act of making baby stuff as a way to test things like lace patterns, and sock ideas (I learned short row heels on baby socks), and to try out new yarns, or to just get rid of yarn.

This time however I was surprised by the reaction because I don't even know the person having the baby. This might mean I'm a little odd, but its a reminder to me that there are tons of cute patterns out there that someday I would like to try.

While I'm still trying to get a hand on the projects I already have going, and not cast on a million things, I have realized that I still have goals to reach and that maybe I can use this to my advantage.

Currently I'm learning to use Intwined Pattern Studio to write patterns and charts. I already use sock wizard to do the math for sock sizes I'm not familiar with, but this one is really handy for creating charts. I love working with charts as its easier for me not to lose my place on them, unlike written instruction which I use post its to keep my place.

I'm also learning how to do stranded knitting this year and I want to try steeking.

So I went off and wrote a pattern that I'm now test knitting for a baby sweater:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Joys of Being a Grown Up

The other night over hot pot we ladies were all sitting around the table and discussing living with our parents as one of our number has had to move back in with her mother. This now means that I'm now the only one who is not living under their parent's roof.

It also means that while my friends are trying to prove to their folks that they are grown ups and can make their own decisions, I've been on my own for nearly 8 years and have nothing to prove. I love taking advantage of the fact that those things my mother told me not to do, I can now do and there is no one to tell me no. Kind of reminds me of my favorite strip from Queen of Wands.

Ben saw evidence of this the other day when he was walking through the kitchen and asked me if I was making Easter eggs because I was making hard boiled eggs and dyeing them blue. I pointed out that it was really helpful to know which eggs are hard boiled when they share a container with raw eggs.

I then let him know he's lucky I can't find a crayon in the house.

What silly things do you like to do now that your on your own?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Improv Shawl

Yesterday Caren released her Improv Shawl Pattern!

Many of you have seen Caren around here on the blog as she is a wonderful and creative knitter that is always bursting with ideas.

Well here is her new shawl pattern!

Improve Shawl:

This simple-yet-elegant shawl can be quickly knit up and lets you be as creative as you desire! As you saw in the blog a couple of days ago, I am currently knitting this shawl and have been trying out a couple of my experimental stitch patterns as well as using Caren's suggested stitch patterns.

The pattern is free and you can find the suggested yarn in my shop.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Lets Try This Again

Sorry about yesterday's blog. I have been having some computer trouble that will be resolved in the next couple of months.

What happened on Tuesday was that Anna, Kendra and I went up to the city to spend a day at the museums. But first there was much fun to be had the night before with hot pot and anime all night long.

The Pope Squid hat
Teresa opening another bottle of wine.
We found that a bottle goes very quickly
 between 6 people 

I asked them to look excited while going through bart

The Jewish Heritage has this cool fountain with stepping stones
in front of it. We skipped across several times.
I love the architecture of the city.

The Black Sabbath exhibit that explores that use of Yiddish
and Jew themes in Jazz music sung by Blacks 

Anna and I listening at one of the tables and exploring some
of our favorite music. I'm also knitting a sock.

A poster at Coffee Choice that amused us.
The coffee and bagels were great and the price better

An instillation piece that is hung right above the lobby of the Moma.
When you get to the second floor on the stairwell landing you can see
that the lights go of and on to show two people dancing with what looked to
be a rope.

Where's Waldo?

The garden top of the Moma is like a playground to us

I'm watching the security guard that had been following us through the garden top as we posed around the statues and
explained to her that we were not actually touching anything.
I'm actually balancing there and Kendra is just pretending.

I returned home with a sock nearly completed and so tired I just about fell into bed after driving home.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


The last two days have been a little intense.... and then the program ate my blog.... I'll try again tomorrow...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Care and Keeping of Your Manbeast When You're Away

There are times my fellow knitter that you may have to venture out of the house for a night or two. There are things like knit night, knitting retreats, knitting conventions and other very important events that might make us leave our husbands, boyfriends and significant others on their own for an evening.

These times I feel it is best to stock the house with the basics so that they will not do things that might lead to them ordering pizza and trying to eat all of it to be rid of the evidence, causing them to hurt themselves when they become overstuffed.

One of my favorite things to leave is Shepard's Pie and with the holidays just past I have most of the makings on hand.

Leftover Ingredients:

Mashed Potatoes
1 lb Roast Beef
Optional: Shredded Cheese

1. Cut roast beef into small cubes and place into the bottom of a  2 1/2 qt casserole dish
2. Mix in vegetables and gravy
3. Top off with warm mashed potatoes spread evenly over mixture. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top if desired
4. With lid on the casserole dish bake for 1 hour at 350°F.

Before the addition of potatoes

My man loves cheese

Tomorrow afternoon I'll be leaving for a night of Mongolian Hot Pot with Anna and my friends then a day of museums on Tuesday. This means leaving Ben on his own for 2 dinners and I know that if I leave him to his own devices that he'll be eating frozen burritos till he bursts.

I hope you and your family enjoy this recipe!