knitting

a little addiction

I think I have a problem. Not a big one – actually, it is very small. Teeny tiny, in fact. What is it, you ask? Teeny-tiny MochiMochi!! I had been following the MochiMochiLand blog for a while and then on a whim I decided to buy the Teeny-Tiny book. (Secret: I really want to make the giant squid from the Huge and Huggable book, but I think that would be the finished object to break the camel’s (aka David’s) back in terms of apartment real estate that is devoted to knitting. Also it would scare CeeCee and Bess too much. Alas/alack – in the meantime, it’s just me and the Tinys.) Shortly after getting the book, I had the privilege of meting Anna Hrachovec at Sifu! Needless to say I was an awful shy fangirl and it was hugely embarrassing and David had to start up the conversation because I was too nervous. I am the worst person. However, she was awesome and so was Sifu.

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ANYWAY. Behold some of my Tinys! Why do I have them? No clue. What will I do with them? Probably make them into Christmas ornaments. Or construct elaborate and ridiculous dioramas and stories (living with a TV editor does have its perks – free animation services!). Or slowly amass such a collection that we’re wading through stacks of tiny gnomes and mermaids to get to the kitchen. In the end, it’ll probably be the final option.

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(Cats, which look more like mice – these were my first efforts and are admittedly a bit rough)

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One really fun way I found to make “use” of these little nuggets of cuteness is to make them into customizable tableaus and give them as gifts. My Feinberg big sib Phoebe celebrated a birthday recently, so I made her one. I knitted some gnomes (see above), flattened out some Sculpey (before I baked it, I poked holes where toothpicks could go) and glued toothpicks down onto the surface. The gnomes got impaled (sorry gnomies) and ta-da!

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Given the fact that Phoebe and I share the same passion for a) things that are a bit weird and b) signs, I thought I’d make this the gift that keeps on giving by including some blank signs. She can write on them as she chooses and put them into the gnomes’ arms. This is obviously the best way to convey any important message.

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Ultimately, someday, you know with all my copious free time and whatnot, my big dream would be to design medical knitted stuff. Obviously not as a big money-maker, because there are only so many lovely weirdos that want to knit that stuff on Ravelry, but more of as a hobby. At first I was thinking normal stuff like scarves or mitts with cool anatomical designs on them, but maybe doing knitted toys would be fun too. Welp. I’ve just bared my deepest darkest wish to the Internet! Time to make it come true?

bitter knitter

Ugh. Just UGH, you guys *melodrama*. I am so glad to be putting this project behind me (but also so guilty to be putting this project on my sister). I’ve been working on a Christmas present for my sister over the past few months: Ginny’s Cardigan, found in Interweave’s Unofficial Harry Potter Knits magazine. This endeavour has already been fraught with frustrations and roadblocks, so it wasn’t too surprising when I ran into some more.

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One element of the sweater (about which I initially felt very enthusiastic) was the bust shaping. As I was knitting for my sister, who has a tiny rib cage and a large bust, I was pretty sure this was going to be necessary to achieve a good sweater fit. So I did it. And then I trucked along and finished the rest of the sweater. I had tried it on once or twice, and optimistically assumed that the fit would look less weird when the sweater was on someone whose cups literally runneth over.  Then those cups (and the person attached to them) put on the sweater and…nope. Not at all. The bust shaping landed somewhere south of the xiphoid process (aka not anywhere near the bust).  I wanted to cry. I may have actually cried. It was bad. After hemming and hawing and crying a bit more, I intentionally puckered the bust shaping inward on both sides a bit.  It still is kind of bad, but for lack of having anything else to give my sister on Christmas, this thing is what I handed over. Alas, alack. Okay. 3…2…1…attitude adjustment!! Here are some photos and I’m off to do other knitting projects without weird boobs.

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Pictorial evidence of my shame and anger.

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Silver lining: I really like the buttons. And the back. Let’s focus on those two elements. And the fact that Annie loves me enough to like it and wear it.

famous last words

Hello there everyone. Can y’all guess which incredibly inaccurate and foolish sentence came out of my mouth not even a month ago?

“I’m totally not doing any knitting for Christmas gifts this year.”  “I’m in the middle of destashing and not buying any yarn, and it’s going really well.”

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If you were the shrewd, cynical consumer of Internet information like I know y’all are, and you guessed that I actually said BOTH of those things, then well shucks, you’re right. Ugh. Just ugh, you guys.  Up until the beginning of August, I had only purchased two skeins of yarn for all of 2014. Just two!! I was feeling very smug about my 3 out, 1 in challenge/promise/thing. And then that fricking Knitpicks sale came along and ruined everything.

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In this gorgeous pile of shame I have enough yarn for gifts for David, my mom, dad and sister, a friend or two, and maybe even a lil’ sumpin sumpin for myself. I’m terribly torn between excitement and shame about this most recent yarn acquisition. Alas, alack.

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elegant octopus

Every now and then, I feel a strange hankering for a really difficult craft project.  A seriously fiddly, pain in the ass project.  It’s usually when I a) haven’t been doing much crafting lately and b) the crafting I have been doing is unchallenging and repetitive (stockinette sweater body, I’m looking at you).  As you can probably guess, this happened to me recently.  I found myself thinking “Man, I really need a project that is going to make me really need to focus, and probably frequently swear under my breath.” (What is wrong with me?) So I picked up the Knitted Amigurumi Sea Creatures book again and chose the octopus pattern.  I made the jellyfish last year, and while the project was fun, it definitely introduced me to some new and challenging techniques (and for some reason, I couldn’t make the jellyfish look like the one in the instructions although I’m pretty sure I followed the directions right – gah).

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Here’s the finished product!  It was definitely fiddly, although perhaps not quite as impossible as I was expecting. There were some tense moments though: by the time I cast off the mantle, I realized that I had been gripping the DPNs so tightly that I couldn’t feel the ulnar side of my right hand.  It’s still tingling more than 24 hours later.  Nerve damage by knitting. Could I be any more metal?

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On another note, have you ever taken a few minutes out of your day to learn how awesomely, terrifyingly intelligent octopuses are?!?!? Seriously folks. They play! They have personalities! They are capable of very subversive sneaking around and rare fish consumption in aquariums! While knitting this thing, I went on an octopus information overload and basically just read a bajillion stories about how smart these excellent creatures are. In case you are interested in doing the same thing, here (and here) are some reading materials.

hallo there

Dobby is a free elf, Smeagol is free, nobody puts Baby in a corner, etc. The boards are over and I could not be happier.  In terms of undignified and epic knowledge dumps, taking Step 1 was analogous to giving birth in the bathroom at one’s high school prom. Not that I’ve done that to know what that’s like. But let’s move on from that. I’ve had the most magnificent two weeks off: first in California, and then at home. Much knitting, reading, sleeping and whatnot was had.

David and I visited his parents for a week, and we all headed to Yosemite over Easter weekend.  It was pretty magnificent knitting with this as my background.

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Then it was off to my parent’s house out in the country, and I continued the knitting but also did some other crafts.  My Oma has an awesome collection of old vintage house parts (pretty common when you have an old vintage house) and we connected old glass doorknobs to bits of rebar and made garden stakes. This was my mom’s idea – she is so crafty.

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IMG_7770My big project over the course of vacation is a lovely springtime project: the Clarity Cardigan. It’s a bright green color, which is exactly what I needed after too many neutral projects (although I’m still not quite done with David’s sweater – that will happen this week). I did manage to make a lot of progress on the Clarity Cardigan, thanks to all my delicious unfettered free time. It’s looking pretty good, but it’s hard to try on to tell completely as the craft store only had 29″ needles, and my back is definitely not only 29″ around (that was my not-so-subtle humble brag to inform you that my back muscles are basically the female version of Daniel Craig’s. just kidding, except not).

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fashionably late.

One day, someday, I will finish knitted presents in time for people’s birthdays. And then I will hop into my hovercar and zoom over to work where I’ll perform surgeries to implant wings and invisibility switches into humans.  (The part of the story where I am a surgeon should immediately tip you off that this will never happen.)  For the time being, everyone is going to have to cope with my lateness (or be honored by it, Kanye style).  I recently finished the Spiral Cowl as a birthday gift for a friend (only two months late!).  Chicago is actually still pretty cold, so she might actually be able to use it before next winter.  Ha.

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The picot edge was an interesting endeavour, and mine is more lumpy than picot-y. Alas, alack. Also, part of the reason it took me so long to knit this was that I absolutely despise repeating k2tog YO patterns, and this was only that for what seemed like a million bajillion years (mostly because I kept running away from this project).  Give me a tricky cable pattern any day.

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And no. I’m still not done with David’s sweater. (I’m getting there, though!)

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wip it good

David’s sweater is still the big WIP elephant sitting on my chest. I finished the re-do of my godawful mistake, and you know what? It went okay. Not perfect, but okay. This is technically my first adult sweater, I haven’t cried (yet) while knitting it (knitting an adult sized sweater without breaking into tears is one of my life goals) and if I made the thing perfect David probably wouldn’t be able to wear it until next January. I’m finally onto the sleeves (which, mercifully, I made the wise decision to knit both at once). I’m definitely suffering from ennusleeve. Saaaave me. Or I could just save myself by powering through this thing and getting it done. If people can poop themselves and still finish a marathon, then I can knit two sweater sleeves (without pooping myself, hopefully) and be okay.

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Another thing I’ve been working on: the Spiral Cowl, which is serving as a really great reminder as to why I hate patterns with lots of YOs on DPNs. Why do I do these things to myself? Whine whine.

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In other news, I am really ready to knit something that is NOT a neutral color. Except for my weird obsession with grey, I am not a neutral colors sort of gal. This is exacerbated by the whole totally-sick-of-winter attitude I’m rocking. I think my ginormous post boards/neutral gift knitting overload reward project will be the Clarity cardigan, in a nice bright green (I already have the yarn, courtesy of my very lovely seester).  Mmmm, can’t wait.