30 July, 2007

Pinwheel Sweater

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:31 pm by rynserenity

I. must. knit. this. pattern! I saw Serena’s version whilst I was browsing on Ravelry (my new favourite past time), and fell in love instantly. I’m definitely going to wait until the Snowdrop is finished before I cast on for this, but this sweater is the object of such intense lust for me right now. I’m thinking of knitting it in various shades of green for a forest, cloak-type effect. Ooh, this’ll give me an excuse to order from the vintage clothing supplies I love so dearly! She has all kinds of great shawl/cloak pins and closures and clasps and… I’m getting ahead of myself here. Gotta focus on the projects at hand.

The Snowdrop is still plugging along. I’m so painfully close, yet so far at the same time. It’s infuriating. I think my knitting has entered the Black Hole stage. You know, where you knit and knit and knit, and it doesn’t seem to make any progress? Yeah, that. Sigh.

The Pool Socks are really coming along, though. I needed to get the oil in the car changed today, so I was sitting around and knitting on it then. I think I only have about 1.5″ left to go, but k1, p1 rib goes rather slowly for me. Again, sigh. I still love the yarn though. It’s so soft and squishy, it’s like a little bit of sky, almost.

Hmm, I think that’s it for now. I don’t have much to say today, I guess. No pics today, unless you count the ones on Ravelry I liked to, because both projects look about the same. Use your imaginations.

Oh, I almost forgot! I’m in the Bay Area Knitters group on Ravelry, and some of us are meeting up for a yarn shop crawl on Sunday. I’m so excited to meet other knitters from Ravelry! I even made up little name tags for us. It’s going to be a great time. I’ll definitely be blogging about it. Until tomorrow, dear knitters!

PS. Almost done with Harry Potter 7! Only 136 pages to go!

29 July, 2007

Project Update

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:12 pm by rynserenity

Instead of “Project Runway”, I guess?

Anyway, I promised WIP updates, and WIP updates I shall give. This would have been up yesterday, but I had a chiropractor’s appointment, and then I got a phone call saying, “Hey, Ryn! We need you to make a 5th level character for D&D today!” and well… there went all my time…

But back to the knitting.

A lot of progress has been made since you last saw these well-loved projects, dear knitters. For example, look at Ms. Lovely, the Snowdrop:

Now that’s progress, eh? I’m not entirely sure how well you can see, but this picture shows the border of the shawl at over 3/4ths of the way complete! The border pattern was very easy to memorize; I didn’t need to look at the chart at all after the first few repeats. Turning the point of the shawl was such a breeze, and I love how the triangles in the border line up with the triangles in the shawl body:

Beautiful, eh? So lovely and OCD-appeasing. (happy sigh)

I’m in a bellydance show called Cafe Belly in two weeks, and I’m hoping to have the Snowdrop finished in time so I can wear it in the show. I’m thinking of temporarily sewing little crystal dangles to each of the shawl points once it’s blocked to make it sparkle and show up better on stage. What do you guys think? I do love me some sparklies…

Ah, but let us not forget the Pool Socks, no? These guys had the honor of not only being my first pair of socks, but also serving as the Traveling Sock for this vacation. Look at how much they’ve grown:

Since you last saw them, I’ve turned the heel, and gotten more than halfway into the leg portion:

I decided to knit half the leg measurement in plain stockinette, then switch to k1, p1 rib for the remaining leg portion (I like to cuff my socks, and this produces a reversable cuff portion). I plan to finish it off with a simple picot bind-off. Cute and feminine, eh? These’ll be the perfect thing to wear on the first day of school (I go to art school, remember? People really dig the “homemade clothing” thing). Mwahaha.

Alas, the Boulder Belt has not faired so well. The hemp yarn really hurts my hands, as well as the wooden needles I bought so I could knit on the plane. They are currently hibernating in my WIP basket. I may try washing the yarn to soften up the hemp, and then cast on again. Hopefully, that may make knitting easier. Any other suggestions?

That’s all for now! Tune in next time for more knitting excitement, same knerdy time, same knerdy place!

26 July, 2007

Travel Report: Hawaii (Part 2)

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:07 pm by rynserenity

Anywho, as I was saying, the next thing was the Aquarium, where I met one of the highlights of my vacation:

Octo-ma-pus! I don’t remember the particular species of this fine cephalopod, but he was very adorable, and one of the most social octopods I’ve ever seen. Very cute! Reminds me of Jaques Cousteau, my own stuffed cephalopod.

We also saw some very cool (and hypnotizing) jellyfish:

The light in their tank was set to gradually shift colours, which produced a beautiful, ambient sort of effect. Absolutely stunning. Consider this your second missed Eye Candy Friday (I’ll have more pics tomorrow! Mwahaha).

We also did the drive to Hana, because we are tourists at times. The Sock saw a great waterfall:

It was very upset that it was blurred. I say, “suck it up, Sock.” Nyeh.

We actually made it to Hana this time! Last time were were here, the roads were flooded, and we had to turn back. Hana is… well, small comes to mind. It’s nice, though. After an ice cream pick-me-up, The Sock went to the famous black sand beach:

It was really warm out, and the lava rocks had absorbed a bunch of the sunlight, giving this kind of “hot rock massage” effect on my bare feet and back (yeah, I lay down on it. It was so warm…). There was a cool little cave that you could crawl through an explore, too, which The Faery loved.

Unfortunately, I only have one Sock picture from Oahu, and the second half of our vacation, but it’s a pretty cool shot:

(Once again, The Sock is pissed that it is not the focal point of the photograph. I blame my camera’s auto-focus. It’s too hard to manually focus and pose with a sock at the same time.) This is a view of Honolulu and Diamond Head from the top of this long, windy mountain road we took to get to the other side of the island. Very pretty, lots of humidity. It rained a BUNCH while we were there, too, which I loved. Just like home, except y’know… warm.

Two other highlights from Oahu are seeing sea turtles come up out of the water:

And seeing the biggest lily pads EVER:

Seriously. These things are MASSIVE. the flower should give you an idea of their scale.

I think that’s it for my trip to Hawaii! It was fun, but I’m glad to be back here in California with the fog (I can barely see out my window, and I am loving it!). Now that the bulk of my summer travel is over, I’m hoping that I can get into a somewhat regular update schedule again. More tomorrow on my current works-in-progress! I’m going to go read the new Harry Potter book.

PS. I mentioned yesterday that I finally got my Ravelry invite. Well, I’ve had a chance to play around on the site, and I am totally hooked! The site is such a great idea, and the people on it are really friendly. It’s great fun to see another knitter’s take on your favourite projects. Which reminds me, I should go look through the stash for yarn to make another Calorimetry, this time for myself…

Travel Report: Hawaii

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:48 pm by rynserenity

Hoorah for being more awake (well… kinda. I had serious insomnia last night)! Also, hurrah for being able to have Peet’s coffee again. Oh, Lady Caffine, I’ve missed you…

Anywho, I’ve been uber-busy today, between running various errands, unpacking, and finally getting the newest Harry Potter book (yes!), this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down and write a travel report. And so, I present to you “The Knerdy Knitter (and her steadfast familiar, the Traveling Sock) Goes to Hawaii!”

The Sock enjoys the view from our condo on Maui, where we stayed for the first week. Maui was great, because it was warm, but not extremely hot (… most of the time). There was a beach right in front of the building, too, which was fantastic because we all love to body surf!

The Sock hikes up to see the Iao needle (which I kept calling the “Iao space needle”. The Sock was not amused. I am such a dork sometimes), where it was more of a tourist than I was. I refused to let my parents take a picture of me and The Faery in front of the Needle, but I’ll happily preform camera acrobatics to get The Sock into the shot. Oy.

Not a Sock picture, but too pretty not to share! We went to the Maui Tropical Plantation, and since it was Eye Candy Friday, I thought it appropriate to post. This is a subspecies of Bird of Paradise, or Strelitzia reginae, for those who like Latin names of things. These things grow EVERYWHERE here. I find it amusing that this particular plant is, in fact, not native to the state of Hawaii…

After the plantation is was off to Waimea Bay, which is, in my opinion, one of the best beaches on Maui:

Lots of smooth white sand, great waves, and tide pools, too (although you can’t see them in the picture, they’re there. And they’re huge)! The sock also had a great time:

More in the second post, because WordPress isn’t letting me type all of what I wrote here. Continue on!

25 July, 2007

Aloha!

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:42 pm by rynserenity

Hello, everyone! The Knerdy Knitter is back from her vacation! Did you guys miss me? I missed reading all of your blogs. I have so much to catch up on! Not to mention the mountain of e-mail I have to read and respond to, and all the other domestic things one needs to do when you’ve been on vacation for two weeks. I can’t remember if I said already, but I was in the beautiful state of Hawaii for two weeks, first Maui, then Oahu.

Before I forget, a big “Mahalo!” to AntChris, who provided guest-blogs while I was away. I asked her extremely last minute to guest-blog, and she did a wonderful job! I had a lot of fun reading what she had to say on the fibre arts. Also, my spinning isn’t as good as she says it is, but I definately think it’s usable. I’m looking at Nereides from the latest MagKnits to knit with it, but I’m not sure if I spun quite enough for it. Maybe some pattern modification is in order…

I’m still extremely jet-lagged (My first flight flew out of Hawaii at 12:30, and I arrived at home after midnight), and my camera’s memory card is completely full, so no pictures of current projects. Sorry, guys! A full travel report later, but here are some highlights:

-Went to the Maui Aquarium and saw the most adorable octopus ever.
-Ate fresh, hot malasadas (which are these Portuguese donut-type thingies) from Leonard’s bakery.
-Was shocked to discover that apparently, knitting is not as popular in Hawaii as it is in California, as evidenced by a frightening lack of yarn shops.
-Came within ten feet of three (yes, three) green sea turtles.
-Knit on the beach.
-Turned the heel of my first sock (the first Pool Sock is almost complete!).
-Ate approximately my own body weight in fresh pineapple.

More later, guys! Right now, I have some errands to run. Hopefully, my pictures will be uploaded, and I can give a travel report, complete with Traveling Sock pictues, a la Ms. Harlot. Until later!

PS. I just got my Ravelry invite! It’s a great site. I’m having fun exploring it, and looking at all the different projects on there. Who else is on Ravelry? Give a shout out so I can add you to my Friends list!

21 July, 2007

Spindles Etc.

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:30 pm by rynserenity

Still AntChris here — your real Knerdy Knitter will be back soon (the 25th or so). Meanwhile, let’s try to write a shorter post this time!

spindle.jpg

These are the implements of torture. Medieval, aren’t they?

No, it is not torture, but it does require patience to learn. The silly string you see coiled up there is the first, rough, play-with-it draft of something that will one day be yarn. But not anytime soon.

I’m a big fool-around-with-it-until-you-get-the-hang-of-it person, so I let it get wider and narrower and run out and go back and pull it all apart and start it all again. Ryn, of course, immediately started spinning out beautiful, even, usable yarn — I mean right away! I’d be jealous except that there’d be no point.

That first guest post was clearly too long, so I’ll summarize what I’m hoping to solicit from knowledgeable readers. Topics:

– Reweaving (repairing holes in knitted pieces).

– Loom weaving (of woolen yarn).

– Shearing-to-finished-product processing and dyeing of the fiber by old-fashioned, natural means.

– Ah yes! Real Knitter jokes, if there are any (or if anyone has made one up).

There are a few more offerings: One, I was just wondering how old knitting is, and thanks to the existence of search engines, I can tell you:

It depends on how you define “knitting” (surprise surprise). But this is a very interesting page on the antiquity and archeology of these things. Sounds like the art had been going for a long time before the date of these samples — between 1000 and 1400 CE (=AD more or less) — since the patterns and techniques are already sophisticated, and we know textiles don’t preserve well (so the older ones have disintegrated).
She also mentions nalbinding, which I have done some of, but with very fine-gauge silver wire. You pull the knit piece (tubular, “knit” around a dowel) through a draw plate (used for drawing out plain wire to a finer gauge) and it collapses it down to “Viking knit” chain, which has a lovely herringbone pattern. If I can get a picture, I’ll post it.

Nalbinding was originally for making clothing, and I can attest, it’s easy.

I’m sure the original knitting needles weren’t made of metal but of wood or bone. I was thinking it would be fun to have some of those.  Ah, the good old days.  I’m just an old-fashioned girl… like, upper Paleolithic…

15 July, 2007

Guest-Blogging?

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:03 pm by rynserenity

Indeed, it is. For this was the title of the email I recently received from my Knerdy Kniece, proprietress of this here blog — she was leaving for the airport in 15 mins. and said oh by the way, can you guest-blog while I’m away? Eeek. Well, I have been contemplating the blogging life — it is of course the money that draws me — but have no actual experience. Until this very moment! So yay for new experiences.

I am (as you may have guessed) the auntie of the Knerdy Knitter, and have appeared once or twice in the comments as AntChris. (Haven’t yet found a little ant image to use as an icon, but I assure you I will.) Her lucky mother is my sister (I’m lucky to be related as I am to both of them, and I’m not just saying that!). Although I was a participant in the lesson KK recently wrote up for you on learning to spin using a drop spindle, I am not a Real Knitter (though that opens the way for a series of Real Knitter jokes — “Real Knitters don’t ****, they ****!”). My starter stuff is still in the bag.

I plead the 40-hour week, and some other interests, including:

plant5.jpg

…waaayyyyyyy too much of this!!! Yes, sitting around watching plants grow is my consuming hobby.

No, as you guessed, it is the photography thing. For the last year, since the summer solstice of ’06 in fact, I have had a terrible vulnerability to seeing the photos that are everywhere around us almost all the time. Actually TAKING those photos is another story, but I see them and am seized by the need to try to get the shot, even if it’s impossible. At least, with this camera (a reasonably good point-and-shoot digital). I grew up in the Pentax single-lens-reflex world and cannot afford the digital version (yet).

I had not really done photography in years and then for some reason — yes, suddenly last summer!! — I was walking around going: Oh my god, the light! Look what the light is doing now! The light!!! I felt like I was going crazy. But since the little digital is nothing if not portable, I made a solemn pact with myself to carry it around and force myself to take those shots when I see them. There is a poignant quality to it as I quickly came to realize that whatever incredible thing the light is doing, it will no longer be doing it in about two minutes. You have to catch these moments right away, before they fade. In fact I sometimes think there is a confrontation with mortality in what drives all this, but no matter — this is a cheery blog and I’m not going to go against that!

So — much of my personal obsessiveness is going to the photons these days. It’s like being a cattle rancher, only I have to rustle up and herd, well, photons. Gee yup!! (Actually they don’t need much help moving along, they’re pretty speedy.) Or am I fishing in the photon stream? I’ll get back to you when I decide.

But I have been thinking of what to bring to the knitting table, as it were, and I do have a couple of things. First, reweaving: When the evil little moths chew a hole in your favorite (especially heathered) sweater, what is the procedure? I have heard that those with skill can take a yarn that is close in color and gauge and somehow work it in, but I am dubious. And if the yarn is a distinctive heathered one, I become even more dubious. Now that I have had a taste of spinning, I realize that it might be possible to actually spin some stuff that resembles the stuff in the sweater — but maybe that’s going too far, unnecessary.

So I throw it open to you, dear knitters. Have you “rewoven” a hole in a favorite piece? How? Did you use a plain colored yarn on a heathered piece, and if so did it matter? Did it blend in anyway? Do you think it would be too obsessive to try to heather something up on the drop spindle if the wounded sweater or whatever seemed to demand it, or would you say that nothing is too obsessive for knitters? AntChris awaits your answers with fingers drumming absently on her keyboard.

Secondly: I have always (okay, for years) wanted to attend one of those events where they basically take you from the sheep to the sweater. You know, you start out by shearing the barnyard animal, and go through carding and some other things before you spin, knit and whatever other perverse thing you’re going to do to the poor fiber. I know that the Heifer Project (which is an indescribably worthy charity, by the way) does a lambing-season thing in the spring — women fly in to their HQ, in Tennessee I think, and stay for a few days and do the lambing thing as well as the sequence I’m thinking of. But, that’s a bit far away from the Bay! And once at the Little Farm in our own Tilden Park, there was a similar event — but I saw the posting for it after it had happened. (Snaps fingers.)

So, question two is: Has anyone done — or does anyone know of — something like this? Anything to recommend? I could skip the actual shearing, I guess, and start with the sheared wool. But I am curious to know more about all these processes. And hands-on is good. Especially with stuff that people, and particularly women, have been doing for thousands and thousands of years.

Speaking of which: I was recently rereading a book with Navajo cultural elements in it (Zelazny’s Eye of Cat actually) and really thought about the fact that all those great Native rugs and blankets are made of wool, too, but it’s woven. On looms. So while I’m throwing things out there, I’ll also ask: Anyone ever do that? Any weaving? What was that like? Do you know the difference between a backstrap loom and a, er, non-backstrap one? (Maybe that would be a frame one?) Anything about that would also be of interest. And you get bonus points if you know anything about using organic/vegetable dyes on the wool!

So that’s three, um, four questions for you all (no one expects the Knitting Inquisition!!). Please answer in the comments — any responses will be greatly appreciated. AntChris thanks you all for your readership and consideration by waving her antennae around in a vaguely meaningful sort of way! In your general direction, of course. (She also promises to post more diligently in future.)

Ciao for now!

9 July, 2007

Cancer Birthday!

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:44 pm by rynserenity

Today, this the 9th of July, my darling boyfriend celebrated his 17th birthday:

(that’s right, ladies. See the ring on his finger? He’s MINE.) Anywho, since it’s his 17th birthday, here are seventeen reasons why The Faery is a great boyfriend, and therefore blog-worthy:

1. Because of the fact that he rarely wears sweaters/scarves/hats/etc, he forces me to knit him new an creative things, thus stretching my knitterly imagination.
2. He will happily go to the yarn store with me, just because it makes me happy, and he likes to see me smile.
3. He is the only straight man I know who knows all the words to all the songs in “Rent”.
4. Evilest. Dungeon Master. EVER.
5. Even though he admits he’s not the greatest dancer, he’ll dance with me anyway, because he knows I love to dance.
6. He is an endless supply of energy, and never ceases to entertain me (or annoy me, depending on how much sleep I’ve gotten).
7.  He likes romantic comedies as much as I do, and will happily see them with me.
8. He can kick my ass in chess any day of the week
9. He once asked several random strangers if they thought I was pretty, just to prove to me that he wasn’t “just biased because I’m your boyfriend.”
10. He writes really beautiful poetry
11. Some of that poetry is for me
12. Unlike most teenage boys, he does NOT have only one thing on his mind.
13. He loves walking in the rain with me
14. The Faery apparently has no shame, because there are many, many pictures on my hard drive that I won’t share with you, to spare him some dignity.
15. He cross-dressed very well.
16. He looks absolutely adorable in the morning, bed-head and all.
17. He loves and cares for me very deeply, and would do almost anything to ensure my happiness.

Happy birthday, darling. Here’s to many, many more wonderful birthdays, and the hopes that I get to share them with you.

Love, Ryn

PS. To all the other people who read the blog, this is what the chocolate leaves were for:

(let me tell you, I was so frustrated that The Faery was turning a prime number this year…)

8 July, 2007

Don’t Rain on my Parade

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:31 pm by rynserenity

Or rather, “don’t shine on my parade”, I guess. Today was, as it often is in the Bay Area, foggy and cold. And I loved every minute of it. I love the cold, “dreary” weather. I think it’s great. I love to be out in it, and I love to curl up inside with my knitting and/or a movie, too. So, I enjoyed myself thoroughly today. Here’s how I spent my afternoon:

Yup. Makin’ chocolate leaves. It’s The Faery’s birthday tomorrow, and they’re for his birthday cake (he doesn’t read the blog, luckily. The cake’s a surprise). It was fun, and surprisingly easy. I’d totally make them again for a dessert! Trying to get the baking sheet into the refrigerator was an interesting exercise in creativity…

Once the leaves were safely in the refrigerator, I sat down to knit on the Snowdrop Shawl (of course I washed my hands first! What am I, crazy?). I’m very pleased with how the border’s coming along:

The border pattern is really simple and easy to memorize. I’ve learned how to “read” the pattern, and I can see how one row builds on top of another. It’s fun. I think it’ll go by fairly quickly.

I haven’t said much about it on the blog, but my family and I are planning a trip to Hawaii, and we’re leaving on Tuesday, so as I was knitting, I was thinking about what projects I would bring along. “Hmm, shawls are good travel knitting. I could knit this on the plane, and still be engaged enough to talk to my parents and The Faery (he’s coming, too! Yay!), and I’ll have lots of time…” Then I remembered. The shawl’s on metal needles. They won’t let me bring it on the plane. Damn. Enter The New Project:

No, it’s not another sock. It’s the Boulder Belt, from Knitty. I’m knitting it for The Faery’s birthday. Yeah, I know. His birthday’s tomorrow. I’m never going to finish it in time. There was a mix-up as to what exactly I was getting him for his birthday, and this was kind of a last-minute purchase. The yarn is Allhemp3, by Lanaknits, in this beautiful kind of grey/sage/blue kind of colour. It almost shifts and changes in different light. Kind of like The Faery’s eyes, I suppose…

Anywho, the astute among you will notice something… off about the beginning of the project. Yeah, remember that whole “join, being careful not to twist” thing? Whoops. I twisted. So, I must frog and re-cast on. Luckily, I was only three rows into the damn thing when I noticed the mistake. I may just cast on again tomorrow, though. The hemp yarn and the teeny-tiny US 0’s hurt my hands a wee bit. I think I’ll go take a knitting break and go read the Harlot’s new book (yes, I finally got my hands on a copy of it, as well as the newest Interweave Knits. I must knit a few of those patterns! They will be mine!) Lastly, here’s a picture that would make the Harlot herself proud:

All three of my current WIP’s (Snowdrop Shawl, Pool Socks, and Boulder Belt) together in the chair that sits at my art desk in my studio area. Sort of inspiring, ain’t it?

7 July, 2007

Ack!

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:29 pm by rynserenity

Sorry, guys. Life got away from me, and it got away fast. Some stuff came up, and I’ve been away from my computer, my camera, and *gasp!* my knitting for the past four days or so. I’ll be coming back home today, so I can (hopefully) get pictures of my knitting up, so I can show you what I’ve been working on.

Just as a quick update: I picked up all the stitches for the border of the Snowdrop Shawl (Over 400 stitches! Someone kill me now), and have worked just about two repeats of the border. I’ve got a long way to go, but at least the border is really easy to memorize, and knits up fairly quickly. Yay!

Not much progress on the Pool Socks. I’m about two inches away from turning the heel, and I remembered why I hate DPN’s so much. Maybe I’ll try Magic Loop for the next pair I knit… I like trying new techniques, and I want to see which side of the debate I stand on. Hmm…

I think that’s it for now. I need to pack my things up. I’ll be heading home soon, so I’ll edit this to add pictures when I get the chance. Just thought I’d give you an “I’m alive!” post. Until later, dear knitters!

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