Dec 30, 2011

the pom-pom that ate the world

Christmas is over, which is always very bittersweet in my books. As much as I love spending time with family, watching everyone opening gifts, the treats, opening my own gifts, the lights, the music... it's nice to have some peace and quiet. For the first time in over a week, I am all alone at home. I'm enjoying a West Wing marathon (thanks to husband for the complete series!), knitting, and drinking ALL of the coffee. Wonderful!

My mother received a pair of socks (along with the Boulder Flatirons woven shawl), which I had started for me, but had languished in my WIP pile for the last half of this year until shortly before Christmas, when I decided to pick them up again. When I did, I realized that the colors were very much my mom's colors and that she would love them. Thankfully, we have similarly sized feet, so they ended up fitting perfectly!

What I love most about them is that they are all-season socks. The yarn was a custom dye from String Theory Colorworks based on my favorite fruit of summer: watermelon. Knitting them in the summer, they just screamed juicy watermelons! When I picked them up in December, though, they were very clearly (girly) Christmas socks! What fun!

Knitty Gritty: Plain vanilla socks, knit 2AAT toe-up with afterthought heels. Yarn: String Theory Colorworks Inertia in Lanatus.

The other Christmas-related FO was finished Christmas Eve Eve, so just in time. I haven't blocked it yet, nor added a name. I plan to make one of these (in different patterns) for husband, myself and my mom as well, so I figure I'll do the annoying stitching of the names all at once. My dad's stocking:

This went fast. I think it took maybe a week of non-monogamous knitting. I probably could have finished it in three days, to be honest. I used Bartlett Yarns Fisherman 2-ply Aran for all of it, which was a treat. According to the website, the mill has been around since 1821, and the yarn was beautifully rustic - it had that real sheepy smell. I mean that in the best of ways. I would take breaks from knitting and just shove my nose into the yarn cake to breathe deep the wonderful smell of wool. Obviously, it knit up beautifully as well.

Knitty Gritty: Pattern is Holly Christmas Stocking, which is also available as a kit with Bartlett Yarns yarn. Used Bartlett Yarns Fisherman 2-ply in Cranberry, Spruce Heather and Lt. Sheep Grey. I chose the afterthought heel option (pattern also offers a short-row heel option). 

I also finished my sockhead hat a while ago (just never took a photo, as it went straight from finishing to my head). I stopped a lot earlier than the pattern said to, just because I got sick of the endless stockinette. As dull as the pattern is, I do love the hat a great deal and plan to make another one soon!

Knitty Gritty: Pattern is Sockhead Hat, knit in Sanguine Gryphon Eidos in Alcibiades. Used size US 2 needles, and stopped after about 6" of stockinette (rather than 9). 

I have a random FO to show. Random, because I hadn't planned on working on it this past week, or even casting it on. Christmas day, I went to go check on the goose (we cooked it using a steam-roast method), which was steaming on the stovetop. I opened the foil a little and naturally burned the fuck out of my fingers. I'm talking giant blisters, intense pain, and a need to look up the different degrees of burns. The worst part - you know, other than the searing pain - was that the worst burn was on my left index finger. My tension finger. The finger I need in order to keep tension/gauge when knitting. Fuck. After a day, the pain had subsided and I figured I could knit with the giant bandage on. I was a little worried about tension and working on something with an already established gauge, so I cast on a hat in some bulky yarn, then finished it the next day (gotta love those instant gratification projects!).

Then I decided it needed a pom. A big one.

Now, this photo shows the pom-pom after a significant amount of trimming. At the beginning, it was larger than the hat. There is no doubt that it is still far to large, but I love it.

Knitty Gritty: Pattern is Bicycle Wheels (although somewhat modified, as I didn't get anywhere close to gauge - no I didn't swatch, but I could tell from the get-go). Yarn used is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Icelandic, which was a DREAM to work with and has me wanting to buy a truck load more. The colorway is Banded Agate, my personal favorite of BMFA. 

I have several new WIPs on the needles:

Some vanilla socks in the Agatha Christie colorway from Schaefer Yarn Company (base is Heather), which goes along with my current read-a-thon of all of Agatha Christie's books, in order. I started these socks as I was reading The Secret of Chimneys (obviously), but have since finished it and am on to one of my all-time favorites, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (if you haven't read it, go do so now. It's brilliant). I'm going to try and knit as many Agatha Christie inspired projects as I can this next year (not exclusively, but will try to always have something on the needles!).

I can't tell you what pattern this is, as it is a surprise for Heidi. The yarn is her own - Grant Creek Yarns in Northern Lights on the Glimmer base (so much prettier in person. it's gloomy here today, so the photo is crap). This is the last photo of it until they're finished and in her hands, or rather, on her feet :)

Phew. It's been busy here at chez nelago, even with the holidays! I'm kind of impressed with myself for getting WIPs taken care of, and not going overboard on casting on new things. Hopefully the new year will be just as productive!

Dec 16, 2011

That's a lot of yardage!

That's what she said.

Sorry, couldn't help it.

It's time for an update on my weight loss progress! Since December 1st, I have lost drumroll:

21.8 skeins of sock yarn!!! 

yeah, that's almost 5 pounds. I'm pretty damn proud of myself, and am feeling pretty motivated to lose the fluff! 

In other news, I got a surprise package in the mail today from the lovely and talented Claudia of Wollmeise - two gorgeous skeins of yarn as a Merry Christmas and thanks for being a moderator of the group. I'm so blown away by the kindness and thoughtfulness! Lookit the pretties:

Both are two newer colors - unbeschreiblich on top, and Holly on the bottom. Also, both are pretty impossible to photograph... they're so much prettier in person! Claudia is fantastic :) 

Lastly (for now), the kitties wish you all Happy Holidays...

... and humbly request someone bring them some effing tuna-flavored egg nog, NOW. 

Dec 10, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

This is my favorite time of year. It starts with thanksgiving - the zenith of holiday meals - which moves directly into that bright and cheery, sparkly lit commercialized bonanza known as "the holidays." AKA christmas! I am that person who flips on the christmas music radio station the day after thanksgiving and then doesn't switch it off until they go back to playing shitty easy listening. I am also the person who leaves christmas lights on for half the year, the tree up until February and has all her shopping done by Dec 1st. I am the person most of you hate. I don't give a rat's ass. Hate away, it's the hap-happiest season of all, and I'm having a wonderful time.

I've recently been in the mood to knit stupid socks. As in, socks where novelty outweighs functionality. My christmas socks are prime example. They are based on the British holiday dessert christmas pudding - a boiled or steamed plum (or dried fruit) pudding that is often left to dry in a bag on a hook for weeks. Sounds delicious, right? Don't worry, it is then doused in brandy, set on fire, and then drizzled with a sweet cream sauce. Not quite as bad. I mean, anything that involves both booze and fire gets at least one thumb up in my book. While I did some growing up in England, and grew to love their food, I have to admit that the British desserts kind of baffle me (except for treacle pudding - that shit is pure gold). I had originally planned on making a hat based on this, but couldn't find a pattern that was sized for an adult*. If I was going to 'design' my own christmas pudding accessory, of course it had to be socks! I adapted the artichoke ankle sock pattern to make it look more like frosting, added on some holly and voilĂ , christmas pudding sock.

Oh yeah, they're that cute in person.
knitty gritty - adapted pattern (links above). brown: wollmeise twin in ebenholz; white: wollmeise twin in natur; green: wollmeise twin in 'oh tannenbaum'; red: wollmeise twin in ruby thursday. Added an extra repeat to the artichoke pattern to fit my big ol' feet. Used an afterthought heel and my generic toe.

In the spirit of the season, I am also knitting Kristin Benecken's 2011 Advent Shawl (Rav page). I wanted to knit last year's, but just didn't have the mojo for it. This year was shaping up similarly, but then I just went for it. Yes, it is taking up a lot of my knitting time. Yes, I am already a few days behind. However, I have made a lot of progress, I am using beads for the first time ever (LOVE), I am using stash yarn and the patterns are really fun! It's neat to get a different stitch pattern every day, and I really like the stitch sampler look of the shawl. I kind of feel like I deserve a parade for using stash yarn. I had REALLY wanted to knit this in a christmasy red, but didn't have any in my stash. Normally, I would just buy some, but I'm trying to turn a corner here, and that means not just buying when I have stuff that will work. So I went with the gorgeous DyeForWool silk/baby camel/merino blend in Hugin & Mugin that I had in my stash. The color works well for the shawl, as it reminds me of a cold winter's night (and I picked beads to look like snow). It is also impossible to photograph, but whatever. Here are the first two days (I am now on day 8):

I'm hoping to have it finished by the end of the month (by christmas would be great, but that may be impossible). The yarn is so fucking soft, I am going to lurve this shawl when it is finished! Of course, now I am queuing up a ton of other shawls with beads...

Which brings me to this: from Jan 1st through Feb 14th, the Wollmeiseholics group on ravelry will be having a big KAL (knit-a-long). Yeah, I'm organizing it, so this is of course a bit of self-promotion, but it'll also be fun. Details are in this thread. For it, I am finally going to start the evenstar shawl I have been planning on knitting for over a year now. I will knit it in Wollmeise Lacegarn in himbeere (PINK. very very PINK), and already have the beads for it. We'll see how it goes...

*Why is it that all the funny, cute, silly, goofy, kind of novelty hat patterns are sized for babies? Do designers think that adults wouldn't wear a hat that looks like a cooked turkey? Do they not realize that holidays = drinking heavily = perfect time to wear hats that make us look total asses?