Sunday, February 25, 2007


Last week we had some great weather: it almost convinced me spring was actually on the way. Mother Nature is a jokester that way. More ice, sleet, rain, and snow yesterday and today. Campus is a covered in huge puddles and piles of slush, making me want to stay in and knit. The first picture is a view from the student union, and the second is on the other side of campus, between some dorms and the cafeteria. If you look close you can see the sidewalk that's under at least 6 inches of water.

I finished the swatch for Thermal, and I'm really liking the feel of the Knitpicks Gloss yarn. Soft and sort of delicate because of its weight, but the silk gives it a nice sheen and almost a bit of a crunch when you touch it. I had gauge before I washed it, but because of some of the experiences over at the Thermal KnitalongI went ahead and made a real swatch, washing and all. It grew by 2 stitches over 4 inches, so I'm staying with the 36 inch bust size and trying to knit normally (since I heard the designer is a loose knitter and I tried to knit looser - my way of getting around buying more needles).

And yes, the mittens are lonely and unfinished. Poor unfinished mittens. I will finish you, my friends. I promise.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Adventures in the City, Part 2

Yesterday the Art Department took a field trip to Chicago to visit the Art Institute and some other galleries in the area, and I had a really good time, minus one very disgruntled security guard. This was my first time to the museum since starting to study painting seriously, so I found myself looking at the paintings in a whole new way, trying to figure out how they did it.

We took the whole day, but it was still rushed and I didn't see even half of what I wanted to. It was great, and also a good excuse to leave campus (I've been saying that a lot, haven't I?). I got a lot more excited about painting, though, and I think I want to pursue it more, even after school. I don't think I'm that great or anything, but I think I would like to try to figure out something to say and then say it through paint.

Anyway, on the knitting front, one down, seven to go. The yarn for Thermal is finally here and I'm going to start swatching while I finish up those mittens. Poor mittens, having to compete with a new project. I realized the other day that in spite of all the knitting I do, I don't have any sweaters that I made that I actually wear. So I'm hoping this one is different. Cross your fingers for me.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Adventures in the City

Last weekend Guy and I trekked up to Chicago to see DePaul University's production of The Last Five Years. It felt nice to get off campus for awhile, see some new places, and actually see a play where we don't know everyone in the cast. Not that I don't like seeing plays with friends in them, but it was a nice change of pace.

I think the theater is a converted school and it still has a lot of its institutional feel in the hallways. But the theater the show was in felt professional and intimate. I thought the set was really interesting, most of the costumes were right on, and the script had a really great, well told story that was emotional in all the right ways and places. Definitely check out a production of it if you get the chance.

I'm plugging away on the Broadstreet Mittens: once I finish I'll reward myself with starting Thermal. Let me tell you, though: when doing major modifications to a pattern like I'm doing with this one (using worsted weight instead of sock yarn and trying to fit smaller than average hands) take notes! I winged it the first time and it turned out great. Now I just have to do it again.

School always gets in the way: the drawing in the background is by Dorothea Tanning, the American artist I'm doing my research project on this term. Actually, I'm focusing my paper on this piece right here. I love her quality of line and sense of movement. Plus, her life is so interesting. More on that later.

I'm really interested in Larissa's Recycle Along, especially with inspiration like this, this, and this. Makes me want to run to Goodwill right now and swipe all those sweaters I like nothing about except the color. All I need is some time to make cool things like that and some space to put them.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Happy Valentine's Day! A bit late, but if you really think about it, it's always time for love.

I'm always a sucker for hearts, so I whipped up this cute little thing. A quick little valentine, something to warm your sweetie's heart. And hands. Heat up the bag of rice, stick it in the pocket of the heart, and it will retain heat long enough to keep your hand warm in your pocket.

Finished Measurements: 4" by 3.5"

*Patons Classic Merino in Bright Red, less than one skein
*Size 7 needles
*Tapestry needle
*Sewing thread
*Sewing needle
*Small button.
*Small amounts of fabric.
*A small amount of cotton stuffing
*Long grain rice

Gauge: 20 stitches by 26 rows = 4" square


Front: CO 3 sts.
Row 1: (and all uneven rows): (WS) purl.
Row 2: k1, m1, k1, m1, k1.
Row 4: *k1, m1, repeat from * to last stitch, k1.
Row 6: k1, m1, knit to last stitch, m1, k1.
Row 8: k1, m1, k1, m1, knit to last 2 stitches, m1, k1, m1, k1.
Row 10-16: Repeat Row 6.
Row 18-22: Knit all stitches.
Row 24: k1, ssk, k5, k2tog, k1, turn. (Each top of the heart will be worked individually.)
Row 26: Knit all 9 stitches (all the stitches on the right side of the heart).
Row 28: k1, ssk, k3, k2tog, k1.
Row 30: ssk, slip 1, k2tog, psso, k2tog.
Row 32: BO3.
Repeat Rows 24-32 for the other side of the top of the heart.

Back: Work as for the front, except:
Row 18: k7, BO8, k7.
Row 19: p7, CO8, p7.
After completing the heart, pick up and knit 10 stitches from the CO edge of the pocket in the middle of the heart. You will now work a pocket flap down over the pocket (working towards the original CO edge). Work back and forth in 2 x 2 ribbing for 8 rows. On the 8th row, make a yo button hole in the middle of the flap. Work 2 more rows in pattern.

Sew the two sides of the heart together. Using the heart as a guide, trace a heart shape on the fabric. You will need 4 heart pieces of fabric. Sew two of them together, stuffing slightly. I put this little sachet in the front of the knitted heart to help it keep its shape. Sew the other two fabric pieces together, adding rice, but do not overfill: the sachet should be movable and slightly limp. I put this sachet in the back of the heart. To heat, put the sachet of rice in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and it should stay warm for about half an hour in the heart. Do not warm the knitted piece or stuffed sachet in the microwave, only the sachet of rice.

Enjoy! I certainly had fun working up this quick little valentine, and Guy seems to enjoy it as well. Who knows when it will finally warm up around here. More snow last night and more due later. Oh well, we have the Heartwarmers!

Friday, February 9, 2007

Six Weird Things

Because everyone else is doing it and I want to feel like a legitimate knitting blogger, I'll give the 6 weird things meme a try. Although, like most of the others, it took me awhile to find sufficiently weird things that weren't overly embarrassing or awkward.

1. I'm nearly always cold. Especially now, but even in the warm weather, if I'm sitting in one place too long I get cold. My hands are the worst and I'm always embarrassed when I have to shake hands with new people.

2. Ever since I was a little kid I've liked to dip my fries in tartar sauce rather than ketchup. Now I'm pretty happy with the ketchup, but if given the chance I'll go for the tartar.

3. Similarly, I usually don't have a problem with burping. That is, until I drink a pop straight from the can. Something about the carbonation makes me go crazy with the burps. I suppose the really weird part is nothing happens when I drink pop in a glass with ice in it.

4. I actually like my retail job. It's around books and cool coworkers, the hours don't suck, and for the most part the customers are nice, interesting, and understanding. At least, most of the time.

5. I was homeschooled until 9th grade, when I was enrolled in a public high school. I never knew anything different until then. In some ways I think homeschooling taught me a lot, but in other ways I'm still struggling with certain aspects of school and interacting with others that I think I would have learned in "real" elementary school.

6. I'm studying for a degree in Education and Studio Art, with plans to teach after graduation. The thing is, I keep having day dreams about being an artist who has shows and gallery space and a studio. And I also want to work in an art museum and design exhibits. I want to travel too and I'm not sure how that would fit in with teaching. So I guess you could say I have a plan with a few backups.

And I'll tag Erin, Evan, and anyone else who hasn't done this yet. Let's all be weird together.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

birthdays, colds, and trying to catch up

Yesterday was Guy's birthday, but since he had class all day and rehearsal until late we didn't celebrate until almost midnight. Roommate and I baked cupcakes and decorated a little, and all around I think it was a good night. I feel so lucky sometimes to have people like them.

I've also caught something of a cold this week and I've been feeling extra tired and lethargic and out of it. Thankfully classes this week weren't terribly demanding.

I've been full of knitting ideas lately and severely lacking in motivation. Stash yarn is crying out to be a pillow, the yarn for Thermal should be along soon, and I need a hat more suited to subzero temperatures. But I'm making myself finish at least something before I start something new.

Also, I've been feeling extra restless. It's still way below freezing here, though warmer than this past weekend. The weather seems to be all that people talk about anymore, especially me. And that makes me feel extra boring. Yep, that's me, the boring knitter, painter, blogger. Don't those kinds of people need to have something to say?

Well I do have something to say (maybe). I'm only 21, but I feel old, and I'm excited to finish school and get life started for real. On the other hand, under that excitement and the endless plans I seem to come up with, I'm afraid. Afraid that I won't like my job, won't be able to pay the rent, won't have cool friends like all the cool 30 something women on TV do, and will certainly never do anything of importance. So for now I'm trying to slow down, to enjoy having a meal plan, movie nights with Roommate, and my parents who occasionally loan me a few bucks.

Goodness, I didn't mean for that to be a downer. I'm just feeling like I'm on the edge of something great. And I can't wait.

The mittens are coming along. I'm down to the fingers now. The weekend is almost here, and I'm hoping to finish them, clean, and get ahead on work for the week. Ha.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

new patterns!

It snowed again last night and today. Large fluffy flakes, covering us with another 3 inches or so. Just enough to freshen up. The campus looks all pretty again. It's still freezing and about to get worse.

There has been a few exciting additions to the free pattern collection online in the last few days. Knitty's Winter surprise went live just a couple of days ago, and I must say I'm impressed. Basically they held back a few patterns from the regular issue that went live in December, and it helps us stay satisfied and interested until the next issue comes out.

Thermal looks like a really great simple pattern and I'm really excited about it. I've been looking for a perfect small gauged sweater and a scoop neck for months! Plus, the recommended yarn is very affordable.

Dragonfly looks really cute on the model and I think the design is really creative and interesting. I'm just not sure if I'd make it for myself.

Elbac is also one of those things I've been looking for. I'm really intrigued by reversible cables, so I might try this one soon with some stash yarn.

I'm not that impressed by Mad River, mostly because they don't seem that different from other mitten patterns I've seen and I'm not looking for patterns specifically for handspun yarn. They are pretty though.

Then over at Magknits, the February issue went live today! Since they're coming out monthly there are fewer patterns than in the quarterly Knitty issues, but there's usually at least a couple promising ones. Here are some highlights:

I like the look of Invested, but in practice I'm a bit wary of bulky yarn across the tummy and my largish bust. I really like how the cables were used though, and might try to modify it for a smaller yarn.

The Strawberry Tea Cosy is ridiculous and kitschy, but I kind of like it. If I had a kitchen, a tea pot, and threw ironic tea parties I just might make it.

The Very Cropped Hoodie is my version of a fashion disaster. Cropped things like that just scream "look at my boobs!" while not keeping the rest of you warm (which makes me cold all over), so I don't get the point. I guess the tweens like 'em though.

All was not lost at the nonmeeting last night: I worked on the zen of all knitting - a garter washcloth.

P.S. I ordered yarn for both Thermal and Eunny's Print o the Wave stole. Now the countdown...