Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Age of Brass and Steam

I love this pattern.

 There are different kinds of knitters. There those are who knit to meditate, those who knit for the end product, and those who knit to learn a new process. There may be other types out there, but these are enough for our purposes. I'm a process knitter. I look at some knitting pattern and think “I want to make that.” The product knitters think “I want to have that.” I want to learn a new trick or technique with each new project. But I have found a pattern that I'm willing to make more than once. It’s The Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief.

I was going on a trip and needed something simple to knit while talking to people. I ran across this pattern and thought it would suit my hand painted yarn. Trip knitting found. I cast on while on the flight there and bound off a few days later. It was as close to instant gratification as you get with knitting, not counting baby booties. So when, on a Tuesday, I realized I didn’t have a Mother’s day gift for that Sunday I bought pretty green skein of yarn and cast on. It was done and blocked by Saturday, but I’d blocked it crooked. So I reblocked it, and still had it done in time for Mother’s day.

It's fast, easy, but not boring. Perfect!
I’ve not blocked the hand painted one, yet. I’ve a while before I’ll see the friend for whom it’s intended. But, once I’ve given it away, I’ll be sure to post pictures.

I may end up knitting a bunch more of these. I’m so confused; I never want to make the same thing twice. Heck, I'm no stranger to the dreaded second sock syndrome (takes a week to make the first sock, takes a year to make the second, or maybe it never gets made). And now I’ve made two of these shawlettes and want to cast on another.

I think I have a bronze or silver colored yarn that would really bring out the steam punk inherent in the design. To the stash!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My true enemies revealed.

I got skin tested for allergies today. They scratched my back, and then shot allergens into my arms. I willingly underwent this procedure. My allergies have gotten that bad.  Worse, I had to be off allergy medicine for the past three days.
I've been spinning, and I've got pictures of a shawl to show you. I made it for my mom for Mother's Day. But not this week. This week I'm going to eat ice cream while cursing dander, dust mites, and mold. Excuse me, I've got to go shake my fist at the air some more.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

stream of consciousness: cleaning and coffee

I spent two hours Thursday, and two hours tonight, cleaning the craft room. I've found that 1 cup of coffee = two hours motivation. It's almost ten o'clock at night, and I'm contemplating having another cup. It is Saturday.

I'm happy to be staying in on a Saturday night to clean. Is that grown-up, sad, or just OCD?

I've been to three graduations in three weeks. None of them were in Austin. One weekend also included a bridal shower and a wedding. I'm happy and proud for my family and friends, but now I've got to repay the cleaning debt created while playing out of town. I've a room, with all my cool arts and crafts stuff in it, and I've been avoiding it because there's been no floor. I'd really like to use it.

My mom's mother's day gift is pinned out on my blocking board, and it's sitting on the floor of the living room. If I found floor in the craft room, it could go there. I could turn the fan on, leave it there to dry, and not have to worry about tripping over it.

The two hours on Thursday I cleaned out the closet. I can now walk into the walk-in closet, and do so with out fear of being taken out by a stray wooden sword.

The second two hours I dealt with paper. I have acquired SO much paper. For our purposes "paper" is defined as tickets (from trips and concerts), correspondence (Christmas cards, invitations to weddings/showers/birthdays), and miscellaneous (patterns printed from online, receipts, magazine pictures, pretty postcards). I like to have firm proof that I went to this or that movie/wedding/country and when, and so I keep these bits and pieces. I have a terrible memory, so I feel if I hang on to this stuff I'll have a greater chance of remembering it. I'd also like to someday do some scrap-booking. I think.

It makes me think of Labyrinth, where the pack rat Muppet carries around a bunch of garbage on her back. I should get rid of most of it, but it's a bit like going through your old toys. I pick up a random piece of paper, remember that shower/birthday/concert and how much fun it was, and then put it back into the pile.

I am going to have that cup of coffee. The room doesn't have to be spotless, but I want to have the gift blocking in the middle of the floor by the time I go to bed. That's not going to happen without another cup of motivation.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


This past weekend DH and I went to Denver, Colorado to visit a friend who was graduating. It was a blast! We saw the midnight showing of Avengers, got mani/pedis, ate like there was no tomorrow, survived a completely unexpected hail storm, saw Avengers, again, and we were generally rather silly. We also made it to a LYS by the name of Lamb Shoppe. Here are the pictures to prove it.

Upon entering the shop:
 They had lots of cool stuff as you ventured deeper into the store:
Buttons, lots of them!
Wall of needles.

They also stashed needles on the end caps. Tricky.
I love that they have a ladder on rails to reach yarn.
One of my great aunts used to make dresses like these.
I’m not sure if I love or hate them but they make my hands cramp in sympathy.

Coffee, Tea, and Yarn! I've found heaven.
They were out of caramel so, instead of the caramel sheep, I had a regular mocha. Super tasty!
A hedgehog blanket and matching sweater! I’m in love.
I wish I'd gotten the name of this pattern.

It's reversible. How cool is that?

There was a tucked away staircase. It didn't go far.

But it was a place where kids could draw on the walls while you yarn shop.
While I’m not sure about the altitude, as a knitter, I could survive in Denver. They have a yarn store with COFFEE and TEA in it! And it’s good, too. If you are ever that way, you should stop by.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Daydream, meet Reality.

I wrote about the designing class I took a few weeks ago, but the result didn’t feel right so I didn’t post it. I’ve thought it over since, so I’ve taken another stab at it.

I had high hopes for the Designing for Beginners class. I’d just taken the dyeing class and I felt I was moving forward in my quest for fiber mastery. One of the many things I’ve daydreamed* about being is a knitwear designer. It blends my love of creating with my love of yarn – and I'd get paid for it. Best of all possible worlds, right? So, when I saw that there was a beginning designer class, I jumped at the chance to take it. And then I hit the wall formed when daydream meets the real world.

I thought I was going to a technical class. I’d thought I’d be learning about how to choose a collar on a sweater or recommendations for stitch patterns that are the most flattering for pear shaped women. I thought it would be about helping me on my way to figuring out designs that worked. Perhaps we’d get suggestions to keep us from accidentally designing a sack with sleeves and calling it a sweater. That was not the class I took.

The class I attended was much more business focused. We covered the importance of technical editors. We talked about creating and submitting proposals to yarn companies. We learned a whole bunch about the online world of publishing and tips and tricks to get our designs noticed. All these things are important to know. And I am certain the knowledge and guidance that Elizabeth, from Dark Matter Knits, imparted will be invaluable. But I’ve got one crochet accessory pattern and part of a blanket pattern worked out. I’m not there yet.

I don’t want to leave you with the impression that I didn’t enjoy the class. I did. The cross pollination of ideas was inspiring, and the look behind the scenes was informative. But I feel like there’s this chasm between where I am now and being a professional designer. I’m working on building a bridge to cross it; I’m taking classes, learning more about fiber and the fabric it creates, and collecting ideas for patterns. The class pointed out how far I’ve got to go. I’m not as far along as I thought I was.

*I’ve also daydreamed about becoming a professional model, or actress. I know better than to think too hard about making those a reality. Being the height I am, never mind my weight, makes the first idea an impossibility, and the second highly unlikely.