Monday, February 22, 2010

:::Blinking Eyes:::

The Knifty Knitter emerges from her cave of an apartment blinking and rubbing her eyes.

Oi, it's been awhile.

One of the bloggers that I enjoy reading is Lisa Grossman, a.k.a The Tsock Tsarina. Sometimes The Tsarina will be absent from her blog for a rather lengthy period of time. She calls this time "Pattern Purdah," the time of limbo between when her most recent (and always amazing) sock pattern has been written and when it is released to the public. Lisa takes some self imposed time away form her blog to finish the last minute crunch of double checking the design with the test knitters, printing and packaging the pattern, and conferring with her (very talented) dye artist.

I've been in something of a "Pattern Purdah" myself.

Except that it didn't involve a pattern at all.

It involved 60 pages of handouts.

Yep, 60.

There were lots of pictures, but still...

I was writing 60 pages of handouts for a workshop I taught on Saturday called "Ravelry Rules". It was an introductory+ class on how to use Ravelry. I say introductory+ because I covered a bit more than just the basics.

There were about 15 people who took the class and, overall, it seemed to be a success.
This was my first workshop and, while I'm no master, it went easier than I expected. I had a great audience so that helped a lot I think. Now the biggest problem has been how to access the worksheets via the internets. The file is so big I can't send it via email to anyone unless I break it into parts (which I could but I'd rather not). Currently a solution involving posting it somewhere on my website is in the works.

Anyways, all that planning and writing and driving to pick up a projector took up the majority of my week last week. Throw in the fact that the Ravelympics had started and that pretty much left me with no time for anything except knitting and writing and taking screen shots from Ravelry and knitting and writing. Oh, and running around on Saturday morning reformatting the entire packet so that I could print copies for less than $100. But I digress...

So, the knitting. I haz it. In fact I haz a lot of it. I just have to post to the appropriate Ravelympics pages and I'm good to go.

1st Hat of the Ravelympics 2010
Cast on during opening ceremonies and finished on Sunday (I think). This is a generic ribbed hat pattern that I wrote to use in classes and I needed to "test knit" some different sizes. This is a large adult size.

2nd Ravelympics 2010 Hat
Unoriginal Hat for my mom. Made from the same Cascade Eco + as her Irish Hiking scarf that she got for Christmas.

3rd Ravelympics 2010 Hat
A black Unoriginal Hat. I started making this for my future SIL, Brandi, and had almost gotten through the final repeat of the pattern when I realized that she and I had discussed the possibility of doing her hat in a different color other than black (because she already has several black hats). So, I'll make another in the same color as my aunt's Unoriginal Hat and if Brandi wants them both she can have them and if she wants one or the other she can have that too. If she does end up taking the black on I think I'm going to make one for myself. This is a totally classic hat. And, apparently, they are just like potato chips, you can't have/make just one, seeing as how I just finished my 3rd and I'm thinking about making another one.

Tonight on the needles is another "test knit" of my generic ribbed hat pattern in an infant size. The goal for the Ravelympics was to make 5 hats which I think I can reach but originally I had planned to knit a Turn a Square hat. We'll see if that happens. The TaS may be replaced by another "test knit" since they seem to go pretty quick. Or another Unoriginal Hat.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Hello dear knitters! The Knifty Knitter here reporting live from the Georgia edition of Snowpocalypse 2010 (alternatively titled: Snowmaggedon 2010)! You heard about it in New York, you experienced it in D.C., now it's coming to the Southeastern United States!

We begin our coverage early in the morning when the sky looked threatening. Snow was originally predicted to begin at 9 a.m. Would it deliver?
Sadly, no.

Never fear folks! Snowpocalypse's arrival was pushed back until 1. At 11:00 we checked back in to see how things were looking....
I call that "Snow Sky". We've had about 4 months of Snow Sky with little more than flurries. And that one day of ice and crud.

Alright, I will admit, I'm skeptical of any time that snow is forecast for Georgia. For some reason it's never as bad as they predict. We haven't had a significant snowfall in, like, 10 years. I mean, there's not going to be a Snowpocalyse is there?
Gah!!!! Snowpocalypse!!! It's arrived!!!
:::sobs in the fetal position:::

It started snowing at 1:15 p.m. almost on the dot and I'm still not sure that it's completely stopped (it's almost 10:00 p.m. now). Needless to say, I believe. I believe in Snowpocalypse. And so does Atlanta. The city pretty much hit shut down mode around 5:00. Apparently, I-285, the major highway the circumvents Atlanta, had 1-2 hour delays headed in all directions. I was slated to head to Athens for a gymnastics meet but after speaking with a chief meteorologist (a.k.a. my dad) I was advised that "it might not be such a good idea" which loosely translates into "you'd be a damn fool to try and go out in this weather".

So, my little knitterly peaches, I'm hanging out in my apartment admiring the view,
(please note these were taken from the window, no way am I going out in all that coldness)
fortifying myself with a tasty meal,
finishing up some charity sock knitting,
and getting ready to cast on for the Ravelmpics. I've set the daunting goal of something like 6 or 7 hats plus a kids vest. Guess I need to get on that.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Yesterday I had what one of my friends quite accurately described as "A Day". I left work feeling angry, confused, trapped, and belittled. Not exactly a feeling you want after a meeting with your boss. The gist of the problem was that I see my job as just that, a job. A way to pay the bills, a way to get the stuff I need in life. I have a life outside of work. And that life is the life of a knitter.
I never thought I would pick up a hobby that would one day define who I was more than the job I worked out. But all I have to do is look around to confirm it: My bookshelves hold more yarn than books and I own more needles than pairs of shoes. I know more than is healthy about fiber; be it wool, cotton, angora, alpaca, linen, man made... I love to look at, feel, and smell yarn. I like to experiment with dye. I like to fiddle with designs. I get up early just to have an extra 20 minutes of time with my hot tea and my latest project. I stay up an extra hour just so that the last thing I feel between my fingers is the smooth glide of a stitch. I have projects in my purse, by the couch, in a special bag, and stuck in a basket on the coffee table. My stash doesn't exceed my life expectation but that doesn't mean I'm not working on it.
My job may pay the bills. It may put gas in the car. But my hobby is who I really am. And one day, I hope to be able to combine my love for all things knitting into a career.
On Sunday a friend of mine made a harmless jab about knitting and I jokingly shot him a look. He started laughing, not in a mean way, but in a disbelieving and yet, a suddenly enlightened way. When I asked why he was laughing he said, "I didn't realize that knitting was such a serious business."
Yep, it sure is.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Stopped Dead in My Tracks

My clapotis is on hold for the moment. I really thought that I wouldn't be able to put it down until I had finished it. I'm almost there too. Just one more repeat of the "straight" section to knit and then I start the decreases. I appreciate all the comments about the clapotis, it's been nice knitting something for myself and it really is as lovely as it looks. When I start nearing the end of a project like this I begin thinking ahead to things I want to make. I pulled out some Cascade 220 in brown, white and black that I bought from Stitches South last year.

I have some black Cascade 220 as well and I was thinking of a pair of charity socks with black cuffs, short row heels, and toes and the leg and foot in the multi color. Then I was struck by the thought of making a charity vest. It would be easy to do, maybe even a good project for the Ravelympics, and it would also look good in the Cascade 220 colors. On top of these ideas, the socks on the broken needles have started their siren song again which means I'll probably break down and buy a pair of metal DPNs in the very near future to get them off the needles and another pair started. This isn't even mentioning the list of hats I want to make for people (oh wait, I just mentioned it).

All that is having to wait though. There is a project that had to be moved to the top of the list. Daresay, the only project that could make me put down the clapotis for one hot minute.

Sophia's Christening Blanket
I mentioned that Sophia had come a little earlier than expected. Well, that means the christening is going to be sooner than planned. Luckily I started this blanket in the first part of January and it's a quick knit. The family is leaving this coming weekend (of Valentine's day) for Florida where my friend Jenn's dad will get to christen his granddaughter. I'm thinking they will need the blanket for this event. I've spent all morning knitting away on it and I'm almost finished with the second skein of yarn. I wasn't sure how to long to make a baby blanket so I was just planning on using 2 skeins and calling it a day. I think that should work out nicely. When I spread it out over the back of my office chair it covers the whole thing (about 24"). The original pattern says it should end up 32" x 38". Close enough for jazz in my book. Plus it should grow a little after washing.

With this blanket I decided to go with acrylic. I'm still not 100% committed to a certain fiber for baby knits but I'd like to hear other people's opinions on this. Acrylic is easy to wash and maintain but it has some safety hazards. However, if you look at your own clothing I bet you'd be surprised to see how many items (especially store bought sweaters) are made from acrylic or contain at least some percentage of acrylic. I also live in the Southeastern United States. Read: Very hot for most of the year. We have relatively mild winters so 100% wool garments would be too hot most of the time. This is why I also rule out superwash wool, generally too hot. Cotton seems like it could be a nice alternative but I'm not especially thrilled to knit with it. Given that I have way more acrylic (it was handed down to me) in my stash than cotton it's also easier for me to choose that route. Feel free to let me know what you knit with when making baby items.

On a totally unrelated knitting note, I have 2 new bookshelves in my reading nook that I got for my birthday last year and finally put up around Christmas time. They are considerably heavier and more substantial than the previous bookcase (whose shelves were literally bowing under the weight of the books). The bookcases come particularly close to a chase lounge that my cat, Penelope likes to sit on and I've been wondering how long it would be until she tried to venture onto the shelves.
Last night she seemed to have deemed as good a time as any so, while I was browsing for a relaxing tub read, she jumped up and had a little look see. Future librarian cat in the making.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Strep Throat

Yep, i haz it. I'm still contagious for the next 24 hours until the medicine sets in so I already called out sick for tomorrow. Actually, I'm going in super early tomorrow morning to drop off some sub plans and meet with 3 parents for conferences and then I'm going to be home for the rest of the day. I decided to go ahead with my conferences because it's so hard to get the parents to reschedule. I didn't think it would be smart to be around the kids all day though. Close proximity and all. That means that I should have plenty of knitting time. The general clutter of the apartment is starting to get to me though and I still have 2 piles of laundry that need to be done so I'll probably spend most of my day catching up on those things. But should I get the opportunity to knit then my clapotis will be waiting for me.