Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Yarn Along - Bunny & Mystery

I'm participating in Ginny's Yarn Along again this week.  Check it out to see lots of good ideas for knitting (and crochet) and reading.

I keep hoping that the recent bout of finish-it-up-itis I've experienced with knitting will spill over into my reading.  I have lots of almost-finished books laying around.  No luck so far though; not a lot of reading has been going on in the past few weeks.
The husband and I did recently finish an audiobook -- Evil Under the Sun A Hercule Poirot mystery by Agatha Christie.  I love Poirot, and this book was read by David Suchet, the actor who played Poirot on the TV show.  I think eventually we'll listen to every unabridged Poirot book read by Suchet.  Very good.

The project pictured above is the body and head of a bunny I'm knitting for Niece K's second birthday.  This is the second project I'm making out of the itty-bitty toys book by Susan B. Anderson.  I remain very pleased with this book.  Yesterday I bought yarn for my third project out of it.   Lil One keeps trying to run off with the parts of this project, too, so I'll have to make something for her soon!

My sister-in-law asked if I could make Niece K some leg warmers, so I improvised some based on the pair I made for Lil One last year.  These will also be part of her birthday present.  Here they are pretending to be adult arm warmers.
I've turned these in to the Harry Potter Knitting & Crochet House Cup to meet the assignment in History of Magic -- craft something FABULOUS to wear to a record company soiree.  We're researching Quibbler articles you see, and never mind.  It really doesn't matter; they just count for points somehow.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Finish all the things and start a game

I finished Dad's vest in time to give it to him on his birthday! and it fits! and he likes it!
My apologies for using so many exclamation points, but this project has been weighing on me for almost three years and now it's done and all is well!  I have to find a new project to promote into the drawer it has been occupying.  Probably this year's Christmas stocking knitting.

Finishing this project, and having been monogamous to it for about three weeks, seems to have inspired me to finish up several other things.
2012 Washcloths May edition:
 Ribbed chevron pattern, April 27 from my pattern-a-day calendar.  This was a hard pattern to "read" - I had to keep the pattern on hand for a long time instead of just being able to follow the knitting.  It used my regular dishcloth yarn of Sugar 'n Cream.
Purse socks:
 Universal toe-up formula with 2x2 ribbed legs.  I started these sometime last fall, which may mean that my purse sock speed is increasing.  My brother gave me the yarn for Christmas a few years ago.  I've already cast on the next pair of purse socks.  These will be top-down and for the husband.  A nice dark green yarn that seems to be a single ply.

Baby socks for the Lil One:
The pattern for these was Toddler Socks from the blog Creating a Family Home.  I used the yarn left over from the pair of socks I knit several years ago to learn the two-at-a-time technique (on dpns).

 I have recently discovered the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup group on Ravelry.  I had heard about it in passing before, but this past month I listened to a description of it on an older episode of The Well-Knitted Life podcast, and checked it out.  It's a game where knitters join in, are sorted into houses as in Hogwarts, and earn points for their houses by knitting or crocheting.  Each term is three months long, and each month there are eight classes offered; each class gives a homework assignment, usually with several options.  You have to knit (or crochet) something within that month and make an argument that it meets the homework requirements.  The idea is that each student turns in at least one class assignment per month to qualify to get sorted and keep playing next term.  There are also Quidditch teams, challenges, WIPs can be turned in to detention, and so on and so on.  After getting sucked in and wandering around all the discussion threads and links for quite some time, I joined the group.  Because I joined after term started, I didn't get sorted into a house and my status is "Not Quite a First-Year" -- points I earn don't count toward any house's total, but they could help me earn priority for sorting next term.

It's all very complex, but also a lot of fun.  If you like the Harry Potter stories and might like to use that world as a framework for some knitting challenges, I encourage you to check out the group.  They do a much better job of explaining things than my little outline, and everyone is happy to answer questions and help newbies get started.

So anyhow, I joined and I'm really enjoying it.  I turned in the squishies for the assignment in Care of Magical Creatures.  May's prompt was about studying thestrals and abraxan (two kinds of flying horses), so one of the options was to knit something using a worsted weight "workhorse" yarn.  The squishes were knit out of worsted weight, and I knit them entirely within the month of May, so they qualified.  The toddler socks met the Mini-sock Challenge for Quidditch -- no more than four inches tall and long, and knit between May 18-28 -- so I turned those in as well.

Hopefully this trend of knitting efficiently and finishing things will continue!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Quick Gift Knit

After blocking and seaming the diamonds sweater vest this week, I turned my attention to a quick gift knit.  Our friends' kiddo turned one this week and to prepare for the party I pulled out my copy of Susan B. Anderson's itty-bitty toys (ravelry link).  I've owned and admired this book for a while now, but hadn't knit anything out of it.  It's one of these hardcover-but-spiral-bound books that will lay all the way open and has beautiful photography by Liz Banfield.  It starts with a thorough Technique Notebook that includes some toy-knitting tips.  Two of these tips are to knit in the round and stitch together as you go to minimize the finishing work.  I couldn't agree more!  The first chapter of projects is called "Quick and Easy" which is where I found the perfect gift for a one-year-old and also the perfect project for me this week:
 "Squishies"  I made one in each size given, using my workhorse toy yarn Plymouth's Encore Worsted in a bright Christmasy green whose ball-band is long gone and Encore Colorspun (the self-striping worsted) in color 7514.  It was a clear and simple pattern, and would be easy to size up or down a bit for even more sizes.  I've already picked my next project from this book to knit for another friend, and I need to go inventory my Encore stash to help me decide which other project to knit for a niece's birthday.  But I believe I'll also need to make more squishies.  Not only were they fun, fast, and satisfying to knit, but this happened while I was trying to take pictures:
Lil One exclaimed "Yarns!" grabbed them up, and ran around hugging them.  More knitted toys for this kiddo!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Yarn Along - More diamonds and a dog (and cat)

I'm joining in Ginny's Yarn Along again this week.  Check it out to see lots of great knitting and books.

There hasn't been much to report over here. Just lots and lots of diamonds in this green heathered yarn that I can't seem to photograph accurately.  I've been remarkably monogamous with this vest project.  I made the back in 12 days, at which point it became remotely possible to finish in time for Dad's birthday, so I've spent every knitting opportunity working on it.
I think I may be able to bind off the front and block the pieces today.  Then the plan will be to sew the seams and have him try it on this weekend when we celebrate his birthday (with a trip to the Rollerderby!  I'm excited for my first derby).  That way I'll know if more work needs to be done before I knit up the bands around the neck and armholes.
I've made this iteration quite a bit smaller than the previous one.  Above is the back with the yarn that used to be part of it but wasn't needed this time.  Below is how much of the front I was able to make with that yarn; almost two pattern repeats.
I think I'll have an entire skein of Encore Worsted left over when I'm done.  Hopefully I haven't made it too small and it will block out exactly right.

In the past day or so I inhaled The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon.  I've read this book once before and it went really quickly then, too.  It's one of those that sucks me into the world of the story and the only way to escape is to plow through.  We're reading this in our book club, and I'm looking forward to discussing it this weekend.  Such a different way of seeing the world.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Yarn Along - Bowling Avenue

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. 
I'm joining in Ginny's Yarn Along again this week.
A couple of weeks ago I saw that Ann Shayne of Mason-Dixon Knitting fame was offering free promotional copies of her soon-to-be-released first novel to the first 50 commenters on the post updating the book's progress.  I thought it was way past the 50 mark, but I left a comment anyway, to say that I'm really looking forward to reading her novel.  About a week later in a rare moment of actually reading my e-mail, I was amazed to find an e-mail from Ann with a PDF attachment.  I am so excited to have gotten a freeola copy of Bowling Avenue.  It absolutely made my day.  I didn't have time to read it just then, and am finally getting to  now.  Very intrigued so far.  I'll probably write more about it in another Yarn Along post soon.  And gosh, that Ann Shayne sure is attractive and friendly.

On the knitting front I've been blasting away on the do-over of Dad's vest and am almost done with the first skein.  Thankfully I took some good notes on Ravelry the first time I knitted this, and am not having to repeat some of the fiddling I tried before.