Posted by: ducktastic | March 6, 2009

What to do when you’ve injured your hand…

and aren’t supposed to knit. For a week

Day 1:

Ponder what you’re going to do with your free time. Notice that watching TV seems a tad… boring. Unfulfilling even. Play Warcraft with your boyfriend until you get sick of having nothing to do on those long bat-flights. Go to bed feeling vaguely twitchy.

Day 2:

Decide that if you can’t have knitting, you can play with your old knitting! Reblock exactly one shawl before getting bored and sick of poking your fingers with pins (but do greatly admire what a reblock can do for an oft-worn shawl). Tool around house. Do half a sink of dishes, rationalize not doing the rest as “resting my hand.”

Day 3:

Start getting a little twitchy when you look at your stash. Decide to catch up on reading, inadvertantly pick up mystery that involves knitting. IM your boyfriend who reminds you that if you want your hand to get better, you need to leave the knitting alone. Ponder knitting a dishcloth just “to take the edge off.” Try to ignore boyfriend’s teasing.

Day 4:

Start knitting dishcloth and chugging ibuprofen. Refer to dishcloth as imaginary when boyfriend lectures you.

Day 5:

Give in completely, start knitting sock and second dishcloth. Realize that your mother is right – you don’t have a hobby, you have an addiction.

Posted by: ducktastic | September 4, 2007

Well, I didn’t say WHICH Friday…

I have been a bad blogger. Unfortunately, I have found that when my home is under construction (which it still is at the moment) I’m hardly able to knit, let alone come up with coherent blog entries. In fact, for the first two weeks of heavy construction I did nothing but start new projects, knit two rows, and then leave the house because I was going mad. Although I am not a tidy person by nature (I’m trying to learn, I swear), disorder upsets me greatly.

I have, however, actually finished the Mystery Stole. There are to be no pictures in this post because due to construction I can’t find my frigging camera charger and my camera is, of course, dead. Instead, because I finished the mystery stole in what can only be described as a marathon knitting session, I shall attempt to amuse you – dear reader – with my tips for marathon knitting.

  1. Planning is Key: Plot out your marathon date and project ahead of time. I was lucky and got a 3-day weekend because of Labor Day. If you’re going to finish your project (see point 4), know ahead of time how you want to block – if you’re going to need a clean carpet, vacuum ahead of time. You won’t have the energy when you’re done with the knitting.
  2. Turn off your Cell-Phone: People will try to call you and actually talk to you. This takes away from your knitting time. Rather than make excuses (“I’m sorry, I’ve really got to go… my hair just caught on fire”), just don’t be available. As a corollary to this, make sure you set your instant messenger to away.
  3. Live Alone, and, Wear out your cats the day before: Once again, I got lucky – my SO was in Chicago. Obviously, SOs and children will need care and attention. You won’t be providing it. Cats are devils in disguise when it comes to knitting. Knit for too many hours and they NEED ATTENTION RIGHTNOWYOUSTUPIDHUMAN. Enough catnip and string toys the day before will take care of this. Stoned cats are happy cats.
  4. Know what you want to accomplish: In my case, I knew I wanted to finish my mystery stole. Pay attention to how long it takes you to complete a particular milestone. I had 3 clues to go, and a clue a day was reasonable (if not a little obsessive). If you’ve got two days to knit a sweater and a row takes you 10 minutes… you’re doomed. Have some gin and forget you ever had a deadline.
  5. Remember to eat something: It can be tempting to knit like a fiend without stopping for such mundane things as bathing and eating.  This will only hurt you in the end, especially if your marathon project is lace. Not eating will only slow you down, and you WILL end up with mistakes. Protein-loading is your friend. DO NOT make the mistake of calling out for pizza. It’s greasy, always ends up on the knitting somehow even if it’s rooms away, and will make you feel queasy.
  6. DO NOT be distracted by multiple projects: It just bloody well defeats the whole purpose.
  7. Line up your entertainment ahead of time: This is a great time to get through a whole season of a TV show you’ve wanted to catch up on. This is NOT a great time to go “Oh crap, what should I watch?” – again, it takes time away from the knitting. In my case, I finished 2 seasons of QI, and the entire first season of Kingdom (I have a mad crush on Stephen Fry). Also, make sure your choice is appropriate to your knitting. Lace charts and subtitles do not mix well.
  8. Stop after twelve hours straight: You need to sleep. Like not eating, not sleeping will lead to horrendous errors.
  9. Make sure you have a comfy knitting spot: If you’re going to be mostly sitting for several hours at a time, you want somewhere that doesn’t mean you have to shift constantly. Again – takes away from the knitting.
  10. Stock up on Painkillers: Your hands WILL hurt. I like Arnica for relief – it hits quickly and doesn’t make holes in your stomach.
  11. Finally, stock up on booze: You’ll need it when you’re done. A good gin & tonic cures all that ails you.

Hope that’s helpful to someone, at least! I’ll try to be back a little more regularly, but until the house is done, I’m afraid I can’t make any promises.

Posted by: ducktastic | August 14, 2007

Lazy Blogging Week

Soul stolen by Mystery Stole. Will be back Friday.

Posted by: ducktastic | August 8, 2007

Always on the run…

Well, despite being busier than I can remember being in years (construction ’round the house, yarn crawls, work, going out with friends, etc. frigging etc.), I’ve actually managed to finish a project. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. It’s nice to feel like one has a social life!

Anyway, Bellatrix is finally done. Actually, the socks were done last Thursday, I think, but between yarn pr0n and yarn crawls… well, I didn’t want them to get lost in the picture shuffle!

Behold, my Bellatrices:

Done in Socks that Rock Silkie, colourway “Walking on the Wide Tide.” I used size 1 needles, after my first attempt with size twos proved to be big enough that they could fit an elephants leg.

The heel is a reinforced heel, which I much prefer when making a sock. It also has a more standard heel-turn, as opposed to the one used on Fawkes which I must say I didn’t entirely care for. I suspect that one’s better for narrower heels.

Despite going down to a size 1 (2.25mm), they still look humongous when not on the foot. The ribbing is a wee bit small too, so I’m thinking were I to make them again, I’d use size 2s for the ribbed portion.

I love the way the colour turned out on these socks. It can be such a challenge to find a sock pattern worthy of a really beautiful yarn, and I think this pattern totally is.

Progress continues on my Satan Stole, and I’m into the third clue at least. I’m a bit disappointed that the two-wing version will be offered later,  as the paid-for pattern. I’d much prefer it, but I’m not going to frog what I have now and I just don’t think I’m up to knitting two beaded stoles. Ah well.

Coming Friday: Teh Shineeeeey!

Posted by: ducktastic | August 6, 2007

Knitters Gone Wild

Oh, what a wild Sunday it was. When I first suggested to Tantej (aka Jessica) that we hit some San Francisco yarn shops, and ooh, should we invite some people, I figured maybe two people would want to come. It wound up being eight of us, and ohmygod was it fun.(emo moment)

I’m one of those types who are SO painfully self-conscious that it’s really hard for me to meet new people – ESPECIALLY in groups. Usually I end up off in a corner feeling like the Weird One. Not so with these gals, and I just want to say thanks to everyone who came. You all are the friendliest, coolest people EVER.

(/emo moment)

So let’s see…

We started out at the Urban Knitting Studio, where there was one poor lonely employee who was absolutely thrilled to see us.

She gave us a lovely tour of the store, and I managed to find some sock yarn I’d never seen before (Claudia Handpaints – absolutely gorgeous) along with a very lovely Manos colourway. We chatted and shopped for a bit, and then decided we’d mosey on over to ArtFibers.

By the way, I want to send a special Thank You to Kazen/Karla who was SO patient with teaching all of us the MUNI system. If you’ve never witnessed a pack of knitters trying to figure out MUNI – well, the muggles seemed amused.

Anyway, ArtFibers. Oh my god, ArtFibers. You have to take the world’s most frightening elevator to get there, but it’s worth every moment of terror (again, Karla saved the day by knowing how to actually operate the damned ancient thing). The yarns… I don’t even have words. The staff there “gets” knitters. They encourage massive fondling. They even have a sample area where you can swatch their yarns so you can get an idea of how it knits up. Pre-made swatches are everywhere. We all got fab yarn there, and I picked up recycled Sari Silk that is so soft it’s like butter. Here’s the lot of us:

If that’s not Yarn Fumes Ecstasy on all our faces, I don’t know what it is. 😉

We also were completely taken with Gypsy Knitter’s iPhone – the poor thing had no personal space after she pulled it out (anyone who says knitters aren’t tech-heads is deluding themselves).

After we managed to pull ourselves away from ArtFibers we moseyed on over to Noe Knits (we were going to do Imagiknit, but time constraints prevented it – Next Time, Gadget, Next Time). Sadly, a few knitters had this thing called “Life” that they had to get back to, but there were still enough of us sitting together on MUNI that people were pointing and whispering. My favourite moment was when the street-car started to move before we sat down and several of us managed to shriek in unison. I can only imagine what the muggles thought…

By the time we got to Noe Knits, I think we were flagging a little, but that didn’t stop us from picking up the new Interweave and a few fab yarns (I got this shiiiiiiiny rayon that I’ll put up on YPF). Noe Knits is a cute store, and the owner is VERY helpful. The selection is a bit sparse, and the sock yarn section definitely needs updating (I was disappointed to see that they had 3 lovely colours of Lorna’s Laces… but only one skein of each). However, the shop owner assured us she’d be happy to order and ship anything we really wanted. And really, excellent service goes a longer way for me than a store with loads of yarn and angry employees.

Here’s some early yarn pr0n for those of you wondering what I picked up:

The Sari Silks:

The Claudia Hand-Painted Sock Yarn:

And finally, the Manos:

Once again, thanks to everyone who came. I had such a great time meeting all of you, and I look forward to doing it again!

Posted by: ducktastic | August 3, 2007

A very jewel-y YPF

Ah, Friday, how I love thee. Stretched ahead is a weekend of yummy yarn, a haircut (finally), and playing with my fellow Ravelrers on Sunday (which should make for an excellent yarn pr0n post next Friday).

On Tuesday I was thrilled to discovered that Baywood Yarns had made another delivery to Nine Rubies, and it was full of Jewel Box! I managed to restrain myself just enough to only purchase two, although I admit it was tempting to buy them all. This is one of those colours that, even though it is stunning in the skein, is even more stunning once knit up. I don’t see this quality in many sock yarns, and when I do the urge to snap them all up is very strong.

The lovely Jewel Box in my standard Ravelry photo template:

And both of them reclining near one of my favourite pictures of New Orleans (not taken by me, obviously! :)):

Once again, I dare you to guess at my favourite colours…

We’ll return Monday with (hopefully) some great stories and great photos (and, of course, hopefully great hair).

Posted by: ducktastic | August 1, 2007

Always a work in progress

So I’d love to begin by telling you I’ve finished my SKB and it’s lovely and here let me show it off. After all, last we spoke I only had a neckline and short sleeves to knit.

Of course, in the sheer perversity of knitting, I haven’t touched the damn thing since. It sits on my new knitting end table (Oh Target, I know you are Not Good for Environment, but I love thee all the same) waiting for me to get around to picking up the neck stitches. I don’t know why I loathe picking up stitches, but I do, and I need to get a good head of steam up before I can take it on.

Also languishing is my Mystery Stole (or, as I shall henceforth call it: The Satan Stole. If you are part of the KAL, you’ll know why. If you’re not, you’re better off without the drama). When I signed on for it I had visions of knitting the clues right away, being absolutely up to the minute on guesses for what its theme might be.

Sadly, we are stalled out here:

That’s not even the end of clue one. Now, in my defense, I had to completely rip out almost that much work because my lace had gone horribly, horribly wrong. So in theory, I’ve put much more knitting work into that than you can actually see. Still, I’m at a loss to want to knit it. I love lace, I really do (as evidenced by my other three shawls), but right now I Do. Not. Want.

I have been working, sort of kind of, on my Bellatrix socks. As I’ve mentioned before, the trouble with knitting two socks on two circs is that the progress does seem minimal compared to when you’re knitting one at a time. I know for a fact that knitting two half socks is more or less the same as knitting one full sock, and it takes me less time this way, but damned if I’m not addicted to signs of progress. Right now the socks are one repeat away from having their heels turned:

I have noticed that I have a much easier time getting relatively matching socks when working this way. Since most of my socks are, at best, fraternal twins, this is a very nice side-effect.

Really, that’s all there is. This week has been a big old slump for knitting. However, I do promise very yummy yarn pr0n for Friday, and what should (hopefully) be a big fun story for Monday. Take care everyone, and I’ll see y’all on Friday…

Posted by: ducktastic | July 30, 2007

Bodices and Badges

All right, where to start? The problem with taking a few days off the posting schedule is that things pile up and then it’s hard to start a new post because you know you have So. Much. Stuff!

Since I’m a raving egotist, let’s start with the mememe stuff! My partner-in-Arietta-Crime, the fabulous Miss Tante J tagged me with the spectacularly pink Rocking Girl Blogger badge! I’m quite chuffed about the whole thing because I think of my blog as rather boring, to tell the truth. As my boyfriend could tell you, I go absolutely spastic with glee upon getting a comment – in my head I rather picture people popping over to the blog and falling asleep with sheer ennui.

As with any meme, I do run into a slight problem picking 5 other bloggers, because I don’t actually read a lot of blogs – and those I do tend to be large scale ones (i.e., the Yarn Harlot, the Smart Bitches) that I’m not quite comfortable tagging. Nevertheless, I should like to tag:

1. AbiKnits. Abi, my love, I’m dying for an update for you and your spectacular dyeing skills. I love your photos of local nature and wildlife, and can’t wait to see more from you!

2. JoKnits. She’s a mom, world traveler, and amazing dyer of yarn. No, I’m not just saying this so she’ll make me more Jewel Box sock yarn (although, I highly encourage her to dye lots and lots and lots of sock yarn ;)). I love popping by her blog to see what she’s up to this week.

3. The Worsted Witch. She’s a knitter and a conservationist, and her blog is like slashdot for greenie folks. I love her spotlights on Sustainable Finds (I love shopping much in the way that Lime & Violet sort of like sock yarn).

4. Miss Violet. She’s creative and fabulous and fascinating, and I want her to adopt me. Seriously.

5. There is no 5. Nothing to see here folks, keep movin’.

All right, that’s it for the ego for today. Let’s get on to bodices.

I’ve found lately that I have an urge to knit the patterns I like multiple times – I’ve made two Fantasy Throws, two Eris sweaters, two Raindrop Lace socks, two Embossed Leaf socks, and now I’m on to my second Simple Knitted Bodice. This time I’m working in ArtYarns Silk Rhapsody and Beaded Silk, both of which are just a dream to knit with. I love their silks, and their colours are just gorgeous. The pattern is good fun too as it’s a very quick knit. Just enough lace to keep you entertained, and enough stockinette that you can pack it as your brain-dead knitting.

Enough of my rambling, then, and here’s where we are so far:

I’m sort of switching what I did with the last SKB, in that I’ve got a solid middle and a variegated body. I’m also thinking of changing the sleeves to a short-short sleeve with just the purl ridges at the end instead of the full lace repeat. No matter what, I’m making a short sleeved version so I’ll have one that’s a little more appropriate for Bay Area late-summer weather.

Any opinions on whether or not to cut out the lace panels on the sleeves would be very much welcomed.

I’ll be back Wednesday (I swear) with updates and a devilish duo of Bellatrix Socks and Satan Stoles. Until then!

Posted by: ducktastic | July 27, 2007

Vacay!

The blog is on a small vacation. We’ll return Monday with some bodice-y goodness.

Until then!

Posted by: ducktastic | July 23, 2007

Fawkes in Socks

Well, the rest of the world is talking about Harry Potter, so this blog is going to join in for a wee bit. I’m generally not one to start knitting for a book or movie, but when Momma-Monkey released her Harry Potter sock patterns I knew I had to knit at least two of them.

Y’all saw the wee bit of Fawkes I was showing off last week, and I can tell you, two socks on two circulars really do fly! I was done with them by Thursday, and that was with minimal knitting time and a break due to hand pain. I’m very pleased with the result (and especially pleased to hear there will be more of this colourway, since I’ve given these socks away).

Behold, Fawkes:

And the traditional foot shot:

I had a hard time getting the pattern to show up on camera, but take my word for it: it’s lovely. The only recommendation I would make is a slight change to the heel. If you’ve got larger heels, you might not want to stick with the 10 stitch heel turn – it comes out awfully narrow. It fit the receipient though, so it was no big deal on this end.

I’m on to Bellatrix now, as I thought it an excellent pattern to show off my Socks that Rock silkie (I’ve been hoarding this sock yarn for quite some time waiting for the perfect pattern). Once again, I’m working on two circulars, and I fear I may be converted over to using that technique all the time.

Hopefully on Wednesday I’ll have some good progress photos (the afore-mentioned hand pain kept me from knitting most of the weekend). Until then!

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