Deep Space Knit

Yarn arts (knit and crochet) balled up with a heady dose of geekdom. Raise your pan-galactic-gargle-blaster and cheer!

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Location: Vermont, United States

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mohair Blues

This leaf scarf is annoying long winded.

I have decided that I don't care what the pattern says for length.  The length is ball's worth of mohair.  Period.  Because knitting all those little intarsia leaves into mohair is starting to drive me nuts.  That and the mohair loves to get tangled before it comes out of the skein >.<  

I am soooo glad I left my cats with my family, otherwise I'd have 2 mohair-noosed cats.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Ooooh, check this out!  Isn't this cool?!

Ok, you're probably going 'no, Jamie, it's a bag of yarn.'  Or even if you're as yarn obsessed as I am, you're probably still going 'Cool, a bag of yarn.  Ok.'

Oh, dear friend, but it's a *special* bag of yarn.

And just why is it special you ask?  

Because I *won* it.  I never ever win anything, but I entered a drawing at one of the lovely local yarn shops (White River Yarns), and my name was drawn for an afghan kit!  How lucky is that?

There's 20balls of Firenze boucle and 5 of Firenze (Plymouth brand) ... That's about $250 of yarn... for free!!  
I have never been so lucky!  AND I get to knit it!

That remind me... I have never knit an afghan before.  I have crocheted 27 of them... but never knit.  I think this speaks to me,  it whispers little snippets in the night (Yes, I sleep with it by my bed.  That's not because I'm a fetishish, but because my apartment is small) that say "cuddle up, knit in the recliner during the long winter snows.  Watch Wrath of Khan for the hundredth time"

That's a little slice of heaven right there.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Interior Sunshine

Dear goodness, is the newest LYS nice!  Comfy chairs, full spectrum lighting... it's like a little slice of heaven.  Speaking of... if you have never had a chance to knit in full spectrum lighting, check it out!  You can see the difference in the paint on the walls.  In the back room it's this dirty yellow color, and in the full spectrum its this lovely satiny eggshell color.

Anyways, enough about that.  On to knitting.  I decided to start a brand new pattern, because I don't have yarn in for my other projects.  I even bought yarn to match.  This is from Vogue Knitting (which I'm starting to think that no one should knit from unless it's a scarf or a blanket pattern) oh, 2005ish era.  Falling leaves on a mohair background.  The yarn is yummy - the leaves are "Kathmandu" - Merino/Cashmere/Silk, with laceweight mohair.  I love the look, but the pattern needed to be beaten six ways to sunday.  It lists that the leaves are a 14 row pattern... and them proceeds to only give you 12 of those rows.  C'mon guys... they make editors for a reason!  Anyways, I ended up making an overly large "gauge swatch" - a.k.a. I started the scarf and then had to learn to make choices and correct the pattern as I went, so I started over once I figured out exactly what to do.

     I have faith that this will be marvelous once it is finished.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Creation of a knitter part 2

Ah, grad school, land of studying you butt off and then searching for anything possible to take your mind off said studying. I enjoyed crafts throughout grad school, slowly teaching myself to sew and paint and build little theatrical models (as I was studying theater). The knitting was all but forgotten. The Harry Potter scarf needed some help come Halloween, being all basic stockinette stitch, the ends curled up into a sausage shape which eventually annoyed me enough to get out a crochet hook and ‘sew’ up the sides by single crocheting down the edges with the corresponding colors forming a very thick and somewhat lame tube scarf. Ah, but it was gloriously burgundy and gold and look good we did come all Hallow’s Eve, and things were swell.

Two years later came Serenity.

I knew little about Firefly the TV series other than my best friends Jen and her hippie husband Ruben loved the show. Crazy dog drooling loved the show. When it was cancelled there was much lamenting in their household, most of which I pretty much ignored. And when Serenity was announced there was much rejoicing, which was also ignored. Both Jen and Ruben were theatrical sorts. Jen and I had routinely dressed up in costumes to go see Harry Potter movies, and Ruben got it into his head that he felt left out. And so this happened:
Sitting, peaceably one night at the computer, I get a call. It was Ruben; all panicked as if someone had told him his cats were dying. “Jamie!” He practically yells, “Can you make me a Jayne hat?”

I paused for a second realizing I had no clue what he was talking about. “A what?”

“A Jayne Cobb Hat. I have a jpeg of it! Can you make one?”

“Ruben, what the hell are you talking about?”

“It’s a hat, you know, made with yarn like you do!”

“… crocheting?”

“Yeah, I think so. You’re crafty and I need one when I go see Serenity and I don’t know who else to ask.”

I sighed and said, yes, sure, I would see what I could do. His birthday was conveniently close and heck, making a present was better than buying Mr. ‘I don’t really like it’ a present so why not. I got on the internet and told him to send me his pictures. There was the man called Jayne in pixelated color, wearing the infamous hat. I zoomed in while he e-mails me website after website on potential hat making instructions and very quickly realized that this hat was not, in fact, crocheted. It was very much knit. I was back in the Harry Potter scarf conundrum.

I remembered how to knit… sort of. But I had only knit a long square, not a cone or hat, and this one required skills I didn’t possess… mystical skills like decreasing and joining. It was time for a new book and a new try (and new needles while I was at it.) The book ended up being the first Stitch N Bitch, the needles were bamboo circulars. The yarn was Lamb’s Pride Bulky because it was the right weight and had more colors than I could count, including passably Jayne Cobb hat colors. The amazing this I found was that using good needles and natural fiber, the yarn didn’t stick to the needles. It slid off beautifully without being too slippery. I was, in a word, amazed. So much that I started to actually enjoy the knitting.

Ah, but Jayne hats are chullo style, with earflaps. At that point in my career I didn’t have enough knowledge to knit them seamlessly or otherwise onto the hat, and I opted to knit the hat and crochet on the earflaps (my own design! Well, I suppose if you’re going to cheat you have to do it that way).

I managed to make two Jayne hats with the skeins I had purchased. One was a bit big, one was a bit small. I washed the bit big one in slightly warmer than needed water and it felted just enough to be the right size (god bless wool) and the bit small one luckily fit his wife, life was good again. But this venture into geek inspired knitting left me with an urge to knit, one that hasn’t yet been quelled.

So to blogdom and beyond!


Shortly before the creation of this blog I decided that my sad, sick little first project needed some updating. I also decided that I didn’t want an acrylic scarf. My summer and early fall project was a new Harry Potter scarf knit in the round so the edges wouldn’t curl with wool in a finer gauge. It was rather dull, but I love the result.

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The creation of a knitter, Part 1

Ok. Since it's been a long time since I posted and I'm trying to get this Blog up and running, let's start with a story, shall we? Get to know one another? good.

Besides, I have a knitting guild meeting tonight and pictures to download... if you don't chill out now there won't be any time left!

The creation of a knitter, Part 1

It all started with a book and a movie. It would start again later with another book and another movie, but at the time it was just one:

Harry Potter.

I have loved these books ever since the third one came out. I started reading the first on my plane trip to London to study during my undergrad, and read the majority of them all on the Underground waiting to get to my stops. Somehow reading about platform 9 ½ while you’re waiting for a train in King’s Cross Station makes it that much cooler. The Goblet of Fire came out while I was in London, so I felt even more spiffy to be able to buy it there. When I came back home I found that many of my geeky theatre friends also loved the books, and so we held a sort-of private fanliness between us.
And then the first movie came out. It wasn’t the best book to movie adaptation we have ever seen, but the visuals were magnificent. And coming out of the theatre I decided to myself that one day Harry Potter costumes would be had.

In those days I was on a quest to teach myself how to sew. I knew I was a theatrical designer and if I wasn’t going to do into costuming, I would certainly need the knowledge for things like soft props and upholstery. And so I got a fairly dashing cape pattern and knocked off my Harry Potter robe. I had the pants. I had the white shirt. I even found a website that sold Harry Potter ties ( - They have some of the best customer service on the web that I have ever had the pleasure to encounter, if I was a guy I would be this website’s biggest fan.) But alas… I needed a scarf.

At the local craft store there were free leaflets for “Wizard Scarves” which were, of course. Harry Potter scarves. They came in knit and crochet versions and I picked them both up. I had been crocheting for years, I could knock off afghans in a week, I figured I could knock off Harry Potter scarves in a day or so. But the problem was the crochet version looked distinctly…. wrong. It had that notable crochet texture, and the lines between the stripes were interrupted by the ‘v’ of the single crochet. It simply wouldn’t do for a replica of the movie costume and that irritated me. The movie ones were obviously knit and if I wanted a true Harry Potter scarf, mine would have to be knit as well.

The problem? I had less knowledge of knitting than a sentient asparagus did of Shakespeare. So I did what any sane person would do. I asked my Mom. Mom had to know… she was Mom. Mom could answer my sewing questions, she had taught me how to crochet, she could macramé and rumor had it she could tat…so she had to know how to knit too, right?
Well, only kind-of. Mom had only knitted once in her life and decided she didn’t like it. Her sister, my aunt had knitted when she was young but couldn’t remember how. My grandmother had knit some things, but she too gave it up in favor of crochet, and grandma couldn’t see very well anymore. But she did give me her old knitting needles. So I went back to my house with a conundrum.

Fortunately Mom does not have conundrums. She was shopping one day and saw a booklet entitled “I can’t Believe I’m Knitting” and bought it. So the next time I went home, there was properly Harry Potter colored yarn, grandma’s old aluminum knitting needles and the booklet waiting for me. So I would lean how to knit, and that was that. It was a tedious project of trial and error. Back then I couldn’t visually recognize a knit from a purl so I would forget what hand motion I was doing every time I set the work down. I ripped out a lot of it. To make things worse, while grandma had a beautiful collection of vintage crochet hooks, were knitting needles were cheap aluminum ones from the early 80’s. Every kind of yarn seemed magnetically attracted to them in such a way that you could cast one and it would simply adhere. 40 stitches by 6 ½ feet…it was the longest project I ever knit.

I finished the Harry Potter Scarf in September 2003, put the knitting needles away and promptly forgot about the whole thing. I traveled to grad school with the scarf and the costume and my crochet hooks, thinking “I’ll never knit again…”

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Crochet vs. Knit, Round 1 (ding!)

Oooh, new mags, and a rant!

I went to my local bookstore today to find that the magazine racks were filled with new magazines. Glorious new magazines. Wonderous new magazines.

And so I had to have them. well, some of them. Some of them have things inside that I would never ever knit or crochet. or both.

But I did find my guilty pleasure: Interweave Crochet, by our friends at Interweave Knits. I nearly fell down in joy the first time I ever saw this published, because I must confess I am a crocheter at heart. I have been knitting for a meer seven months. I have been crocheting for decades (which is pretty good since I'm not yet 30). I have over a dozen afghans under my belt, several sweaters, many hats, scarves, potholders and even a stuffed lamb in my crochet repetory. And so getting a new and potentially beautiful magazine into the hands of crocheters thrilled me. The new issue is... well, it's mediocre in terms of patterns, but it's not bad, but that's not the crux of my rant...

My rant concerns the ravelings on the last page. Usually these are interesting little tidbits, written for crafters, by crafters. But this one pisses me off. And I'll tell you why. It's supposed to be a story extoling the virtues of crocheting freeform art. For it's own sake. But the author, an editor of the magazine, has to use the first several paragraphs telling us how she is a knitter, and crochet is foreign.

Yes, I know. thank you. I practice this weird craft with a hook. The red headed stepchild to knitting.

Bloggers do this too. "I would love to knit this top, but I can't handle the crocheted edging"

what do you do with this hook? What do you do with your left hand?

What I wanted to know is what the hell do you do with these pointy things. Where was my hook? Why can't I go anywhere I want with these things? what do you mean I need 18 billion little double pointed needles in order to make a circle. Why can't I just chain 6, slip stitch them into a look, and SC into that loop X times? Viola! Circle! Want it bigger? Add more rounds! Want it a tube? Add more rounds without increasing stitches. Learning to knit after learning crochet is actually a better way to go around thinsg I found. My knitting friends who are just picking up crochet are agonizing over thier first scarf... for months. I learned knitting seven months ago and I'm on my fifth sweater. And when I can't solve something... well, I crochet it together.
I think that the idea that knit is right and crochet is left (like hands) is all wrong. There shouldn't be anything alien or strange about crochet. It's a yarn art, just like knitting. Yeah, it's different, but there are those of us out here who picked it up first. I'm proud of my l33t crochet skillz. I do not believe that they caused me "agony and frustration" as dear Miss Schroyer writes in her ravelings. At least no more agony and frustration that knitting causes.

A-hem. ok, I'll stop being a ranter now. I am, however going to whip up one of those yummy half knit, half crochet patterns I have and take it along to my next stitch and bitch. Why? because I can.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Mission Statement

Yarn + Geek = Good

There, my mission statement in 5 words or less. :)

As a side note: This originally said Knit + Geek = Good and then someone pointed out that no matter how good it sounded, I crocheted too much to limit my blog to knitting. I agree. Long live my hooks!