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

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Alphabetical Death March.

I haven't been knitting much lately.  I was supposed to start on a sweater for my mother; but that has gotten pushed back and back.   Then again I haven't been blogging much lately either.

So that begs the question, what exactly have I been doing?

Oh, such a bad question for someone who works in theatre.   I have been working on a play (as is to be expected) and that play is currently The Elephant Man.  Yeah, the one about Joseph Merrick, who suffered from elephantitis in Victorian England.  Actually it's a very good play.  Not one for the squeamish, but very well written.

Anyways, the play has titles for every scene.  Usually, if a director wants to show the audience the titles, they are projected on a back wall or screen or some such with a slide projector.  But our theatre doesn't have enough space to project - the images cannot be sharpened.  It also had the problem of being an intimate space, so you can hear the constant whirr of a projector fan.  So what is the solution?  Make title cards.

Now this would have been a fine solution had someone gotten around to deciding what those title cards needed to look like in a reasonable amount of time, instead of waiting until the last minute. Or if someone decided that we had enough budget to print out the titles on large format paper and simply spray glue them to cards.  But, no.  They decided we had to print out and tape together stencils, and then cut out the letters, so we could stencil the titles onto cards.

Ever hear the adage: "Cheap; Fast or Effective - pick two."  That's theatre to a T.  And we already has cheap and fast down, so honestly the signs look rather like ass; but they are readable so I'm not complaining.

This is me, dead in my tracks, after fifteen straight hours of sign cutting.  With piles of theatrical junk all around.  Glamourous job, no?

Anyways, let me show you the aftermath of almost 21 straight hours of sign cutting (with some sleep and a bit of food in between parts of it).  There was one point where it was 10:30 pm, I had seven signs left, and I put on some techno and set my brain on autopilot.  For three hours I became a letter cutting, diet coke fueled machine!  Yeah, bay-bee!

Here is the weapon of choice, an exacto knife, with the backup of a pack of 100 number 11 blades.  Yes, you know you're in theatre when you buy exacto blades in packs of 100...

But look how many blades this project used!!

And the carnage of my workstation.  (messtation??)

Look at all them letters!  I am incredibly glad that's done with.

I cast on a hat during this whole mess.  A plain old beret.  Because I desperatly needed some idiot knitting to get me through!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Technical Difficulties and Kicking My Blog's ass...

Yeah, there was some technical difficulties.

It's not they we're dumb... it's that our internet connection sucks and we're not patient.

So ignore the weird strange multiple posts.  These are not the droids you're looking for...

*waves hand, goes back to knitting*

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Every Single Time...

So, lately every single time I end up at a knitting meeting, a Stitch N Bitch or a hat club knit along, the same music seems to be playing on the radio.

Now seeing that I live in bustling, historic downtown White River Junction (heard of it? didn't think so. I have figured out when a town needs to bill themselves as 'historic' that translates into 'we don't have anything else good to say about us, so we'll bank on the fact that we've been a boring little town for a reeeeally long time...') there aren't many radio stations to choose from, so the one oldies station seems to be a safe bet for most people.

Therefore the oldies station is usually what's playing. And every single time I sit down to knit, the *same song* comes on. Every single time!

I like the song. I really liked the song before it started stalking me; and to make things worse, it makes me want to dance. So I'll start dancing while getting coffee or picking out yarn, which greatly amuses the rest of the knitters around.

So now it's become a joke of sorts to see whether or not the song comes on, and if I'll get funky wit' my bad self.

So, you can share in my pleasure and pain. The video even has bonus psychedlic 70's special effects! I hereby present to you the song that has been stalking me, the schmoozy dance hit of 1974, and the man who screams "I got a mullet!"

Mr Andy Kim, "Rock Me Gently"

Monday, March 24, 2008

Hats, hats and more hats.

I have a backlog of hats to blog about.  That's partially because I have not been blogging as much as I should and mostly because I have this hat knitting obsession that I should really address at some point.

So, without further ado, I present to you...

(cue theme music)


We'll start with the Nomad Hat and Scarf (which I call a harf, because: A. it sounds funny, and B. gets people asking 'did you mean 'harf or were you hocking up a hairball?)

Well, I love the idea of a hatscarf, and let me tell you, man is this sucker warm!  Though I don't think that many respectable nomads would choose the colors I chose.

Yup.  Lime green and bright pink.  I used to have a nailpolish that exact color of pink and my mother wouldn't let me wear it to middle school because she called it 'prostitute pink.'  I remember my Aunt buying both the prostitute pink and a prostitute purple from Avon because the color they had printed in the book was far more muted.  

Anyways, I chose the colors, not because I have an obsession with wickedly bright colors.  (ok, wait, I do have an obsession with wickedly bright colors.  I'll admit this.)  (But I'll deny it later ;-) )  But because I was at a yarn swap with some older ladies and one brought out these two skeins of lime Lamb's Pride Bulky with the statement, "I don't know who would ever want these..." and while most everyone else sighed and shook their heads, my eyes lit up like bubble lights on a Christmas tree (effervescence and all!).  Well, I got the two skeins, plus the skein that 'went with them' - the pink.  Funny thing was, the more I looked at the skeins all together, the more I decided that they really did go together.  And so the Watermelon Harf was born.  I have to make another one of these in far more muted colors for my aunt who always complains that her ears are cold during the blustery Wisconsin winters.

And as an added bonus, my swinging the tails of the scarf behind your back, you can pretend you're a superhero with a scarfy cape.  Ok, maybe you won't but I will.  :D

(heere she comes to save the daaay....!)

I also had leftover yarn, so I knit up a pink radioactive pirates hat.  I finally figured out that I have made enough of these for now.  I printed off the pattern and didn't use it once until I had to check which row the decreases started.  When you memorize a fair isle pattern, it's time to find a new one.  Anyways, this one is stranded not woven as an experiment and needs a block, but is otherwise a dandy hat.  Yay.  I said dandy.

And I finally jumped on the bandwagon (shown by my somewhat manic expression in this picture.  ether that or the caffeine just kicked in...) and knit up an 'Unoriginal Hat' from the YarnHarlot.  I need to knit a big hat and send it to Kim since the others didn't fit her comfortably,  This one is pretty big.  I'm also going to knit up a Foliage hat in the biggest size I can to see if I can get one that's comfortable for her.

Now I'm on to a sweater, so no more hats for a bit.  (who am I kidding.  I can sneak some hats in my queue, right?)

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Crocheting for Blood and Glory

Ahh, the YarnWarrior.  Entering the windswept plains of battle with naught but her hooks and needles, dangling a thin thread of yarn from her pack.  She is the forgotten heroine of the wartorn tundra.  She is: crazy.

In other words we have entered our second deadly fiberarts contest of the year.  Yarn Smackdown, which is set up alot like March Madness where knitters and crocheters face off in a bracket style competition, the winners advancing to the next round.

I have been put in the crochet brackets since, well, you name it and I do it.  The hat pattern is both charming and aggravating.  Charming because it makes a nice hat.  Stretchy, attractive, warm.  Aggravating because it is *alot* of work for a hat.  Maybe it just seemed that way because I was furiously hooking for my life before I went to bed (Now how many other contexts could you get away with saying *that*?!)

It's a vintage pattern; using front and back post double crochet to form cables.  They are very attractive cables, but it kinda made me want to knit cables instead.

I can't believe I just said that.  Me... the old hand at crochet wants to knit instead?  Partially it's because I enjoy doing certain things in certain mediums better.  I love crocheting afghans, but in knitting they seem like a chore.  I love crocheting pineapple doilies, but I wouldn't want a knit lace pattern to try to imitate pineapples.  In the same way crocheting cables felt like kind of a chore.

Anyways, the hat is done, sent and delivered already.  I'm hanging on the mail delivery tomorrow to see if I got a hat on the same day or not.  But my hat?  Well, this baby is a story in and of itself.

I got the pattern and read the yarn requirements.  It took 2 skeins (1 1/2 to be exact) and I went "what?!" I have lots and lots of one full skeins - enough for most hats, knit or crochet.  But this sucker takes alot of yarn.  So I started ripping apart my stash at 7:00 at night (after all the yarn stores were closed) looking for what I had with two matching balls.

I found Encore left over from an ill conceived scarf idea...

Encore is nice yarn.  It's part acrylic, but it's soft and washable.  

But there was this problem with the color.

Yeah.  You see what I mean, right?

Looks like a "Watch out and slow down, dummy, there's a school zone ahead" sign, doesn't it?

So then I made up a song for it.

Sing with me: (to the tune of a possibly recognizable Men Without Hats song…)


You can knit if you want to,
you can leave your friends behind,
Because if your friends don’t knit - or they don’t crochet, then
They’re no friends of mine!

I say, we can knit where we want to
A place where they will never find
And we can act like we come from out of this world
Leave the real one far behind
And we can knit.


Ah we can wear what we want to the night is young and so am i
And we can dress real neat from our hats to our feet
And surprise ’em with the yellow dye

I say we can knit if want to if we don’t nobody will
And you can act real rude and totally removed
And I can look like an imbecile
I say we'll wear yellow; there colors are out of control
We can knit, we'll crochet we’re doing it wall to wall
Put it on, go outside, everybody look at your hats!
Fold the brim, don a scarf, everybody takin’ the chance
Safety hats!
Oh well the safety hat
Ah yes the safety hat

Safety hat!

Now that that song is in your head, hope that I don't live to next round to make an even dumber song for an even more obnoxious hat.

Mwa hahaha.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Hats, Kerchiefs, and Vests, oh my!

Ahahah!  I finished a hat.  I would celebrate, but by now the hats are threatening to take over my apartment and eat me.

That's ok.  I get to send this hat off to a dear friend in Vegas who had a nasty infection, which would have been fine but her healthcare provider knackered something up, and it got worse.  I think a nice warm fuzzy hat would be fitting at a time like this.

And hoo, boy is this hat fuzzy.  It's a destash hat, made with something I got from Jo Ann Fabrics (Dolcetto I think it's called...) and SmarieK Knit's "Swirl Hat" pattern.  It's a really neat little pattern, and I added the extra 16 stitches to make it large.  I am happy to say that it didn't turn out too large and it should fit her nicely.  

The kerchief.

See.  Obnoxiously Purple.  Obnoxiously Bright.  

I like it.

(and yeah, I have this 'I look like I just work up' look on my face, here.  It's because I *did* just wake up in that photo.  It was over the weekend, after the revelry.  because the after the revelry photos looked; well, even dumber.  >.<  What can I say?  I look kinda dumb at time :D ) Vests.

So, having finished my queue of projects (wow, I feel so... British... when I use that word.) I found myself in a quandry of what to knit next.  I try to limit myself to one project on the needles at a time.  I still have the Baby Sweater on my roster, but it's no longer on the needles.  It is patiently waiting for me to find the right notions so it can snap closed and not be snaps that Baby might eat off of the fabric, so it's pretty much done, and just waiting for me to get off my lazy butt and *fix* it.  So I got to cast on a new project (yayy!)

I decided to go for the Stonewalls vest from Cheryle Oberle's "Folk Vests" book.  And the yarn I had in mind was the mystery green wool from the ginormous cone.  Knitting this vest I am starting to wonder how much wool was on that cone.  Now it came in 2 ply, fingeringweight strands, and I had it wound up into center pull balls so I could hold two strands together to approximate the yarn needed for the vest.  I thought the yarn needed was DK weight, but when I swatched I found it was more like worsted or aran.. so three plys it is!

At first I was horrified, terrified of running out of yarn.  

I am now halfway done, and I have used only three balls... I have this many left.

Which now leaves me with the question: what else will I knit with this stuff?

Anyways, here was the vest Sunday evening:

And here was the vest Tuesday morning after I found out I had a snow day on Monday and spent the vast majority of my snowed in day knitting and watching Doctor Who:

Man, I *love* days off of work!!

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Yarn Karma

So I have this theory that karma exists, at least to some small degree; and while I'm a generally unlucky person, I believe in Yarn Karma.

What is Yarn Karma you ask?  Well, quite simply out, it is the belief that if you do a good turn with your yarn, a good turn will come back to you.  From knitting charity hats to prayer shawls to packaging up some of your stash and sending it off in the mail as a special present, sharing yarn means good luck.

Yup.  I said 'sharing yarn.'

I know, there are alot of teriffic knitters out there that can not bear to part with thier stash in the least.  I'm not one of them.  

Now I'm not rich.  Far from it.  I knit with what I can come by, and I don't buy much yarn.  I did win several hundred dollars worth of yarn from a drawing earlier in the year, but by and large alot of my stash comes from donation.  Not that I solicit donations, mind you.  No.  People just give me the yarn.

To date I have gotten: a bag of Firenze from a contest, a garbage bag of Cascade 220 and Lamb's Pride.  A shopping bag of Lamb's Pride bulky, a Wal Mart bag of Lite Lopi, a few skeins of Lime Green Cascade,  two large unlabeled balls of white wool, a gigantic cone of green wool (and I mean gigantic.) and a mystery cone of white fingering weight god knows what fiber.

Why?  you ask.  What makes me so special?  Well, nothing, really.  But way up north in snowy Vermont I belong to a knitting guild.  I am the youngest regular member of the guild by at least 25 years.  I entertain them.  While they knit drop dead gorgeous fair isle sweaters and things straight from the pages of Elizabeth Zimmerman's lovely classic books, I knit devil hats, police tape scarves and crochet beanises.  They find me unusual and amusing.  But I also knit enough difficult things that they have grown to respect my knitting.  They like giving me tips and tricks, passing on wisdom, and gifting me yarn.

I don't know quite why, but I think it has to do with the idea that for many of them thier daughters are my age and they don't knit.  I'm the new hope for the next generation of knitters for them, and because I'm not in a big city, there aren't many other young knitters around.  So they think that I need to keep on knitting, and at swaps or destashing events they just keep handing stuff to me.  Sometimes they even bring small bags of yarn by the local LYS I hang out at.

The problem here?  I work in Vermont seasonally.  In May I have to haul all my crap 1200 miles back to Wisconsin in a 1993 Ford Taurus.

There is only so much yarn that fits into a '93 Ford Taurus.

So I sort through it.  I knit up alot of it.  And I give it to other knitters, too.  I particularly like putting a skein or two into the mail to a friend or acquaintance.  Because snail mail is highly underloved in this day in age, and let's face it.  Everyone loves getting something in the mail that isn't junk or a bill.

And the really funny thing?  Almost every time I send something off, someone gives me yet more yarn!

This teaches me two things: 1. Yarn Karma is real
2. I need more addresses

Yarn Karma: pass it on!!

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