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, April 25, 2008

29, bay-beh!!

OK, drunk blogging again!

I do this so rarely, it's like a hyperactive treat!!

29 today!  Opened  SHOW!  The actors didn't know I was turning 29, so when they found out afterwards they *all* bought me drinks.  Alot of them.  Yikes!  Yee haw.  SO many I had to get a ride with the painter.  Yee.

So.... I have alot to blog about.  Hats.  Sweater progress.  Theatre.  

Must.  Blog.  While.  Sober.

I need another goblet of water.

Crocheted Beanis got a great reception tonight.  For some reason it makes people bust a gut.  Awesome.

I need to go to bed.

I love everyone right now.  Yeah.  Head spinning.  More water.  Bed.  Yeah.



Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sweater Progress, a Renegade Hat and Kink.

One of the best feelings in the knitting world is the feeling you get when you three needle bind off some shoulders, because it means you're done with a whole big chunk o' sweater! I love the body of the sweater. Light, soft, warm , and it even actually fits!! Unfortunately in my world it also means you have to cast on for the sleeves.
I have decided to venture into learning something new, and will work both sleeves at the same time. The only problem with this is that I have a limited stock of 40" needles. I have a size 7 in Addi Turbo's which the bulk of the sleeve will be knit on, but the start needs to be knit on 5s. And I only have 5s in Plymouth Speedway. The cord of my Plymouth Speedways has more kink that Hugh Hefner in a whipped cream factory, so knitting is less than pleasurable. (and, yes, I have boiled/heated and otherwise tried to soften the cord in every way possible.) I can't wait until I have enough rounds to change to needles thta won't fight me every step of the way.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Road Trip!

There are very few things on Earth that would possess me to get my butt out of bed at 8am on a Saturday.  They must be Earth shattering (like a fire... in my bed) or tantalizing (like a sci fi convention).  Or maybe they just have the right words in them.

This one started with "Road Trip" continued with "through lovely rural New Hampshire" and ended with "woolen mill".  Somewhere between the beginning and the end the magical word "yarn" came up.

That's the point where my mind did a complete 180 degree turn and I went 'bwuh-huh?'  That word required more explanation.  

     "Oh, it's the Harrisville Woolen Mill" the lady organizing it said.  "They spin their own yarn and they are having a sale."  Uh huh. yeah.  Now I'm listening.  "It's in their old mill building where they have knitting and weaving and spinning classes, and their studio had hanks of their yarn, plus cones and wool by the pound and..." She said alot more, about how they carried Vivian Hoxbro kits and did things with her shadow knitting, but at that point I had really tuned out, and I was already planning on how in the world could I get the day off from work.

It ended up being just as easy as saying "I'm taking Saturday off."  With phase one accomplished, he meticulously planned phase two: get up in time for the road trip.  I am pleased to say phase 2 went off without a snag, so let's just skip directly to the part everyone likes, right?  Pictures and yarn!

The drive was wonderful.  What looked like it was going to be a foggy, rainy day, broke into a fully day of warm spring sunshine.  It was, in a word, radiant.  The trip was smooth: drive on the highway south to Keene, and then on back highways past little towns until you get to Harrisville.  Harrisville was one a small rural settlement in the middle of nowhere that was built around a mill in the late 1700's.  Over 200 years later and it is... a small rural settlement in the middle of nowhere built around a mill.  It is gorgeous.  I would move there in a heartbeat.  If I had a job, that is.

This is basically the downtown.  The white building the the general store, which is alive and thriving, and sells, well, everything you might need.  It's pretty much one of the only stores around, so unless you're taking a trip to one of the larger cities, people shop here for their day to day needs.  On the far left you can see a large brick building - old dormitories for the mill workers, they now serve as dormitories for people who take classes and seminars though the millworks spinning, knitting and weaving programs.  I would love to take a class like that someday.

The studio is in the old mill building, which is built directly over the river (which provided the mill power).  You can hear the rush of the water in the building.  People always mention it, and some tourists ask if that's "the air conditioning going off?"  After you get used to it, it is wonderfully comforting.  (yup, here's a picture of the water, running under the mill buildings!)

And then there is the yarn.  I suppose by some yarn store standards there isn't alot of yarn, because they only sell a few things that aren't their own yarn.  But that's OK.  Their yarn is pretty breathtaking.  That, and they helpfully offer to get any quantity you desire if there isn't enough on the shelves.  I found plenty on the shelves.  This is their New England Shetland - enough of it to die and go to Fair Isle heaven.

(And if you're asking what's so cool about this yarn, what do they make with it, well, here's one of the patterns I have seen recently made with Harrisville New England Shetland.  Drool!)

So then comes the question... did you buy anything?

I, being of extreme self control did not... aw, hell.  It was on sale.  I sure as hell bought yarn!  I did get out of there with under $100 of yarn (a feat most others could not claim) but I bought yarn for that vest above, as well as two more skeins of wool and flax, to beef up the two I already had (which will become a vest!  A lovely vest!) and a skein of silk and wool for my yarn swap partner through ravelry.  

Did I mention I'm going to make that vest up there?  The Eunny Jang Ivy League vest?  I want to run around in circles and squee!  But that would probably make my roommates try to commit me, so I'll settle for lounging in the sun.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Sweaters, Sweaters, Sweaters!!

So, I decided to make my Mother a sweater for Mother's Day.

I don't know why this suddenly struck me as the best idea for a Mother's Day gift (besides the fact that I'm completely addicted to knitting...) but something gnawed upon my brain and said "knit her a sweater!"

Now this isn't the first sweater I have knit, nor the first sweater I have knit for my mother.  The first sweater I knit was following the "Skully" pattern form the Stitch N' Bitch book, but I didn't use Lamb's Pride.  No, I use some other Mohair mixed with Acrylic, and bound together with a thin nylon thread.  I can't remember what it was called.  Not Moonlight Mohair - something else strange sold by Jo Ann's.  It was distinctly... furry.  Not like fun fur, mind you.  It looked fairly innocuous on the ball.  But the Acrylic was brushed to be fuzzy, and the mohair was fizzy and it had a sort of almost boucle type texture from the nylon binder, so all in all it ended up looking like I was wearing a beige shag carpet when I was said and done.

     I normally take pictures of these disasters and share them gleefully, but I have to admit that when I moved away from Oregon, I (ahem) conveniently forgot to bring the shag carpet with me.  In fact, I think it accidentally ended up in the big "Donate your clothes to the homeless" bin.  And I feel sorry for the homeless person who ended up with it.

Anyways, the sweater I first made for my Mother was called the "Bookworm Tunic" from the Better Homes and Gardens Hip Knits book.  I made that one out of a lovely shade of muted brown-purple Cotton Fleece from Brown Sheep.  It turned out very nicely, and distinctly not furry.  She still has it, so I'll take pictures of it sometime.  

The problem was I made the size small, 36 inches.  My mother is quite small, having about a 35 inch chest.  But the finished sweater didn't have much stretch (cotton tends to do that) and she felt it was a bit too snug overall.

So, I was on a mission to find the perfect sweater for my mother and make it in a comfy size that was big enough without being too big.  So when I was shopping in Newport, NH (In a store called Hodgepodge, which is a lovely romp in the yarn type of place) I found an older copy of a Dale of Norway pattern book.  And I loved every sweater in the book, so I bought it.  The sweater I loved best was this one:

It is called "Gerbera."  It's made out of a yarn called "Sisik."  I wanted to know more about this yarn, so I called up the information on Sisik.  And from the Dale of Norway site, I found out that it was... discontinued.

That's ok, I never use the yarn the pattern calls for.  So with weight and such in hand, I tromped off to the LYS and started looking for a substitute.  

Here's where we got into trouble.  Sisik is an unusual yarn.  It is 30% wool, 30% mohair, 34% acrylic and 6% viscose.  That's an... odd combination of fibers.  It is also an unusual weight, falling somewhere between a sport weight and a DK.  It is also extremely light, and I was afraid a physically heavier yarn like the Kathmandu DK that was available would make the sweater unbearably heavy.  There aren't many yarns I found that would substitute for it.  At least not in my little town.  I needed more information on this Sisik.

So I went to the web's greatest source of weird knitting lore.  Ravelry.  And I typed in Sisik, which brought up pictures of the yarn and the label.  I recognized the bird on the label.  My jaw dropped open.  I had that yarn in my stash.

     6 balls of "pewter" (a light gray) to be exact.  I had bought them from the Herrschnerrs outlet store from their big "Hey look, discontinued yarn, cheap!" bin.  Serendipity?  I had half a sweater sitting right in my bedroom.  Now to find six more skeins of a discontinued yarn.

     I didn't get alot of choice of color, but the choice I did get was good.  6 skeins of Navy Sisik from later and I was off and running.

Oh yes, and I chose to knit the medium (39") instead of the small (35") chest size.  If this sweater ends up too big, I will beat my mother (kindly, of course) with it.

But she does look smashing, so far, no?

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Friday, April 04, 2008

Life, Hanging in the Balance....

Either that is the start of an emo-poem, or the latest round of hatly violence has taken a turn for the worst.

And since I am rarely (if ever!) emo, lets move on to hatly violence.

Monday, March 31st was a blur of orange yarn and crochet hooks.  The newest Yarn Smackdown pattern was released at 8pm EST, and I was determined to finish it before I slept.

Called the "Divine Hat" by Sarah Arnold, it's a lacy little crocheted beanie.  I whipped it up in just over two hours, and was on the bottom ribbing when I noticed that I had made a mistake.  Not a weensey little mistake, mind you... a big honking, "I read the pattern completely WRONG!" mistake.  

In my defense the pattern is white type on a black background in 8 point font.  Despite the fact that my monitor is big, the resolution made it darn near impossible to see.  So I dug out my glasses, re read everything, consulted pictures of finished and more divine hats than mine on Ravelry and figured out that yes, in fact I was a blithering idiot.

So at around 10:15 or 10:30 pm, I ripped.  And ripped, and ripped.  I ended up with this:

So sad.  I could only save the first 3 rounds.  I took a break, got some chocolate and some Diet coke, sat back down and began to crochet again.  It went faster this time, and I got the hat done a smidge under 1am, finishing and everything.  That's OK.  I cannot physically mail anything earlier than 8am because no freakin post office around here (that's within 50 miles) is open anything other than 8-5 (ok, a few are open 7-4, and if I wanted to drive all the way to Concord NH there is one that is open until 6)  Point being these mystical things called 24 hour post offices are mythical and legendary in the snowy fields of Vermont.  So I was pretty happy with myself and I mailed it very early the next morning.

Well, my opponent also mailed hers early, if not the night before (She does live in a place where there are mythical magical late night post offices.   Lucky punk!)

She mailed hers Priority.  I mailed mine Priority.

On Friday both hats arrived.  

As of right now we don't know who is alive or who is dead.  

On the bright side I got lovely natural soap with a nice hat!  So if I die, at least I'll be clean and smelling good.

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