Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Knit and Crochet Blog Week Post #1 - Late

Who knew there was an annual Knit/Crochet Blog week anyway.  Thanks Jellidonut for the head's up.

I'm a couple of days late and more than a couple of dollars short but here's my 2 cents worth anyway.

Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.

I had some angora that I loved.  It's generally beyond my budget but I bought the brown to line some mittens per the instructions of Anna Zilboorg in her book Magnificent Mittens.  I've made several of these mittens over the years and learned so much from making them.
I pulled this picture out of my pre-Ravelry actual, physical scrapbook.  I gave this pair to my Mom for Christmas one year lined with angora.  Yum yum.  

Then believe it or not I got some angora for $1.00 a skein at a store that was going out of business.  The mint green color must have been off-putting to everyone who had come before me but I thought it made for a cute baby set when mixed with the brown I had leftover from the mittens.

Angora, soft and gentle.  Not just soft but I think it may caress you back.  So soft. I love angora.

Yarn #2 is one I really don't care for.  Now, I know I just extolled the virtues of a rather expensive yarn but I'm no yarn snob.  I'll use acrylic when needed and have a small stash of acrylic favorites that I get when they're on sale so I'll have them around for emergency baby/kid gifts and things like that.  I'm especially fond of Lion Brand Homespun, Bernat Satin Sport and Caron Simply Soft.   They wash really well, have some good colors and feel just fine to snuggle with and to knit with.  So one day I took a chance on some Bernat Camouflage Ombre.  It was horrible.  It hurt my hands.  It stuck to the needles.  It was ugly.  My daughter loves it.  Who's to say, right?  Not all wool is great to work with and not all acrylic is great to work with.  I wouldn't turn down ANY angora though.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fountain Hat

I watched the movie The Fountain today which I've wanted to see ever since knitting The Fountain Hat by Katie Himmelberg.  (I'm a linking King tonight, no?).  When I read her description of the movie that inspired the hat I knew I wanted to see it and I found it on my Netflix on demand and amazingly had 1 1/2 "kids otherwise occupied" hours today so I sat down with those dratted sleeves and knitted and watched.

The movie isn't easy.  It wasn't easy to hear at first and it was quite hard to follow at first.  It is a pretty love story and decent exploration of the theme of acceptance of death although on the theme of death it was a little like being hit over the head with a 2x4.  When our main character, Tommy, spouted that, "death is nothing more than a disease and I'm going to find the cure for it!" I couldn't help but draw a parallel to Anakin's misguided angst over his mother's death which of course let to his downfall when he didn't save Padme.  It was a poorly written line in what was otherwise a decently well written movie on a well worn topic.  I loved the way Izzi's manuscript was Tommy's story (and hers) and the way it was used as the device for exposition.  Once I got the hang of switching between the 3 time periods I loved the juxtaposition of the Spanish inquisition with the traveling in the stars.

Rachel Weisz played her part so incredibly well.  She made Izzy's grace and acceptance of death believable without being sickly sweet or trite about it.  I liked Hugh Jackman better in the Spanish sections and future sections than the present day.  I think Jackman overplayed the theme just a bit - thus the "hitting over the head with a 2x4" feeling.

The special effects and lighting in the movie were unique and interesting.  It's dark most of the way through with the theme of stars carried through each time period - hanging candles in the castle during the Spanish period and candles and lights around the house during the present time period.  So if you imagine you're squinting your eyes throughout the movie, it all takes place in the stars.  If you've watched the movie, I love to hear your thoughts on the ending.  Did he finally accept death or defy it?  Maybe I missed something but I'm not sure.  Or are they and have they always been together and always will be and he's just figuring that out?  Also, I really want one of his spaceships.

Having watched the movie explains a lot about the hat.
There is a lace pattern that sort of flutters into chaos and then nothing as it moves up the hat.  I really didn't understand it while I was knitting it even though I had read the designer's description and explanation in the magazine.  But having seen the movie I totally get it now and I'm glad I didn't modify it to make it more symmetrical even though that thought crossed my mind while I was knitting it.

I gave the hat to my sister-in-law because she likes blue.  Now I think I might like to knit another for myself!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Still Sleeves to Here's Something Interesting

I'm still laboring on sleeves which aren't interesting for posting pictures.  I literally worked on them for hours today and am up to 188 stitches per row (both sleeves at a time) on size 2 needles.  My hands are tired so what am I doing - typing of course.  Like I didn't type all day.  But seriously, I'm ranting so let's move on.

Did you know that there are 42 members in the Weird Crafts group on Ravlery.  It's there that I found the wonderful Yip Yip from Sesame Street which I'll have to crochet for my son who adores the Muppets and all things muppety.  Which led me to look and see if there's a Muppet Group on Ravelry and of course there is.  This group has 701 members right now!  Go Muppets!  Which led me to this tasty treat.

And on that note, have a good night.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sleeves, Sleeves, Sleeves, Hat, Scarf, Pinterest

I, like so many others before me, am in sleeve purgatory.  Knitting, knitting, knitting the never ending sleeves in sock yarn no less.  And this is for my daughter who is growing, growing, growing - which does provide some amount of motivation because the weather turned warm for a few days and all I could think of was that this sweater might not fit her next year so I'd better get going.  To help galvanize myself I sewed together the shoulders of the sweater to make sure that it would, in fact, fit her if I get going.  Maybe it'll fit next fall too.  It's pretty stretchy and she asked for it long so I have high hopes.  That said, I'm trying hard to finish those sleeves, sleeves, sleeves.

I DID finish my Droplet hat and I love it.  It's a tad loose but since it's 100% wool that's probably a plus.  It won't be so itchy.  I haven't done any texture/aran work in a long time and this project was the perfect size to have fun with but it wasn't overwhelming.  I chose it because I had been fangirling over Norah Gaughan's Knitting Nature and saw this pattern and noticed that amazingly, shockingly, I actually had a stray skein of the actual yarn actually called for in the actual pattern.  Really, that never happens to me just by chance.  So I had to make it.  And I'm glad I did.  And I do highly recommend the very creative Knitting Nature.

Next I finished the quasi-Noro Striped Scarf for my Aunt.  It came out more narrow than I thought it would and I had more of the black than the variegated so I added a crocheted edging and fringe and I'm very happy with the results.  It's super squishy and warm and yummy.  I'm not sure if I should go ahead and send it off to her or wait until next fall's cold weather.  Of course, I'm not known for getting to the post office to mail things so if I say I'll mail it now maybe it will actually go out by next fall.

Do you think the aforementioned FO's have anything to do with aforementioned unfinished sleeves?  I wonder.

Finally to Pinterest.  I've been enjoying pinning fun knitting to my board although I wish I had more time to play with it.  This is a cloud program that I'm using as a collector of fun ideas of all kinds.  It's a totally simple to use online corkboard that's free and doesn't need a download.  I highly recommend it for sharing fun pictures you come across and browsing fun pictures that others find.  If I was a designer it would be really useful but for me right now it's all fun and games.  You can find me on Pinterest as Clea Stagnitti.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Yarn Buying with Mom and Dad and a Finished Blankie

The baby blanket is finished although it really is a blankie because it came out so small.  But oh so cute and I'm inordinately proud of my lame crocheted edging.

And then this weekend I went to my folks house on the St. Lawrence River.  In Potsdam, NY there's a wonderful, fun, funky crafty, sci-fi model, yarn, beading, fabric shop called Misty Hollow.  I wish it had been there when I lived there!  The people that work there, and I think they must own it too, are super nice.  The gentleman was knitting a cabled scarf out of Cascade Rustic that he showed me.  It was great! And the woman helped my Mom find all the fabric she wanted.  I splurged on some goodies.

Some Cascade Rustic in a beautiful shade of green intended for a 198 Yards of Heaven (Rav Link) for one of my aunts.  It really does look Rustic and is a wool/linen blend which looks like it's going to be a little rough but it turns out it's incredibly soft!  I can't wait to start.

I got some Plymouth Happy Feet that's such a good price and the colors were so cute I couldn't resist a Baby February Lady sweater for my niece.  I'm also looking forward to starting that and have to mention that after looking on Ravelry at the projects for this yarn I found someone else who had made the BFL sweater out of the same yarn and was able to PM back and forth a little with her and got some great advice.  Don't you love Ravelry!  It never ceases to amaze me how Ravelry and now all the social networking options have enhanced the knitting community.  Here's the cute cute yarn.

And finally I got some very pretty boucle at a great sale for a Gathered Scarf (Ravelry Link) for a friend. I'm going to knit it at a large gauge and hope I have enough for a long enough scarf.  I love knitting scarves and I've had this pattern in mind for a long time.

Then my folks and I had a great dinner at one of my favorite restaurants.

So really, does it get any better than that?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Baby Blanket Rush

Oh dear, our neighbor's baby has arrived and I am still toiling away on the dishcloth blanket out sock yarn.  What, I ask you, was I thinking?
Here's evidence that the baby is here.
In my defense, she was due on the 11th but I suppose you can't argue with a baby who's ready to arrive.  A girl, I assume, which is good because although these colors are okay either way, it might be a little towards pink for some folks for boys.
But as you could see from picture #1, we are having a snow day today so no work so MORE KNITTING!  I just have to clean that darn kitchen.  And stop blogging about computer stuff.  And I need to pick an edging to add.  Since the baby's a girl I think I'll go with something lacy and garter-stitchy from Nickey Epsteins "Knitting on the Edge" which I love.

Happy knitting day!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Discovering a Designer

While waiting for my daughter to finish her game I decided to browse Knitty and discovered the amazing Oranje cardigan.  I think I'm in love!  I love the fit and the turtleneckline and the colorway and the attitude.  I'm not a 3/4 length sleeve fan but that's okay.
That led me to look at Anne Weaver's Ravelry Page where I discovered that she is also the designer of Tempest which I've been oggling for a while now.
Isn't it great when you find a designer who "fits" you!  I love Anne's funky style.  It's modern without going to the outlandish.  It's playful but not over-the-top.
Nice job Anne Weaver.