No Noticable Behavioral Differences.

Wouldn't it be awesome if I weren't a horrible person? Yeah, it would. But now's not the time or place for that. The time and place for that is http://www.livejournal.com. Which is currently in a massive process of "crash and burn". Deleting profiles, while users complain about a lack of professionalism. Sorry, Livejournal was never about professionalism. It was always about whiny teenagers flaunting their own self harm. (And don't jump down my throat just yet - I am one of those whiny, self-harming teenagers). Oops. Big deal. Livejournal, you guys fucked up. Big time.

I've been feeling a little blue lately. So what better way to express it than with the Miss Danvers pullover, which is entirely knit in black and blue. No pictures yet, but it's almost done. So really, I might just stick a photo up when its finished.

I had to run out today on an EYR (Emergency Yarn Run) to Wal-Mart. Yes, Wal-Mart is evil. I fully agree. But when its a choice of Wal-Mart or another big coroporation that is equally as horrible....I'll go with Wal-Mart. It's easier for my mum to drive to (thus depleting the earth's resources some more - yes, I know. Shush, you dirty hippies.) I ran out of icky Red Heart Super Saver in Royal today.

The damned thing is driving me nuts, to be honest. It's knit nearly entirely in the round, which was a mistake. a Big MISTAKE. Knitting things on circular needles drives me batty. The thing is knit entirely from the brain, with no pattern. No reference. It has some poor attempt at waist shaping which will only be shown as horrible when I finally put it on. or maybe it will be great and genius. Either way, it remains to be seen.

I'm working the back right now. I've bound off the armholes, and am working the back and front seperately. The back, as I said, is being worked first while the front remains on the rounds, untouched. The front has a small black and blue pattern on the front. On paper, the pattern looked like checkers. On yarn, it just looks icy. But it's knit in there, so its not coming out. Maybe I'll stick a patch on there or something.

Next on the needles for my "knit yourself out of depression" series will be matching socks for Davey and I. I don't know what pattern I'll use yet. He'll get some color I haven't decided on yet (I need to go through my stash), and I'll go with the pukey-green color I got thrifting. I don't think it looks pukey, but David hates it. So I'll use the same pattern, different fiber, for both.

Also, a kickass pair of laceup armwarmers in purple Plymouth Encore that I've had sitting around. I love the pattern, it's been floating around craftster, and I'd kill for a pair. So that's coming up too.

Also some washcloths for when David and I move in to our new place, wherever that may happen to be.

That awesome Summer Tunic from the newest Interweave Knits is calling my name, too.

I should still finish the stuff I already started.

My hands are locking up at the knuckles. And things are popping that should never pop. Knees are locking up, and my back needs to be popped every five minutes. I think I'm getting arthritis. I should look that up.

Did I mention I also got a needle sizer at Wally World today? Tomorrow I think I'm going to size and take inventory of all my needles. Miss Danvers, the pullover, I now know, is being knit up on what Boye considers a size 7 circular needle. Oh joy?


Amnesiatic Memorial Day

Well, memorial day this year is something I would much rather forget. For good. My older brother and I got into a very large fight. Apparently I ruin every special day for him. This is not the time or the place for me to rant about him or his views, but damnit, it hurts when he says that. Like I don't already know I screw things up in the biggest of ways?

So...Before the arguement, mom took David and I and my Aunt Tina to the cemetery to visit my grandfather. He's a WWII vet...Army staff seargent. After that, we stopped by WallyWorld (Wal-Mart). I tried to find my Sugar N Creme in "Delft Blue" but they didn't have it. Wal-Mart's selection almost always sucks. It's a shame when I go back to Ohio that's about all the selection I'll have. So...No Delft Blue.

I got the next closest color to it, though - some Icky Red Heart Super Saver in Royal. Ick. I don't *HATE* Red Heart, but it isn't my first choice for something that would be worn so close to the skin.

And with my red heart, unknown fiber content black cotton yarn, and a pair of circs (I hate those things), I cast on for my "Miss Danvers" pullover hoodie. I should probably draw up some sketches of what I want it to look like. It's a pullover tanktop hoodie. Black and blue ribbing at the bottom, with a black and blue seed stitch/polkadot border above the ribbing. There will be a design on the center chest. What design? I haven't decided yet. But it'll be cool. The as-of-yet undrafted pattern is named after my favorite vampire killer (not so much a killer, but a co-habitator?) Claire Danvers, from Rachel Caine (of Weather Wardens fame)'s newest series, The Morganville Vampires. It would seem that the heroines Claire and Eve would need something awesome to trot around with vampires in. So I'm making a pullover that I feel would be worthy of Claire wearing. I need to take measurements and figure out when to start making the armholes.

I think in the next few days I'll come out with a series of PDFs you guys can download and print - one to fill in your measurements (a personal reference sheet for all your clothing needs), and a checklist for creating gifts for your family and friends (sort of a survey -things you like, don't like, absolutely hate, fibers you're allergic to, etc.) Printable, savable, and soon to be created.

The orangey-salmon sweater gotten from thrifting will be a pair of socks for my mum's birthday in August.

THe angora sweater will be re-transformed into a lovely pair of under-shorts for myself...to prevent the "big girl" chafing I often get. I hope it doesn't felt from sweat. Cross your fingers!

Those are the updates I have for now - pictures, perhaps, of the Miss Danvers sweater later. Sketches of the sweater, and the angora shorts. In the next few days, expect the PDFs, if I can figure out how to create a PDF. If not, it'll just be an image you can print.

I'm off to create!


Never Know What You Might Have Left Undefined...

Ugh. The minty shawl of goodness is coming along. Here it is in all of its glory. My camera...well, not my camera, my parents' camera is being awful today. Normally it takes lovely pictures. Pictures you can be proud of. Today, it's making everything look sick.

My shawl shouldn't look so gross. The couch usually looks that gross. But the shawl shouldn't. Anyway, you get an idea for the color (which shouldn't look that gross, damnit!) and a good idea for the stitch pattern. I kind of like it. It produces a wavy edge, looks very good, and isn't all that hard to go through and not hard to memorize at all. I love it. It's definately a favorite. The shawl is about 9.5 inches now. Out of 60. So...I've got a bit of a way to go. I got very angry yesterday and got into a fight with my younger brother. So I went outside and worked on the MSOG (Minty Shawl of Goodness) for a while. It grew. A lot. Time to update the progress bar! I'm just afraid that if I work on it while I'm upset, the "upset vibes" will transfer to the project and make it unpleasant to wear. I'm a hippie when it comes to things like that. I'll spiritually cleanse it after I'm done, as well as throw it for a turn in the washing machine (everyone in the house smokes, and there's a cute little kitty roaming around. Not something everyone needs to deal with when recieving a nice, new, knit object.)

The "Her's and Her's" Bath set is something I should be working on. It got put off to the side after my horrible attempt at duplicate and cross stitching onto the washcloth. I still haven't ripped out the failed cross stitch all the way, as evidenced in this picture. I need to work on that, though. I got more yarn for the project. Thankfully it WAS Hot purple I used on the inital washcloth. Yeah. I should get to work. I just don't want to.

I managed to go thrifting the other day to find some sweaters to pull apart for the yarn. While there, I found some lovely yarn in the craft section that I promptly picked up. Vintage Red Heart baby yarn...back when it wasn't even acrylic. It was ORLON. Which isn't the most comfortable thing in the world...but damn, I had to have it. If only for the novelty aspect. I love vintage yarn. I also got two older bags of AC Moore discount 1LB yarn bags. The labels still say "100% Unknown Fiber Content". I love playing "Guess the Fiber". It's easier, sometimes, because a lot of commercial yarns come wound a certain way. Cotton skeins are usually wound different than wool blends and wool blends are usually done differently than acrylics. At least at stores like AC Moore and Michaels. I got a bag of what I believe to be black cotton yarn, and a bag of this really nice, dark green yarn that has heathery/tweedy flecks of a muted rainbow in it. I'm guessing (and its only a guess) that its a wool blend. Wasn't there a website a few years back with a tutorial on checking fiber content based upon how the fiber burns? I wish I could remember.

Also, while there, I picked up a few sweaters in the pink and salmon color family. They will promptly be frogged for yarn. While I love getting yummy yarns for cheap, I hate frogging the sweaters. Especially the ones with the lighter weight yarns (like these).

First up is a cashmere and silk blend. While it was initially machine knit, I'm almost certain I can make some socks out of it. It's a salmon-y color, which is exactly what my mother loves. It's totally HER color. So she'll be getting cashmere/silk socks for christmas.

Then there was a gorgeous angora sweater that looked very much like it popped out of the 1950's. It has gorgeous pearlescent buttons on t he shoulder, poofy sleeves, and cabling in the back. It's from an upscale department store (Lord and Taylor's), but of course, the Salvation Army had it for much cheaper. It's a baby, girlie pink color. I couldn't pass up the chance for angora yarn, though. I just don't know what I'll do with it. Maybe stick some in the wedding afghan, and then decorative fingerless gloves for the rest? I'm not sure, but it calls my name.

And finally, a pink variegated "fiber unknown" sweater/vest. Also brand unknown. But it had the coolest buttons and an awesome feel to it. I'm thinking it might be scrunchies and accessories for Davey's sisters for christmas.
That's all the update I've got. David's knitting is coming along well. He's finished his first simple ribbed wrist cuff (Super Saver and Wintuk yarns in grey and red, respectively, on size 4 straight needles, seamed with the red wintuk). He likes it, but it came out a bit too small, because I didn't account for his stitches being so tight! So he's going to try again with the cotton yarn I got thrifting yesterday and size 8's. It should work pretty well, I think. Now if only he would stop thefting my yarn. Cute, but annoying.
I'm off to either knit some more of the MSOG, or frog some more of the sweaters. I can't figure out which. I love knitting, and I love cheap yarn, but I HATE frogging old sweaters. I can never figure it out. Oh well.
I also have to clean, my older brother's girlfriend and her kid are coming over for a memorial day barbeque tomorrow. So of course, the house has to be spotless, under orders from my mother. That means all newly-gotten knitting supplies must be stowed away in my room. That's a lot of work. I don't even eat barbequed food....ugh.


And I hear your laughter from far away...

I'm still having a wonderful time knitting. My hands seem to get sore more easily than they used to, however. And I'm really wondering if all the knuckle popping David does is perhaps not a good thing for me.

We went out to the club the other night- my first time in five months. I hadn't been there since Winter Break. It is kind of different, and I do sort of miss going, even if I had a horrendous time. I explained to David that we would be going, staying all night, and sitting outside in the city until the trains started running again at 5 AM. Well, he got hurt in the mosh pit, we left early, ended up trekking all over Center City to find a public bathroom (which I had explicitly told him - there ARE NONE. they simply Do NOT exist.) My stockings are ill fitting, because I've gained weight since they were last worn....I end up with massive chaffing on my thighs which causes me to bleed an absurd amount. I've still got seven bandaids on my thighs, and it's a few days afterwards. Ick. Being "cuddly" (read: fat) doesn't always have its perks. Ended up throwing a massive shit fit on the street because I was tired, irritated and bleeding. I probably scared my darling pretty well....and I feel super assholish about it. But I was in lotsa pain.

I did, though, have an enjoyable time at the club. While there were some fashion victims (as always: Friends don't let friends dress like the Crow. A narrow strip of fabric wrapped around your butt does not a skirt make. And remember: More is less...it's totally sexier if I can't count every rib you have because you're only wearing a bra and above said strip of fabric which allows me to count every individual pubic hair. Ick!), I did manage to steal some nice inspiration from the club patrons. Mostly color scheme and drape. Maybe some designs later.

Brewing around in my head is a sleeveless hoodie, seed stitch, alternating blue and black seeds with perhaps an alternating blue and black ribbing at the neckline and armholes. Split blue and black hood. A little bit of swatching and planning (with math) will have to be done to see if any of this is even possible. I've loved the idea of a sleeveless hoodie for a long time, I've just never found one to my liking. So now I've got enough free time, I might as well take matters into my own hands. I should stash bust...but a few new skeins of Sugar N Creme Delft Blue wouldn't hurt me, surely.

I'd like to make a skirt similar to the one I wore. Really, though, it wasn't a skirt. It was an old favorite pair of pants hacked all to bits with a few chains added. This was justified because the pants no longer fit in the hips ( I couldn't zip them up), and there were more holes than there were pants. I bought them for 10$ at a thrift store, where that style normally costs about $60. I wore them for two years. I figure it was okay to cut them up, even if I did have to justify it. I hacked up the pants as if I were going to insert fabric to make a skirt. Tilted the pants sideways so the newly created slits were going up the sides, and since the holes created rips in the fabric, I sliced strips going up the front and left the back mostly whole. Over all, a very deconstructed post-apocalyptic skirt that was good for one night but will probably never get worn again because its falling apart. I love the style, though, so I may try to draft something enjoyable. Fabric choices elude me, though. Mercerized cotton base with fuzzy angora/merino strips flowing from it? A little girlie, but it may work.

Right now, though, I'm off to the thrift store to find some sweaters to cannabalize. I will post more later, certainly. And maybe even a few pictures and an update to my WIP Progress bar.


Work Ethic? Pfft.

I don't have very many works in progress that I care to share right now - most have been abandoned between the move, and will be frogged and put to good use. Right now, I'm working on three things (as evidenced by the nifty little progress tracking sidebar, courtesy of http://www.yarntomato.com 's nifty WIP tracker image generator).

1. The Minty Shawl of Goodness. This is a vintage shawl pattern which I found in one of the many pattern books my grandmother gave me years ago. I'm making it for the second time, for the same woman I made it for the first time. My "Aunt" Lois is a friend of my mom's. She lives in Louisianna, formerly New Orleans, and was going through a rough time a few years back. So I made her the shawl. It was a pretty shawl, in a nice, minty, worsted weight acrylic. Nothing special, as far as yarn goes. I'd had some Red Heart in a seafoamy color that I needed to get rid of, so I started making it. Ran out of yarn right after they discontinued the color, ran around town, couldn't find the color, and ended up using a similar, but different yarn (Caron One Pounders). When Hurricane Katrina hit, the shawl went off into oblivion. Now, Lois is going through some really bad health problems. Big, really bad health problems. And I want to cheer her up. So I'm making the shawl again, and maybe an afghan. The shawl was a pattern my grandmother made for my Aunt Tina when my aunt had her prom. Grandma made it in a hideous black acrylic with gold sparklies in it. So abrasive it could be mistaken for steel wool. But it's pretty. Now, I'd misplaced the pattern booklet in all the moves I've been through. So through a stroke of serendipity, I found the pattern again online: http://www.knitting-crochet.com/lacevewra.html. I wish I could remember who the designer was or who put out the pattern booklet, but the site doesn't credit anyone beyond saying "All Shawls 1976". I'm making this baby in another minty green yarn, a bit brighter than the first seafoam color. And in DK weight like suggested.

Yarn: Bernat Softee Baby in color 02004 "Mint" DK Sport Weight 100% acrylic 140 g (Which doesn't tell you the yardage. I HATE that - rant about this later). But it's a very soft, very forgiving acrylic that actually feels non abrasive. It's much more bold than in the picture.

Needles - Boye Balene II size 6 US (8 Canadian) 3.25 mm 14 inches long- While I enjoy the Balene II needles for their flexibility, texture, and shape. These three features which I like, however, work against the needles of a smaller gauge. While size 6 isn't that small of a gauge, the flexibility often causes the needles to become almost flimsy. I'll continue with this brand of 6's, though, until I get fed up. Gods only know I've got enough size 6's.....

2. Her's and Her's Bath Set - Molly and Amanda are some of the best friends David and I have. I'm still not quite sure how we met, I just recall it was college. Molly and I are both crazy horse majors, and Amanda is quiet and quirky like me, and shares David's music passion. So we're all around a good match as friends. Weird, quirky, crazy. Molly and Amanda are getting married (well, comitted) in July. They've been amazing friends in the short time we've known them, and were at our small wedding in January, and offer tons of moral support when things go wrong. David and I aren't exactly rich at the moment, or even close. So I wanted to get them something nice and quality without spending metric tons of money. I came up with the perfect solution - A Her's and Her's bath set, no pattern necessary. I'm working it out on my own.The washcloths (facecloths, whatever) have a seed stitch body, with a crocheted "robust" (IE: not flimsy) border on all four sides (no pattern, not even sure of the stitches, I just know what I did, and know it looks good). I wanted to work "Her's" into the washcloths, but didn't fancy doing intarsia on them. I tried duplicate stitch, which I'm awful at, and I tried cross stitch, which is still horrid. So I'm leaving the washcloths blank. I had a bit of an issue with the crochet border - I picked up too few stitches, and the thing curled horribly. I'll fix it on the next washcloth, but the first one has to be blocked. And blocked again. The towels, I haven't worked out yet. I'm sure I'll figure out the perfect stitch and perfect composition. I want the towels, definately, to say "Her's" on them. Intarsia, definately. Crochet borders on two ends only - top and bottom. The sides stay bare. So they look more, towel-like.

Yarn: Coates and Clark's TLC Cara Mia (13% Angora, 18% Rayon, 19% Nylon 50% Acrylic) 210 yards a skein Worsted Weight (but a very light and sleek worsted weight). I'm not sure the color, I tossed the yarn label long ago, and cannot for the life of me find anything about this yarn online. It seems like it just disappeared, so I take it that it was discontinued, and thus, I'd better use what I have of it wisely. This is the contrasting color. It's a sort of pistachio color.

Lily's Sugar and Cream as the main color. 100% cotton in color Hot Purple or Soft Violet (again, label thrown out a few years ago. Am running out of the unmarked stuff, so I got Hot Purple to work with. Cross your fingers!) 120 yards. A medium weight worsted yarn. I like it, it works very well in the seed stitch that I'm doing. It's softy and nubby in texture when knit in that manner.

Needles and Hooks: Size 8 Swallow Caesin Needles in Timbergran coloring. Tortise shell colored needles made out of a processed milk protein hardened with formaldehyde. I love these needles. The flexibility is JUST right. The shape is wonderful, and the texture is smooth, and holds in the warmth from your hands as you work. I love them. I'd buy the whole set if I had the money. But they're massively expensive, made by an Australian company. Best needles I've ever worked with, these needles were gotten at a small LYS in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia. I had an hour for lunch, and my high school is about a mile and a half up the road, so I walked (okay, RAN) there and picked these up. And I've loved them. They got left at my parents' house when I moved for college, and the cat has taken some liberties with them, so the texture isn't what it used to be (they're all chewed up. damn milk protein being so attractive...) I can't recommend these enough.

The hook I'm using is an old Boye aluminum crochet hook, dark blue coloring, in size E. Oh, I adore it.

3. The Wedding Patchwork Quilt - this is going to be a big quilt. This thing is done with so many yarns and a huge hook, it works up quick. Which is good, because it's going to be big enough to cover a king sized bed (which is what two of the dorm beds pushed together were. Now that Davey and I aren't at the dorms, it will just be a nice, big blanket. If I ever finish it). The pattern is just rectangles crocheted in a row. But the rows are staggered, so the effect is kind of like a very colorful brick wall. Entirely Single Crochet, this thing is massive and mindless. It makes a good project for when I'm upset or otherwise engaged.

Yarn: Everything I can get my hands on in a worsted or bulky weight. Most of the cheaper large yarns from Wal Mart. A lot was donated by the Redneck Santa Clause (my husband's friend TJ). A lot was from relatives, or my own stash. And a lot I just bought. It's a giant orgy of colors and textures. I love it.

Hook: A crystallite N hook, from Wal-Mart, I think.

And these are just what I'm working on right now. More will follow, I think.

Getting High On Information

I'm not quite sure to start. But maybe that's how it always starts, that you're never too sure how to start. It just, does start. And it always starts awkwardly because you almost always state you're never too sure how to start. Or the rare times it starts with a bang and ends up magnificent and inspired. This is not one of those magically inspired times.

I've come home to Pennsylvania to visit for a while. I was going to school in Ohio, but that didn't pan out so well. I managed to get myself in some deep shit. Maybe I'll go into it later....suffice it to say, that the person who committed a greiveous error will not be giving me back my needles or my yarn. I was teaching the jerk how to knit. It makes me sick to my stomach. More sick than the events that actually took place. I'm sick that I shared something so wonderful with someone so horrible. But I'm not going to dwell. Not right now and not yet.

I'm visiting home with my darling husband, Davey. We're staying with my parents, and mostly enjoying it. I managed to round up almost all of my knitting needles and crochet hooks. I have a rather large collection. An excessively large collection. A lot of them were my grandma Nancy's. She had all the good stuff - the vintage Susan Bates, the Quicksilvers, the no-name brands that hold up amazingly, the Boye needles. Ones made of Luxite, Aluminum, steel, and plastic.

Back in her day, it wasn't about snobbery. It wasn't about having the best needles, the fully interchangable Addi Turbo Sets and the processed bamboo bits or post consumer materials. It wasn't about being trendy. They weren't yarn snobs, it wasn't about having 100% virgin wool from the highest peaks of Peru made from the armpit hair of a 100 year old type of sheep that only lives on the north side of a cliff. It wasn't about that.

It was about creating, and creating beautifully on what you had. It was about providing for your family, keeping them warm, and looking good. You could order patterns via mail for pennies. You could get yarn everywhere, not just specialty stores. Acrylic was just fine.

Because my grandmother was a member of a generation that were some of the most hardcore DIYers I've ever encounter. My grandmother was born in the 1920's in Sicily, Italy. She came over when she was a young woman, and met my grandfather, also from Sicily. My grandfather served in World War 2. While he was over in the Pacific Theater, my grandma was knitting. She was working at the 3M plant and knitting in the time she had to herself. And she was doing it with plain old Susan Bates and no-name Acrylic from a free pattern put out by Bernat. Because back then, free patterns were actually attractive.

Now my grandmother is getting close to her 90's. She can't knit anymore. And you know what? I'm proud to have inherited her needles and her remainder yarn. I'm proud to have her pattern books, her notions, and her gauge swatcher and needle sizer. I'm proud to say I can knit equally as well with Red Heart as I can with Manos Del Uruguay. Because that's one thing my grandma taught me silently.

I remember sitting on my grandma's lap one day when I was seven or eight. She had the needles, and was teaching me to knit. My first swatch was done in a white, pearlescent acrylic yarn, with bits of pink and blue in it, with a metallic binder thread. It was beautiful. Until I got my young hands on it. Then it turned warped. But I kept at it. I worked on it. And I've been knitting ever since. It took me one year to finish my first scarf, and it was done in stockinette stitch, so it curled and wasn't good for anything, but it was mine. And I loved it.

My grandmother didn't just teach me the basics. She taught me, without saying a word, that knitting is truly an art. It is beautiful, no matter how ugly what you produce. It is yours, and yours alone. And in creating something, you put a little bit of your soul into it. It's an extension of you, so you'd better enjoy it.

Ten years to the day when I learned to knit, I took up crochet and determined myself to learn it, which I had avoided like the plauge for years. I just couldn't wrap my mind around it, so to speak with a bad pun. It just didn't work. But I made myself learn. I still can't follow a crochet pattern, but my designs aren't half bad.

So that's what this blog is about - my crafting experiences. A life of crafting inspired by those who have come before me, those who have come after, and those who are surrounding me. Pride, Heritage, and Love are the three components of my works. Throw in a dash of Highly Opinionated Activist, and you've got me.