Archive for May, 2006


Monday, May 29th, 2006

Sorry for the forced pun, but this afternoon I returned from my second trip to visit the in-laws in Oregon. The knitting gods smiled upon me, seeing a project finished, a project started and finished, a skein of Trekking XL purchased, and much progress on the second pair’s second sock. It was first trip to Eugene that revived this little writing space and got me back on the needles.

JanieCarThis time, we took the trip by car. What Yahoo! Maps said would be 7+ hours ended up being closer to 9. Granted, we had our little angel in the car with us, so many stops were made for potty breaks. She traveled like a champ, hanging out in her kennel for the first few hours, napping on the back seat for most of the time, and the occasional visit to my lap. She’s exhausted from three days of playing with the resident canines—two border collie mutts, one twice her size, the other at least four times! She endeared herself to Lolo and Roger by hurling herself onto their laps anytime they sat.

Nautie loves BunnyBut you didn’t come here for dog talk, didja? First, a confession. I went to a chain fabric store (the name rhymes with Rowan, or more specifically, Row-annnn’s) and bought some 100% acrylic Red Heart Super Saver crap. Hold on, I have a reason! I wanted something cheap to experiment with, as well as something that’s machine washable. One of the big motivators of my current toy kick is making things for friends with kids (or, in Janie’s foster mother’s case, about to have kids). If you have recommendations for baby-safe, easily cleaned and durable yarn, I’m all ears. Same goes for environmentally-friendly stuffing (organic cotton batting?). Luckily, that mainstream craft wench got less than $20 from me; and I promptly spent a similar amount at a Eugene LYS.

NautieSo, out of the aforementioned products, I present to you my first Nautie. How geeky is it to knit a fossil? It was super simple, just a little time-consuming working off of the large skeins. Next time, I’ll work it in a single color, or two that are closer in value for a mottled, less uniform appearance. With such contrasting colors, any tension variation results in visible blobs of one color. Also, I would caution anyone attempting this to not stuff too densely at the beginning, as I have some fiber leakage in the center of the shell.

BunnyBeforeWhen we left on Friday morning, the Jess Hutch bunny was in pieces. Somehow, when showing off the parts to Lolo, an ear was lost. I’m not sure if Oscar, Dudley or Janie ate it; I just hope it all comes out in the end. I knit up a replacement ear (the shorter one) last night, and everything came together. This pattern is super-fast and I’m looking forward to riffing off it. I love how she’s arranged the increases and my needles are antsy to try to make more little creatures.

As for the sock progress, you’ll see it when it’s finished. And the Trekking XXL, I want to get a 40″ #2 and try to knit it with the Magic Loop technique. A memorable Mem… sorry, I can’t. Between the man and the dog’s snoring, it’s time for me to go to bed as well.

Toy story

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

The outpouring of comments got me off my butt and onto the needles. I printed out a bunch of softie patterns, put down my sock and swatched up some scrap yarn last night. I’ve settled on a Jess Hutch bunny pattern for my bear base. So far, head and 2/3 of the body are done. Using the Rowanspun Chunky from my cycling aran (no, I still haven’t put the zipper in, nor photographed it), it’s coming out a tad dense, I could probably jump up to #9’s,but I want to see it through at this gauge.

Between Leslie, emmalola, and Elemmaciltur and Janie’s expecting foster mommies, I got a bunch of creatures to make! I should probably do one on larger needles and felt it Miss Janie Sparkles, too. Little things are fast! I see why toys are so much fun!

I hope y’all won’t mind if I stray from the bear motif into other animals. Inspired by the www, I want spikes and swirls, and multiple appendages. <sarcasm>That said, I bet the gays would go nuts for a little, knitted, fat, hairy figure—who knew novelty/fun-fur yarn could be so butch? I’ll go sell them around the corner at the Lone Star Saloon</sarcasm>

Thank you, Benthe

Sunday, May 21st, 2006

Being late to knitting, I’m often jealous of people who grew up with it in their family. In fact, the woman who infected me with said passion is (at least) a third-generation knitter. (Hey, B, when’s your episode with Beema and your mother airing?) I feel like I missed out on the passing down of knowledge, tradition and family history. I’m no Knitty’s Amy; it’s just the opposite. Heck, I’m the guy my mom calls for advice for her friends—have you ever tried to describe a SSK on a cell phone?

Thanks to a kind and dear friend from work, my feeling of being left out has been replaced with a deep gratitude and a sense of honor. While cleaning out her basement, Leslie came across her mother-in-law’s needle stash and entrusted them to my care. Benthe’s son Peter doesn’t knit, and Leslie is a crochet-er (now armed with Benthe’s hooks), so she was kind enough to think of me! I was floored when she handed me a grocery bag that rattled with weight of aluminum, resins, metal and such. I am now guardian of Benthe’s valued tools (ranging in size from #0’s to #15’s):

  • 13 pairs of 14″
  • 4 pairs of 13″
  • 2.5 pairs of 12″
  • 20 pairs of 10″
  • 4 circulars
  • 84 individual dpns
  • 3 stitch holders
  • and a metric/English (not US) needle gauge.

Benthe grew up in Denmark and moved to the U.S. as a young woman. I knew she was a knitter from my first day at work, as Leslie gave me a mini bear from Benthe. This was long before I knit, and I wondered what kind of compulsive person would hand-make gifts for strangers. She was prolific and generous with her craft.

Today, Benthe is still very much alive, and I hope to do her needles justice. I never thought I’d have more needles than yarn. Anyone need a bear?

… like a wolf

Monday, May 8th, 2006

So, I’m at the critical point of the evening where I need to make a dinner decision immediately, or else I’ll end up wandering through the “Now Playing” list on Tivo, grazing on potato chips and other sundries, or just knitting the body of my sock. Just typing that makes me want to hop into the car and head over to my long-lost knitting night. They serve food there and it would be nice to catch up the gang.

See, blogging doesn’t ruin lives. It’s improving mine tonight. That means I won’t go into details about what I was doing 24 hours ago and why I’m really sunburned. A long day of synchronized swimming (two performances and two practices) with a midday break for fast-food and friends over to watch Amelie. Besides the dermatological damage, my passion for the pool was rekindled.

grin and bear it

Saturday, May 6th, 2006

A month goes by and it feels like a year. April 10th marked another year for me—the end of my 33rd. The occasion was celebrated a day early with a starch-fest of a breakfast: homemade biscuits and veggie sausage gravy, a tomato tart and coffee cake from the neighbor, doughnuts and some good ol’ breakfast burritos.

And, yes, there’s been knitting, just no photographing of its progress. Currently, I’m on my second pair of socks, something small for BART and the two days a week I bike to work (this week, at least). In the beginning of April, I almost finished what I’m calling the week-long sweater. After the seven days, I was not quite through the second sleeve and it’s been resting since then. I’m kicking myself for wasting a month’s-worth of free photo storage of flickr. I could have shown you the socks, more pictures of Janie and my new button-making machine.

JanieLisa came over today to bust out some 1″ badges for her upcoming art show. We powered through 100+ pins in different designs and miniatures of her drawings. I gave her the three *sparklenation* buttons I’ve made celebrating the tiny canine who’s dominating my life of late.

And how could a visit from such a star not be an inspirational kick in the pants to get back in here to type? Pardon my long silence. Feel free to print this out and wear your own *sparklenation* button to help you my gaps in writing.