Tuesday, October 12, 2010

You spin me right round and babypalooza 2010

Ok, first off, I take responsibility for the awfulness of that title.  It's just too early to come up with something wittier than a 1985 one hit wonder.
But it does fit the post.  I had my second, and final, spin class last night and guess what!?!?!  I made yarn!!!!  It's really pretty and I think I can actually use it. :)  I got some "barber pole" sections, and they look really cool.  I made about 29 yards, so have to spin a bunch more before I can actually make something more than a bookmark, but that's fine.  Now that I've got the hang of this spinning thing, I think I'll alternate it with my knitting.  I'm not anywhere near buying a wheel yet, but spinning is definitely something I want to continue to improve.

In other news, last Wednesday I received two baby shower invitations for the same day.  One is in Alexandria for my best friend Amy, the other is in Katonah, New York for my best friend, Emily.  Unfortunately, my superwoman underwear doesn't allow me to be in two places at once, and since my company party is that evening, I'll be attending Amy's shower.  Of course, this means I am attempting to knit TWO baby blankets in the next month.  I could've done it last year when I was unemployed, but with a full time job and a few jam packed weekends, I don't know if I'll be able to get them done in time.  Luckily, I'm using the same pattern for both, one in dark blue, one in dark green.

I've also been working on these snapdragon flip-top mittens. I've gotten one done and am partway through the cuff of the second.  The cuff pattern is a little challenging, but as long as I keep to the instructions, it's fine.  I need to put buttons on them to keep the flip top in place.  Believe it or not, this is the first time I've ever done I-cord (the i stands for "idiot"...no really....look it up).  As the name suggests, it was ridiculously easy.

Anyway, off to work for another intriguing week of use case reviews.  I know you're jealous.  You can admit it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Finishing is Fun!

It's really been a busy couple weeks.  Work has been insane - use case reviews continue as I'm executing transition plans as our contract is coming to an end. I really like my team, we all get along really well, but they're going to drive me to drink!

Stressed nerves does lead to good knitting, though!  I've been able to finish quite a few projects in the past couple weeks.

I finished the hat and armwarmers for Stacy in a really nice deep red.  I put them through the wash over the weekend and they came out so incredibly soft.  I've kind of become a snob about natural fibers in the past year, but even I can't deny the awesomeness of Caron Simply Soft.  I need to bring them to work so I can put them in the mail on a lunch break.

Another finished project is my Bad Wolf Cowl (the pattern is Tilting TARDIS Cowl), a great, fingering weight cowl in a pattern inspired by Doctor Who's TARDIS.*  I used Shepherd's Wool in a dark blue, which came out beautifully.  I've worn it to work and have gotten a few compliments on it.

I started, and finished, a really fun hat for my colleague, Peter.  He had seen someone in a hat with a mustache knit into it.  We looked at Ravelry together and he spotted the "bearded toque."  Ready for a challenge (new cast on, strange shaping), I tackled it with gusto, once again employing Caron Simply Soft (so easy to maintain and takes abuse well).  I decided to use little buttons to hold on the mustaches instead of snaps.  I made him two mustaches, a regular straight across one and a fu manchu handlebar one.  He LOVES it and it looks great on him.  Of course, now he's leaving the company, but at least he has something to remember me by!

I also started and finished a hat for my neighbor, Nicole, at her request. She wanted something super warm in black/grey with ear flaps that would fit her small head but large forehead (her words, not mine).  I found a great pattern for a fair isle Norwegian star hat on rav.  Knowing how soft and warm alpaca is, I decided to go with Cascade Pure Alpaca this time.  It has renewed my obsession with this awesome fiber.  I LOVE alpaca.  It is the easiest, softest yarn ever.  The fibers in it are kind of short, which gives it a fuzziness without being itchy.  It came out REALLY well and she loves it.  It fits perfectly and will keep her head nice and warm.  I have enough yarn to make the negative of the one I made her, so I may have to make one for myself (or perhaps a certain Viking friend of mine).

I'm still working on my World Champion sweater, stockinetting through the first arm.  I'm about halfway up the forearm, hating stockinette and wishing evil on my large German curvaceous boobieness.  

Not being one to languish in the routine, I've also decided to learn a whole new craft/skill.  I'm learning how to spin yarn.  I'm using a drop spindle and some great Miss Babs BFL roving in a purple/blue colorway called "ice princess."  It's hard, but I think I'm finally getting the hang of it.  I'm sad that I'm wasting a lot of the gorgeous fiber because of my ineptitude, but hopefully I'll be able to get a hat's worth out of it.  It's all about tension, just like knitting and crocheting.  My first yarn is going to be lumpy/bumpy, but that's what makes it special.  As Kel at fibre space says: "It's longer than it is wide, so it's yarn!"

*TARDIS stands for Time and Relative Dimension in Space - it's the Doctor's space-ship time machine and it's in the shape of a blue British police box.