Monday, March 30, 2015

Leftie and Socks

Here are more projects I failed to write about contemporaneously.  My mom's birthday is on Christmas day.  It sucks having a birthday on a holiday.  Woe to person who gives a joint birthday/Christmas present or wraps a birthday present in Christmas paper.  So I knit two presents for my mom this year.

The first was Leftie by Martha Behm.

Isn't my mom cute?
This is a cool one because you actually start with just three stitches and add more each row.  It gives the shawl a slanted look.



Every tenth row, you make a leaf on the left edge.


I used fingering weight KnitPicks Chroma, which has a slow color shift.  I'm not sure this color way exists anymore, but you can see it goes from a dark pink all the way to bright orange.



The other thing I knit for my mom was a pair of socks.  The first pair I made was a little too small.  This pair I knit from the toe up (no pattern), so I knew they were going to fit perfectly.



The yarn was something on the fancier side, a merino/nylon blend I believe.  I can't for the life of me remember the brand.


Her feet seem happy, though.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Rainbow Shawl

A while back, the Yarn Harlot blogged about a shelf-striping yarn made especially for triangle shawls.  And I HAD. to. have. it!



The crazy-brilliant people at Caterpillar Green Yarns have dyed a yarn specifically for triangular shawls.  When you make a top down shawl, you start in the middle and work your way out to the longest edge.

Diagram from here.
That means that rows get longer and longer as you go.  You need more and more yarn to complete each row.  A stripe at the start of the shawl would take much less yarn than a stripe at the end of the shawl.  The stripes in typical self-striping yarn has equal length color repeats.  The stripes would get narrower and narrower.

Caterpillar Green has done the math to make each of the stripes the same width.



The purple stripe is the same width as the blue one at the bottom even though the blue stripe takes a lot more yarn to knit.


The colorway is Concrete and Tulips.  Pretty, right?  And so soft....


The pattern isn't really a pattern at all.


I just added increases at either edge and on both sides of the center stitch.  Nothing fancy.


Now if I can just figure out how to put it on.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spring in Atlanta

With my month off between the bar exam and my new job, I am trying to only do things I enjoy.  Much of that involves gardening and hanging out with the dogs in the sunny weather.






Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Knitted Wedding Dresses

As a knitter who is engaged, it was inevitable that I would have passing thoughts of knitting something  for my wedding.  Perhaps a veil?  Flowers?  The whole wedding dress?

But whenever I mention this to Fiance, she gets a panicked look on her face.  I think she is worried I will end up looking like this on our wedding day.
From here.

Which I am totally not opposed to :-)  But I was thinking something like The Gray Swan Dress


Or this pink flamenco dress

If I could crochet, would have a lot more options.  This woman crocheted her wedding dress on her morning commute.  Or there is this beauty from Nixx:



It seems like it might will absolutely be too much work.  But I did download this pattern from Vogue Knitting.



Maybe I will swatch a little and the urge to make a dress will pass....

Monday, March 23, 2015

Sweater Surgery

When I was at the Goodwill picking up a sweater to make into swants, I found an amazing fair isle sweater.  I wish I had taken a picture of it; it was a big, boxy 80's drop shoulder number made of some sort of hearty nordic wool.

But it was a giant men's sweater.

So I ripped it apart and am attempting to change it into a set-in sleeve sweater that will fit me (this is a really good description of the different kinds of shoulders, if you care).  The sweater was serged/overlocked together at the edges, so I just cut away the side seems.




Because it was a drop-sleeve sweater (and I have giant ape arms), I need to add a lot of length to the sleeves.  I happened to have some yarn that matches the yellow and white yarn already in the sweater.  I picked up the stitches where the sleeves were serged to the body of the sweater.  Now I am knitting until they are long enough, adding the proper shaping in as I go.



I also had to change the body of the sweater from a big rectangle into a set-in shape.  I mapped out the middle of the sweater and then how wide I wanted the shoulders and waist to be (in the neon thread you see) based on my measurements.



Then I cut the sleeve holes.  Cutting knitting is nerve-wracking, but the yarn is sticky enough that it doesn't unravel too much.

I left the original collar.  So now I just have to finish knitting the sleeves and then sew it all together on the sewing machine. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

From the Land of Sheep

The in-laws went to New Zealand this spring and brought back a number of amazing things.  While they won't let me practice the didgeridoo or the giant hunting boomerang they bought back, I did get to keep this:


 A sheep pelt, two balls of Ashford worsted weight yarn, and some spinning fiber.


Ashford is a New Zealand company...the wool is from New Zealand sheep (because there are so many of them there).  My spinning wheel is an Ashford Kiwi (similar to this one).

I have mixed feelings about the sheep pelt.  If I had a sheep farm, it would be a no-kill operation: wool only!  But knowing that a lot of the sheep in New Zealand are raised for meat, I guess I am glad the pelts can be used, too. And it is very soft on my feet when I sit and knit....

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Swants!

Swants = Sweater + Pants

From Urban Dictionary: "Swants occur when you transform a sweater, turn it upside down and seam it into a pair of pants. A Swants tutorial was posted and popularized by knitting designer Westknits."

Stephen West also made a video wearing his swants.


I got a crazy 80's sweater from Goodwill, and my friend and I set out to make a pair of swants.


They look a lot better than I thought they would.


And they are very comfy.  Thinking about adding elastic to the waistband.  


Everyone gets swants for Christmas this year?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What I've Been Up To

The Georgia Bar Exam was at the end of February.  And now I have a whole month of vacation before the next things begin.  So what have I been up to.

Reading "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing."  This woman is a little bonkers (she started studying the art of tidying at the age of 5).  Also, there are a few things that don't translate well into American culture (I know very few people who collect tea ceremony sets).  But I've become obsessed with cleaning the house in this 2-step process.  First, you get rid of anything that doesn't bring you happiness.  Then you organize everything.  My house is in no way cluttered or full of stuff, and yet I've gotten rid of soooooo much stuff.  Bags of clothing off to the consignment shop or Dress for Success!

I've also been lifting at Atlanta Barbell.  Yup, I'm a gym rat.

And knitting hats.  Lots of them.



This is the Wavy Moss Hat by Cedar Box Knits.  It's a cool pattern because you knit the first part in one direction and then pick up stitches along the edge of the cables for the rest of it.


The yarn in this first one is Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Chunky in color Pico.  The alpaca yarn got really drapey after I washed and blocked it.


I made another one out of Erika Knight Maxi in the color Geranium.  I had significantly less yarn than I really needed.


 It's 100% wool...you can see it doesn't have the drape.  And I knitted all of these on much bigger needles than the pattern called for.  That means I had to cast on fewer stitches and do fewer of the cable repeats.


What should I knit next?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

THE BAR EXAM IS TUESDAY!

I've been studying for the Georgia Bar Exam for a couple months now.  The Georgia Essay portion is Tuesday and the 200-question multiple choice is on Wednesday.


Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Backdated Knitting

Looking at the blog archives, I realize I didn't post a single thing in 2013. I was knitting that whole time, I just never updated you all.

 One of the things I made was Funchal Moebius by Kate Davies.  Go ahead and click that link.  You will notice that it is a long, double-sided, two-color fair isle moebius scarf.  You can wrap it twice around your neck.

Mine doesn't look like that.


I did a few repeats of the pattern, said, "well that was fun" and decided it was a cowl.

I just put a little i-cord bind-off on both ends.



You can see how it was supposed to be a double-sided scarf instead of a cowl.  The colors are inverted on the opposite sides.






Wouldn't that be a pretty sweater pattern?  But if I get this tired of color-work this quickly I can't imagine doing a whole sweater like this. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Orchid Thief Shawl

What happens when you let a girl who is bad at taking pictures use a nice camera?  She still takes bad pictures.

But she feels fancy.


 

This is Orchid Thief by Ysolda Teague in a mystery hand-dyed yarn from Austin, Texas (I lost the ball band immediately after I got it).  Super well-written pattern like everything by Ysolda.

It was supposed to be a Christmas present for one of the mother-in-laws (yes, I am about to have two mother-in-laws), but I clearly didn't finish it in time.  Then she was out of town so I procrastinated until last night, when we were picking her up at the airport to finish it up and weave in the ends.



It is not nearly as long as I thought it would be.  But I still love the leaf motif (heh, that rhymes).  The edges ruffle.


They would probably ruffle more, but I ran out of yarn half way through my bind off (yikes!).  Because it was mystery yarn, had no idea what yardage I was working with.  I had to unpick my bound off stitches and do a yarnless bindoff instead.  It isn't a very stretchy edge, but I still think it makes for a pretty little scarf all the same....


...if you ignore the bad photography....

Monday, February 16, 2015

“Lesbian” As a Wedding Theme

Everyone has been super amazing about my partner and I getting married.  I’ve been thrilled at how even my more conservative or religious friends and family have taken it in stride (e.g. both my great aunt and Fiance’s grandma, awesome ladies in their 80s, said the exact same thing, “Well, if that’s what they want to do, that sounds nice”).  

But with the amazingness and the well-meaning support has come a realization that people think my wedding will be somehow totally different from a "regular" wedding because it’s “gay.” 

People have sent me links to how to plan the perfect lesbian wedding.  They have commented that they would love to help me plan, but that I would have to tell them what to do because I am the expert on gay marriage.  There are books in the bookstore for planning a gay marriage.  Separate websites for the gays.  A whole wedding industrial complex just for “us.”  I’ve also gotten links to “The Offbeat Bride” and other “different” wedding sites, partly because I am just a different kinda lady, but I think also because it is assumed my wedding will be innately different because of the whole two-girl thing.


If you have sent me these links and resources or offered to help me out: THANK YOU!  I have no idea what I’m doing, and every bit of assistance is beautiful and appreciated!  I love you and your good heart!


But all this has got me to thinking about a few things.


I'm Not Actually an Expert on Gay Marriage
I wanna be a family law attorney, so I know a little gay marriage law, which in Georgia currently consists of, “May I help you write a domestic partnership agreement until you can go somewhere else to get legalized?”  Other than that, I’ve never actually been to a wedding between two people of the same sex or gender.  I only know one or two couples who have been “gay married.”  Most importantly, I’ve never planned a wedding before, gay or otherwise.  Not an expert.


I'm Not Really a Lesbian*
While I have many of the stereotypical cultural indicators of being a lesbian (e.g. I like the Indigo Girls, am a feminist, drive a Subaru, and have a girlfriend), I have dated and lived with and loved far too many men to feel comfortable identifying as one myself.  So, I guess I’m not really having a lesbian wedding....


Family Dynamics are Important to Me
Like I said above, everyone has been super amazing about my partner and I getting married.  They are going to come to our wedding and be so happy for us because they love us.  But that doesn’t make the idea of two women getting married any less weird for people who grew up with a different conception of what marriage looks like.  I want my religious or conservative or just surprised family members and friends to have as good a time at my wedding as my atheist or liberal or gay guests.  For that reason, I probably wouldn’t have a burlesque-themed wedding with pole dancers in the corner.  They would still come because they love me, but they would be super-uncomfortable. 

In the same way, since I’m already asking some of my people to reset their brains and get on board with something new to them, I’m not going to purposely throw up other roadblocks.  FiancĂ© and I are going to do things that are really important to us (e.g. she wouldn't be caught dead in a dress, there will be two girls kissing at the end of the ceremony, and both sides of the aisle will be “the bride’s side”) that might freak some people out because they have never seen it before.  I know that, and they know that coming in, and we will all make it through together.  But I probably won’t have a rainbow theme or vagina-pops for favors (yum!!!) because why push the envelope on a day that, even in traditional, straight, church weddings, is already full of stressful family drama and politicking (WHAT?!?!  You didn’t wear the veil that every woman in your family has gotten married in in the last 200 years?!?!!  DRAMA!!!!)?


I'm Not Trying to Make a Political Statement With my Marriage
Weddings are too complicated and stressful without the added pressure of representing a political movement.  Gay marriage has become a political rallying point, but I don’t actually see my wedding as a political act. 

Or maybe I do, but differently.  I kind of like the idea of having a traditional, white-dress, wedding-cake, DJ-playing-YMCA, you-may-now-kiss-the-bride wedding, only the people getting married are both girls.  It doesn’t have to be a big deal because, well, it shouldn’t be.  And when it stops being “off-beat” or “a political act” or “different” and when “gay married” gets to just be “married” without the descriptor, then I guess we will have really won.





*I'm totally happy to have this discussion with anyone who has polite questions to ask about it.  Just might not do it online.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!

I've written before about how much I love Valentine's Day.  Better than Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving combined.  Knowing this, Fiance made me this amazing V-Day "Advent" calendar.  So I've been celebrating all week!

It started with the traditional "Red Dinner" (No relation to the Game of Thrones Red Wedding...that scene has made explaining my tradition a lot weirder).  It was a potluck again, and people went all-out this year!

Jello shots, chocolate covered strawberries, heart shaped cornbread.
Cheese ball.  Pink wine.

Red Pasta and yummy dessert.
Yup, that's red sushi in the shape of hearts!!! 
Homemade, heart-shaped crackers and salsa!

The week got even better with heart breakfasts.

The most intense blanket fort you've ever seen in the living room:



Look how spacious it is in there!   Held up by a camera tripod, of course.

And shrinky-dink art like you make in elementary school.


I heart it all.