Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy Sylvester!!!

Happy Sylvester/New Year's Eve, y'all!

Today is a day when most people clean the house, organize their finances, and otherwise prepare for the new year. Or else they reflect on the year soon to be over, and on what all happened in the past 365 days.

Instead, I baked.

Two loaves of fine banana bread, which I enjoyed with a cup of English Breakfast tea. It's seriously yumtastic, if I do say so myself.

I also worked some more on my Guido scarf, which is coming along nicely, albeit slowly, and there isn't much progress to photo-document.

Last night I met with Deborah, one of the knitting ladies here in Portland, and we had a wonderful catching up on all the news of the group (and our own crafting triumphs) since Thanksgiving, when I saw them all last. And, as Deborah does, she gave me a wonderful Christmas gift of a scarf, some nice lotion and other dorm necessities, yummy PB fudge, a gorgeous jewelry box, and, of course, lots of lovely yarn.

We have some more gorgeous Yarntopia Treasures Rayon Boucle, this time in the Coral Reef colorway:

And a big hank of the Yarntopia Treasures Summer Cotton Boucle, in the Corsage Colorway:

Deborah has given me a fantastic amount of fine yarns, including lots of gorgeous sock yarn, and some lovely lace weight yarn. Now, I can handle sock yarn, since I always manage to have 2 or 3 pairs of socks on the needles at one time. But I never knew what to do with the lace weight yarn. Which was a shame, since it's all so gorgeous. BUT NO MORE! I went researching last night in search of what to do with the lace weight yarn. I don't wear shawls, since I wear so many hoodies, and those just don't go all that well with shawls worn over the shoulders and back. BUT I saw how a lot of knitters would wear their shawlettes wrapped around their necks like scarves, and it's just gorgeous! SO! I'm making myself a shawlette. More specifically, this this shawlette (Ravelry pattern page). The center is all stockinette stitch, with a gorgeous lace pattern along the two shorter edges, so it'd be nice and warm to wear like the model in the picture does. :-) And I'll make it with this yarn:

That's 500 yards of the Yarntopia Treasures Rayon Boucle (another gift from Deborah) in the "Blue Lagoon" colorway, a gorgeous purple/turquoise color. I wrassled that hank of yarn for a good 45 minutes last night to get it into that lovely little ball. You see, as a poor, starving college student, I don't have the funds for a swift or yarn ball winder, so I wind hanks into balls by hand. My usual method is to sit on my bed/a chair, put my feet up on the bed/another chair in front of me, unwrap the hank, and drape the big, fat, O of yarn over and around my knees so it doesn't get all tangled while I wind it into a ball. Now, this particular hank had been busy tangling in the bottom of a stash bag somewhere for a few months, so it wasn't particularly eager to untangle into a nice, neat ball just yet. 45 minutes, a good deal of cursing, and a surprisingly rigorous ab workout later, and I had this little ball to show for it. Now I can't freaking wait to cast on!

Why not cast on, you ask? Well, I've discovered this amazing social group on Ravelry called the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup , where you join, get sorted, and for each 3-month-term you take "classes," participate in Quidditch, and hang out in the discussion forums of your house (or, for Not-Quite-First-Years, like myself, who missed the sorting deadline, we hang out in the NQFY common room). For each class (8 per month, 3 months in a term), you make something that pertains to the assignment. If you complete it within the month, you earn points for your house (or just kudos and funsies, if you're a NQFY) with extra points for creativity. Then the house with the most points at the end of the 3 months wins the house cup! It sounds like an awesome way to motivate each other to get projects done in a timely fashion (I know I've got one too many WIPs that need the extra kick to get done). Also, everyone I've met in the forums and chat rooms is really nice and encouraging.

Classes start tomorrow, so I've been keeping myself from starting any new projects so I can see if any of them fit the class criteria so I can submit them for that. One important rule is that you have to start AND finish your project within the month of the class for full points.

Anyways. I'm really excited about that! Classes are announced tomorrow, and I can't wait to get started. Also, a side effect of this is that it's motivating me to re-read the HP books by listening to the audiobooks while I knit. :-)

In other news: The brother and sis left this morning for a trip to NYC for New Years, so I've been given the enormous responsibility of caring for Toki, Nora's rat, for the duration of her trip. Also, Mom Dad and I are going for dinner and a movie tonight. We're going to see Tangled, that new Disney movie based off the Rapunzel story, and I am sooooooo excited! :D

One final parting thought: I've been thinking about changing the name of my blog to something that is more representative of what I and my blog are about. YoungKnitter is somewhat apt, as I'm still young, but I won't be young forever (and I'd like to keep up this blog for at least that long), and I knit. But it doesn't say anything about who I AM. And also, I have had the experience that a lot of more "mature" knitters don't take me seriously because of my age. Sales clerks at LYSs will show me straight to the bulky yarn and learn-to-knit books. Even some knitting friends have offered to help me learn to knit, even after I've shown my proficiency in our sit'n'stitch get-togethers. So I'd like to find a name that's more demonstrative of who I am and what I blog about. A thought is that I travel quite a bit. I travel between home and school, I love traveling on breaks and long weekends. I've traveled to lots of places in my childhood, and those places have all made me who I am today. And I plan to travel and live internationally for a living, starting at graduation. So this blog will still be mostly about knitting, crocheting, and spinning, as it always has been, but I'll also start including travel stories and pictures when I have them.

So! With this in mind, I have thought of some possible blog names. In every situation, Knitter and Fiber Freak are interchangeable, as I haven't decided which one to use yet.

Musings of a Mobile Knitter/Fiber Freak
Musings of a Migrant Knitter
Memoirs of a Migrant Fiber Freak
Thoughts of a Traveling Knitter/Fiber Freak
Typings of a Traveling Knitter/Fiber Freak
Tale of a Traveling Knitter
Tales of a Nomadic Knitter
Narrative of a Nomadic Knitter (yaaay alliteration!)
The Wandering Knitter

I'm not sure why I'm so fixed on the "Noun of an Adjective Knitter" format, but it sounds right to me.

Anyways. I welcome your thoughts, opinions, and suggestions, and I hope you all have a lovely New Year's Eve and a great start to 2011!
Signing off for the year,

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Holiday Knitting round 2

The Uncles are visting for a couple of days, and I finally got them to sit still long enough to take pictures of the hats I made them for Christmas!

The Alexander Hat, whose pattern I designed and wrote down and just sent off to a friend to see if she'll test knit it. If anyone else is interested in test knitting, let me know!

Dale's hat's pattern I found on Ravelry here And it turned out quite nicely!

Then there's Toki's new house!

Toki is my sister's new pet rat, who is really adorable, but rather difficult to photograph.

Our house is kind of cold, so I figured I'd make her a little basket to hang in her cage in case she got too cold. I made it using Vanna's Choice, which is 100% acrylic and machine washable (a must), and it's cute and she likes it, but she doesn't quiiiiite fit. So I figure I'll make her another one that's a bit bigger. I improvised the pattern the first time around, too, so it'll be nice to fix the kinks on round 2 and maybe even write down the pattern to put on Ravelry. Can you believe there are very few rat house patterns on ravelry? ^^

More crafting news: I said in my last post that I went to the yarn store. Here's a pic of my spoils:

That's a bunch of worsted weight yarn (lion cotton, vanna's choice, red heart soft, and I think a bernat brand cotton), some felt in assorted colors, a bunch of embroidery floss, the book, and "Poly Pellets." Those are little plastic pellets that look kind of like lentils that you put in the bottom of your amigurumi creations (then fill the rest with regular polyester stuffing) to make them more bottom-heavy and stable.

Here's my progress so far on the Ninja pattern:

That's the body and part of the head.

I've started on my Guido scarf, which is a plain gray-and-red argyle scarf I'm making as a favor for my friends Laurie and Sherlynn. They're the costumers for the show I've been working on all semester, called Nine. They apparently looked high and low for a proper scarf for the lead, Guido, and couldn't find exactly what they wanted. So they came to me! Here's what I've got so far:

It's a pretty simple argyle, but I designed it myself! It's worked in the round, so it looks the same on both sides, and it's gonna be really cute. I'm excited! :D

And now that the crafting news is over with, I'd like to post some pics of my cooler christmas gifts!

These are awesome teapot earrings my sister made for me in her glassblowing class:

Then here is an adorable keychain my brother found at an artisan fair in Portland, OR. Pretty cute, huh?

And, last but not least, some gorgeous roving from Santa. It's a cool gray-and-purple blend of "Locker Hook" Alpaca roving. SO LOVELY! I can't wait to get back to school and my drop spindle so I can start on this beautiful stuff.

Now after this abnormally long and picture-heavy post, I shall wish you all adieu and enjoy the rest of 2010, as I get started on Holiday Knitting Round 3. :-)
Happy Knitting,

Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday Knitting revealed!

Well, folks, I have successfully survived the madness that is holiday knitting! And with some sanity to spare, too...

Nora's Jayne Hat (Ravelry project page) was well recieved:

As was Harrison's Blanket (which I finished in time, but still have to weave in the stupid ends, which I hate):

And my dad's hat :

That's round 1 of holiday knitting. Round 2 is for my Uncles, who are coming to visit tomorrow. They each get a hat, one of which I've finished (but not photographed... ooops) and the other I'm still working on... This is the one that I'm designing, and will hopefully have posted in the next couple of days.

Round 3 is for my friends at school, which I'll start whenever I get around to it, I guess. :-) Joe is getting a Hufflepuff scarf, Melanie a Ravenclaw one, Erin a hat, and Tessa some arm warmers.

I also went yarn shopping yesterday. My brother still doesn't understand that "too much yarn" is an end goal, rather than a deterrent, for yarn shopping. My quest on this particular yarn shopping trip was to get the materials necessary to start working on the awesome patterns in a book I got for Christmas from Erin called Creepy Cute Crochet. It's full of adorable amigurumi patterns of zombies, ninjas, vampires, spartan warriors, cuthulus, and all that great stuff. I started on the ninja yesterday (finished the body and started the head), and will take some pictures when I get a little farther along.

Christmas itself was as wonderful a family event as I could have hoped for. We spent the day in our PJs, except for a brief snowy hike in the woods. I got some great loot, including a good 100g of gorgeous Alpaca fiber, dyed a nice dusty purple, for my next spinning adventure. Darn, I left my spindle at school! I got lots of warm clothes and pretty jewelry (including cute teapot earrings that my sister made out of glass! SO COOL!) And also a brand new tea infuser mug and some lovely loose leaf tea. Yum!

But, as always happens, I almost have more fun watching my family open the gifts I made/bought for them than opening my own gifts. Next year's goal: make gifts for the whole family, and START EARLIER so I don't drive myself crazy at the last minute.

More to report (including pictures) soon!
Until then, Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


That's right, folks. Our very own YoungKnitter is currently locked in a battle to the death with that most fearsome of beasts - end of term finals. *quake in fear* This means that I have no regular sleep schedule, I eat the most unhealthy of things at the most unusual of times, and most of my days are filled with procrastination and other attempts not to study. But alas, my last two exams are almost upon me, so I must put down my facebook and crochet hook in favor of a textbook and some flashcards. Observe:

What you see here is everything a girl needs to dominate her Japanese final. Well, not everything...

Luckily I have Ozwald to keep me from going insane and to guard me from the fearsome 日本語のぶんぽ (Japanese grammar) and the mountain of Kanji (Chinese characters) flash cards that threaten to eat me.

In other, more exciting news, IT SNOWED IN NASHVILLE!!!!! Basically all of Sunday we were graced with a gorgeous, almost constant dusting of snow. We ended up with a good inch or so! Here is the view out my sadly dirty-and-foggy dorm window:

Another fun piece of news, the costumers for the musical I've been working on all semester, Nine, have decided that our lead, Guido, needs a scarf. So! Who do they come to but the fearless YoungKnitter!!! We picked up two different yarns (a burgundy RedHeart SuperSaver and a dark gray Patons classic wool) with the intent that the scarf would be mono-chromatic and we'd choose the color later, but then I got all experiment-y with colorwork, and I produced my very first Intarsia!!!

YAAAY! More progress on that later, but most likely after Christmas. I still have a bunch of hats to make.

Finally, what blog post would be complete without another progress report on the monster blanket! TA DA!

59"! Just 13" left until it's a good 6' long. Wow. O.O It keeps amazing me how freaking huge this blanket is... But I'm almost done! And none too soon, either. I'd like to get it finished before I head home for Christmas, since the brother gets home before I do, and I would be forced to crochet in the dead of night while locked in my bathroom to avoid him discovering the blanket!!! Then I've got a 2-day grace period so I can finish the sister's hat before she gets home, then its just the two Uncle hats and I'll be done for the holidays!

Well, back to the books, and hopefully a break to go see Tangled tonight! Wish me luck on exams...
Happy Knitting,