Trouble with Trebles

This blog is to keep track of my knitting, other craft projects, and the weird bits of life that don't fit anywhere else.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Risque Hobby?

Sometimes I'm surprised at how the general public views knitting. Recently I went to a dinner with my colleagues and during the course of the conversation, I started a sentence with "last week at my knitting group.." I never got to finish my statement, because my colleagues stopped me with surprised exclamations. Apparently, they were unaware of my crafting obsession hobby and were rather surprised that I knit. After explaining that it is now very hip to knit, one of my colleagues leans over and whispers in my ear, "I've been taking pole dancing class." Evidently, this a new exercise craze that's spicing up life for married folks. All very well and good, but I was unclear how it related to my knitting hobby? Should I be happy that she considers knitting as sexy as pole dancing? Perhaps the sight of me with those long pointy sticks is inadvertantly driving men wild? Or, was she insinuating that we were both doing something risque and secret? Just to prove a point I brought my knitting to the next faculty meeting. Let's see them try that with pole dancing!

I finished a potholder which I think turned out pretty badass (for a potholder anyway). These are so fun and easy to make, and the best part is that they actually work! I like them so much better than purchased ones.

And finally, a gratuitous scenery photo. The hubby and I went to San Diego for a short trip last week and wandered around Balboa Park. These are some of the lovely cacti and succelents you can see there.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Everyone's Special

"The Incredibles" - 2004
Helen Parr (to her son): "Everyone's special, Dash."
Dash: "Which is another way of saying no one is."

Sometimes I feel like this should be my theme, because really it's so true isn't it? As a researcher in psychology I'm always surprised by how predictable behavior really is. This is good in the context of researching behavior (which is what I do, afterall), but a little disconcerting when evaluating your own uniqueness in the universe.

Thus, I am mildly disappointed that I've started making scarves. I was hoping to be one of those rare knitters who dives right into the hardest projects without going through the requisite "scarf" phase. I think realistically people who do that end up being referred to as "those who've quit knitting." A scarf is easy, fun, useful and requires no fitting. All great qualities for a clothing item that is intended as a gift. The next scarf should be done in a few weeks. I am using a burnt orange misti alpaca chunky and this pattern

I've also been crocheting up a storm. I finished the blue baby afghan from "The Happy Hooker". You can see the clever seatbelt hole in the center for a stroller or car seat. I started a new baby afghan using the same pattern, but I'm not keen on the color combo, so I need to do some frogging and give it a go again.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Dyed in the Wool

I had to explain what the saying "dyed-in-the-wool" meant to my husband the other day. I was referring to someone as a dyed-in-the-wool democrat and he'd never heard that phrase before. He grew up in a very warm climate, where apparently wool references are less common. According to there are two definitions:

1. Thoroughgoing; out-and-out: a dyed-in-the-wool populist.
2. Dyed before being woven into cloth.

This weekend, I actually had a chance to demonstrate the second definition firsthand. I had my first foray into the world of dying my own yarn. Here are the results:The beautiful stuff on right was dyed by Anne of Crafty Diversions. It's mohair dyed beautiful shades of blue and purple. I used Brown Sheep worsted, which I was told would work really well. I believe this was an accurate assessment, as it took the dye nicely and was pretty easy to work with. It came out a very ocean-inspired green and blue. Now the questions is, what to do with 380 yards of hand-dyed wool and 480 yards of hand-dyed mohair. Perhaps a felted bag with the wool and SnB's "Ultra Femme" with the mohair. More importantly, does this make me a dyed-in-the-wool knitter?

Friday, November 17, 2006

While the Cat's Away

...the mouse will buy tons of yarn and a knitting mag. What? You've never heard that saying before? Well, trust me, it's true. The hubby was away on business from Monday to Thursday and the only solace for my loneliness was to buy yarn. Lots and lots of yarn. I bought 12 skeins of Debbie Bliss DK cotton in teal for a sweater for me and 2 skeins of Dale of Norway sisik (at the bottom of the photo, in the bags). The sisik I plan to knit along with some dark green woolease to make the wavy gravy scarf from SnB Nation (another holiday gift). I got a great deal on both from Little Knits. I also went to Velona's yesterday, looking for some items to help complete projects. The Sugar N Cream yarn is for some crochet potholders (I had looked high and low for these colors until I went to Velona's) and then some baby yarn for another crochet baby afgan. The cream yarn is Lamb's Pride worsted and is intended for the yarn dying party I'm attending this weekend hosted by the lovely Anne of Crafty Diversions. I am really looking forward to the party! Crafters really are the best people.

In addition to all the yarn, I used a 50% coupon at JoAnn's to buy the new Vogue Knitting. They have a great article on knitting and books, as well as some really cute patterns. My husband really loved the look of a short-sleeved sweater in the "Foreign Affair" section, so I may try making that in the spring. I also want to make this, as I'm a little obsessed with vests at the moment. Overall, I think it's a really good issue, especially at half price!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Completion Issues

As I was going over my old blog posts I realized that there is virtually a complete absence of finished objects. Some knitting blogger I am, providing absolutely no completed items for other knitters to look at. I have finished a few things, but one sweater needs to be reblocked (it multiplied in size after I blocked it the first time and it is now too big) and the rest were baby items that I gave away the instant they left the needles (hey, they're lucky I wasn't still knitting at the baby shower). No wonder I've been feeling so ambivalent about my projects lately, with no completed items to serve as positive reinforcement.

So, I offer you my first, real finished object for the blog. It's -wait for it- a scarf!! OK, so not terribly exciting, but it is my first ever completed scarf, and it's a gift for a friend. I chose the yarn specifically with her in mind (it will bring out her lovely blue eyes), and I really hope she likes it!

Pattern: 2X2 rib with 12 stitches
Start/Finish: Nov 4/Nov 13 2006
Yarn: Bouton D'Or Eskimo in blue (I used 129 yds)
Needles: size 11
Notes and Comments: This was really easy and fun to make and the yarn is just gorgeous

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Blue Period

I know we live in the modern age, but why do students insist on contacting their professors using their personal e-mail addresses? I know this doesn't sound horrible, but these e-mail addresses sometimes include nicknames you really don't want your professors to see. For example, or Why would you send an e-mail to your professor from that address? Apparently it's true, common sense is officially dead.

And here's a sure sign that I am not immune to the death of common sense. I know I should just donate/give away my old acrylic yarn. I have a small, but nice stash of good quality yarns, acquired within the past couple years. But, my incredible cheapness frugal nature won't allow me to part with perfectly good craft items. As a reference point, it took me 8 years to finally part with the giant wooden bow, and I'm still convinced that I will be crafting in the not too distant future and realize that what I really need is a giant wooden bow to complete my project.

Anyway, my friends and colleagues are procreating at an alarming rate, so I need to make lots of baby gifts. Just take a look at my "other craft project" progress bars if you need proof. I have no less than four baby projects currently underway, and have purchased materials for several more. So, this weekend I bought some very washable and soft Caron Simply Soft to coordinate with a couple skeins of my old acrylic and I am now attempting to whip an easy crochet baby afgan. Frankly, when I took the yarn personality quiz it turned out that I'm acrylic, so I guess it's fitting. If this one comes out OK, you can expect to see several more baby afgans, at least until I use up the bulk of the 10 or so skeins of acrylic I have left.

The pattern is the Seija baby blanket pattern from The Happy Hooker, which cleverly has a seatbelt hole for car seats or strollers. I can even make a cute matching hat. I think the blue/white scheme is turning out quite nicely. Yes, another blue item. Perhaps fellow crafters will start referring to this as my "blue period?"

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Exercising Your Right

Yesterday I voted for the first time as a Californian. Although exciting, it did require some number of crib sheets to negotiate the process. With so many propositions to keep track of, I had to bring along some notes about each to make sure I remembered what I had decided to vote. Also, I had notes about the city council. I plan to stay in this city a long time, so I don't want some asshat running things (sorry for the foul language, but it is politics we're talking about here).

For today's craft project, I am posting my Halloween costume. It seems fitting, because it is the style of dress that a young woman might have worn when women finally won the right to vote (19th Amendment, 1920). I made the dress a few years ago, and recently found all the appropriate accessories for my flapper garb. It only has a couple rows of red fringe, because, well fringe is expensive. The dress is made of stretchy velvet with a decorative v-neck front and some sequin trim. The Saturday before Halloween we went to a family-oriented event with friends, and all the little girls were smitten with my dress. I realized that I'm really still just a girl who likes to play dress up. To add to my excitement, I recently heard a rumor that the hubby's company may have a Christmas masquerade. Really, the only thing better than sequins and velvet is a fancy feather mask (in addition to sequins and velvet, of course)!

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Behavior of Organisms

- book by B.F. Skinner, 1938

Did you know that even pigeons procrastinate? This fact comforts me, in as much as at least procrastination is a natural behavioral tendency. Even still, it's annoying to always be scrambling getting things done at the last minute. That's my explanation for the less frequent blogging. If you procrastinate grading 30 research papers it will eventually catch up with you. I've also missed my weekly knitting group these past few weeks. Thankfully, I have been actually knitting, so all is not lost.

Anyway, I've noticed in blogland that everyone is abuzz about holiday gifts. This weekend the hubby and I had a wonderful visit from Theresa from Knitting Underway. Aside from the usual fun we always have with Theresa, watching her knit away at holiday prezzies reminded me that I need to actually start some of these gifts if I am to have any hope of finishing them. I am not a pigeon! No more procrastination!

So, without further ado, the latest project. I am using Bouton d'Or "Eskimo", which is thick/thin yarn made of 70% wool, 14% nylon, 8% cotton and 8% acrylic. It is an ice blue, with a hint of green, and a silver thread running through it. Really beautiful stuff! I wanted to make a nice, chunky scarf out of it. First I attempted diagonal rib, but I started making it too wide (this stuff only comes in 43 yd balls, and I only have three), and the diagonal rib was impossible to see with the thick/thin nature of the yarn. Below is my second attempt at a diagonal garter stitch design. The pattern just didn't seem to show off the yarn well. Finally, below is my third attempt. This time I just tried a simple 2X2 rib on size 11 needles. The photo isn't great, but it looks much better than the previous two versions, really showing off how beautiful the yarn is. Also, the knitting is going a lot faster (a bonus since it needs to be done very soon).