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.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The 2006 FO Tally

Thanks everyone for the positive feedback about my swap goodies! I'm especially happy that my swap partner liked them. As long as she doesn't think I'm a bad date, then I think I'm off the hook. ;)

Lots of other knitters have done it, so I'll give it a shot too. What did I complete in 2006? A couple things made my count difficult.

1. I started my blog halfway through the year, so I don't have an online record of many of my FOs
2. I really didn't finish very much

Here is my best guess at the tally:

1. Ribs and Ruffles scarf
2. Chunky 2x2 ribbed scarf
3. knitted baby hat
4. Two pairs of knitted baby/toddler mittens
5. Patchwork sweater for myself

So, that's a total of 6 knitted FOs. Most of these items can be viewed in a slide show of FOs in my sidebar. I will devote an upcoming blog to the patchwork sweater, which is biggest knitted project to-date, but was completed pre-blog.

1. Seija baby blanket
2. Two sets of potholders
3. Two baby hats
4. Two toddler hats

A total of 7 crocheted FOs.

Not exactly a spectacular count, but I did just learn to knit and I have several large projects that are nearly finished (I know, excuses, excuses). I will post more photos of knitting soon, once I catch up on teaching, writing, and research (wow, I feel tired just writing that!). This semester is definitely going to kick my butt. More on that later.

Monday, January 22, 2007

My First Swap

So, I joined the Potholder/Recipe Swap on Swap Bot way back in December, thinking that this would be a great first swap. I figured I would have the whole semester break to work on the potholders and put together a stellar package, sure to impress my swap partner. Yep, that was the plan.

Unfortunately, I didn't take into account that I would get sick (twice), and that I would be working on Christmas gifts which I barely finished in time (OK, some were a little late). However, I was able to get everything done just in time to mail it by the January 15th deadline, albeit somewhat less stellar than I intended. Some of you may remember that January 15th was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Which, of course meant that the post office was closed. Doh! I mailed it right away the next morning, one day late. I feel like a bad prom date. You know, the one that waits too long and can't get reservations at the only "good" restaurant in town and ends up taking his date to McDonald's. He remembers to order a corsage, but gets a pin-on one and she's wearing a strapless dress. You get the picture. Anyway, here is what I sent:

Yarn: Sugar 'n Cream in "key lime pie" and "ecru"
Pattern: one pattern from 1994 "Country Handcrafts", and Maryanne's Potholder
Changes: I left out the embroidery on the Handcrafts potholder and I did a plain single crochet border on the outer part of Maryanne's Potholder (it looked too busy with the picot edge on the outside too).
Yardage: One skein of the key lime pie (95 yards) and part of a skein of the ecru (120 yards)
Hook: US size G

The recipes were for an old family recipe for a German raisin/coffee/spice bread (us Germans love our coffee!), for some gooey chocolate/peanut butter/marshmallow bars, and finally an eggplant moussaka, changed a bit from a recipe in a vegetarian cookbook (it's still vegetarian, I just added some spice and raisins). I also included some chocolate to nibble on. I sure hope my swap partner has a sweet tooth!


Friday, January 19, 2007

Knit for Yourself

"Trust yourself. Think for yourself. Act for yourself. Speak for yourself. Be yourself. Imitation is sucide." - Marva Collins

Since this is a knitting blog, I think "Knit for yourself" should be added to this quote. Because most of us, myself included, just spent the last couple months hurriedly knitting gifts for other people, I think it's good to take the time to knit something nice for yourself. I know most of us always have one or two projects on the needles for gifts, but at least some of our WIPs ought to be for ourselves. In that spirit, I have dragged out the Vogue Knitting vest that I started last year for the Knitting 'Special' Olympics (a less intense version of the Knitting Olympics, for us beginner knitters). I got pretty far, but once the weather warmed up and our Big Move was underway, the vest was sent to the bottom of the knitting list. No more! With Californa experiencing record low temperatures the time is right for a warm wooly vest. Also this yarn has shamefully been hiding in my stash for a good ten years now, and deserves to be showcased. The back is completey finished, and I am making good progress on the front:

Just so you don't think I'm completely selfish, I plan to use the leftover burgundy yarn to make a scarf for the Red Scarf Project. Unfortunately, I found out about this charity a little late to meet this year's deadline (I'll try to get one done at least), but I plan to stockpile a few scarves for next year.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Obeying the Rules

"If I'd observed all the rules, I'd never have got anywhere." - Marilyn Monroe

Just some more words of wisdom from my "Women's Wit" calendar. I know it's hard to believe, but I had a lot of trouble following the rules in high school (insert snicker here for all my real life friends). At the time, I thought of myself as a true individualist, living outside the rules, taking my own path. In reality, I was just a typical rebellious teenager.

In my defense, sometimes my sense of humor got me in trouble. After getting caught skipping school (which I only did once and managed to get caught), I had to complete a truancy form filled with stupid questions that would never in a million years make a teenager think twice about skipping school. Things like, "What can you do to you make sure you will attend school in the future?" I thought the whole thing must surely be a joke and responded as such. For example, to the above questions I replied "I will make my best effort to give a crap about the inane useless subjects we are studying." Needless to say, I earned a few more detentions with my responses. Some people have no sense of humor.

Anyway, I've gotten a lot better about following the rules. Thankfully, knitting patterns aren't as strict as high school principals. Here is a photo of the scarf I'm working on a gift for a friend. I'm using the manly scarf pattern from the Knitting Queen

I've also been working away at potholders for the potholder/recipe swap. Unfortunately, I was an idiot and forgot that today was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which means the post office is closed. So, it will be mailed a day late (sorry, Gretchen!). Hopefully, she won't give me any detentions (even though I really deserve one). ;) Pictures of the final package will follow, once my swap partner receives her goodies.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Weird in Good Way?

"One out of four people in this country are mentally unbalanced. Think of your three closest friends; if they seem OK, then you're the one." - Ann Landers

So it is with much disappointment that I've realized that my friends seem pretty normal. I guess I've always suspected that I might be the weird one, so it shouldn't come as a surprise. Still, it's a tough thing to admit. Anyway, I was tagged so here's my meme.

Six Weird Things About Me:

1. I like to imagine all my major life events with an accompanying musical number. I have the songs all picked out, the costumes designed, and even have worked out some choreography. For example, my dissertation defense was accompanied by the song "I Get Knocked Down" by Chumbawamba. My fellow grad students and I would do a wonderful, raucous dance, jazzy with a bit of hiphop, to show our defiance at actually completing grad school. I would wear a red outfit. During my postdoctoral fellowship, I planned an entire musical review with songs to fit each researcher (Shock the Monkey, Tears of a Clown, etc.). All the costumes would be gold lame, of course. All my breakups were set to "I will Survive" by Gloria Gayner, and again there would be much gold lame.

2. When I was a young girl I wanted to either be the President of the United States, an astronaut, or a go-go girl (I really wanted some white go-go boots).

3. I am abnormally extroverted. Really, I've been diagnosed by clinicians (well, clinical grad students who were my friends anyway). If I had been any good at singing or dancing I probably would have gone into theater to quench my extroversion. Thankfully, I discovered academia.

4. Given a choice, I like most foods hot or warm, not cold. For example, I find cold pizza disgusting. This even affects things that are normally served cold, such as pudding or pasta salads. I prefer them warm and will reheat them if given the opportunity. I also like scalding-hot showers. Perhaps I had trouble staying warm as a child, or I'm a weird, mutant cold-blooded mammal.

5. I easily become obsessed. For example, I became enamored with the idea of camping and read several books on hard-core camping, bought tons of equipment, and planned out complex trips, including meals. I've only been camping three times since then, and it's always been car camping. Then, I got into belly dancing. I bought a hip scarf, took a class, performed for a talent show, and haven't taken a class since. Just be glad I haven't become obsessed with any dangerous hobbies, such as car racing or target shooting.

6. I love electronic gadgets, but I never have the patience to actually figure out how to use them properly. So, I limp them along barely using their features until the next cool thing comes out. Really, I just love shiny new objects. Yes, I'm a magpie (a cold-blooded one, see number 4 above).

There are a lot more weird things about me, but the meme only said six, so you'll have to content yourself with these.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Retro Crafting

Theresa from Knitting Underway has received her Christmas gift, so I can now blog about it without ruining the surprise. She was extremely generous and bought me a subscription to Interweave Knits for Christmas. I already received the winter issue and of course want to knit everything in it!

Although my gift can hardly compare, I at least tried to make something useful. On her last visit she had mentioned that she liked my potholders, which were very simple crocheted ones made from cotton yarn. The pattern is from a very old crafting magazine called "Country Handcrafts." It was published roughly from the mid-80's to the mid-90's and was really a hodge podge of knitting, crochet, cross-stich, sewing, wood crafts and anything else that might fall under the general title "crafts." Honestly, most of the crafts were pretty ugly (some in a fun, kitschy way), but sometimes there was a gem, like this potholder pattern. They are surprisingly good at protecting hands from heat, have a nice built-in hanging loop, and are easy to wash. Pretty much ideal for their intended purpose. So, I bought some fun, patriotic colors and made a set for Theresa. Here are the details.

Yarn: Sugar 'n Cream in Country Red (113) and American Ombre (00219)
Pattern: From the Fall 1994 issue of "Country Handicrafts"
Changes: I left out the embroidery of "Sugar" and "Flour" on each.
Yardage: One skein of variagated (95 yards) and one skein of solid (120 yards) for each potholder set
Hook: US size G
Notes: After using the potholders with the embroidery, I found that keeping them clean was problem (the embroidery was done on a plain white background, and the back was plain white). I think using the variagated yarn gives them a more modern look and makes them less likely to need to be washed daily.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Kicking It in 2007

"Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass." - Maya Angelou

This quote was part of a quote from my new "Women's Wit" calendar for January 1, 2007. So, in that spirit I am starting 2007. I have to admit that life has been fairly good to me of late, so I'm not feeling especially vengeful towards life. I think I will approach the as an opportunity to kick my crafting into gear for the new year. This is my list:

1. organize, organize, organize

My crafting supplies, stuff around the house, and office are all a mess. Once we move into our new, larger townhouse I will be able to do a much better job of organizing the house, but there's no excuse for my office. Why do I insist on writing all important information on post-its and scraps of paper? I must break this habit!

2. finish the projects in my sidebar

This includes the knitting and other crafts. Some of these projects have been sitting around for several years, so it's time to push through and get them done. If I do this I'll feel a lot better starting new projects

3. Learn to cable and do colorwork

Nothing too fancy, I just want to learn the basics and take my knitting to the next level.

Speaking of staying organized, I also need to finish posting my FO holiday gifts. I made these adorable hats for my husband's godson, who is five, and his little brother, who is a year and half. I think they have the right combination of fun and durability.

Yarn: Red Heart in camoflouge, orange, and red
Pattern: Boy Beanie from The Happy Hooker
Changes: I made the larger one exactly like the pattern. The smaller one was made using 40 stitches around (not 55) and with only two stripes of color.
Yardage: No idea, since the yarn was gifted to me from someone else who was making this hat. I'd guess that one skein would make about 3-4 hats.
Hook: US size I
Notes: The size in the book is much too small for an adult head (I couldn't come close to fitting it on mine, and I have a rather small head). I would add at least 10 more double crochets to get the grown-up size. However, the pattern is super easy and fun, and these are easy to whip up quickly for gifts.