FO: Madonna Mitts

Last Christmas I went with my family to visit relatives in New York state and other places.  Last stop on the way home was my aunt and uncle's apartment in the Bronx.  One day we went into the city to spend the day wandering around.  But you know about all that already.  While I was at Knitty City I picked up a skein of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Multi in the Hermosa colorway.

Fast forward to this year.  It gets chilly for just a moment and I get the overwhelming urge to knit a pair of mitts.  That was two weeks ago.  I've had the Sleekit Mitts pattern (Ravelry link only, sorry) in my queue for quite a while.  Knit in sock yarn, these simple mitts seemed perfect for my sad little skein of purple yarn.  Though I have to say, the yarn surprised me.  It is a lot less purple and a lot more stripy than it looked in the skein or wound into a ball.

(I'm pretty sure the neighbors think I'm crazy when I go onto the porch to take pictures of my handknits.  It's hard when you have to be your own photographer).

I think this might be my new go-to pattern for mitts.  They fit perfectly.  About four inches past my wrist, they also come about half an inch past the base of my fingers.  I knit them on US 1s, which is the size recommended in the pattern, but because I knit tightly they're a little tighter than most people want their mitts.  I like them this way because I have small wrists, so the gloves really fit to the shape of my hands. Plus, the stretchiness of the ribbing at the fingers is really nice (something I just noticed as I sit  here typing).

My only complaint would be the pooling from the thumb increases, but that is more of an aesthetic issue with the yarn, not the pattern.

I finished one of these in my professor's office.  When I tried it on he and another professor decided that they are very Madonna.  I'm not sure I see it, but I'll take that as a compliment.

Oh! And look! It's Friday!


WIP Wednesday: Knitting for Cold

Last week the temperature here in North Carolina started to go back up. And up and up and up. It is now back in the mid-80s here on the coast. I am actually wearing a sleeveless dress without a sweater. In October. I know, it's bad. So to placate my overwhelming need for cold weather (Yes, I live on the North Carolina coast and I hate hot weather. Further proof that you really do go where the funding is), I am knitting cold weather accessories.

Two years ago I made a lot of Bella mittens for friends out of Lion Brand Jiffy Solid (they have the perfect shade of grey). This year one of these friends asked if I would knit a cowl for her that would match the color of the mittens. She had some specific ideas and so I cast on for a basic garter eyelet pattern of my own improvisation. Only I didn't like how it was turning out. On Sunday I ripped it back and tried to decide if I needed to go buy new needles for it. Miraculously I found the exact needles I need in an old project bag. Evidentially I bought these really nice US 8 circs at the beginning of the summer and immediately forgot that I had them.

So now I've cast back on but have not knit more than maybe half a row because I've been a bit distracted . . .

PS: Check out other WIP: Wednesday bloggers on Tami's Mr. Linky


The Big One Six

Today is my little brother's birthday.  Ha! Little... The kid has been able to pick me up since I came home for break my first semester of college.

He's sixteen today and we could not be happier for him.  I gave him his birthday present back on my own birthday but I haven't recieved any pictures of it yet (*cough* Mom, I know you're reading this).  When I do I will do a proper right up, but for now -- Happy birthday Jo, from all of us at Faithfully Geeky headquarters.


Random Sunday

1. The giant lecture went really well.  I think I have another really good item to put on my CV.  Also, I told my students that they could come for extra credit but because it was a major event for which I had to dress up they had to dress up as well.

2. Nothing makes me happier than when I can brag about my students.  They looked great and stayed for the question and answer segment when everyone else's students walked out in a noisy herd.

3. Chris' birthday was the same night as the lecture.  Despite the fact that my professor told me the situation reminded him of that part in The Devil Wears Prada when Andy misses her boyfriend's birthday and it's all sad with the cupcake and candle, I think he had a good birthday.  I gave him a nice overnight bag so that he doesn't have to keep a hockey bag in the trunk when he visits, though he says it's because I plan to do long-distance for a long time.

4. I threw my first "dinner party" (too grownup sounding not to use quotes) last night since I moved to this apartment.  I invited Chris' friend and his wife and he was totally surprised.  It was entertaining.

5. In anticipation of said "dinner party" I actually cleaned the apartment and . . . drum roll . . . my room!  I should take photos but I need to re-clean.

6. Cleaning frenzy was set off because I had to clean the tank of my new pet.  A mouse named Martin (after Martin the Warrior in the Redwall books).  He was supposed to be food for my brother's snake but my sister liberated him and refused to give him back, so when Mom and my brother came to visit for my birthday (did I tell you about that?  They just, like, totally showed up out of nowhere for a few hours) they dropped him off.  He was stinky but I cleaned the tank and now have him on a smell reducing water supplement.

7. He sleeps in an old sock.

8. I had a new KIP moment today.  I knit in church.  I've been wanting to forever and today I decided just to do it since the church is huge and I've been going there for over a year and still don't know anyone besides Chris and his mom.  And then the lady next to me pulled knitting out of her bag too.  Kindred spirits.

9. I was working on some knew mitts.  Even though it's back up in the mid 70s here, the temperature dropped for a moment last week and gave me the overwhelming urge to knit fingerless mitts.  I finished the first one on Friday and am now trying to hurry through the second.

10. I'm procrastinating on a giant paper.  About Russia in World War I.  It's all economics and boring stuff and I'm having trouble making sense of my data.

11. I'm leading discussion on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde tomorrow.  I think I'll show this video:

12. Tonight is the US premier of the new BBC show about Sherlock Holmes.  I'm very excited.


Light as a Feather

Last week I finished my Featherweight Cardi, but it took me until Saturday to take pictures (many thanks to Chris who went with me to visit family so that we could take pictures on the beach and to my sister for making such lovely matching jewelry) and it has taken me until today to blog about it.  But lucky me, it happens to be FO [Finished Object] Friday (a not-so-distant relation to WIP Wednesday).

Back in August when I came home from Pittsburgh I helped my mom organize her stash into Ravelry.  In the midst of the various yarns she has collected over the past year of serious knitting was some beautiful Cascade Alpaca Lace.  As we photographed she asked me what she could use it for.  When I explained what laceweight is for and showed her my laceweight projects she laughed and handed them to me "I accidentially bought these. You take them"  Well you don't have to ask me twice.  Suddenly I was the proud owner of over 1,000 yards of laceweight alpaca in a lovely dark heathered red.  Question was, what would I knit with it?

Well, you know the rest of the story.  I started the sweater on the way to Dragon*Con and finished a month later in Austin, TX.  The body came out a little shorter than I wanted and the ribbing is definitely shorter than it should be (what I get for knitting until I think it looks good instead of constantly carrying a tape measurer).  But after my last experience with alpaca, I know that it stretches when blocked.  The sleeves were already perfect though and I couldn't [read: wouldn't] rip out the collar in order to lengthen the body.  I ended up blocking just the body of the sweater with a spray bottle and hoping that it would not effect the sleeves dimensions.  The result?



WIP Wednesday: Large Buttony Things

Wow, already time for WIP Wednesday once again. Like I said yesterday, things here are insane. On top of my work and the responsibilities of being a TA, I'm also the student coordinator (I think that's the best word, I have no official title) for our annual lecture next week. I'm supposed to do some grass roots promotion, so I've been sending emails and hitting the pavement with my posters. Fortunately, it will all be over soon. But I did not want to miss WIP Wednesday, so here we are.

Last night I gathered all of my wips (well, not all, but most. Some have become permanent wips and are decomposing somewhere in the apartment) to see them in one place.

I know this is not much for a lot of people, but for me, having six have-to-finish projects on the needles is a bit disturbing. Yes, there are four cowls in that pile, but only one is mine, the other three are commissioned or gifts. Same with the socks, only one is mine and it will stay in limbo until I have time for charted socks again (um, never?).

I'm still counting the Shawl Collard Cowl as a wip because it technically is not finished. I still need to weave in ends and add buttons. Back at the beginning of the semester one of the new grad students gave me these gorgeous buttons. They're authentic Soviet uniform buttons. The large gold ones are going to be perfect against this brown. Very shiny, making them the focal point of the item (as all good special buttons should be). The rest will go in my button box for now (meaning I will find a container and call it my "button box" so that they will have an official location).


All That Remains

Things here are so crazy I have not had a spare moment to sit down and blog about the featherweight or my birthday (I do hope to get a WIP Wednesday post out tomorrow), but I had to take a spare moment to make sure that you see this video. Around six months ago (I try not to remember the date, it was too sad), my favorite tv show came to an end. Dollhouse was a powerful show that spoke to a lot of the deep themes of identity and morality that so often get treated with cotton candy lightheartedness on so many other shows. It dealt in moral ambiguity and required an audience that thought through and processed every act. With very few exceptions, each episode was a shot of perspective and even those seemingly throwaway episodes are filled with intelligence. Today the season 2 dvds were released, and while I myself have not purchased them, I too marked today's tainted joy, excited for the product, but saddened because I am once again reminded of what my Friday nights have lost. However, we found out this weekend that the story will live on in the form of a comic series that will debut in February (there is a special issue with the dvds that I hope some kind soul will let me read), so there is hope. There is always hope. That is something Dollhouse taught me.

In the meantime, writers Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon have released a music video for their song Remains (available on itunes). I think it aired on the show, but I honestly can't tell you for sure (yes, I'm a bad podcaster) [Edited to add: yes, it did. I just went back to check. It's in Epitaph One, ironically the episode that Fox did not allow to air]. The following video does an excellent job of underscoring the core of the show. I hope that you watch, even if you did not watch the show. It is not just about beautiful people being brainwashed, it is about human nature and human needs. Understand that it will challenge you, it will horrify you, and it will make you weep (maybe not this video, but the show definitely could). Today I watch in melancholy because I miss something that was a big part of my life for the better part of a year, but I also celebrate the beauty of something that brought me so much joy.

Watch. Enjoy.
Dollhouse, we miss you.


WIP Wednesday: Something New

It's WIP Wednesday again and oh my gosh, Faith has something new to talk about! Yes, thanks to the finishing of the Featherweight Cardi, I now have moved on to other languishing wips.

First up, my mom's socks. This is the yarn that she picked out back in May for a pair of socks. The socks I tried to knit all summer and just kept screwing up. Yeah, those socks. I recast them on (again) after I finished the Fairytale Princess Shawl in DC making them super basic toe-up socks. And as you know, super basic toe-up socks, while pretty, can be very boooooring. So I often get distracted by other shiny projects.

But they returned to the top of the project pile in Austin as good plane knitting. And boy were they ever. I have to say that the colors looked rather puke-ish when I was knitting top down, but toe-up they are making these really pretty zig-zag sections of pink and red. The stewardess on the plane loved them (actually what she said was, "oh that's cool. Those aren't even knitting needles, are they. . . . They are? But they're so small!), so I hope Mom will too when I finally finish them.

Our fall break here was also this week, so I took some much needed time to rest from school work and travel and just do some knitting. I've had the yarn and really awesome buttons to make the Shawl Collared Cowl ever since the pattern came out, but I never got around to buying the pattern. Now I'm really glad I waited. Alana recently redid all of her patterns this summer in this new theme -- scrapbook pages! So the pdf I downloaded was just as pretty and personal as the actual print pattern.

I'm loving this pattern, and so is Mr. Irish Bear. I'm almost done with the middle section and will be decreasing soon. Mr. Irish Bear thinks that I should just stop here and turn the other skein of Knit Picks Decadence (sadly discontinued but oh so soft in its bulky alpaca goodness) into a blanket for him.

And since we're speaking of works in progress, let me give you a little update on a project I like to call Birthday Week! Last night a package from my sister arrived containing some items that we're swapping and my birthday present. Eva makes some really awesome jewelry, so while I was home we worked out a jewelry to knitting ratio. She's getting a cowl and beret and I got this gorgeous jewelry set that she designed to go with the Featherwieght (I actually gave her part of the yarn so that she could match the red).

Ok, maybe that's not the best shot of the jewelry, but I promised her a picture of me wearing it. Let me try again. Oh, and that creepy face on my mirror? Yeah, she freehanded that during a test.

Aaaaaaand it's not letting me rotate the picture. But I'm work so that's the best you get.

Matching bracelet. Yes, that's a C3PO head on the end. Because it's awesome. And you're getting a sneak peak at the Featherweight which you will hear more about after I have my photographer (Chris) here to help me.

And my actual birthday present. A new giant gaudy beaded ring. Isn't it gorgeous?


Lost in Austin

If you were paying attention at all to the news last week, I'm sure you saw that we had a spot of bad weather here on the East Coast.  As in roads flooded out and school closings.  Despite a slight delay on the runway, we were able to leave here and land in Charlotte with minimal delays.  And as I raced through the Charlotte airport (cause dude, that place is huge) I happed to glance at the arrivals board.  Seems my flight to Austin was delayed by over an hour.  End result?  I arrived in Austin around 1130 central time, had to find a cab (thank God for nice security guards), proceeded to get lost, found, lost again, and then crashed thankfully onto the floor of a very nice couple who allowed me to sleep on an air mattress.

I have a really hard time on planes.  It's not that I get motion sick, though I do, but I get really claustrophobic. It has a lot to do with the tiny planes more than the bigger jets, and of course I got stuck in a tiny plane on the way to Austin and back.  Fortunately I had Jackie from KIPing It Real to keep me distracted.  I downloaded the first 18 episodes or so, something I tend to do after I've listened to a podcast for a while, and they really kept my brain preoccupied.  She's a great host and really engaging to listen to.

Austin was a lot of fun.  On Friday I went in search of an LYS, as I do in every city.  I went to Hill Country Weavers, a  shop on South Congress that is in a house.  They had a great selection of yarn in every room.



Just shelves and shelves of yarnie goodness.

But did I buy any?  Surprisingly, no.  I did carry around a skein of Manos that I may have to buy someday, but I went there for needles and that's what I got.  Along with this really cute Knit Happy water bottle.

Oh! And they had the Ysolda books!  I already have them in pdf, but I'd never seen them in print before.

And next to the shop is a lot of food trailers.  A staple in Austin, don't you know.  If you ever go there, you need to walk to the end of the lot and go to the Giant Cone.  Their hot and spicy avocado cone is delicious.  

All the food in Austin is amazing.  On Saturday night we went out for tex mex and margaritas.  I told my mom after I got back that I'm never going to be able to eat what people here call "mexican".  I've been ruined.  I mean, they make breakfast tacos!  They're amazing concoctions of eggs and peppers and salsa and soooo good.

I did a lot of knitting in public on this trip.  Airports, planes, buses, stadium steps.  Even in the LBJ presidential library museum (you think I'm kidding).  As a result I finished the featherweight.  It's currently blocking in the hallway.  I can't wait to show you guys.  On the plane from Austin to Charlotte the stewardess actually stopped to ask what I was making and pet the yarn.  It is alpaca lace, so I can see why she was unable to restrain herself.  And because I finished the featherweight in Austin I pulled out that perpetual WIP -- my mom's socks.  I did get a bit of work done on them.  Maybe I'll finish them before the end of the year.  Maybe not.

Oh, and the conference?  That thing I went to Austin to do?  It went well.  I even wore one of my own hand knits one day.

Birthday Week!

Ok, I know I promised an update today (I mean yesterday?) about my trip to Austin. But I got distracted by A. library studying and B. shopping trip with my pal Erica. Between Good Will and some nice sales it was an excellent start to the best week of the year . . . Birthday Week! I used to celebrate in a quiet, mature manner, but after turning 21 with a little too much class I've decided that that attitude is for the birds. My birthday is Sunday and pretty much everyone knows it. I love my birthday. But instead of boring you with the awesome purchases I made today (like a stunning black leather jacket - $11!) I will instead leave you with a glimpse of the woman whose laid-back approach to birthdays I aspire to emulate (though youtube has failed me in providing any of the clips I really wanted). I promise you'll get an Austin recap tomorrow (or would that be today).


Mr. Irish Bear Goes to Austin

Thanks to the big fit thrown when I went to Atlanta without him, Mr. Irish Bear got to go to Austin with me.  I don't think he realized that he was not going to actually see the city because I had to be in conference panels and there was no room for him in my bag.  No way was he getting his own bus ticket.  So he spent most of the time in my suitcase.  However, he showed up at the airport ready to fly in style.

Someone must have told him that berets are in again.

We flew out just ahead of the flooding here on the coast and got to Charlotte a little late.  Only to discover that we had a delay of over an hour.  Already exhausted, we tried to decide what to do.

Fortuantely we came prepared.  And while I slaved away on homework, the little guy got to indulge in my plane book.

He says it was good.

Austin was great.  Mr. Irish Bear didn't see much outside of the suitcase because I didn't want him to become a chew toy for the nice dogs we were staying with.  He wasn't happy, but some day he'll appreciate that I do these things for his safety, not to ruin his life.

We're both a little jetlagged so we're going to crash for tonight.  I'll post a more detailed report tomorrow (complete with knitting updates).